Categories
Kissing Books

Lift Every Voice

Hello again! Hope that the rest of the week went well for you. I am doing fine myself because the weather is so nice that you wouldn’t even know that last week my city was effectively shut down due to the snow storm. Thanks again for the outpouring of love, support, prayers, and well wishes that were directed towards us here; it was very much appreciated. My heart goes out to those who have extensive damages that they didn’t or may not have been prepared for. And it goes out even more for those who lost loved ones during this time, since I know that is a difficult thing to go through.

Since I spent most of last weekend mentally recovering from the snowstorm, I missed the rumblings in the romance world when they were happening, and spent Sunday trying to catch up on the major drama that went down.

And I’ll be honest with y’all, I grappled with if I should bring it back up. One reason is that it was a powder keg that would require delicate treatment. Another is that I’m, or was in some cases, subscribed to a number of the panelists that were involved and have my own mixed feelings on how it all went down. Ultimately though, I realized that I had to take that aspect out, since it is still Romance news with topics that need to be addressed.

The Black Prose Club held a live stream romance panel over on their YouTube channel. While the title may have read as just romance, based on the history of the channel and panelists, the intention was to showcase and uplift Black Romance Authors. It started off well enough, but soon fell apart when the question of what actually defined Black Romance was raised. The first panelist to speak answered perfectly; it is a romance written by a Black author involving one or more Black people in love with a HEA or an HFN ending. This has always been widely accepted to be the correct definition of the genre.

Once that statement was made though, there was little talk of Black romance afterwards, and it was almost dismissed entirely. That’s a problem because the panel should have worked to lift up all types of Black romances, be it straight, poly, LGBTQ, or any other sub-genre. But it didn’t happen. In fact, there were a lot of damaging and disparaging things said about Black romance. For all the talk that Black people are not a monolith, it came across that this was the case for Black romance. Which rightfully upset a lot of people.

Besides the fact that this romance panel hosted and led by Black women had little to no talk about Black romance, the problem that Romancelandia had is that this isn’t the first time some of these panelists have made what are viewed as inflammatory statements against Black romance. And honestly? Some of the comments did come across that way. And that’s not okay, especially in this month on a panel that seemed designed to do just the opposite.

Most of the panelists admit that they didn’t actively read or seek out Black romance either, which also left a bit of a sour taste. More work could have been done to find BookTubers who primarily read Black romance or, at the very least, read more than some of the panelists here. What we ended up with were discussions on dark romance, specifically of the Mafia variety, and monster smut. And, while part of that is on the hosts, the panelists need be held accountable too. If they knew that this wasn’t a subject that they could speak at length on, they should have bowed out of the panel.

Multiple mistakes were made by everyone involved, which happens since we’re all human, and it could have been handled so much better. The next day, the hosts came out with another live stream, taking ownership and accountability, as well as promising that they were going to do better next time. Most of the panelists were there in that live stream, and apologized for their hurtful words as well as on social media. So, they stepped up, owned up and are working to do better. And for those that have done that, I believe some credit is due.

With all that in mind, I’m going to end with my recommendations for the week. In keeping with my earlier statements, I’m going to recommend indie Black romances to uplift these voices. I know this is something that I need to work on myself and will work to boost the signals here with authors.

cover of A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison

A Taste of her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison

This is an age gap romance between the recently divorced Sonja and Atlas, the teacher for the entrepreneur class she enrolled in. This was a quick read with a lot of banter and steamy build up between the two. I did enjoy the spin on the age gap as well as the confidence that Sonja developed through the story, plus that Atlas was consistently supportive of her in all her endeavors. This was a good example of a believable relationship that I would classify as a HFN.

Layover by Katrina Jackson

This is a short quick read but wow does it pack an amazingly sweet emotional punch. It follows travel blogger Lena in a 24-hour delay where she meets up with Tony, a podcaster she has been talking to online over the last few months. Even though their meeting is sweet, their connection is real and their story has a wonderful HFN ending.

One. Two. Three. Love. By Tuesday Harper

This is a polyamorous story about the relationship between Camille, Draya, and Mack. While all of them want the same peace, balance, and love in their relationship, do they have what it takes to put in the work to ensure that it happens? I haven’t read this one yet personally, but it sounds like another emotionally driven read that will leave you wanting more.


This is of course not a comprehensive list, but hopefully it helps to open the doors for you to other authors in this apparently still overlooked genre. I hope that we all can move on from here and continue to grow. As always, feel free to follow me over on Twitter under @PScribe801. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Love and Warm Thoughts

Hello again fellow romance lovers! We are at the start of the last full week of February and I have to say that it has been a doozy of a month. At least for me. This arctic storm that the South faced last week was no joke. While I was blessed enough to not have suffered greatly during that time, I know a lot of my near and dears were not. And that was hard to hear about, especially considering that we were in no way prepared for this.

While there were a lot of jokes aimed at Texas, there was also quite a bit of loving support and advice from our Northern neighbors; so, thank you for that. If, come summer, the positions get reversed, and y’all are faced with heat you’re not prepared for or used to (which is possibly given the climate situation), I will be ready with tips on how to stay safe.

