Kissing Books

Stern Brunch Daddies And More

Oh hey, what happened to July? How is it August? Where is time and why can’t I grab hold of it for a second?

Sponsored by Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

The Year of Hattie is off to a perfect start, until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage, threatening to ruin her plans before they’ve begun. Awakening at her feet, Whit is surprised the woman who frees him is headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price. Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. If they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

Over on Book Riot

Trisha and I talked about The Great Big Romance Read and lots of other things on When in Romance this week.

And if you missed it, The Ripped Bodice just announced their new Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction.


Covers of the Just for Him series by Talia HibbertDid you see that Talia Hibbert announced a new book, Work For It, coming out September 3? One of the characters has already appeared in her work, so you might want to check out the Just For Him series, which is 4.99 for all three books! (Or you can get them individually, but where’s the fun in that?)

New Books!

Oh man, are there a lot of books out this week! I read Brazen and the Beast, today’s sponsor, until I couldn’t read anymore, but there are definitely others worth picking up this weekend (or right now, if you want).

Cover of Spellbound by Allie TherinSpellbound
Allie Therin

In a magical New York, a young socialite brings a magical relic to an appraiser who just might be magical himself. In a time when it’s still illegal to both drink and be caught with someone of the same gender, Rory and Arthur have to work together to keep the world from ending…if only they can get along. Jazz, personal telephones, forgeries, and speakeasies set the mood and the tone for this delightful historical fantasy romance by a new author who is growing greatly on me.

Cover of All Hours by Andie J ChristopherAll Hours
Andie J Christopher

If you follow Andie on Twitter, you know she has very strong feelings about Stern Brunch Daddies, and the two protagonists of this book seem to have elements of such men. Agreeing to be set up on a date, the pair have a few hurdles to overcome to reach their happily ever after—including an injury that requires one to step in for the other.

Cover of Last Chance Rodeo by Kari Lynn DellLast Chance Rodeo
Kari Lynn Dell

This is the first book in the Blackfeet Nation series, originally published in 2015 and republished now by Sourcebooks Casablanca. I have no idea if they’ve made any changes beyond probably copyediting, but I hope this new branding and release gets more eyes on a different kind of rodeo story than the ones I’m used to. (To be fair, the majority of rodeo books I’ve read have been Lorelei James, in which there’s often more than one kind of rodeo going on.)

Cover of Too Sweet to be Good by KM JacksonToo Sweet to Be Good
KM Jackson

This is the second book in the Sugar Lake series (following As Good As the First Time) and I’m intrigued thanks to the taste of Alexandrea we got in the first. In this one, she clashes with the grandson of the owner of the vintage theater she is working to fix up, who would rather sell it. Beyond the potential sparks that will emerge in that kind of situation, I imagine the rest of the family is around, and that’s always a joy to experience. If you’re hesitant to pick up a small town romance because they’re so often homogeneously white, this one is worthwhile to pick up.

Others I’m looking forward to:

Cover of Feast of Sparks by Sierra SimoneFeast of Sparks by Sierra Simone

Ship of Fools by Cathy Yardley (more Fandom Hearts, yay!)

Let There Be Light by R. Cooper

Master of Revenge by Sienna Snow

Perky by Julia Kent

The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret (which I mentioned on Monday)

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Nothing But This by Natasha Anders

Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy by Caitlin Crews (I know I know but that story, okay?)

A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham

Also, I don’t know why, but there are quite a few “Pride and Prejudice Variation” titles out 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, bookrecs, or just want to say hi!

Book Radar

Madeline Miller’s CIRCE is Going to Be a Series and More Book Radar!

Hello, readers! I hope this newsletter helps brighten your Thursday a little. There’s some exciting news, and a few other fun things. Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a great rest of your week, and remember to be kind to yourself and others.  I’ll see you again on Monday. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by Dynamite Entertainment

Agent 007 tracks a smuggler into Singapore to secure a dangerous case, contents unknown. But a Korean mystery man wants the case as well, for very different reasons. And if Bond and this new rival don’t kill each other, the ruthless terrorist organization known as ORU will be more than happy to finish the job.

