30% Off Zazzle Mug Sale!

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:00 am
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Posted by Amanda

From today, August 19 to 11:59pm PST on August 20, Zazzle is offering 30% off mugs, tumblers, and coasters. Use code ZAZZLECHEERS at checkout.

The SBTB store has some great mug selections if you’re looking for a gift or just to treat yourself.

Slayer of Words


Disrupt the Patriarchy


It’s Romance Reading Time


Mug Full, Book Open, It’s Romance Reading Time


Bad Decisions Book Club – “No, I wasn’t up too late reading, not at all.”


That’s “Smart Bitch” to You


That’s “Smart Bitch” to You Magic Mug – Design appears with hot liquid


Disrupt the Patriarchy, Read Romance Tumbler


Bad Decisions Book Club Drink Coasters


Slayer of Words Stone Coaster


Happy shopping!

August Book Club Chat Announcement!

Aug. 19th, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by Amanda

We know many of you are excited to discuss this month’s book club selection: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai! You can read our official selection post here to catch up.

Our chat will occur on Wednesday, August 30 from 8:00pm – 9:30pm. That afternoon, we’ll post the chat link on the site and it will go live around 8:00pm. If you’re new to the chats, Sarah will lead a discussion of the book and then Alisha Rai will join us for a Q&A!

We hope you can join us!

Whatcha Reading? August 2017 Edition

Aug. 19th, 2017 07:00 am
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Posted by Amanda

Illustration of magic opened book covered with grass trees and waterfall surround by ocean. Fantasy world, imaginary view. Book, tree of life concept. Original beautiful screen saverI can hardly believe it’s time for Whatcha Reading already. It always sneaks up on me and I can hear my book budget weeping quietly in the background. If you’re new to the site, this is where we recap the books we’ve been reading and how we feel about them.

Let us know in the comments how much or little you’ve whittled down your TBR pile!

Sarah: One of the benefits to developing and then testing the course I’m building on using Google Calendar to declutter your schedule is that I am finding more and more time to read, and making it a priority. It’s too easy to set it aside like I’ll have time later, when reading is one of the best ways for me to recharge and comfort myself. So while I’m working a lot lately, I’m also reading a lot more, which makes me really happy.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud
A | BN | K | iB
This week, I finished the books in the Peter Grant series and read Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen (review forthcoming!). I’ve also read one of Olivia Dade’s books and close to finishing another.

I struggled with the rapid pace of the emotional development in Broken Resolutions ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), and didn’t quite buy the HEA, though I learned that reclusive writers are a particular strand of my catnip. I caught the Jane Eyre references, though, which I did rather like.

Elyse: I just fell down the In Death rabbit hole so I’ll see you all in a year.

Naked in Death
A | BN | K | iB
Amanda: Goodbye, Elyse! We’ll miss you!

SarahHidden Hearts ( A | BN | K | G | iB )I’m enjoying more, as there is more space to develop the emotional connection, and there’s email back and forth which is another strand of my catnip. Epistolary romances with reclusive writer characters are apparently my ultra-catnip.

Carrie: I have been reading There Is No Lovely End by Patty Templeton ( A | BN ). It’s fictional weird western horror story about Sarah Winchester, who built the Winchester Mystery House.

Crash Into You
A | BN | K | iB
Amanda: I checked out Crash Into You by Roni Loren from the library. It was on sale a couple weeks ago. It’s the first in an erotic romance series and I’ve enjoyed Loren’s writing before. I’m also anticipating the release of the Royally Mine anthology ( A | BN | K | iB ), which comes out on the 22nd this month. There was a great discussion in a recent sale post about some of the descriptions. Like with most anthologies, I know there are going to be some highs and lows and I’m eager to see how the collection shakes out.

Sarah: Next I’m reading Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine ( A | BN | K | iB ), recommended by Beverly Jenkins in the recent podcast interview we did. The podcast episodes are just as dangerous to my TBR pile, I promise.

How has your month been for reading? What books have you loved or hated?

By request, since we can’t link to every book you mention in the comments, here are bookstore links that help support the site with your purchases. If you use them, thank you so much, and if you’d prefer not to, no worries. Thanks for being a part of SBTB and hopefully, you’ve found some great books to read!

Buy from Amazon.com

BN LogoKoboGooglePlayIbookstore

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Posted by SB Sarah

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast
The transcript for Podcast 7. We’re back! And we’re talking about Romance! has been posted!

This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

Click here to subscribe to The Podcast →

We’re back in the archives, adding transcripts to the older episodes. This one dates back to six years ago today! August 18, 2011, in fact, when I decided I was going to learn how to edit audio and produce the show, so we restarted the podcast. Enjoy!

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovich

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by SB Sarah


Midnight Riot

by Ben Aaronovitch
February 1, 2011 · Del Rey
Science Fiction/FantasyMystery/ThrillerUrban Fantasy

First, a note: this is more of a review of the series, but the books therein need to be read in order so I shall start here. Second, I will avoid spoilers as much as possible, focusing mostly on what I like, what I find bothersome, and whether I recommend the book and the series. The grade above is both for this book and the series as a whole – lucky for me they line up, which doesn’t always happen.

As I mentioned in a recent Whatcha Reading post, both my husband Adam and I are reading these books one after the other.

Well, he’s reading one after the other. I take breaks every two to read another book in a different series. If I don’t, the pattern of the writing becomes to distracting. I think because my brain loves to pick out a pattern, glomming one author or one series for too long is detrimental to my enjoyment. I notice the writerly tics and they smother some of my interest. I also read very quickly, so even with reading other novels in between, we are keeping about the same pace as far as plot twists and character developments. A number of our dinner conversations have begun with, “Where are you in…?”

In Midnight Riot, London police officer Peter Grant is working when a ghost starts talking to him. As you do. This leads to his involvement in The Folly, a somewhat secretive and very old branch of the police department specializing in magic, or, as it’s referred to in the series, “weird bollocks.” Peter becomes the first apprentice wizard in a long ass time, working with Nightingale, the last remaining wizard/police officer.

Each successive book after Midnight Riot (the UK title is Rivers of London) builds on the larger magical world and the (many) problems therein, while also solving an individual case. There are mystery elements, various relationships and characters that appear and recede, and a whole bunch of different individuals, including goddesses, fae, wildlife that may be more conversant with humanity than one would suspect, and more weird bollocks.

Black Mould graphic novel cover with Guleed and Grant in full body hazmat suits

I’m immensely enjoying this series, even though there are a number of things I find a little frustrating.

Also, I have skipped the graphic novels because I’ve discovered that the illustrated version of the characters was so at odds with my own mental image, I was irritated when I tried to read them. (I know, my brain can be very diva-like.)

