Book Beat: Debutante History, Cinderella, & More
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Articles / December 21, 2019

Welcome to Book Beat! Think of Book Beat as Hide Your Wallet, Part Two! In Hide Your Wallet, we talk about books coming out in a particular month that we really want to read. But there’s more to good books than just new releases! Book Beat aims to highlight other books that we may hear about through friends, social media, or other sources. We could see a gorgeous ad! Or find a new-to-us author on a list of underrated romances! Think of Book Beat as Teen Beat or Tiger Beat, but for books. And no staples to open to get the fold-out poster. The Daemoniac Author: Kat Ross Released: October 12, 2016 by Acorn Publishing Genre: Historical: European, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy Series: Gaslamp Gothic #1 Sherlock Holmes meets The X-Files in this acclaimed paranormal mystery series from the author of the Fourth Element Trilogy It’s August 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will terrorize Whitechapel, and another murderer is stalking the streets of New York. His handiwork bears the hallmarks of a demonic possession—but amateur sleuth Harrison Fearing Pell is certain her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. And she hopes to make her reputation by solving the…

Podcast 382, Your Transcript is Ready
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Articles / December 20, 2019

The transcript for Podcast 382. Our Favorite Books of the Year, Part Two: Shana, Sneezy, and Aarya has been posted! This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks. ❤ Click here to subscribe to The Podcast →

Escape Holiday Stress with Audible Escape – With Giveaway!
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Articles / December 20, 2019

This post is sponsored by Audible Escape, formerly known as the Audible Romance Package.  The Audible Escape subscription allows you to binge listen to thousands of romance audiobooks. You can borrow up to 10 audiobooks from the subscription at a time, return them whenever you like, then borrow more. If you’re new to Audible Escape, you can try it free for one month. Then, a subscription is $6.95 a month for Audible members and Kindle Unlimited members, and $12.95 per month for non members.  We have a giveaway for a chance to win one of ten 1-year Audible Escape subscriptions in this entry so read on for details!  It’s time for traveling and waiting in line, and noshing and possibly spending time in places or surrounded by folks you’d rather not be with – which is okay if the food is good. I hope the food where you are is excellent. But if it’s not, or if you’re full and couldn’t eat another bite (mmm, pie) we’ve got a collection of audiobooks here that you can binge-listen to, including (of course) some with holiday themes! You can even pretend you’re on a conference call and mutter responses while you listen….

382. Our Favorite Books of the Year, Part Two: Shana, Sneezy, and Aarya
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Articles / December 20, 2019

We’re looking back at our favorite books of the year with the SBTB team with reviewers from around the globe. Shana talks about the books she thought were perfection this year, the pop culture discoveries in romance fiction that she wishes were real, and our appreciation of sewing, embroidery, and other art forms that are often coded as feminine. Sneezy shares the books that she loved most this year, especially those that caused a high grade of catharsis and taught her how to human more. Aarya breaks down all the elements that worked for her inside a book coming out on the 31st (no spoilers!) and narrows her list of 22 books down to 5, all of which explore themes of family and identity. TW/CW – at 27:19 mention of beating up an assaulter and of violence, and at 52:25, there’s a discussion of character with hella-Islamophobia (there’s a spoken warning for this one, so skip 30 seconds or so) I hope you enjoy this reading recap, and that you share with us your favorite books that you read in the past year, too! Right now, for a limited time, you can get 3 months of Audible for just $6.95…

Stuff You Should Be Watching: Her Private Life
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Articles / December 19, 2019

This post is not so much about the series, well, it is about the series, but it is also about how I use foreign language shows as one tool in my mental health toolkit. So, please bear with me during the preamble… Reading is my usual method of escapism, but sometimes my brain won’t be still long enough to get into a book. I’ll be pulled out of it with thoughts and reflections I’d rather not have. If I truly want to disengage from the world around me, then I need to keep my brain engaged with something other than itself/me. Enter Netflix and Fibre. Either while knitting or while spinning, I can watch/read a foreign language TV series. For those glorious minutes/hours, I am suspended from the world around me. My fingers move automatically – be it with needles or stretches of unspun wool – and I can disappear into another world. Usually, I emerge with a skein of wool and a renewed sense of calm and/or purpose. Show Spoiler In this endeavour, I have ventured through Russia (Silver Spoon), Mexico (La Casa de la Flores), France (Black Spot) and Brazil (Nobody’s Looking), all of which I would highly…

The Rec League: Healthy Boundaries
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Articles / December 19, 2019

