Kissing Books

Cat Sebastian’s Favorite Mid-Century Romances

We’re back from BR’s day off, and I’m excited to get back into it.

Sponsored by Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James

Say No to The Duke cover imageLady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure. No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches. If he wins…she is his, for one wild night. But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

News and Useful Links

There was a thread by Katie Mingle that went viral a couple weeks ago, and now you can hear more about it on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Do you want to take part in some romance research? This is a quick survey worth taking.

Pink Heart Society announced the winners of their 2019 Reviewers’ Choice Awards!

Sil pulled together a fake engagements thread to save us all. I…haven’t read any of those so I’m in trouble.

And I will continue to be in trouble because Cat Sebastian wrote about some favorite mid-century romances on Love in Panels.

Rebekah Weatherspoon revealed a cover that will murder us all.

Honestly, so did Farrah Rochon.

And while I’m not quite dying about this cover, the premise has killed me. DID YOU SAY PARANORMAL HOCKEY ROMANCE. I am dead.

Jasmine Guillory’s going on tour for The Wedding Party and guess who’s going to be chatting with her in Phoenix? (Hint: it’s me.)

Finally, I would very much like to read the romance novel based on this commercial. It doesn’t exist yet, so somebody needs to write it.


Cover of How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperHave you ever read any Molly Harper? She writes pretty funny, quirky paranormal romances, and the first in one of her recent series, How to Date Your Dragon, is 1.99. If you’re looking for something to fill the void of the Southern Vampire Mysteries (and you’ve already read Midnight, Texas), this is definitely a series to check out.

If you still haven’t picked up A Princess in Theory, it’s 1.99 as well! The Reluctant Royals series is now complete, so now is definitely a good time to start. Just be prepared: there are three novels and two novellas, and you’re gonna want to devour them all once you’re done with Princess. And then of course, the rest of Alyssa Cole’s backlog. Trust me.


I picked up a few books recently that both had a similar theme: rivals. They are all different kinds of rivals, living in different kinds of communities. But they’re all vying for something tangible, whether it’s about personal pride or something huge. And I realized that while I often seek out books featuring the enemies-to-lovers trope, in which the protagonists legitimately don’t like each other, there is something to be said about the rivals-to-lovers trope: there’s hella chemistry everywhere you turn.

Cover of Rival Princes by Jaxon KnightRival Princes
Jaxon Knight

I didn’t know I needed a darling pair of theme park princes in my life, but I’m glad I gave some time to Nate and Dash. In the lovely Fairyland, Princes Valor and Justice are part of a foursome of royals often found offering photo ops for park visitors. While Dash, Prince Justice, has worked his way up through the ranks, landing his dream gig, Nate, the new Prince Valor, was interviewing for a park greeter job when his interviewers excitedly told him he should audition for the long-empty role. When Nate arrives on the job, he charms everyone, but Dash is worried about his place—and a potential upgrade—being usurped. While the two can’t help but be attracted to each other, Dash goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure he comes out on top. And not in the fun way.

This is a quick read from a new queer author, and I was excited when it landed in my kindle (I will admit that I’d forgotten I preordered it, so it was like a present!). I’m looking for more tales of Fairyland!

Cover of Sweet Heat by Zuri DaySweet Heat
Zuri Day

Heads up: eat before you read. Our protagonists, Naomi and Marvin, have both just entered a competition to win a food truck and fifty grand to get their business started. From the moment they bump into each other on the first day of the competition, neither can stop thinking of the other. But the nature of the show, external elements, and both contestants’ drive to win get in the way of their potential relationship. But they could just wait it out and see after one of them wins, right?

I have to admit: this is my first Zuri Day book, even though I have several on my shelf. I’m glad to have picked up this one, as it really showcases her way with words, her ability to build out an unlikely plot, and all the ways she can make you laugh. This is also another author who drops readers into a community that is unapologetically black, and we get to feel the way that influences relationships, family, and—of course—food

Cover of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi WaxmanI also picked up The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman recently, which features a secondary love story between Nina and her biggest trivia rival. I’m not very far into the book, but we’ve already gotten to experience the sideways glances from a distance, denials of liking each other, and each one’s drive to beat their opponent. The primary story is about Nina—painfully introverted Nina—discovering she has a huge family after her bio dad dies, so a heads up for anyone who might not want to read that.

What are your favorite rival romances?

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!