Day 18 #Rombklove: Paranormal Romance

Day 18: Paranormal #Rombklove

Joy and Meka are some of my favorite people to follow on twitter, they both have such a exuberant love for romance and their recommendations are always aces. I was thrilled when they chose to work together on a post about Paranormal romance. I love PNR, as it was one of my entry point into the romance genre.  I hope you find some amazing books on Meka and Joy's list.

Meka and Joy are so thrilled to be talking about paranormal romance (PNR) for today’s #RomBkLove, but it is so hard to know just where to start. There are so many tropes within this subgenre.


Meka: I began reading paranormal romances back when I was fairly new to reading romance regularly. I knew that I probably would like it because I enjoyed non-scary movies about paranormal things that go bump in the night…if it wasn’t too scary, of course! What is it about this genre that appeals so much?


Joy: I started reading LoveSpells which were time traveling romances and those books got me hooked on the paranormal genre.  I discovered Rebecca Paisley and Laura Kinsdale. Happy me. Read many a PNR and then I picked up Christine Feehan's Dark Prince, Book One of the Dark series and went down a rabbit hole of incredible vampire stories and MC's that I totally fell in love with. The rest is history and a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge book collection.



The World Building


Meka: Paranormal romance allows authors to have free reign, allowing them to make up fun and fantastic rules that they can either stick to or break with enough good reason. They have the distinct ability to wander within all other romance subgenres. I don’t read a lot of historicals, but if you put some paranormal elements within that genre, I will sprain my one-click finger. Hard. They can be in modern day where people either know all about the supernatural or have to hide their identity. They can be steampunk novels with airships and frightening creatures, and the brave people having to fight them. They can be set in the distant, or not so distant future. Paranormal romance novels get to be malleable in scope and setting, and the rules for one world will not be the rules for others.


Joy: Why paranormals? In mind, to be able to create an entirely new world that doesn't exist and make me believe the story that I'm reading means you have a gift. I love the romance genre with all my heart, been a reader of romance since I was 13, about 10 years ago (LMAO). But something extra special clicked with me when it came to Vampires. Authors can make up any type of creature, being, shapeshifter (my personal favorite) and wisk the reader to anywhere in this universe and beyond. I read for escapism and being able to lose myself into a world like no other gives me joy and happiness. Honestly, that is all that matters, what makes me happy is why I continue to support the romance genre. 


There are so many subgenes.


Meka: Whether you are wanting to read psychics using their gifts to solve crimes, lonely creatures struggling to not give in to their inner beast before their fated mates can appear, a knight getting rescued by a group of orphans who are fighting vampires and trying to survive, faeries coming in and taking names, werewolves dealing with tough pack dynamics, vegetarian vampires, people learning to deal with burgeoning psychic abilities and those attempting to squash them, angels and vampires trying to work together, angels falling from Heaven and coming to shake up the Earth, Demons struggling to let their passions rule without harm and dealing with all of this while falling in love? Paranormal romance has you covered! 


Joy: I want it all, too. Meka pretty much summed it up. And what do we all want at the end of the day. To go on that journey with the MC's, no matter where they are from and see them have their HEA or HFN.


Meka's Recommendations


A few months ago, there was this amazingly long roving thread on Twitter all about paranormal romance novels. I’m not entirely sure of what else happened in the world, but people were on point with recommendations. I heard that thread reached over 900 Tweets! For my part of the recs, I want to highlight both the books that got me in to PNR and the ones that keep me here, squeeing forever. Fair warning: lots of PNR are meant to be read in order but blurbs make me super weak and I will often gravitate toward the book whose blurb speaks to me the most, as opposed to reading order. Also, some of this is considered urban fantasy, but I put them under PNR due to the Happily-ever-After rule, and really, because I loved them!


Dark Melody by Christine Feehan: 

Christine Feehan has so many books in her Carpathian series, but this was the first that I read. Watching Dayan and Corinne navigate their lives and come to love each other was a fulfilling journey. She is his life mate and Carpathians cannot see color until they meet their fated mate. If they don’t meet them, they turn in to vampires unless they seek the sun first. It’s a hard knock life!


The Missing by Shiloh Walker:

Often times, I want to read about more subtle hints of paranormal in a contemporary setting and Shiloh Walker knows right where to gut punch me the most. In my feelings. I loved the couple in this book and were so glad to see them navigate through so much to get to their HEA.


The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston:

Shelly Laurenston writes the world! Seriously! Viking clans, women kicking ass and taking names after being called in to protect the artifacts of a death god, female friendships, Viking heroes, female friendships, lots of fighting, and female friendships! Did I mention female friendships?


Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane:

Lauren Dane is an author introduced to me when I was very, very new to PNR. While I cannot highlight the first book of hers I read due to it currently being out of print, let me tell you about my BFF, Rowan Summerwaite. She is a vessel to a Celtic goddess, beats down rogue vampires, and knows who she is and why she is. She and Clive are both fantastic as individuals, but they are amazing together! This book takes place in Vegas and it is one of my favorites! 


steam and sorcery by CIndy Spencer Pape: 

Mix a knight of an order that hunts monsters, a group of plucky street children who save his ass, and a governess who doesn’t realize she is more than what she has been taught, and what do you get? Meka’s first introduction to steampunk and the beginning of a really fantastic series.


Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell

Dana Marie Bell writes some of my favorite books and I couldn’t go through this post without at least mentioning Bunny. You should read all about him. However, this book deals with Parker, a vegetarian vampire and Amara, a dryad. It takes everything I love about small-town romance and brings it in to a deliciously awesome PNR package which is both humorous and dark.


Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh 

Nalini Singh writes it all! I struggled between recommending this books and her other PNR series. Slave to Sensation introduced me to a world of psychically-repressed people like Sascha, and the shifters who are fighting back against the cold Psy, in the year of 2079. While my absolute favorite is a book further in to the series, we get to learn so much that will serve as developments later on in the series. But seriously. Who can resist a woman forced to not show emotion, and the alpha wereleopard who loves her? 


Prince in Leather by Holley Trent

Holley Trent is amazing. I could seriously squee about her all day long. This book is the beginning of a series which somehow fits in to the other series that she writes and there are faeries! On motorcycles!! I am here for all of this. Simone and Heath are awesome and have to figure out so many things together! Both are capable, competent people and you need this in your life!


Cold Iron by D.L. Mcdermott 

D.L. Mcdermott’s Cold Iron series is wonderful, and in my opinion, underrated. It takes place in Boston and deals with the fae and their enemies, the druids. I loved book 1, but the rest of the series just picks up speed and hurls you through some epic plots! The world-building is layered and complex, and every character adds so much more to the series as it progresses.


Angelborn by L. Penelope

I was just introduced to L. Penelope’s writing through this book and my goodness did it pack a wallop! There are angels who are half-human, half-angel, and are on the lower end of the angelic totem ple. This story has angelborn doing forbidden things, getting a second chance, and tossing the fated mate trope on its head. It is so lush and lovely. You need this!




Joy's Recommendations: 


The following Authors are what I catalogue as, I would jump in front of an oncoming car for you kinda reads / autobuys / anxiously await their next book. So much so that for one author mentioned below, I was so excited to see her again, I actually bit her (I WOULDN'T SUGGEST THIS TO ANYONE), when I saw her at RT in Houston one year. Not her book, but her. Yes, her. Lets just say that I say my life flash before my very eyes. Thank god we were friends by that point. HAAAAAA.


Shelly Laurenston: I had the luck and priviledge to beta read a book ohhh so many years ago. We had a mutual friend who contacted me and asked if I would read a book by an unknown author friend of hers. I said sure! That book was Pack Challenge and that Author was, Shelly Laurenston aka G.A. Aiken. That's right folks, that is how Shelly and I "met". I had no contact with her until AFTER I read one of the most hilarious books I had ever read. Not only was Pack Challenge an awesome story with a mewl worthy Hero but the Heroine was a woman of color. Holy cow, I said, wowza! At that point in time, the only woc in paranormal that I had read was the Heroine of Stephanie Burke's, Keeper of The Flame. I contacted said friend and said, where are the rest of her books. I couldn't find a website, nothing! I was stunned to learn that Pack Challenge was her first book and it was unpublished to boot.  I was astonished, not only was PC unique, it had an unrepentant, true to herself, can fight for herself, Heroine, said Heroine had a group of ride or die friends and the Hero loved all that she was. No tryng to change each other but learning to love the person they met, how refreshing. 


Shelly's shifters are of all races and creeds and that's the beauty of a Laurenston or Aiken book. The characters and world building flows. Nothing feels forced. Her Heroines are tough yet love with everything they have and will protect family and friends to the ends of the earth. Her Heroes are Alpha yet they love and respect their Heroines and all the nuttiness that comes with being with a non conformational woman. Her Heroines go by the beat of their own drum. Shelly also writes fierce Dragons under the name of G.A. Aiken. Whether it be under Shelly Laurenston, writing witches, lions, tigers, bears, honey badgers and so much more or her dragons, as G.A. Aiken, you will not only get extraordinary worldbuilding but characters that will have you howling, rotflyao for days after. The following are all of her books as I love them all!


Series: Long Island Coven

Series: Pride

Series: Magnus Pack 

Series: Call of Crows 

Series: The Gathering

Series: Honey Badger Chronicles


G.A. Aiken

Series: Dragon Kin 




Stephanie Burke is the author who started my journey into ebooks. In 2005' I was bored of what I was reading from NY publishers. I went searching on the web, happened upon a cover with a black woman on it. Whaaaaat? NoI had to know what this book was about. What was an e-book? I'd never heard of such a thing. Well. Keeper of The Flame's Heroine was a nurse, who had a spacecraft land in her backyard. Turns out it is the Hero, and he is in labor!!! Yes, you read that correctly. I purchased that book with no way of knowing how to read it. I didn't know what an e-reader was. I eventually had my sister print it out and I read it that way. HOLY SMOKES, what a cover to cover read!!! Stephanie writes (MF / MM / MMM / MMF / MGFMMM) and per her bio, sex shifting shape-shifting dragons to under sea worlds, up to sexually confused elemental fey and homo erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel challenged urban sprites. There is literally something for everyone in Ms. Burke's catalogue of books.  My favorites are the following: 


Series: Testrios

Series: Pride Talon

Series: Hot Not To Date


Melissa Schroeder is one of the few Romance Authors that I follow from genre to genre. Not only has she always written Multicultural MC's but her stories have a different feel across each of sub genre. I was a friend of Melissa's from the old Yahoo groups back in the day and have been a fan of her work since she started publishing. Her PNR's are extra special to me but in the case of the By Blood series, she combines my love of historical romance with my love of vampires! 


