Categories
Kissing Books

Laughter All Around

Hello again! I hope that you got plenty of rest, reading, and relaxing done over the weekend. Also that you’re ready to face this week like the bad-ass that you are! I know that I am ready to face the challenge of this week. A lot of that is because I was able to get my first vaccination last week through my partner’s job. He got it at the same time so we were able to rough the waters (as it were) together. 

Up until the moment where it was actually injected, I’ll admit that I was on the fence about whether or not to get it. Historically, there is a lot of deep-rooted mistrust from people of color towards the medical field. Between the Tuskegee Experiment and Henrietta Lacks, the feelings there are rightfully warranted. Hell, I don’t even go to the doctor for myself even though I’m always right on time for my son. I know that I need to get better at it though, especially with my entire family’s health history. 

In fact, they’re the reason I decided to get it done. I realized that it would help get one step closer to being able to meet with my family for holidays. I miss that so much. A lot of the elders in my family have already gotten at least one dose themselves, if not a full vaccination. I figure if they were able to get over their own concerns, which run deeper than mine, then I figured I could bite the proverbial bullet as well. 

Speaking of vaccinations…

Romance Related Fun

Romancelandia has been fairly tame lately (furiously pounds on all the wooden furniture nearby). One pure thing that happened for us though is that a challenge went around for romance authors. It was the “being vaccinated does NOT mean” with various romance novel plot points. It was great seeing everyone dig into their bag of tropes o’tropes and come up with a unique answer. I’m not sure if Kate Clayborn came up with this or simply shared it, but since it is where I first stumbled across it, I’ll share that thread here.

Keeping with the fun Twitter trends, Really Reading Romance also threw down this gauntlet. The replies were varied on this one and hilarious. Seriously take a moment to look through some of the replies or re-tweets. It took me a moment to figure out my own opinion on this but I came up with one for books and movies. Okay, here goes. *deep breath* 

I’m not a fan of sports romances. At all. I’ve tried multiple times to get into a few but it’s just not for me. Personally, I have an issue with the idolatry that we give athletes, even the truly philanthropic ones. Of course, I’ll recommend and hype them up since I know I’ve done that before. However, chances are I am doing that at the advice of a fellow book dragon whose opinion I trust a lot and not from personal experience. 

My movie related take is that My Best Friend’s Wedding is not a rom-com. It’s a movie about a woman who acts like an entitled, spoiled brat when the ‘back up’ man that she never wanted is suddenly unavailable and tries to break up an obviously happy couple. Best part of that movie (apart from the singing scene) was the brutal verbal reality slap Rupert Everett’s George gives her at the end by reminding her no one is chasing her. Truth hurts, ma’am.

In the hustle and bustle of life and this last year, a lot of us still forget to take the time to stop and be goofy. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Whether it’s with your partner, kids, friends, or extended family, be sure to take the time to be silly.

From Book Riot and Around the Web

I readily co-sign all the books that Jess listed here and will be ready with the popcorn and adult beverage when/if it happens!

Here are some of the romance novel based movies that are currently in the works.

If you love second chance romances, here are some books to add to your likely already massive TBR recommended by Rioter Brooke.

Do you like a bit of crying with your romance? If so, then here are some recommendations for you.

Check out debut author Ruby Barrett’s (see more info below) take on the Cinnamon Roll Character.

New Releases and Deals

Here are some of the new releases headed our way this week, including a few under the radar ones:

Hot Copy by Ruby Barrett (debut) 

Love So Beautiful by Angel Mystique 

Earn Your Extra Credit by Meghan Quinn

How to Catch a Duke by Grace Burrowes

The Marriage He Demands by Brenda Jackson

And here are some deals to help fill out your digital shelves:

Love Always, Wild by A.M. Johnson is available for $1.99

Holiday Brides by Farrah Rochon, Stefanie Worth, and Jewel Amethyst can be snagged for $1.49

Everything But a Groom by Holly Jacobs is also $0.99

Six More Minutes: New-Year Bae Solutions by A.C Arthur can be picked up for $1.99


That’s it for now. As always you can follow me @PScribe801 over on Twitter. Until next time friends!

Categories
Kissing Books

We Need Healthy IR Books

Welcome back, y’all! We’re almost at the end of the first full week in April. I hope that it was a good one for you with equal parts productive and relaxation. Despite the craziness of the world, the last year hasn’t been all terrible in that it has really shined a light on how important mental well-being is. 

I realized early on that, as tricky as it may be, I had to take time for myself to rest and relax. I haven’t always been consistent about this, but I let it go completely. Even if it is flying solo to get a frozen adult beverage to-go or using a bath bomb, I try carve out a little bit of me time each week.

Remember the airplane analogy y’all; if you don’t help yourself first, you can’t help others. 

In things I wish I could unlearn, I discovered that there is a book floating around being advertised as a BWWM abuse romance. 

*eye twitch*

I could have lived my entire life three times over and not wanted to know this. There are so many things wrong with this, where to begin? This is a huge difference from ‘bully’ romance in that there is more damaging connotation behind it. The fact that it is specifically advertised as a BWWM romance is triggering and problematic AF. 

Again let me state that, for obvious reasons, I have no problem with IR. 

My problem is that this book is outwardly being advertised as a romance between a Black woman and white man that is abusive with pride. The fact that it even got written and that it is out there getting recommended means that some twisted algorithm is beyond enraging and saddening. 

