Aarya, Dani, and I are back with #SpringIntoLoveBingo and Sarah was able to illustrate the board for us again. I’m absolutely in love with this season’s background. I know this announcement is coming many days late given that this challenge started on March 1st and I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s been a time getting things together. The announcement has been live on twitter as it should have been though so if you missed that and want a short version, here’s the link! As usual, our only real asks are that you try to make your images and posts as accessible as possible using alt text and capitalizing the beginning of each word in the hashtag. Otherwise, please keep in mind the definition of Black Love and have fun reading!
The definition of Black Love is that it be a romance novel written by a Black person and features love interests (of whatever number) who are also Black. I have a few books that I’ve been meaning to get to for much too long, but I’ve decided to try and remind myself I have ARCs that I still need to read. The Bad Boy Experiment by Reece Ryan and His to Defend by Sharon C. Cooper are the two ARCs I’m behind on that would qualify and then to round out a full Harlequin experience, I am also still desperate to read A Winning Season by Rochelle Alers. Update: I actually wound up counting A Walk in the Park by Rebekah Weatherspoon for this prompt! It’s a super cute and fast Audible Original that was quite fun, if abundant in dog related plot.
Spring Fever: Some Like It Hot
I am choosing to interpret this prompt as incentive to find particularly spicy reads and I have three in mind. First up is Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren, which conveniently also wraps up a series for me. Secondly, I’ve got Maybe This Time by Christina C. Jones, which is the next book in a series of hers I’ve started but haven’t finished. And then finally, Treble by Rilzy Adams. Adams writes the kind of spice I usually adore so I’m looking forward to finally reading this one!
This prompt may have been inspired by The Viscount who Loved Me and season two of Bridgerton, but there are several options for this prompt that I haven’t yet read. First, Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall apparently has some bees in it and I’m looking forward to reading the over the top antics that it apparently contains. There’s also In Tandem by Christina C. Jones (I really am trying to make a dent on her backlist this year!! She’s so prolific.), which I’m excited about for many reasons, not the least of which is that I think it’s a friends to lovers story. And then finally, All for You by Laura Florand because I probably still have enough of her books that I can handle reading a few more without fearing running out too soon.
I think I’ve found some books that should definitely qualify for this one, with characters that I hope speak more than one language in the text of the pages. First we have The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan, which I’ve put off reading for no reason for over a year now? It’s very odd because I am so highly anticipating it still. And then we have Hired by Zoey Castille, a continuation of a series I’ve been meaning to continue. And perhaps as extra incentive to tackle more of my most anticipated books I didn’t get to last year, lets throw in The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton.
I’m pretty positive I’ll read many books with jewelry over the course of the next three months, but in the meantime, I’ve found three books that I think qualify. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Christina C. Jones, Our Love Unhinged by Brighton Walsh, and All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata. Update: I actually wound up counting Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt for this prompt.
I’m going to skip Last Book Acquired because (a) I’ve already completed it and (b) it’s sort of hard to predict what book I will ever pick up immediately after purchasing/borrowing it. For what it’s worth, I completed it by listening to A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings as soon as I bought it. Honestly, so proud of myself. Too often I let audiobooks languish. Okay, all books languish on my shelves.
Feels Like Home
This is my absolute favorite concept and I’ve cheated and peeked in a few books that I’m super excited about to find some guarantees for me to hit this prompt. First up is Exposed by Kristen Callihan, which is a hate to love romance that I cannot wait to finally get to. Then we have Saint by Sierra Simone, which honestly, could almost definitely also cover Spring Fever: Some Like It Hot. And then A Kiss in Lavender by Laura Florand, because again, I probably still have enough of her books that I can read a few more without being in dire straits. Update: I actually wound up counting The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Well, honestly, I can tell you what I read for meta, which is The Devil and the Heiress by Harper St. George, because Violet is writing romance novels based on her life. But I’m also excited about the possibility of still getting to The Roughest Draft by Emily Webberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka, which is about a co-writing team that used to be in a relationship, but aren’t anymore. And then finally, I also really want to still get to Bet On It by Jodie Slaughter, because what’s better when playing bingo than reading a book featuring bingo?
There really are so many options for this, but I’m leaning toward Cherish Me by Farrah Rochon because it features a marriage in trouble romance. But I’ve also got the ARC of A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall, which is a fantastic clinch cover featuring a trans model!! I’m so excited about that concept. And then I’ve also got an ARC for Summoning Up Love by Synithia Williams, which also has a clinch cover and looks really great.
Term of Endearment is another prompt that I’m actually just going to allow myself to stumble into, because if we’re being honest, all romance novels pretty much have some kind of term of endearment. I just like to find the ones that are unique to the couple and that’s hard to look up! But I will say, there’s something about the way Russell calls Ari “weather girl” that makes Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon a great choice for this prompt. (I’m using it later though!) Update: I wound up using Love’s Truth by K. Lashaun, which I highly recommend if you’re in the mood for a second chance/marriage in trouble style romance. The couple is divorced at the start of the book, but there are very obviously still feelings and it was absolutely magnificent. I think the recommendation originally came from Shades n Pages, if I remember correctly? Either way, you should follow her if you aren’t already!
Here we run into the first prompt I’ve had some issues finding a particular book that I want to use and it’s because my favorite line in the Taylor Swift song “Sparks Fly” has always been the one about “kiss me on the sidewalk in the pouring rain” and I have no idea how to locate books with that specific imagery. But I do think The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun is going to absolutely crush the more literal idea of sparks flying.
