May 16, 2019

Hey, guess what? As you’re reading this, I’m either on a plane or hanging out with way too many people in New Orleans. By the time you read Monday’s newsletter, I will be in serious need of a nap! But it’s Book Lovers Con, and I’m happy to hang out with a bunch of my fellow romance lovers for a bit.

Sponsored by Happy Messy Scary Love and PiqueBeyond

Olivia’s only plans for summer are to binge-watch horror movies and chat with her online friend, Elm. Olivia doesn’t know much about Elm, other than his age and their mutual love of horror films, but when he suggests they exchange pictures, Olivia learns something new: Elm is cute. In a moment of panic, assuming they will never meet in real life, she sends a photo of her gorgeous friend Katie. Things are about to get even more complicated when Olivia’s parents send her to the Catskills, and she runs into the one person she never thought she would see.

Over on Book Riot

Let’s just get this out of the way: one of our baby rioters has recently discovered Jasmine Guillory, and that is awesome. But she is not as familiar with the genre as many of us, and missed out on doing some very useful (and exceedingly delightful) research into the history of black women, oral sex, and consent in romance. There was a lot of response to it (mostly on Twitter). And honestly, maybe I’ll get Trisha to offer a romance in-service to contributors, just in case.

Speaking of Trisha, I am legitimately terrible at self-promotion, which is the only thing I can think of that can explain how I forget to share the week’s episode of When In Romance basically every time. Last week’s, that is.


cover of heart and hand by rebel carterThere are times when you just have to take an author’s word as a reader, and I tend to usually do that with whatever Talia Hibbert is reading. So when I happened across a raving review of Rebel Carter’s Heart and Hand a couple weeks ago, I went immediately in search of it….only to find no trace of it. Well, I don’t know when to leave well enough alone so I…might have stalked her Twitter to see if I could find out where this masterpiece had gone. Turns out, the author was republishing it with a new press, and a new cover (with a Talia Hibbert blurb!) and it is now once again available, for 3.99. What’s it about, you ask? Oh, your typical MMF interracial mail-order bride frontier romance. Because who doesn’t want that?

(Also, this is the second book I’ve picked up in two weeks that feels like it started out as Stucky+1 fanfiction…which is NOT A BAD THING AT ALL.)

cover of hawaii magic by beverly jenkinsAnd if you think you’ve read all the Beverly Jenkins (which…who of us can claim that?) Check out the novellas that have only recently been released as standalones, both of which are 1.99. Hawaii Magic involves a workaholic and a pilot, and You Sang to Me gives us a songbird and a producer. Both were in anthologies before, but never published on their own.

New Books!

I don’t read a lot of mystery, but when they’re written by my favorite witticists of romance, I will take them. This time, it’s a space-based sci-fi mystery starring a middle-aged black detective and a wonderful, lavender, sentient-haired alien named Tris.

cover of the fifth gender by gl (gail) carrigerIn GL Carriger’s The 5th GenderTris is the only one of his kind on the space station where he works. He has been exiled from his planet, and rarely encounters other Galoi. But when a Galoi ship approaches the space station in need of a criminal investigator, Tris joins Drey on board in order to help with any cultural mishaps that might occur—especially since the Galoi don’t even have a word for murder. Since Tris is basically hopelessly in love with Drey—and what? it might even be mutual?—Tris is happy to spend the time with him, even as he’s looked past or through by his own people. But how does someone from a planet with no crime turn up dead?

This is a fun, funny, sexy book, and I’m so happy it exists. It hits you in the feels, makes you laugh and cry, and makes you think about matters of family, kin, and the heart. Also I’ll include that it does discuss unwanted pregnancy, which is a particularly touchy topic right now.

Red White & Royal Blue cover imageIf you want something else fun, funny, and sexy, that also might touch upon some nerve endings, I’ll just reiterate that Red, White, and Royal Blue (which I mentioned on Monday but hadn’t yet finished) is effing delightful. Alex Claremont-Diaz, the brilliant, outspoken, half-Mexican son of the first female president of the US who also…might not be straight? …provides his point of view in this New Adult romance in which said FSOTUS goes from hate to respect to friendship to oh-shit-I’m-in-love in five hundred very fast pages. (Seriously, I read it in…three? sittings?) The most annoying thing about reading the debut of an amazing author two days before it releases? Not even knowing when their next book is coming out! How do I already have no Casey McQuiston books to read?

Other books I’m looking forward to reading soon:

cover of why we fight by tj kluneWhy We Fight by TJ Klune
Team Phison Forever by Chace Verity
The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Crooked Rock Braves by Pamela Sanderson
Play It By Ear by Tara Frejas

What are you reading this week? Will we see you at BLC? As usual, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback, book recs, or just want to say hi!

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