What I like about this series:

  1. Language is a character – I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable piece of catnip for my nerdery interests. Just as in some books the setting can be a character, in this series, the slang and colloquial language define individual people, signal a multitude of elements about each person (among them class because whoadamn do multiple systems of class play a role in this world), and create a linguistic environment that’s almost as much of a puzzle as the plot. It’s a good thing I’m reading this on my Kindle because I stop and look things up constantly. (I’ve also heard that the audiobooks are terrific for the same reason, so I might start listening to them after I’m done.) The language is so much fun for me.
  2. Women have to explain things to Peter All The Time – Peter is intelligent, and has a scientific way of looking at the magical world he’s learning about, but there are several secondary characters, Lesley May and Sahra Guleed among them, who have to explain things to Peter that he missed entirely. Peter is not the most special of all the wizards, and is pretty regularly undone by his own bad habits (which can be frustrating and satisfying).
  3. Random delightful references to all manner of fun stuff – I don’t think there has been a narrative from which Adam and I have texted one another more quotes. There was a Phineas and Ferb reference that delighted me for days. The random pop culture bits are delightful, and ground the world in a contemporary reality that makes the magical “weird bollocks” (yup, I really like saying that) seem plausible as well. And I feel pretty pleased with myself when I catch one. I also enjoy Peter’s internal nerdy monologues about architecture, which is one of his secret passions, one he’s deeply opinionated about.
  4. Casual inclusion, casual prejudice – Peter is a character of mixed race, and the stories are told from his point of view. This means that he mentions the race of every character, partly because he’s a police officer who by training learns to catalog such things, and partly because he’s not operating in a worldview of white default. There are characters of different classes and backgrounds, all casually inclusive in a way that makes this world seem very, very real. (Reality! It’s awesome.) There are also so many moments of casual racism directed at or around Peter, and there’s a repeated, powerful contrast between his mental tally of who said what and at which time, and his outward absence of reaction.
  5. Women’s power is relentlessly underestimated – I’m just at a point in the series where the fact that the power of the women around Peter and Nightingale has been misunderstood and dismissed might be about to rise up and chomp them both in the butt, and I’m pretty excited about that. It’s past due.

Things that bug me:

  1. Plot, plot, procedural development, plot, OH MY GOD IT IS THE END WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED – The development of the story takes place bit by bit, which I like because instead of getting information in heaping teaspoon-sized helpings, sometimes I get 1/8th of a teaspoon, and sometimes it’s one grain of salt at a time. But when the Solid Waste Connects With the Air Circulating Device my gosh does it splatter everywhere fast. When there is action of any kind, it mostly happens in the last few chapters, sometimes the last few pages, and I have to go back and re-read. And you can count on all sorts of shit going down in the last few chapters as much as you could count on a purple prose sex scene within 10 pages of the cardboard insert in an old Zebra romance. To quote Horse eBooks, everything happens so much. And each time, at the end, it can be too much, especially when several books in a row follow this pattern.
  2. Women have to explain things to Peter All The Time – There are times when I’d much rather follow characters like Guleed or Beverley or Abigail much more than I would Peter. His character can become so boring and repetitive, while they are interesting and complex in ways he isn’t. This perspective may be because I am so used to romance that having interesting women not at the center of the story can make me surly and impatient, and because Peter is narrating the story so of course I get overly-familiar with his POV. I suspect there are millions of bytes worth of fanfic focused on Beverley, Molly, and every other character – Toby! Toby fanfic! – because I can’t be the only reader who wants to follow them home.
  3. Peter can be obtuse to screamingly obvious degrees – There are a few incidents where something weird happens, and despite weird being his literal business, Peter shrugs and is like, “Oh, well, whatever.” It’s not just Chekhov’s gun he’s walking past. He ambles blithely by Chekhov’s howitzer mounted on a Gustav spray painted hot pink. Maybe it’s a thing that the women both in the story and reading the story are sometimes more aware than Peter?
  4. Women sometimes rest on the fringes of the fridge – Bad shit happens to some of the women closest to Peter, which is boring and predictable. How those women respond (if they aren’t dead) is fascinating, but it’s still a giant let down for women to be constantly harmed while the multitude of dudes Peter counts as allies and colleagues seem to end up perfectly fine.

This series has been a terrific brain reset for me. Jumping back and forth between this series and Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series has been fascinating as an exercise in comparison and contrast in terms of world building, romantic plot elements, and character development. I haven’t finished either series, but the way in which the respective magical worlds are built and power is managed mean I have a lot to think about while I read. Thinky brain is happy brain.

As for whether I recommend this series for romance fans, I do, though obviously you have to suspend all genre expectations at the door. As a reader who loves immersive deep dives into different aspects of various cultures, and who loves puzzles and language, this is a lot of my catnip. Reading it concurrently with Adam is also part of what makes it fun on a personal level, but it’s a series and world that comes with a lot to talk about, too. If you’re looking for a blend of mystery and magic and like snarky deadpan narration, there’s a lot here you’ll enjoy, too.

Have you read this series? What do you think? Are you keeping up with it? 

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Posted by SB Sarah

I interview author Santino Hassell about his new series with Berkley, starting with Illegal Contact, which just went on sale on August 15th. We discuss his inspiration for football romance since he’s a baseball fan, and we talk about his being one of few men writing romance. We cover how he got started as a writer, what writers inspired him to start and keep going, and how he addresses stereotypes of bisexuality in his writing, We also discuss his writing projects with Megan Erickson, and, a special note for all of who who are fans of his work: we describe the perfect bait to trap him, should you wish to do so. (Kidding! That would be creepy.)

I also have a giveaway to go with this episode! I have a very, very cool pair of Barons athletic socks, and a copy of Illegal Contact for one of you. There will be a giveaway widget in the show notes for this entry at SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com/podcast, and you can enter to win.

Standard disclaimers apply: void where prohibited. I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Open to international residents were permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18 and prepared to wear some very nifty socks. Whereas, upon participation in the contest as aforesaid, said participant shall nonetheless deliver hereunto all such paraphernalia as reasonably necessary and appropriate.  Notwithstanding anything hereinafter to the contrary, the contest shall nonetheless be conducted as heretofore described thereupon. Do not taunt happy fun ball.

Listen to the podcast →
Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

Giveaway! You can enter the giveaway right here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if the widget doesn’t work for you, this link should work as an alternate. If you’re having trouble, please email me, k?

Standard disclaimers apply: void where prohibited. I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Open to international residents were permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18 and prepared to wear some very nifty socks. Whereas, upon participation in the contest as aforesaid, said participant shall nonetheless deliver hereunto all such paraphernalia as reasonably necessary and appropriate.  Notwithstanding anything hereinafter to the contrary, the contest shall nonetheless be conducted as heretofore described thereupon. Do not taunt happy fun ball. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on 25 August 2017.

And, of course, we have links!

You can find Santino Hassell on his website, on Twitter, on Facebook, and in his Facebook group, Get Hasselled.

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, too. We also have a cool page for the podcast on iTunes.

More ways to sponsor:

Sponsor us through Patreon! (What is Patreon?)

What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

Our music is provided each week by Sassy Outwater, whom you can find on Twitter @SassyOutwater.

This is from Caravan Palace, and the track is called “Panic.”

You can find their two album set with Caravan Palace and Panic on Amazon and iTunes. And you can learn more about Caravan Palace on Facebook, and on their website.

Remember to subscribe to our podcast feed, find us on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Historical Romances on Sale!

Aug. 17th, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

Sarah: Today and tomorrow, 40% off Accessories at Zazzle, with ZACCESSORIES. The code expires 8/18/2017 at 11:59 PM PST.

The accessory sale includes water bottles! And we have some of those:

Waterbottle 1: Disrupt the Patriarchy, Read Romance

Water bottle 2: Slayer of Words (all profits to Doctors Without Borders)

Destiny’s Surrender

RECOMMENDED: Destiny’s Surrender by Beverly Jenkins is $2.99! This is the second book in her Destiny series and follows Andrew, Logan’s brother. He has a particularly unique relationship with a courtesan named Billie, who shows up on his doorstep with a child she says is his – and with the intention of leaving her son there so he can have a better life and escape the danger that’s closely following Billie. This book has an impressive 4.2-star rating on GR. 