Series: By Blood 

Series: Telepathic Cravings 

Series: The Cursed Clan

Series: Lonestar Wolf Pack:


L.A. Banks books have kick ass heroines of color, combined with some awesome world-building. Damali, the Heroine, a Black Woman drives most of the series and when these books were being released, it wasn't the norm. L.A. was a trailblazer, talk about a roller coaster ride of well written suspense and romance along the way.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Banks on only three occasions before she passed away but let me tell you, a nicer woman, you would ever meet. Her vampire world will keep you enthralled.


Series: Vampire Huntress Legend 


Rhyannon Byrd  was my second email fan letter. I read her contemporary, Waiting For It and told her that she made my womb throb with her hot sex scenes. MEOW!!!!! Yeah I said it, I had never had that happen to me before. Ms. Byrd is the author of some very dirty talking Alpha's, who looooove their women and they'll will move heaven and earth to please them. Her Harlequin PNR's are a little lower on the heat scale than her others ones BUT she more than delivers in terms of story. To continue a series for a length of time without it getting stale is a true testament to an author's talen and like Nalini Singh, Ms. Byrd  takes us on a journey that you never want to end. 


Series: Bloodrunners  

Series: Primal Instinct  

Series: Touch  

Series: Magick Men





These PNR books are ones that I think were ahead of their time


Lori Herter

Series: David de Morrissey


Linda Lael Miller 

Series: Black Rose Chronicles


Sharie Kohler aka Sophie Jordan

Series: Moon Chasers 




The following is a list of my Autobuy PNR Authors. I don't even read the blurbs, I must have anything they release because these authors keep the storylines fresh and write great characters that stick with me. I'm also a sucker for secondary characters as well. Totally love reading a book and noticing who the next couple will be or catch up on couples from previous books, and these Authors deliver on that. Sequels and Series, I MUST HAVE THEM!!!! HA!


Lara Adrian 

Vivi Anna

Amanda Ashley aka Allyson James

Jennifer Ashley

Shara Azod

Anya Bast 

Dana Marie Bell

Jaci Burton

Coreen Callahan

Marly Chance 

Ashlyn Chase

Kendra Leigh Castle

Kresley Cole

Alyssa Day 

Sylvia Day

Delilah Devlin

P.J. Schnyder aka Piper J. Drake: 

Dianne Duvall 

Cynthia Eden

Donna Grant

Kym Grosso

Thea Harrison 

Michele Hauf 

Yvette Hines 

Emma Holly

Larissa Ione 

Alexandra Ivy

Allyson James aka Jennifer Ashley

Lisa Renee Jones

Dara Joy

Stacia Kane

Heather Killough-Walden 

Sherri L. King

Laurie London

Nana Malone 

Judy Mays

Cheyenne McCray

Patrice Michelle

Elisabeth Naughton 

Sharon Page

Kristen Painter

Pamela Palmer 

Kate Pearce

Caridad Piniero 

Lynsay Sands

Eve Silver

Nalini Singh 

Kathryn Smith

Sydney Somers

Terry Spear

Juliana Stone 

Jory Strong

Jordan Summers 

J.D. Tyler 

Paige Tyler 

Stephanie Tyler

Shiloh Walker 

N.J. Walters

Christine Warren 

Mary Wine 

Laura Wright

Rebecca Zanetti 




Below are more authors whose PNR's I enjoy and I think you should try :D


A.C. Arthur

Jade Buchanan

Jodi Lynn Copeland

Taige Crenshaw

Kate Douglas 

Ava Gray

Nathalie Gray

McKenna Jeffries 

Marteeka Karland

Angela Knight

Titania Ladley 

Marilyn Lee

Lora Leigh 

Tressie Lockwood

Kathy Love

Reana Malori

Mynx Malone

Alexis Morgan

Tuesday Morrigan 

Cait Miller 

Theresa Meyers

Michelle M Pillow 

Mandy Roth 

Milly Taiden 

Tawny Taylor 

Theodora Taylor

Twyla Turner 



These are new to me PNR's Authors whos' books are in my TBR, eagerly awaiting me to dig into. They gave great blurb, LOL. 


Kate Baxter

Alana Delacroix

Vivien Jackson 

Juliet Lyons 

Maria Vale



Final Thoughts

No matter what books you enjoy, there is a PNR that is just right for you. What are some of your favorite paranormal books/authors and why? Please share your favorites with us on Twitter using the #RomBkLove.


Meka, a voracious Romance Reader and Reviewer, can be found on Twitter discussing her love of the Romance genre and life in general at @mektastic or you can find her Romance Reviews at The Bookpushers:


Joy is the co-owner of Joyfully Reviewed, a Romance Review site that will be celebrating  their 13th year come this August. Joy attends many Romance conventions and Book-signings in addition to sharing videos and pics of her cat, Bleu. She can be found at the following social media sites. 




Twitter: @JoyfullyReviewd





Day 17 #RomBkLove: Seasoned Romance (Romances with MCs older than 35)

Day 17: Seasoned (+35) Romance

On romance shelves there is no shortage of young misses and young bucks dancing and flirting, what is rare to see is older couples finding love. Whether it is Penny Watson, Kristen Ashley or Victoria Dahl, I tend to drop everything for authors whose books feature older MCs. In part it is because the older I get the less I can relate to romantic protagonists in their twenties or early thirties who have more in common with my children than with myself. It is such a fantastic thing to find older MCs in romance, people who have lived a little, maybe have a bit of baggage and have been banged around by life a bit, protagonists whose struggles are paying the mortgage, dealing with their teen children and/or ageing parents and whose bodies might be a little softer and rounder, because it is to feel seen.  Seasoned romance extends the hopeful promise of companionship and passion to all, not just the young.

