All Historicals, All the Time
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Articles / October 31, 2019

Foolish Bride Foolish Bride by A.S. Fenichel is 99c at Amazon and Kobo! This is a second chance romance between two people who were supposed to get married. Some readers mentioned that the dialogue felt a bit too modern for a historical romance, but others really liked the heroine. Sadly ever after . . . unless some dreams really do come true? Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancé, will tell her why. Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part? Add to…

Guest Review: Once Upon a Mattress (2005)
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Articles / October 31, 2019

B+ Once Upon a Mattress by 2005 Not a Book This guest review comes from Lisa! A longtime romance aficionado and frequent commenter to SBTB, Lisa is a queer Latine critic with a sharp tongue and lots of opinions. She frequently reviews at All About Romance and Women Write About Comics, where she’s on staff, and you can catch her at @thatbouviergirl on Twitter. There, she shares good reviews, bracing industry opinions and thoughtful commentary when she’s not on her grind looking for the next good freelance job. … Kids these days have Merida and Elsa. I had Princess Winifred of the Woebegone, and I enjoyed her greatly. Winnifred was fun and different in a mainstream world where fun and different weren’t often encouraged. If you loved Galavant, you’ve loved Once Upon a Mattress and didn’t know it. For years, this retelling of The Princess and the Pea was my go-to favorite answer to the question ‘what’s your favorite musical?’ But revisiting the play revealed a few blemishes that made me uncomfortable. Now it’s my second-favorite musical. For the purpose of this review, I’ve rewatched the 2005 Wonderful World of Disney version of the musical, though the 1964 version is…

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman
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Articles / October 31, 2019

B- This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman October 29, 2019 · St. Martin’s Paperbacks Historical: EuropeanRomance The cover of This Earl of Mine won me over before I even read the description, as I’m a bit of a book magpie. The biggest compliment I can give this book is that it was fun as all get out. The characters were cheeky and the fake courtship between Georgie and Ben incited a riot of butterflies in my stomach. A lot happens, though, and as a selfish reader, I didn’t appreciate the details that competed with the romance. Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed has inherited her father’s very profitable business. She’s easily one of the richest women in society which makes her a target for fortune hunters and her scheming cousin, Josiah. Wary that Josiah will maneuver her into a situation where she will be forced to marry him, Georgie plans to outwit him by marrying a man already sentenced to death at Newgate. Georgie does express uncertainty and sadness that this choice is the only course of action that will deter her cousin. To soothe some of her feelings, a large sum of money will also be paid to her soon-to-be-late-husband’s…

Mythology, Jane Doe, & More
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Articles / October 30, 2019

Too Hard to Forget Too Hard to Forget by Tessa Bailey is $1.99! This is the third book in the Romancing the Clarksons series, but it can be read on its own. I’m a Bailey fan, but this series wasn’t my favorite. There’s a forbidden relationship element that some people weren’t sold on, though many readers said the hero does an amaaaaazing grovel. It has 3.9-star rating on Goodreads. This time, she’s calling the shots. Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on. In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist. Add to Goodreads…

Links: Just Spooky Stuff
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Articles / October 30, 2019

Today is October 30th and the closet we can get to Halloween without Links actually being on Halloween. I have a shift at the bookstore today and tomorrow and we have Halloween events for both. If you’re curious about my costumes, today is a Hargas cult/commune member from the movie Midsommar (highly recommend!) and tomorrow is a Crystal Lake camp counselor. I’m still waiting on my flower crown to arrive for the former, but I have a backup Velma from Scooby Doo outfit from a couple years ago. … Authors are listing their favorite Halloween candies and favorite supernatural beings over at Frolic! What are yours? I think Reese’s and the fae might be my choices. … One of my favorite things about the spooky season is Jezebel‘s scary story contest. Seriously, I’ve read some truly frightening things from this feature. … Kate Racculia (who writes some great, fun mysteries including the latest Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, which has some major Clue and The Westing Game vibes!) has a lovely tribute to the rage and power of teen witches in media. Man, those characters were so formative for me as a young Amanda. … Sarah: I’ve been mentioning in links posts my attempts to purchase sustainable or…

2019 SBTB Gift Guide: Wine, Books, and S’mores!
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Articles / October 30, 2019

It’s time for the 2019 Smart Bitches Gift Guide! I’m sharing the first collection of holiday gift ideas and wishlist items of 2019! Basically I go shopping with all of you in mind. Want to see?Just click that image above or click right here, and come shop with us! And if you’d like to browse some more, we have a complete Stuff We Like archive, including past Gift Guides and other posts of our favorite items.

A Snowy Little Christmas by Fern Michaels, Tara Sheets, and Kate Clayborn
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Articles / October 30, 2019

C A Snowy Little Christmas by Fern Michaels October 29, 2019 · Zebra Books Contemporary RomanceNovellaRomance I adore Christmas, which might seem odd considering my family doesn’t celebrate the holiday. I have no connection to the religious aspect, but the reason I love Christmas so much is because I felt isolated and miserable when I first moved to the United States as a child. Seattle seemed gloomy, dark, and wet compared to Singapore, and I hated everything about the city. Until December, when the city suddenly transformed into a magical place with pretty lights, irresistible music, and mouthwatering treats (I love peppermint and gingerbread. I don’t know why everyone gets so excited about pumpkin spice lattes when the Starbucks holiday drinks menu is clearly superior). The holiday, despite how commercialized it is, still inspires fuzzy and nostalgic feelings about being the first thing that I loved about the U.S. It comes as no surprise, then, that I start reading Christmas novellas in July. The holiday is a terrific setting in romance: It can summon grief or happiness (depending on who is or isn’t around to celebrate) It brings out the worst (and best!) in family (meddling relatives are a balm…

HaBO: Godparents Forced to Cohabitate
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Articles / October 29, 2019

This HaBO is from Elizabeth, who is looking for this contemporary romance: I read this book in 2009. It was about two godparents, the woman was BFF’s with the mom and the man was BFF’s with the dad. They’re thrown together when said BFF’s die tragically, leaving their three-or-four-year old daughter orphaned. The stipulations of the will force these two godparents to cohabitate and raise the girl together. So, forced proximity enemies to lovers, basically. One plot point I remember is they’re applying to get her into pre-school and they’re in a metropolitan city that is highly competitive, and the god dad’s mom was from South Africa, and that factor gets them an interview at the preschool. That’s all I can remember. Ringing any bells for the Bitchery?

Historical Romances, Fae, & More
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Articles / October 29, 2019

Vox Vox by Christina Dalcher is $1.99! This book made a lot of Best of 2018 book lists. However, given the current state of the world, but desire to read near-future books that hit too close to home is incredibly complicated. Have you read this one? What are your thoughts? One of Entertainment Weekly’s and SheReads’ books to read after The Handmaid’s Tale. One of Good Morning America’s “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer” Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter. On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard. But this is not the end.  For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her…

HaBO: Heroine & Son Stay with the Hero in Montana
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Articles / October 29, 2019

This HaBO request is from Candi. Content warning for domestic violence mentioned in the description below: I read a book, but I can’t for the life of me remember the title or author. I don’t remember much about it other than a father, who I think is in politics, asked his friend if his daughter and grandson can stay with him in I think Montana for a while, as she’s divorcing her husband cause he was beating her and it made the news. The friend has a daughter. The two get together while she’s there. At some point they go to Florida to I believe Disney World, she gets blackmailed by her ex and leaves. The father’s friend finds her again around Halloween and she is pregnant. I know it’s not much, but any help would be great. Getting blackmailed at the happiest place on Earth sounds awful.