Categories
Kissing Books

Acknowledge the Problem

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

Hubby is still unsure about Ice Planet Barbarians, but he did realize he has read The King Spinster’s Bride by the same author. So, he at least knows the writing style. That said, I almost passed out laughing at his reaction to me telling him that there was a sub-genre in romance with dinosaurs. He stood there, blinked at me and said, “No. You will not put that image in my head. Not today Satan.” 

Book News:

In yet another example of “what the actual heck were you thinking”, another non-POC author went on a rant about racism. (Please note I’m not linking to them at all but a tweet where I say snippets of said video). I’ll admit that I didn’t even know who this author was until after the drama started. I can’t even say if there is romance in their novels. What I can say though is I doubt I’ll start seeking their books out. I mean, I’m all for having your own opinion on things; this is not me trying to say she can’t have her own.

However, I really hate when people say, “I don’t see color” because you’re lying. Whenever we’re asked to describe someone, that is one of the first things we say or what their ethnicity is. Seeing someone as a person of color doesn’t make you a racist; it means your eyes are working because you’re observing a noticeable trait about a person. Treating that person differently because of said race is what makes you a racist. 

When I hear people say that phrase, I don’t think they’re paragon of virtue or an ally. What I hear is that they’re intentionally ignoring race because if they call attention to it, then they also have to acknowledge that there are systems in place around the world that were implemented purely to keep people who don’t look like themselves down. Especially here in America. In recent years, calling attention to this has been equated to being unpatriotic which is utter shite. You can still love something or someone while simultaneously acknowledging their shortcomings. Again, that just shows that your eyes and brain are working as they should. 

I feel this way about everything; movies, books, music, etc. I’m actually not one of those who throw the baby out with the bathwater people. I don’t vilify people if they like a specific form of entertainment as long as they can admit there are problematic issues with it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; old school romance is problematic AF. But there are some from that era I still read because I can acknowledge that the roots aren’t great. It’s also why I try to remember to give a disclaimer every time I mention one in the newsletter so you know going in what you may be able to expect.  

Enough of that unpleasantness. Onto happier topics!

Around the Web in Romance:

Between the Romance for Haiti fundraiser and Romancelandia for Afghan Women,  Romancelandia is really stepping up and showing out to help our fellow human beings, as we are wont to do. I know that we as a community have our fair share of in-fighting, since we’re passionate people, but we really do come together when we need to and that will always make us awesome.

Rioter Mariela created this list of sixteen of the best contemporary romance novels since 2016.

Talia Hibbert and Penny Aimes, author of the most anticipated upcoming For the Love of April French will be chatting about said book via a Virtual Event at Love’s Sweet Arrow on August 29th. I just started this book an hopefully can have it finished by then!

If my library card looked like this, I would carry it from city to city until it literally fell apart.

Here is a list of some of the sexiest books from 2021. I can concur with a few of these (looking at you Act Your Age, Eve Brown and Neon Gods!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson in etiquette courtesy of Edwina and Rafe, the main characters from Christ Caldwell’s latest, Along Came a Lady.

And we have this roundup of some summer rom-coms to end the season with.

New Releases & Deals:

Here are some of the new releases we have to look forward to this week.

cover of brides of london

Brides of London by Vanessa Riley

Foolish Hearts by Synthia Williams,

Blind Date With a Spare Heir by Yahrah St. John

Head Over Tentacles by K.L. Hiers

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

Charmed by Laura Pavlov

The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn

And here are some of the deals that you can try to snag. As always, please remember that these deals were active as of the writing of this newsletter. 

cover of going down

After the Wedding by Courtney Milan is available for $.0.99.

My Fallen Saint by J. Kenner is $0.99.

Unforgotten by Garrett Leigh can be snagged for $1.99.

Going Down by Barbara Bell is also $1.99.

Get a Life Chloe Brown is currently showing at just $1.00.

Changing Lines by RJ Scott and V.L. Locey is going for $0.99.

Seducing My Guardian by Katee Roberts is also showing at $0.99.


And that’s all for now. I’ll be back Thursday with another edition of the letter but you can always catch glimpses of me over on Twitter under @Pscribe801. Until then.

Categories
Kissing Books

Flawed is Beautiful

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

By the time you’re reading this, we’ll have gone through the first full week of in-person school. I’m less apprehensive because of an email I got Sunday saying that my district is mandating masks effective as of Monday. The change in my son was noticeable after only two days in person so I was really stoked to hear this. And I was way less stressed working from home. So, I’m going to continue to do what I need to do to keep him safe and in person, since I know that it is better for him in the long run for his education. 

Oh, and quick Ice Planet Barbarians update, hubby got to like page 25 and was like, “This is in galactic sex trade.” Which, from what I’ve heard about it, he’s not exactly wrong. I still died laughing at the phrase. 

Around the Web in Romance

Rioter Megan gave us a few recommendations for New Adult Romances to indulge our taste for the genre.