What are you favorite romances featuring older MC's? Who are your favorite older MCs?  Do you love age-gap romances?

The RomBkLove team loves older MCs, and I grateful for Ellie, Corey and Mary Lynne for putting together the list below. We hope you find new books and authors to try:

Both main characters are older

A Seditious AffairA Seditious Affair by KJ Charles is the second book in her historical m/m series Society of Gentlemen, which should be read in order. It’s an amazing, very emotionally intense BDSM romance between a seditious publisher and a man of the law. It’s fraught with tension and full of twists and turns till the very end, which brings the main characters a hard-won, at times seemingly impossible HEA.[m/m, historical] (Rep: Gay MC, Bi MC) (Ellie)


A beared man in white shirt and black suspendersAutumn by Cole McCade is a contemporary m/m romance, part of the Crow City series, but it can be read as standalone. It features two older main characters, one of whom is disabled and just discovered he is bi, the other a gentle, bit eccentric man who has been in love with his ex brother-in-law forever. [m/m, contemporary, AOC] (Rep: Bi MC, Gay MC, Queer Author) (Ellie)


51nofbL0m-L._SY346_Dear Mona Lisa... by Al Steward and Claire Davis ia a contemporary m/m romance with two older MCs. One of them has synesthesia (which the first time I read something like this). It's a very moving and emotional story told in a unique voice [m/m, contemporary]. (Ellie)


51fsL3I2kBL._SX322_BO1 204 203 200_Noelle Adams has written several books featuring older protagonists. In Christmas at Eden Manor, she has a May/December leading couple. That he’s significantly older than her is tackled head-on, and Adams matter-of-factly presents the differences in their sex life from a younger couple. And in Late Fall, Ellie and Dave are in their 70s. Work rivals in their professional days, they reconnect (and not joyously) when they both move into an assisted living center. Late Fall touches on all the aches and pains and hopes and satisfactions of being elderly--and weaves into that a pretty magical love story. (m/f contemporary) (Mary Lynne)


51dPkwcqU3L._SX303_BO1 204 203 200_Mary Balogh is an author who’s comfortable writing older leading couples. In  A Counterfeit Betrothal, Marc and Olivia are married yet have been estranged for 15 years. At 40 and 36, it seems their separation will continue for a long time. That is, until their daughter decides to fake a betrothal with a dear friend to motivate them to contact one another. Balogh contrasts the impetuosity and vivacity of the young couple with the bitterness and poignancy of an older couple moving from hate back to love. And in Only Beloved, George, the Duke of Stanbrook, is a widower nearing 50 who finds a second chance at love with Dora, the sister of one of his friend’s wives who is herself almost 40. Balogh loves topics like lost chances, overcoming missed opportunities, and finding love at any age.  (m/f historical) (Mary Lynne)


6a00e54ee394bf883301bb09eaf0c7970d-120wiTalia walks into her new job as assistant to police community liaison to discover that her new boss is Eve the one woman who had ever made spark with awareness. Talia is starting over after her husband’s sudden death and the last thing she expects is the undeniable and inconvenient attraction she feels for Eve. Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin is the rare office romance that worked for me on every level. Griffin’s two heroines have seen a lot in their 50+ years, and their romance is emotional, bittersweet and tinged with the knowledge of loss and grief. I loved seeing Talia and Eve trying to navigate the trickiness of developing a personal relationship and giving it time to grow before coming out to work and friends. I loved the way Griffin portrayed these women as mother and sexual beings, they have complicated loving relationships with their grown or nearly grown children and are allowed to love and lust like all other adults.  [f/f, contemporary] (Rep: Jewish heroine and Black heroine, Bi MCs, Bi Jewish Author) (Ana) 511ISHXQmPL._SY346_


Fair, Bright and Terrible by Elizabeth Kingston is a second-chance at love romance paired with an arranged marriage of convenience and a revenge plot.  Eluned was young and lonely, married to an absent mad crusader lord when she first fell in love with Robert. Their affair’s abrupt end, changed the course of Robert’s life and it nearly cost Eluned hers. Decades have past and Eluned participation in a Welsh revolt and her vast land-holdings make a threat to the King that must be neutralized and she is given in marriage to Robert as a reward for his family’s loyal support of the English King. It is a novel about finding a way back to love and trust after years of pain and betrayal. [m/f, historical] (Ana)


51wJ9elddwL 51qv8vAKRqL._SY346_Age gap

For Real by Alexis Hall is a RITA-award-winning erotic BDSM m/m romance about a young inexperienced dominant and an older, slightly jaded submissive..[m/m, contemporary] (Rep: Gay MCs, Queer author)  (Ellie)

Magic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price is a contemporary m/m romance about two magicians at a reality show. One main character is over 60, the other is around 40. There are lots of magic tricks and reality-TV competition elements in the story that make for a fun reading. There is a bit of a supernatural element in it, but ultimately it’s all about love. [m/m, contemporary] (Rep: Gay MCs) (Ellie)

Pretty Face
by Lucy Parker is a fun romcom set at the London theatre scene. She is a TV series actress known for her roles of silly bombshells, he is an older, critically acclaimed stage director looking with scorn on TV productions. They are forced to work together and to everyone's surprise, including their own, they fall hard for each other. [m/f, contemporary] (Ellie)

