Since #FallInLoveBingo is officially underway, I thought I would try and tackle providing some recommendations for anyone who may be struggling to think of a book to read for a particular prompt. I’ll leave you on your own for some of the super easy ones and the ones that are idiosyncratic, but if you’re in the mood for something in particular or don’t know where to begin in a subgenre you don’t frequently read from, you’re welcome to comment or at me on twitter! But for now, let’s talk about some recommendations for the other prompts!
Prompt: Meddling Characters
These five books are all ones I read this year (not all for the first time) that would fit this prompt and also I love all of them. In Ever After Always, the Bergman men are a bit over the top in their attempts to help fix things in their sister’s marriage, but it was precious so I forgave a lot. In White Hot and, really, the entirety of the Hidden Legacy series, Grandma Frieda and the rest of the Baylor family are really good at meddling and trying to make Nevada see that Rogan is her future husband. I love this series so much and despite having just finished my re-read, am already considering starting again. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert, the family dynamic between Dani, Chloe, and Eve is on full display and I loved it. Family meddling can be so fun. Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle includes meddling from beyond the grave, when Maybell’s aunt passes away and leaves her estate to both Maybell and grumpy Wesley. It’s fantastic! (Note: This book would also work for HGTV Vibes.) And finally, the actual reigning meddling champions, Love Scammed by Rilzy Adams features Tempest and her hubby setting up Monae and Hudson on a blind date to a resort in Turks and Caicos. Now, Monae is obviously NOT pleased because she thought she was getting a girl’s trip, but uh, Hudson is hot af so you know, her opinion does change eventually. By the end of this, I was ready to text all my best friends like WHERE IS MY HUDSON? but I don’t think they know a man like him who is also single. Tragically.
Okay, so I sort of lost self-restraint when it came to this prompt and recommending books, so I am sorry? But there are so many good ones! Nickel’s Story by Cate C. Wells and Stripped by Zoey Castile both feature strippers, which 100% count as dancers, for the record! Collision Course by Christina C. Jones is about a professional dancer who has returned to Blackwood from Vegas, where she used to strip, if I’m remembering correctly. It’s a novella that I wish was longer, but CCJ is always a great read. Displacement by Alexandra Warren follows a woman who teaches pole dancing, whereas the teachers in His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras and Considering Kate by Nora Roberts teach dance to children. Undone by the Ex Con by Talia Hibbert features a retired dancer who is struggling with diabetes and her identity after losing dance. Dance with Me by Alexis Daria is my favorite in the series based on Dancing with the Stars, but a lot of people love Take the Lead more. Oh and Heart of Obsidian just features a woman who dances for herself, but it feels really important to who she is and just in case you haven’t read the books, I will spoil nothing else. Anyway, it turns out I really like books with dancers even though I sort of forgot I had read and loved this many of them.
Prompt: Sweater Weather
I did my research so you don’t necessarily have to if you want a book that you can guarantee mentions sweaters and picked five books that I really love for you to choose from if that’s where you’re at. But Dani makes excellent points in her TBR post where she discusses how you can interpret this prompt fairly broadly if you so choose as well! But here’s my quick list of five books I really enjoyed and can promise you have mentions of sweaters. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai is one of my top five romance novels ever, an angsty second chance set in upstate New York, and generally fantastic. Just a Heartbeat Away by Cara Bastone is the first in Bastone’s series that made me fall head over heels for her writing. If you can handle a book that deals some with grief, I highly recommend. Make Me Fall by Sara Rider is a really delightful romance where it’s discussed how hard it is making friends in adulthood and Eli really seems to love Nora for a lot of the things society generally shuns women for. So I definitely recommend. The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan is the first in her sports romance series and I fell madly in love with this book. Featuring football player Drew and driven Anna, the two decide to hook up with a few rules to make sure they don’t fall in love. But sometimes feelings just happen, you know? (Now I want to use this book for my reread option!) And finally, Trade Me by Courtney Milan is an absolutely brilliant book that I adore, featuring Tina Chen (light of my life) and my precious Blake Reynolds. They don’t really like one another, but trade places so Blake can get some rest and Tina can live a life of luxury for a bit. This book is fantastic and I highly recommend.