Claire also has a round-up of books similar to Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

Don’t forget that Saturday is Bookstore Romance Day! Our own Jessica Pryde will be hosting this panel on Sunday, the 22nd, so you can look forward to extending the celebration all weekend!

Here’s an interesting article from author Thien-Kim Lam about how her sex education started with romance novels

As a fan of romance novels and The Golden Girls, I really enjoyed this thread.

Katee Roberts wrote about her dream cast for Neon Gods and…I’m totally here for it.

Author Christina Britton was a guest-writer on Nick of The Infinite Limits of Love’s Blog with her recommendations of romance novels featuring scarred characters.

Cover reveal for Something Fabulous, the latest from Alexis Hall.

If you need a beginner’s guide to sci-fi romance, then this list is for you!

Recommendations

Britton’s article helped prompt this week’s recommendations. We as a society seem to have this unsettling obsession with everything being perfect and having no flaws. I’d like to say this is something that extends to just women, but men are also subjugated to this kind of scrutiny. The cruel memes disparaging Brendan Fraser and comparing how he looks now to how looked almost thirty years ago are the ones that readily come to mind and it just sucks. People are people and shouldn’t be expected to be perfect.

Scars are interesting because they always have some type of story behind them. I have a scar on my elbow from scraping it across a broken car antenna. My son has a scar on his chest from his live-saving open heart surgery he had at four months old. It doesn’t make either one of us less beautiful. I love that this is something that more romance authors are realizing and are implementing this into today’s stories. With that in mind, here are some of my recommendations for you in that regard.

cover of romancing the duke

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

I want to say that this was my first full-length novel form Dare, since everything prior to that were novellas. However, I’m a sucker for a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, which this certainly is, down to the hero being scarred, which means by society’s standards he is a beast. This is a really sweet romance about a woman who is on her down after the death of her father trying to start over but keep her optimism and love of fairy tales alive. Plus, it has the healthy dose of humor and banter that Dare is known for and is definitely re-read worthy. Which I may do soon now that I think about it.

cover of battles cars

Battle Scars by Meghan O’Brien

Iraq war veteran Ray returns home with physical, mental, and emotional scars from her tour overseas, the lone survivor of a hostage crisis. Struggling to deal with her unwanted celebrity status on top of everything else, she finds comfort in her therapy dog, Jagger. When she walks into Dr. Carly’s vet clinic, the women strike up a friendship that could bloom to more if they can both overcome the pain of their pasts. I am recommending this one not just because there is a noticeable dearth of F/F romances but also because there is a definite lack of books representing females in the military at all. And both of those representations need boosting,

cover of getting schooled

Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones

When Reese accepts a new position as a grad assistant, she crosses path with Jason who is a combination of intelligent, handsome…and rude. Jason, at 28, has already had some real-life experiences that left him scarred and with a prosthetic leg. So, he is focused on just moving on to the next phase of his life after graduate school and not the female population matriculating school with him. Or so he thinks. This is a story about two passionate people who won’t back down from a fight and may find out that they work better as a team than as opponents.


And that’s all I have for y’all today. Remember to stay hydrated and masked if you go out this weekend to celebrate Bookstore Romance Day. I’ll be back with y’all on Monday with the latest edition. Give me a follow over on Twitter under @PScribe801. Who knows? I may be posting pictures of my own haul from Saturday. 

Categories
Kissing Books

Bookstore Romance Day

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

So apparently KU had a deal for books trending on TikTok and of course Ice Planet Barbarians came up. My spouse asked if I read them and I told him no because, while I appreciate the popularity and the fanbase, it’s not my speed. He decided he was going to listen to the first one to see what it was all about. I told him to give me live reactions as he read. This should be fun. 

Bookstore Romance Day:

This Saturday is the third annual Bookstore Romance Day! We all know that romance is like the proverbial red-headed stepchild of the publishing industry, which isn’t fair especially considering it is sometimes the genre that “keeps the lights on.” This day was created to give independent bookstores a way to celebrate the readers and writers of romance books. 

Look, I know sometimes it can be a struggle since not all indie stores sell romances. And if they do, their catalog is a bit small or mainly focused on one or two author’s backlogs. Still, I urge you to visit your local one this day, if you can, and make a purchase. Even if they don’t have anything there or aren’t doing events, you can still support them by ordering from their site or, if they have it, their Bookshop.org affiliate. Believe me, I love Barnes & Noble as much as the next bookdragon. And, as I got a membership as a gift last year, I shop there more frequently now. But I have also made it a point to shop at my local women-owned independent bookstore on this day for the last two years and will continue that tradition this year. 

Romance News:

Speaking of Bookstore Romance Day, Astoria Bookshop has quite the impressive line up for a panel that is going to take place on that same day. I really appreciate the diversity here, not going to lie.

I am a gal who loves romance novels that are set in bookstores, since it combines two of my favorite things, so I was super stoked to see this list by Jess. My TBR pile on the other hand…I also enjoy that this is on the same wavelength as Bookstore Romance Day.

