Enjoy a first look at podcast collabs, romance reviews, and what's coming up on the Boobies & Noobies TBR list.
If you've already read My Fake Rake, the first book in Eva Leigh's Union of the Rakes series, you'll already know that Eva loves making tongue-in-cheek references to 2020 in her historical romances. And let's be honest, I love reading them! Jessica McGale's family soap-making business is in jeopardy and she'll do whatever she must to find investors... even if it means faking her identity at an exclusive party full of aristocrats.
There's not much that I didn't love about this book. Lying aside (which I know will prove problematic for some readers), Jessica & Noel are #couplegoals. I was most surprised (and impressed) by the dynamic of their kinky relationship. FINALLY, we get to see a sexually-dominant woman and her submissive (but dirty-talking) submissive male lover.
When a video of thick-thighed campus security guard Zafir Ansari carrying PhD student and teacher Dani Brown out of a campus building goes viral, the two friends decide to take advantage of their new notoriety for the sake of Zaf's kids' charity, while also indulging in some super hot and casual sex. I didn't think Talia could top the first book in the series, and yet...
Zaf and Dani are both well-developed characters with chemistry is through the roof. Add in my favorite trope of all, fake dating, and a bisexual Black heroine, and discussions about anxiety, and I'm sold! This books made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion and I'll admit, I even teared up once or twice. Just be prepared to want to smack some sense into the lovers throughout the story.
As soon as I received a request to read the book described as "Three Men and a Baby" meets "27 Dresses", I knew I was in love. The heroine, Annie, is THAT girl - the one that dates and "fixes" the guy right before he finds the girl of his dreams. So, when her fiance dumps her and begins planning THEIR wedding with his new fiancee, Annie hightails it to Rome, Rhode Island.
When in Rome (hah!), Annie unexpectedly meets her new roommate Emmitt, who at first glance is a womanizer but is actually a dad to a teenage girl... that has two other dads. What I love most about this book is the fact that it's less about romance and more about identity and love - love between friends, love between family, love lost, and love rediscovered. Such a beautiful story!
Talk about Eat Pray Love meets "What's Your Number?" (that fabulous romcom with pre-Captain America Chris Evans). When her widowed father announces that he's getting remarried, Chelsea realizes that she's been living her life on "pause" these last seven years, since her mom's death. She decides to rediscover her joie de vivre by visiting the men she once loved... conveniently located in Europe's most romantic countries. Add in a dreamy work rival (because, what's not to love about an enemies-to-lovers workplace romance) and you've got one hell of a romcom - do you hear that Netflix?
The romance itself is a little slow for my personal taste, and Chelsea can come across as immature and childish, but overall, there's a lot to love about this sweet story. I may or may not have a hypothetical European vacation planned in my head after reading...
While searching for spooky #Cocktober reads, I came across this hot novella! While I did find the story arc somewhat chaotic, a large part due to the fact that the entire read is only 80-ish pages, I think it's safe to say that this won't be my last Jewel Killian read.
What's not to love about a vacation fling? I'm sure many of us have fantasized about a hot lumberjack next door on more than one occasion. Our heroine is Cassie, a grad student in need of some long overdue quiet to finally finish her thesis. While staying at her friend's family's vacation home in Vermont, Cassie engages in a sexy, borderline BDSM one-night affair with Landon, the hunk next door who (surprise) also turns out to be a secret billionaire. As far as I'm concerned, their budding relationship gets derailed one too many times for a novella and we rely far too heavily on the epilogue to wrap things up neatly.
Yes, that's right... it's ANOTHER Lani Lynn Vale book. Y'all probably know by now that LLV is a one-click author of mine. This one is basically fanfic for anybody who follows that photographer's steamy "stranger" photo shoots on Facebook. When bad ass bartender, Amelia (she's got a six-pack and attitude to boot) agrees to a stranger photo shoot, she isn't expecting the instant heat between her and SWAT officer, Adam. And damn is there heat!
