Usually I focus on the main couple in the romance I’m reading but sometimes there is a side character that steals the show or intrigues me just enough as to imagine what happens to them in the future. Sometimes the authors grant our wishes and we get a series of fabulous stories featuring side characters from the previous books. Other times, though, our beloved side characters remain just that, an added bonus to the story which makes the main couple shine even brighter.
Here is my list of 5 side characters that grabbed my attention and I hope the authors would look kindly upon my wishes and someday would write their stories.
I’m starting with Niall from Glitterland by Alexis Hall. He is Ash’s ex and is now in love with a bisexual friend of theirs who, in the course of the story, marries a woman from their circle of friends. Niall has a major role in Ash and Darrian’s story and while he made me want to punch him in the face more than once while reading Glitterland, I also felt deeply sympathetic to him. He seemed so hurt, lost and alone, unable to find his place in the changing world of his friends. Despite his mistakes I feel he is a good man and I want him to find his happiness. Most of all, I want to read his journey to a well-deserved HEA.
I stumbled upon Penny Reid’s debut novel, Neanderthal Seeks Human, shortly it was indie published in April 2013 and I was immediately curious about the story of the socially awkward Janie and the alpha masculine and protective Quinn. I read the book in one setting and fell in love with Ms Reid’s quirky, nerdy characters and her wicked sense of humour and smart writing style.
I have been reading a lot of queer romances lately and as you can imagine I have a number of favorite M/M couples by now. Here is the list of my latest Top 5 favorite M/M couples, arranged in a totally random order.
Raffi and Denny from Level Hands by Amy Jo Cousins
I love a well-done New Adult – all the turmoil of youth, the process of finding yourself and your place in the world. And I particularly enjoy young romance – first (big) love, first time having a steady significant other, first time navigating a serious relationship. Raffi and Denny are both great characters on their own – complex, multi-layered and their coming together was no easy feat for either of them. I liked that they managed to be open about their feelings (fears included). They share more than one heated encounters but also had a few quiet romantic moments which make me smile and swoon – two big muscled rowers dancing bachata in the empty locker room is a sight to see in my mind.
What I’m most passionate about in my reading of romance now is diversity. I actively search stories that highlight and reflect the diversity in the world — ethnic, social, sexual, physical, etc. And one of the romance series that explores this diversity in a most profound and engaging manner is the Bend or Break series by Amy Jo Cousins.
This is a series of four novels so far, with another full-length novel and a sequel novella coming out soon. They are mostly m/m romances, although the third book, The Girl Next Door, features a m/f couple though the woman is actually bisexual (and there is a super hot m/f/m threesome as well) , so the series can be summed up as diverse queer romance.
It all begins with Tom and Reese in Off Campus — a New Adult college romance that explores serious social issues. Tom’s dad is in prison after committing a Ponzi scheme, so Tom’s is a fall-from-grace situation, and now he’s struggling to stay in college. This story also explores the consequences of being a victim of sexual assault (Reese) and how it affects and changes a person. At the same time it’s a story of self-discovery (Tom is coming to understand that he actually likes both girls and guys) and coming out. One of the main strengths of the series is the way Amy Jo portrays so realistically young, college-age people, with all the confusion and urgency and exuberance of youth. The characters make mistakes, there is miscommunication and some wrong and hasty assumptions made, yet I find them fitting to the young age of the boys and part of their journey into adulthood.