There’s not a whole lot of information out on this just yet, but the teaser for this romance bracket is delightful. You can also check out the site directly although it’s still in the process of being fleshed out. All I know is I’m excited to see what books are put up and voting on this, especially since I’m sure it will be more accurate of what the Romance community actually likes. (coughs in RWA and Goodreads Choice Awards)..

Want a fun way to pick your next romance novel? Silvana has you covered with this gif she made on her Twitter page.

Check out this awesome body-positive cover for Taj McCoy’s Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell. I’m always for a book that promotes self-love.

Rebekah Weatherspon signed an exclusive deal with Audible to write a ‘joint custody dog owner romance’. This sounds delightful!

Here is a round-up of even more M/M romances to curl up with in your reading nook.

If you’re a fan of Tasha L. Harrison and audiobooks, you’ll be pleased to hear that A Taste of Her Own Medicine is now available in that format.

Looking for places online to read some steamy erotica? Here you go!

I really enjoyed reading this take on the differences between the ‘enemies to lovers’ and ‘rivals to lovers’ trope. Either way, I still love both but agree that there are distinct differences between the two.

And speaking of enemies to lovers, this run-down of one writer’s first experience watching the iconic 10 Things I Hate About You was quite the journey.

New Releases & Deals:

Some of the releases hitting the shelves this week are: 

cover of The Dating Playbook

The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon (I can’t wait for this one personally since I thoroughly enjoyed The Boyfriend Project)

Bidding for the Bachelor by Jackie Lau (yay another M/M romance!)

Greeking Out by Collette Davison (M/M romance aboard)

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (CW/TW for grief)

Dragons After After by Louisa Masters (DRAGONS!!)

And here are some of the book deals I found. All the books listed below can be clicked on for the low price of $1.99. That said, please note, that these deals are active as of the writing of this newsletter and may change by the time it is published. 

cover of Game Changer

The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard 

Careless Whispers by Synthia Williams.

Game Changer by Rachel Reid

The Pleasure Trap by Niobia Bryant

One Heart to Win by Johanna Lindsey


And that’s all for today. I hope that your week starts off amazing and fantastic and look forward to seeing y’all again Thursday. As always, you can give me a follow at Twitter under @PScribe801. Happy reading!

Categories
Kissing Books

Time for a Bit of Laughter

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

As I’m writing this, I’m relaxing after a day of being in the car for camp pick up. It was different this year, due to the understandable new practices being implemented for Covid. But it was still a little bittersweet not to have the Parent Celebration.. My kid had a great time and had a lot of fun. Plus, I got to see two people I haven’t seen since graduating college, since two of theirs happened to be at the same camp. It really is a small world after all. 

In romance reading, I started The Heart Principle and am about three chapters in. I am also reading an eARC of The Lights on Knockbridge Lane (since with this heat reading about snow is nice). 

Book Riot Romance

Be sure to listen to this week’s When in Romance where Trisha and Jess give their take on the RWA awards and the review on The Heart Principle.

Carolina did a round-up of some awesome romance novels by Indigenous authors.

Here is the cover reveal and excerpt from the eagerly anticipated Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happily Ever Afters, edited by our own Jess Pryde!

A fun new trend that popped up over on Romance Twitter is the “If romance novels have taught me anything” one. Some of my favorites include Suleikha Snyder’s take on nipples and padded bras and @darlinginway’s take on friends and fake dating because, truth. I also really appreciated this one because safe sex is important. Fellow Rioter Mikkaka did a round-up of some of the best ones here.

Romance News

With everything going on in the world, both Romance related and non, we could also use a good laugh.

This also made me snort, quite loud because it’s the truth.

Speaking of laughing, try this fun quiz about how many rom-coms you’ve seen to see how awesome your taste is.

The Milwaukee Public Library is hosting an author panel celebrating happily ever afters on August 24th.

This was a very interesting read, regarding the new Janet Dailey book that came out in February 2021 and wondering who actually wrote it, since Janet died in 2013. I’m all for ghostwriters carrying on the legacy of an author, but at least be upfront about it instead of trying to make it see like the author is still alive, because that’s not a good take. And, in case you’re wondering why that name seems familiar even if you’ve never read her, yes, this is the same author who plagiarized from Nora Roberts.

Here are a few anticipated romance novels coming this month.

Recommendations

With the end of summer and having picked the kiddo up, camping is on my mind. Now, I’m not a fan of camping by any stretch of the imagination and the closest you’ll get me to doing it is ‘glamping’ But I know it’s a beloved pastime for many people. So, I decided I would highlight some books that are focused on camping or, at the very least, being out in the wild. I’m sure camping might be marginally more tolerable if I had a romantic partner to snuggle up while roasting marshmallows by the fire.

