Review: Eight Kinky Nights – an f/f Chanukah romance by Xan West

Quick Info
Eight Kinky Nights

  • author: Xan West
  • Publishing House: Indie
  • Release Date: 16.12.2019
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Contemporary, Romance
  • Trigger Warnings: Provided by the author
  • Rating: 4/5 Stars

Blurb
Eight Kinky Nights

Sometimes the perfect Chanukah gift can change everything.

Newly divorced stone butch Jordan moves into her friend Leah’s spare room, ready, at 49, to take on a new job and finally explore kink and polyamory. But moving to NYC during the holidays sends grief crashing through her, and Jordan realizes that when she isn’t solely focused on caring for others, her own feelings are unavoidable. Including her feelings for Leah.

51 year old queer femme Leah, an experienced submissive kink educator who owns a sex shop, has recently come to terms with being gray ace and is trying to rework her life and relationships to honor that.

Leah has a brainstorm to help them both: she offers Jordan eight kink lessons, one for each night of Chanukah, to help Jordan find her feet as a novice dominant, and to create a structured space where Leah can work on more deeply honoring her own consent, now that she knows she’s gray ace.

She’d planned to keep it casual, but instead the experience opens cracks in the armor Leah’s been using to keep people at a distance and keep herself safe. Now she needs to grapple with the trauma that’s been impacting her life for years.

Can these two autistic queers find ways to cope with the changes they are making in their lives and support each other, as they build something new they hadn’t thought was possible?

This kinky polyamorous Chanukah f/f romance includes a friends to lovers, roommates to lovers, kink lessons, seasoned romance and getting your groove back tropes, and polyamorous, gray ace, pansexual, Jewish, fat, autistic, disabled, arthritis, PTSD and depression representation.

The Queer’s Review

A special treat in so many ways.

I don’t even know where to start to be honest. Do I start with the characters? The mental health? Chronic Illnesses? Orientations?

There aren’t enough ace romances out there. Sure, you stumble upon some, mostly m/m, a few you’ll love to pieces and others will leave you being triggered or raging because so fucking wrong!

There aren’t enough kinky stories out there without the kink being sexualized. Sometimes that feels even more like finding a unicorn than finding a well written ace spec character. Also having the submissive being the experienced one? How often does that happen in media?

There aren’t enough old characters. There aren’t enough fat characters. There aren’t enough not romanticed mental health books or characters with “inconvenient” physical or psychological issues and needs.

But there are enough in Eight Kinky Nights and for that I am thankful. Definitely sad too because having to be thankful that you or parts of yourself are being represented in a good and healthy way is not okay.

But even if you are not looking for a certain aspect of yourself to be represented in a book, you should read Xan’s Chanukah romance. Because it’s fun, full of little tidbits to different books, music, and movies. Because it’s heavy in a way that hits too deep and might make you put it aside for a while.

And that happened more than once, but there are books who don’t care about the impact they have on their readers (sadly a different ace romance comes to mind immediately) and then there are books like this one, that make you think but don’t leave you alone with your thoughts.

But enough heavy talk. Characters! I love the supporting cast, how important they all are and how individual everyone is. Even though the “main” romance is developing between Jordan and Leah, their universe doesn’t revolve around each other. They’ve got friends, they are making new friends, and finding a bigger family.

To kinda end on the beginning: Even though it is about Eight Kinky Nights in theory, it’s so far from it and I mean that in the best of ways. We’ve got a slow set up, finding our feet together with the characters, and slowly moving into the kink part. But we’re not staying there.

Bookish Thoughts

I’ve got a slight issue with certain things being told and not shown, but it wasn’t so bad. Just a heavy contrast to the actually being shown scenes and how deeply I was invested in those on an emotional level.

Disclaimer

I was provided by the other with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

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