Sweetest Thing by Natasha West
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Articles / November 22, 2019

B- Sweetest Thing by Natasha West October 18, 2019 Romance After two and a half months of reading Gothic things and watching Gothic things I read Sweetest Thing on a whim. It was not Goth. I loved it. This f/f contemporary romance is funny and wildly entertaining although there’s a frustrating subplot and there’s a very sudden time gap (more on that later). This book involves a British television baking competition called Bake It! This fictional show is obviously loosely modelled after the real British show, The Great British Bake Off. I adore The Great British Bake Off (pre-network change) as it is the only thing that I can seem to handle during a fibro flare. I must admit that given the cupcakes on the cover, I thought we might get a bit of my old love Cupcake Wars as well (Remember when Weird Al was one of the judges?! Good times!) but that is not the case. Our first contestant is Robyn. Robyn is in a relationship with Alex (a woman), and trying to figure out whether she wants to stay with Alex or not. I know infidelity is a big turn off for many readers so rest assured…

378. Owning Your Anger and Being Yourself: Live from East City Books with Andie J. Christopher
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Articles / November 22, 2019

A | BN | K | AB Recorded on a cold, cold evening on 13 November 2019, live from East City Books: my conversation with Andie J. Christopher about Not the Girl You Marry. We talk about the book (obviously – but I promise no spoilers) and about gender-updates of familiar stories and tropes. We discuss what exactly should happen to the term, “unlikeable heroine,” and what stories we want to read. How many times will we mention Chris Evans? Take a guess! And, if you’re interested, you can take a drink with every mention. Music: https://www.purple-planet.com You can subscribe to Smart Podcast, Trashy Books at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you catch your favorite shows! Listen to the podcast → Read the transcript → Here are the books we discuss in this podcast: You can find Andie J. Christopher on her website, AndieJChrisopher.com. She’s on Twitter and Instagram @AuthorAndieJ. We also mentioned: PopSugar Workouts Heather Robertson Workouts Estadio Restaurant in DC Chez Billy in Georgetown   If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, and Spotify, too. We also have a cool page for…

Sarah’s in the Washington Post with a 2019 Best of Romance!
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Articles / November 21, 2019

I was asked to write up a Best of 2019 Romance list for The Washington Post books section, and it’s live! Eeee! Picking six was difficult – initially the total requested number was lower but I had to include a  book for as many different types of readers and fans as I could. Have a peek at the article to see the list! But wait, this is the most exciting part:   HOLY SMOKES! Would you check out that embroidery art for the image?! I’m running out of font styles to convey my excitement. Look how gorgeous it is! As per the caption, the embroidered illustration was created by artist Sarah K. Benning, and you can follow her on Instagram and buy her work online, and order kits to make your own, too! Thank you to Stephanie Merry at The Washington Post for as-always fabulous editing, and for asking me to be part of the end of year round up. Yay for more romance for everyone!  

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…