(Trust) Falling For You Cover

(Trust) Falling For You by Charish Reid

Charish is fast becoming a favorite author and I’m super sad that she currently only has three available. That’s okay though since I don’t mind re-reading and I keep up with her on Twitter. In this novella, Yolanda and Sam are professors who are complete opposites in everything in life. So, naturally, happenstance makes them cabin-mates for their university’s trust-building retreat. Close quarters make for a budding friendship that blooms into a romance when neither can ignore the sexual tension anymore. This is a short and hilarious read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The way nature kept coming for Yolanda though made me realize why I do not wander into it at all if I can help it.

cover of lighting the flames by Sarah wendell

Lighting the Flame by Sarah Wendell

Sarah may be more well known for the Smart Bitches ,Trashy Books website and podcast but she also has written a few books. This is her first romance novella though, involving life-long friends Genevieve and Jeremy and Camp Meira. While typically a summer camp, this year the owner decided to hold a Winter camp for a change of place and to celebrate Hanukkah as a camp family. During the week there, Genevieve and Jeremy rekindle their friendship that does eventually ignite into more. Super sweet story any time of the year. And if you’re like me and would like to read about the cold because the heat is oppressive outside, it is also a breath of cool air.

cover of Splinter

Splinter by E. Davies

Former astronaut turned park ranger Nicolas is enjoying his quiet new job surrounded by nature. Rockstar Deen needs a break after being caught in a less than ideal position by the ever present paparazzi and chooses the park where Nicolas works as the destination. The two men couldn’t be more opposite on the outside but as they begin to know each other, their initial impressions change. But will they be able to overcome the fact they come from drastically different worlds with no desire to leave them? I mean of course the answer is yes; otherwise it wouldn’t be a romance, would it?

That’s all for today, friends. I’ll be back next week with the latest in the romance world. Give me a follow over on Twitter under @PScribe801. Until then!

Categories
Kissing Books

We Need To Do Better

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

School starts this week and I’m not ready to have an eighth grader. That is all. 

Romance News

Well, as mentioned briefly last time, the RWA has essentially tripled down on their shenanigans from last week by rescinding the award that caused such a kerfluffle. Which is probably a legal issue; so, I feel for their lawyers. And it has caused even more division in Romancelandia with people both for and against it and honestly it’s a big old headache. 

Yes, I know there’s such a thing as ‘dark romance’ with the mafia, kidnappings, and consensual non-consent. The romance genre is not without it’s problematic roots and tropes. The issue is that we know now how terrible it was and that there are many aspects of history that shouldn’t be romanticized at all. No one can make that make sense for me. 

Plus, it won the Christian reward. Miss me with the whole ‘spiritual’ aspect. We all know that’s not the case because there was not nary a romance with another religion in that category. And there’s genocide on the page. I expect certain things in my ‘inspirational’ romances. No bad language, sex off the page, and scriptures. What I don’t expect is murder on the page. And do you know why? Because you’re not suppose to murder! It is literally the Fifth Commandment. You can have it in all other tropes of romance but not that one! It just doesn’t track. 

Oh and according to the scuttlebutt from the RWA Town Hall side chats, somehow this is all (still) Courtney Milan’s fault. 

Needless to say I think the RWA’s days are numbered and, honestly, I think that’s best. At some point, cutting off the harmful limb is the only way to stop the spread of an infection. All that said, it is going to be an interesting implosion to observe. 

Around the Web in Romance:

The harmful depiction of Indigenous people is nothing new to romance and it is something that we all have to work against. I know that I have read books where this was the case an am working to actively avoid books like that again. A good quick history of this type of behavior can be found here.

If you want to hear more about Vivian Stephens, check out her interview on the Black romance Podcast. It is divided up into a part one and a part two and should make for some good listening as well as finding out more about this wonderful woman. You may also want to check out this still relevant interview with her that Texas Monthly did last year.

Speaking of Black Romance, a panel on this topic is scheduled to take place on August 14th. This line-up looks hekka exciting y’all.

The title and synopsis for Emily Henry’s latest dropped. I’m already excited for Book Lovers, especially given the premise. Books about bookish people falling in love is just *chef’s kiss* to me.

Nisha Sharma revealed the cover for her first adult romance, Dating Dr. Dil.

You want some recommendations for upcoming M/M romances? You got ‘em!

The Ripped Bodice is hosting a virtual event with Helen Hoang and Christina Lauren on Wednesday, September 1st. More information can be found here as well as other events the bookstore is hosting.

The Toronto Romance Writers Northern Hearts is also hosting a virtual conference September 17th – 19th with Mrs. Beverly Jenkins as the keynote speak.

The Seattle Library is hosting a panel discussing bisexual romance on September 18th. Yes I know it is a month away and I will probably mention it multiple times before then because this is going to be an amazing conversation.

New Releases & Deals:

Here are some of the new releases hitting the shelves this week.

Shaken or Stirred Cover

Shaken or Stirred by Georgia Beers

What We May Be by Layla Reyne

Role Model by Rachel Reid

The Wildest Ride by Marcella Bell

Beside Golden Irish Fields by Ava Miles

And here are some of the deals I was able to find when perusing the interwebs. Please note that these deals were available at the time of the writing of this newsletter.

Prisoner of Love Cover

The Spinster and the Rake by Eva Devon is currently $0.99 

When You Are Mine by Kennedy Ryan can be snagged for the same price. 