Silver Belles is perfect for folks looking for shorter seasoned romances, as its an anthology of holiday 41HvfYwo9AL._SY346_novellas. I liked The Longest Night, but my favorite story in this collection is A Taste of Blessings by Suleikha Snyder, an age-gap m/f romance centered around Durga Puja. Complex nuanced compelling characterization and conflict, deeply drawn cultural context, great secondary characters, lovely humor, and sizzling heat and chemistry between the main characters; so much UST. [m/f, contemporary romance, AOC] (Rep: Bengali heroine. Older Bengali hero. Desi woman author.) (Corey)

A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde: I adore this age-gap billionaire romance between a younger trans man 5150+G+xF2L._SY346_artist college student and an older genderqueer tech geek billionaire for so many reasons, but especially for the way consent and sexual negotiation happen in this story, and how trans and non-binary centered it is. [m/genderqueer romance with a trans man lead, contemporary] (Rep: Bisexual genderqueer MC. Queer trans man MC. Non-binary trans author.) (Corey)

Team Phison by Chace Verity: I loved this fluffy age-gap m/m romance so much. Grumpy meets sweet, 41bAHFzyMPLboth of them super geeky and awkward and adorable and I was rooting for them so hard. This depicts a long-distance relationship where the main characters meet through a video game, and one thing leads to another, though it takes the older main character a while before he will consider the younger one a viable potential partner. He just can’t keep thinking about him though. [m/m, contemporary romance] (Rep: Bisexual MC. Gay MC. Pansexual author.) (Corey)

If you are a fan of Older MCs don't miss:

Kat's Bookthingo podcast interview with Sandra Antonelli and her list:


AAR List: Older Couples (needs updating, but still a great resource).

and if you are looking for community of readers who like reading older MCs:

Day 16 #Rombklove: Rockstars

Day 16: Rockstars

Day 15 #RomBkLove: Geeky/STEM

Day 15: Geeky/STEM

While cupcake-shop owners and Navy SEALs are ever-popular career paths for many a romance protagonists, there are an ever-growing number of characters pursing careers in STEM in both contemporary and historical novels.   For example, in Alyssa Cole's new contemporary series, Reluctant Royals,  the heroines of A Princess in Theory and Duke by Default are pursuing studies in STEM or STEM related-fields, and in Priscilla Oliveras's Her Perfect Affair the hero, Jeremy, is an IT-security professional Joanna Chambers and Cat Sebastian both have featured scientist heroes in their recent historical m/m novels (A Gathering Storm and The Lawrence Browne Affair). I personally love this trend, as I love inventor, scientist, and maker protagonists more than your more common CEOs or aristocrats.  

The world of STEM and Geeky/Fandom are often intertwined in our pop culture, and romances are no exception. The #RomBkLove team has put together a list of favorite romances where Geek/STEM themes intersect. 

What are your favorite novels that have great STEM and/or Geek representation?  Who are the authors that get fandom?

Reply to us on Twitter and let us know your faves and what they get about Fandom/Geek/STEM right.


D1xN6gnKljS._SL250_FMpng_Melissa Blue's #dirtysexygeeks  This series is devoted to gamers and fandom, and the glue that holds it all together is a group of men who have been friends since they were kids. At the center of the circle are are brothers Grady (To One Hundred) and Wade (Bluest of Blue). There is so much heart in this series, but it also tackles mental illness, examining how friends and lovers can support each other through times of struggle and pain. [m/f, Contemporary,  AOC] (Jen)

Cover of GL Tomas F*THS, Diagonal split cover with black curly haired heroine and a white hero with dark hair, wearing a baseball cap wearing Friends That Have Sex series by GL Thomas. The MCs of this story begin by trying to keep it casual with each other, but end up catching feelings. This is complicated by the secrets they keep from others and each other; one of the biggest ones being that she has cancer and doesn’t tell him. I fell so hard for the heroine in these books, and especially appreciated her geekiness; she is all about reading science fiction, and gets the hero into reading it as well. Both of the leads are bisexual, and I appreciated the incidental bi representation. The first book ends on a cliffhanger, the second brings the characters back together, and the third book is about later challenges in their relationship. [m/f, Contemporary, AOC, Rep: Afro-Cuban bisexual woman MC with cancer. Bisexual man MC. Genderfluid minor character. Queer Afro-Cubanx authors.] (Corey)  A blonde woman holds a giant heart, cover of dating-ish by Penny ReidDating-ish by Penny Reid is a romcom, part of her Knitting in the City series, but works well as standalone too. The hero, Matt, is a robotics engineer who is socially awkward but with some hidden sex appeal. Penny Reid’s romances stand out with her unique sense of humour and over-the-top plots. In this book the journalist heroine, Marie, explores professional cuddling and dry-humping services, orgasm meditation, and more. As usual, a poignant social commentary is hidden behind all the fun times. [m/f, Contemporary] (Ellie)

  A woman looking down to the ground with a giant wolf in profile in the backgroundThe Better to Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood: I really enjoyed this fun, funny, geeky, hot, butch/femme romance, told from the POV of the femme character, who works for a gaming company. I love that basically everyone we meet in the book is queer. The butch love interest is a werewolf, which is ironic because it has a suspense plot around a stalker complaining that werewolves are misrepresented in the werewolf game the MC works on. [f/f, Paranormal] (Chubby femme queer woman MC. Butch queer woman LI. Queer woman author.) (Corey)

