Enjoy a first look at podcast collabs, giveaway exclusives, and the Weekly Romance Round-Up of brand new romance releases.
Across the country, black-owned bookstores have served as community gathering spaces, support for emerging authors, and educational resources. Those listed below are open and ready for online orders, with the exception of several stores that are only taking orders over the phone, which are noted in parentheses.
Order from these independent bookstores:
*To add a store to the following list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Little Rock, AR
Pyramid Art Books & Custom Framing
Long Beach, CA
Shades of Afrika
Ashay by the Bay
Marcus Books (local phone orders)
District of Columbia
Boynton Beach, FL
St. Petersburg, FL
Winter Garden, FL
Black Dot Cultural Center
All Things Inspiration Giftique
NuBian Books (local phone orders)
Afriware Books, Co
South Bend, IN
The Brain Lair Bookstore
Beyond Barcodes Bookstore
Akoma Novelties & Books
New Orleans, LA
Community Book Center (local phone orders)
Everyone’s Place (local phone orders)
Gwynn Oak, MD
Wisdom Book Center
Silver Spring, MD
Olive Tree Books N Voices (local phone orders)
Highland Park, MI
Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe
Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center
University City, MO
Aframerican Book Store
Source of Knowledge Book Store (call 973-824-2556 for local orders)
Zawadi Books (local phone orders)
Alkebulan Ujaama Book Store (local phone orders)
Ross Township, PA
The Tiny Bookstore
The Black Reserve Bookstore (call 267-221-3090 for local orders)
Goose Creek, SC
Turning Page Bookshop
Black Pearl Books
Fort Worth, TX
The Dock Bookshop
Black World Books
Harambee Books and Artworks
Urban Moon Books
House of Consciousness
Books and Crannies
Virginia Beach, VA
Loving Me Books
*Special thanks to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, Bookshop.org, the African American Literature Book Club, and Jenna Johnson for providing information.
This list was originally compiled by Corinne Segal for Lithub.com.
I don't know about anybody else, but next to my family and romance novels, there's nothing I love more in the world than food. So, it should come as no surprise that "foodie romances" have a special place in my heart... and stomach. Much like love, food is a universal theme. We might all have our own personal tastes (and I'm not here to yuck anybody's yum), but the good news is there's a little something for everyone. And for those of us growing girls, there's usually a lot more where that came from...
In between the multiple pans of brownies and loaves of homemade Sourdough I'm sure you're all crafting as we speak, I encourage you to sample a delicious bite of romance (or two). I've gathered some of my favorite romantic series, all of which have one thing in common: food. *For this particular blog, I've only selected "foodie" themed series (two or more books), though I also highly recommend Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera (pictured above), a standalone queer holiday romance.
I INHALED this sweet and sexy series! If you're a fan of "The Great British Bake Off" and kickass female characters, this is the series for you. Oh, and great news... they're quick reads, so prepare to binge read the series start to finish in a day or so. Note, I would strongly recommend beginning with the first book in the series, The Cake King, as it not only introduces the cast of characters you'll experience in the following books, but also sets the stage for the baking competition the series revolves around.
I first read this series back in 2009 when my romance reading career began. Let me just say that as an only child, I am always fascinated by siblings' stories, and The Bakery Sisters series is no exception. Three estranged sisters, one family bakery. What's not to love about that? Add in a sexy ex-NFL player, second chance romance, and familial drama, and I'm sold. I will say, prepare yourselves for frustrating family angst. The final outcome, however will be well worth the added stress!
You might rememeber our Boobies & Noobies review of Ice Cream Lover, the second book in the Baldwin Village series by Jackie Lau. Safe to say, I immediately went back to read the first book in the series, followed quickly by Man vs. Durian, the third and final book in the trilogy. Let me tell you... Jackie Lau sets a bar for diverse and inclusive romance. Take a scoop of bisexual heroes and heroines, a dash of interracial couples, and mix that with a heaping of yummy food spots all set against the backdrop of Toronto's Baldwin Village, and you've got a memorable, finger-licking Jackie Lau romance.
