The Winter Quarters by Anna Veriani – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Anna Veriani who is celebrating the recent release of The Winter Quarters

There’s nothing I love more than talking about books. Today I’m savoring the opportunity to share five of my favorite romances—although choosing just five is difficult! While I stuck to contemporary romances only, the list varies across m/m, f/f, and m/f, and includes both novels and manga.

1. Work for It by Talia Hibbert

This is the most recently published book on the list and I absolutely adored it. It was my first time reading Hibbert and I can’t wait to get into her backlist. Work for It is an m/m featuring two lost souls—Olu, betrayed by an ex, feels isolated in the city, while Griffin, the queer village outcast, is alienated in the countryside. Hibbert is a wicked sharp writer, and I loved her complex characters and quick, layered prose.

2. The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

This masterfully crafted f/f features an enemies-to-lovers romance about the legendary retired “Queen of Ballet”, Victoria, and her simple, sweet protegée, Anna, who quickly becomes hardened by the cutthroat world of New York City ballerinas. I adored everything about this book, from the dialogue that made me squee to the epilogue that is probably my favorite romance ending of all time.

3. The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish

Corbin is a small town weirdo with too many pet dogs and a childlike belief in magic and curses. Alex is a baker opening a cozy shop. The two of them are so incredibly sweet, and this whole book was like a blissful dream, more like the way we fantasize books ought to be than the way most books really are. It’s my favorite holiday romance.

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This is an m/f manga that took me pleasantly surprised: The main character Tsugumi reunites with an old high school crush, Itsuki, and finds that he’s now disabled and uses a wheelchair. I was really happy to read a romance that I personally feels features paralysis in a realistic way. A movie adaptation came out in Japan, too, and it made me really happy in a simple way.

5. Love My Life by Yamaji Ebine

This is the oldest book on the list, one I’ve enjoyed for over a decade. Love My Life is an f/f manga about two university girlfriends. When one, Ichiko, comes out to her father, he shocks her by telling her both he and her mother are queer. The story is overall a romantic slice-of-life tale. Unfortunately it’s never been translated into English, although I believe it’s available in French. I still cherish it as my first and favorite f/f story, and there was a movie adaptation that was released in the U.S. I highly recommended if you can track it down.

So that’s my list! I hope you discover some good stories from it. It’s interesting for me to reflect on which bits of which stories may have influenced The Winter Quarters, and it’s wonderful to be reminded of what a lasting hold a good romance book can have on your heart. <3

Snow, steam, and a second chance.

Reluctant socialite Kai has thirty-five days before his family starts shooting the next season of their reality TV show, revealing a life he’d rather keep private—and one that feels increasingly scripted. Desperately needing a break, Kai escapes to his childhood best friend Hiro Asada’s inn in rural Japan. He finds peace in the thousand-year-old hot springs, but his yearning for Hiro resurfaces at the worst time: Hiro is about to inherit the inn, and his parents expect him to marry within the year.

Hiro’s traditional family loves him for who he is, but they can’t imagine two men running the inn. Meanwhile, Kai has a TV contract his lawyer insists can’t be broken. Hiro and Kai need to think outside the box—and solve their problems before Christmas Day, when Kai’s show shoots its annual holiday special.

About the Author: author bio: Anna Veriani was born with a deep love of queer lit and .99¢ New York pizza slices. After graduating from NYU with a degree in East Asian Studies, she set sail for Ishikawa, Japan. Now she spends her days writing by the river and dreaming of opening an expat pizzeria.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press or other online venues.

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