Kissing Books

RWA Has A New President

I’ve been trying to come up with some kind of weekly greeting besides “Happy Monday” but I think many of you are probably happy to have the assurance that it is, in fact, Monday. So, yeah. Welcome to a new work week, or just a new week, if you’re doing other things.

News and Useful Links

If you’ve been as attached to your phone as I’ve been these past several days, you might have seen some conversation around book piracy on Twitter. Essentially, the Internet Archive, who does some legitimately good things with out of print and public domain books, has created a “National Emergency Library,” which allows people to borrow any of their 1.4 million copyrighted books without waitlists. This would be fine and dandy if they, like a real library, had purchased licenses for that kind of use, and the publishers had given permission. Also, if they’d offered real ebooks instead of scanned copies of library and/or personal copies of books. To make it worse, the site got a good number of publicity for it, including from NPR, and so people who have no idea how any of this works don’t even realize they’re pirating books. Several romance authors, including Beverly Jenkins, have been working to get their books removed, but it sounds like a long, arduous process. I hope this gets resolved soon and quickly.

On March 23, which was somehow both seven days and ten million years ago, RWA announced the winners of their special election. I haven’t heard much since about how the new president and board members will go about the business of turning the ship, but we’ve all been a little busy.

While it happened over the weekend, you might want to check out the available recordings from the VirtualJaneCon that Drunk Austen put on (lightning fast!). There are some super interesting topics if you’re into that sort of thing.

If your catharsis is through reading what your favorite fictional characters are doing right now, check out Meg Cabot’s Corona Princess Diaries on her blog.

Jen is offering personal book recommendations to people who donate to 57th Street Books. Many of us have bookstores that are special to us, so if we can support someone’s favorite, why not?

I recently got to do a guest rec in Lucy Eden’s newsletter, Notes From Paradise, and I gotta tell you I love what she does every month. I subscribe to a lot of author newsletters, and love how different they all are.

Do you follow WOC in Romance on Twitter? The weekly new release thread is worth it.


If you’re looking for some grumpy-sunshine neighbor action (and have already read Talia Hibbert’s A Girl Like Her—and if you haven’t, get a move on!) Laura Jardine’s Tempting Her Neighbor is free right now. The second book in the duology, Seducing His True Love, is 3.99, so you could get the whole series for as little as four dollars. This is an Entangled/Macmillan title, and I’ve heard that a lot of their first in series are free right now, but I haven’t been able to figure out the best way of finding them without going painstakingly through each book as a title search. Seriously, if anyone knows a way to search Amazon by publisher, I’d love to see it! The closest I’ve gotten is pricing all romance books low to high, but every single book that’s in KU is in the low end of the bracket so it’s pretty useless.


Including a new Danielle Allen book last week reminded me that I hadn’t yet read a book of hers that has been regularly hitting my radar every couple of months since the summer of 2018 when it came out. The cover was definitely the talk of the town around its release, and every so often someone mentions the content. And now, I’ve finally picked it up.

Sweatpants Season
Danielle Allen

Akila is the dictionary model for Competent. She’s a skilled writer with a double degree in creative writing and journalism, and girl can turn a phrase. Her name is out there and she’s set to get her dream job at a magazine run by her idol. But she hasn’t dated in months, and part of it is the misogyny inherent in dating culture as seen in the very popular podcast featuring a group of men who call themselves The Lost Boys. When she meets English teacher Carlos in the photography workshop they’ve both joined in order to take their work to the next level, he’s basically perfect—until she discovers that he’s a member of said Lost Boys. Her life is further upended when she and Carlos end up working on a special project…now if only she can think of something besides what he looks like wearing sweatpants.

I’m going to say explicitly that I’m only partway through this book and while I’m absolutely loving Akila and the writing, I have a feeling I know where this is going (and read a few reviews to confirm). Because of her feelings on how The Lost Boys objectify women and give blanket permission for other men to do the same, she is going to do something regarding “sweatpants season” as a commentary on toxic masculinity and the male gaze. It’s gonna be serious, and probably cause some top-tier conflict between the protagonists. So if that’s not your jam, hold off on this one for a while.

Otherwise, I’ve been reading a lot of what’s called “Fandom YA” because it’s got that level of feel-good familiarity that we all could use right now. There’s something about being surrounded by fake dorks who you’d be following around in awe because they’re so much more comfortable in their fandoms than you were at that age. But I’d love to read more in adult romance that hits the same notes, something like Cathy Yardley’s Fandom Hearts series (One True Pairing is my ultimate fandom/fake relationship/found family romance). So if you have recommendations, send them my way!

You can do that by finding me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or sending me an email at Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got feedback, bookrecs, or just want to say hi!