Kissing Books

Romancelandia Has Been Feeling That Mercury Retrograde Thing

Peeps, I’m writing this on Tuesday, and boy has Romancelandia been feeling that Mercury Retrograde thing. (I know very little about astrology, except signs and various bits of terminology, but from what I hear, this one is a particularly bad one.) Hopefully romance will save us.

Sponsored by Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend by Crystal Hemmingway, a smart romantic comedy told in an addicting, fast-paced style.

Is it wrong to trick your mom into dating a robot? Desperate to get some space from her lonely, overbearing mother, Crystal commissions a robotic “smart companion” to serve as her mom’s ideal boyfriend. A romantic comedy told through texts, emails, and journal entries. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Rainbow Rowell.

Over on Book Riot

Trisha polled other rioters and pulled together a list of the must-read romances of the last decade. Fifty. Like we could really stop at fifty. (We did, but I’m sure it was very difficult for Trisha.)

I’ve talked about these series starters in Kissing Books, but if you’re looking for a new completed series to devour, these are all good places to start.

This list of activist romances also originated here, but I’ve expanded a little bit.

And Trisha and I got the chance to invite Sarah Wendell, the mastermind behind Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, to co-host When In Romance with us, and we got down to all kinds of shenanigans. (Also, we made a guest appearance on her podcast, Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, just last week!)


cover of Toxic Desire by Robin LovettA lot of people have been talking about the newest installment of Robin Lovett’s Planet of Desire series, and the first one, Toxic Desire, is 99 cents right now! You can get all three books in the series for less than seven dollars, or just try out the first one if you’re jonesing for some sexy space romance (which I have been really feeling a lack of, definitely). I love sci-fi, so I’m excited to check these out!

Have you felt the kick of TJ Klune’s Wolfsong so much that you haven’t been able to bear moving forward in the series? Well, now is the time, because Ravensong is on a rare sale! The second book in the series set in a fascinating universe of wolves and human packs is 1.99 right now, and you can use the next couple of months to recover before the September 24 release of Heartsong.

New Books!

This week is just disgustingly flush with new books, and I don’t even know what to do about it. (Did you notice I included one on Monday because I wanted space for others today? You probably noticed.)

cover of Trashed by Mia HopkinsTrashed
Mia Hopkins

If you have been reading Kissing Books long enough, you know I was a latecomer to the first book in this series, Thirsty. Trisha Brown gushed about it, I bought it, and then let it sit. Then we made it a When In Romance book club pick, and I had to read it. And y’all. It was so good. You don’t have to have read Thirsty to read this one, but it might help you slide into the world of Sal and Eddie, understand their perspective. Because if there’s one thing the Eastside Brewery books have, it’s a different perspective. Eddie, the male protagonist of Trashed, is the younger brother of Sal (the male protagonist in Thirsty), and both have just gotten out of prison after a grand larceny charge. Sal has since gone straight, and done his best to shelter what’s left of his family from the gang that runs their neighborhood; the gang both brothers were highly active in until the whole prison thing. Eddie, too, is hoping to go straight, but hasn’t yet figured out the best way to do it. He’s also (highlight spoiler alert for Thirsty) off on a quest to find his father, who it turns out is alive.

His other quest? The woman he had the best night of his life with very shortly after he got out. She disappeared immediately after, but he runs into her in the most unexpected place: the restaurant where he’s just been hired as a dishwasher. Chef Carmen is no joke when it comes to running the kitchen where she got her start, but something about Eddie regularly throws her off-kilter, to both of their detriments, at times. But they have this spark that won’t let them stay away from each other for long, and when they’re together—man, it’s hot.

I will say this one did not twist my insides the same way Thirsty did. There was a lot going on with Eddie, and sometimes it felt like the romance took a backseat—so much that I wasn’t as satisfied with the ending as I should have been. But that is just me. If you read reviews by people I trust very much, this book is basically perfect. This is otherwise a pretty magnificent piece of fiction, and I still loved every minute of it.

cover of Bumper to Bumper by Gretchen EvansBumper to Bumper
Gretchen Evans

I would recommend reading this one sooner rather than later, because we discovered this week that Less Than Three press will be closing. (It has been a very sad week!) This quick novella is more extended sexy meet-cute than all-out romance, but it is a lovely distraction from the world.

Gabe, bored in traffic, gets a message on a hookup app from a person whose handle is SilverFoxxx (and you can see where I was like PLEASE TELL ME MORE). The two start to converse on the app, and start to get to know each other on their morning commutes. Then, one day, our Fox wants to meet up…for some stranger sex in a cafe bathroom. I mean, it is a hookup app. But could this be something more than a few snatched conversations and some seriously hot sex? Only time will tell.

But not much time, because it’s only 79 pages.

After you’ve taken an afternoon to enjoy this one, here are some other new releases to enjoy:

cover of Along For the Ride by Mimi GraceAlong for the Ride by Mimi Grace
Desire and the Deep Blue Sea by Olivia Dade
Song of Blood and Stone (new extended edition from St. Martin’s Griffin) by L. Penelope
Home Field Advantage by Liz Lincoln
Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (not technically romance but definitely my catnip and I hope it ends well so I don’t cry)
Love and Gravity by Rebel Carter
Lead Counsel by Aurora Rey
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (in case you missed that it was out this week in Monday’s newsletter)
Stolen Desire by Robin Lovett (I haven’t read this sexy sci-fi series but everything I’ve read on Twitter points very much to READING NEXT)
Making Up by Helena Hunting

Jesus, I think that’s enough to get us out of this Retrograde nonsense.

What are you reading this weekend?

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!