The subplot of everyone turning on Amelia due to the fact that she stood up for herself against a Hollywood star did seem a little unbelievable to me, what with the revelations of the #MeToo movement. However, I really appreciated the attention paid to Amelia's Type 1 Diabetes and the introduction of a character with Tourette's - I cannot wait for her love story. Seriously, I've already pre-ordered the next in the series!
Even before the global pandemic, I was never a huge fan of Summer. It's too hot, too humid, and too crowded (again, pre-pandemic). Yes, I know that I sound like the "grumpy old lady who lives downstairs", but as far as I'm concerned, Fall and Winter will always reign supreme. So, it should come as no surprise to any of you that I've been counting down the days to #Cocktober and #Boobsmas for quite some time now. In fact, over the last few weeks, I've spent a lot more time researching and reading holiday themed novels/novellas than recent releases. My NetGalley books are angry with me.
I'm not going to jump into my essay about finding little joys this holiday season just yet (I'll save that for November), but now that I've finished scheduling the bulk of our remaining Boobies & Noobies season, I'm ready to dive back into new releases. And there are a lot of them to look forward to this Fall - look out for a few in this week's TBR Thursday blog...
While I'd like to say that I finished multiple books off of my NetGalley TBR list this week, I must admit that I've spent the bulk of my recent free time scouring the web for Halloween-themed romance for our 2020 #Cocktober programming.
While I won't give away the final #Cocktober picks just yet, I can share that these are a few of the Halloween-ish books I finished recently that we will NOT be reading (many of which are quick novella reads):
Alpha's Halloween Virgin by Casey Morgan
After the Night by Sandra Marie
Frosted. Whipped. Buttered. by Christina C. Jones
Halloween with the Hunk by Jewel Killian
I'm sure that many of you have seen the... "gem" that is Netflix's adaptation of 365 dni (aka "365 Days"). In fact, I have no doubt that some of you have watched it multiple times - I know I have. So, it should come as no surprise that I've been listening to just about every podcast's take on the film.
I recommend checking out both Learning the Tropes' and Too Stupid to Live's take on this Polish erotic-romance drama. I'm an avid listener of both podcasts (both of them are also Frolic Podcast Network pods), so my familiarity with the hosts only added to the hilarity of these episodes. By the way, if by some miracle you haven't watched the movie yet... I guess, I'd recommend checking it out? Maybe?
I just want to emphasize how important it is, more so now than ever before, to surround yourself with people, activities, etc. that make you happy. FUCK the haters. I'm always excited to discover new and/or new-to-me authors, bloggers, etc. on social media. Here are a few of my most recent follows:
@reez.reads - Shiree is an IG "Aussie book nerd" whose feed just brightens my day. If you're a sucker for sparkles and book shelfies, you'll love her, too! Plus, she's got promo codes for a few bookish companies... so, start shopping!
@annie.hex - I met Annie during grad school and I've kept up with her and her amazing witchy self ever since. She's a poet, she's an artist, and she offers a little bit of everything mystical in her shop, from custom tarot readings to spell care packages. I may or may not have stocked up on goodies for future giveaways...
I'm pleased to say that plans are in the works for #The12DaysofBoobsmas, 2020 edition. Books have been selected, guests are being contacted, and some of our my favorite authors have graciously volunteered to donate some giveaway prizes. How amazing is that? We're still a few months out from any official announcements, so for the time being...
We've got another Tuesday Reviewsday out tomorrow, featuring the recent romcom release, Paris is Always a Good Idea, and a few more new/upcoming releases.
Also, you probably saw the announcement, but please rate and review the podcast this month! Everyone who leaves a review will be entered into a fabulous giveaway. I know it might not seem like a big deal, but I TREASURE each and every one of you who take the time to listen to the podcast, read the blog, etc. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
On this, the first of our Sunday Series, I'd love to introduce you to one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, Tessa Bailey. While the Broke and Beautiful series may not be my favorite of Tessa's work, I do find it extremely HAWT (each book more so than the last) and it's a series of books that can easily be read back-to-back. Starting with...
