Love in the Margins

Love in the Margins is a group romance blog trying to hit on the love stories that represent us all. We welcome discussion and criticism as we read through the stories of those whose lives don’t fit into the neat and tidy box labeled “default.”

Jack The Ripper, Skirt Flipper

A knife lays on the upper flat surface of a wooden cross grave marker.While we’re busy not shaming each other’s kinks I’d like to talk about each other’s triggers. The rape fantasy has largely left mainstream genre romance but a new trope has risen to take it’s place, that of the abusive hero. in Karen Robards’ new series the heroine is fascinated by a man she has every reason to believe is a serial killer. At one point she thinks to herself that it really doesn’t matter what he has done because she knows in her heart he wouldn’t hurt HER, not physically at least. (That’s pretty much a quote but I’m too lazy to dig it out just now.) Robards further removes her heroine from danger by asserting that his paranormal status renders him harmless. This is a curious conceit in a book that allows various points of contact between the dead and living worlds. His penis can cross over but not his stabbing hand? Okay.


In Linda Howard’s Death Angel the hero actually does kill the heroine. Drea, the heroine, forgives him because (as in the above book) he’s just too sexy to forget. Howard ups her game by asserting that being murdered has made Drea a better person. Pages have been typed about the domestic violence patterns in the Twilight series and The Books We Never Name. Full scale fandom wars have broken out over the Kristen Ashley books. Being in an abusive relationship is bad. Wanting to be the jailhouse bride of a serial killer is bad. Reading about both of these things is good. Got it.


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Links: Saturday, October 12

A twentysomething year old Keanu Reeves sits cross-legged on a grey block in front of a grey photographer’s dropcloth. He’s wearing khaki shorts and a yellow sweatshirt with the sleeves pushed up. He stares off into the distance with his surfer-styled hair swept to one side.

This Is Not Porn – I’ve lost hours to this collection of lesser-known images of celebrities.


  • In Defense of the Amateur Review – Authors who call for more professional reviewing or for some sort of standards miss a crucial element of the equation: they don’t get to decide which reviews readers find useful.


    "The reality is that people’s opinions are often unreasonable. So someone rated a book one star even though they’ve never read it. Who cares? Not the author’s fans. It’s worth giving readers some credit that they’re able to figure out which reviews are good and which are bad for themselves, just as they can figure out which books are good and bad on their own. There are places for professional, industry reviews; but if books really want to thrive and stay relevant, there also needs to be sites where readers can discuss books freely without authors and others in the publishing industry peering over their shoulders or pulling puppet strings. That’s how Amazon and Goodreads reviews became so influential to begin with."


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The Last Kiss Goodbye by Karen Robards

The Last Kiss Goodbye - Karen Robards

Sometimes I self harm. Mostly with books.


I really hated everything about the first Dr. Charlotte Stone book. I wasn’t planning on reading another but Suleikha Snyder wouldn’t stop talking about ghost sex. (Wait, is it still self harming if I can blame someone else?) The Last Kiss Goodbye is so much worse than The Last Victim. I am completely cured of my Karen Robards fandom. We had some good times together but they are o-v-e-r. Capital O. Underlined. Exclamation points. Freezer full of ice cream. If I could go back to 1981 I’d tell myself to put the book on the shelf and walk away, because this isn’t a forever love.


In The Last Victim Robards rolled out a love triangle between a living FBI agent, a dead serial killer and the lovely yet self destructive psychiatrist in peril, Charlie Stone. Although she alludes to his potential innocence, our serial killer (Garland) is still far from a prize. He’s crude, thoughtless, dismissive and consigned to hell for unknown reasons. (Assuming he didn’t really slice and dice all those women). Charlie falls for him hard on the basis of nothing but his appearance. The Last Kiss Goodbye picks up seconds after The Last Victim’s end, launching the team on the trail of another killer.

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Links: Thursday, October 10th

A parody  of the poster for the zombie movie 28 Days Later. A silhouette of a man pushing a baby stroller in front of a ruined London landscape. Above it in white letters against a blood red background is the title "28 Days Late" and a positive pregnancy test.

This needs to be the cover of a romance novel.


  • Pride and prejudice: Scotland’s complicated black history – Hat tip to Laura Vivanco for this link. May it breed plot bunnies.

    "Black History Month has been held annually in the US since the 1920s and in the UK from the late 80s.