The child he didn’t know he had . . .

Andrew Yates has come to a decision: it’s time to stop sowing those oats and start a family. But searching for a bride isn’t as simple as he’d hoped, and many of the respectable women of his acquaintance feel . . . lacking. Then beautiful, feisty Wilhelmina “Billie” Wells arrives at the family ranch with a toddler in her arms, claiming Drew is the father!

The woman he didn’t know he loved . . .

Billie had no choice but to show up at Destiny in search of Drew. For the sake of their child, she’s willing to leave him with his father so the boy can have a better life, but then, before she can blink, she’s saying “I do” in front of a preacher in a marriage of convenience. All Billie and Drew have in common is the heat that brought them together, but can their sizzling passion lead to an everlasting love?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Kobo Google Play iBooks






Moonlight on My Mind

Moonlight on My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston is $1.99 at most vendors and $2.99 at Barnes & Noble! This is an enemies to lovers historical with a marriage of convenience. Readers really loved the heroine’s redemption arc, but found the suspense/mystery element took away from the romance a bit.

To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.

To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.

Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.

Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks






Temptations of a Wallflower

RECOMMENDEDTemptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh is $3.99! The previous book is also $3.99. Elyse read this one and gave it an A-:

Temptations of a Wallflower is very very sexy (people talking openly about sex and finding what works for them together is sexy) and it’s also very smart. There were a few things I still wanted, though. Overall, I found the third book in the Wicked Quills of London series to be eminently readable and very hot, and I highly recommend it.

Eva Leigh’s deliciously sexy Wicked Quills of London series continues as a Lady’s secret career writing erotic fiction is jeopardized by real-life romance . . .

In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure façade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Kobo Google Play iBooks






The Trouble with Honor

The Trouble with Honor by Julia London is $1.99! This is the first book in her Cabot Sisters historical romance series. The heroine makes a deal with the hero for him to seduce her stepbrother’s bride-to-be and of course, they fall in love while he’s supposed to be wooing someone else. Readers loved the heroine, but felt the last quarter of the book didn’t fit with the rest.

Desperate times call for daring measures as Honor Cabot, the eldest stepdaughter of the wealthy Earl of Beckington, awaits her family’s ruin. Upon the earl’s death she and her sisters stand to lose the luxury of their grand home – and their place on the pedestal of society – to their stepbrother and his social-climbing fiancée. Forced to act quickly, Honor makes a devil’s bargain with the only rogue in London who can seduce her stepbrother’s fiancée out of the Cabots’ lives for good.

An illegitimate son of a duke, George Easton was born of scandal and grows his fortune through dangerous risks. But now he and Honor are dabbling in a perilous dance of seduction that puts her reputation and his jaded heart on the line. And as unexpected desire threatens to change the rules of their secret game, the stakes may become too high even for a notorious gambler and a determined, free-spirited debutante to handle.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks






Guest Squee: The Works of Fred Vargas

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by Guest Reviewer


An Uncertain Place

by Fred Vargas
October 25, 2011 · Penguin Books
Mystery/ThrillerUrban Fantasy

NB: We have a guest squee or rather an author squee for Fred Vargas’ mystery novels. It’s made a couple of us at SBTB HQ add the books to our TBR piles.

This squee comes from Lara. Here is Lara’s bio: “A burlesque-dancing feminist with a deep yearning for solitude and a library of my own. I also teach English to high school students and knit when the stress levels rise.”

Heartbreak requires a very particular kind of book. In my case, I needed a book that was compelling enough that I forgot I was living in a metaphorical ditch and hopeful enough for me to believe that just maybe life does work out. Fred Vargas provided me (and her millions of readers) with those exact books. But she has taken it a step further: her books have reminded me that it is human connection in all its forms that sustains us, not romantic relationships.

It was on the very day that Donald Trump became President-Elect, that I was dumped. This was the relationship that I wanted to last for the remainder of my years. Reader, I was devastated. None of my usual comfort reading (historical romances and crime) was providing even a modicum of comfort. During a library amble, I found Fred Vargas’ An Uncertain Place. It had a suitably eerie cover, a slightly different size page to what I was used to and a list of awards to its name. I would only work out later that this book is quite near the end of the series featuring Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and is probably not the best place to start, but nevertheless it was the only book at the time that could hold my attention and remove me from my temporary metaphorical ditch.

I give you this backstory, not to rehash the misery of being dumped, but rather to emphasise just how captivating this series is. Despite heartbreak (which included a trip to the hospital for suspected ‘pulmonary embolism’ according to the ER doctor) and the sheer weight of misery, this book held me close. I could not look away. These novels are not romance novels, but, my God, are they Romantic. There is a spark, an originality to the characters, setting and writing that set these novels apart from all other contenders.

First, the author. Fred Vargas herself is French and these books are translated from French into 32 languages, one of which is English, thankfully. The books are set in Paris and there are two series which intersect with each other in a most pleasing way. There is the Adamsberg series. This series focuses on Commissaire Adamsberg, a big deal in the police department who does not adhere to a single social norm. Each book tells the story of a particular crime. This major plot line is resolved before the end of the book, but there are larger plot lines which weave in and out of all of the books.

The Three Evangelists
A | BN | K | iB
Then there is The Three Evangelists series. This series focuses on a group of unusual housemates. These novels each focus on solving a particular mystery or crime, but again, there are plot lines that weave in and out of the books. The two series do also interact in terms of plot and characters. I would recommend reading both series simultaneously and just reading all of them in the order they were published in French. (For reasons I don’t fully understand, the books were not published in chronological order in English.)

Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is a police detective, and a relatively successful one despite what his detractors might think. He is scruffy in appearance and rather short. He is not presented as a romantic lead and yet that it is precisely what he is, for the characters and myself all fall in love with him in our own ways. Be it through Danglard’s devotion or Retancourt’s protectiveness, or my obsessive reading, we are all drawn to this man who holds himself distant, but never consciously so. He is just living his life. He walks for hours and doodles constantly. He battles to remember names. He hates reading and doesn’t consider himself above his team.

At this point, I need to make it very clear that while some of these characteristics might sound familiar, NONE of the usual detective tropes are evident in these novels. Not a single one. These are characters I met for the first time, and ones which in no way served as echoes of other characters from other novels, or indeed my own life. Adamsberg is a singularity both within his setting and the larger world of literary detectives.

As the books progress a team is built up around Adamsberg. Chief amongst them is second-in-command, Danglard. There is a clear love between these two men that never becomes twee. They’ve evolved to work as a unit, but not always harmoniously so. Adamsberg sees how he irritates Danglard, but Danglard remains devoted. Adamsberg will call Danglard first, always. Danglard himself is pear-shaped, and a single father of five children. He hides white wine in the cellar of the police station and (during the earlier books) would often be drunk before 3pm.

Added to these two are a team of people unlike any you’ve met. Normal rules are chucked out the window and it works. These two series of books serve as eloquent arguments for just allowing people to be instead of forcing them to follow social strictures. Parts of the story are farcical and difficult to believe, but you do anyway. There is a hint of magical realism to the books, but only ever a hint, it never takes centre stage.

This Night’s Foul Work
A | BN | K | iB
Importantly, there is also a spectacular office cat. Below are a few extracts about The Snowball from This Night’s Foul Work. For context, Retancourt is an Amazon of a woman and each of the team are in awe of her; she is infallible and all-powerful in the eyes of all those around her.

