I’ve never been a fan of romance novels. They were always too formulaic and the sex never really struck me as hot, more just…vague? Even as a preteen sneaking looks into my grandma’s reading bag I was struck by how cheesy the sexy parts felt, and I had no idea what I was really reading about. Both of my grandmothers read romance novels — the more religious and conservative grandma read great sprawling sagas with sex scenes every 3 pages (kept in the reading bag that was very opaque and usually by her side at all times) and the goofier, less strict grandma read a series that was very slow moving, family focused, and not in the least bit sexy.
I try to read outside of my comfort zone and experience new genres on a regular basis, but Romance is the one category where I get stuck and can’t find anything I can read past the first 20 pages. But I kept hearing about this one author and series so I decided to try one more time. The series is *dramatic orchestral introduction* The Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan and I swear all of the cool librarians have read them already. Like everyone I know. Really. Everyone. And when a few of my favorite librarians brought these books up the 3rd and 4th times I caved. The entire boxed set was just $5 in eBook on Amazon so I downloaded and was reading within seconds. Although it still bugs me that they call it a boxed set when it’s an eBook set — there is no box. It’s not even a Schrodiger’s box. IT’S NOT IN A BOX.
Anyway. I made it past 20 pages and in fact finished the first book, a novella, in one quick sitting. It was sweet and original and had a seriously steamy and disarming scene involving bobby pins. I’ve moved on to the main event, the first real book in the series, The Duchess War, and so far so good. I see the charm of an eBook when reading romance and I can understand why this genre and format pairing has exploded (pardon the pun) in the last few years: romance has a stigma and when you’re on an iPad no one can see what you are reading. I’ve made up for this by nervously blurting out “I’m reading a romance novel one with sex in it” every time anyone even looks in my direction so I’m making up for the possible anonymity right off the bat. Heaven forbid anyone is in the vicinity when I reach an actual sex scene as I may start reading it outloud in some misguided attempt at transparency and in order to just get that weird fact out in the open. “Right now you are heating up your microwave meal in our staff lounge, but I am reading about a ______ and a _____ and it’s going in ______ and I’m pretty sure ______ is going to ______ any second now.”
Sorry in advance, Human Resources.