Podcast 388, Your Transcript is Ready
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Articles / January 31, 2020

The transcript for Podcast 388. RWA One Month Later: C. Chilove, Laurel Cremant, Diana Neal, The Officers of CIMRWA has been posted! This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks. ❤ Click here to subscribe to The Podcast →

Happy 15th Anniversary, Smart Bitches!
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Articles / January 31, 2020

Fifteen years ago, the site began. The site launched on 31 January 2005 with a review for Angel-Seeker by Sharon Shinn and for The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann, and here we are, fifteen years later. The site is now old enough to get its learner’s permit in several states. This is alarming to me, as my older son Freebird was born the same year as the site, so he’ll soon be permit-eligible, too. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING. Fifteen years is, I have learned the Crystal Anniversary. Cool! I love anniversaries with a name (the fifth, by the way, is “wood” so insert jokes here). 15 is also Quinceañera time, should we wish to have truly epic parties in truly epic fashion. This means I get to spend a somewhat alarming amount of time looking at incredibly fun and also vaguely inappropriate gifs. Crystal gif is strange searching, y’all. These crystals are very excited for us, I think! First, as always: Thank you. Thank you for being part of Smart Bitches.  The internet has changed a LOT in 15 years, and our community is still here, still growing, still discussing romance and adjacent topics, and still hilariously welcoming and wonderful. I’ve said…

388. RWA One Month Later: C. Chilove, Laurel Cremant, Diana Neal, The Officers of CIMRWA
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Articles / January 31, 2020

Welcome to episode 388, and the first of a four-episode special event: RWA: One Month Later. I recorded this episode on the 23 of January, one month to the date when a decision from Romance Writers of America was delivered to Courtney Milan informing her that due to an ethics complaint, she was being barred from leadership for her lifetime, and suspended from RWA for one year. If you were online, you might have seen some mention of it. In that month, a LOT happened. And while some major changes have taken place, there’s also a lack of movement, and a lot to discuss. So I wanted to create a time capsule of sorts to capture where we are right now, and more importantly, feature the stories and perspectives of those who were most intimately involved. Because of the timeliness of these episodes, I’m doing a special miniseries: I’m releasing this episode on 31 January. Tomorrow, February 1, I have an interview with past president HelenKay Dimon, and then, February 2, I have a conversation with Jessie Edwards, RWA’s Marketing and PR Manager. Finally, on February 3, I have an interview with Courtney Milan. Today, I’m speaking with C Chilove,…

A Boxed Set, Witches, & More
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Articles / January 30, 2020

The Real Deal The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely is $2.99! This is a contemporary romance with a fake relationship and forced proximity. Readers say this does a great job blending humor and romance, while others wanted a more emotional payoff. Have you read this one? Get ready for your next favorite romantic comedy, THE REAL DEAL! April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play. Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL. Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he…

Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
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Articles / January 30, 2020

B Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne January 28, 2020 · Gallery Books Romance The single biggest thing you need to know about this book up front is that it is an unapologetic celebration of materialism and name brands. If you don’t want to read about someone’s Louboutins and how well they match said individual’s Stella McCarthy cocktail dress, then read something else. This book happened to catch me in peak escapist mode so I enjoyed it, and yet in a different frame of mind, I could just as easily have wanted to throw it across the room. My brain is a fickle thing. Marriage on Madison Avenue is the third book in the Central Park Pact series and it works fine as a stand alone although the characters and themes from the other books are prominently represented. The prologue gets the reader all caught up. It seems that once upon a time a guy named Brayden died, and at his funeral his wife, Claire, met his two girlfriends, Audrey and Naomi. None of the three women had known the other existed, and they made a pact to help each other avoid future jerks. This was the beginning of…

Never Kiss a Duke by Megan Frampton
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Articles / January 30, 2020

