My Best Friend’s Royal Wedding by Romy Sommer
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Articles / January 29, 2020

B- My Best Friend’s Royal Wedding by Romy Sommer January 29, 2020 · One More Chapter Contemporary RomanceRomance In My Best Friend’s Royal Wedding, Khara agrees, with some reluctance, to be the bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding to the Archduke of Westerwald, a tiny principality somewhere in Middle Europe. A cocktail waitress from Las Vegas, Khara finds herself daunted by the unspoken rules of etiquette that surround her, but the best man, Adam, is more than happy to be her tutor…and, if possible, to get into her pants. Trouble is, while Adam doesn’t recognise Khara, Khara remembers Adam very well – as the playboy customer who tried to proposition her at her workplace a year ago, without even bothering to learn her name first. This is not, at first glance, a setup that is going to appeal to me. Adam is, absolutely, unquestionably, an entitled douche (the douche part is his phrasing, the entitled is mine – he’s nowhere near self-aware enough for that to occur to him). This is not to say that he is cruel or even unkind; he just has a lot of money and a lot of entitlement and absolutely no interest in doing anything…

HaBO: Comstock Laws
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Articles / January 28, 2020

This HaBO is from Shannon, who is trying to track down one of the first romances she read: This is everything I remember about one of the first romance novels I read sometime in the late 80s or early 90s and have not been able to find again. It may have been in a Reader’s Digest condensed book. My grandparents had a stack of them and I’m sure no one thought anything about me reading them at 10 or 12, but it was quite an enlightening education. East coast elite set during the late 1800s? The Comstock birth control laws play a large part. Two female doctors. One is named Sybil and is killed at some point. The other one marries rich man for unknown reasons (maybe he got her pregnant?). There was maybe a secondary male character named Nevada? Rich man doesn’t want female doctor working when she is his wife. There is one scene where he let her have an office in their house, but had turned it back into a regular room without consulting her. Random scene of condoms being smuggled in a bustle from Europe. I learned what a “prophylactic” was from that. Eventually the female…

One Night Stands, Absinthe, & More
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Articles / January 28, 2020

The Raven Prince The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt is $1.99! This book is much loved by historical romance readers, and has a 3.9-star average on GoodReads. Readers who love it especially like that the hero and heroine are both a bit unconventional: neither of them is superbly good-looking, a fact that has influenced their lives in several ways, and both are over thirty There comes a time in a woman’s life when she must do the unthinkable – and find employment. For the widowed Anna Wren, that means taking a job as female secretary for the Earl of Swartingham. Secretaries are always male – never female – as Anna well knows but the real downfall of her career is the realization that she is falling in love with Edward de Raaf – the Earl. But when she realizes that he is going to visit a brothel in London to take care of his ‘manly’ desires, Anna sees red – and decides to take advantage of the opportunity to also take care of her ‘womanly’ desires – with the Earl as her unknowing lover. But the Earl has another reason for going to London. He is formalising his betrothal and trying…

HaBO: Heroine’s Father Leaves a Note in Book’s Margins
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Articles / January 28, 2020

This HaBO comes from Emily, who wants to track down this historical romance: The book I’m trying to find is n historical set in England – London mostly – I think it’s a Regency. It’s part of a series I’m pretty sure. The heroine is the daughter of a professor/inventor/scholar of some sort and her mother’s dead. They live in Europe somewhere. Then her father’s killed and she hides until his attackers – who are after his work – leave, and she runs to London. She follows a note in the margin of her father’s books to a man who happens to be a single father in need of a tutor. Dresses as man, gets job. The kid and the other staff notice that she’s a woman, but not her employer. Meanwhile, her employer works for some government agency that was communicating with the heroine’s father; that agency is trying to locate the heroine after her father’s death…and everything eventually comes out. I just read Laura Lee Guhrke’s Governess Gone Rogue thinking it was the book I’m looking for, but it’s not! Any insight into my mystery book? There are a lot of romances where the heroine disguises herself to…

Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
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Articles / January 28, 2020

A Strange Love by Ann Aguirre January 15, 2020 Romance Strange Love by Ann Aguirre is a delightfully weird, heartwarming romance featuring a virgin alien hero, an abductee heroine, and a talking dog. It’s a blend of Alien, The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. It’s also a middle finger to people who claim that romance novels are formulaic and rely on rich, handsome heroes to seal the fantasy. The hero in this book is Zylar of Kith Balak, a vaguely insectoid alien who comes from a culture almost completely unlike our own. That culture is matriarchal, functions in a hive structure, and relies on an elaborate courtship ritual called the Choosing. Zylar doesn’t have eyelids or knees or even, in fact, a penis. He’s got chitin and mandibles, though. The heroine is Beryl Bowman from Earth. She works at a daycare center and spends most of her free time with her dog, Snaps. Beryl does not have mandibles. These two characters are so vastly different that they shouldn’t make sense together, yet their love story is compelling, poignant, and completely believable. It’s almost a master class in how to develop emotional intimacy between characters and how ongoing, verbal consent during…

