Kissing Books

Harlequin to Discontinue 5 of Their Romance Lines

Hey there, lovers. It’s been a crazy couple weeks in Romancelandia. Know how I said they needed a break? Well, they had their fun at the RT Convention, and now it’s time for all the Shitteth to Hitteth the Fan…eth.

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Let’s start with the less good news, just to get it out of the way.

Harlequin has informed authors and other relevant publishing professionals that it will be discontinuing five of its lines over the course of the next 18 months. Here’s a quick rundown. This is…distressing. And I will join the chorus that, while sad about all five lines needing to close, is most distressed about them making the decision to close the line that publishes an overwhelming majority of their romance by authors of color—black authors in particular. This makes me hope that they are going to fold their corps of authors into their other lines, making all of them much more diverse; it’ll be nice to see someone darker than a Sheikh on the cover of a Desire book. I hope Harlequin knows we’re all going to be watching its publications and acquisitions like hawks after December 2018.

Meanwhile, moments after I hit publish on the last KB, KFC decided a fun thing to do would be to commission a special romance novel for Mother’s Day called Tender Wings of Desire. I was curious enough that I downloaded it on a whim (y’know, free), but I couldn’t bring myself to open it. This felt like punch-down humor from a place that sells (admittedly delicious) chicken (that I haven’t eaten in years), and I still don’t know how I feel about it. On one hand, it’s kinda funny. A romance starring The Colonel. I chuckled. On the other, it was obviously made with the distinct purpose of making fun, and not in the Chuck Tingle or Velociraptor Sex way. Did you read it? Hit reply and tell me your thoughts.

In happier news, with RT Convention comes the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. I haven’t read all of them, but I’ll have to get on that soon. The ones I have read include Marrying Winterborne  and Forbidden, which are definitely deserving.

Have you noticed that even with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon making so much original content, we still aren’t at the level of romcom greatness that we were two decades ago? Some of us have, and an intrepid group of women came together to start PassionFlix, which is not porn, if your friends ask. The future streaming platform will not only feature romantic favorites, but also produce new feature-length films based on our favorite romances. The list of those in production currently includes titles by Alessandra Torre and Jill Shalvis, with tons more on the way. Want to play a part in the endeavor? You can become a Founding Member.

Pardon my squeals, but Gail Carriger has finally de-secrefied her super secret project, nicknamed SAS in communiques over the course of the past several months. If you’ve read her short Marine Biology, you’ll be familiar with Biff, the main character of The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1. Carriger’s Parasolverse novels are great, but I’m excited to see what G. L. Carriger’s modern paranormal work looks like!

Over on Book Riot:

Want to make your TBR explode? Check out Amanda Diehl’s list of 100 books by International Romance Authors to check out. Oh man. Lots of good stuff and so many new discoveries to make.

Do you like tinyletters? A couple of the authors Annika mentions in her list of good tinyletters about books and writing to follow are romance writers. Maybe they can help get me off my behind and finish that first draft I’ve been working on forever.

On To Recs!

Bombshell, CD Reiss

Are you ready to fall in love? There are three people to fall for in this book, which was apparently born out of a fan feeling the need for party boy Brad to have a kid. That kid is Nicole, who we meet in quite the situation at the nanny HQ where Cara is waiting to sign a contract. She doesn’t work for Hollywood types, but Nicole doesn’t want anyone but her. The compromise Cara and Brad come up with is all kinds of precious, and the exchanges throughout the book are the same. If there’s a good word to describe this book, it’s sweet—but there is also quite the bit of spicy. Like serious spicy. Sweet, cute, heartbreaking, and sexy. What else do you want in your romance?

cover of concourseConcourse, Santino Hassell

This was my first Santino Hassell book, but I went ahead and got Sutphin Boulevard when I finished; I need to start this series from the beginning. And I need to get more of Santino’s writing in my brain. In Concourse, we meet Val and Ash, an Odd Couple if we ever saw one: Val is an amateur boxer who does odd jobs for his super, while Ash is a glam Kardiashanesque socialite with the Instagram following to show for it. Valdrin’s parents moved to The Bronx from Albania, and his mom was Ashton’s nanny, meaning the two pretty much grew up together. Val will do anything for Ash, as we discover very early on.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with these two; almost immediately, you can tell there’s something special about their relationship, even if they both drive you mad with frustration. If you’re looking for a friends-to-lovers story with complex characters who have even complexer issues, this is the book for you. Also, you can hit two Read Harder Challenge categories with this one.

As usual, some books to keep an eye out for:

Haven, Rebekah Weatherspoon (in case you didn’t last time)

Lethal Lies, Rebecca Zanetti

Buns, Alice Clayton (5/23)

Guilty Pleasure, Brenda Jackson (5/29)

In Name Only: 9 Fake-It-To-Make-It Romances (5/29)

Called Out, Jen Doyle (5/29)

Shacking Up, Helena Hunting (5/30)

Until You, Denise Grover Swank (5/30)

Time to get back to reading (catch up? what’s that?). In the meantime, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!

Until next time, m’loves!