Prompt: Latinx Main Character
There are not as many adult romances by Latinx authors as I would like, but I do have five books to recommend for you here that I haven’t squeezed into other prompts elsewhere in this recommendation post. Our main goal here is just to make sure that everyone is celebrating Latinx Heritage Month (at some point between September and November, admittedly) by reading at least one book by a Latinx author. I really enjoyed all five of the following books and I hope if you pick one of them, you enjoy it too! First up, You Had Me at Hola (Puerto Rican/Filipino female lead, and Puerto Rican male lead) by Alexis Daria, which has a fantastic meet disaster to start off and features two co-stars falling in love behind the scenes… Slowly. They have a rocky start at first. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (Cuban representation) was such a fantastic YA contemporary and I think about it often. It’s got a big grief component later in the book and it about broke me, but the romance is so adorable! Also, have I ever not loved a book with overly involved grandparents and townsfolk? Honestly, not that I can recall. As an aside, Moreno’s next book releases on October 12th and I’m excited about it. It’s called Our Way Back to Always and it’s also set in Port Coral and follows estranged childhood best friends following a bucket list. I mean, this book has Jenica catnip written all over it. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (Brazilian American female lead) is a fun romantic comedy between Carolina and Max who know each other because once upon a time Lina was supposed to marry Max’s older brother. If you’re looking for one of those elusive rom coms that is actually funny in book form, I think The Worst Best Man is an excellent choice. Scandal in the VIP Suite by Nadine Gonzalez is a category romance that I have an ARC Review of, if you want more information than this short bit. Basically, Scandal in the VIP Suite involves a writer and a director/actor booking the same room at this fancy hotel and then deciding to share. They have a wee bit of a fall in love experience and it’s pretty steamy. Serving Sin by Angelina M. Lopez was such a delightful read, although you really need to have read the first two books in the series before picking it up I’m afraid. As I mentioned in my ARC review, the character development in this book is just top notch. I loved it and highly recommend. It features a Mexican woman lead and a white American man lead.
Written in the Stars and Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur were the obvious picks for this one! The first is a female/female or women love women relationship, but Hang the Moon features a bisexual main female character and therefore still counts as sapphic. I mention that only because I want to emphasize that queer people in relationships that could LOOK hetero to the outside world do not actually stop being queer just because of that. For other options with astrology used in this way, we have Can’t Help Falling by Cara Bastone, in which Fin and Tyler have a long conversation about astrological signs and Fin correctly guesses Tyler’s sign. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston also has discussions of star signs and it’s sapphic (in the ff relationship way)!
But, we should also talk about the fact that there are different ways to interpret this prompt. For example, I was doing a decent job of posting astrological themed posts for both sun signs and Venus signs and you are welcome to choose any of those that apply to you or that you just want to read about. I have posts for Virgo (Venus), Libra (sun | Venus), Scorpio (sun | Venus), Sagittarius (sun | Venus), Capricorn (sun | Venus), and Aquarius (sun | Venus). Kayla of Books and Lala did an entire Aries themed vlog where she found a lot of posts about books for Aries as well. And, of course, you could choose a book that you think represents your sign! Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy it!