    It is a celebration of the contribution that black African and Caribbean communities have made on a local level and across the world.

    Scotland’s black history is populated by interesting and important characters, many of whom had to endure prejudice and racism. But who were some of these people?"

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Light by ‘Nathan Burgoine

Light - Nathan Burgoine

Kieran Quinn is a bit telepathic, a little psychokinetic, and very gay—three things that have gotten him through life perfectly well so far—but when self-styled prophet Wyatt Jackson arrives during Pride Week, things take a violent turn.


Kieran’s powers are somewhat underwhelming but do have a habit of refracting light into spectacular rainbows for him to hide behind. Even so, it’s not long before Kieran is struggling to maintain his own anonymity while battling wits with a handsome cop, getting some flirting in with a hunky leather man, saving some drag queens, and escaping the worst blind date in history. It’s enough to make a fledgling hero want to give up before he even begins.


One thing’s for sure: saving the day has never been so fabulous.


First I’ll offer my disclaimer. Burgoine and I also share a publisher. That said, let me dive into this review. This book was so much fun. I mean it. Fun x40andahalf. Kieran is a massage therapist by day and an accidental super hero… by day and night when he uses his telekinetic powers to save the LGBT citizens of Ottawa from a villain with similar capabilities. Along the way Kieran is pressured into blind dates by his best friend, attempts to keep from upsetting his father and annoying the shit out of his brother, and saves the skin of a hunky, potential love interest.


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Reblog: Review: Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins

Destiny's Embrace - Beverly Jenkins

This was my first foray into Jenkins' work, and it wasn't too bad. I just didn't fall in love with the writing or the characters really (except Alanza) and when you have a love story where the character's development drives the plot like it does here, and you don't enjoy the characters, it makes it a rough read. 

Let's SCORE it.


The Story:
Mariah is a women pretty much working as a slave to her mom in a dress shop in PA. Something finally pushes her over the edge and she leaves for the safety of her aunts house, and finally to the new life in California. She goes there, lying about being a widow (lol I almost wrote window), so she can get a job as a housemaid. 

Her job is with Logan, a rancher in California who lives with his (awesome) Spanish stepmom breaking in horses and making the women love him with his looks. From there the story moves to focus on their love and how it develops. Over three days.

The story was okay. It wasn't my favorite because I like a little more conflict. It seemed like the characters overcame their obstacles with too much ease for it to be believable. I wanted more tension, more turmoil from Mariah over stepping outside the bounds of housekeeperhood or with Logan realizing that he may want to marry her. Since this is primarily character driven, let's look at them.

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Links: Tuesday, October 8th

An image of two young mixed race boys. One has a head of tight black curls and dark eyebrows. The other has has light blond, tightly curled hair and light eyebrows and eyes.
The Changing Face of America – Photo Gallery


  • The Changing Face of America – Another great look at how we construct race visually and socially.

    "The U.S. Census Bureau has collected detailed data on multiracial people only since 2000, when it first allowed respondents to check off more than one race, and 6.8 million people chose to do so. Ten years later that number jumped by 32 percent, making it one of the fastest growing categories. The multiple-race option has been lauded as progress by individuals frustrated by the limitations of the racial categories established in the late 18th century by German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who divided humans into five “natural varieties” of red, yellow, brown, black, and white. Although the multiple-race option is still rooted in that taxonomy, it introduces the factor of self-determination. It’s a step toward fixing a categorization system that, paradoxically, is both erroneous (since geneticists have demonstrated that race is biologically not a reality) and essential (since living with race and racism is). The tracking of race is used both to enforce antidiscrimination laws and to identify health issues specific to certain populations."


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Daffodils In Spring by Pamela Morsi

Daffodils In Spring - Pamela Morsi

Originally posted on Love in the Margins.


Daffodils In Spring was a 2011 freebie meant to promote and honor it’s founder, Karen Thomson. In fact the cover model strongly resembles a younger idealized Thomson. She doesn’t fit the age of any particular character so I think she’s there to sell us on reading the story. Inside the cover Morsi tries to graft her Americana style onto urban Chicago with mixed results. I admire almost all of the pieces, but I didn’t love the whole. Despite my lack of love a number of elements make Daffodils In Spring worth discussing.

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Reblog: ARC Review of Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot Of Geek, by R. Cooper

Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek - R. Cooper

Ha, this was just beautiful.