The team took it in turns to look after the big, soft, furry creature, scared of its own shadow, which needed to be accompanied when it went anywhere, whether to eat, drink or relieve itself. But it had its favourites. Retancourt was the leader by far in this respect. The Snowball spent most of its days close to her desk, snoozing on the warm lid of one of the photocopy machines. The machine in question could not be used without giving the cat a fatal shock.

Danglard considered himself lucky when the creature deigned to walk the twenty metres to its feeding bowl. One time in three, it would give up and roll on its back, obliging someone to take it to the food or to its litter tray in the drinks room.

[they are in the very middle of a murder case when this conversation takes place]

“Get back here quickly, lieutenant, the cat’s pining for you.”

“That’s because I went without saying goodbye. Put him on the line.”

Adamsberg knelt down and put the mobile close to the cat’s ear. Lying on its back, the cat listened while Retancourt explained that she was on her way back home.

Are you in love, yet? Well, are you?! Because heavens to Betsy, I definitely am.

The Three Evangelists series tells the story of three historians and an old detective who all share a ramshackle house. Mathias is a prehistory specialist, Mark studies the middle ages, and Lucien focuses on World War One. Mark’s uncle – a detective who was fired for allowing a murderer to escape – completes the quartet. These characters are revealed delicious clue by delicious clue and the discoveries are heart-filling. I will say, however, that if you don’t fall in love with Mathias, then you might have a heart of stone. The four men build a bond as deep as that between Danglard and Adamsberg and it is a beautiful thing to witness.

Read these books; they will separate you from the noise of life. Vargas’ books are an ode to the outcast and how those outcasts build bonds and support each other. Vargas’ subtlety means that this realisation will grow steadily in your heart and you’ll only realise the depths of love between characters when you’re seven books in and it is 2am and you’re crying because Adamsberg called Danglard first.

Regardless of the question, human connection is the answer. These books prove it.

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Posted by SB Sarah

In our first installment of Podcast and Episode recommendations, my playlist grew by giant leaps and piles of downloaded audio – thank you for all the suggestions!

I have a few more episodes to suggest this week, especially because I found these to be very thought provoking – sometimes enough to listen to multiple times.

So, let’s get started!

Lifehacker The UpgradeLifehacker’s podcast The Upgrade has been changing in subtle ways – there’s a new co-host, and there’s more discussion between the co-hosts before they get to the interview. I’m not sold on either combination, to be honest.

The interviews are the best part, however, and there are three episodes I really enjoyed that I’d like to tell you about.

First: Why Your Awkwardness Is Secretly a Social Asset, With Ty Tashiro was a brilliant interview. Tashiro is compassionate towards the emotional pain of social awkwardness, and also scientific in his approach and analysis, a combination I found very compelling.

Tashiro’s book, Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), is now on my TBR, but if you only listen to the podcast, there are many kind and soothing pieces of advice, and techniques to examine your own perception of your awkwardness. I recommended this episode to about six people while I was listening to it.

Other interviews that are excellent from this series:

And one of my favorites that I’ve also listened to multiple times: Charles Duhigg on Self-Motivation, Mental Models, and Getting Stuff Done. There’s one moment where he talks about the desk of 50 years ago that I think about constantly.

You can find Lifehacker: The Upgrade on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you access your fine podcasts.

The Racist Sandwich podcast logoAmanda also has a suggestion:

I’d like to recommend the Racist Sandwich podcast, which discusses food and its connection to race. It’s really fascinating!

They have guests like food photographers, cookbook authors, etc.

Episode 20: Taking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump is where I started because of this LitHub article, “Talking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump,” written by Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

Racist Sandwich is available at iTunes, Stitcher, and in your friendly local podcast app.

Hey Sis podcast logoElyse really likes the podcast Hey, Sis, which features two sisters (you guessed it!) in a conversation-style podcast. From their description:

We’re Nicole and Nailah Blades, two sisters who are 12 years apart, living 3,000 miles apart, but who still manage to talk everyday about so many different things. We thought it’d be cool to add other folks, like you, into this ongoing conversation.

In particular, Elyse recommends episode 4, “Read ’em, Honey,”  wherein they interviewed Glory Edim of The Well Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn based book club.

You can find Hey Sis on Stitcher, iTunes, and your podcast app-land.

Slate Culture GabfestSlate’s Culture Gabfest podcast has a lot of different and interesting episodes, but my favorites are the Hit Parade episodes, which are nerdy deep dives into popular music.

First: Hit Parade: The Imperial Elton and George Edition looks at the “imperial period” of Elton John and George Michael – the period at which they were so popular their music was an instant hit, regardless of what it was. The episode also looks at their friendship, and I got teary listening to it at the end – and built the mother of all playlists from some of the songs sampled.

Then, Hit Parade: The Charity Megasingle Edition:

In the mid-1980s, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are the World” gathered dozens of the biggest stars in music to put on a show for a good cause. The two songs spawned imitators, but today, the charity megasingle is a relic of pop music’s past, except around the holidays. This month, we examine how good intentions, pique, excess, and vanity led to the rise and fall of the do-gooder celebrity pop song.

If you’re a little like me, the prospect of a nerdy behind-the-scenes exploration of charity mega-singles sends a thrill right to your eardrums. Fear not, Canada, for Northern Lights is also mentioned – you’re not left out!

You can find Slate’s Culture Gabfest on iTunes, Stitcher, and all the nifty places you grab your podcasts.

(And though I’m pretty sure you know, I want to make sure to note that we also have a podcast, Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, and you can find all the details here at the site, or at iTunes or on Stitcher.)

So what episodes of what shows have rocked your brain lately? Anything you want to tell us about?


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Posted by Amanda

Workspace with computer, journal, books, coffee, and glasses.Happy Wednesday! How is your week going so far? It’s definitely one of those weeks where I can’t remember what day it is. We’re steadily making our way through August and inching ever closer to autumn. Hooray!

A bit of a personal announcement. I adopted a cat! He’s 9 years old and a Maine Coon mix. He’s fluffy, dreamy, and really likes making sure I’m awake at 5am.

Let me introduce the Bitchery to Linus!


If you’re curious as to why women’s clothing doesn’t have more pockets, I found this article to be incredibly interesting:

Much has been written about how sexism dictates whether a garment gets usable pockets. While class unquestionably plays a part, men’s clothing tends to have capacious, visible pockets; women’s clothing tends to have small pockets, if any at all. Content with their pockets, men have little to say about them, but women have been complaining about the inadequacy of their pockets for more than a century. “One supremacy there is in men’s clothing… its adaptation to pockets,” Charlotte P. Gilman wrote for the New York Times in 1905. She continues, “Women have from time to time carried bags, sometimes sewn in, sometimes tied on, sometimes brandished in the hand, but a bag is not a pocket.”

A BAG IS NOT A POCKET! Say it with me, fashion industry!

Laptop Cord Winders

I have one of these from Above the Fray, and it's great for keeping my MacBook cord contained and safe from being pulled or frayed. There are earbud winders, too! -SW

If you’re looking to add more Filipino romances to your TBR pile, @Chachic_ on Twitter has some recommendations and many of which are 99c!


In the chance you ever get lost while hiking or doing whatever else people do in the wilderness, Atlas Obscura has some handy tips for wayfinding:

Tristan Gooley is an expert at what he calls “natural navigation.” In a series of fascinating books, most recently How to Read Water, but also The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs and The Natural Navigator: The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide, he shares incredibly useful tips and insights aimed at helping people notice simple truths about the world around them. Gooley’s particular genius is that once he shows you something about nature that you didn’t realize before, you’ll never be able to not see it again.