Bluntly put, being in an IR is hard enough without nonsense like this floating around the world, romance related or otherwise. While not as bad as it once was, in certain parts of the country, it’s still a dangerous thing. I don’t believe any type of love is superior to one or another. Love is love is love is love. But this is not the kind of love that Romanceladia needs or wants.

This goes beyond any shade of dark romance. It borders on some really twisted, gross form of fetishization. There’s no making this book sound appealing at all. Here’s hoping that it, and the one I’ve mentioned before, just goes away.

And, before anyone says that the critics to this book, which of course shall not be named, are being oversensitive, I pose the following question. Would anyone be okay with this if the races of those genders were reversed?

*sips tea*

Around Book Riot and the Web

In happier news, another WIR book club is in the works. The first step is to vote on said book. Be sure to listen to this week’s episode and then head over to either Jess or Tricia’s social media (or both if you really want to put all your chips on one book) to vote.

Erika Hardison has some African and Asian love recs.

Personally, I never get tired of hearing from or about Ms. Bev. In case you missed it, here is the Forbes article about how she combines history and romance into wonderful books.

If you want a new-to-romance reader’s take on why Talia Hibbert is the bee’s knees, here is your chance.

Recommendations

I had been planning on leaving this type of recommendation for closer to Loving Day in June. But, considering the recent developments in what is being pushed as IR as of late, I think it’s time to shine a light on better IRs out there that you can spend your time and money on.

Like Lovers Do by Tracey Livesay

In exchange for a recommendation from his prominent family, doctor Nicole agrees to act as roommate Ben’s new girlfriend to help him avoid his ex at a weekend getaway in Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, a weekend getaway and close quarters make the attraction they’ve been trying to avoid impossible to ignore. What I really appreciate about this book is that it tackles a lot of the microaggressions that people in an IR go through. Nicole has to deal with snide, racist remarks from Ben’s jealous ex and Ben has to realize how privileged he is even if he never took advantage of it. However, this book is still full of laughs, love, and an HEA.

Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau

Reclusive sci-fi author Will begrudgingly agrees to act as the fake boyfriend for Naomi, his friend’s younger sister. She needs a buffer between her and her ex at a friend’s weekend getaway and Will fits the part, at least for a short period of time. Even though he’s always been attracted to her, he has placed her firmly in a ‘no-touch’ zone because of his closeness with her brother. However, a weekend away from big brother means that they can play to their heart’s content. While there isn’t a lot of conflict here, it’s still a sweet depiction of an IR full of steamy love scenes.

Cover of Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Bailey is determined to not be another one of sexy single dad Jake’s conquests and keeps him at arm’s length, only engaging when it comes to his son. After being stuck in an elevator, both come to a mutual understanding that develops into a mutual friendship and then a mutual attraction. This is a pretty steamy novella, but it packs an emotional punch as well and will make you feel all the things. There are a few CWs here but the one I can remember off the bat is death of a parent. If this author is new to  you, trust me; take a chance on this one. You won’t be disappointed. 


And that’s it for me, fellow bibliophiles. I hope that you enjoy your weekend and get a lot of reading done. Catch up with me before Monday at @Pscribe801 on Twitter. Until Monday!

Categories
Kissing Books

Not Another One

Top of the week, fellow romance readers! I hope this Monday morning finds you well. Mondays are really a hit or miss for me. Sometimes, I wake up very much ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’ a la Maria. Others I wake up like Garfield, detesting every second of the day. It’s always a dice roll how it will turn out. At least the week starts off with a surprise of sorts amirite? 

One particular challenge I faced over these last few weeks was getting the teenager back into the routine of going to school. You’d think only have one week wouldn’t throw us completely off track, and that he would have dived right back into it ready to count down the days to summer break. 

You’d think wrong. 

And, even if we had gotten back into our routine, it would go right back out the window, since this last weekend was a four day one for him. At least it’s the last for the school year so it should be steady from here on out. 

Still, send well wishes my way. 

In Romance News

Yet another ‘hot take’ article made its way around the Internet and came within our orbital pull. The one was about one woman’s journey into writing a ‘horny’ book about females tailored for women just like her. Fictional women who are empowered by sex and their expressions of lust. It also touched on how much of a shortage there was for books like that in the publishing market. 

*slow blink*

Because you know it’s not like there’s a genre that matches that already. 

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t set well with a majority of Romancelandia. It came across as yet another attack on the genre. The piece came off as wanting to be edgy and discussed wanting to have a literary safe space for women who may be more amorous than others, but it fell on angry ears. And with good reason. The initial reaction that I and many other romance readers had can be summed up by this image that was created by Ally Only Reads. 

In one exceedingly small defense of the article, it doesn’t outright pooh-pooh romance. The same can’t be said for other articles that come out on this topic. But, that doesn’t mean I’m giving it credit. This is because it doesn’t even acknowledge romance or erotica, which, based on the description, is what her novel would be classified as. It’s almost more insulting to not even acknowledge the genre you describe as trying to pioneer.

I’m all for wanting to write a book that speaks to your heart that you weren’t finding. If the options out there aren’t horny enough for you, go forth and pound the keyboards to write one that fits all your kinks. But don’t act like it’s something that is brand spanking (talk about kinky) new. It’s like deciding to put a brand new topping on cheesecake and then claiming that you’re the creator of cheesecake.. 

No, you’re not. You didn’t discover anything new. Yes, you put your own spin on a base that was already there and (ideally) made it uniquely you. But that is not the same as creating it or making it new. 

