Kissing Books

Gray Romance is Very White

It’s going to be a short one, folks. We can celebrate some book releases, talk about a few articles around the web, and discuss some great books.

(Also, this is the FIFTIETH issue of Kissing Books!? How’d that happen so quickly?)

Sponsored by Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels

Librarian Carter is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. His roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books.

When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. But as unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

News and Useful Links

I keep forgetting to tell you! Amanda at SBTB decided to fancast Roomies now that it’s been optioned, and I’m all for it!

And speaking of SBTB Amanda, she wrote a very thought-provoking essay about books with guys with guns on the cover, and I have to say I have been having a similar visceral reaction recently. What about you?

Sil wrote about the good, bad, and just plain wrong of Latinx romance on Frolic.

Cat Sebastian’s books are going to be in Barnes & Noble stores soon! I’m excited that more people will be exposed to her books, but I’m also anxious about the precedent it’s setting. We’ve already got Avon publishing non-ownvoices authors (who write amazing books) instead of centering the voices of people who write their own marginalities. Now they’re going to be able to say they put LGBT content in stores so their work is done. When we all know it’s not; let’s get all the rep out there.

Speaking of rep, I don’t know if you follow Corey on Twitter or read their blog, but they just started putting together Friday Fluff recs and my TBR will never be the same.

Need some histrom inspiration? I’ve got all kinds of ideas from these images.

Romancelandia merch!


cover of a hundred thousand words by nyrae dawnA Hundred Thousand Words by Nyrae Dawn is 3.99. I haven’t read anything by this author, but my body is ready.

Priscilla Oliveras’ Resort to Love is 3.99, too.

Xyla Turner’s Take a Knee is also 3.99.

Bollywood and the Beast by Suleikha Snyder is 2.99. It’s not the first in the series, but you don’t need to read them in order.

So hey, remember those sexy Sidhe in Holley Trent’s Viking books? Prince in Leather is 3.99.

Have you been thinking about trying an Alyssa Cole book but don’t want princesses or historical fiction? Radio Silence, the first in her near-future specfic romance series, is 1.99 right now.

And of course, I can’t let you wander over to Amazon without reminding you that many of Talia Hibbert’s books, including Bad for the Boss, are 2.99 or less.

Over on Book Riot

It’s World Cup time! Here are some soccer romances!

Trisha and I (and SARAH MACLEAN Y’ALL) did some talking about taboo and effing Nazis and some awesome queer books. FYI: it’s marked explicit.

Of romance reader interest: Which Bennet sister are you?

I opened our new (hopefully) series about romance tropetonites. What tropes do you always fall for?

Don’t judge a book by the abs (or lack thereof) on the cover.

Do you watch Poldark? I might have to finally start! (It’s still on Netflix, right?)


In following with our previous June practices, let’s look at another very underrepresented area in romance: the aroace spectrum.

cover of thaw by elyse springerThaw
Elyse Springer

Abigail isn’t a lesbian. She isn’t bisexual. She’s asexual, and she’s a little tired of explaining the difference. But when a beautiful supermodel asks her to dance at a party, she can’t help feeling attraction, of the romantic type. Gabrielle is beautiful, yes, but she’s also intense and fascinating. Abigail, a librarian, doesn’t know what the woman might want with her, but they don’t stop at just one date. Of course, like most people, they have their own stuff to deal with, including figure out the whole not-having-sex thing, but if two people can figure everything out, it’s them.

cover of syncopation by anna zebuSyncopation
Anna Zabo

Zavier is a Julliard-trained percussionist who has recently left a symphony job after a kinky relationship with the conductor went awry. Mostly, he didn’t act the romantic when the other man wanted, and there was a problem. Now he’s auditioned and gotten into the band Twisted Wishes, whose frontman and lead guitarist he’s known since high school, when he first turned down an invitation to join. Zavier and Ray have instant chemistry, but how long can they avoid each other using the excuse of the band and their personal history? And how does Zavier explain to Ray that he can never fall in love with him?

If you’re interested in more representation of the gray space in both sexuality and romanticism, here are a few more that I’m either interested in trying (but have not yet read myself) or have read over the past couple years:

A Hundred Thousand Words by Delphine Dryden (f/f, BDSM, demisexuality)

Hot Licks by AM Arthur (m/m/m, demisexuality)

A Gentleman’s Position by KJ Charles (m/m, demisexuality)

Finding Your Feet by Cass Lenox (m/f, asexuality)

How to be a Normal Person by TJ Klune (m/m, asexuality)

There are a lot of holes in coverage, here, and I know it. For one, Anna Zabo’s Zavier Demos is the first aromantic person I’ve ever seen on the page, in a romance or not. (Also, it’s magical representation. Seriously. Read it.) For another, none of these authors are non-white. That’s not to say there aren’t authors of color writing gray romance protagonists, but I don’t know who those people are or what their books are about. So if you know of either of those spaces, let me know! I’d love to read and share.

New and Upcoming Releases

cover of a thief in the nude by olivia waiteA Thief in the Nude by Olivia Waite

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean (finally!)

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

Fail Seven Times by Kris Ripper

Cherish Me by Farrah Rochon (June 25)

It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday (June 26)

The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan (June 26) (Originally published in Hamilton’s Battalion, but they’re being sold separately now, at staggered dates)

HAHA I’m now laughing because I said this one was going to be shorter. But you know what to do. As usual, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at jessica@riotnewmedia.comif you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!