Archaeologists, Contemporary Romance, & More
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Articles / November 21, 2019

Shades of Wicked Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost is $1.99! This is the first book in the Night Rebel series, which is a spin-off of Frost’s Night Huntress series. I read this one and I found it to be a lot of fun. The opening scene is quite…memorable. However, as someone who never got into the Night Huntress series, I’ll admit there’s a learning curve with understanding the world-building. I also made a cocktail for this one! In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match! The Rule Breaker Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he’s never been able to abide by the rules for long. The Law Maker Veritas’ normal role is police, judge and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait…well, all’s fair in law and war. As they…

Hex Wives by Ben Blacker & Mirka Andolfo
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Articles / November 21, 2019

B Hex Wives by Ben Blacker October 29, 2019 · Vertigo Graphic Novel Damn, y’all, Hex Wives is not here to play. This is a graphic novel (a collection of Hex Wives #1-6) about some seriously angry women and I am HERE for it. Only problem is, it ends just as things are really getting good. Our story begins in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 as a coven of witches (all women, and led by lovers Nadiya and Isadora) battles a group of men known as The Architects. As the battles continue from place to place and year to year through 2005, we learn that these witches are bonded through time. Their magic is powered by blood, so the more they kill and the more they are wounded (up to a point) the more powerful they become. They can be killed, but when they die they are born again, reunite with each other as teens or adults, and go right back to the fight. Because they reincarnate, the women are essentially immortal, and the more time they spend around each other, the stronger they are. As one of the Architects bitterly states, “They are stronger together.” At last one of the…

Fire & Ice by Rachel Spangler
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Articles / November 21, 2019

B Fire & Ice by Rachel Spangler October 15, 2019 · Bywater Books Contemporary RomanceLGBTQIARomance CW Cheating I mentioned in my review of Edge of Glory that I love sports romances, despite having zero interest in any sport in real life. Even so, I was a little skeptical when I saw that Rachel Spangler’s latest takes place in the world of curling because, well, it’s curling… (Yes, I know, I’m a bad Canadian. Please don’t take my citizenship away.) I was pleasantly surprised by Fire & Ice, though, and I’m glad I read it, even if I had a hard time sympathizing with one of the leads. It wasn’t too long ago that Max Lauren was at the top of the sports reporting game, but after being at the center of a scandal (more on that below), she’s lucky to get assigned to curling coverage. Max doesn’t know the first thing about curling and doesn’t bother to remedy that before showing up with a chip on her shoulder and acting like a horse’s ass in front of the team she’s been sent to cover. When Callie Mulligan, the team’s skip (captain), tries to explain the basics, Max is flat-out rude…

Links: American Girl Dolls, Dancing, & More
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Articles / November 20, 2019

Happy Wednesday! In New England, we’ve already had snow. I’ve lived here seven years and this is the earliest I’ve seen it, and I am definitely not ready. Who else is dealing unpleasant winter temps already? … Check out this cool event happening at Love’s Sweet Arrow on December 7th! There will be an author chat, a cookie swap, and romance bingo. … Christine Blasey Ford received the ACLU Courage Award recently. Jezebel has a good write up of the event and a video of Blasey Ford’s speech. … Enjoy these photos of men with their lovely cats! I believe the photographer has produced a coffee table book with the photos, and may make a great gift for someone for holidays. … As an avid podcast listen, I was surprised to learn there’s a podcast, hosted by two historians, that examines the American Girl dolls and books. Well, sign me up! … I saw this yesterday and I cannot stop watching it. It’s literally the sweetest thing. I have been introduced to #FlirtyDancing—a blind date show where two people learn a dance separately and then must perform it upon meeting each other—and now I’m RUINED. pic.twitter.com/UnLDX7IpRK — Justin Kirkland (@justinkirkland4)…

Second Chance Romance, Annabeth Albert, & More
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Articles / November 20, 2019

Deadly Strain Deadly Strain by Julie Rowe is $1.99! This book was recommended on two podcasts: one with Sassy Outwater and one with Reader Meka. It’s romantic suspense with a bioterrorism angle and while readers loved the non-stop action, some wished there was more focus on the romance. It has a 3.9-star rating on Goodreads. Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster. Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of Anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak. Sharp is Grace’s most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can’t watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain,…

2019 SBTB Gift Guide: Amanda’s Wishlist of Wild Weirdness
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Articles / November 20, 2019

It’s time for the newest edition of the 2019 Smart Bitches Gift Guide! This week? I’m in charge! We love doing our annual gift guides, especially this latest edition. Want to see the wild wishlist? 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.

