Rogue Nights
Grade : A-

Rogue Nights is a multi-author anthology featuring seven new novella length romances, stories of women and men fighting back against political ideologies that seek to disenfranchise women and minorities through racist and oppressive policies. It’s part of the Rogue series that came about as the result of the backlash to recent political events.  Featuring people from all walks of life, sexual orientation and race, they are inspirational tales of finding love while fighting the good fight.

Resisting Desire by Talia Hibbert

Grade: A-           Sensuality: Warm

Political journalist Nina gets death threats and ends up getting protection from her brother’s best friend James, a man she once slept with who called their night together ‘a mistake’. Her story doesn’t shy away from the reality of how being black affects their relationship with the police and her reluctance to report the threats and trust that they will actually be investigated. It’s also a steamy ‘best friend’s sibling’ trope story with a couple who find their way to a happy ending, even while they deal with the seriousness of the threats. Nina is a very likable heroine who has a strong sense of self-worth and knows the risks of what she writes about, but does it anyway.

Dropped Stitches by Annabeth Albert

Grade:  B+          Sensuality: Kisses

This novella tells the tale of high school acquaintances Bea and Kira. Bea has an idealized view of what Kira’s life was like in high school that doesn’t hold up when they meet in a voting line as adults and discover their lives have gone in different directions than expected. It’s an LGBTQ romance and the two women end up becoming real friends, and then lovers. Political activism is at the heart of this tale, with Bea working for the progressive candidate running in the election. Also, knitting makes an appearance; Bea is well described as a knitting activist (making pussy hats for protests) and it’s a great pastime if you are waiting in line to vote (or stressed out watching election returns come in!).

Parking Lot Cowboy by Rebecca Crowley

Grade:  A          Sensuality: Warm

This story stars two volunteers at a medical clinic that provides abortions. Tyler and Margot meet while providing security escorts for women making use of the clinic’s services who have to contend with religious protesters. Tyler is a smart, quiet cowboy who works full time on a ranch and believes women should be free to seek medical care no matter their circumstances, and Margot is a college-educated woman who decided to volunteer after the last election showed women’s rights being eroded. After volunteering together for a few months the couple finally start talking to each other and this leads to a slow burn romance. Issues in the story include abortion rights, anger, alcoholism, and ex-boyfriends. It’s a really lovely opposites-attract story. Also, I will take any cowboy stories written by this author, please and thank you.

Dare to Dream by Hudson Lin

Grade:  A-          Sensuality: Warm

Two law school students from different backgrounds are tasked to work on an assignment that shows different sides of controversial topics in this LGBTQ romance. The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) issue is an important one for Diego (who is Mexican) as he is a current DACA recipient, his mother is an undocumented immigrant and his sister was born in the United States. Derek, a Chinese American, is part of an LGBTQ school alliance that protests the administration’s immigration policies and Diego’s sister wants to protest too but Diego fears drawing unnecessary attention to his family, for valid reasons. It’s a poignant story about the current situation of many immigrants in the US, but still provides a sexy romance as Derek and Diego find their attraction to each other worth exploring.

The Coffee Shop Around the Corner by Shae Conner

Grade: B+           Sensuality: Kisses

A sweet romance, The Coffee Shop Around the Corner stars Palmer, a business owner, and Madeline, who is working on a current mayoral campaign. They cross paths at the local coffee shop (run by Palmer) where Mad picks up her usual morning latte. They’ve been unknowingly corresponding by email over infrastructure policies important to the election and only discover their coffee shop link on election day. It’s a flirtatious and lighthearted epistolary romance.

Love Your Face by Ainsley Booth

Grade:  A-          Sensuality: Warm

In this LGBTQ romance about two female friends, one is gay and the other is figuring out that she is bisexual. It’s also a story that delves into the difficulties many people encounter with their family over political viewpoints that don’t align, and the challenges of how to balance personal happiness with family obligations. Fred has parents who haven’t fully accepted her sexual identity and vote for the opposite party than she does, and her best friend Ami accompanies her home on a stressful Thanksgiving holiday. Standing up for oneself against toxic relationships is at the heart of the novella, and there’s a sweet and sexy romance for Fred and Ami as they discover a mutual attraction.

Sacred Son by Robin Covington

Grade:  A       Sensuality: Warm

Sacred Son is an LGBTQ romance that looks at the challenges facing Native Americans, in this case a father, Judah, who is trying to gain custody of his son after a stint in jail for robbing a gas station.  He  bitterly regrets his crime for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because his incarceration meant he couldn’t be there for his son. He’s done his time and his son is in foster care and he needs the help of his ex-boyfriend Adam, who fights for the rights of Native Americans in court. It’s a second chance romance touching on a lot of the difficulties encountered by Native Americans, including the reality of the missing and murdered indigenous women endemic to the US (and Canada)) , and the white man’s beliefs that their ways are superior to others. It’s easy to feel empathy for Judah, for the disadvantages of his upbringing and how hard he has to fight to have the same rights as white people. There is a happy ending, though not without some emotional moments to get there, and a chance for Adam and Judah to rekindle their relationship.

Clearly this anthology doesn’t shy away from tackling some serious current issues.  All writing is political (though maybe not quite so overt as this) but more importantly, collections like this show that love is for everyone, no matter what circumstances they find themselves in. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Rogue series, you can start with any of them and you’ll find similar stories of resistance to the status quo, and perhaps something that strikes a chord within your own life – and a push to do something about it.

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Reviewed by Maria Rose

Grade: A-

Sensuality: Varies

Review Date : November 15, 2018

Publication Date: 11/2018

Recent Comments …

  1. I’ve not read The Burnout, but I’ve read other Sophie Kinsella’s books and they are usually hilarious rather than angsty…

Maria Rose

I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.
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