Kissing Books

The State of Racial Diversity in Romance is Still Abysmal

It’s Thursday, which means we get to talk about new books! I have been sick, so I didn’t get around to reading as many of the ones coming out this week as planned. Why can’t I just sleep with my ipad under my pillow and read all the words?

Sponsored by Waterhouse Press

When Book Boyfriend Oliver Connely falls for one of his “lonely lady” clients, their chemistry is instant and scorching, but when her husband turns up dead, they face more than a simple PR nightmare.

Over On Book Riot

Folks, I don’t know how, but I legit forgot that we recorded When In Romance two weeks ago, and therefore, it went up on the site last week. If you haven’t gotten to it yet, here tis.

And of course, the big news is that The Ripped Bodice put out their State of Racial Diversity In Romance Publishing Report for 2018 and it is…bad. Some publishers made it to double digits, so I guess that’s good? But yeah. Traditionally published romance continues to be much more skewed than the population of the US, and having TRB put those numbers in black and white for everyone for the past three years doesn’t appear to have made much of a difference. But someone mentioned over the weekend that some of these publishers/imprints (like Harlequin) plan years in advance, so I’m going to be that person looking towards 2020 with hope. Or something.

Do you need a pick-me-up from reading that? Scroll through this delightful list of romance covers.

And how about some friends-to-lovers stories? You know you want to read all of them.

If you’re curious where to start with Lisa Kleypas, here’s a nice little guide.


cover of a week to be wicked by tessa dareTessa Dare’s A Week To Be Wicked is 1.99 right now. If you’ve only read her most recent series, it’s definitely a good idea to start back at Spindle Cove. This one’s got a road trip, a funny lord, a lady scientist, and Tessa Dare’s familiar delightful style. It’s the second in the series (following A Night to Surrender) but you can totally start there. Gotta tell you, you’re gonna want to devour the rest of them.

Gilded age marriage of convenience? How about Joanna Shupe’s A Notorious Vow? It’s 1.99 right now! Lady Christina is about to be married off and turns to her reclusive neighbor instead. He accepts a year-long platonic marriage, but you know what happens.

New Books!

I don’t know what it is about March, but we’ve got an amazing amount of books coming out this month. This week kicks it off with some new and new-to-me authors and their awesome romances.

cover of american dreamer by Adriana HerreraAmerican Dreamer
Adriana Herrera

HOOOOOO MAAAAAAAAN. This book. Adriana Herrera came out of the gate running with this one. This is her first book, and damn. I know you probably want to know what it’s about, eh? Nesto is a Dominican food truck owner who ventures out of New York City to Ithaca in order to solidify his business. Doesn’t hurt that his family lives there now. He meets Jude the first day he arrives, and everything else is gravy. Both men are a little mentally constipated—neither thinks it’s time for a relationship right now—but damn them if they can stop pushing a relationship between them forward. It’s sweet, and sexy, and hot, and will also make you shake your fist at the sky. But it all ends well and I can’t wait for American Fairytale.

cover of shadowmancer by devin harnoisShadowmancer
Devin Harnois

I didn’t know anything about this author until Alyssa Cole mentioned him this weekend during a panel on queer romance, and I am very much intrigued by this book. If you didn’t know you were missing queer fantasy romance in your life, you do now, and you can check out this book. It’s the first in a series about a guild of mages looking to support those without magic, and features a couple broken people who have to grow personally while also doing their best not to be lost to the Queen of Shadows. I know, right?

cover of sleeping together by kitty cookSleeping Together
Kitty Cook

When Vanessa and Altman both steal experimental sleeping medication from the pharmaceutical company they work for, they’re not expecting some of the side effects. They include sharing the same sex dream. Whoops. Vanessa gets very attached to her dream life, even as she and her husband explore the process of taking the next step in their family.

So my interest in this book was completely garnered from a movie I watched during the holiday season with a vaguely similar premise, and I knew I wanted more stories in different media that came out of it. While the movie didn’t have any kind of miracle drug, it did involve two people who could only sleep when they were together. My main worry about this book is the same as it was for the movie: the heroine is already in a relationship. I don’t usually do well with cheating, but I’m intrigued enough that I might overlook it.

(Also, I haven’t read this book and have seen it billed as a romance and billed not as a romance. If you’ve read it, let me know if it actually qualifies!)

cover of the ultimate pi day party by jackie lauThe Ultimate Pi Day Party
Jackie Lau

Josh started his Toronto-based tech business from scratch, and wants his father to share in his success. So maybe the Pi Day party he’s putting on—complete with pies—will help with that. Enter Sarah, a fantastic sweet and savory pie maker. She’s interested in catering, and offers to help cater and plan The Ultimate Pi Day Party. Now they have to just…not fall in love.

I’m also looking forward to picking up a few more recent releases:

cover of Duke in Darkness by Nicola DavidsonDuke in Darkness by Nicola Davidson

Graham’s Delicacies by Em Ali

Kiss and Cry by Mina V. Esguerra

The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath

Love in San Francisco by Shirley Hailstock

Second Chance with Her Billionaire by Therese Beharrie

What are you reading this week? As usual, 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!