A new feature at Smexy Books! Each hump day we will discuss an erotic topic, or a particular scene from a book and then later in the day we will review an erotic book. I can’t guarantee the book we review will be a recommendation (for example, the book reviewed later today is not getting a good grade) but maybe readers can chime in with recommendations. This is our Wednesday plan. If anyone wants a particular erotic book or topic discussed, shoot Mandi an email. (mandi @ smexybooks.com).
“You’re the only girl in the entire world that’s forbidden, and fuck me if that doesn’t make me want you more than anything.”
(Quote from Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward. I’ve not read it but it has 25,000+ reviews on Goodreads.)
I have noticed a big increase in step-sibling romance review requests at Smexy recently. I was talking about them on Twitter, so I’m not sure if authors saw that and submitted, or if they are the new topic to write about. I honestly don’t think I had ever read one – so I picked one of the requests and I’ll be reviewing it later today.
So – step-sibling romance. The step-brother falls for the step-sister. I guess there is this taboo aspect of this relationship that authors can explore when this type of romance unfolds. It’s FORBIDDEN. But is it really? The book I chose to read, the protagonists are in their 20’s and are strangers when their parents marry – so who really cares if they fall in love? As Tori puts it, it is a “Fauxboo.” I was braced to be scandalized…and instead it read as a pretty straight-forward romance.
If these siblings grew up together, and years later start doing dirty things, then I guess it could be looked upon as more naughty.
Since I’m not versed in these books very well, I turned to an expert on this reading topic – Jennifer Porter. She runs Romance Novel News and tweets all about the books she reads. (She is also the queen of finding “spurts” in books). Jennifer has kindly offered to give her insight into old-school Step-Sibling romance.
Step brothers seem to be the hottest heroes in romance novels these days. I am both fascinated and repelled by this trend, although it certainly is not a new one. My fascination with the trope stems from my early days of reading category romance with step siblings as main characters. One of my early favorites is Robyn Donald’s Captives from the Past, a Harlequin Presents from 1987. Heroine Jennet must return home to prevent her sister from marrying Jennet’s ex-husband – and risk the wrath of her step brother Rafe. Angel of Darkness by Lynne Graham, a Harlequin Presents from 1993. Angelo is the epitome of the alphahole hero who decides the heroine (who is also his stepsister) will be his. Both books are filled with dark passion, punishing kisses and the taboo of step-sibling love.
On the sweeter side of things are Yvonne Whittal’s Bid for Independence (a Harlequin Romance from 1987) and Olivia Rupprecht’s Taboo (a Loveswept Romance from 1991). In Bid for Independence, Maura cannot understand why things have changed between herself and her step-brother Clayton. But when she returns home from school, the two have to deal with how things have changed between them. Taboo is an overly angsty and dramatic love story between Cammie and Grant, two people who are haunted by their taboo feelings for each other. Whatever one thinks about the current resurgence of the forbidden step-sibling romance, it certainly has a long history in the genre.
For the step-sibling romances that are coming out today – which are really dirty?? Do any really push the boundaries of a step-sibling relationship? Or are they all more “fauxboo?” Is this a trend that makes you curious to read?