Two game-controllers with hearts Cathy Yardley’s Fandom Hearts series is smart, funny, honest, portraying both the positives and negatives of fandom/STEM/Geek culture perfectly. I adored Level Up, in which Tessa Rodriguez is trying to work her way up to her dream job as game designer at a company that doesn’t value her skills as much as they should because she is a woman. Tessa’s HEA is as much about gaining the recognition and respect she deserves as from finding a supportive and loving partner who understands her passions. [m/f, Contemporary AOC, Rep: Latinx MC] (Ana)

Cover divided in comic strip like panels, first panel has airplane,a futurist landscape,  set of chess pieces, a pair panties and Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde. Friends-to-lovers romance between a trans man and his longtime online non-binary best friend. They meet up for the first time to go to a scifi convention and fall for each other. I have a soft spot for this book, which has lovely trans and non-binary representation. The hero has anxiety, and the depiction is really resonant for me as a reader; it shows him having and coping with a panic attack. [m/enby with a trans man lead, Contemporary, Rep: Sri Lankan-American bisexual non-binary MC. Bisexual trans man MC. Non-binary trans author.]  (Corey)

Dark haired woman in glasses looks downBeginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn is a debut contemporary romance with a STEM heroine: Kit is a scientist working in a university lab. I loved the complexity of the human relationships it presented, including the professional context of Kit’s job. She is super smart but at the same time prefers to stay in the background and not draw attention to herself. I absolutely loved how smitten Ben was with her and how proud he was of her professional accomplishments. It’s one of my favorite romances of 2017 and I can’t recommend it enough. [m/f, Contemporary](Ellie)

51ZgVzJazqL._SY346_Gaymers series by Annabeth Albert. This m/m series are comfort rereads for me;, as I prefer them on audiobook. They are geeky and angsty and give me all the feels, and they each have an MC who works at the same gaming company. My favorite is the third book, Connection Error, which has two MCs with very different disabilities. This geeky romance is so compelling to me, particularly because of the moments of access intimacy between the disabled characters and the way they navigate the changing nature of their disabilities with regard to their sex lives. Naked Twister for the win! [m/m, Contemporary] (Rep: Gay man MC with ADHD. Gay man amputee MC with a mobility disability.) (Corey)

A black and white cat with a ball of yarn, two girls kissingKnit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman: In this short and tender romance,  Indie Yarn dyer Clara first finds inspiration in Danielle’s vibrant Floridian artwork and then finds herself falling for her new friend and collaborator. Their mutual love of fanfiction and their shared fandom for Captain Werewolf is one their many connection points.  [f/f, Contemporary, Jewish MCs, Jewish bi author, fat rep] (Ana)

Shirtless man in gray hoodie, six-pack abs.Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Kinky, funny, geeky. One of the few BDSM romances I’ve read with switch MCs, this begins as the characters bond at a con. The hero Daniel is bisexual and an amputee; I liked the incidental representation for both. Weatherspoon has a knack for writing heroines I want to be friends with, and Keira is just wonderful. I especially enjoyed watching her come into her own as a novice dominant. [m/f, Contemporary, AOC, Rep: Korean American amputee bisexual man MC. Black woman MC. Black queer woman author.] (Corey)

A 60's dressed woman in silhouette HISTORICALS:

Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner: Earth Bound is the third book in their Space-Race era set romance series, Fly Me to the Moon. The previous protagonists have been astronauts and this book is a departure from the focus on the fly-boys to the engineers and computer scientists whose calculations are essential but much less lauded contributions to space program. Eugene and Charlie are grumpy and prickly, and their relationship is deliciously combustible. It was full of longing and explosive sexiness. [m/f, historical] (Ana)

51OPuIMEF9L.SX316.SY316My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth is a Regency historical where the titular Caroline is a botanist, and quite a good one. Then her father arranges a marriage for her, and neither she nor her new husband Brent trust one another to start. How they manage to merge their mutual needs into a compatible marriage is the heart of this book. But it’s certain scenes that stand out for me: Caroline’s shock (and initial complete lack of belief) when Brent is willing to use her savant math skills to help with the estate; Brent’s defense of Caroline and her abilities to her family (who have never encouraged her interests). It’s a great older (1998) example of a historical STEM heroine. [m/f, Historical] (Mary Lynne)

51iVUSWClBL._SY346_Folks, all I need to tell you about Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the Knot is this: the Regency-era heroine is studying the mating habits of lobsters. If that doesn’t get you to read this enchanting geek-heroine historical romance, I don’t know what will. [m/f, Historical] (Mary Lynne)

517A1jbUORLThe glory of The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan is how it deals with appearances and reality. This is another Regency historical with a STEM heroine, but Violet has completely hidden her talent, using her oldest friend Sebastian as her “front” to the world. He pretends to be the scientific expert; she does all the work and gets to share it publicly through Sebastian (because a mere woman cannot speak about scientific discoveries). The Countess Conspiracy shows Violet and Sebastian’s achievements and struggles, and how love builds their confidence to share their truths with one another and the world. [m/f, Historical, AOC] (Mary Lynne)


Still want more? Dig into Lacy Literacy's List of 100 STEM heroines.



Day 13 #RomBkLove: Close Door

Day 13

Wendy, The Super Librarian tackles Closed Door romances with a fantastic intro post about what she enjoys about Closed Door romances and it has sparked a lot of great conversations on what we look for in romances: Tension, Yearning, Conflict, at whatever heat level and how important it is that the heat level serve the story.





Day 12 #RomBkLove: Shorts & Novellas


Corey Alexander  is back with another post packed with wonderful recommendations!

For #RomBkLove, it’s abt romance shorts & novellas!