Trivia question time! About 50% of Homer’s works are ______. (Scroll to the bottom for the answer.)

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

circeHBO Max is going to be home to an adaptation of Circe by Madeline Miller!

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger is going to be a series.

And here’s the first look at Of Curses and Kisses, Sandhya Menon’s upcoming Beauty & the Beast retelling set in a boarding school! (Simon Pulse, February 18, 2020)

Here’s the trailer for the adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sanditon.

And the teaser trailer for the second season of Mindhunter.

Robert DeNiro is in talks to join the adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon.

There’s an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Pale Horse in the works.

And here’s the beautiful cover of Hex, the upcoming novel from Rebecca Dinnerstein Knight. (Viking, March 31, 2020)

And Counterpoint Press revealed the covers for This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples (March 3, 2020) and the reissue of Deceit and Other Possibilities by Vanessa Hua (March 10, 2020)

And an unseen John Steinbeck story has been discovered.

Book Riot Recommends 

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders New Release Index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and learn about a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week so you can add them to your TBR! (It will now be books I loved on Mondays and books I’m excited to read on Thursdays. YAY, BOOKS!)

Excited to read:

last couple standingLast Couple Standing by Matthew Norman (Ballentine Books, March 17, 2020)

Matthew Norman makes me LAUGH. I love love love his book Domestic Violets, as well as We’re All Damaged. (The squirrels lololololol forever.) This one is about a couple that decide to try an open marriage instead of divorce, with hilariously disastrous results. He is so freaking funny, and I can’t wait to read it!

What I’m reading this week.

do you dream of terra twoDo You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

Horror Stories: A Memoir by Liz Phair

Initiated: Memoir of a Witch by Amanda Yates Garcia

And this is funny.


Trivia answer: Speeches. 

You made it to the bottom! High five. Thanks for reading! – xo, L

Today In Books

Help The Library of Congress Transcribe Suffragist Papers: Today In Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Dutton.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing cover image

Help The Library of Congress Transcribe Suffragist Papers

The crowd sourcing platform launched in 2018 by the Library of Congress, By The People, is looking for volunteers to help transcribe almost 16,000 pages of letters, speeches, articles and suffragist documents. Once fully word searchable lay historians and scholars will have a much easier time with the material. Anyone can participate, which you can find out more about here.

Medieval Poem About A Talking Vulva Found In Australia

Only two copies of Der Rosendorn (The Rose Thorn) were known to exist until a recent discovery which has now pushed the origin date of the poem back 200 years. You can read more about the poem–in which a virgin argues with her genitals–along with how Christine Glassner found the poem while looking through manuscripts here.

True Crime Fans: Mindhunter S2 Teaser Trailer Is Here

Netflix’s hit show, based on John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker’s true crime serial killer book, returns with a second season on August 16th and here’s our scary first look: Mindhunter season 2 teaser trailer.

In The Club

That Summatime Sadness

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. I am writing to you from a fort of boxes! Moving is for the birds, but moving in 90+ degree weather is for… I dunno, las cucarachas. Wish me luck as I begin the grand schlep to Portland. For now… to the club!

Question for the Club

Alright friends: time to do the slow two-step-and-snap to Boyz II Men’s End of the Road: Question for the Club has come to an end! Y’all got too busy to send responses! No hard feelings whatsoever. I’ll bring the queries back in the future, just on a less frequent basis, and I’ll still do a wrap-up of July’s query next week!

This week’s theme: That Summatime Sadness

Today’s book club theme is end of summer, which I’ll admit I’ve picked for sentimental reasons. There’s something about the end of a life season more or less coinciding with the end of an actual season that’s a little bit sad, a little bit perfect, and even a touch poetic. I picked books set all or part at the end of summer, reads that tap into that sentimentality while giving you tons to discuss.