Chase Me (Book #1): By far the cutest couple of the three and one of my favorite character intros in the history of romance novels. We first meet Roxy, a struggling NYC-based actress and part-time singing telegram performer, when she's hired to deliver an "ode" to Louis' penis. Louis, a typical "manwhore" playboy, falls head over heels with Roxy almost instantaneously and basically spends the rest of the book trying to win the not-so-easy-to-trust-men, Roxy over. The best part about this book though is the friendship that develops between new roommates, Roxy, Honey, and Abby. By the end of the book, we have a clear indication of who each lady's love interest will be in the books that follow. I definitely recommend starting with the first book in this series!
Need Me (Book #2): Even after a recent reread, I'm still torn about my feelings for the second book in the series. On the one hand, it starts off extremely sexy with a college student and teacher hook-up (don't worry - only six years separate the two characters). The fact that SHE's the seducer is pretty great, but because he's an English professor, he compares their affair to Lolita one too many cringeworthy times for my taste. The second half of the story takes a major shift when Ben chases the sickly sweet, Southern-girl, Honey, back to her hometown. Definitely my least favorite of the three books, both in terms of plot and character arcs.
Make Me (Book #3): Well shit... Tessa saved the hottest for last. While I'd like to recommend that you start with Abby and Russell's story, by doing so, you will miss out on the building sexual tension that FINALLY boils over in this book. I'm not typically a fan of virgin heroine stories (virgin heroes on the other hand...), however Abby is ready and eager to GET. DOWN. I can appreciate that! Personally, I don't think Russell is good enough for Abby and part of the problem is he thinks the same thing - the emotional roller coaster he takes her on can get frustrating AF. The sexy BDSM scenes between the two of them though make up for that! This one's the hottest of the three and if you do make it through the entire series, you're in for rewarding HEA's for all three couples.
A couple months back, I received a request to review Ten Week Turnabout, an "enemies-to-lovers twist on a Hallmark classic" launching first as an audio series, followed by a more traditional ebook format. The request came from from ConSensual LLC, a Chicago-based, female-led production company with a mission to encourage straightforward consensual behavior in the romance industry. Needless to say, I was hooked, both by the premise (we all know how much I love/loathe Hallmark flicks) as well as the mission behind it. Not to mention the fact that I can count on one hand the amount of romances I'm familiar with that started as an audiobook/audio series - it's one, The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole. Innovation turns me on, so of course, I said yes.
Ten Week Turnabout follows the love story of Indiana-escapee, Ingrid and "the one that got away", hometown hero, Noah. Like any great romance pairing, Noah and Ingrid are polar opposites. She's the independent, career-driven woman who made it out of her small Midwest town as soon as the graduation caps hit the ground. He's the happy-go-lucky, casual lumbersexual who dreams of opening a community brewery (aka my dream man). Ingrid and Noah's spark from high school reignites when Noah finds himself at a work seminar in NYC, Ingrid's stomping ground, for the summer. So, let's get down to it...
To start with, Ten Week Turnabout is a quick and easy read. Seriously, I'm talking about an afternoon at the beach (so long as you're social distancing) read. The beauty of the audio series format is that podcast fans can tune in each week for a new "episode" (basically, a chapter) while bookish folks like me, can wait for the final release and gobble up the whole ebook in one sitting (and I did). Having read the book in its entirety, I will say that I think it might actually "read" better as an audio series. I feel like there were definitely multiple points where the author skipped over the more important bits that would have given Ingrid and Noah's relationship more credibility. At one point, there's mention that a month has gone by of Noah and Ingrid hooking-up and I was like, HUH?! I think the author was trying to emphasize the fact that this is meant to be a casual fling, but by doing so, the reader also loses several opportunities to see this casual situationship blossom into something more. Perhaps that will translate differently in audio episodes.