As per usual, I’m not linking to it here, the reason being that while it’s slightly better than other articles in that vein, it is still a garbage take. 

And also in a bit of maybe not surprising but still heart breaking news, Regé-Jean Page will not be joining the second season of Bridgerton. While we should be expecting the focus to have been off the Bassets, we still expected both of them to be around. Daphne, as a natural Bridgerton, will still be there. Optimistic me is hoping that he will at the very least do a cameo for the Pall Mall scene…which better be in there. *nerd glare*

From Book Riot and Around the Web

Looking to curl up with some steamy vampire reads? Silvana has got your back…or neck, if you prefer, on that.

Easter may have been yesterday, but you can still enjoy the sweets and books recommended here! Even better? Today is also Half-off Candy Day: The Bunny Edition!

For Outlander fans, news broke out that the new book has finally been finished. Here is a quick article for all that is known about it so far.

New Releases & Deals

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

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Life’s too Short by Abby Jimenez

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

And here are some of the deals I found when writing this newsletter up:

Deliver Me by Farrah Rochon is currently free

cover of He's Not My Boyfriend by Jackie Lau

He’s Not My Boyfriend by Jackie Lau is available for $0.99

Real Men Knit (Real Men Knit series)n Knit by Kwana Jackson is currently available for $1.99*

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite is also available for $1.99

*Some readers have said this reads more like women’s fiction with a romantic element. But others do consider it a romance hence the reason for the share.


And that’s all for now. Catch up with me during the in-betweens @Pscribe over on Twitter. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

All the Fun And Laughter

Welcome to April! Today is the start of a new month and the next quarter of the year. While I typically view the new year as the big slate cleaner, I also appreciate the mini-start overs we get at the beginning of each month. Even though it’s a smaller refresh, it’s still a chance to wipe away any missteps that were made in the last x-amount of days and try again.

Cue the Aliyah song. 

I know that I am going to view this day as a new opportunity to start over on some of my goals, both work and personal. I hope that you do as well. I know that March was a mixed bag for a lot of people for numerous reasons. March 2022 already has a lot of pressure on it to not be so terrible although, to be fair, the bar for that is going to be really, really low. 

And, if the rhyme most of us grew up hearing holds true, April brings showers. And by showers, I mean catastrophes. But even if that is true, let’s hope that it’s not all gloom, doom, and rainy days. And that May will hold up its end of the bargain by being full of flowers. 

Today is also April Fool’s Day, a holiday which I am not fond of. I dislike jokes or pranks. They make me feel awkward and uncomfortable. If someone wants a surefire way to get me out of their lives, have a DJ play an on-air joke on me. There’s also always a bit of a malicious undertone to those, and you can’t convince me otherwise. 

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love laughing; just not at the expense of someone else. Even better if you add romance to that comedy. I know that others feel similarly, since romantic comedies have been a thing for a very long time. While they had their heyday in the ’80s/’90s, the term was coined back in 1971. Furthermore, movies that could fit this description go back as far as the 1920s. So, it’s not a new thing.  

Unfortunately these movies also have a history of being mocked. Which is more than a bit unfair. To have such disdain for romantic comedy to the point of being dismissive or condescending is beyond rude. I am sure this is because it has the word “romantic” in front of it. We all know that romance gets a bad rep for many reasons, but it’s still standing after all these years. 

So, it’s doing something right. 

Rom-Com Recommendations

If you’re wanting a bit more romcom with no pranks in your life, here are my recommendations for you this week: 

Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton 

I was almost tempted to put Wallbanger here since that is also full of romcom shenanigans. But, if I’m being honest, this is my favorite out of the series. And one reason for that is that it has one of my favorite types of heroes: nerds. As an added bonus, both the hero and heroine here are nerds. Viv is a kick-ass designer by day and secret lover of romance novels at night. When she inherits a house from a long-lost aunt in Mendocino, California that comes complete with cowboy Hank as the caregiver, she feels like she’s been swept into her own personal romance novel. If only she could keep her mind off Clark, the local librarian, which is another one my favorite heroes. 

cover of get a life chloe brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

The first in the Brown sisters series is full of romantic and comedic hijinks. Secretly looking through a window at the hot property manager. Getting stuck in a tree trying to save a stray cat. Having an almost kiss with said aforementioned property manager while in a onesie. All while dealing with a bucket list that was created after a near-death experience. Not only will you get to meet Chloe and Red for the first time; you’ll get to meet Dani and Eve as well. Which should increase your desire to pick up the other books in the series. 

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Min and Cal meet when he asks her out to dinner based on a bet. Their evening ends in disaster though and they agree to cut their losses. Fate, however, has other plans. Add in some jealous exes, a freakishly intelligent cat, and chicken marsala and you have the recipe for a good laugh. There are no pranks here, but there is a bit of deception by omission, which I know a lot of people don’t like. Also, Min is plus sized and while she’s happy with herself, she has to deal with passive aggressive comments from her mother. So be forewarned. 

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

Bookstore worker Jordan is a die-hard romance lover who is trying to think of ways to keep his romance book club alive since it is slowly dying. However, this doesn’t mean he wants his new co-worker, Rex, to help him. Especially since Rex makes fun of him for reading these types of books. Ultimately, he decides the ends may justify the means to keep his club alive and agrees to work with Rex to resurrect the club. Along the way he realizes maybe he was too quick to judge Rex and should give him a second chance. 

Hopefully one of these strikes your fancy and helps to bring a smile to your face.