There are so many brilliant Black Love books that I feel sort of ridiculous telling you about such a small fraction of incredible books. So at the end of this paragraph, I’m going to direct you to several people who are really good about shouting out the Black Love books they love! If you’re looking for a reading experience that feels like you’re reading a soap opera, I highly recommend the Jackson Falls series by Synithia Williams. Book one, Forbidden Promises, features a sister pursuing her former brother in law, while her brother is campaigning for Congress. I think y’all are probably sick of me talking about Adjacent by Alexandra Warren, but this novella was SO GOOD. It’s antagonists to lovers where they live in neighboring apartments and it is delicious. Then, let’s talk about the delicious perfection of Go Deep by Rilzy Adams, a perfect erotic friends to lovers romance that is just pure excellence. (I would also really recommend Birthday Shot and Surrender by Rilzy Adams and probably everything else she’s written, but I haven’t caught up on her backlist.) Also, Truth or Dare by Danielle Allen was a pretty delightful friends to lovers with some seriously spicy scenes that were excellent. Would definitely recommend. Finally, I adore the Love Sisters novella series by Christina C. Jones. And most all of her books that I’ve read set in Blackwood, tbh. She does an absolutely incredible job of creating a community and I love it. I have so many more CCJ books to read because she’s also so incredibly prolific! Okay, I know I said finally, but I also have to mention my favorite Reese Ryan real quick because I can’t resist. A Reunion of Rivals is an incredible second chance romance to match the absolutely spectacular cover and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Now for some accounts you should probably be following: Lynell, @shadesnpages, Sharonda, Mina, and Ashley. Also, like a whole host of others, but I can’t remember any other usernames.
First of all, my current favorite book with a witch in it is probably Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews because it was *chef’s kiss* amazing. Elara is my Queen and I need the second book in this spin off desperately. I think I’m a little too addicted to Ilona Andrews… Then there is the incredible Dani Brown from Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert, which is basically a perfect book. It’s got fake dating and silly fools who think they can have sex without catching feelings, bless them. And then we have Alexis Daria’s brilliant Audible Original, What the Hex, which also includes a mystery that our love interests have to solve in time. Also there is my favorite of the Immortals After Dark series, Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole, which features Carrow (witch) who gets thrown into this weird place and encounters Malkom, a hybrid between a vampire and a demon. Or something. I should maybe re-read it because I don’t remember the specifics at all. Oops. And finally, I also need to take a moment to recommend Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, which is an absolutely brilliant book about a brujo whose family refuses to believe that he can access the brujo magic because he’s trans AND THEN there’s a ghost. It’s precious.
In Bountiful by Sarina Bowen, pumpkin muffins are eaten, which totally counts, and there’s a mention of pumpkins in Bittersweet as well. I would say most of Sarina Bowen’s True North series could probably provide pumpkins for you, tbh. In Well Played by Jen DeLuca, Stacy has her Facebook friends guess how many pumpkin spice lattes she’ll have in the season and inexplicably, like a dozen is counted as a lot??? Honestly, I think that book judged me so harshly for my Starbucks addiction. (Also, side note, the apple crisp macchiato is amazing. It’s my new go-to and I think I’ve probably already had a dozen of them.) There’s also the Halloween romance Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz, which so many people seem to love that you could pick up! (I thought it was good, but I didn’t fall in love with it like so many have.) There’s also a mention of pumpkins on the stoops in A Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner! It’s a novella that’s really a Christmas novella, but no one says you can’t start celebrating Christmas early (if you celebrate at all, I guess?). Basically, no judgment is what I’m saying! Also, as Dani pointed out, you could read a book that has a pumpkin on the cover or looks like a pumpkin color wise. A good example is A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau, although technically, I’ve not read it yet.
