Something Like Love by Christina C. Jones. Warm Hues Media. 2017.
I loved this book, and its going on my list of comfort rereads. It’s dual POV and both the MCs had such strong voices (something I adore about Jones’ work in general) and there is so much complexity to their characterization. I was riveted, and cared a lot about them as characters, and was really rooting for them as a couple.
The MCs start off as antagonists, and I really appreciated the way their relationship developed. It was very satisfying to watch them go from being angry and glaring to caring about each other. There is a lot of heat and chemistry between them, and even when they shift away from being antagonists, their connection has this charge to it, where they dare each other and push against each other. It was lovely to read, and to see that slowly begin to be balanced by the ways they allowed themselves to be vulnerable with each other and take comfort from each other, to be changed by their relationship.
It was intense to read about the ways the hero is fairly constantly grappling with bi hatred and bi erasure in his community, family, and his love life, and to have that be really centered in the story. I wasn’t expecting the story to be so much about bisexuality in that way, as most adult m/f romances with bi MCs are not, especially for characters that have been out for years. This isn’t an identity struggle or discovery book, and most books that openly engage so much with bi antagonism are. It took me a bit to warm up to it, because it kept surprising me by the way it presented daily experiences of bi antagonism all throughout the story. As the book went on, though, I began to really appreciate how this aspect of his life was just woven all the way through, without being central to the romance arc or his personal arc. It felt real, and held that daily experience in a way that made it part of life while still centering the romance arc and balancing the experiences of oppression with ones of support, love, and hope.
I really enjoyed the way this story shows two bi characters who have different experiences of bisexuality, both because of gender and because of the age gap between them. I liked that the younger heroine uses the word queer in thinking about her own identity and the hero would never, as it felt like a difference that really suited them. I appreciated that they talked openly about the ways their experiences and perspectives were different, and especially liked the conversation about the complexities of managing relationships with older family members who are both hurtful and supportive and have gotten more supportive with time.
The moment when she sees the portrait he did of her is one of my most favorite artist/love interest moments in a romance, and I love those kinds of moments, a lot. I also really loved all the stuff around him giving her a tattoo.
The heroine is a yoga teacher, part of a yoga studio and holistic healing center situated in Black community, that presents yoga in a way that’s tailored to Black community, and separates it from both cultural and spiritual roots. I am still thinking about how I feel about that aspect of the story, and the way yoga works in this romance, particularly the way it is used to enhance their sex life. I will say that as a white reader, I felt a bit uncomfortable about it.
I liked the way the characters are wary and self protective, and feeling their way towards a connection that catches them both off guard, and that they kinda don’t know how to handle. I really appreciated witnessing how gone for each other they both were, and how they fumbled around not seeing it clearly. I love those kinds of romances, that are all about vulnerability and risk and how hard they are. It ends in a HFN and I would definitely love to revisit these characters and see what might happen next as they work out a relationship.
Overall, I loved this romance, and highly recommend it. It is one of my favorite romances where both MCs are bisexual, and one of the best romances I’ve read in 2018.
- Black bisexual heroine.
- Black bisexual hero.
- Black woman author.
Content Warnings (in white, highlight to read)
Alcohol use. Marijuana use. Brief reference to a violent sexual assault of a secondary character. Brief reference to a stillborn birth. Queer hatred and bi antagonism from multiple characters occurs in the process of the story, including discussion of violence and queer hatred from family members, all of which gets challenged either directly by other characters or by the text. Heroine teaches yoga in a way that separates it from both cultural and spiritual roots, and is specifically tailored to Black community. Heroine influences the hero’s eating habits to make them more “healthy”. Sex on the page.
- Source of the book: I borrowed this book from Kindle Unlimited. (After I read it, I bought myself a copy because I knew I needed to own it, and would be rereading.)
- I have had no contact with the author.
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