Do you know what you’re signing up for?

Haley Kral and Anne Marble share their experiences of signing up for online newsletters and free books and stories.  While in some cases, FREE really IS free, in many others, there’s a hidden cost that might not immediately be apparent.

Romance is a big market and authors have to keep working at keeping their name and new releases, fresh in reader’s minds. There are different approaches to this but the most obvious seems to be sending out a newsletter to fans. In fact, what’s old is new again, and author newsletters seem to be the hot new promotional tool; in fact, some authors are lavishing more attention on their newsletters than on blogging and social media. Nothing gives a writer a guaranteed audience like a popular newsletter! However, some authors are trying new ways of reaching readers, such as online promotion sites – and as is the case with the trusty newsletter, there are authors using them well, and others who aren’t.

We have our opinions on these promotions, and we’d love […]

By | 2018-01-18T09:32:10+00:00 January 18th, 2018|Categories: Anne Marble, Authors, Haley AAR, Marketing|Tags: |9 Comments

TBR Challenge, January 2018: We Love Shorts!

It’s 2018, and we’re back with another round of TBR Challenge. Lynn and Caz have enjoyed several years of this, and this month, we’re easing back in with a little something short. The theme allows for category novels, novellas, short stories…you get the picture. This time around, we both opted for category novels with Lynn choosing a paranormal from Loveswept, and Caz a classic Mills&Boon/Harlequin.

Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank

Thirst came out in 2017, and it’s the first book in Jacquelyn Frank’s Energy Vampires series. One of my best friends offline is a huge fan of the author, so I thought I’d give her books a try. If you like vampire stories, this one feature more originality than the average in the worldbuilding. I’m not sure it’s quite as hot as the cover suggests, but the romance was definitely cooking.

Near the beginning of the book, New York detective Renee Holden is […]

By | 2018-01-17T11:32:43+00:00 January 17th, 2018|Categories: Romance reading|7 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Heather’s List

This has been a tough reading year for me, as it has been for many of you. I wanted to escape the news cycle, but I was unable to focus my attention on my favorite stories. The one book I read from cover to cover that perfectly matched my state of mind was Dancing in the Rain by Kelly Jamieson. It’s poignant from beginning to end as it documents the loss and reassembly of family.

When has-been hockey star Drew learns that he is a father to a little girl, the product of a one-night stand in college, his emotions are all over the map. Complicating his feelings further is the fact that her mom Sarah is dying of cancer and wants him to meet her. When they eventually meet, it’s not love at first sight. But there’s something there, and Drew wants to get to know his new pre-teen daughter. […]

By | 2018-01-15T19:21:26+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Categories: Best of List, Heather AAR, Romance reading|Tags: |14 Comments

Decades: History has never been so romantic!

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance

by Wayne Jordan

Years ago, Harlequin in its American Romance line published a 12-book series, A Century of American Romance. Each story was set in the 20th century and told a love story with a background that focused on events within each decade. In these stories there were no black heroes or heroines.

In response to Harlequin’s oversight, I wanted to publish a similar project, a love story in each decade that also looked at the black experience. I pitched my idea to a few publishers but none of them was interested.

During the 2016 Romance Slam Jam conference, I approached a few authors whose work I admired and asked them if they would be interested in participating in this historical romance series. Each author immediately said yes, and Decades: A Century of African American Romance was born. The series launched in January 2018.

By | 2018-01-15T07:55:51+00:00 January 15th, 2018|Categories: Romance reading|13 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Alexandra’s List

2017 was an unusual reading year for me. Outside of the plethora of romance novels that have fallen into my hands, most of my ‘new books’ have been classics that I’m finally taking out of the TBR pile. While Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein were highlights of my reading year, they don’t exactly qualify as ‘Best of 2017’. In terms of newly published books, everything I could think of was a romance. Among those, I’ve realized my choices invariably involve either a favorite trope, or characters dealing with more serious, thought-provoking issues. I guess that’s what it takes for a book to still be on my mind months later.