You Lucky Dog by Julia London is showing at $1.99.

Prisoner of Love by Beverly Jenkins can be picked up for $2.99.

So Sweet, So Right, and So For Real by Rebekah Weatherspoon can all be snagged for $0.99.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back Thursday (first day of school!) with more romance updates for how and I’ll try to get a few recommendations in there. If you want to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @PScribe801. Until then!

Categories
Kissing Books

Real Life and Real Romance

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

Romance News:

The Heart Principle book cover

As promised, I did a bit more research into the discourse surrounding The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang. My take on it is that most people as so upset because it’s not a rom-com. To which I say…did you really expect it to be? I love this author’s work and feel she’s a romance writer. But I would not ever classify her work as rom-com.

The Kiss Quotient was advertised as a gender-swapped Pretty Woman. So, many went in thinking it was a rom-com. Those expectations were shattered within the first forty pages though when Stella pretty much has a panic attack while trying to have sex with Michael for the first time and he rightfully put a stop to it. For me, this showed that this would be a romance that ‘got real’ and dealt with real issues. 

Don’t get me wrong; the cover for this book is very misleading as are the others in the series. But neither one of the other books are rom-coms; so, I really don’t understand why anyone would expect THP to be. We all know by now that most times authors have no say on their covers and they can be deceptive. There’s a reason we say to not judge a book by its cover. 

If you didn’t like this book, please don’t take this as “you’re not a real romance reader.” I could easily name five books that are beloved in the genre that weren’t for me and that’s okay. But I don’t think this book should get the amount of hatred it is getting, to the point where the author apologized for it, simply because it’s not a rom-com. 

Most of us are well past the age of sanitized fairy tales where the Princess never gets her period, the Prince never farts, and woodland creatures clean the house. In real life and relationships, you’re going to see the ugly parts of your partner. You may have to deal with them realizing late in life that they are neurodivergent or they have a mental health issue. Chances are you will have to help them bury one or both of their parents which, speaking as someone who’s been on both sides, is very hard.

Grief and suffering doesn’t always have an overnight fix and I don’t expect it to be that way in any of my novels. In fact, I get insulted when it does. And it seems a bit odd that, in a genre that is always criticized for having unrealistic endings, when one does, it is still criticized harshly. We can’t win for losing. 

The RWAs also happened last weekend and the drama surrounding that is something else. There was only one winning book by an author of color, and a book that opened with a hero committing genocide won for ‘Best Romance with a Religious or Spiritual Element’. That’s a whole lot of ‘nope’ from me. Fellow Rioter Sarah fleshes it out a bit more in her news piece here which pretty much is how much of Romancelandia is feeling right now.

What makes it even more insulting is this was the first year the awards were called the Vivians. I mean, we all suspected it, but this really showed that this change was just a form of performative allyship. They also released a ‘statement’ which again is a whole lot of yikes.

I’m happy to see that one of my new favorites, Reese Ryan, took away an award though. I was rooting for her.

Around the Web in Romance:

And now, in lighter topics…

Fellow Rioter Annika has a round-up of some of the best love scenes in books.

Are you interested in hearing a bunch of awesome writers write about their equally awesome books? Then you may want to sign up for the Summer Date Night. It takes place August 13th and is hosted by Loyalty Books.

Check out this cover reveal for The Bachelor’s Valet.

Recommendation:

Yes there is only one recommendation today and that is going to be Kennedy Ryan’s Reel. If you’re a regular reader you know it took me a bit to finish this book, because I was absolutely savoring it.

Reel book cover

This book was rich in its storytelling. I literally had to keep reminding myself that Dessi Blue was not a real person whenever we got the snippets of the script. The realism of what Black entertainers during that time had to deal with was heart wrenching. But it was the realism of the relationship between Neevah and Canon that did it for me. Without going too much into spoilers, they had to deal with a lot when their relationship became physical and known to the rest of the crew. They also had to deal with something that not every couple can work through. And it was hard. It was hard to see and read and imagine how a newly established couple deals with something that can (and has) broken long-standing ones.

This is a great book. Its page count is a beast but it’s worth it. So, if you haven’t picked it up yet, take this as your sign to go ahead and do it soon.

And that’s all for today friends. I’ll be back next Monday with more updates for you. If you want to give me a follow on Twitter, I can be found under @PScribe801. Until then.

Categories
Kissing Books

Break-Ups and Make-Ups

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

Wow…we’re in August already y’all. That’s just mind-boggling to me. Next week, school starts. This first time in a while where I have felt like I blinked and summer just flew by. I know summer is different when you’re an adult because, you know, you still have to work. But jeez…feels like the kiddos are getting shortchanged. Regardless of when school starts for your children, I hope that they had a great summer. Especially after all the mess last year. 

Cover Reveals:

Sierra Simone fans rejoice, for this cover preview appeared on her website last week for the upcoming Saint.

Stephanie J. Scott revealed the cover for her holiday romance, OMG Christmas Tree.

And the anthology Anonymous Sex also debuted their cover.