Paranormal Historicals, Cinderella, & More
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Articles / January 27, 2020

Rogue Most Wanted RECOMMENDED: Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor is $1.99! I believe the price will go up to $2.99 later in the week. Elyse gave this one a B+: For me, the charm of Will’s beta-hero kindness, his family’s welcome, and Thea’s realistic relationship with an aging grandparent overrode any irritation I might have had at the plot. There’s one creed all Cavensham men subscribe to: they fall in love completely, and decidedly. But what happens when the woman you fall in love with is already your wife? Rogue Most Wanted is the next book in the sparkling, romantic Cavensham Heiress series by Janna MacGregor. SHE NEEDS TO MARRY HIM Miss Theodora Worth needs to marry fast in order to keep the land within her family. It’s been her heart and home for years, and she’ll not lose it to anyone. There’s just one problem—as a woman who was raised in isolation by her grandfather, she’s completely incapable of pouring a cup of tea, never mind wooing a man. She’ll need a little matchmaking help from her sprightly next-door neighbor in order to find a convenient husband… SO THEY’LL FORM A FAKE ENGAGEMENT Lord William Cavensham’s heart was broken years ago, and since…

Once in a Lube Moon: Why We Need More Lube in Romance
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Articles / January 27, 2020

I love lube. It is an oft-overlooked and quite versatile tool in erotic life. In my not-at-all-humble opinion, it is one of the simplest and most straightforward ways to improve the experience of vaginal penetration. Unfortunately, I don’t think romance loves lube nearly as much as I do. Recently, in a very un-scientific experiment, I searched through my extensive, romance-dominated Kindle library to see how many books mentioned the use of lube during sex. I searched for “lube,” “lubricant,” and “oil” and paged through the results to see which ones were sex-relevant. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that the only mentions of using any kind of lube during sex were for anal penetration. No lubricants or oils or other friction-reducing agents were mentioned in the context of vaginal penetration. The books in my collection cover such diverse acts as role-play, bondage, domination and submission, spanking and other pain play, voyeurism, menages, orgies and play parties, mutual masturbation, literal sex magic, analingus, and sex on a church altar (thanks, Sierra Simone!). There are occasionally dildos and sometimes condoms (I could write an entirely different post on the woeful state of birth control and STI protection in romance, but…

Cover Snark: Stomach Cramps But Make Them Sexy
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Articles / January 27, 2020

Get ready for some Cover Snark! Susan: I know this is a fairly mild example, but I was fine with this cover until I noticed the newspaper. Also I think the dude’s leg is pasted on. Tara: The newspaper looks like a flap on his shirt. Elyse: Either she has a pocket or that guy is missing all the fingers on his hand. Amanda: At first, I thought it was tied around his waist like a little satchel. Catherine: I feel like the guy on the left got pasted into the picture after the rest was done. And are the men holding hands through her pocket? Which suggests that it has certain flaws as a pocket. Lara: Maybe the original picture was a lot more… ahem, naughty, and the newspaper is being used to cover up the ass-less jodhpurs he’s actually wearing. Sneezy: It looks like one is wearing white long johns which, as Lara pointed out, may or may not be ass-less. The other guy may just be a floating torso, but definitely seem covetous of the woman’s pockets. Or maybe he made note of what happened to Sméagol. Tara: I…got nothing. Catherine: He looks like he is in…

Paranormal Romance, Recommended Fantasy, & More
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Articles / January 26, 2020

Ninth House Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is $3.99! This deal could poof at any moment because it was one of the biggest releases of last year and could be a Kindle Daily Deal leftover. This is Bardugo’s first adult fantasy novel and I want to warn of some graphic depictions of violence and body horror. The first chapter or so should give you a good picture on what you can/can’t handle. The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Leigh Bardugo Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities…

Lightning Reviews: Some Disappointments & Nonfiction
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Articles / January 26, 2020

Welcome to Lightning Reviews! This is where we put our smaller reviews for books that don’t warrant more than a few hundred words in commentary. This time, Catherine has a couple disappointing reads. Meanwhile, Sarah has some more nonfiction to recommend!   B F*ck No! author: Sarah Knight I’m familiar with Knight’s other No F*cks Given guides and have recommended a few to friends, particularly The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. Based on the premise that boundaries are important, but setting them is half the battle and defending them with Honesty and Politeness (H&P) is the the other, each book in the series embraces the idea that you are in charge of your life, and you get to decide how it will be. They’re written with a fair amount of profanity (which I very much enjoy) and a definitive sense of character from the perspective of the person giving the advice. The writing isn’t meant to appeal broadly and blandly to every reader; this is a person who is Very Much Herself telling you what she thinks you need to know. The latest in the series, F*ck No, builds on the same core foundation of the others but the specificity…