Several things I liked:



One of the 2 MCs was not the normal white MC. Yeah, I know. I love it. 

One did not have a way with words at all.

The other one was a perfect, gushing geek-speaker. Truly sweet.


Both were quite inept at trying to get together, one not finding his courage and the other one not believing it could be.  


All things I truly love.


It misses a last half star (3.5 instead of full 4) for setting up a beautiful love moment and then summarily skipping over it. The kiss, though. 


Yeah, the kiss. That was to die for. 


As were his coffee drinks. 

Sweet and short read. Recommended for crawling up in a comfy place and just indulging in some talk of slash. Of the original version.

Reblogged from AnnaLund2011

Links: Saturday, October 5th

Twin babies wearing onesies. The boy's has the Almond Joy candy bar logo and the girl's has the Mounds label. The back of the boy's says

Parents of the year.

  • Let’s Read About Sex – This link is for hate reading. Not only does the first writer dub the 1980s “the height of the feminist terror,” the article doesn’t include a single romance or erotica author.

    Writing about sex can be uniquely powerful — and perilous. A group of novelists, memoirists and poets tell us about working blue: what novels first inspired them, what nouns they strive to avoid and who they think writes sex best.

  • Romancing Abortion? – Heroes who have killed actual living, breathing people are a dime a dozen, but a heroine who terminates a pregnancy? That’s just crazy talk.

    Given genre romance’s roots in the comic mode (in the Northrop Frye Anatomy of Criticism sense), the babylogue makes sense: comedy focuses on the reform of, or integration into, society, the success of which is typically symbolized by the marriage that occurs at a play or novel’s end. An epilogue showcasing that married couple’s fecundity simply extends the symbol, providing proof that the newly formed society is already thriving and prospering.

    Is this why romances featuring heroines who have had abortions, or who contemplate having an abortion, are so very rare?

  • By the Numbers: An Analysis of the Reviews Deleted in the Goodreads Policy Change – This post by Ceridwen crunches the data on who Goodreads targeted and what they deleted. Of note: all but one of the users who had stuff deleted were female.

    Goodreads can’t publicly comment on the reviews they deleted, as I can see how that could be untoward, but the people affected can talk about the content of their reviews. These 21 people also received emails detailing the deletions, so we can know exactly what books are being flagged. I wanted to get those lists and collate the data: is there a pattern to the deletions? Are the same books and authors coming up again and again? And if I could find the 21 people who had their reviews and shelves deleted, I could ask them exactly what the content of their reviews was, and how exactly they were using their shelves.

  • I Am So Very Tired – Blogger and author Foz Meadows is tired of your shit.

    I am tired, not of arguing in favour of equality, diversity and tolerance, but of having to explain, over and over and over again, why such arguments are still necessary, only to have my evidence casually dismissed by someone too oblivious to realise that their dismissal of the problem is itself a textbook example of the fucking problem. I am tired of being mocked by hypocrites who think that a single lazy counterexample is sufficient to debunk the fifteen detailed examples they demanded I produce before they’d even accept my point as a hypothetical, let alone valid, argument. I am tired of assholes who think that playing Devil’s advocate about an issue alien to their experience but of deep personal significance to their interlocutor makes them both intellectually superior and more rationally objective on the specious basis that being dispassionate is the same as being right (because if they can stay calm while savagely kicking your open wound, then clearly, you have no excuse for screaming). I am tired of seeing false equivalencies touted as proof positive of reverse sexism and racism by people who don’t understand that Lin punching Robin is not the same as Robin punching Lin if Robin is an adult pro-wrestler and Lin is a five-year-old child.

  • Where I Write – Many of these are an ergonomist’s worst nightmare, but I enjoyed seeing the different spaces authors work in.

    Serena Bell tweets that she’s organized her office, her space where she writes. “Where I Write,” she posts, and then, Mary Ann Rivers answers with “Here’s mine.” Then another writer calls and responds. Here I am, we say. Here I have been, for hours, for days, for books, for the beginning of my first book, for as much as I can in the early morning, at night, while kids are at school. Here is my space. My space in time, my space in the world. It feels big, it feels too small, it’s temporary, I’ve been here for years. It’s messy, it’s spare, it’s me. Where I Write. Where. Here’s a space, here’s another. Most of them, most of these spaces — in our imagination.