This will be a slightly different series book review in that the series is a group of books loosely associated by publisher, sexual orientation theme, and story length. Even though they are written by three separate authors and feature three separate stories and genres, they all shared two main things in common. The Solitary Travelers Collection are all asexual stories and at least one of the characters are a ‘traveler’.
I have encountered characters who are asexual in a few books lately (Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux and Running With Scissors by LA Witt), but they were never a main character. I knew little about this sexual orientation that seems to be overshadowed by the others and even in some quarters still not considered a sexual orientation. I wanted to learn more. In the process of on-line research, I came across mention of this collection of stories and was thrilled that it was by a publisher that I recognized and have reviewed for through Net Galley. And, oh happy day, Less Than Three had the collection up for grabs. I chose three that are about asexual and aromantic characters. ‘Asexual’ and ‘aromantic’ are terms that describe a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction, but does experience romantic feelings for others. Asexuals can be attracted to men, women, both, or everything in between like anyone else.
The stories probably won’t be for everyone because of the focus and as to heat will be more like a barely there romance that feels more like a pair of friends than lovers. The characters fall in love and it is love- love of a compatible other, love of the mind and personality though there is appreciation for the aesthetics, and love with a person that shares the same needs.
Stinger by Katya Harris
This story is an m/f sci-fi romance. Kara grows up on a brutal, raw mining planet and dreams of getting away to the stars. She befriends, newcomer and alien-like hybrid, Sarit who is reviled by others as he does his tech job for the mining company. Kara is attracted and wants more than friendship even as she sees her wants as hopeless because Sarit will leave soon for his next job and Sarit doesn’t experience sexual attraction. He does however experience everything else that continues to make him attractive to her. Danger threatens both Kara and Sarit from those who hate his differences and want to use Kara for their own gain.
Loved this pair and wanted more of them solidifying their relationship and going on further adventures in the stars.Mr. March Names the Stars by Rivka Aarons Hughes
Series: Solitary Travelers Collection
on March 14, 2016
This story is an m/m contemporary romance. Wes is a nomad Pagan woodworker traveling the Pagan fair route with his sister and he has a problem. Someone put on the Pagan charity calendar bio that ‘he’s single ladies’. Yes, he’s single, but not for the ladies. So the publisher’s lawyer, Nash, is called in to smooth feathers. The two hit it off and begin a long distance relationship through correspondence while Wes travels the circuit. Both are tickled to find another Pagan asexual and Nash is even more pleased that Wes doesn’t mind that he’s transgender. A bit of dishonesty leads to an honest gamechanging moment.
This book was full of new to me moments. Pagan nomad lifestyle. A man of color Transgender asexual. A non-binary sibling. And a romance through letters. I loved the story, but was distracted a little by all the unique to me elements.
Blood and Clockwork by Katey Hawthorne
Series: Solitary Travelers Collection
on March 14, 2016
This story is an m/m fantasy steampunk romance. Alistair works with clockwork and has a scientific mind. He is a solitary type, but he has a dream of entering the legendary Mad Prince’s tower, discovering the secret of his clockwork, and using it to better things for the people. Only he has heard the dark tales about the Mad Prince and that anyone who enters the tower has disappeared. Not long after he enters the tower, Alistair is locked in and then accidentally brings a man through from another dimension using the magical clockwork mechanism he discovered. Marcus is so different and claims to be from a place called New Jersey. Marcus is a bit rough around the edges and takes some convincing that Alistair’s world is real, but then he joins Alistair on his quest to learn the secrets of the dark tower.
I’m always up for a quest-style story and I enjoyed these two opposites. Marcus is African-American, rough around the edges, but he’s an artist. Alistair appreciates the diversity between the two men and he is drawn to Marcus. I do wish the story could have developed both characters and their relationship more, but I liked what I got and the promise of where things are going. And that setting of the Mad Prince’s tower was chilling.
In summary, I found these stories fascinating and engaging. I would definitely read more from the collection and from these individual writers. Again, I would emphasize that these aren’t for everyone, but I think those who can appreciate the nuances of an asexual romance and a compact story should give them a try.
I received these books through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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