I have a real love of books with home renovation in them and I don’t really know what that’s about, but it could be the hours of HGTV I’ve spent watching with my dad. Here are just a few books that I would highly recommend if you’re searching for an HGTV Vibes book! First up, we have Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey, which features Bethany, a perfectionist who is anxious af about the idea of running her own flip, but also desperate to finally get to do it. It’s also about Travis, a man younger than Bethany, who has been thrust into fatherhood because his sister left him with his niece and no idea when she would be back. The two of them love to antagonize one another, but it’s not long until they’re antagonizing one another in a new way. I don’t know what’s happened, but I’m suddenly so in love with Tessa Bailey’s books and have no regrets. Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas is an absolutely brilliantly angsty historical romance novel that ripped my heart out an also gave me every feeling on this planet. Blessedly, it features one of those falling apart estates that our heiress helps fix up and I really appreciated how those parts helped build a partnership out of a marriage of convenience between our romantic leads. I need to read more in this series because this book was incredible. Two other historicals that I would also recommend whole heartedly are Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas and the unmatched The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller. If I start going on about either of those though, I’ll wind up spending too many words and minutes in this section. But rest assured, I love both of them! Open House by Ruby Lang is a novella set in New York City following real estate agent, Magda Ferrer, who is desperately trying to succeed at her job because her family constantly doubts her, and Tyson Yang, a man who is sort of still reeling from loss and trying to convince himself not to form connections while being incredibly connected to his neighborhood. There’s a community garden and Magda’s new assignment is to shut it down. This interferes with Tyson’s ideas and the two of them clash and care about one another simultaneously. Okay, I’ve been writing for ages and still have so many more to tell you about, so I’m just going to leave it with here are three more contemporary romances with HGTV Vibes that I absolutely adore and would recommend: Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn (home renovation, m/f), Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish (home renovation, m/m), and The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren (essentially follows HGTV star’s assistants, m/f).
I have just a few sapphic contemporary romances with f/f relationships: First we have, Get It Right by Skye Killian, which is a romance between a woman recently released from prison and the woman she got to know as her nurse in the prison, until she left abruptly one day. Now they’re both out of the prison setting and that spark that they felt and couldn’t act on is still there, but also, there’s a lot going on. I really enjoyed this one, although it moved quite fast. Then we have Party Favors by Erin McLellan, a NYE romance between two online friends who are meeting for the first time in person and holy heck, the spice is definitely there! Third, is Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters, which is a lovely estranged friends to lovers roadtrip romance that includes being snowed in. I really liked this one! Fourth is Once Ghosted, Twice Shy if somehow you still haven’t read Alyssa Cole’s brilliant Reluctant Royals series. This one is a second chance novella and it was really wonderful. My next category includes two romances with sapphic characters, but where the women involved both wind up dating a man, which does not discount their queerness. First, The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan, which is just really wonderful and also would work great for Jewish Main Character, and is about Naomi, who is a bi Queen, and also Ethan, a gem of a rabbi. I loved this one, although it didn’t work for everyone, so tread cautiously. Second, Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai, which features fancy grilled cheese sandwiches that I could really go for right now. Okay, okay, actually it features Jackson, a chef, and my love, Sadia, who is a widow (Jackson is her former brother in law) and now single mother who is very stressed (and has panic attacks sometimes) and basically my everything. I love her and I love this book. Unfortunately, I’m sort of lacking in f/f historicals, which is probably not helped by the fact that I don’t read as much historical romance, but I do have two to recommend! The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite (and the rest of the series) has gorgeous writing and features f/f romances in each of them. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is probably my favorite of the books and I definitely recommend. I also have Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventures by Courtney Milan, which is a sapphic romance featuring two older women taking down one particularly bad man. It’s pretty wonderful. Ooh, and I almost forgot about That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole, which is a fantastic novella that was originally a part of The Hamilton Battalion novella bind up with Courtney Milan and Rose Lerner. This one is about Eliza’s lady maid and a seamstress? I think. I’m fuzzy on the details, but I’m not fuzzy about loving it.