I'll be honest, I've only read the first story in the Slice series, A Pizza My Heart. As the entire series is available for free with Kindle Unlimited, I'd say it's only a matter of time before I check out the rest of the series. As you might have guessed from the deliciously cheesy covers, this series revolves around a family pizzeria. Each book also follows a different trope, from brother's best friend to enemies-to-lovers and single dad romance. The fourth book in the series, Cheesy releases in June!
Yes, I know that I've listed two separate series by Susan Mallery, but c'mon, how could I not? Much like the Bakery Sisters follows a trio of sisters, the Buchanans Saga revolves around the Buchanan family, three brothers and one sister, as they work together to save their family's restaurant empire. I will say that while the majority of this series revolves around the brothers, it's their lady loves that really impressed me.
You might know Alice Clayton for her bestselling hit Wallbanger (and if you missed it, be sure to check out our discussion of Wallbanger on Shelf Love), however personally, I much prefer Alice's Hudson Valley series. I actually picked up a copy of Buns, the third book in the series during a visit to The Ripped Bodice last spring. After demolishing that book like I would a slice of chocolate cake (with a glass of milk, because I'm not a monster), I went back to read the previous two. Nuts, artisanal cheeses, and hot cross buns... are you kidding me? Alice Clayton might as well have had a checklist for edible sex. Read them in order, or not. The point is, read them!
A scrumptious trilogy for less than $5? Yes, please. Add in a cup of gorgeous brothers, with a pinch of forbidden romance, and just a hint of undeniable chemistry, and you've got the Rising Star Chef trilogy, aka the perfect recipe for a sizzling romance. Maybe it's just me, but there's nothing quite like a man who knows his way around the spatula...
Thought two full-length novels and two novella comprise this series, the truly delicious picks have got to be Tart and Lush, the two lengthier works in the Delicious bundle. Anyone who's read Lauren Dane's work before knows that her books are certainly steamy and this series follows suit, especially Tart which follows a m/m/f relationship (my kryptonite).
I'm saving my reread of this seven book series for Fall 2020, because nothing says autumn quite like harvest time in Vermont. The True North series features growly alpha farmers, adorable goats, scorching hot trysts, and tortured souls. Each book works as a standalone, so safe to say there's something for every kind of romance reader.
A second chance romance, a fake dating story, and a bad boy redemption story, all in one series? Count me in. Plus, did I mention this third book in the series, Love in the Kitchen, involves a bachelor auction? *Cue swooning now* This sweet romance series, set under the roof of the LUSH (a fictitious restaurant that I'm adding to my wish-it-was-real-so-I-could-visit list), is the perfect way to kick of summer!
You don’t see me, but I see you.
I always see you.
I’m always there — no matter what you do.
No matter if you’re a lovely mother during the day or a debauched whore at night.
I see you reading to your child or wrapping your legs around a pole.
I see you rubbing your petite body against other men and serving guests in your chaste uniform.
I know who you are, and who you would like to be.
I know what you need and you will get it.
Soon. Then you will be mine.
Edward Fasbender is my husband.
Together, we brought down powerful men.
Now we have a chance to start over. To be the family neither of us ever had, to leave the past in the past where it belongs. Edward has a choice to make.
It will decide if we fall into the flames--or rise together.
Rising is the fourth and final book in the Slay Quartet.
My Fake Fiancé
It all started when I kissed the wrong twin brother. And now I can’t stop thinking about the kiss. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that now his life is danger because of me.
I’m desperate to stay in the States. Going home would sure end badly for me.But is the steamy doctor’s proposal to be his fake girlfriend my only way out?
So, I'm from Ghana. Um, the accent, don't let it fool you. I grew up mostly here [in the United States], but we went back when I was just a tiny baby and I spent my early formative years in Ghana. So, when we moved back to the States, we would go back to Ghana every summer.