Now, if you want to read about sex... this is the book for you. Moreover, if you want to read about characters discussing consent, women taking agency over their bodies, and people telling their partners what they want and how they want it... this is DEFINITELY the book for you. Regardless of my minor complaints (I'll get to Ingrid in a moment), I think it's important to note that this book is a fantastic representation of what ConSensual LLC stands for: straightforward consensual behavior in the romance industry. Along with education, there is nothing sexier to me than REAL people having REAL conversations. Honestly, folks - it's a turn-on.
I also want to note that the relationships in this story come across as very real and modern. While Ingrid and Noah's hook-up is a great example of casual-dating, I found myself more interested in learning more about Cleo's flirtation with non-monogamy and a pansexual partner. That to me might have been a more interesting story, and hey, maybe it will be for another day... As far as Ingrid and Noah's relationship goes, there's a reason my Heart rating on this one is so low: Ingrid. While Noah comes across as an easy-going, open-hearted, all-around good guy, Ingrid does the opposite. More often than not, she comes across as shallow and judgmental. Don't get me wrong - I love a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it! And, I don't need a character to be "likeable". In fact, too often I feel that we judge female characters more harshly than male characters. However, I expect growth and I don't know if we see that, or see enough of that in Ingrid. From start to finish, she's constantly ridiculing Noah, equating him with a stereotypical "hick" or "redneck". She's shocked when he orders a flat white coffee. She scoffs at the fact that he became a teacher in their hometown. She even complains (albeit to herself) about the fact that Noah asks her out for coffee as opposed to drinks... That goes well beyond "high standards". That's straight up snooty. What's really odd is Ingrid's extreme distaste for everything and by proxy, everyone (even Noah) associated with the small town she grew up in. I found that extremely off-putting and honestly, it just never seemed called for. I was waiting to read about some tragic event that shaped her to think this way, something from her past that prevented her from returning home to Indiana for Christmas for nearly a decade, but it never came. That was the core issue for me - trying to understand what it was about this woman that drew Noah to her. Yes, she's a sexual creature. Yes, she's achieved great lengths in her career goals. Yes, she supports his dream of opening a brewery. But none of that seems... real enough to make me believe that this couple will last beyond the final page. In true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, I couldn't help but wonder if Ingrid was the best Noah could do...
So long as you can look beyond some questionable character choices, you're definitely in for a cute and charming read. The dialogue is absolute FIRE and I found myself chuckling on more than one occasion. Having now finished the book, I'm actually very excited to listen to the audio series! I hope to hear and read more from ConSensual LLC as I think this the topic of consent is one that needs to be addressed more often in media. What better place to do that than in romance novels? :)
Y'all have probably heard me mention my obsession with Lani Lynn Vale's books at some point by now. After inhaling the KPD SWAT series a few years ago, I was thrilled to see that Lani was writing a second generation series (sons and daughters of the OG SWAT members). This one is Book #7 in the 2.0 series and while it might not be my fave, it's one of the ones I've been waiting for. I can't promise the same emotional gratification if you haven't read the series in it's entirety, because there definitely is a build up to this book. My recommendation? Go back and BINGE.
I purchased the first book in Robin Lovett's Planet of Desire series on a whim. It was on sale, it's less than 220 pages - perfect for a quick weekend read. Let me tell you... WOWZA! I got a lot more than I bargained for. Basically, a human space captain and an alien enemy crash-land on a planet that's essentially a giant aphrodisiac. So, a planet that makes everyone horny? Absolutely incredible. The only reason my humor rating is so high is the fact that I couldn't stop laughing at these BONKERS circumstances. Otherwise, just prepare yourselves for gratuitous boinking.
Hello Boobies, Noobies, and everybody else googling porn.