Fun From Book Riot and Around the Web

If you’re looking for even more recommendations for romcoms, check out this post from the Book Riot archives.

Speaking of romcoms, here’s a fun quiz to test your love of the genre. It’s all in good fun though so don’t put much too much stock into it.

Do you like role reversal in your romances? If so, some of those may strike your fancy.

If you’ve ever wanted to recommend romance books to your friends based on their interest, here’s your chance to shine!


That’s all for today but, if you want snippets of my bookish life, follow me on Twitter @PScribe801. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Does Art Have to Imitate Life?

Hello once again, fellow KBers. I hope that today finds you in a good place across all the checkpoints. The last few weeks of March ended up being extremely heartbreaking, due to some very real world ugliness. We had multiple mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder and it just hurts that this still continues to be an issue. I heard somewhere that last year had the least amount of mass shootings like this but that’s because most of the country was stuck inside. So, it’s not a real victory for me.

If you or someone you know has been affected by these recent tragedies, my heart goes out to you and yours.

Moving on to some lighter topics.

What with the world being grown up grounded for the last year, a lot of bookish people, authors and writers included, wondered how COVID-19 would be reflected in current and future publications. I mean, it was a historical event on a global scale. So, it’s not like we can’t pretend it just didn’t happen. The truth of it is all around us even now as the vaccine is rolling out to more and more people. 

However, there is something to be said for wanting to have a bit of escapism especially so soon after the fact. This was something that we were not prepared for. The last time something on this level happened in America was, funnily enough, in the 1920s. And we ended up doing the same thing with being quarantined, getting mad at being shut in and going on, and it staying around even longer. You would think people would learn from history but alas.

I would argue it was worse then because at least now Internet, e-readers, and streaming services are an option for most. So, there were ways to pass the days that seemed to go on forever and ever. I know I got a lot of reading done as well as started to be more mindful of what I wanted to do for myself and considered self-care. It also let me know that again I’m pretty adaptable all around, which is always a good quality to have.

Still I want to be able to go safely into the freaking outdoors now please.

Regardless of what an author chooses to do I respect it. Talia Hibbert states in the forward for Act Your Age, Eve Brown, that she wrote the book in a COVID-free world. Which I respect. Now, the Brown sisters are also written in what I would call a ‘timeless’ period; meaning you know it’s contemporary but not exactly when it is. So, there is no need to really nail down exactly what year it took place in. I haven’t read any that specifically mention COVID-19 yet, but the year is still young and who knows what my future TBR pile shall bring.

I’ve also noticed from my casual, not-at-all scientific observation, a surge in books taking place in tropical locations, such as Meet Me in Paradise, or book festivals, such as the upcoming No Words by Meg Cabot. The covers of the book even show tropical locations. This is likely an extension of some of the things that we all wished we could have done last year, as well a call of what we hope to do very soon. Which is fair. I was supposed to got to KissCon last year with a friend and well….*shrugs*. C’est la vie.

And then there were some who embraced the pandemic and wrote romance novels around it. You know what story I’m talking about. Now, this isn’t my bag, but I’m not going to yuck someone’s yum.

All of this is to say that whichever way an author chooses to work through their frustration over the last year is between them, their editor, and the publisher. As readers, we are empowered to pick and choose what we read on our own time. So, if you don’t like the blind eye an author may turn towards the year 2020, that’s fine. You can choose not to read their book. Just like you can choose to not read a book that uses quarantine as a new method of forced proximity.

Personally, I’m trying to stay positive that by this summer we may be on the upswing. That’s not just because that is when my birthday is either (although it does add to it), but with the number of people getting vaccinated it is possible. Even if not everyone does it, if enough people do it, then herd immunity will kick in and then we can start trying to live the way we did.

Romance News

Let’s hear it for more books featuring older romance couples!

Frolic put together a list of contemporary romances that may have been missed in March!

Yes, more Bridgerton. Here is one writer’s choices for the steamiest (or funniest) lines from the entire series, including the second epilogue collection.

New Releases

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

Custom Made by Chantal Fernando

Knit, Purl, a Baby, and a Girl by Hettie Bell*

Sweethand by N.G. Peltier

The Rebel by Kendall Ryan

Back in the Burbs by Avery Flynn & Tracy Wolff

*I read this one as an e-ARC and it’s super sweet. However, there is a lot of body shaming in it from the narrator’s mother.

Deals

As of the writing of this newsletter, here were some sweet deals I came across!

Breakfast in Bed by Rochelle Alers can be picked up for $0.99

The Remaking of Corbin Wales by Roan Parish is available for $1.99

Second Chance on Cypress Lane by Reese Ryan is available for $2.99.

The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas is $1.99


That’s all for now friends. Feel free to follow me over at Twitter under @PScribe801. Until next time!

Categories
Kissing Books

Pomegranate Ponderings

Hello again, KBers! I hope that this last week has treated you well. It’s the second to last one in March and honestly, this month seemed to fly by. Especially in comparison to last year which seemed to drag on endlessly and last the whole year. I suppose a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was on vacation last week, which again was much needed. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and read to recap some of the highlights of the romance world for you. 

Romance News:

Every time I think that people will stop treating the romance genre like the proverbial red-headed stepchild, something happens on the Internet to surprise me. Apparently there was a new publication, called The Shift Magazine, slated for production that was going to focus around the reviewing of romance novels. And I say this in the past tense because, according to their site and after a few controversial tweets, they’ve now paused production and “hope to launch in the fall.” 