There was not a lot of romance news in the second half of last week and that’s not just due to me going through yet another historical event I get to tell my grandchildren about. But there were a few things that popped up. 

Simone Ashley was announced to be taking on the role of Kate Sharma (Sheffield in the novel) in the second season of the acclaimed Bridgerton series. As with last season, there will be a few changes made to the plot of the story. First is that Kate and her family will be of Indian descent and she will be a recent transplant to London. What hasn’t changed is she suffers no fools and has no time for Anthony’s shite. The show and author has caused a bit of (fair) division in Romancelandia but I’m super excited for this on all the levels.

That said, I hope they keep Edwina, her sister, and Mary, her stepmother as part of the narrative. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many times again; The Viscount Who Loved Me is my favorite Bridgerton book. It could be because it was the first one I read. It could be because I have a thing for the eldest brother character. I’m not kidding. My first literary crush was Peter from the Chronicles of Narnia.

We can talk more on that later, and as for the preference of older brothers, I don’t really wanna unpack that right now so we’re moving on.

Cycling back, my love of this book isn’t just tied to all that. I love the relationship between Kate, her sister and her stepmother. I love how Kate was so invested in who Edwina would marry. Yes, it would have been easy to write her off as the jealous, spinster older sister that Anthony thought she was; but, she genuinely wanted her sister to end with someone who would treat her with respect.

And her relationship with Mary was amazing. Again, it would have been easy to make Mary an evil stepmother, a trope that does get used in Benedict’s book by the way, but Quinn didn’t do that. For me, this was one of the best female familial relationships in historical romances at the time. So, yes I want the steam between Kate and Anthony, I want the banter, and I definitely want the mallet of death. But, I also want Kate’s family relationship to make it to the screen as well. Preferably unchanged completely but we shall see.

Speaking of Bridgerton, take this quiz and find out which sibling you are. Apparently I’m Eloise, which makes a bit of sense since her book is my second favorite. Heads up…question six (if I counted right) is going to be a tough choice.

If you’re a fan of the getting-married-in-Vegas trope, check out some of Jessica’s recommendations.

If you’re a subscriber to Kindle Unlimited but aren’t sure what romance options are there, Tracy’s got ya covered!

I’m already excited for all these upcoming releases.

New Releases

Here are some of the few new releases coming this week and I say a few because there were a lot. We seem to have a lot of ebbs and swells in the waves of romance releases and there is no middle ground. So, I tried to pick a wide variety from across the different tropes and subgenres in it.

The Bookworm’s Guide to Flirting by Emma Hart

Love At First by Kate Clayborn

Hold the Forevers by K.A. Linde

Beneath the Stars by A.L. Jackson 

Call Me Crazy by Melanie Harlowe

Lovebug by Erin Mallon

Deals

And here are some of the deals that I managed to dig up but remember that they are fickle and may no longer be available by the time this comes out.

cover of a cowboy to remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon

A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon is $0.99 for the moment. Just look at that cover. ‘Nuff said. 

Love With a Perfect Cowboy by Lori Wilde is available for $1.99. Also not a bad cover to look at. And both have cowboys. Something I know I’ve gone over before. 

What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell is also $1.99.

The Way You Hold Me by Elle Wright is available for $0.99.


And that’s all she wrote for now. As always, you can follow me over at Twitter under @Pscribe801. Stay safe, stay warm, mask up and see you next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Everyone’s Royalty

Real quick clarification about the disclaimers I gave last time. The old school disclaimer was intended with the Woodwiss that was listed last and not the first one. Middleton’s novel is not an old school romance, so it doesn’t have the issues that may typically be associated with the earlier books in the genre. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

Greetings from the frozen South, a phrase I never thought I would utter. Seriously; I may not be an old hen just yet, but I’m far from a spring chicken, and I can’t recall another winter where we’ve had this much arctic weather (as in the snow actually sticking to the ground) in my entire life. And I can say with utmost assurance that I don’t like it. I’m ready for spring to show up.

That said, I am blessed in that I have been working from home. So, I don’t have to worry about going out in it or using sick days. So, I’ve been able to stay bundled up inside, drinking all types of warm beverages, and reading. The cold, much like the snow, is a bit more bearable if I don’t have to go anywhere.

But still…spring…you need to come get your seasonal sister. She’s overstaying her welcome.

The Ripped Bodice 2020 Award Winners for Excellence in Romantic Fiction were announced on Valentine’s Day, which seemed fitting. I’ve read 4/12 of the winners here and yes, I know it’s only a third of them. But that just means more books for my TBR.

If you also need more for your own TBR pile, then check out this list of love stories from Namera.

I’m a bit late to the party, but would it ever be too late to swoon over the cover reveal for Lisa Rayne’s Never Cross a Highlander? I’m sure a lot of readers have already pre-ordered this item and are looking forward to when it comes out towards the end of 2021.

I also forgot to mention that the latest from Charish Reid, (Trust) Falling For You is out today. I read this and loved every single page of it.