Recently, we sat down with Gooley and asked him to share five of his favorite natural navigation tricks with Atlas Obscura readers. The illustrator Chelsea Beck then took Gooley’s concepts and created gorgeous animations for each one. The words that accompany them are Gooley’s.

Not sure if I’ll remember any of these, but it’s pretty helpful regardless

Food artist, David Ma, has started a video series combining food porn while mimicking famous directors’ styles. So far, there are four videos, with my favorite being “What if Tarantino made Spaghetti & Meatballs?” but the Wes Anderson one is a close second.

Don’t forget to share what super cool things you’ve seen, read, or listened to this week! And if you have anything you think we’d like to post on a future Wednesday Links, send it my way!

Don’t miss a thing with Daily SBTB updates!

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Urban Fantasy, Ranchers, & More!

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda


Cotillion by Georgette Heyer is $2.51 at Amazon and $2.99 elsewhere! It’s also part of a huge $2.99 Heyer sale in honor of her birthday! This has a fake relationship trope and was recently the inspiration for a Rec League on unassuming heroes. Readers who love beta heroes and low-key, relaxed romances might love this one. However, some readers mention that the first quarter of the book takes some effort to get through.

Kitty Charing can inherit a fortune from her irascible great-uncle Matthew when she marries one of her cousins. Kitty is not wholly averse, if the right nephew proposes. Unfortunately, Kitty has set her heart on Jack Westruther, a confirmed rake.

To make him jealous and to see a little more of the world, Kitty convinces cousin Freddy Standen to pose as her fiance. In London with his family, she hopes to render the elusive Jack madly jealous.

New friends embroil her in their romantic troubles, sprinkling witty banter with Parisian phrases. Her French cousin, Camille, a professional gambler, has won the heart of Olivia, in turn the object of Jack’s dishonorable intentions. Doltish cousin Lord Dolphinton has fallen for a merchant’s daughter in conflict with his mother. Kitty herself wonders who is really right for her.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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Working Stiff

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine is $2.99! This is the first book in The Revivalist urban fantasy series where a funeral director heroine discovers her boss is turning the dead into zombies. Books one in Caine’s Weather Warden and Outcast urban fantasy series are also on sale, if you’re looking for new series to start. Readers found the plot to be really original, but wanted the heroine to be more active and aggressive in dealing with issues.

Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn’t the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment–until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated–literally, and with extreme prejudice.

With the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem–pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She’d better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave–a real working stiff. She’d be better off dead…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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The Rancher’s Surrender

The Rancher’s Surrender by Jill Shalvis is $1.99! This is the first book in The Heirs to the Triple M contemporary western series. This was originally published in 1999. Readers enjoyed the sisterly bond in the book, but had some difficulties with heroine’s selfishness. Have you read this one?

In the first book of New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis’s classic series, The Heirs to the Triple M, three women practically raised as sisters discover one of them has inherited a ranch. But which one?

Zoe Martin vowed not to let the Triple M ranch slip into Ty Jackson’s hands. Although his smooth charm brought most women to their knees, Zoe didn’t trust him. After all, he’d wanted the ranch for himself, and Zoe wasn’t about to let him take what could be her only chance for a true home.

It’s obvious to Ty that Zoe needs help—the woman is a complete greenhorn. But working side by side with Zoe is dangerous. She makes him feel strong and wild and crazy. Crazy enough, maybe, to offer her the home she craves…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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The Turncoat

The Turncoat by Donna Thorland is $2.99! This is an American historical romance set during the Revolutionary War. Some readers thought this was historical fiction rather than historical romance and had some things to say about the amount of sexytimes in the book. However, others enjoyed the great balance of action combined with the romance.

They are lovers on opposite sides of a brutal war, with everything at stake and no possibility of retreat. They can trust no one—especially not each other.

Major Lord Peter Tremayne is the last man rebel bluestocking Kate Grey should fall in love with, but when the handsome British viscount commandeers her home, Kate throws caution to the wind and responds to his seduction. She is on the verge of surrender when a spy in her own household seizes the opportunity to steal the military dispatches Tremayne carries, ensuring his disgrace—and implicating Kate in high treason. Painfully awakened to the risks of war, Kate determines to put duty ahead of desire, and offers General Washington her services as an undercover agent in the City of Brotherly Love.

Months later, having narrowly escaped court martial and hanging, Tremayne returns to decadent, British-occupied Philadelphia with no stomach for his current assignment—to capture the woman he believes betrayed him. Nor does he relish the glittering entertainments being held for General Howe’s idle officers. Worse, the glamorous woman in the midst of this social whirl, the fiancée of his own dissolute cousin, is none other than Kate Grey herself. And so begins their dangerous dance, between passion and patriotism, between certain death and the promise of a brave new future together.

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This book is on sale at:

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Game Review: Dream Daddy

Aug. 16th, 2017 02:23 pm
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Posted by Amanda

If you’ve been on Twitter over the past month, you might have seen tweets and photos about the dad-dating simulator Dream Daddy, created by Game Grumps and written by Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray.

In the game, you play a single dad with a teen daughter named Amanda (she’s way cooler than me) who just moved to the small town of Maple Bay.

In Maple Bay, there are seven dads available to romance:

  • Mat – hipster dad with tattoos and a love of baking and coffee
  • Craig – athletic, bro dad who has the cutest little baby
  • Hugo – dapper dad who happens to be your daughter’s teacher
  • Brian – the burly redheaded dad with a corgi
  • Damien – goth dad! It was also confirmed on Twitter that Damien is transgender.
  • Robert – bad dad who wears a leather jacket and hanging out at the local bar
  • Joseph – preppy dad who has four children, a wife, and is a youth minister

There’s pretty much a dad for everyone! Right from the start, I knew my first dad pursuit was going to be Damien.

Dream Daddy characters
From left to right: Robert, Damien, Craig, Joseph, Mat, Hugo, Brian

Before we get to the game, a note about these sorts of dating sims and visual novels. It’s been tough to find these sorts of games for women to play in English – where you play a woman and pick from a host of men to romance – and while this isn’t exactly that, I’ll take it. Now, I’ve played some Japanese visual novels before using all manner of computer rigging, such as running a translator program simultaneous with the games. The text would come up on the game, feed into the translator, and hopefully I’d get some readable text. In those narratives, there are usually good endings (happily ever afters) and bad endings.

Trigger Warning
In some of the other games where you play a woman, a bad ending could end in the death of your romantic interest or you could be raped. But there’s nothing quite that bad in this one.

I do know that there are both happy and not very happy endings in “Dream Daddy.” Some players would prefer to collect every ending, but if you’d rather just go for the happy ones and read about what the other ones are, there are guides available online.

Also fair warning: a couple of the dads don’t have HEAs at all and the only ending you get is a “bad” one. You can read about them here and to be honest, I think the reasoning is sound, despite my disappointment.

Before you start the game, you have to create your dad-sona.

My dad-sona - a man in glasses, with a man bun and mustache. He's wearing a blue shirt with a fried egg print over his nipples

I’d like you all to meet Doctor Spaghetti. He has a great backstory – according to Sarah. Doc is a bisexual Italian national. He had his daughter Amanda with his longtime lover/girlfriend who happens to be an international photographer, which is where Amanda got her sweet photog skills. Because of his lover’s hectic, globe-trotting lifestyle, they separated and agreed that Doc would have primary custody of Amanda.