Around the Web in Romance:

This tweet is a whole mood and it brought up uncomfortable memories of a romance panel that was held back in February. I did mention this in the newsletter back then but apparently it’s still a thing so it bears repeating that Black Romance DOES NOT EQUAL ‘GHETTO’. And, even if there is a book like that written by a Black author why does that automatically make it less than? Is this standard being held to white romance authors when they write about country romances? Is it called country romance or even redneck romance? And if it is, does that make it bad? The answer in case you’re wondering is no. Stop holding marginalized groups to standards that don’t apply to everyone else. It’s tiresome as all get out. 

There was also a call in Romancelandia for the revoke of the third act break-up. I’ll admit I’m more conflicted about this take, especially given what I previously said about how I feel about the ‘grovel’. On the one hand, it does serve the conflict purpose that naysayers of the romance genre sneer about. On the other hand, sometimes they do seem a bit ridiculous or far-fetched. I think I would prefer more of this at the beginning or the middle of the book. That way, it gives more than enough time to resolve it without it being rushed. Maybe this is one reason that second-chance romances are so intriguing. Because you’ve already had the third-act break up and conflict; so we get to spend a whole book resolving that and watching them fall in love again.

For rom-com fans, Resort to Love is live onNetflix. So, if you need something to do after a hard day of work, that may do the trick.

Long-standing romance author Debbie Macomber had this to say about writing in 2020.

Also, not romance news but it involves bookish fun. Try this test to see how much of a childhood bookworm you were! I got 24/28 and was very pleased with my younger self. It was brought to my attention that the link for the romance novel quiz may not have worked, so apologies if you tried to take it couldn’t, here’s my take two on that one.

I also heard about the discourse regarding the Kirkus review on The Heart Principle, which resulted in Helen Hoang apologizing for it not being a rom-com. I do want to discuss this more but I need more time to delve into it more and give it the consideration it deserves. So, stay tuned for for that in Thursday’s edition.

New Releases

Playing with Words book cover

If you’re a gamer, then Sidequest for Love by L.H. Cosway may peak your interest.

If you prefer small town romances, check out Playing With Words by Kelly Elliott.

Christina Dodd’s latest, In Bed with the Duke will also be available if historical is your catnip.

For my sports fan, there’s Winning With Him by Lauren Blakely.

You like fake dating? Check out Fake It by Lily Seabrooke.

In contemporary romance, we have Her Inconvenient Groom by Niomie Roland.

Romance Ebook Deals

Here are some deals you can snag. Deals are active as of the writing of this newsletter.

Waking Up Married book cover

Come What May by A.M Arthur is $1.99

Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn for $1.99

Nora Robert’s The Heart of Devin MacKade for $1.99

Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan is a steal for $2.99

To Love Again by Ellie Etienne is also $2.99.


That’s all for now! I’ll be back Thursday with more romance updates for you. If you can’t wait to hear from me until then, just give me a follow over on Twitter @PScribe801. TTFN (ta-ta for now!)

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Kissing Books

Romance Anticipation is the Best

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

It’s camp time for my kiddo next week and he’s looking forward to it. I will admit part of me has some reservations given the recent Covid numbers. But another part of me is also cognitive that this may be his last chance to do something fun before we get put through another lockdown soon. And I’m one of those that I foresee it happening which means that the flip to virtual may be made and it would be outside of my control. I know that I am going stir-crazy and have been for a while; so I can only imagine what his teenage brain is dealing with. I am going to be spending the rest of the week talking to him and we may shoot for getting him his first dose, especially since we got the all clear from his specialist.

But I will be honest in saying that I am looking forward to this chance for him. I really think people didn’t give as much thought or credit to how the children have been affected this last year. Most times, you hear the whines about not being able to go to a bar or similar locations. But no one is realizing that children haven’t been able to do anything, even something as simple as go to the park, for a long time. So, this will be a good opportunity for him especially since I know the precautions that will be taken. Even when school starts, he will be masked up no matter what our elected officials say. 

I’ll also admit that I am looking forward to the quiet and alone time with my partner that it will bring. 

Book Riot Romance

The latest When in Romance episode up. I just love that the title is The Return of The Toaster Oven. In it, Trisha and Jess discuss Wrong Number, Right Woman as well as some of their eagerly anticipated romances for the remainder of 2021.

Rioter Amanda gave us her recommendations for romances that feature radio hosts and podcasters. There is something to be said about the smooth sexy voices that can grace the airwaves.

Vernieda also gave us a crash course in Harlequin Manga.

Around the Web In Romance:

These are, in a word, beautiful. I know I don’t need any more bags but I’ll be honest in admitting I’d have a hard time turning any of these down if I saw them in a local shop.

I think we can all agree that sometimes it’s just as satisfying reading about the friendships in romance novels. If you’re of that mindset, then be sure to try to check out the Love’s Sweet Arrow BFFs in Romance event on August 6th.