What do you like abt reading shorter romance stories?

What are your fave short stories & novellas?

What makes a shorter romance work?

Who's brilliant at writing shorter romances? 


Day 11 #Rombklove: Old School/Vintage Romance

Day 11: Old School #Rombklove

Maybe your first romance was a tattered Fabio-covered historical, a yellowed Silhouette or your mom's Harlequins.  Share your favorite Old School/Vintage Romances.

Elisabeth Lane is hosting today's prompt at her blog: Cooking Up Romance . Check out her post for pictures of some of favorite vintage romance finds and an inclusive rec post including some early LGBTQ and Black romance.

Day 10 #RomBkLove: Royalty

Day 10: Royalty #Rombklove

I am constantly in awe of Sil's ability to rec dozens and dozens of books for a particular trope at the drop of the hat and her rec threads are not only fun to read but diverse and inclusive and I can keep myself from one-clicking her recommendations into my collection. I am ridiculously excited to have her share with us her favorite Royalty romances.

And this is so true:

I also wanted to write this post because many, many sites are doing lists, especially this month, about the #RoyalWedding and they just like to erase the fact that Meghan Markle is black and keep recommending books with white couples. 

So check out her awesome list. There are some I've already read and love and so many more I want to try

Day 9 #RomBkLove: Insta-Love

Day 9: Insta-Love

Frannie Cassano, RWA's 2018 Librarian of the year is here today. She absolutely loves Insta-Love romances and has a fantastic set of recommendations for you.

#RomBkLove: But What If Insta-Love IS Your Catnip?
by Frannie Strober Cassano

Hi Everyone! I am so happy that Ana invited me to #RomBkLove. Today I’m talking about my most favorite, cat nippy tropes: Insta-Love.

There is something about the gaze from across the room. A spark, a pull-toward, or a click. That instant feeling they were meant to be yours which defies all logic, reason, and reality. But that’s the thing. It’s chemistry. It’s a gut deal. It touches you and you are happily never the same.

Sure the attraction is instant. But there is something a bit decadent in the gaze, not in the sense of being objectified but by first by being desired and then wholly accepted by a mate that one hopes is destined to be fated.

I believe elements of Insta-Love are the bedrock to of all Romances and Erotica. That is how we, as readers, believe the unbelievable. These elements are what progresses the story along…and what also stops the story cold. Whether characters have no prior history with one another, are over the top (OTT), obsessive, growly, or are wolves or bears.

I always like to toss in some recs that patron/readers can get lost in someone’s eyes and let go for the entire length of the novel.

When we think Insta-Love, some authors who come to mind might be E.L. James, Sylvia Day, Alexa Riley, J.R. Ward, Renee Rose, Ruby Dixon, Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh, Kristen Ashley, Aurora Rose Reynolds, and more recently, Madame de Boudoir.

Today, I’m going to explore Insta-Loves from Katy Regnery, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Robin Lovett, Emma Chase, and Brenda Jackson:

Cover of Katy Regnery's The Vixen and the Vet, bare chest and torso at side angle, of a man wearing dog tags.The Vixen and the Vet by Katy Regnery

Perhaps the most literal of my Insta-Love picks, Katy Regenry’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast hits every right mark. Savannah and Asher are both deeply broken in their own ways. She is a disgraced journalist (through no fault of her own) and he is a war hero, disfigured by a bomb. Savannah returns home and is also helping to plan her sister’s wedding when she receives an offer to write a human interest piece for another paper. Asher lives life as a recluse on his rolling estate, with only the kindly Mrs. Potts (!) to help care for him.

Savannah hopes to interview Asher as her piece. And though hidden, as soon as her eyes lock into his from afar, that moment is what sets this story on its path. Not only that, as soon as they touch, they cannot stop holding one another in some manner. Becoming friends is one thing, but Regnery crafts a deeply moving, Insta-Love tale, where Savannah and Asher fall hard and fast before they know what they are getting themselves into. Though tormented and affected, Asher wants to push himself with Savannah as his inspiration. And Savannah wrestles with what her article brings with it and what her feelings for Asher bring with that. There are a lot of painful passages, but Regnery is never heavy-handed. She treats Asher with the utmost care and does not deliver a cure-all for the varying degrees of wounds examined here. While the Insta-Love is literal, the reality is also very real. Savannah and Asher need one another to soothe their traumas and their instant connection is one to root all the way for.

Man in a black suit carries a blonde white woman in a black dress and stilletos, Cover of the Protector by Jodi Ellen MalpasThe Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Ex-military man, Jake Sharp barely lives life fueled by meaningless sex, drinking and his assignments to numb the effects of his PTSD. Socialite Camille Logan is wrestling with independence from her father and the pain of her recent past with an ex. When her life gets threatened, Camille’s father hires Jake to be her 24/7 bodyguard. Neither are particularly jazzed by the idea, until the moment they meet. Each time Camille tries to evade Jake, he’s two step ahead. Then, pretty soon it’s clear to both that the instant attraction they felt is much, much more.

Camille is not at all as fame presents her as. Her warm demeanor reaches places Jake forgot existed. When he refers to Camille as “his fate” and that protecting her is now “instinct” it is believable and the tough road they face will have readers on bated breath. With super-hot scenes, serious suspense, and an ideal, emotionally wounded Alpha hero, Malpas totally delivers.

A man wearing a hooding looking straight at the camera, Cover of Stranger by Robin LovettStranger by Robin Lovett

There is something about stalkers in Romance. The piercing glances from afar, the combination hints of danger and possibility. But stalkers and Dark Romances can be tricky for some readers.