This Rec League was sent in by Nushie and it’s a great topic for the romance community: I’m looking for romances where the heroine stands up for herself and is willing to (or already has) cut off her toxic family/friends/exes. I want a heroine that puts her happiness first – I don’t think that’s an outrageous request, but I’m having trouble coming up with many examples in romances. I’ve read way too many books where the heroine is nobly sacrificing herself, paying for an ungrateful family member’s sin. So many heroines justify putting up with emotional abuse, theft, sabotage, and outright malice; their anthem may as well be, “But it’s family.” This is ultimately used to showcase how ‘good’ a woman she is; I refuse to accept that a heroine has to sacrifice to deserve a happy ending. My rec is The Obsession by Nora Roberts. At a young age, the heroine reports her serial killer father to the police. She does not feel guilty about cutting contact with her mother, who continues to support her imprisoned husband. A | BN | K | AB Sarah: There are a few Nora heroines who set hard lines with toxic parents. The…

Book Recs, Bisexuals of the Blade, & More
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Articles / December 18, 2019

Christmas is next week and Hanukkah begins this weekend. What? When did that happen. If you’re celebrating any holiday traditions, we hope they leave you fulfilled and happy. Eat all the food. Enjoy all the things. … Sil is at Frolic recommending some 2020 enemies-to-lovers romance titles! This is one of my favorite tropes, so I’m all about this list! … The holiday season hasn’t begun until I’ve seen the Folgers incest ad on television. Don’t know what I’m talking about? This GQ profile will tell you all you need to know! … Hallmark made a dumb move be pulling an ad featuring a lesbian wedding. I believe they’ve reinstated it, but if you want more queer romances in your holiday season, there’s a great book recommendation list on Twitter. If you *ARE* looking for some queer holiday fun reminiscent of Hallmark movies? Allow me to suggest some books, shall I? First off, these two ladies get an assist on their way to holiday happiness by a kitten. A KITTEN!https://t.co/xyO45r3frk — ‘Nathan Burgoine (@NathanBurgoine) December 14, 2019 … Author, comedian, and producer Josh Gondelman wrote about how he’s adopted his wife’s enemies: That’s part of what love is. When the person you…

Watchmakers, Earls, & More
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Articles / December 18, 2019

By Her Touch By Her Touch by Adriana Anders is $1.99! This is the second book in the Blank Canvas series. The first one, Under Her Skin, is FREE!  A warning that these romances on the darker side and feature abusive backstories. I was halfway through Under Her Skin when I bought By Her Touch. If you like angsty characters trying to rebuild their lives, check out this series. He Will Always Bear the Scars Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of every brutal act he was forced to commit tattooed across his skin. He doesn’t have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle–not now, maybe not ever. Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger’s pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay’s frightening exterior. But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, she finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence…that not even her touch may be able to heal. Add to Goodreads To-Read List → You can find ordering info for this book here.       The Earl The Earl by Katharine Ashe is 99c!…

2019 SBTB Gift Guide: Skincare, Makeup, And All the Moisturizers
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Articles / December 18, 2019

It’s time for the latest and final edition of the 2019 Smart Bitches Gift Guide! This week? Skincare, Makeup, And All the Moisturizers! If you need some ways to treat and pamper yourself and those around you, the crew at SBTB HQ have so many ideas and suggestions to help. I love doing our gift guides, especially this latest edition. 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.

Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera
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Articles / December 18, 2019

B- Mangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera December 23, 2019 Contemporary/OtherLGBTQIANovellaRomance The best part of Mangos & Mistletoe is the mouthwatering descriptions of pastries created in a GBBO-inspired holiday baking competition set in Scotland. The worst part of Mangos & Mistletoe is the mouthwatering descriptions of pastries created in a GBBO-inspired holiday baking competition set in Scotland. Do not repeat my mistakes: you must not read this f/f enemies-to-lovers-in-only-one-bed novella without a plate of delicious pastries nearby. My baking experience is limited to an almost burned attempt of shortbread and I’ve never been more sorry for it. Hot chocolate rugelach with marshmallow nougat, key lime and coconut shortbread casitas with intricate piping, mentions of tropical fruits like guavas and mangos… If your salivary glands are already watering, here’s my recommended plan-of-action: Stop reading this review (okay, I don’t mean this literally. Just read fast because time is ticking). Close your electronic device (unless you’re reading SBTB on a clay tablet, in which case you should close that instead). Run to the nearest grocery store or bakery to stock up on baked goods/ingredients. I recommend something not very sticky as your wandering fingers may leave marks on the e-reader screen. Stretch…