The Sea King by C.L. Wilson

I think I could write my own novel just explaining things I liked about this book. It’s the second book in Ms. Wilson’s Weathermages of Mystral series, […]

By | 2018-01-13T22:06:50+00:00 January 14th, 2018|Categories: Alexandra AAR, Best of List, Romance reading|Tags: |4 Comments

Elizabeth Bright ponders the possible sexism of the HEA… and has a giveaway.

I was a thousand feet above the ground with blood seeping from a scrape along my elbow when I finally told my close friend the secret I had been carrying for months now: I had written a book, and in six months I would be a published author.

“Romance?” she said. “That doesn’t sound like you.”

It’s no surprise she said that; we’ve all met a judgmental feminist who hasn’t bothered to read what she derides. But the truth is, my knee-jerk reaction is to agree with her. It’s hard to face that the calls are coming from inside the house; it’s even worse to realize you’re the caller. It’s probably a drunk dial. Internalized misogyny is a hell of a drug, and it took becoming a romance author to for me to realize I’m just as high as everyone else.

There is something inherently feminist about books written by (mostly) women, for (mostly) women, […]

By | 2018-01-11T20:40:17+00:00 January 12th, 2018|Categories: Romance reading|23 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Lynn’s List

2017 wasn’t my greatest reading year of all time, but it was far from being my worst. I read some really good books this year, but a lot of my best reading came from the depths of my TBR pile. Even so, I did find some current year winners that I love to share with other readers. So, without further ado, here are the top five books I’ve read that were published this year.



Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

For pure charm, this book was a winner for me in 2017. It’s been a rough and wild year, and this book was whimsical and happy enough to just make me smile at a time I truly needed it. The characters are likable, and all the moving parts in this book just came together for me. Celebrity culture doesn’t generally do […]

By | 2018-01-10T09:50:54+00:00 January 10th, 2018|Categories: Best of List, Lynn Spencer, Romance reading|Tags: |6 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Haley’s List

I think last year I started my Best of 2016 list by saying I felt that I hadn’t read as much that year and so I had fewer great books to choose. Well, if I thought 2016 was a tough reading year, I did not have a clue what 2017 would be like. The amount of time I’ve spent each day keeping up with the news cycle is seriously eating away at my casual reading time. I also read more children’s books and graphic novels (for my job), as well as some excellent older titles. That said, I do have a handful of books I loved in 2017 to share (in no particular order).

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

This one snuck in just under the wire. Meaning, I only finished it less than two weeks before the end of […]

By | 2018-01-08T12:14:29+00:00 January 8th, 2018|Categories: Best of List, Haley AAR, Romance reading|Tags: |5 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Anne’s List

This year, my rest reads were psychological suspense and thrillers. Yikes! No wonder I jump every time I see a shadow.

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Our own Kristen Donnelly said “I have been harping on about this book for months, so if you’ve not been subject to my evangelical zeal about its brilliance, allow me to quickly summarize.” I think she had me at “evangelical zeal.” Why did a mild-mannered children’s author beat his wife into a coma? I refused to wait for the library to get a copy, and I snagged the Kindle edition. It was worth it! While this is more of a mystery crossed with a character study, I found it far more riveting than many psychological thrillers. Contrasting points of view shine an unrelenting light on the truth about Oliver Ryan. The revelations are stunning, but not out of left field, and of course, the secrets […]

By | 2018-01-06T21:50:29+00:00 January 7th, 2018|Categories: Anne Marble, Best of List|Tags: |3 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Maria Rose’s List

Narrowing down the choices for my top ten best reads of any given year is no mean feat. Though I read less books overall than in my previous 3 years (topping out at about 300), seven new to me authors made my list! I wish I had branched out into more romance genres as that was one of my reading resolutions that I failed at spectacularly (sorry steampunk, young adult and urban fantasy). On the other hand, I made sure to include more own voices/diverse authors which I definitely count as a win as some of them made the final cut. These are my favorites.

My Roommate’s Girl by Julianna Keyes

The only new adult romance on my list, Julianna Keyes managed to redeem a seemingly nonredeemable hero in this romance about a young man who covets his roommate’s girlfriend and […]

By | 2018-01-04T22:22:24+00:00 January 5th, 2018|Categories: Best of List, Maria Rose, Romance reading|Tags: |14 Comments