Book Club Recs:

the mothersThe Mothers by Brit Bennett – It’s the summer after her senior year in high school and seventeen-year-old Nadia Turner is grieving her mother’s recent suicide. She takes up with Luke, a local pastor’s son; they both know it won’t last, that feelings are fleeting and Nadia will soon leave for college. Then Nadia discovers she’s pregnant, kicking off a string of events that will leave a mark on all involved for many years to come.

This one is set in a northern San Diego neighborhood for extra emo points.

  • Book Club Bonus: Where to begin?? Discuss how the book handles women’s ambition and friendships, and how both can change with the passage of time. Discuss a woman’s right to choose and how even the right choice is sometimes a very difficult one. How did the Greek chorus narration (i.e. “the mothers”) affect the story? By the end of the book, has Nadia fully processed her grief?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – In one of my favorite pieces of contemporary YA, Cath and Wren are twin sisters approaching their freshman year in college. They’ve been inseparable all their lives, especially after their mother walked out on their family, bonding particularly over a shared passion for fan fiction based on the popular Simon Snow fantasy series. Just as school is about to start, Wren tells Cath that she wants to live apart, do her own thing, and drop the fan fic writing to which Cath so desperately clings. Cath is forced to examine her identity as an individual and find her place in her rapidly changing world.

That Simon Snow series, by the way, is basically a queer Harry Potter plus demonic rabbits. Enjoy!

  • Book Club Bonus: I want everyone to flex those creative muscles and write a short piece of fan fiction! Have each club member share theirs with the group – remember, this is a safe space – and then have a discussion about fan fiction as a whole (Was it easy or difficult to come up with yours? How does fan fic add to (or take away from) the original? Do you have a better understanding of why people write fan fiction?). Please do this and then share yours with meeeee!

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg – I read this five times in three years and wept every time. Evelyn is a middle-aged woman in a passionless marriage and Mrs. Threadgoode is the elderly nursing home patient telling Evelyn her life story. That story takes us back to the 30s in Whistle Stop, Alabama and introduces us to Idgie, an incorrigible tomboy with a loud mouth and heart of gold, and Ruth, her loyal friend and co-owner of the Whistle Stop Cafe. Their story made my heart so, so full even as it broke with its examination of racism, friendship, love, and loss. Picture me crying in a library when you read the words, “…whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge…”

  • Book Club Bonus: You probably won’t need my help coming up with conversation for this one: the dehumanizing effects of racism and a murder you might root for are fodder enough. Take a moment though to examine the book as a piece of lesbian and feminist fiction. I don’t want to say too much here to avoid spoilers, but aaaaah smoldering looks and meaningful gestures. You’ll see.
  • Related: I really dig the movie adaptation of this one. Kathy Bates screaming TOWANDAAAAA! is a whole 2019 mood.

Suggestion Section

Chicago rapper Noname has launched a book club to celebrate writer of color and from the LGBTQ community.

I somehow missed that NPR’s Code Switch had a Summer 2019 book club episode back in June??

Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at with your burning book club questions or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the Audiobooks newsletter, get it on the Read Harder podcast, and watch me booktube every Friday too.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.

More Resources: 

– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen with Fierce Reads.

A powerful saga of vengeance, survival, and sacrifice perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her clan of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when her family is called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime. Instead, they find a still-living crown prince, his cunning bodyguard, and a common foe: a ruthless usurper queen who wants them all dead.

One way or another, we always feed the crows.

“Absolutely breathtaking.”—Claire Legrand, New York Times-bestselling author of Furyborn

True Story

Sharpshooters and Semicolons

Hello and congrats on making it to the end of July, fellow nonfiction readers! When we get a last/fifth week of the month like this one – nearly evenly split between two months – I always find it a little odd. It’s like no one knows what to do with those extra days, outside the rhythm of our four-week months.

Whatever the reason, it’s a very slow week for new nonfiction – I only have two titles to share! So to fill things out, I browsed through some great nonfiction deals for your Kindle, which you can find at the end of this newsletter. Onwards!