Doc moved to the U.S. to continue his pursuit of a medical career, but soon realized his schedule was becoming just as busy and he didn’t want his daughter to feel neglected by her two incredibly busy parents. So Doc quit his medical career and began pursuing his dream of being a food blogger, making cooking homemade Italian meals approachable for families. As a bonus, Amanda does all the food photography his blog.

Plus, with a name like Doctor Spaghetti, it’s easy to know what he’s about, right from the get go.

Brian, his corgi Maxwell, and his genius 10-year-old daughter in the park
Brian, his genius daughter (who’s ten), and his Corgi, Maxwell.

Most of the game is bopping around town and meeting dads and other residents. You communicate and pick from three conversation options. If a dad likes what you say, hearts pop out and scatter across the screen. You dad-sona also does some pretty dad things, like referring to coffee as “bean juice.”

There are a few mini games involved as well. For example, you and Brian have a brag-off about your daughters and it’s setup like a Pokemon battle where each brag lessens your opponent’s health until one of you reaches zero.

Mat in his coffee shop in all his rambling, awkward glory
Mat in all of his rambling, awkward glory. He also loves puns.

I don’t want to inundate you with too many details and ruin the fun discovery elements of the game, like how and when you encounter characters, so I’ll just move on to my initial thoughts. The game is incredibly text heavy; prepare to do a lot of reading. For me, it’s not a game I can successfully binge play like I would with an RPG game like Fallout 4, where there’s shooting and action. On the bright side, the game will keep you occupied for a long time and you can replay it and pursue other dads.

The inclusiveness of the cast is great and it was honestly tough choosing the dad I wanted to romance. I thought I was set with Damien, but interacting with Brian was really sweet. HE’S SUCH A GREAT DAD TO HIS GENIUS DAUGHTER. There are some fantastic customizable options – you can choose whether Amanda has a mom or two dads, and whether she was adopted or conceived with you partner, which means certain details and interactions can change depending on which options you pick.

I think that’s really the most attractive element of this game: the options. My main critique is that your relationship with your daughter is the most fun and interesting thing. Amanda is funny and confident and such a cool teenager. At times, it overshadowed my interest in romancing DILFs because I just kind of want to hang out with my daughter. To be honest, I’d love a dating simulator in the future with Amanda as the star. Maybe when she starts college?

Amanda during her horse phase.
Amanda during her horse phase.

It’s such a fun game, despite how my attention would wane at times. That just means I have to pace out my play time! The art is wonderful and the dialogue is cute, quirky, and hilarious. Now if only I could get happy endings with all the dads! ARGH! But given the success of Dream Daddy so far, I’d love to see what this team does next.

Dream Daddy is available to purchase and download on Steam.

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Posted by SB Sarah

This month for Stuff We Like, I want to share some products that, no kidding, have changed my anxiety levels about cleaning things.

Organization Academy

But before I get started, I wanted to give you all a heads up that this fall I’ll be launching the first Organization Academy online course! Yay! Each course will be all about saving time and reducing stress (and creating space for you to do what you’ve been wanting to do), and the first one will focus on Meal Planning Mastery.

You might recall my earlier series here about meal planning and Google Calendar. The course is an expanded version of that series, with worksheets, tutorials, step-by-step guides, and cheatsheets to help organize your meal planning, and help save you time and money doing so.

Basically, if you hate not knowing the answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?” as much as I do, you’ll like this course.

I’ll be announcing the course registration to the Organization Academy mailing list first, so if you’d like more information, plus weekly organization and time saving tips, drop your email right here:

Thank you to everyone who has written to let me know how much they appreciated the packing series! I met a number of people at RWA who said packing cubes changed the way they traveled to Orlando — that’s so cool.

Ok, now on to Stuff We Like! This month: a few items that have recently rocked my world. This one, specifically:

Furs Off Pet Hair Removal Stone

The Fur-Zoff Pet Hair Remover is about $12.

I have two dogs, and two cats, and they all have fur. All of them, can you believe that? And if you have furry house residents, you probably know that sometimes the hair does not come off, not with the special vacuum, nor with the sticky rolling things.

This stone BLEW MY MIND with how well it took hair off one of our pieces of furniture. It’s basically a glass brick of bubbles, and you rub it over the surface of whatever you’re trying to clean – upholstery, a carpet or rug, car seats or floor mats, whatever.


Photograph of purple chaise with hair removal stone and wad of hair I took off the chair with 10 minutes of use

That was about 10 minutes of work on the upholstery.

The hair is mostly from Buzz, who loves the purple chair a lot.

Buzz sitting on the purple chaise next to the stone and the pile of his fur

It might be easier in the long run to train him not to get onto the furniture, I realize, but Buzz the Anxious hides in the chaise when he’s scared or upset. I don’t want to take that away from him, but I also know he gets a lot of hair on that thing.

Check out that pile of hair. It’s like a Furminator for the furniture.

A note: it’s very lightweight, but it is foamed glass, so it will wreak hell on any manicure you might have. Be careful. Also, don’t use it on leather unless you don’t like that leather very much. It’ll scratch the hell out of it.

Seriously, I love this thing. And if you’re weird, like me, and love seeing the before/after transformation of something, this is immensely satisfying with very little effort.

Another item I love that makes me happy every time I use it (it’s a little embarrassing how much glee I get out of this thing) is the Ikea Hemnes Shoe Cabinet, $99: 

Ikea Hemnes Shoe Cabinet in brown with two shoe drawers and a top drawer

This cabinet holds a lot of shoes, and is only 11.75″ (30cm) deep,  so it doesn’t take up much room at all. The big drawers in the middle and bottom tip out to hold pairs of shoes, and the top drawer is where I keep the pet hair remover rollers for clothes, and the new Stone of Hair Magnetry (aka the Fur Zoff) lives in that drawer, too. The only thing it can’t hold well is giant winter boots. Otherwise, most of our shoes are in there.

Part of the reason I’m a little obsessed with furniture is that we just bought a new chair and some side tables (after searching for ages, so making the decision was a rush, too). So not only am I looking at the hair, but I’m also after protecting the tables.

These are cracking me up:

Stone coasters that say Don't Fuck Up the Table

Don’t Fuck Up the Table (Please) Stone Coasters, $34.

Those are a bit of money, though, and if you’re after cute and noticeable, how about small vinyl records?

Six piece vinyl record drink coaster set, $10. 

And speaking of drinking, I have to share these, because they crack me up. Should you need to tote your potent potables incognito, there are terrific options.

Golden Goddess sunscreen flask

Golden Goddess Sunscreen Flask. I found one of these at Target and bought it as a gift for Amanda, and she thought I’d sent her a bottle of sunscreen until I told her to look again. They’re very realistic looking.

Heh heh.

There’s also a two-pack of Sunscreen Tube Flasks for $10:

Sunscreen flask two pack

They’re also available in faux ice pack form, too.

And then, as we transition to fall, there’s the Umbrella Flask, $16: 

BoozeBrella - a flask hidden as a fold up umbrella

And hey, if you’re not interested in hiding your portable potent potables, that’s cool! The Ladies would be delighted to help you out with that:

What surprises have rocked your world lately, or made your living space a little better? Any suggestions or ideas welcome! 