The Princess Plan by Julia London
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Articles / November 20, 2019

B- The Princess Plan by Julia London November 19, 2019 · HQN Books Historical: EuropeanRomance I am but a simple woman. Give me even the slightest whiff of antagonism between characters and I am there with all the bells on my person. The Princess Plan delivers on snarky banter as a form of foreplay between two main characters that I really enjoyed. However, there are a few things that kept me from feeling satisfied in the romance department. The two princes of the fictional kingdom of Alucia are in England to 1) negotiate a trade deal and 2) find a wife for crown prince, Sebastian, for the purpose of popping out heirs. When Sebatian’s right hand man and BFF of the last seventeen years is found murdered after a fancy masquerade ball, it sends all sorts of political relationships into turmoil. To make matters worse, Sebastian is disheartened by the lack of progress by the authorities and is growing increasingly irritated by a well-known gazette printing potentially harmful rumors. I’m sure you can imagine his haughty princely surprise when he realizes the person in charge of supplying rumors to the gazette is Miss Eliza Tricklebank: a mouthy, clock-repairing spinster and…

Charlie’s Angels (2019)
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Articles / November 19, 2019

Charlie’s Angels (2019) by Elizabeth Banks, Evan Spiliotopoulos, David Auburn Squee Not a Book I saw Charlie’s Angels by myself in a theatre the Friday of opening weekend. It was absolutely delightful, and immediately upon exiting I told Amanda that she needed to see it. I also said, “If you go see Charlie’s Angels, I’m going to need you to text me when you’re done to let me know you’re okay.” Amanda: Is it good?! Sarah: I had SUCH a good time. But the amount of lesbian energy is so substantial that I’m concerned you may pass the entire fuck out. So much Lady Thirst. Amanda:  Sarah: I was never in doubt that they would be in grave peril but I was surprised by some scenes and really loved the cameos. I won’t say anything more but you will probably really like it Amanda: I have successfully roped my roommate into going with me on Monday Sarah: Good call. … Readers, I sat on my fingers and didn’t spoil anything. I told a few people that I’d liked the movie, and then watched the negative press roll in over the weekend about how it was a big fail. Honestly, I…

HaBO: Heroine is a Successful, Silent Business Partner
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Articles / November 19, 2019

This HaBO comes from Michelle, who is looking for this contemporary romance: The book I’m looking for is a contemporary romance, with a hint of a mystery. Probably came out 5-10 years ago. Dude shows up at the home of a super-smart businessman, and the businessman’s silent partner/best gal friend. The BF is interested in the Dude, but he’s there under false pretenses; he’s really investigating the big chunk of money that is not fully accounted for to the board of the businessman’s company. I can remember what the reveal is, but not the author, names, or title. I’d really like to reread it, because it was a different concept. It’s was kinda rom-com-ish, but I liked that the BF was acknowledged as being an important part of the company, but she really was a lot more than anybody realized. Who can identify this one?

Contemporary Romance, an Anthology, & More
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Articles / November 19, 2019

Do You Want to Start a Scandal RECOMMENDED: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare is $1.99! This is part of the Castles Ever After series, but can be read on its own. Elyse loved this book: I loved Do You Want to Start a Scandal. It’s funny, it’s sexy and it’s got some Clue-like shenanigans going on. If you have better self control than I do, I recommend savoring this book rather than powering through in one sitting (good luck). On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it. All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue. But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land…