Last Friday, Disney+ began streaming the 1997 made for television version of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I know I’ve mentioned this a lot but bear with me since I’m about to go into the why, because I had this discussion with my spouse. When I was talking about how the Interwebs were going bonkers over it, he didn’t understand. He had seen it when it first aired and enjoyed it, but didn’t get why it was a big deal until I told him my take.

It’s not just due to how unapologetically diverse it is, although for me that’s a big factor. A big part of it is that this was the first time a lot of Black girls saw a princess that looked like them. With all due respect to Atlantis: The Lost Empire’s Kida (another woefully underappreciated Disney movie) and Tiana, Brandy Norwood is the one who came through and shattered that mold. She showed little girls that no matter what their upbringing was, no matter how people treated them, that they had a right to a happy ending with someone who loved them unconditionally and would make them feel like the princesses, and eventually queens, they truly were. And now, these girls who are now women get to introduce their children to this and hopefully see them light up like they did. 

And, yes, it’s somewhat better now. But not completely. Remember the backlash there was when it was announced Halle Bailey would be playing Ariel in the live action remake of The Little Mermaid? Cries of ‘not my Ariel’ were heard around the world. People can call it what they want but it boiled down to racist tendencies. Completely overlooking the fact that mermaids aren’t real and if they were, their skin would be some kind of gray due to being so far from the sun and beneath the ocean’s surface? Or that they likely ate sailors rather than marry them? How about how the story originally ended, which a lot of people seem to forget? People didn’t want to see a girl of color as a princess who got her happily ever after, and my mind can’t be changed on this. So, yes, this version of Cinderella was important then and may be even more important now. 

And this isn’t just restricted to Black children. It’s important for all children of all races to see themselves in these roles. Because royalty is not just for people who are ‘fair of skin’. That leads me to my recommendations for this week, which will include royals from all different types of ethnic backgrounds.

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan

Okay, so technically the only royal-like character in the story for a majority of it is the hero and not the heroine. However, since they do get married (it’s romance after all, so an HEA is a must), the heroine eventually becomes a Duchess. Plus, the slow build from friends to lovers in this is so well done. This is a genuinely sweet book overall and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

I just downloaded this one this weekend since it was on sale at the time (and may still be so be sure to check your preferred e-book outlet), but the absolute power that emanates from Shanti on this cover is so overwhelming, as well as the chemistry between her and Shanyu. I can’t wait  to read the dynamics of this power couple and how they reign supremely together as equals.

cover of butterfly swords by jeannie lin

Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

During the Tang Dynasty, Princess Ai Lee is betrayed and has to flee her home with only her butterfly swords in hand to defend herself. She has to enlist the help of Ryam for protection and help reclaiming her rightful place. If memory serves this was the first When in Romance book club pick, so you’re in great company on that alone by picking it up.


And that’s all she wrote for now! As always, it’s been a pleasure. Stay safe, stay warm, and follow me over on Twitter under @PScribe801 if you’d like. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Discounted Candy is Best Candy

Happy Day After Valentine’s, also known as half-off all the chocolate day!  That’s almost more exciting to me than the actual holiday. Don’t worry, I always give equal attention and adoration to its cousin; the Day After Halloween. Yesterday also put us officially halfway through February, something I am still astonished by.

No matter your personal feelings on the day of love, I hope that you had a great weekend and spent it the way you wanted and were able to relax. I’m forecasting that I spent it bundled up in my apartment because of the Arctic snap that swept through my home state (see what I did there?). Seriously though… I was not happy with that. I’m not Elsa. The cold bothers me. A lot. So, I’m sure I did my best to stay indoors all weekend.

Even though the day is officially over, there is still Valentine’s fun to be had. Author Christine Ragland threw down a “You can only choose one” trope challenge last week. There were a lot of interesting and difficult choices there. If you want to read over the options there were and see how your personal favorites fared, check out her tweet from last week.

Personally I only had strong feelings about a few, which were Wild West, Ravish, Sex in an Elevator, and Grump & Sunshine. For that last one I don’t care which is which either. I also like nerds, but I don’t necessarily want them to end up with the jocks, so on that one either one being the last trope standing would have worked for me.

Speaking of the Wild West, I also want to take a moment and wish Beverly Jenkins a Happy Birthday!! Miss Bev’s latest Wild Rain has been receiving all the recognition and I am. Here. For. It. This was such a wonderful read for so many reasons. The Black cinnamon roll hero, two things that don’t typically get put together. A non-virginal heroine who refuses to be shamed for that and is independent, proud and, while she wants her man, she doesn’t need him. And they are able to learn how to live on and love on their times and not society’s. So. Much. Goodness. 

I linked to Carole’s review last time (and I’m going to do it again), but be sure to also check out this podcast episode she was part of. You can also hear direct from the Queen herself in this interview.

I know I’m looking for fun ways to pass the time or, more accurately, sanity breaks between WFH and/or juggling distance education. If you’re in that same boat, I wanted to share some of the things that gave me that mental break last week. Like this list from Vulture on what books to pair with your favorite rom-com. My favorite off the list is When Harry Met Sally, which gives me a reason to read another Christina Lauren. I also kind of want to pick up House Rules now because of the comparison to The Lovebirds, which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. I mean I expected to enjoy it because of the stars, but not quite as much as I did. 

