Hey there romance lovers! How’s the love going? I finally got back into my groove—though I never did finish those football romances.
Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. Are you celebrating? I love it for all the delicious chocolate that goes on sale on February 15, but I don’t need a holiday to celebrate the people I love. But since I love love, I love indulging in the sickly-sweet darlingness that shows up on my social media feeds and around in general. If you are a Valentine’s lover, keep an eye on Book Riot over the coming days—we’ve got stuff for you. Meanwhile, be sure to give the most important person some love. And if you want to take care of other people, too, here are some Valentines to get for them.
Today’s newsletter is sponsored by The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin.
Sometimes the perfect friend tells the perfect lies… In Sue Fortin’s thrilling USA TODAY bestseller, Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret—one Erin has kept for over a decade—and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies. When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out?
Have you been reading about the drama happening in romancelandia over the past week or so? To start, the New York Times bestseller list has been macheted to the point where it really is just a practice in futility. They’ve removed the individual ebook and mass market paperback bestseller lists, which could hurt romance authors currently growing their market. It also reeks of disdain (or at least dismissal) of the two categories often made up primarily of women. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) has made a statement about it, and romance hasn’t been quiet about it on Twitter, either (when they weren’t making the #DNFTrump hashtag amazing).
While a lot of us power-readers tend to not bother with the bestseller lists, critics and non-romance readers will have one less resource to access information about the more popular titles. I guess we’ll just have to stick to editorial outlets to make sure we’re up to date on all the new stuff.
Meanwhile, the Great Ms. Bev had a Q&A at The Ripped Bodice and it was, as usual, amazing.
Romance Writers of America wants to know: why do you read romance?
Also, it’s Romance Week on Goodreads!
On Book Riot:
Trisha Brown never expected to find any need to reflect on why romance readers might find Donald Trump appealing. In fact, who would have expected anyone to even consider such a ridiculous possibility? But someone did. And she responded. And how.
On a happier note, she also wrote about the various jobs romance heroes and heroines have on National Job Shadowing Day.
Amanda Diehl couldn’t help but make this list of 100 sports romances to go along with the end of the football season. I’ve read…a surprising number of these, but damn, there’s my TBR, watch it go…
Aisling wrote about falling in love with Outlander (which, yes, I know, is technically not a romance, but romance readers tend to love it) even though she’s not a romance reader. I wonder what we can do to change her mind…
Meanwhile, Jessica Tripler noted a few romance heroines who are not interested in marriage in the most recent Buy, Borrow, Bypass. One of those heroines is actually mentioned a little further down 😉
And if you haven’t seen it, I put together a list of romances featuring fat heroines.
And now, quick reviews!
The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
Lucy spends her days playing hate games with Joshua. Co-assistants to Co-CEOs of a merged publishing company, the pair enjoys one-upping each other, much to the delight of their nosy colleagues and the despair of the entire HR department. When a new position opens up that they both want, the games go into overdrive—but somewhere along the way, Lucy begins seeing each other in a whole new light. Somehow, even though Thorne perfectly Mr. Darcys the way the reader sees many of Josh’s actions, Lucy manages to not be a TSTL heroine. Maybe it’s because she’s so funny in her own right, and all interactions seen through her eyes are therefore hilarious, making us forget about all the things she’s not seeing. This is definitely one to pick up and devour.
Read Harder Bonus: This is Sally Thorne’s first novel! Huzzah!
First Position, Melissa Brayden
Ana is on her way to becoming a household name in ballet, but she’s not quite there yet, much to the distress of her popular dancer/choreographer father. But she’s gotten a chance to show her chops in the upcoming season with the New York Ballet, only to discover they’ve brought in a new dancer using…alternative methods. Natalie, a ballet school dropout with all the passion and very little of the discipline, is fresh blood in the more traditional company. When the two get cast as alternating dancers for the same role, they must not only learn to get along, but also discover what each has to offer the other—as long as they can deal with their growing attraction to each other. While occasionally feeling long, this book has tons of heart and hope. Both women are going after what they believe is their passion, with a few discoveries made along the way.
Read Harder Bonus: Lesbian romance!
Breathless, Beverly Jenkins
Portia Carmichael, niece to Forbidden’s Rhine and Eddy Fontaine, manages her uncle’s hotel in the hills north of Tucson. When an old friend of the family rides in on his horse Blue, calling her Duchess and instilling feelings in her that she would rather avoid, she works her hardest to maintain her decision to never marry. But Kent Randolph is more than she can resist. You don’t need to have read Forbidden to pick this one up (though if you haven’t, get moving!). Beverly Jenkins is the best at her trade today, sweeping readers off their feet with fascinating characters and captivating landscapes. This one is definitely no different, and I’m already bouncing for the next one!
Read Harder Bonus: All point-of-view characters are people of color.
The Lawrence Browne Affair, Cat Sebastian
If you read The Soldier’s Scoundrel last year, Georgie Turner is a familiar character. Outspoken and light on his feet, Georgie is nothing if not one of the best thieves in London. Having moved up from housebreaker to confidence artist, Georgie is now on a new, surprisingly legit mission: act as the Earl of Radnor’s secretary and inform (to his private eye brother Jack) about whether there is anything of madness in him. He finds he’s actually very good at being a secretary, and interested not only in the Earl’s state of mind and being, but also the work he’s doing. The Earl, meanwhile, is sure at every turn he will follow in his father and brother’s footsteps and fall off the brink of madness. But the usually reclusive scientist can’t help but find the young Londoner’s company useful. Even…enjoyable. Cat Sebastian is a new favorite of mine. She writes interesting, well rounded characters who we can see living in their time, even in the situations that many of us would see as more “modern.”
Read Harder Bonus: This one also works as an LGBTQ+ romance.
That’s probably enough for now, though I would gladly continue to share! But as usual, there are a few new titles and some coming out between now and our next meeting, so be sure to get these on your calendar:
Full Court Seduction, Synithia Williams
Beauty and the Wiener, Casey Griffin
Hot Licks, AM Arthur
This is Love (a Valentine’s Day Novella Collection)
Guarding Mr. Fine, HelenKay Dimon
A Millionaire at Midnight, Naima Simone
Pretty Face, Lucy Parker
An Unseen Attraction, KJ Charles
Dating Ryan Alback, JE Birk
Damage Control, Lisa Renee Jones
Well, I’m sure that’s plenty to keep your TBR exploding for a couple weeks, at least. Many kisses and swoons until we meet again!