C Never Kiss a Duke by Megan Frampton January 28, 2020 · Avon Regency Romancelandia is awash in dukes behaving badly, and the hero in Never Kiss a Duke by Megan Frampton, Sebastian de Silva, was a wonderful departure from that trope. Sebastian handles conflict with maturity and faces adversity with a sense of positivity. It was such a relief to see a duke wearing his grownup breeches for once. Even with a hero I adored, the conflict fizzled at the end and I struggled with the heroine, affecting my ability to immerse myself in the book. When the novel opens, Sebastian has been thrown quite the curveball; he’s spent his whole life as the Duke of Hasford with plenty of wealth and privilege. Now Sebastian finds that he’s no longer a duke and is a bastard to boot. With his cousin assuming the title, Sebastian needs to figure out his life. There are plenty of books where, at this point, the hero would decide to drown his sorrows in a bottle, enact a convoluted plan to seduce a female innocent related to whoever he felt wronged him, or slink off somewhere Gothic to brood about his wealth and privilege…

RWA One Month Later: A Special Podcast Series
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Articles / January 29, 2020

This week’s podcast episode will be the first of a four-episode series on RWA: One Month Later. It’s been just over a month since Romance Writers of America informed Courtney Milan on 23 December 2019 that due to an ethics complaint, she was barred from leadership for her lifetime, and was suspended for a year. That decision was then rescinded, and, well, a lot has happened in a month. I wanted to create an audio record of sorts to capture where we are now, and most importantly, featured the voices and perspectives of some of those who were involved.   Because of the timeliness of these episodes, I’m doing a special miniseries and releasing all four back to back. On January 31: a  conversation with C Chilove, Laurel Cremant, and Diana Neal, the officers of CIMRWA, the Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America On February 1: an interview with RWA past president HelenKay Dimon  On February 2: a conversation with Jessie Edwards, Marketing and PR Manager at RWA   On February 3: an interview with Courtney Milan  You can listen to each episode here at the site in our Podcasts section, or you can subscribe to…

Links: Fundraisers, Video Games, & More
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Articles / January 29, 2020

Welcome back to Wednesday Links! I am currently in a state of delirium after going out with some fellow booksellers and then having to be back at the bookstore bright and early for an inventory count. I am a master at making good decisions! … SBTB HQ is very interested in this new video game. You might be interested too if you enjoyed our latest Stuff We Like! … Several romances authors are releasing an anthology to raise money for Australia. It contains over thirty romances that haven’t been published previously … The Romance for PR auction is still going on! Bid while you can! … Here is a definitive ranking of snacking crackers. I have very strong opinions about this list and I would die for a buttery Ritz. … Enjoy this bizarre comedy of errors via online shopping! 2 wks ago i realized i had never received a vase i ordered from @Anthropologie. they refunded my order & i ordered a new one, per their instructions. today i received NINE BOXES. of varying shapes and sizes. all from anthropologie. (i texted my friend: "are they all my vase???") pic.twitter.com/4MDnQnkb3u — Leah Rachel von Essen (@reading_while) January 23, 2020 ……

Fake Boyfriends, Billionaires, & More
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Articles / January 29, 2020

The Invisible Library RECOMMENDED: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is 99c! This is a fantasy novel that Carrie really enjoyed. She graded it a B+: While I genuinely loved the characters and concepts of the book, it’s played strictly for fun adventure. It’s basically just an excuse to have smart people fight cyborg alligators in a ballroom and werewolves in a museum. It’s smart, well-written fluff and I ate it up with a spoon. Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.   One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction… Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural…

Elyse Watches The Bachelor–S24 E4: We’re Makin’ Biscuits
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Articles / January 29, 2020

Happy Bachelor day, Bitchery! Last week after a ton of back and forth bickering, Alayah went home after being dubbed “fake.” That was basically the entire episode. That’s the entire intro. Pour yourself a stiff drink. Let’s get this party started. The episode opens with Chris Harrison telling the contestants, “Good morning! C’mon in! We’re making biscuits!” They all assemble in the living room where there are no biscuits. Is that some sort of slang term I’m unaware of? Does Chris Harrison know that you cannot promise a delicious, fluffy biscuit and then not deliver it? Does “biscuit” mean “a contrived event put together by the producers to cause as much emotional distress as possible?” I am full of questions. Ed. note: to make up for absence of biscuits Chris Harrison tells the ladies it’s time to start traveling. They are headed for Cleveland, OH. There’s noticeable silence when he says “Cleveland.” Saint Tropez comes later in the season, ladies. Cleveland? The first one-on-one date belongs to Victoria F. At first Victoria thinks they’re going skydiving and she freaks out because she’s afraid of heights. Fortunately they’re just going to …a roller coaster park. She spends most of the date screaming….