Or check out this list of books on the fake-dating trope, which is going to be a very popular trope this year. Book Riot also had a quiz to find your perfect Valentine’s book.

I was remiss in linking this list of YA romances last time, but I shan’t repeat it with this one.

New Releases

Here are some of the new releases headed our way this week. There is quite a bit and I’m sure I missed some, so, apologies if I missed one you were personally looking forward to.

My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely 

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai 

Blindsided by Victoria Denault

Slapshot by Rebecca Jenshak

Holdout by Jacqueline Snowe

Hard to Score by K. Bromberg

Crossed Hearts by J.R. Gray

Ruthless Creatures by J.T. Geissinger

Close Quarters by Kandi Steiner

Submission Impossible by Lexi Blake

Like You Love Me by Adriana Locke

Deals

And here are some of the deals that you can snag up now or soon.

Say Hello, Kiss Goodbye by Jacquelyn Middleton is going to be $0.99 * 

Heart of Stone by Chiquita Dennie is free right now. That’s a price almost no one can argue with.

The Rancher Returns by Brenda Jackson is $1.99

The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodwiss is also $1.99 +

*Please note that this doesn’t actually go on sale until the 18th. But since I like putting deals with new releases I am including it in today’s newsletter + This is very old school romance. As in it’s genuinely recognized as one of the first. So, it has all the problematic themes that go hand in hand with those older books. Please exercise caution before deciding whether or not to read it.


That’s all she wrote for now. Catch up with me over on Twitter under @PScribe801. Thanks for taking the time to read and you’ll be hearing from me again later this week.

Categories
Kissing Books

Get Your Valentine On!

Hey y’all! We’re almost to the end of another week and, while I can’t speak for everyone, this month seems to be going by fast. It’s not even a matter of it being the shortest month of the year. It really does seem to be breezing by quickly. Of course, this was the case last year. Then we got to the March that never seemed to end and well…

Yeah.

Anyways.

In case you missed it in the last one, this is just a reminder that the 1997 version of Cinderella will begin streaming tomorrow over on Disney+. I’m excited and will likely queue up to watch it as soon as I get out of work and make sure all my other tasks are taken care of. I plan on singing along too, much (I’m sure) to the chagrin of my now officially teenage son.

Sorry not sorry kiddo; your mom had unfulfilled dreams of being in musical theater and this is how she comes to term with that.

One thing I’m putting out there in the world is that soon Disney will also bring back or reimagine the sing-along videos. I’d totally be down to follow the bouncing ball again and sing my heart out to old classics. 

A few pieces of not as pleasant news. I did hear about that condescending Slate article that was making the rounds earlier this week. This kind of disparagement is not new to us in Romancelandia. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before as these types of articles seem to get published once a quarter. And no, I didn’t read it. I’ll hate-read a book, but I refuse to give a piece that mocks the genre I love and likely has no type of original thought behind it any more clicks than it already has received. At best, it deserves a cursory mention if for no other reason to warn fellow romance lovers to not waste their time. Read this review from Book Riot’s very own Carole Bell instead.

Also, a few weeks ago I mentioned the new S.M. Soto book as a new release and allegations have come to light that it was heavily plagiarized from one of Kim Jones’ books. And the screenshots that were floating around online are extremely damning. Soto has since made a statement on the situation and, as of the writing of this newsletter, I haven’t found one from Jones.

Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new to the romance genre (#copypastecris anyone?). Hell, even Nora Roberts went through this in the late ’90s with the late Janet Dailey lifting at least three passages from her books for her own. But, it still always leaves a bad taste in readers’ mouths because plagiarism feels like betrayal. Readers, no matter the genre, are loyal, sometimes to a fault. And to find out that one of the authors we enjoy took the creative work of another? Feels bad. This is all still developing but, since I had mentioned the Soto book a few weeks ago and it was newsworthy, I wanted to make sure to mention that update.

And, since I take the sandwich approach to feedback and news, there was a new episode of When in Romance this week. Give a listen to what Jess and Trish have thought about some of the recent shenanigans in the romance world.

Guest author Naima Simone wrote about some of her favorite first kisses of all time over on Frolic. This was a delightful read about some first kisses from all the various areas of the genre. The first kiss is still one of the most swoon-worthy parts of the book for me.

Valentine’s Day is Sunday and I know that there are always a lot of mixed feelings about this holiday. A good number of people will be actively throwing anti-Valentine’s Day parties in direct opposition to it. Some may prefer Galentine’s Day, an idea popularized by Parks & Rec that is well on its way to being a legitimate holiday. Or, you may embrace the holiday, even if its history is a bit murky at best. Whatever the case, you can likely find a book that matches your stand on the holiday.

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

So, technically, this is a romance novel. However, I agree with a lot of other readers that the friendship between Samirah, London, and Taylor plays as much of a part as the romance between Daniel and Samirah. And, considering how those three ladies met, that is really saying something. So it’s the perfect way to celebrate Galentine’s Day! It’s also the first in a trilogy so we can look forward to reading more about their friendships and the love interests of the other two. It’s also the one that doesn’t actively take place around the holiday.