Woman in Tech
I feel like there’s a real dearth of books with women in tech as the focus, so I hope that y’all can also recommend some because I think, other than the one I stumbled into reading last night, I don’t actually have many recommendations. I do have The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai, which is the first book in her Modern Love series. I really enjoyed this one following Rhiannon, who is the CEO of a romance app. I think the book probably focuses more on the business side rather than the app development side, but I think it should count. Anyway, her love interest is Samson and he is a sweetheart of a man, but he also ghosted Rhi a bit ago and she is not keen to forgive him for that. Plus, now he’s working with a competitor and that’s a no-no. A favorite of mine is Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, in which Chloe Brown develops websites for her clients. I love Chloe, I love Talia, and I love Red. Plus, I love lists, which this book has so basically, it was made for me. Talia just gets me. Level Up by Cathy Yardley is a book that sets up a cast of characters that truly are wonderful. It leans heavily into fandom, though of a made up show, and geekiness and general nerdiness and everything about it was pretty fantastic. Then you have The Boyfriend Project by Farah Rochon, the start of a series with quite possibly the best set up ever. Basically, these three women realize they were all dating the same man and then they crash his date (that Taylor is live-tweeting) and the women team up to go after what they want! Samiah is an app developer who works at this tech company and Daniel is her new co-worker, who is also undercover for… the FBI? Something like that. Anyway, sparks fly, but there are OBVIOUS conflicts of interest and I still haven’t quite forgiven this book for the end, but otherwise I really enjoyed it. Finally, in Nothing to Fear by Juno Rushdan, the second book in the Final Hours trilogy, Willow is a cryptologist who works for the Gray Box and is maybe being set up to look like a traitor? Or something. I can’t remember exactly the plot, but I know that she and Gideon were cute and the suspense plot was intense.
Sick Bed Scene
Act Like It and Pretty Face by Lucy Parker both have incredible sick bed scenes and also, they’re both incredible books. Truly. Five stars for both from me and I desperately want to re-read Pretty Face even though I just read it not too long ago. But it’s so magnificent! Lucy Parker truly excels at grumpy sunshine and character work in general, I think. Ugh. I love her books. I need to stop hoarding them and break the glass on them. A very popular book with a truly top-notch sick bed scene is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. This hate to love, office romance is… so incredibly popular. And sometimes I want to say that it’s not as good as everyone makes it seem, but then I re-read it last year (honestly, could have been earlier this year, who knows) and I have to admit, it is excellent. I will caution that it has problematic elements, but also, it’s really good. Anyway, that sick bed scene. Excellent. Love at First by Kate Clayborn truly has just an absolutely MAGNIFICENT sick bed scene. Honestly, the whole book is great. Also, honestly, it would totally work for HGTV Vibes if you’re still looking for a book to pick for that. If you’re ready to be in your feels about community and loneliness and connections… Love at First will really hit for you. Probably. It did for me. Historical wise, you can almost always count of Lisa Kleypas to deliver and Cold-Hearted Rake sets up a glorious romance between Winterborne and Helen with a sickbed scene in the book that is not theirs. Why? I have no idea. But I would recommend that book for the set up alone because Marrying Winterborne is glorious. Also, one of my favorite Julia Quinn books is Just Like Heaven, which features a truly excellent sick bed scene between Marcus and Honoria. Such a great book, honestly. I feel like given how much I’ve come to love this part in books I should be overflowing with recommendations, but tragically, I’m just a girl looking for more. (I am just really quickly interrupting my attempts to provide recommendations for forehead kisses to let you know that Teach Me by Olivia Dade also has a great sick bed scene that I had forgotten about!)
So, I’m guessing if you’re here, you may know that I love Taylor Swift. In fact, I am sitting here typing this while drinking coffee out of a mug that says “You need to calm down” and wearing my blue folklore sweatshirt. So, when given the opportunity to squeeze in a timely Taylor Swift reference, you know I had to seize it. Of course, you can read a book with a red cover or with red in the cover or with the word red or whatever. Or you could embrace your best Swiftie life and read a book with Red (Taylor’s Version) (out on November 19th, can’t wait to sob like my heart is broken when I haven’t been in a relationship in years!!!) vibes. So what should you read if you want to go that route? Well, I have already prepared Red + Romance Recs, Part One and Part Two for you, if you haven’t read all of the books on there. AND because just in case that wasn’t enough, I obviously have more for you here. I’ve been on a bit of a kick with Rebecca Zanetti’s romantic suspense Sin Brothers series and Forgotten Sins gives off definite “forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met” vibes (which is to say “Red” vibes). I mentioned The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale in my TBR, but now I’ve just finished it and I have to say massive Red vibes (and really just T. Swift vibes in general) throughout the whole book. I think specifically “Treacherous” and “All Too Well” are probably two that fit the best. Also, in a weird way, It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey gives me sort of “22” vibes because they’re both kind of fun and poppy, with an undercurrent of realness. Omg, you know what else gives me “Treacherous” vibes? Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde. That book!!! It broke me a little, but also I loved it so much.
