HaBO: Pepper Powder in Her Heehaw
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Articles / November 19, 2019

This HaBO request is from Cat, who is looking for this bonkers book: So, while in Mexico I picked up a paperback someone left behind. It was written by a man, and I remember thinking, “this really feels like a good female romance writer!” Here’s the premise: There was a ship on the cover. Three brothers, one might have been a pirate. What stands out for me is one brother falls in love with a princess somewhere in Arabia. A eunuch catches her and locks her up, but before he does, he puts a packet of super hot pepper powder (some pepper from the region which can literally burn the skin) wrapped in rice paper up her heehaw. The rice paper melts slowly and the pepper will kill her. The son in love with her has to find her and save her before it’s too late. That’s all I remember, but it was a damn good swashbuckling tale and I would love to read it again! Wow.

A Lady’s Past by A.S. Fenichel
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Articles / November 19, 2019

C- A Lady’s Past by A.S. Fenichel November 19, 2019 · Lyrical Press Historical: EuropeanRegencyRomance Content warning: Heroine has history of torture, attempted rape, traumatic death of parents. None of this is described in detail, but it is there, and I do discuss it in the review I picked up the ARC of A Lady’s Past purely based on the cover, which really is a thing of beauty, somewhere between impressionist and pre-Raphaelite. It is the fourth book in the Everton Domestic Society series, but it stands alone reasonably well. Having said that, I suspect that I would have liked the hero more if I’d read previous books in the series – the hero is clearly suffering from some Past Traumas which affect him, but they are alluded to fairly briefly here, and so it’s harder to forgive his more troubling behaviours. This is a really tricky book to review, because while I enjoyed reading it and will be seeking out the previous books in the series, I found it very tonally dissonant. The emotions, words, and actions don’t match. In terms of plot and emotions, the book is full of the highest melodrama – the heroine’s backstory is extraordinarily…

Paranormal Romance, Beatriz Williams, & More
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Articles / November 18, 2019

Boy Toy Boy Toy by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby is 99c! This a romantic comedy with an age difference where the heroine is five years older than the hero (34 to his 29). Though this will work as a standalone, readers say you get additional insight into the heroine and her backstory in previous books. A brand new romantic comedy from your favorite snort-laughing duo! Liam The moment Sadie Matthews walks through the daycare center door, I feel my world tilt in her direction. Again. I fell for her when I was fourteen, and I’m still not over her. Problem: she still thinks of me as a teen she used to babysit. But I’ve learned a few things about pleasing a woman in the last fifteen years. I can’t wait to show her how good it could be. I need to move quickly before I lose her again. This is more than a game to me, but I still plan to win. Sadie I’ve just survived the worst year of my life. As a single mom of twin toddlers, I don’t have time for a man. I barely have time to finish a thought. Who knew that Liam McAllister would…

Cover Reveal: Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha
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Articles / November 18, 2019

We don’t often do cover reveals, but when we do, it’s because a cover in an email attachment has made me say, out loud and with enough vigor to wake the cat, “HOLY CRAP.” This, y’all, is a HOLY CRAP cover. It’s pretty damn spiffy for all the work it’s doing to explain the book in an image, and I liked it so much I asked if I could pester the designer with questions. Big thanks to publicist Caroline Perny and art designer Peter Lutjen at TOR for putting up with me. And! I have some bonus info from Kit Rocha as well, so we have all kinds of Q&A madness over here. I’m sure you want to see the cover, right? Kidding! That’s not all of it. Hang on. Here it is! Wow, huh? Here’s the copy about the book, should the cover lead you to ask questions: Deal with the Devil is Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha. Nina is an information broker with a mission—she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America. Knox is the…

Squee from the Keeper Shelf: The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer
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Articles / November 18, 2019

Squee The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer 1928 Historical: EuropeanRomance The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer is surely one of the Ur-texts of the romance genre. It is also the very first romance of any kind that I ever read, and was instrumental in launching my lifelong affection for the ‘heroine dresses as a man’ trope. As a bonus, it also has a hero who dresses as a woman and who manages to be EXCEEDINGLY hot while doing so. Just to clarify, there are two couples in this book, and I am SO SORRY to disappoint everyone who just got excited about the idea of a heroine pretending to be a man meeting a hero pretending to be a woman and all I can say is that I, too, am now Very Sad that such a story does not exist – and if it does exist somewhere, please, LEAD ME TO IT. There’s also another hero who is far more perceptive than he looks, deliciously witty dialogue, and an entire ensemble of people who are as competent as hell at what they do (flamboyance levels may vary). It has adventures and elopements and duels and disguises; it has high romance and highwaymen…