Today marks my first Monday Meet-Up post and I couldn't be happier (well, maybe if I had some chocolate... just saying). As some of you might now, aside from romance novels (and chocolate as we now have established), nothing turns me on quite like organization. Seriously. Talk schedules, spreadsheets, and color-coordinated folder tabs to me and I'm yours. In fact, I usually spend the first part of Monday morning sipping iced coffee while updating my planner for the week! Well, as it turns out, moving across the country and throwing your back out while "nesting" can definitely throw off your organizational game. These weekly posts are just as much an excuse to hold myself accountable as they are a chance to share what I'm reading, listening to, etc. with y'all. So, buckle up, because I'm looking at my planner as we speak and the week ahead is going to be a busy one...
Hoo boy, where do I begin? Well, seeing as the July Book Club kicks off this week, naturally I just finished Make Me Hate You, by Kandi Steiner. *Cue Stefan from SNL* This book has got everything: best friend's brother romance, scandalously short sundresses... you know what? I'll let you wait for the rest until our review episode drops at the end of the month!
I also recently polished off Heatwaves by Kema B, a "summer fling" quick read. Very steamy, very quick, and I do mean quick - prepare yourselves for that otherwise face the possibility of being disappointed by the lack of character arcs. I also just began reading my advanced reader copy of Simmer Down by Sarah Smith and y'all... I'm in love. Also note, do not read this book unless you are also eating.
As with every week, I'm listening to my favorite podcast, My Worst Date. I cannot recommend this podcast enough (and the beautiful ladies behind the pod, too). I'm also super excited to listen to the latest Best Forevers Podcast episode (featuring the hilarious duo from Spoop Hour) on "Psych", one of my all-time fave shows.
Outside of podcast listening, I've been binge-listening to the Handmaid's Tale Seasons 1 & 2 Soundtrack playlist on Spotify, especially while writing. It's the perfect mix of golden oldies and angsty tracks... and of course, a little Kate Bush. Also, I think it goes without saying, but if you haven't listened to Gaslighter yet, the new studio album from The Chicks (formerly, the Dixie Chicks), what are you really doing with your life?
@teesbookjourney: In light of the most recent #BlackLivesMatter protests, it should come as no surprise to many that I'm making great strides to diversify my readings material and social media feed (I hope you're doing so, too!) I started following Tee, a Canadian romance novel enthusiast, because I love the way she highlights Black authors and artists in her posts. In fact, just yesterday she posted a picture of a book cover that I absolutely fell in love with: Be My Darling by Nia Arthurs. Needless to say, I immediately added the entire series to my TBR list.
@thebookvoyagers: You can find Sil, a book blogger who contributes frequently to Frolic and Book Riot, on both Twitter and Instagram, and geez, I hope you do! First of all, her tweets never fail to make me laugh. Secondly, she makes some amazing book recs (seriously, my TBR list is exploding right now because of this lady). PLUS If you've been having trouble reading full length novels lately, her latest article on Book Riot rounds-up some shorter reads (less than 170 pages).
Tomorrow marks the first official Tuesday Reviewsday. I'll have a few bite-sized for reviews for recent reads alongside more in-depth coverage of Ten Week Turnabout, the brand new audio series from ConSensual Pod. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the entire story which you can read, too, once the ebook is released later this summer. But why wait? You can listen to the story unfold in a series of podcast episodes (think, one chapter per episode, one week at a time).
This week also marks the start of the Boobies & Noobies July Book Club Facebook discussion. I hope you'll join us on Facebook to chat all things Make Me Hate You by Kandi Steiner (available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited).
As far as recording goes, I'm excited to join Nick Palodichuk, host of the St. Paul Filmcast, for a review of one of my all-time favorite movies, "Drop Dead Gorgeous". I'll also be recording one of our August episodes this coming Sunday... more on that later.
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.
Greetings romance readers! February's a time for hearts, candy, and romance and what says "I love you" better than... Secrets and Lies?
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