I didn’t get a chance to look at the site before the placeholder message was put on. However, based on the screenshots that were floating around, it’s a safe bet that they wouldn’t have been too successful. Between making what I’m sure they thought was a novel and pioneering statement that romances didn’t need a happily ever after (they do), their questionable parameters, and their own admission that their initial review requirements could be viewed as narrow-minded….they were sunk before they even had a chance.

And, upon further investigation, their Twitter account is locked down and protected. *Cardi B voice* That’s weird. 

Alas, screenshots are forever.

Among other things, Jess and Trish played “Is it romance?” on this week’s episode of the When in Romance podcast. And yes for the record…The Mummy is a romance and needs a re-watch soon.

Here’s a quick quiz on what to read next, based on your Zodiac sign. I have an ARC of the one for me, and I am taking that as the universe’s way of not so subtly telling me to pick it up next. 

The consistently amazing Stacy Abrams spoke with SXSW about how being in politics influenced her romance writing.

Recommendations:

One of my current obsessions is the webtoon Lore Olympus. I really can’t articulate how awesome this series is. This unique take on this tale is so inventive and the artwork is amazing. And the author/artist is very good about giving trigger and content warnings for specific episodes. Which is amaze-balls. 

Sidenote: It’s not a spoiler when someone does this; it’s a kindness. 

This has always been one of my favorites of the Greek tales. In the more popular version of the myth, Hades kidnaps Persephone and there is a certain amount of Stockholm Syndrome there. And she’s sad and doesn’t eat and eventually Hades is ordered by Zeus that she has to be returned to Demeter, provided she hasn’t eaten anything.

Right when this decree is being made, Persephone suddenly decides to nom on something. And when she finally breaks her fast, she picks the pomegranate; a fruit that is so difficult to eat, it is like the food equivalent of Fort Knox. 

And I’m not exaggerating. The first time I ate one I got super frustrated at the amount of effort it took. After that experience, I began to have questions. She could have had a plum, or an apple. But nope, she chose a pomegranate. Poet Danielle Michalleni touched on this in her haunting “Persephone Speaks” poem where it turns the myth around and says that she chose to eat the fruit.

Now, I do understand that the idea behind the myth is to explain the changing of the seasons. But it’s still, if you’ll pardon the pun, food for thought. And with that in mind, on to the recommendations for this week! Which, surprising no one I’m sure after that introduction, is Hades and Persephone retellings that I was able to find when searching on the interwebs.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe

I’m obviously going to start out with this one because, again, it’s just amazing. It’s both modern and classic (yes trust me on this) and you’ll fall in love with almost every single character. Except Apollo. You’ll see when you get there. As previously mentioned, it also has an impending print release and is available for pre-order. Cue all the excitement!

Drag Me Up by R.M. Virtues

This spin on the myth takes place in a Las Vegas casino. Hades is a mastermind behind the scenes, preferring to be spoken of in hushed tones. And Persephone is the newest aerialist in Calliope’s Cirque productions. Unfortunately she is also indebted to Zeus. Fate puts them together but when it also throws a wrench and Zeus in their path, will their desire overcome all the challenges? This one flew under my radar so I didn’t get a chance to mention it in the new releases (or believe you me I would have).

King of Shadows by Amelia Wilde

The first in a trilogy, this book is a dark romance retelling of the myth that finds Persephone under the control of Hades, who is determined to break her. However, she is not the wilting flower that the myths may make her and is determined to battle him. Fair warning; this is a trilogy, which indicates some kind of cliffhanger. Also, it is a dark romance, which usually coincides with dark situations, emotions, and possible consent issues. Please be mindful of that when determining whether or not to pick this up.

Hot as Hades by Alisa Rai

In this spin, Hades is more than content to hide away in the Underworld away from the meddling deities of his Pantheon. So, he’s not pleased when a naked Persephone literally drops into his lap. Even more so when he finds out he has to house her for the foreseeable future. She is also unexcited at the prospect of spending any extended time there, away from flowers and sunshine.

However their attraction is undeniable and both decide a fling is a suitable way to make the best of the situation. However, when the time comes for Persephone to return home, will they be able to trust each other enough to have a real chance at love?

Honorable mention goes to sigeel’s Punderworld, which is also available on the Webtoons app.


That’s all for today friends. If you want more snippets of me in between the newsletters, follow me on Twitter @PScribe801. Until next time!

Categories
Kissing Books

Aim Higher Than Romeo & Juliet

Hello again! I’m writing to y’all today, back home, with just a few more days left in my vacation. While there is more than a little bit of bittersweetness to that, the time off did exactly what I wanted it to do, which was give me a boost in all aspects of my life. I’m also planning on a mini-vacation solo later on (shhhh don’t tell my son though) so that is something else to look forward to. 

During our vacation we went to a drive-in which was a completely new experience for me, and I loved it. We saw Raya & the Last Dragon and it was amazing. Yes, it is currently on Disney+, which I do have, but there was something magical about seeing it on the big screen. I also really loved the new short Us Again. It was a sweet story about a couple who realizes that age doesn’t hold them back from having fun, which, considering my recommendations from last time, seemed fitting. I know that it was animated but the dance sequences were also awesome. Just a pure, sweet story. 

As for Raya…wow, just wow. The voice actors were amazing and the story was engaging. It was also beautifully animated and I loved the story. As much of a die-hard romance fan as I am (bit of spoilers here), I also appreciate stories where the princess doesn’t need to end up with a prince. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling but I do heartily recommend it. 