A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day by Jackie Lau

Amber and Sebastian to have a mutual no-strings attached physical relationship as neither have the time nor inclination for romance. At least until their families get wind of them spending time together and devise ways to match them up permanently. I’ll admit, I’m splitting hairs a bit for this, but since neither of them want a traditional relationship, I’m counting it as anti-Valentine. Of course there will be a HEA because if there isn’t one, then it isn’t romance.

Bedding Lord Ned by Sally Mackenzie

So, there is more than a bit of banana pants coincidence that you’ll have to take with this one. The family’s name is Valentine. And the duchess and all three sons were born on the same day which was (you guessed it) Valentine’s Day. All of that smacks of Valentine’s Day love.

This one is a sort of second chance and friends to lover romance between Ellie and widower Ned. The former has finally decided to let go of her unrequited love for Ned right around the time Ned has decided to look for a new wife and begins to look at Ellie in a different light.

True story time; I told my spouse the synopsis of that last book and his eyes almost got stuck in the back of his head, he rolled them so hard. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t hate romance at all, but he was like, “Really?” But that level of cuteness actually made me enjoy the series just a little bit more!


And that’s all she wrote for now. As always, catch up with me over on Twitter under the handle @PScribe801. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Every Day a Holiday

Good morning! Or, depending on when you read this, good afternoon, good evening or good night! I hope that your weekend treated you well and that you will be able to get some relaxing in. The me that is currently writing this newsletter is putting it out there in the universe that Monday-morning me managed to get at least one or two books read so I can mark off more on my Bingo board.

And yes, I am doubling or even tripling up on some of these prompts. This is a challenge where I can and I am taking advantage of it.

February is already off to an interesting start, what with the drama that I got into last time with the now unpublished book. I got drawn into the dumpster fire that hot mess was, so I missed that February 4th was Derek Craven day in Romancelandia. I’ll admit that I did not get the reference when I kept seeing this on Twitter all day last Thursday. (Please don’t come for me.) But, clearly he’s important because a lot of people I follow and respect are tweeting about him, so I dug into it a bit.

After doing my research, I discovered that he is the hero of Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You, and that this holiday was created by the Fated Mates podcast. I honestly can’t recall if I’ve ever read Kleypas before so I didn’t feel too bad. However, it lit Twitter up and for once it was for a happy reason. If you search the hashtag over on Twitter, even today, you’ll likely still find a bunch of the tweets including a laundry list of things that Derek Craven wouldn’t do. All of this is to say that, apparently, this needs to be the first book of hers that I read. *adds to list*

That this united Romancelandia, even if briefly, is kind of awesome. Twitter is usually shown in a very negative light and, while a good portion of that is very much warranted, honestly? All of the social media platforms are toxic in their own specific way. So, it’s nice to have a positive unification on the app, and that it involves a romance hero gave me all the warm fuzzies.

Speaking of warm fuzzies, Goodreads came up with a Romance Pen Name Generator which was just delightful. When Charish Reid shared what hers would be, I had to check out my own.  If you’re interested, mine would be Lark Montague which….I kinda dig. True, it reminds me of those sweeping familial tragic epics that were predominant in the early ’90s, but it does have a nice ring to it.

Are you signed up for Alyssa Cole’s newsletter? Because you really should be.

In romance adjacent news, it was announced that the beautifully diverse 1997 version of Cinderella will start streaming on Disney+ starting February 12th, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Everyone rightfully lost their collective minds at this happy news. I know a lot of people will be sitting in their own little corner and in their own little chairs watching this movie on repeat once it goes live.

I really hope their servers are ready. The traffic that day will rival, if not surpass, the one for Hamilton

New Releases

Here are some of the new releases coming this week!

Reckless Road by Christine Feehan 

Smoke Bitten by Patriciai Briggs

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

Tempting in Texas by Delores Fossen 

Dancing with Danger by Kerrigan Byrne

Only One Touch by Natasha Madison

I was fortunate enough to be able to read an e-ARC of Wild Rain and y’all…I fell in love with Garrett. He was such a sweet cinnamon roll hero. And I adored Spring as well, for the bad-ass female she was. We definitely need more of that in Western romances.

Deals

Here are some of the deals that I noticed when perusing the interwebs. As per usual, these were the prices at when this newsletter was written so it may have changed:

The Love Bet by (Love Unexpected Book 1) by G.L. Thomas is $0.99

Long Time Coming by Rochelle Alers is $1.99 

Tender Kisses by Sheryl Lister is also $1.99

Written in the Stars, which was one of my most favorite reads from last year 3.99 for a limited time!


And that is all she wrote for now Catch up with me under @Pscribe801 over at Twitter. ’ve actually been tweeting more! Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Love Your Librarians

Happy Thursday KBers! I hope your week is going well. I’m trying to not freak about my TBR pile for this month. As previously mentioned I am participating in the Black Author Readathon this month and my list consists of nine books. Which normally isn’t terrible on its own.