A lot of Ghanaian parents were very conservative and like I still remember I caught, caught, caught a beat down at CVS one time because my mom caught me looking at romance covers. I was ten, and she was like, no. So, when I was thirteen and visiting Ghana, my cousin, was like, "Nana, there be romance inside this book. Kissing!" And she taps the table and she slides it over. I don't remember the title, but it was some like Greek shipping tycoon scenario that was probably not PC. And there was someone trying to murder his family... something along the lines. Oh, and somehow the secretary got involved and then they were getting it on and kissing... And I was like, I'm in.
And I never looked back.
Check out the full interview with Nana Malone in our latest podcast episode, Steamy Spotlight: Interview with Nana Malone.
Listen, I'm not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I mean, I'm fabulous, but not everyone is going to appreciate my fabulous. One of the things that a bunch of us tend to do is to go on retreats every year. And one of the big things that we go to is RWA. There was this one speaker, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, who was amazing! She's a psychologist and she talks about the psychology of fiction and what what really writing to your Id means. Like everyone has their thing, their thing that like you look at it, you will watch it, you will read it, you will consume it. It doesn't matter how bad it is. You are still like, I'm gonna scratch this itch.
For me, it's ANYTHING Robin Hood. I don't care how bad it is that new Robin Hood movie is, I sat there. I will, if it is on TV right now, I will watch it. No matter what I'm doing, I will watch, I will stop working. Because the thing is... I'm a rule follower. I love a rule, but I also need justice. And Robin Hood delivers that.
Yes! So, in my previous Royals series, one of the princes didn't grow up a prince - he grew up a thief. And so when Ben and his friends need someone to help them pull off a heist, they make a call to this, you know, former con-man, thief guy. And the best part is for readers who are like paying close attention, you will realize you met Ben in my Royals series. He's the cousin to the King's best friend. BUT you don't have to read the Royals series at all to read this book! It's just a fun little, like, fan service.
If you're a longtime listener, you'll know that in Fall 2019, we experimented with a different show format in our Bluewater Billionaires Book Club series. Well, the Book Club is back and this time, we've partnered with Valentine PR & Literary Management.
Our first Book Club pick is Artful Lies by Jodi Ellen Malpas.
Maxine Larraby is an ambitious TV producer from L.A. in England shooting a series called Grand Titles, Great Estates. Of course, she never imagined she'll fall for the 19th Earl of Ponsford, George and his ancient home off camera. A fling with his lordship is one thing, but what happens if he sweeps her off her feet?
This prequel novella tells the tale of Hugo Marshall and his ruthless ambition. Though he's ordered to get rid of the pestering governess by any means possible, Miss Serena Barton isn't backing down without a fight. They might call Hugo "the Wolf of Clermont", but even wolves can be brought to heel...
Jewelry designer Tatiana Belikov may have matured enough to curb her impulsive nature, but wickedness is still her best accessory. When family troubles bring her to Las Vegas and face-to-face with the man who knows all her darkest desires, resisting temptation is futile. A night of no-holds-barred sin? Jackpot.
*Limited Time Offer*
This sexy friends-to-lovers standalone features one hotter-than-hell officer of the law, convenient/fake dating, and an accidental nude shower sighting. Can these lifelong friends turn their fling into something more before their wedding weekend getaway is over?
Meet Colin and Kirby in this fun, flirty Standalone prequel to The Bangover.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark... Or in the state of Kirby Lawrence, a woman who is NOT attracted to her best friend, rock star, Colin Donovan. Not even a little bit! No matter how good his butt looks in those jeans...
Dating can be tricky, but how hard can it be to find the right guy? Or even just a normal guy? For Everly Dalton, it’s a bit like trying to walk in stilettos - while drunk and blindfolded.
This series of six bite-sized stories takes place before the full-length, stand-alone romcom, Faking Ms. Right.