Bookish News:

This book announcement came across my Twitter timeline and caused a whole lot of feelings. Just to be crystal clear: the Tweet I linked *is not* by the author who wrote the book; I just heard about it from her first. And everything about this is just unsettling.

Clearly, I’m not against interracial romance, but the title alone causes an unpleasant knee-jerk reaction. When you couple that with that flag on the cover, not to mention the disclaimer about the cover model when you go to the product page? It’s a mood, that’s for damn sure. 

I know that there are tons of books that have ‘mafia’ and ‘redneck’ in the title, which is also triggering for some people, especially as some of them also have the flag on the cover. But this book goes all in on the problematic scale in choosing the word it did as the title. Then it triples down by calling itself a Romeo and Juliet retelling. It’s just…a mood. And not a good one.

I remember a few years ago when we were simply engulfed in redemption romances for n*zis and that was a whole big bowl of nope for me. Hopefully this won’t bring in an influx of supremacist romances or anything like that.

Plus…Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, y’all. It specifically tell us that in the play’s prologue. No clue why they’re still touted as a couple to aspire to or why we still keep wanting to use them as a couple goal. If you want an example of forbidden or rivalry love, use the Hatfields and the McCoys. At least some of them are still here.

Moving on so as to not end this section on a complete downer.

The Ripped Bodice was back in the Romance section of the Twitter-verse due to a response critique that romance bloggers Nick and Ari wrote. This year, the Diversity Report caused a lot of division, so this rebuttal, as it were, isn’t entirely unexpected. After Nick’s original tweet, the Koch sisters did reach out and respond that they were preparing a statement. So, there has been progress made in that regard.

I touched on this as well in a previous newsletter. Again, I want to reiterate that my concern isn’t intended to be an attack but constructive criticism. Having questions about how the numbers do or don’t work doesn’t mean you can’t still support this awesome business. Those two ideas can be mutually exclusive. To put my own personal spin on what the Shelf Love podcast said, I love that my hairstylist can tame my curls and help color pop in them. But I wouldn’t want her to perform heart surgery on me.

Talia Hibbert’s latest, Act Your Age, Eve Brown, hit the NYT Bestseller list! I’m sure this is a surprise to no one who has read any of her books but it is still good news to hear. I’m reading this right now and I’m loving every moment of it.

From Book Riot and Around the Web:

Brooke wrote a wonderful article about what makes a good sex scene, interviewing well-known figures in Romancelandia. Of course, body positivity and consent are up there, but there are other factors and opinions that may surprise you. It’s a great read so be sure to check it out.

If you’re participating in the Read Harder challenge this year, be sure to read over this list of romances that feature trans and/or nonbinary characters, since some of those may satisfy a prompt or two.

Sara Desai revealed some of her favorite fake-romance movies. I just finished her latest, The Dating Plan, and had a great time reading it. Don’t let the fact that you haven’t read the first one keep you from reading this one, if you have been on the fence about picking it up, since that isn’t necessary. Although now I do want to go back and check it out.

New Releases:

Here are some of the upcoming titles that will be hitting the stores this week. 

Wild Rebel by Laurelin Paige

One More Time by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Hard Luck by Sarah Ney

Crazy Hearts by Amber Kelly

Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee

That’s all for today. If you want a little bit more of me between the newsletters, follow me on Twitter @Psribe801. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Love Doesn’t Have An Age

Greetings from a vacationing me! I’m writing this on the official day one of my time off and I already feel less tense than I have in a while. It’s a nice feeling just relaxing and not worrying about too much of anything outside of eating semi-regularly and making sure that my son isn’t getting too feral. But oh my goodness I needed this break. 

For the first half of my time off, we went to visit my aunt and cousin. It has been well over a year since we had laid actual eyes (meaning not through a Zoom meeting) on each other. And with my aunt being fully vaccinated and my cousin being halfway, we all felt it was safe enough. Of course we were still mindful while there. When we went anywhere outside the house, we put on masks and wiped everything down. But it was a nice break that I needed. Besides visiting loved ones, it was also a chance to look at a different set of four walls for a few days.

We arrived on Sunday late afternoon and that evening watched the Grammys and let me tell you, it was an exercise in hilarity when the “W.A.P” performance came on. My elderly aunt was cackling the entire time while my cousin was flabbergasted by the performance. I was snickering, both on the inside and out, because the reaction didn’t go to the corresponding family member I expected it from. I figured it would be my aunt talking about how this is being shown on prime-time TV on a Sunday while my cousin would have just been like “Meh”. But nope; it was swapped and my aunt got a good chuckle out of it as well. 

Personally, the performance didn’t affect me one way or the other. I wasn’t offended by it because I know by the song alone it was going to cause a lot of pearl-clutching. Also, the edit they played was super clean because, well, it had to be. But seriously with as much editing as it required, what was the point of the performance? 

Bluntly put? Shock value. That’s all there was to it. Was the performance super sexualized? Of course it was…look at what the initials stand for. Did you expect anything less from it? By that mindset alone, I’m sure there were people who tuned in just to be offended by the performance and talk about which in reaction caused people to watch the reply, Youtube uploads, etc. Which ultimately comes down to money. And that’s fine of course; money still needs to be made to keep our economy afloat. 

Song still bangs though; so, there you have it.

Romance News

The 2021 Lambda Literary Award finalists were announced. I was excited to see that two of my favorite books from last year (Take a Hint, Dani Brown and Written in the Stars) were nominated. Congratulations to all of the nominees and good luck.