However, this in addition to the three books I started last month but didn’t finish (including one for my work related book club), and the one I still need to read for my girlfriends book club. All in all I have a lot on my actively reading pile, but it’s okay. I’ll make it.

I think.

Thanks to an author presenting themselves as Black in an attempt to sell her latest book, Black History Month started off roughly in Romancelandia. As per usual, I won’t link directly to them but I will link to this tweet from C.M. Lockhart that helped to break the story.

One would think that in this day and age people would learn that this type of elusive behavior is not the way to go, but apparently this memo still keeps getting missed. And, to further compound this insult, she allegedly defended herself by stating that she wrote this after noticing there were no OwnVoices authors writing these types of romances.

I did some digging, but wasn’t able to find this statement, likely due to it being redacted. But…where the hell has she been? Black romance authors have always been here. Just because it maybe didn’t enter her periphery doesn’t mean that they weren’t already there. Black romance authors have always been around. Farah Heron put it perfectly with her response to that weak line of reasoning.

Let me be clear; I do not have a problem with writers writing about diverse characters. In fact, I welcome it. What I have a problem with is people presenting themselves as ‘OwnVoices’ when they are not. This has always been a big no-no. And when you get caught don’t get defensive or make excuses. Admit you made a mistake and do better. Don’t double down on it by making excuses, crying NWL tears, or ‘unpublish’ said book. It ultimately won’t end well for you.

And now that that is out of the way, on to vastly happier topics.

The winners of the Swoonies were announced!

It’s always a good time for a holiday romance.

I apparently like the fake-dating trope more than I thought I did, based on how many of these I’ve read.

If you’re someone who likes numbers and lists, check out this rundown of the top romance books of 2020. Mind the disclaimer at the beginning though. I personally wouldn’t classify a large number of the titles here as romance, but it wasn’t classified by Kelly or me.

In addition to being Black History Month, February is also National Library Lover’s month. Now, I know that a majority of libraries are closed to the general public right now, which is a decision I completely support. While I miss my wandering around my local libraries aimlessly, I would miss my librarians more. So, I’m content to wait until it’s safe to do it again.

That said, they still need support, so be sure to check your local library to see what virtual events they may be having. I know mine is doing a Romance Lover’s Social next weekend. And yes I signed up literally seconds registration opened up to ensure my spot in the event and for a goody bag. Free bookish swag is always awesome.

In honor of that, I decided to recommend a few books where librarians play a huge part. I haven’t read all of these but they all seem to be very popular and well loved by the romance community.

cover of american dreamer by Adriana Herrera

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

Nesto Vasquez and Jude Fuller are a food truck owner and children’s librarian who connect when the latter works up the courage to flirt with the cook on a lunch outing. An opportunity for a promising future together presents itself to the lovebirds, if they can only allow themselves a chance for it. This is the first in the Dreamers series and is currently on sale for $1.99. Look at that: a rec and a deal all in one fell swoop.

Hearts on Hold by Charish Reid

Victoria Reese is working to get a partnership between her stodgy college and her local library, and enlists the help of hottie librarian John Donovan to help. He is more than happy to, along with tempting her with kisses and teasing her about her late book. This is a delightfully steamy romance with just as much sweetness. Plus, there is something that can be said for an author actually getting me to somewhat enjoy a poem by T.S. Eliot.

Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

Dana Steele is a life-long book lover and librarian who is at a crossroads in her life. Her new boss is making her dream job more of a nightmare, prompting Dana to solve her personal riddle that will free the soul of a long-imprisoned goddess, resulting in monetary security and an opportunity to open her own bookstore. She only has four weeks to solve this mystery and change her life forever, while finding a second-chance romance with her ex Jordan. This is the second in a trilogy but you don’t necessarily need to read these in order to enjoy them.


And that’s all she wrote for now. Catch up with me over on Twitter @Pscribe801. Until next time friends!

Categories
Kissing Books

February May Be Short But…

Hey y’all! I hope your Monday is going well. On top of it being the beginning of a new week, it’s also the start of a new month. And despite being the shortest month, there always a lot packed into February. Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, although with some people still staying indoors and not venturing out, I am guessing that it doesn’t matter whether or not Phil sees his shadow.

Personally, I’m trying not to freak out at the fact that, as of this exact day, I officially have a teenager. A TEENAGER. It’s mind-boggling to think about it. Sometimes, I feel too young to have a teenager and other times it seems like we just finally made it home from the hospital for good, since we had a few health scares when he was born.

Other times though it’s painfully obvious that I do. Over the last almost-year the pre-teen hormones have been very real, which made quarantine just a bit more exciting for me. And by exciting I mean it drove me up the proverbial wall. I felt the parental memes of this last year to the very depth of my soul.

Although I have not appreciated all facets that come with being a mom to a teenager, my kid is pretty sweet overall. Super protective of me, even when we’ve just had a big blowout fight or I’ve given a lecture, something I’m very good at. So, it could be worse. But still, mothers of teenagers past and present…light a scented candle for us. Please.

I know I mentioned my love of cowboys last week. If you’re like me and looking for more cowboy romances, check out some of the books listed here.