Stranger is billed as “not supposed to be a love story” and one of revenge. But there are strong elements of Insta-Love, especially from the POV of the heroine, Penny Vandershall. Lovett shows us Penny’s side of the story first and foremost, almost at all times. And while one might argue that Penny appears as a doormat or desperate, that really isn’t the case.

Lovett’s compelling heroine owns her desire. I have often said that Penny knows who she is and what she wants at all times. She explores her own darkness and that sense of her agency pays off. She stares back and likes it. She explores those desires back and likes it. Logic be damned.

The hero, Logan, undertakes a dark road of would-be revenge by sucking Penny in by his gaze. He wants her to want him so that he can exact his plot and usurp her safe world. Logan seems obsessive and very intense, but as the story progresses, his plans get thwarted because of his feelings for Penny…in spite of himself.

Often, these “stalkers” aren’t what we think of as actually menacing. It is a Romance after all. And Lovett cares about who she is writing for. Her characters are as self-aware as they are fixated, and they embark on individual journeys to embrace the truth of their desires.

Cover of Royally Matched by Emma Chase, White man with built body lounges on carved chair without a shirt.Royally Matched by Emma Chase

While you might argue that this snicker-induced Royal romp might not qualify as a typical Insta-Love, there are a zillion reasons why it also does. Prince Henry is beyond a player/cad/rake and Sarah is a classic Brit-Literature loving librarian with a paralyzing disorder brought on by sudden loud noises. He’s the suitor on a Chris Harrison-like TV show called ‘Matched: Royal Edition’. She’s there to accompany her sister, a contestant, as her assistant. It takes a long time for the hero and heroine to meet and it’s quite by accident during a shot set up.

However, once Henry and Sarah do meet, they cannot stop thinking of one another. There is a lot of “snapping” into one another’s eyes and “pinning” one another’s gaze. It doesn’t matter how much of a horny/sexually-charged, inappropriately-thought filled hottie the prince is. We are led to believe he’s basically in insta-lust with any woman he sees. But staying with it, it makes sense. He’s bored and scared and Sarah challenges what he thinks he desires. We believe that he is totally captivated by her.

The bawdiness of Chase’s novel is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Sarah is so adorable; she is for sure what I call “Book Bestie” material (as well as one of this librarian’s new-to them favorite librarian characters). It is super fun to see her stand her ground while also uncomfortable by Henry’s demeanor. Even though she is always looking forward, it’s clear she has some demons to slay. And Henry is totally believable seeking Sarah out as a sort of refuge while also teasing her as he falls for her in return.

The symbolism and the changes they endure for one another is a super fun road to travel. From forced celibacy for show purposes to Sarah allowing Henry to share her room at night away from the cameras. What starts off as jolly good fun, ends up touchingly sweet.

A red curtained window, with a man and woman embracing in the background. A red settee, a yellow dress and a cowboy hat in the fore-ground.Hot Westmoreland Nights by Brenda Jackson

I am SO hitting an amazing backlist for this category favorite. The novel opens with Chloe noticing the most attractive man she has ever seen from outside her window. She really checks him out, from Stetson to “powerful legs” to lips. And while we might buy that she points him out to her friend/the Denver manager of her magazine, the reader catches on pretty quickly that she is by far smitten. Over the phone, Ramsey is not at all interested, so Chloe pays him a visit in hopes of changing his mind. Mistaken for a replacement cook at his ranch, Chloe uses the opportunity to “fill in”, so that she might finally persuade and land Ramsey for her magazine later. Because she does happen to have experience cooking large scale while spending summers working at a homeless shelter…the fact that she learned from a Mama Francine is pure coincidence ;)

And here is where trouble of the best kind ensues…as well as super-hot sexytimes! Jackson offers another example of Insta-Love where we get the heroine, Chloe’s POV first. However, when we get to Ramsey’s POV, whoa! When he first sees her, he feels not only lust, but he literally feels her in his gut. From those moments forward, the heat between the two sizzle off the page. Jackson does chemistry right in her Westmoreland stories, but there is something about Ramsey and Chloe that stays with the reader. We believe the instant attraction and the daydreaming that follows. Ramsey is not the typical ladies’ man like others in his family (as they start off, anyway). There is something about Chloe that gets in deep with him.

And sure, we’ve got misunderstanding, conflict, how-do-we-overcome-betrayal, pain of the past, do I trust him/her/myself?…but this is Brenda Jackson. Hot Westmoreland Nights is one of my go-to recs for a quick, get lost in the story read, “stay up until 3am to finish”, and/or “getting out of your reading slump”. On a personal note, Jackson’s stories have been books my patrons and I have turned to for years before I even started working on the Romance Collection. She gets Insta-Love right on so many levels that you aren’t even aware of what’s happening until you’ve already fallen for the characters…and that is really what Insta-Love hopes to accomplish. Bam! Hooked.

I can keep you here all day talking Insta-Love. From gazes from across the room to that *click* to a safe place where logic/reason/reality can melt away. Whatever stories appeal to you, #RomBkLove has got you covered. Get lost in them. And if you want to discuss even more Insta-Love, come find me any time.

2018 RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year recipient Frannie Strober Cassano first stumbled into the romance section of her local drugstore as a teen, then found herself back there during the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. You can find her discussing Happily Ever Afters for All over at her Reference Desk or over on Twitter at @FranniesRomance.