If cute and quirky romances are your bag, then PopSugar has some 2021 recommendations for you.

Are you wanting some more strong Black women who get their rightfully deserved HEA? Check out some of the books listed here to fill your e-reader with a variety of different romance tropes.

Recommendations

The story I shared earlier about my aunt was a nice reminder that getting older isn’t something to fear. I am looking forward to being a cranky old lady, personally. Especially if I am as strong-willed, independent, and fiery as the women in my family are showing to be. I’ve got big shoes to fill in that regard, and I’m more then ready for the challenge when I get there.

We all know that romance is not just for the young. So, in honor of my sassy aunt and all the awesome elderly people I know in my life, I’m going to highlight a few romances today that feature either an older hero, heroine, or both.

If She Says Yes by Tasha L. Harrison

Tomás has always had a crush on Darcy, his mom’s best friend. Which, to him, is wrong on so many levels. Will the weekend of said friend’s wedding be the time that he decides to throw caution to the wind and offer his body for her pleasure? Will she refuse or will she surprise him and agree to his carnal offer?

cover of Team Phison by Chace Verity

Team Phison by Chace Verity

Restaurant owner Phil finds it hard to date after being left for a  younger man. It’s a mixture of him feeling too old for the younger and modern dating crowd and fearing he’s too old. So, he turns to online gaming and one night befriends a newb (new player for those not in the know), which starts a friendship. When it seems like it will turn into more, will Phil take a chance or let his own insecurities hold him back from possibly finding new happiness?

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan

Violetta Beauchamps comes barreling into Beatrice Martin’s life, demanding repayment from the latter’s Terrible Nephew. She also wishes to get her assistance getting him out of her boarding house. Although Beatrice refuses to pay, she does agree with getting him removed and goes on an adventure with Violetta. Along the way both women discover how strong they are and that you’re never too old for love.


And that’s all she wrote for now. Thanks for stopping by and if you want more of me between the editions, feel free to follow me at Twitter under @Pscribe801. Until next time.

Categories
Kissing Books

Take a Break

It’s Spring Break y’all!

At least for us in my house. And boy howdy do we need it. After almost a solid year of working from home and virtual learning, we’re both feeling cooped up and could use the time off. I mean, if we’re being honest he may not need it as much since he had Winter Break and then the winter storm that the south went through. But I sure as heck do. As a matter of fact, this will be the longest vacation I’ve had since last Spring Break.

Speaking of last year, it’s weird to think that we were where we were this time last March. How sobering to realize that, originally, we were also going into what was just supposed to be a two week lockdown. Just. Two. Weeks. 

*eye twitch*

And here we are a whole calendar year later. When I think of it that way I agree with the idea that this has been the longest year ever. I look at my memories on social media and am like, “This was just a year ago?” It’s just… mind blowing. 

Generally I try not to take a Robert Frost approach to things and ponder about the road not travelled but I can’t help thinking that if people had simply taken the two weeks last year; would it have spiraled into the situation that it did? I mean, there’s no use getting too upset about it because here we are. But I’d bet dollars to donuts that one of the questions that my possible future grandkids may have is, “Why didn’t people just stay inside?”  And I won’t have an answer for them. 

While rough, the last year hasn’t been completely terrible as I’ve learned a few things about myself. The main thing is I made the right choice in not home-schooling my son. And not to disparage those that do but I just don’t have it in me. I would have loved to give it a shot but there’s only so many ways I can explain something before I get frustrated. And he needs the social interaction of other teachers and kids too, because it was hard for him to separate his mom from his mom the teacher. We are going to finish the year out virtually but, God willing and the creek don’t rise, come fall he’ll be back in the classroom. 

In keeping with the Spring Break theme, I’m going to try to keep it light today, especially given the heavier topics of the last few newsletters. Which isn’t to say that they were bad or weren’t things that needed to be said. But sometimes, it’s just nice to focus on the positive too. So let me tell you one of my latest addictive joys.

TikTok. 

Yes, I know I’m late to this game and it’s nothing new. But it has bought me so much happiness in the last couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of very creative content creators, especially in the cosplay community. But I also love it for the BookTok aspect since I’ve discovered a lot of new, indie authors there across multiple genres. If you are a fan of reactions, check out Chelle Sloan’s reactions to thirst traps. They’re utterly priceless. 

What I love about it is that, no matter what, these people are doing what they love and taking such joy in it. And there’s such a variety of things to choose from. Besides cosplay, there’s musicians, comedians, artists, burlesque performers…the list goes on. You even have spiritual communities within it. I think finding a community is very important, even more so now since we’re still in a situation where we have to be mindful of large gatherings, that finding a place with like minded individuals is very uplifting. 

I mean of course, as with any type of social media, there are trolls. But for the most part as long as you don’t feed them they can’t grow.

Book News

Everyone in Romancelandia was excited for Eve Brown’s debut last week and I’m sure most of us that ordered online looked like this as we waited for delivery. At least, I know I was. If you haven’t picked it up yet, be sure to snag your own copy. I haven’t heard a single negative thing about this book so far. 

The cover reveal for A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria was revealed and….wow. Just wow.  That’s just amazing.

One of the first romances I remember reading was Shadow Over Bright Star by Irene M. Pascoe (you wouldn’t believe the amount of Google power it took to remember this). It is by far, even today, one of the tamest romance novels I’ve ever read. If Gothic romances are your jam, then check out the latest from Silvana.