Here’s a fun quiz to see how many of these popular romances you’ve read. Somehow I only got 15/60, which was a little surprising to me. If they had gone by author, I would have gotten a much higher result. But since it was specific books, it did change for some of the ones listed. It’s still a fun one though and a good way to add to your TBR.

Kennedy Ryan’s Reel got the billboard treatment! I am over the 50% mark and I am loving this sooooo much. So seeing this is awesome to see especially in a world that still sneers at the romance genre. Get it sis!

I’ve talked about this before, but apparently it needs to be reiterated that YA is intended for Young Adults. It’s okay to be an adult reading YA; it’s not okay to want more ‘adult’ themes in it to satisfy your reading needs and desires. That’s like reading a Western and being mad that the only to get around town is by horse, buggy, or your feet. If you’re ashamed to be seen reading romance that’s on you and something you have to unpack and process. But stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and let YA stay YA.

Anticipated Reads:

cover image of Never Cross a Highlander by Lisa Rayne

The discussion about the eagerly anticipated books for the remainder of the year got me to thinking about the ones I’m looking forward to for the remainder of this year. Funnily enough, it not surprising, a lot of mine overlap with what Trisha and Jess mentioned. This includes, but isn’t limited to, A Thorn in the Saddle, The Heart Principle, The Lights on Knockbridge Lane (just go an ARC of that!) and Never Cross a Highlander. However, I’m also looking forward to The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon, A Kiss at the Mistletoe Rodeo by Kathy Douglass, and Bombshell by Sarach MacLean. Even though the release date is still TBD, I’m still eagerly awaiting The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare.

No recommendations today since I wanted to take the the to talk about my anticipated reads. I’ve gotten a few requests for recommendations and am still working on coming up with some for those. I should be back on track next week for them but I may also change it up a bit for future newsletters. Don’t worry though! Mondays will always have new releases and deals.

And on that note, I’m off for now. Thanks for reading and if you need more of me you can follow me over on Twitter under @PScribe801. See ya Monday!

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Kissing Books

Reading Romance Proudly

Hello again romance readers. I’m PN Hinton, your companion for the world of romance. I hope your spirit is doing well today. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

I forgot to mention last time that I finished Instructions for Dancing last weekend and it wrecked me. While I thoroughly enjoy it and do consider it a romance, it is definitely an HFN and not an HEA. Maybe that is the author’s typical MO though; since it was the first I’ve read by her I couldn’t say. But yeah; keep a tissue handy with this one. 

I am also half-way through Reel but again don’t interpret it taking a long time as a bad sign; I’m just savoring it because it’s so good. That and the issue with Neevah’s sister is hard to deal with since that is one of the levels of utmost betrayal for me and it is hard to take in whenever it comes up. Still a good book though so highly recommended, even if I’m not all the way done with it. 

This right here is a whole mood. I’m getting tired of hearing that a book is good for a romance. Genre doesn’t matter and should only be given if there are specific buttons that may be pushed for that person. I’m honest enough to admit that, up until more recently than I care to admit, I fell into this trap myself. I allowed myself to be ashamed for reading and writing about romance novels. When asked what I was reading, I would hold up the book almost apologetically and deal with the scorn that normally came after it. 

It wasn’t until I found a community of like minded people that I started working on not giving a flying flip what anyone thinks about what I read. Reading is for fun and romance is one of the few things that still and continues to bring me joy. It doesn’t make me any less of a reader or any less intelligent. A good book is still a good book, no matter what genre it is in.

Book Riot Romance

While I personally don’t dig reality shows of any kind, I know that the dating ones are popular. Especially when they have such unique premises like Sexy Beasts. If the show is something that snagged your interest, you may enjoy some of these other unconventional romances.

Also, if you’re needing or wanting a helpful guide on how to break into the of erotic manga, here you go.

Around the World in Romance

Congratulations to writer Jae for winning an eLit award for Wrong Number, Right Woman! This is so exciting especially considering this is the current WIR book club pick.

Since I’ve recently discovered that fake dating is apparently the bee’s knees for me, you know that some of these are going to be on my TBR pile.

Looking to get away from it all, even if it’s just between the pages of the book? Some of the ones listed here may fit that bill.

Here’s a fun little quiz to find out which type of fan-fiction matches your personality. Once you have that, then you can start looking for one to fulfill the 2021 Read Harder Challenge prompt.

Cover Reveals:

I’ve got more cover reveals for y’all today! First there is the one for Eva Leigh’s The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes.

Then Mia Sosa tweeted out the one for The Wedding Crasher.

And then there was this one for Meka James Mechanics of Love!

I am really enjoying these so they may be a regular feature or as regular as they can be, depending on the announcements that happen with cover reveals.

New Releases & Deals

There are a variety of new releases hitting the physical and digital shelves this week.

Open Your Heart by Cherish Hodge and Lost: A Why Choose novel by Jayne Rylon are being released this week. You can also pick up Sophie Jordan’s The Duke Goes Down and Diana Quincy’s The Viscount Made Me Do It.

I missed it last Monday, but Susannah Nix’s My Cone and Only was released last week. I just love a good punny title, especially when it’s about ice cream.

