Alyssa Cole, Firefighters, & More
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Articles / May 26, 2019

The Priory of the Orange Tree The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is $1.99! This is a Kindle Daily Deal and is being price-matched at select vendors. This was one of the most sought after ARCs at Book Expo America in 2018. It’s also over 800 pages, so a digital copy might be beneficial. I’ve seen reviews call this one an “epic feminist fantasy” novel. From the internationally bestselling author of The Bone Season, a trailblazing, epic high fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons–and the women who must lead the fight to save it. A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens. The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is…

Smart Podcast Book Club Pick: Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh
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Articles / May 26, 2019

It’s time to announce our pick for the second quarter Smart Podcast Book Club! As I said back in January, I asked the Patreon community to suggest titles, and wow, did they come through with great ideas. The suggestion for this book came with the following comments that it’s a: Fun story that would lend itself for great discussions about autonomy and family love vs obligations and culture. I am so excited to read this book. So, let’s get to it! This month we’ll be reading Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh!  A | BN | K | AB Here’s the back cover copy: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned… Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of…

Whatcha Reading? May 2019 Edition, Part Two
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Articles / May 25, 2019

It’s time for the second Whatcha Reading of May! How are you all liking the twice a month schedule? I hope it’s been a little easier to parse through the comments. We’re back from BookLovers Con in New Orleans. If you weren’t able to attend, our live podcast we recorded is up on the site! Carrie: I just finished an ARC of The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis ( A | BN | K | G | AB ). Bronte sisters become detectives. Sounds awful, is actually fabulous. Sarah: I got an announcement of that book the day I did a book event, and told folks at the event about it. There were room-wide gasps and grabby hands. I’m glad it is good! Carrie: I’m also about to start Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott ( A | BN | K | G | AB ). A | BN | K | AB Sarah: I just started A Touch of Forever by Jo Goodman, which is out in June. It’s a western American historical, and I fully and entirely own that the heroine’s waistcoat drew me to this book initially. Goodman writes in a style that is deliberate and detailed, so reading…

Lit Wicks: Urban Fantasy
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Articles / May 24, 2019

Welcome to Lit Wicks! This is where we pair an author’s backlist or book theme with candles to really immerse yourself in the reading experience. All of the candles featured in these post are from Etsy, which means there is often worldwide shipping and that you’re supporting independent crafters and sellers. The Etsy candle rabbit hole is one I have gone down many times. This month, we’re diving into some urban fantasy books that we’ve enjoyed! If you’re looking for Ilona Andrews on this list, don’t worry! We have an entire post dedicated to Ilona Andrews books. If you’re curious about what other authors have received the Lit Wicks treatment, check out our category page. And if you’d like to suggest an author’s backlist for a future Lit Wicks column, please email me! … A | BN | K | AB Wild Hunger is the first book in Chloe Neill’s spinoff Heirs of Chicagoland series. The main character is the “only vampire child born to vampire parents.” If you’re new to Neill’s urban fantasy books, you could probably manage just fine without reading the previous series (Sarah did just that!). I chose a candle that would tap into the vampire mythology, and give a…

352. Live From BookLovers Con: Cards Against Romance Tropes, and Other Appropriate Topics
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Articles / May 24, 2019

Recorded on May 16, 2019, it’s our live show from Book Lovers Con 2019! It’s fast, it’s funny, and it’s very silly. Thank you to Amanda and Elyse for doing the live show with me. Thank you to Eva Moore and Beth P who brought bottles of wine to share – you are most lovely. Thank you to Tere and Jo Carol at BookLovers Con for giving us a space with a sound system to record in. And thank you as always to Melonie Johnson and the 2014 Chicago North Spring Fling, who gave me Cards Against Romance Tropes. Apologies for uneven audio – I did my best to fix it, but it’s a bit uneven at times. Sometimes the mics picked up my voice in two places, so there might be an echo. So this is a bit off from my usual audio standards, and I’m sorry about that. I’m not sure if it’s entirely my fault, but I take full responsibility for the end product. I did what I could. In between rounds of Cards Against Humanity, we talk about different things, including big news from us, an update on the Bachelorette recaps, and a discussion of chafing…

Popstars, Rogues, & More
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Articles / May 23, 2019