In Fall 2019, I had the pleasure of joining Andrea Martucci, host of Shelf Love Podcast to discuss the contemporary rom-com that took Romancelandia by storm in 2014, Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. This book features a missing Orgasm, neighbors to lovers, and a modern rake archetype. In this episode, we also dive into generational crushes, why some books seem to age really fast, and what makes a book worth reading.
I launched Boobies & Noobies in July 2018. Later that fall, a college friend of mine, the very talented co-founder of So She Slays, Heather Young, reached out to ask if she could feature me as a "Bae Who Slays" on her blog. Of course, I was absolutely honored, and I'm pleased to say that the interview led to several more collabs with Heather and So She Slays, including one of my very favorite 12 Days of Boobsmas episode!
Here is an excerpt of our interview:
Boobies & Noobies is, more than anything, a passion project! I launched the podcast this summer in Los Angeles, though I've taken the show on the road to Chicago and San Francisco, too, and I'm happy to say that we've recorded 17 episodes since June. I wish I could say there was a specific moment, something memorable that sparked the idea for a podcast, but truthfully, it just came to be. I've been a romance reader for years and, for years, I've endured great judgment, sarcasm, and side eye from my friends, all because of my taste in literature. I became a fan of podcasts more recently while living in Chicago and enduring the daily commute via public transportation. I figured why not put together two of my favorite things...with a slight twist. On every episode of Boobies & Noobies, I ask a novice romance reader (or two) to read and review a romance novel with me. Think of it as payback for all those years of judgment.
The book selection process definitely varies! I always asks my guests if there's something in particular they're interested in reading. This may shock a lot of people, but romance has so many sub-genres: paranormal, historical, contemporary, etc. Then there are sub-sub-genres: pirates, shifter/werewolves, motorcycle club, etc. Plus the graphic nature of romance varies as well; I'm not looking to make anyone (too) uncomfortable. That being said, if they're up for anything, then all bets are off! There's a HUGE novelist/reader/book blogging community on Twitter and Instagram, so I grab a lot of great ideas from there. Also, while I try to select books that I haven't read beforehand, I do fall back on authors I've read and enjoyed in the past. That way, I know that what we're going to read will most likely be good (though, not always).
That's a great question, but it's also one that punches my buttons. It amazes me that in 2018, we've had shows like Girls and Sex and the City and Orange is the New Black, all of which feature sex and female sexuality so prominently, yet we still feel the need to shield a book cover, just because it features a woman's heaving bosoms. The book covers may have changed since the days of Fabio, but for some reason, our attitude towards them has not. If you listen to the podcast, you'll hear several of my guests describe romance as "written porn", but it's so much more than that. Romance novels have strong characters, engaging plot lines, and story arcs, like any other novel. Sure, some of them are better than others, but the same can be said about any genre. That's definitely one of my goals with this podcast: to demystify the genre and reclaim the genre in a positive light.
Author Skye McDonald (The Anti-Belle Series) joins Kelly to discuss the evolution of romance novel covers. From the "golden era" of shirtless Fabio to the colorful illustrations gracing covers today, Kelly and Skye dive into the past, present, and future of romance novel covers. Plus, they share YOUR thoughts and comments on the topic!
Well, it's taken nearly two full years since Boobies & Noobies' inception, but I'm pleased to say that the website is FINALLY live. Special thanks to everyone who's helped us make it this far:
The Frolic Podcast Network
The Friends & Family & Roommates
I couldn't have done it without you and I'm so excited to say that this is just the beginning. I hope you're all looking forward to future content as much as I am.
Get ready, because I've got a lot planned for 2020, including more author interviews, written romance reviews (I wish I had time to review them all for the podcast), and *fingers crossed* the Boobies & Noobies Book Club.
Stay tuned for more to come!
You can find and listen to full episodes on our website as well as on PodBean, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your prefered podcatcher.