Romancing the Stone is one of my favorite ’80s movies. The chemistry between Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas cannot be denied. There’s a reason they played opposite from one another multiple times. If you also like stories about writers, check out this list of romances. A good number of these are on my read or to be read pile but I managed to find a few more.

And, in case you want even more warm fuzzies….oh who am i kidding? Of course you do!! So be sure to check out this interview with another fellow romance lover and reviewer.

Fabio by the numbers. ‘Nuff said. On a side note, reading this article was a nice little stroll down memory lane as a romance reader.

New Releases

Here are some of the new releases headed your way this week:

What a Tangled Web by Melissa Brayden

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai (currently reading this one and loving every moment)

Emerett Has Never Been In Love by Anyta Sunday

Next Exit Home by Dena Blake

Deals

All the books listed below were showing as available for $0.99 at the time of this writing:

cover of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

The Truth About Cads and Dukes by Elisa Braden

Hometown Cowboy by Sara Richardson

Sledgehammer by P. Dangelico


That’s all for now friends! I hope that this week treats you well. As always feel free to follow me as @PScribe801 on Twitter. I’ll see y’all Thursday.

Categories
Kissing Books

Break It Down

Hello KBers! Welcome back. Next week is Spring Break for us which means both the teenager and I get a week off. No worries, you’ll still be hearing from me next week. but I will have a whole week off from the day job to rest, relax, and most importantly, recharge. 

I’ve been taking Spring Break off with my son for the last three or four years. One reason was that I couldn’t afford the additional cost for the week-long camp that his after school program did, since the monthly alone was taxing. Another is that by the time it rolls around, I legitimately need a break. I’m not one to take random days off because they don’t do a whole lot in the long run for my mental health. However, Spring Break ends up being the perfect length of time since it’s usually always nine days off with my weekend. 

Last, but of course not least, is it is an opportunity to spend time and make memories with my kiddo. He’s not always appreciative of this, especially as we’re now a teenager. A few years ago when we went to a local zoo to spend some family time together. I swear every time we asked for a picture, it was like pulling teeth. Between all the eye rolling from my niece, nephew, and him, I’m surprised they stayed in their heads. My sister-in-law was kind in her cajoling for pictures but I’ll admit I’m more demanding in my requests. While he doesn’t appreciate it now, I know in the years to come these pictures will be a source of happy memories for him. 

Even if it is a battle for now. 

On Book Riot and Around the Web

Trisha and Jess had a new episode of When in Romance this week. They discuss inclusion and diversity in romance and also touched on the Ripped Bodice’s Diversity report, among other things. Give it a listen if you haven’t already.  

Do you like fantasy with your romance? Then this quiz is perfect for you!

If you’re a sports aficionado, you may want to pick up some of these recommendations from Joanna Shupe.

Of Royals and Romance Tropes

The big news over the weekend was the Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry. It brought to light a lot of unpleasant, if not unexpected or surprising, negative things about Meghan’s experience with the royal family. I’ll state upfront that I didn’t watch it, nor do I intend to. I feel I got enough of the knowledge I needed from the various stories that broke out after it was done.

Now, not watching isn’t because I was worried it would shatter some make-believe image I had. I was not the little girl who dreamed of becoming a princess, although I don’t begrudge anyone that fantasy. And I already knew about the double standard expectation that the media had for Meghan. No matter how they tried to dress it up, it always came back to Meghan’s biracial heritage that had them treating her like she wasn’t worthy of being part of the royal family. And it hurts to not that the family of the man you love will never accept you. Clearly, it came be overcome and they’re working on distancing themselves from that. But it still hurts. 

It’s because I feel that people in power have the ability to be more terrible than your average person because the money and status allows them to get away with almost anything. This is true for political and billionaire stories (which let’s be honest are modern day versions of the princess trope) which is why I tend to avoid those. The fact that they got away with some much and Meghan felt the way she did only reemphasizes it.

Please don’t think this is a call to cancel those types of romances, whether it’s royalty or just nobility. That’s not the case here. There seemed to be concern that this would be part of the fall out of the interview, even though I saw no one flat out state that. However, it brought to light how it’s important to recognize the problematic roots in these institutions and the tropes they inspire. It’s important to recognize that if you don’t fit the archetype of what makes a royal, they’re not going to give two figs about you. This is something that was clear to me even at the young age I was at the time of Diana’s death all those years ago. Hearing about all of Meghan and Harry’s experience just emphasizes it.

Look, we all love romance and we’re here. However, there is a reason we give a content warning for old school romances. Because there are problematic roots. Another harsh truth is that the royalty tropes has very racist undertones, whether intentional or not. This is something that I’ve discussed before in another newsletter of why Brandy’s Cinderella is still so important. And it’s one of the many reasons that Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals and Runaway Royals series are so beloved, because it’s obvious from them that sometimes being a royal sucks. Lest we forget, she also wrote this amazing article back when Meghan and Harry first left.

a princess in theory

That being said, my recommendation for the week is the Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole. Personally they’re all amazing but in terms of the highlighting how draining being a royal can be, I would recommend A Princess in Theory and a Prince on Paper

I just want to leave you with this: it’s never too late to learn, relearn, or unlearn something. Is it hard? For sure, especially depending on how old one is. But, as long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late. It’s also not a bad thing to realize and announce that the things that you enjoy can have problematic tendencies.


As always feel free to follow me over on Twitter under @PScribe801 for all my bookish ponderings. I also put sales as I see them there so if that’s your jam you may be able to see and snag them quicker there. Until next time.