Hottie Lumberjack Hottie Lumberjack by Tawna Fenske is 99c! I added this one to my TBR pile after reading this comment from Jenny on Whatcha Reading. Jenny says the covers in this series aren’t great, but she really enjoyed this one. In my romance book club, another member recommended the second book in this series, Chef Sugarlips, so I may have to bump these books up on my list. When Mark Bracelyn lumbers into Chelsea Singer’s cupcake shop with an axe, she’s poised to hit the panic button. But he fixes her door, praises her buttercream, and sends her skittish heart pounding like a hammer on a hollow log, so he can’t be all that scary. Chelsea’s sure there’s a gooey marshmallow center under Mark’s tough outer shell, though admittedly she’s been wrong before. Mark may look like a grungy lumberjack, but he’s also the wealthy part-owner of Ponderosa Luxury Ranch Resort. The lone Bracelyn heir to avoid a childhood of fancy boarding schools, he stays hidden behind the scruffy beard and battered truck. But something else separates Mark from his siblings, and keeping his guard up means keeping his secret—and his family. When someone threatens Chelsea and her daughter, Mark…

Elyse Watches The Bachelorette S15–E1 & E2: The Things I Do for Love
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Articles / May 23, 2019

So a few months ago I told SB Sarah that I was going take this season of The Bachelorette off. I had some family stuff coming up and after a season of hearing about Colton’s virginity every ten minutes, I needed to cleanse my palate. Also I was worried that Hannah B, this season’s Bachelorette, would be painted as a dumb blonde due to her bubbly personality and inability to speak extemporaneously. But then two things happened. First of all, apparently a lot of you asked about the recaps. Like a lot of you. (Thank you for that!) Secondly I caught about twenty minutes of the premiere and it was banana-pants crazy. I can’t keep all this insanity to myself. So I’m back. The recaps will likely be shorter and will be coming out on Thursdays instead of Tuesdays, but I’m back. The first episode of the season is the typical Parade of Limos. Hannah gets to wear a really beautiful evening gown, some poor PA has to hose down the McMansion driveway to make it shiny, and the dudes try to make a good impression. Hannah frets that “everything won’t be perfect” and Chris Harrison, in full Daddy Chris mode, reminds her…

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter
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Articles / May 23, 2019

A- Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter March 19, 2019 · Tor Teen HorrorScience Fiction/FantasyUrban FantasyYoung Adult My day was very productive until I picked up Never-Contented Things, planning to read just a few pages.That concluded the day’s productivity. I’m not saying that this book is perfect but I am sure as heck saying that it is gripping. This is NOT a romance. It’s really good YA Urban Fantasy/Fae Horror, with a really good fledgling romance in it. Ksenia and Josh are foster siblings. They met in foster care when Josh was ten and Ksenia was twelve and have been in the same home ever since. Now Josh has just turned sixteen and Ksenia is a few days away from eighteen, the year when she’s considered to be an adult and leaves the foster care system. Their foster parents are concerned that Ksenia and Josh have an unhealthy relationship (the words “codependent” and “enmeshed” come to mind) but the siblings, who craved stability for so many years before they met, insist that they have to always be together. Ksenia and Josh attend a party in the woods near their house. Josh runs off with a good-looking boy and Ksenia drinks a…

The Rec League: Sabrina-Style Romances
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Articles / May 23, 2019

This Rec League is from Ujjawala, who is looking for what Sarah coined as “Sabrina-style romance.” You’ll see what I mean when you read the request: I am looking for historical romances where the heroine crushes on the younger brother, but the elder brother (of course that would be our hero) interferes and there are sparks. And of course, our hero is rather grumpy. Amanda: Though the request specifies “historical romances,” I think we’d all like recommendations across the board! Elyse: That’s very specific. Sarah: Alterations by Stephanie Scott ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) Here are five as part of a Goodreads list. Now what about you? Which romances fit a Sabrina-esque romance?

Links: Announcements, a Kickstarter, & More
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Articles / May 22, 2019

Happy Wednesday! (It is Wednesday, right?) Allergies and travel have me all out of sorts. A majority of these links are announcements, either site related or romance related. Listen, these posts can’t all be adorable animal things or interesting historical facts. … Berkley has announced its first “queer female romance” that will be released in print! Author Meryl Wilsner says that it’s a slow burn contemporary romance. You can find out more details here. … Update on Reviewer Applications: we have a large number of applications to read and consider, so don’t worry if you haven’t heard from us yet. We are still working our way through each one. … I love the artwork for this Charmed & Dangerous co-op adventure card game. The game is already funded, so you’re guaranteed rewards and it has a little over a week left. If I wasn’t on a Kickstarter funding ban, I would totally back it. … Good news for everyone who has written, commented, DMd or otherwise asked, “Where are Elyse’s recaps?” She’d originally taken this season off due to a family surgery, but since that surgery was postponed, AND since this season is especially WTFy, Elyse will be back Thursdays with Bachelorette…