One of the deals you can pick up this week is Talia Hibbert’s re-covered Guarding Temptation, a bargain at $0.99. This is one of the few I haven’t read so you know I clicked on that with a quickness. The anthology Four Dukes and a Devil is also $0.99 and Kate Claybourn’s Luck of the Draw can be purchased for $3.99.

If you’re looking to mesh up Christmas in July vibes with #JenkinsJuly, you can pick up I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Mrs. Bev for $1.99 as well as Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation and Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant. Cherry Lane by Rochelle Alers is currently $2.99.

That’s all I have for you today fellow romance readers. I hope that the rest of the week until we meet again treats you well. Remember to stay hydrated as that is always important. Give me a follow over on Twitter @PScribe801 and I’ll see you next time.

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Kissing Books

Apologize vs Grovel

Hello again romance readers. I’m PN Hinton, your companion for the world of romance. I hope your spirit is doing well today. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again. 

I need another show to watch now that Loki is over. I know that the season finale divided a lot of people but personally I enjoyed how it all came together. I’m looking forward to how it will change future movies. And we are thankfully getting a second season cause that cliffhanger though…

I know a lot of fans were upset because of the Sylvie aspect, which I could take or leave. Maybe it’s the English Major in me but I took it as a metaphor for him learning to love himself. Because if you don’t love yourself then you can’t expect others to. Honestly I didn’t ship him with anyone on the show, not even Mobius. Why, you ask? 

Loki doesn’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend right now. He needs a real friend. Like, a friend that is his friend first and then maybe Thor’s. And all the hugs because sweet niblets, that ending. 

Cover Reveals

I’ve got more cover reveals for y’all today! First there is this one for A Kiss at the Mistletoe Rodeo by Kathy Douglass, yet another holiday romance. I see you romance authors trying to prevent me from being a Grinch this year! And I appreciate it.

Then there was this one for Alexandria Bellefluer’s Count Your Lucky Stars! Guess this means I need to pick up Hang the Moon soon, huh? (looks ashamed in romance book nerd).

Then there’s the one for Becky Michael’s A Rake Like You. ALL THE COVER GOODNESS!!

Recommendations

I’ve noticed recently that one of the biggest selling points for a romance is how well ‘the grovel’ is done. It seems there are people out there who want the hero or the heroine to crawl across broken glass dipped in lemon juice with skinned knees to show the depth of their remorse and it’s like…no. It’s not for me. It’s a power play that brings to me someone feeling they’re beneath someone else and showing it.

Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t believe in apologies. Despite what the movies say, you’re going to say sorry to your loved ones…a lot. That’s just factual. And you have to mean your apology; so, your actions need to speak louder than words. Don’t just talk about it; be about it.

Still, the word grovel indicates a level of imbalance that I just can’t get behind. I know that a lot of that is just how I interpret the word. I prefer the term “make-up.” This is where either one or both parties acknowledge their wrong doing in the situation. It’s a much healthier resolution for me because it shows a level of talking and working it out and actively trying to be better themselves and work on their relationship. Here are some of my recent reads that I personally found had good make-up scenes in the book after the third-act conflict. They may not have been grandiose, but they are satisfying. 

cover image of The Hate Project by Kris Ripper

The Hate Project by Kris Ripper

I don’t think enough people talk about this book and that really makes me sad. I loved this M/M romance about two grumpy people who start off as enemies with benefits before slowly developing in the framework of an actual relationship. This of course leads to one of them getting scared and running away before having to return to the object of their affection and explain his reasoning. There are so many good things about this book and how it deals with anxiety and mental health, as well as being culpable for one’s actions.

cover image of Knit, Purl, and a Baby Girl by Hettie Bell

Knit, Purl, and a Baby Girl by Hettie Bell

This sweet sapphic romance about a bisexual girl who finds herself pregnant after a one-stand with an ex and the woman she meets when she visits Planned Parenthood for her options. I found that this was a little more fast paced than I normally prefer in my romances but I still enjoyed it. What sets this apart for me is that both women had to have their own apologies to each other after their fight. One of them even had to admit that she had to apologize for her actions because she didn’t stay within the boundaries that she set for herself, which made the conflict even harder to deal with. It’s just…trust me, it’s a sweet book that again doesn’t get enough promotion since its release and really should.

cover image of Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Honestly, anyone of the Brown sisters books would apply here but I’m picking Dani because I feel I don’t show her as much love as her sisters. This one is again recommended because of how believable it is as well as Dani realizing that the misunderstanding was all on her and her misconceptions on some things. I also love how this came about with a sister-and-friend ranting session and she came to the conclusion with gentle prodding from her friend and not so gentle from her sisters. Because you know…sisters. So, she is the one who has to make the amends. Anyone can be humbled and everyone should at one point.

And that is it for today. I will see y’all Monday with another edition but if you want little snippets of me before then give me a follow over a Twitter under @Pscribe801. Have a great weekend and remember to do at least one thing just for yourself. Until next time!