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Posted by Amanda

This HaBO comes from Emmy, who’s hoping to find two books:

My school library stocked these romance novels with very large print fonts, and usually pastel blue or pink colored covers. I am actually looking for two novels – one had a heroine whose dead husband had been a spy and she was scarred because he had been abusive. Enter our hero who is a spy himself and needs the heroine’s help in stopping South China Sea pirates, which our heroine had done research on.

In the meanwhile, they pretend they’re married, he buys her an extremely expensive black opal ring, they fall in love, and when the pirate leader asks her to show her devotion, she agrees to slice off her little finger for the hero’s sake. Ring a bell, anyone?

The second novel had our hero and heroine infiltrate a dubious pseudo-communist country to search for her lost father. They dance the csardas, he calls her ‘gypsy’ a bunch of times (UGH), and then he gets caught so she and her dad can flee. And later they are reunited after the hero’s country ransoms him back or something.

I am being driven mad, since my Google-fu is not working. HELP!

Not sure if the second romance is related to the first or not.

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Posted by Amanda

New York, Actually

New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan is 99c! This is a price-matched Kindle Daily Deal. Feel free to check out the rest of today’s deals. Some readers found this to be a charming contemporary romance, while others took some issues with the hero’s behavior in pursuing the heroine.

Meet Molly

New York’s most famous agony aunt, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they’re other people’s. The only love of her life is her Dalmatian, Valentine.

Meet Daniel

A cynical divorce lawyer, he’s hardwired to think relationships are a bad idea. If you don’t get involved, no-one can get hurt. But then he finds himself borrowing a dog to meet the gorgeous woman he sees running in Central Park every morning…

Molly and Daniel think they know everything there is to know about relationships…until they meet each other that is…

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First to Burn

First to Burn by Anna Richland is 99c! This is the first book in her Immortal Vikings series and readers had mixed feelings about the hero. Many found him unique and loyal, but others remarked that he had a lot going on with his immortality and PTSD. This book has a 3.7-star rating on Goodreads.

A soldier with secrets

Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He’s trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A doctor with questions

Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She’s determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won’t allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An enemy with nothing to lose

Even as Theresa’s investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf is stirred by her passion. Dreaming of love and a normal life, he wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won’t hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.

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Just One Damned Thing After Another

RECOMMENDEDJust One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor is $3.99! Redheadedgirl recently read this one and gave it a B:

If you’re a fan of Connie Willis, I would suggest you give this series a try. It doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, and Max as a heroine and audience surrogate is a lot of fun. It’s potentially a commitment, given that there are 9 books and a bunch of novellas, but I’m looking forward to making a dent in my TBR pile to read the next book.

“History is just one damned thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee

A madcap new slant on history that seems to be everyone’s cup of tea…

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process.

But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake…

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Irresistible You

Irresistible You by Kate Meader is $1.99! This is the first book in a brand new sports romance series and it just came out this week. Readers really loved the banter between the hero and heroine, though others mentioned it took a while to warm up to the hero. It has a 4.4-star rating on Goodreads.

Hot in Chicago series author Kate Meader returns with her all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times). Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem, a chip on his shoulder, and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…

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HaBO: Enemies on a Train

Aug. 15th, 2017 02:00 pm
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Posted by Amanda

This HaBO comes from McKenzie, who’s hoping to find a book she “borrowed” from her mom:

I “borrowed” it from my mother in the early 2000s, but I don’t know when it was published.

I can remember that the heroine was the daughter of some sort of business baron (maybe trains?). Her father didn’t have a biological son, but he had a sharp-jawed designated heir to the family fortune who our heroine naturally hated. I remember a lot of mutual loathing, mostly from the heroine who thought this guy was an interloper/rival to her father’s affection. I want to say that her father had told her to marry this guy, but maybe she reached that conclusion on her own.

At some point, the roguish heir-presumptive is sent on a business trip somewhere and the daughter either tags along or is sent along with him, via train, to somewhere. Was there a train crash? A snow storm? I can’t quite recall, but I feel like there was some sort of forced truce due to extenuating circumstances, which of course turned to HEA.

I am sorry to be so vague! I kept this book in my soccer bag for months, reading when my mom was late to pick me up from practice. I wish I could remember the title so that I could revisit my romance roots!

I hope we can help her, but I also died at “sharp-jawed designated heir” because it does seem like all heroes have a jaw that could cut glass.

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Posted by SB Sarah

On Saturday, July 29, 2017, Brenda Jackson was the keynote speaker at the RWA Librarian and Blogger Luncheon. Because the speech wasn’t live streamed, I don’t think there’s a video of it, but RWA has made the audio available via Soundcloud. Yay! Thank you!

Y’all, I don’t know that I can fully explain how incredible this speech is. Brenda Jackson talks about the way her library played a meaningful role in her life, including giving her the opportunity to uncover her family history when she learned that her great grandfather had been a part of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

This speech is chilling and uplifting, and another example of how history and libraries are so vitally important. As with most of the RWA speeches, though, a tissue box nearby is a good idea.

Thank you again to RWA for making the audio available for everyone. This is too important, too powerful not to share.

Witches, Royals, & More!

Aug. 14th, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

What a Gentleman Wants

What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden is $1.99! This is the first book in the Reece Family Trilogy. You can also nab the second book for 99c. There’s a fake relationship element to this historical romance and readers loved the stuffy hero. However, some readers felt the plot is a bit unbelievable. It has a 3.7-star rating on Goodreads.

Two virtual strangers are swept into a sizzling, spellbinding world of daring deception and unexpected passion in Caroline Linden’s thrilling new romance. . .

What A Gentleman Wants 

Marcus Reese, Duke of Essex, has spent most of his life pulling his twin brother out of trouble. An occasional thank you would suffice; instead, his resentful sibling forges his name to a marriage license and presents him with an unwanted wife. She’s a vicar’s widow with a mind of her own who may be the first person in Marcus’s well-ordered life to make him feel. . .completely out of control.

Hannah can’t help but curse her own idiocy. Dire straits have led her to the altar with a gentleman she hardly knows. Played for a fool, she’s embarrassed, furious, and worse, married to an equally outraged stranger–an exasperating man who unleashes all manner of emotions in Hannah, not to mention unwanted desire. Reluctantly, she agrees to play the wife until he can sort out the mess. But the nearness of the undeniably attractive Duke and the passion in his black eyes unsettles her well-guarded heart–making her want to do so much more than “act” the role of blissful bride. . .

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Miss Buncle’s Book

RECOMMENDEDMiss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson is $1.99! This is a Kindle Daily Deal and is being price-matched today! Carrie loved this book and gave it an A:

For the most part, Miss Buncle’s Book is not a laugh out loud book. Its humor is gentle and understated but very funny nonetheless. It’s also a delightful ode to the power of the written word.

Barbara Buncle is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara’s bank account has seen better days. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from fellow residents of her quaint English village, writing a revealing novel that features the townsfolk as characters. The smashing bestseller is published under the pseudonym John Smith, which is a good thing because villagers recognize the truth. But what really turns her world around is when events in real life start mimicking events in the book. Funny, charming, and insightful, this novel reveals what happens when people see themselves through someone else’s eyes.

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Royally Mine

Royally Mine is available for preorder for 99c! This collection of 22 contemporary and erotic romances featuring royal heroes comes out August 22nd. These stories are novella-length and if my math is correct, it averages out to around 68 pages a story. Confession: I definitely preordered this puppy.

Powerful kings. Dirty-talking princes. Insatiable dukes.
They’re ready to rule your heart.