Book Riot had a fun quiz to find out which eligible Bridgerton character should be your suitor and I was overjoyed to end up with Anthony. And I totally didn’t game the answer to try to get this result. At least, I tried not to. He’s my favorite from the book. I know some had issues with him in the show, but…I still stan him. He’s my boo. And now it’s official because this very official quiz said so! I was happy to read that the second season would follow the books and focus on him. Otherwise I would have rioted. And by riot, I mean pout while still begrudgingly watching the second season and likely just re-read The Viscount Who Loved Me for the umpteenth time.

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s read, check out this list of books with queer couples. Or, if you like all types of romances no matter the age, you may want to review this list of YA romance titles coming out in 2021. I can attest to the awesomeness that is Happily Ever Afters, as it was my first full read of the year and it was amazing.

Talia Hibbert recently tweeted that she will be releasing a series of rom-coms inspired by the work of Jane Austen. I can’t wait. Even though I’ve never read the original works (I know, I’m a terrible English major), I love Jane Austen adaptations. And Talia is an author who I am never disappointed with. So, I’m eager to see what she has in store for us and the marriage of these two worlds. 

Netflix recently announced that they will be adapting Nora Robert’s Brazen Virtue. While another Nora adaptation is usually cause for celebration, there has already been blowback over this from Nora’s more Conservative fans. This is because it will star Alyssa Milano and the actor is not shy about how liberal she is. Nora, being the wonderful wordsmith she is, showed she has no time for this type of nonsense. She was also very clear about where she stood on this and how her politics were aligned and that she was happy with how the movie was progressing.

Honestly, it’s sad that she had to make that statement. I understand feeling a certain way about a celebrity. We all do in some way, shape, or form. And, clearly, I understand wanting to revoke your support of them. What I don’t understand is the need to yell about it, all the time, on all the platforms at one’s disposal and to be so vitriolic about it. Being nasty about it and threatening to burn books (which seems somewhat redundant to me since the money has already been spent) is just too much effort. Just file it away as something to avoid and simply scroll on.

And because it always bears repeating: Netflix, you’re really sleeping on making adaptations from Beverly Jenkins, Barbara Jackson, Alyssa Cole, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera…

I could literally be at this forever.

Here are some of the releases hitting bookshelves this week. It’s a relatively short list but that may be kinder to your wallet.

The Seasons of Callan Reed by S.M. Soto

Still Standing by Kristen Ashley

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

Saving Grace by Elizabeth Doherty


And that’s it for today. I hope that your February gets off to a great start. You can reach me over on Twitter under @Pscribe801.

Categories
Kissing Books

Good Things, Small Packages

We’re almost to the end of January 2021 and it would be a bit of an understatement to say that the beginning of this year was a bit of a rollercoaster. There were both good and not so good things that happened. But, overall it was an okay start to the new year. At least comparatively to the gauntlet we ran last year. I’m trying to continuously choose positive this year, but as with everything else, it’s a work in progress.

Speaking of that, the end of January may cause some people to reflect on the resolutions or goals that they made at the start of the year.  I’ve noticed over on Book Twitter people mentioning that Goodreads is already calling them out for being ‘behind’ their goal to which I say…really, Goodreads? It’s January. There’s plenty of time.

Although, to be honest, I’m in this same boat. A very small part of me is freaking out about this very much self-imposed challenge. It’s my competitive nature. I set the number and I can change it (but I won’t). I will continue to push until I meet or exceed where I should be at a specific point in time. Then I will be a bit calmer.

When I need the extra boost to my reading challenge or read-a-thon numbers, novellas are my go-to friends. I don’t just love novellas for the number padding they can give you. They can sometimes be the epitome of good things coming in small packages. I also gravitate towards them when I need to break a longer book up. I’m the opposite of the popular meme; there are some books out there that were too long for me. Even some of the books I have on my TBR now I’m waiting to tackle because they’re loooong and I know I will need something on standby.

Maybe you’re like me and wanting to get a jump on the number of books you’re planning on reading this year. Or, maybe your life is just banana pants busy right now and you can’t commit to a regular sized novel just yet. Whatever the case, here are some of my recommendations, should you want to pick them up in the future.

Beauty and The Blacksmith by Tessa Dare

This is by far my favorite of the Dare novellas I’ve read. Not that the others are bad of course, but I feel this one was perfectly paced and didn’t seem rushed, which is a concern a lot of people have with novellas. The romance between Aaron and Diana was sweet and steamy and it introduced us to other characters that we get to see later. And, I loved the descriptions of Spindle Cove. It sounds like a place I would want to live if I were a spinster. Plus, who wouldn’t want some strong smithy hands on them?

Cover of Mating the Huntress

Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert

Even factoring in my love for all things Talia, I was blown away about how much I loved this short story. I didn’t even wait for Halloween to read it. I loved the snarky Chastity and the cinnamon roll that Luke was. You’ll have to pardon the pun, but his adoration of Chastity reminded me of a puppy dog and I devoured every moment of this. You also have the banter that you’ve come to expect from this author and a feel-good resolution and HEA.

Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

I love a good nerd romance and, at its core, that’s what this is. Reggie and Gus both have their own specific nerdy qualities that set them apart but also bring them together. I also loved how fiercely independent Reggie was and how protective she was of Portia. I love how we got a resolution for the chasm we saw between the sisters in A Duke by Default first, which only added to my love of the story.

This week brought us another When in Romance episode, where, in addition to giving a brief Bridgerton follow-up, they talked about some exciting romance debuts coming out. I’m having to prepare my wallet for some of these (told you we were all enablers here). And apparently we pre-emptively celebrated the pod-aversary. Buuuuut….people have birthday seasons so the same can be said for anniversaries of any kind. So I’m totally down for celebrating a full month of the WIR podcast. Grats y’all!! 

Frolic put out this list romance novels that need to be put on the big screen. I give this list two thumbs up (and pray to God I didn’t just really age myself with that reference). 

Miss Bev got her own spread in February’s Orange County Library System’s magazine!!

Also, please, just list the CW and TW. Trust me. It will endear you to more readers in the long run. And if you don’t want to, don’t brag about it, since that may ostracize you simply on how the statement sounds.


That’s it for today! Next time we see each other, it will be February. I hope that this weekend treats you well. Catch up with me over on Twitter under @PScribe801.

Categories
Kissing Books

It’s a New Dawn and a New Day

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m starting this week off feeling more hopeful than I have felt in a long time. I’m sure it’s a combination of a lot of things, but I’ll be honest in admitting that the Inauguration is the majority of it. I didn’t catch it all due to my day job but the bits I did see, I loved. 

And I will also admit that I lost my s**t when Garth Brooks sang. What can I say? I love cowboys. AND HE SHOWED UP IN BOOTS!! I’m sure my book club got more than a few chuckles at my reaction in our group chat because I do love me some Garth. That’s in large part thanks to my older sister. Since she was the one driving me around a lot, since our widowed father was usually working, I was subject to her music and it greatly influenced what I chose and still choose to listen to now.

Speaking of childhoods, did any of y’all ever have reading fundraisers? I’ve heard that this was a thing back in the day. I know that there was a promotion where you could get your own personal pizza from Pizza Hut for reading x-amount of hours. But, believe it or not, I participated in that one. My household was strictly a Mr. Gatti’s one. I honestly don’t think I even had Pizza Hut until I was in my late teens.

Anyways, apparently this was an option for some kids and when I heard, besides being super jealous, I remember thinking that I really missed out. The only scholastically related fundraiser I remember doing was for math. It was for a good cause since the proceeds went to St. Jude’s, but math wasn’t my strong area. I would have crushed it in a reading fundraiser.

Le sigh.

I bring this up because read-a-thons are super popular in bookish social media. So much so, it seems like there is a new one every month. I have found that I only have the energy for the month-long ones. The weekend and week-long read-a-thons are nice in theory. But, I feel that is a young person’s speed. And I am not young. But you’re never too old to enjoy any kind of a-thon. So, I’m always on the lookout for the longer ones.

And, as luck would have it, there is a new romance themed read-a-thon happening next month. It’s hosted by a group of well-known Black content creators from both Instagram and YouTube. It is designed to lift up Black authors, specifically in the romance genre.

This will take place in February, in honor of Black History Month. If you want to check out the Bingo board (yes there’s a Bingo board) as well as other templates, you can find hem on mommywhatchureading’s Instagram page. It should be the first template you see on the left hand side of the screen. You will see all the information you need to get started. You don’t have to participate on the socials if you don’t want to and can play on your own. But if you do post about it, you’ll be in the running for some prizes.

And, just so there’s no confusion, I am in no way affiliated with this. I’m just participating. Which is a bonus for me since it means I have a chance at winning! My Bingo luck is always terrible though, so, we’ll see.

New Releases

Here are some of the new releases for this week. Get your wallets ready, because some of them look really good!

Follow Me Under by Helen Hardt 

The Cowgirl’s Surprise Match by Nina Crespo 

Won’t Go Home Without You by Cheris Hodges 

The Bachelor Cowboy by Jessica Claire 

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

The Architect by Nikki Sloane

The Would be Witch by Rita Boucher

If you love cowboys, then this is the week to either mask up and go check out some of the new releases or to fill your virtual shopping cart. 

And, if you also have a frugal nature like me, here are a few deals. Heads up, these were the prices as of the submission of this newsletter so they may have changed.

Deals

Matzah Ball Surprise by Laura Brown, which just sounds delightful by the title alone is on sale for $0.99

Virgin River by Robyn can be picks up for $1.99. If you’re a fan of the show and have never read the book, now is a good time to pick it up! 

Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke, the first in a paranormal trilogy can be snagged for $1.99

Alyssa’s Cole Let Us Dream is currently $1.49. I read this last month and just adored it. I’m never dissatisfied with Alyssa.

Also there are quite a few books in the aforementioned lists if you’re going to join me next month on a read-a-thon adventure! Be sure to also check out the romance books you may have missed in 2020.


And that’s it for now. Follow me over on Twitter where I post semi-regularly as @PScribe801. Until next time!