Well, folks. We’ve had quite a couple weeks. I thought it was going to be pretty quiet, and then things just started coming out of nowhere. Zoom, pow, indeed. Get ready; it’s gonna be a long one.
Sponsored by A Duke in Shining Armor, by Loretta Chase
The seventh Duke of Ripley will never win prizes for virtue, but even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia and return her to her bridegroom. The bookish and bespectacled Olympia is bent on getting away from her puzzling marriage to a rakish duke – but is even more puzzled when the world-famous hellion the Duke of Ripley is trying to do the honorable thing in returning her to her intended. Whatever his motivations, she has no intention of making this an easy chase…
We’ve all probably seen the HRC pullquote about romance novels by now; let’s talk about the reactions we’ve seen:
- Lisa Kleypas dropped some knowledge
- Maya Rodale expressed romance’s beating heart
- Tessa Dare had some choice words for a journalist
- Twitter went for it with recommendations, pulled together by Suzanne at Romance in Panels and a few other people
What this whole thing going on, author Melissa Blue had some words for romancelandia. And there was so much truth, I’d love to see a broader response to her question. Why do we get up in arms immediately upon an outsider’s opinions (especially a high profile one), but spend so little time as a greater community combating the toxicity within? I have no answers, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about.
In related (but not completely connected) news, there are going to be more Rogue Anthologies! And guess what? They’re taking submissions. Have you been looking to publish your resistance romance? Now’s your chance.
Courtney Milan was at the forefront of one of the lastest #metoo conversations, discussing her experience as her non-romance alter ego Heidi Bond, who had do deal with a horrible human being who took her habit of reading romance novels as an in for sexual harassment. No good. Disgusting, actually. But she had more to say earlier this week.
And to wipe that image from your mind: shared without comment. Just pure joy.
Bad news: there’s been some dissent among the romance world about the Netgalley blurb for the latest Kristan Higgins book. A few authors have sent her imploring tweets to rethink the book, while others have expressed support for her telling this story. She herself has put out a statement. I don’t believe in censoring work, especially that which I haven’t read, but I’m moving forward warily with this one. I’ve never read any of her stuff; how does she approach the underrepresented? We’ll see. Her statement leaves me hopeful, but as I said before, I’m still wary.
Good news: Book Concierge is back! (Though NPR and I are going to have to chat about how few romances are in their “Love Stories” category.)
In movie news
PassionFlix has reopened their Founding Member level. Support the platform, get a couple years free? Plus some other pretty awesome perks? Good deal. Also, you get to watch The Trouble With Mistletoe when it releases.
If you’re not down for another movie subscription, that’s okay! PassionFlix has put their first two original features, Hollywood Dirt and Afterburn Aftershock on Amazon to download! Check them out.
And okay. The Spirit of Christmas might not be a book, but it is definitely a happy place in this current state of ridiculousness. I was introduced to it by that same Melissa Blue mentioned earlier (re-recommending something originally recced to romancelandia by Rebekah Weatherspoon) and I watched it pretty much immediately. Romance ghosts are a tropetonite of mine, and the Prohibition-era costumery? Oh my. On the fence about a slightly ridiculous, but utterly wonderful holiday romance? Read this article.
Jill Shalvis’s Chasing Christmas Eve is 1.99. Gotta read at least one of those every holiday season, huh?
Tracey Livesay’s Along Came Love is 99c! If you adored Love on My Mind but haven’t gotten to Livesay’s other books yet, now is definitely the time.
Who wants A Royal Christmas Wedding? We won’t get one this year, but you can read about one for 1.99!
If you’ve been meaning to read The Bollywood Bride, now would be a good time. It’s 2.99 right now!
Over on Book Riot…
Romeo watched Love Between the Covers and was fascinated. He had to do more research.
Romance mysteries? Yes, please!
I have been remiss in the whole holiday romance thing, but Alison is here to help!
Oh hey, more royal romances!
Bears. That’s a thing we like.
Want some good BDSM? We got ya covered.
And of course, more #romancenovelsforhillary.
A few recs
Holland works on the biggest show on Broadway. Sure, she’s a merch vendor and takes photos, but she’s just as much a part of the show as her uncle, the great creator Robert Okai. When a key musician walks off, leaving Robert in a serious bind, Holland has the perfect recommendation: this mesmerising street musician she goes out of her way to experience on a regular basis. After a masterful audition, everyone’s in agreement that Calvin is the best man for the job. There’s just one tiny problem: he’s long overstayed his student visa. Holland wants to do something for her uncle, and so comes up with the harebrained scheme that could allow Calvin to stay in the country. She’s already got the hots for him, so why not marry him?
When I got to the last line, my only word was “Kyooooooooooooot!” There’s a nuanced story here, and it’s great to watch both of these people become their best selves.
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Of course, once I finished Roomies, I wanted more books about marriages of convenience. The first one I picked up was this one. And I’m gonna warn you, like most of Mariana Zapata’s books, it’s a big-ass sucker, so you might spend the rest of your December reading this one.
Vanessa is a PA. Her client is a Canadian football player (playing in the US) whose nickname is The Wall of Winnipeg. The nickname, from what I can tell, is twofold: the man is so big he has to get his clothes tailored. He is also pretty much an emotional wall. So when Vanessa has saved enough to go off on her own, with the time and stability to continue her graphic design company, she gives her notice and goes her way, not looking back. But just a month later, he starts showing up, asking her to come back. Eventually, he realizes she would be perfect for a little problem he has: if she marries him, he won’t have to worry about his work visa running out.
So how’s that gonna go? I don’t know, I’ll tell you in January.
Up next: I don’t know if I’ll be done with green card marriages when I’m done with Vanessa and the Hulk, but I just came across Operation Green Card, which is the most recent Bluewater Bay book, and I am all about it. A gay Russian man worried for his safety and a wounded American vet get married. They don’t know each other, but they’re gonna get to know each other now. With the backgrounds of each of the characters, it’s probable that we’ll touch on some serious, but I’m also looking forward to what I hope will be some pretty adorable stuff.
Finally, new and upcoming releases!
It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian (THAT COVER THO—it straight up looks like The Sound of Music)
Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai (OMG SOOOO GOOD)
West Coast Love by Tif Marcelo
Right Here, Right Now by Georgia Beers
The Hookup by Kristen Ashley (12/19)
The Art of Running in Heels by Rachel Gibson (12/26)
A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev (!!!!!) (12/26)
Also, Rebekah Weatherspoon has been talking about this holiday novella she couldn’t help writing, and it doesn’t have an Amazon link yet, but it has a blurb on her website! Keep an eye out!
Okay. *wipes forehead* That was a lot, but we’ve got plenty to get us through at least some of the coming holidays. Catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!