Sponsored by TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations

TBR is Book Riot’s new subscription service offering Tailored Book Recommendations for readers of all stripes. Been dreaming of a “stitchfix for books?” Now it’s here! Tell TBR about your reading preferences and what you’re looking for, and sit back while your Bibliologist handpicks recommendations just for you. TBR offers plans to receive hardcover books in the mail or recommendations by email, so there’s an option for every budget. Sign up here.

Deadly Aim: The Civil War Story of Michigan’s Anishinaabe Sharpshooters by Sally M. Walker – I don’t do a ton of middle grade nonfiction in the newsletter, but I’m glad to get to include this one. The book tells the story of the approximately 20,000 American Indians who served in the Civil War, particularly a group of sharpshooters who fought “despite enduring broken treaties, loss of tribal lands, and racism.”

Further Reading: Sally Walker has written many books for young readers, including Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh and Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation. Great subtitles!

Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson – If you are a person who loves little books about big ideas, this one might be up your alley. In the book, a historical and philosopher of sciences “charts the rise and fall of this infamous punctuation mark.” She explores famous loves and haters, the role of grammar rules in the confusion of punctuation, and more.

Further Thoughts: In her review of the book for the New Yorker, grammar queen Mary Norris describes the book as “a deceptively playful-looking  book that turns out to be a scholarly treatise on a sophisticated device that has contributed eloquence and mystery to Western civilization.”

And finally, a few great Kindle deals to load up your e-reader. One caveat: since it’s close to the end of the month, be sure to check before you buy to make sure the price hasn’t changed:

And that’s another Wednesday newsletter! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading! – Kim

Unusual Suspects

My Kid Didn’t Do It!

Hi mystery fans! Let’s say goodbye to July with a fun serial killer novel, a great legal mystery, and a slow-burn suspense about secrets.

Sponsored by The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell.

Hound of Justice cover imageAfter the Brotherhood of Redemption extremists launched a failed assassination attempt on the president that caused mass destruction, covert agent Sara Holmes takes on the task of investigating the Brotherhood – then abruptly disappears. When Dr. Janet Watson receives a mysterious message that Holmes’ disappearance might be connected to the Brotherhood and to Adler Industries, Watson goes on a high-stakes mission to reunite with Holmes once more. It is a thrilling, action-packed journey through the deep South to clear Holmes’s name, thwart the Brotherhood’s next move, and bring their nemesis to justice for the atrocities she’s committed in the New Civil War.

Fun Serial Killer! (TW child abuse/ stalking/ suicide/ past domestic abuse mentioned)

Find You In The Dark cover imageFind You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley: This really worked for my need for a novel that would let me disconnect from stress and all the horrible things happening, which you may be raising an eyebrow at me considering this is a serial killer book but it’s like watching shows like Castle and Dexter where it isn’t believable enough so it gets to be fun. Yes, you can judge me. Anyhoo, I really liked the premise of this one: Martin Reese pays a cop for unsolved cases and then solves the part of finding where the body is buried, which he then calls into the cops anonymously. No one, including his wife and teen daughter, know what he does. But he’s only going to get to play vigilante for so long before he’ll have to answer questions and possibly pay with his life because his crooked cop partner is questioning their arrangement and a killer is not happy with him finding buried bodies… I like that this gave us a romantic relationship between two cops looking into this case–including the hardship of dating in their profession–and a balance between Martin’s body-hunting/mental rationalizing he’s doing good work and his relationship with his wife and daughter.