I have always loved forehead kisses. There’s something about them that is just so sweet and tender for me. It’s my favorite. And to be fair, I count a lot of parts of the head when I’m thinking of forehead kisses. Like the crown of one’s head, what is that? Not sure, so it becomes a forehead. Is this like a basic failure of understanding anatomy? Almost certainly, but in the meantime, let me have my joy. Let’s begin with my beloved Laura Florand (thank you, Aarya!). The Chocolate Rose is… gorgeous as are all of her books that I’ve read so far. But I do really love this one and it is precious and basically, if you’ve not read Florand yet, you may want to change that if you’re a fan of… Lucy Parker and Cara Bastone, with a dash of Kate Clayborn. None are a perfect match for her, but I do think if you smash them together, you’d get a rough approximation of a Florand book. Another option is A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon, which has one romantic forehead kiss, but also includes a forehead kiss from an unexpected source and it is adorable. There is a forehead kiss in A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole and if you haven’t read one of my favorite romances of all time, you should really fix that. Just break the glass. You deserve it. If you want to read The Kingmaker and The Rebel King, the second book has at least one forehead kiss and the first one would work for Red so you could get two prompts with one series! Plus, it feels timely with all the climate disasters we’ve been having lately. And finally, there are a few forehead kisses in Ever After Always by Chloe Liese, which conveniently is also a marriage in trouble romance, aka, my favorite trope. Idk that it’s yours, but if not, you should try this book anyway.
Jewish Main Character
The High Holidays are coming and Dani wanted to make sure that we had some nod of celebration to those and suggested this prompt! I obviously agreed. So, without further ado, my recommendations… Can you believe The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon came out just this year? I cannot. I love this book a lot, but also I feel like I read it years ago. I didn’t. I read it in January. 2021 has been a weird time. Anyway, Jewish main character! Shay Goldstein is our woman protagonist and she is Jewish. She is a lot of things, but relevant for this prompt is that. It’s not really a huge part of the plot in this book, but it comes up occasionally. Also, this year I read Solomon’s YA Today Tonight Tomorrow, which I absolutely adored, and it also features Jewish main characters! They’re both Jewish and it’s real sweet. I would definitely recommend. Another book I highly recommend is The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan. The look at faith in this book is really interesting, as it includes a rabbi and a woman dipping her toes back in to reconnecting with her faith. Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman is a very soft Sapphic romance with two Jewish women falling in love and also crafting. It’s short and sweet! Promised Land by Rose Lerner was Lerner’s installment in Hamilton’s Battalion and I would definitely recommend it as well. It’s about Rachel, who has gone off to fight in the Revolutionary War as a man, and who does she arrest but her old love. You can get this one separate from the anthology if you can’t still buy the anthology! Also, also, Small Change by Roan Parrish, which is an absolutely magnificent book and… might actually also be sapphic of the m/f variety if I’m remembering correctly. I should probably re-read it, but it sort of emotionally destroyed me the first time so… Anyway! Ginger is Jewish, that is what this prompt is for. The good news is, if I re-read this book now, I actually know of a place to get really excellent sandwiches on gluten free bread that doesn’t taste awful. I’ve leveled up in the world.
Woo, that was a long post, but it is finally complete! Please share with me the books that you would recommend for whatever your favorite prompt is. I would love to know!