Crows, Martin Short, & More
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Articles / November 17, 2019

His Perfect Partner His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras is 99c! This contemporary romance features a single dad hero and a dance teacher heroine. Sonali Dev recommended this on a previous podcast episode. She did mention that at times, the book felt more like women’s fiction with a focus on family than a romance. Three very different Latina sisters. Three dazzling talents with ambition—and passion—to burn. And in this warm-hearted, sexy new series, three chances to figure out if the path to success can also lead to lasting love . . .   Ad executive Tomás Garcia shouldn’t even be thinking about his daughter’s alluring dance teacher, Yazmine Fernandez. Burned by a shattering divorce, he’s laser-focused on his career—and giving his young daughter, Maria, the secure home she deserves. Plus, he’s certain that with her talent, Yaz will be leaving Chicago and heading back to Broadway as soon as she can. But Yaz’s generous spirit and caring concern are sparking a desire Tomás can’t resist—and doesn’t want to let go . . . For Yaz, good-looking workaholics like Tomás simply can’t be part of her life ever again. She owes it to herself to get back her confidence and fulfill the dreams…

Guest Review: Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung
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Articles / November 17, 2019

Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung by Kim Ho-soo B+ Historical: Other, Not a Book, Romance This guest review comes to us from Heather Morris! Heather Morris is a cyborg librarian living in North Carolina. She’s a Cool Aunt, a True Crime junkie, an ARMY, and an anxiety-riddled Gemini. You can find her on Twitter @NotThatHeatherM.  … I’ve recently fallen deep down the rabbit hole of K-dramas available on Netflix. I enjoy them for many of the same reasons I love romance novels. For one thing, you know from the beginning, sometimes even the end of the opening credits, who will end up together. You never have to worry about the if, it’s only a matter of how. For another, there are plenty of common tropes, and half the fun comes from watching how different shows play with formula. But there’s one drama in particular that has quickly become my favorite. To the point that, even though my to-watch list is about a mile long, I’ve already watched it twice. It’s called Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung, and I love it so much. It’s the early 19th century, and Goo Hae-ryung is an independent woman who can’t seem to find where she fits…

Book Beat: Romantic Suspense, Feminism, & More
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Articles / November 16, 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. A Beastly Kind of Earl Author: Mia Vincy Released: November 26, 2019 by Inner Ballad Press Genre: Historical: European, Romance Series: Right Kind of Love #2 An outcast fighting for her future… Thea Knight loves a spot of mischief. She especially loves her current mischief: masquerading as her sister, while finalizing her scheme to expose the dastardly knaves whose lies ruined her life. Then Lord Luxborough, big, bad-tempered, and scarred, upends her game by maneuvering her into marriage. But her sister’s name is on the license, so the marriage won’t be valid. Thea’s idea? Keep pretending to be her…

Podcast 377, Your Transcript Awaits!
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Articles / November 15, 2019

The transcript for Podcast 377. Finding the Story: A Conversation with Kennedy Ryan has been posted! This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks. ❤ Click here to subscribe to The Podcast →

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
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Articles / November 15, 2019

C+ The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle Jensen August 13, 2019 · CLA Science Fiction/Fantasy I keep reading books that are very hard for me to grade, because I have conflicting reactions to them. The Bridge Kingdom started out incredibly strong, but things that happened in the last 15% or so of the book soured the reading experience for me. The fact that I enjoyed the book quite a lot until that point made my disappointment even more intense. I’ve been a fan of Danielle L. Jensen since her debut novel, Stolen Songbird, which is about a beautiful songstress who is stolen away to live under a mountain with trolls and gets married to a very dreamy troll prince. I was squee-level excited when her Audible original fantasy novel for adults, The Bridge Kingdom, was released on Kindle earlier this year. (I’m not sure why, because I do like podcasts, but I don’t like audiobooks very much.) Since romance fantasy is not thick on the ground, I will Hoover up anything that even seems subgenre-adjacent. The marketing copy for this novel calls it a “fantasy romance,” but I don’t think that’s accurate. It’s definitely a fantasy novel with romantic elements as…