Legal Mystery! (TW child murder/ discussion of statutory rape/ pedophile/ homophobia/ fat shaming/ suicide)

Defending Jacob cover imageDefending Jacob by William Landay: This is one of those solid mysteries from beginning to end that follows an assistant district attorney working on a murdered teen boy case when his son is arrested for the crime. I know! It takes you through the whole thing, which procedural fans will appreciate, as Andy Barber works on the case–from interviewing fellow students of the murdered child to harassing a pedophile he thinks is responsible–then follows as he has to hire a lawyer for his son’s defense case, that case, and him being a witness in court. You get a lot of good court scenes, an entire book of “did he or didn’t he,” and a look at how something like this affects and changes a family. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Apple streaming adaptation of this book which will have Chris Evans playing Andy Barber–so very much here for his “my kid didn’t do it” portrayal. And Michelle Dockery will play the wife, whose character I loved and she’s fantastic in Good Behavior so really we’re about to find out how good Apple is at adaptations.

Slow-burn Suspense! (TW past domestic violence/ fat shamming/ alcoholism/ eating disorder/ statutory rape)

Never Have I Ever cover imageNever Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson: If you’ve been following along for a bit you know I like a lot of things in this book: slow reveal of past incident; secrets coming to get you; slow-burn suspense; interesting job. And since I read a lot of these types of novels it’s always a bonus to find one that feels different in a way. This one surprised me with a few turns it took and I really loved the stepmother and daughter relationship which in itself went against the tired evil-mom trope. We start with a group of women at a book club who end up playing a “have you ever” type game that has ramifications when one woman uses it to blackmail another woman: Amy Whey, a scuba instructor and mom, is suddenly faced with the predicament of what would she do to keep her past a secret? Except this isn’t the over-the-top Lifetime thriller type plot (not that I don’t like those too) which looks at quite a few things including how long do we have to pay for terrible mistakes? This one works really well for fans of slow-burn suspense, secrets, and domestic dramas. I also really enjoyed the audiobook–narrated by the author!–which is one of the very few audiobooks where child voices are done that did not annoy me at all!

Recent Releases

A Capitol Death cover imageA Capitol Death (Flavia Albia Mystery #7) by Lindsey Davis (Historical mystery set in ancient Rome that caught my attention so I just got the first in the series: The Ides of April.)

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena (In a NY suburban neighborhood a teen has been breaking into homes and learning everyone’s secrets… Author of The Couple Next Door and An Unwanted Guest.)

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Paperback) (One of my favorite reads–Review) (TW child abuse/ domestic abuse/ rape)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And here’s an Unusual Suspects Pinterest board.

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own you can sign up here.

Today In Books

Tonight Show’s Summer Read Revealed: Today In Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by David Baldacci’s One Good Deed.

One Good Deed cover image

Tonight Show Summer Read Revealed

The Tonight Show fans had five books they could vote on to select the show’s summer book club read. Nearly 1 million votes later the winner is: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. Which immediately jumped more than 500 spots on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Call Me By Your Name Director Eyes Classic Novel

Luca Guadagnino, who directed the adaptation of Call Me By Your Name, is in talks to direct, and produce, the adaptation of the classic novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. His vision is “a story that stays true to the text but with a contemporary, ultra-kinetic feel.

Authors Open Letter To Congress

Forty authors–including Neil Gaiman, Khaled Hosseini, Ariel Dorfman and Viet Thanh Nguyen–who are either immigrants or born to immigrants in the U.S. wrote an open letter in The Nation to congress pleading for action regarding the inhumane treatment of immigrants at the U.S./Mexico border. “The reports of death, abuse, overcrowding, untreated illness, malnutrition and lack of basic hygiene are abhorrent, especially since many of those affected are children.”

The Goods

Jaws Mug & Tote

Shark Week is here, and we’re celebrating with a new Jaws tote and mug, and $5 off Jaws tees and tanks!

What's Up in YA

Rent Bella Swan’s Home, Spring YA Book Preview, and More YA News

Hey YA readers! Let’s talk YA news.

As has been mentioned before, summer tends to be a quiet time in the publishing world, and that translates to there being less news than usual. That’s why there haven’t been as many roundups. But today, you’re in for a nice, lengthy treat!

Thanks for hanging out, and we’ll see you again on Monday!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Instagram and editor of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are.