Royally Mine is a sexy collection of bad boy romances featuring HOT royal heroes, brought to you by twenty-two New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling authors. This deliciously naughty bundle of ALL-NEW standalone novellas stars panty-scorching kings, princes, and dukes who are used to being in command. Charge up your e-reader, clear your schedule, and put on your best tiara, because these royal bad boys are ready to conquer your heart while making you blush oh so hard.

Featured authors: Susan Stoker, Annabel Joseph, Katy Regnery, Nikki Sloane, Renee Rose, Molly O’Keefe, Alta Hensley, Nora Flite, Natasha Knight, Sue Lyndon, Jenika Snow, Maggie Ryan, Celeste Jones, Lee Savino, Livia Grant, Alexis Alvarez, Rayanna James, Ava Sinclair, Addison Cain, Jennifer Bene, Becca Jameson, Mikey Lee

Publisher’s Note: The stories included in this smoking hot box set are MF and MFM pairings. Some contain kink. All will leave you breathlessly panting for more.

Stories included:

The Dog Walker & the Prince by Nora Flite
His royal sexiness has plans for me–the dirty kind that can only happen between the sheets. Turns out this prince needs a baby, and fast. There’s a million reasons not to go along with what he wants, but with him kissing my thighs and holding me close… I’m forgetting all of them.

Bad Boys & Bourbon by Alta Hensley
He sat among the Monarchs, the Presidents, the Captains of Industry, and the wealthiest people in the world. He was a man that was never told no… until her.

Her Royal Master by Renee Rose
Three days. Five grand. The ultimate reporter’s scoop.I just have to make myself available to six royal bad boys on a yacht.How hard can it be?

A Rakehell’s Heart by Annabel Joseph
Arranged marriages are the worst, especially when the rakehell prince and his convent-raised betrothed have only just met. Even so, their royal marriage must be consummated–by law–within the first night…

A Princess for Cale by Susan Stoker
Katelin Kriss has fantasized about the handsome prince from afar, but never in a million years thought she’d end up in his bed after an almost-mugging. Once Prince Cale Alexander got the shy beauty in his bed, he wasn’t letting her go until he put a baby in her belly and claimed her as his own.

A Princess for Cain by Becca Jameson
When a royal prince flees his homeland in search of something more in life, he might find what he’s looking for in the most unexpected location.

Table for Two by Nikki Sloane
I run the most exclusive club in Chicago, where women sell their bodies to powerful men with the deepest pockets. So what the hell am I going to do when the woman I’m secretly in love with decides to get on the table?

Royally Screwed by Alexis Alvarez
American volunteer Maya Murphy didn’t expect sexy, European prince Henri to whisper dirty French phrases into her ear, let alone invite her to spend a passionate night in his chalet. But the biggest surprise of all is how much they have in common…and how much she wishes for a happy-ever-after.

Claimed by the Bastard Prince by Sue Lyndon
The sweet American named Cora insists she only wants one night in my bed, but I intend to claim her as my wife. I’m the powerful bastard prince of Ismallia, and I always get my way.

Becoming Her King by Maggie Ryan
Prince or Prick?
Danielle hasn’t spent years of her life pursuing her dream to let Judd West destroy it. He might be considered the Prince of the Silver Screen, but to Dani, he is nothing more than a man with an overinflated ego. Judd accepts the challenge to deliver the magic and sizzle she requires, but when he makes some demands of his own, will Dani be willing to face the truth or will she cut and run?

Royally F**ked by Lee Savino
Prince Theo. Billionaire. Playboy. My new boss.

Mafia Princess by Natasha Knight
It’s good to be owed favors. That’s the only reason I’m going after Allegra Antonino, the runaway mafia princess. Should be an easy job. Straight-f**king- forward.
Until I get one look at her.

Shear Heaven by Katy Regnery
In this modern-retelling of Rapunzel, hair stylist Bella Capelli, who works in a salon at the top of the New York Metro Tower Hotel, falls hard for His Serene Highness, Prince Nico De’Medici, in town for the wedding of his twin sister.

Consumed by Addison Cain
To be Omega was to be consumed. Morgaine had no idea she was raised a slave, waiting to be harvested to submit to her Alpha overlords’ whims. It’s her body they desire, and it’s her body they will have.

Theirs to Love by Celeste Jones
Sometimes it takes two men to make up for the loss of a beloved husband. Will Cassie take a second chance on love with brothers Luke and Aidan?

Bad Prince by Ava Sinclair
Once upon a time, the fairy tale every English girl dreams of was within my grasp.And then I caught the eye of the wrong man – a lustful prince whose dark desires would ruin me in the most delicious ways imaginable.

If You Were Mine by Jenika Snow
Daisy is a servant of the royal family.He’s the prince who only wants her.Never did she think Prince Lennon would want her, but when his possessive side comes through and she finds herself in his bed all bets are off. He makes it known that she’s his, and not even royal tradition can keep them apart.

Long Live My King by Molly O’Keefe
I’m not going to fall in love with my filthy prince of a step-brother. I’m determined to keep my hands to myself and my heart under lock and key, but he has other plans.

The Playboy Prince by Mikey Lee
Dryce is one cocky playboy prince who has no plans to settle down.
He’s never been in love, but he’s well versed in lust.
Ro is strong, smart & sexy.
And she’s about to take out his defenses.

Dancing King by Rayanna James
I fell in love with a stripper. And then he became a king.

Decadence by Jennifer Bene
People keep saying they’re ‘sex addicts’ but Aubrey only wants to get laid, and so does Finn. When they collide in Los Angeles it seems like the perfect solution, but Finn is hiding a royal secret that could bring all his fun to an end – right when he’s realizing Aubrey could be his perfect match.

Royalty, American Style by Livia Grant
Playboy Colton King is American royalty…sports royalty that is. The MLB all-star is also the newest millionaire bachelor in an R-rated cable reality show. Six gorgeous women are prepared to do anything to win him as their prize. So why does he only want the one woman on the set he’s not supposed to have?

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The Witches of Cambridge

The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag is $1.99! This is women’s fiction with a bit of magical realism, and it’s been compared to the writing of Sarah Addison Allen (which makes my ears perk up). Readers are divided when it comes to the cast of characters. Some say they loved how different storylines came together, while others found it made the book too confusing.

For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Witches of Cambridge reveals an astonishing world where the heart’s deepest secrets give way to the magic of life-changing love.

Be careful what you wish for. If you’re a witch, you might just get it.

Amandine Bisset has always had the power to feel the emotions of those around her. It’s a secret she can share only with her friends—all professors, all witches—when they gather for the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft. Amandine treasures these meetings but lately senses the ties among her colleagues beginning to unravel. If only she had her student Noa’s power to hear the innermost thoughts of others, she might know how to patch things up. Unfortunately, Noa regards her gift as a curse. So when a seductive artist claims he can cure her, Noa jumps at the chance, no matter the cost.

Noa’s not the only witch who’s in over her head. Mathematics professor Kat has a serious case of unrequited love but refuses to cast spells to win anyone’s heart. Kat’s sister, Cosima, is not above using magic to get what she wants, sprinkling pastries in her bakery with equal parts sugar and enchantment. But when Cosima sets her sights on Kat’s crush, she conjures up a dangerous love triangle.

As romance and longing swirl through every picturesque side street, the witches of Cambridge find their lives unexpectedly upended and changed in ways sometimes extraordinary, sometimes heartbreaking, but always enchanting.

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