Hug is one of those prompts that I’ll absolutely come across and that way I’ll have the luxury of choosing a book that has a hug that sticks with me. I love those simple acts of physical intimacy outside of sex in romance novels. The scenes where the romantic interests get to relax and feel safe and some kind of feeling… (Also, once again, Weather Girl has an excellent hug scene.) Update: I’m using His to Defend by Sharon C. Cooper for this prompt, though, I hope and expect to read an abundance of quality hugs in the next three months!
HEA means that you can use any book that ends with a happily ever after (or happy for now)!
Oh goodness do I have some books for this one. First, Alexandria House’s Stay with Me is book one in her The Strickland Sisters series, which is an obvious choice. Then we’ve got Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas, which is the last book I have to read in The Fitzhugh series and I am so excited about it. (I wound up using Tempting the Bride to fulfill one of my squares in #SnowInLoveBingo because of where I’m pretending time isn’t real and completing both boards at the same time. Lol) And finally, Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle because I have the ARC and very little self-control. Unless my refusal to read with my eyeballs continues the whole way through May…
So, for me, growth is a prompt I picked because I really love the character development we get in romance novels where people really do come into their own. But sometimes it can also be literal. Like in Grow Something by Christina C. Jones. So we’ll see where I wind up going with this prompt! (And Weather Girl would once again work for this!!)
Marriage of Convenience
I really think my tour of The Biltmore House has me in this historical romance kick and so I’m really looking forward to reading maybe a few too many marriage of convenience novels set historically, but Dani has also encouraged me to try the fantasy romance The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle Jensen, so that one is also on the table. The two historical romances topping my list are A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy and The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard. Update: The book I actually read for this prompt was Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt, one of the Maiden Lane books that I’ve been devouring as part of the #ButDoTheyBang readalong. Admittedly, I’m not really doing a good job staying on pace with them. I was behind and then I devoured too many in a row and wound up ahead. Oops.
Hobby You Enjoy
This is honestly not a thing that should be hard for me to find books with because my hobbies are pretty basic: reading, sometimes writing, spending time with friends and family, occasionally embroidering or cross-stitching, and watching The Bachelor franchise sometimes. However, I haven’t yet read one this month where I found a character who vocally enjoyed these things, unless we count Lily in Darling Beast who writes plays… I suppose we could, but I used that one for a different prompt as you’ll see later on. Please feel free to recommend a book that would fit!
Intriguing Time Period
When I picked intriguing time period, I was thinking more like an unusual time period outside of the usual Regency/Victorian type historical romance novels. But Melanie used it for Storm Echo by Nalini Singh, which takes place in the future and that felt revelatory for me. What a great interpretation! However, at least for my TBR, I’m leaning toward my original interpretation and I’m looking at hopefully finally reading The Hidden Moon by Jeannie Lin, or Pride & Passion by Carla Buchanan, or Free Fall by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner.
So I wound up using Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon for this one, but you could also use Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt! I’ve only read two so far this month (I think), but as far as I can tell, here are three others on my extensive TBR that could work: After All by Karina Halle, The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers, and Perfect Matcha by Erin McClellan.
I am so excited that Melinda made a thread of books that she recommends for this prompt! I already had The Doctor’s Discretion by E.E. Ottoman on my TBR at her recommendation and The Tyrant Alpha’s Rejected Mate by Cate C. Wells on my TBR because of last year’s devouring of many of her motorcycle club books. Another book I’m looking forward to in the Maiden Lane series, Dearest Rogue, features a blind heroine (Lady Phoebe, who is a sweetheart) and Captain Trevillion, who injured himself in one of the earlier books and now uses a cane to walk and get around. To be clear, I have no idea if that representation will be good, but I love Phoebe already and I’m really into men coming utterly undone when they start out so starchy so I’m optimistic!
This prompt might be a little more specific than the flowers prompt we used last Spring, but it still allows for a good bit of wiggle room, I hope. If you’re participating in the #ButDoTheyBang readathon, several Maiden Lane books would work for this prompt and I used Darling Beast to fulfill it. Other books on my TBR that would work are The Garden of Eden by Mellie Belizaire, The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley, and Petal Plucker by Iris Morland (which would work for Sisters, as well).
It turns out there are approximately a million books I have on my TBR and that I’ve read that would fulfill this prompt. I wound up using Thief of Shadows from the Maiden Lane series, basically all of which would work for this prompt. On my initial TBR for this though was A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de Léon, The Rebel and the Rake by Emily Sullivan (which I used for a later prompt), and A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourne.
Muslim Main Character
I have several choices for this prompt, all of which have been on my TBR for entirely too long. The Chai Factor by Farah Heron is one I’ve tried to read before, but got side-tracked before I finished it. However, after reading Accidentally Engaged earlier this year, I’m really excited to go back and read The Chai Factor. I’ve also got Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali, a YA romance that I’ve been looking forward to for a ridiculously long time to not have gotten to. I really enjoyed Saints and Misfits by the same author and so I’m excited to read another of her works. Then I’ve got Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, which is a Pride and Prejudice retelling that I’ve been interested in for literal years, but I’m often bad at actually reading the retellings I pick up.
Setting as Character
This prompt was inspired by how much I loved the way Paris played a role in The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller, but also by the way that I adore the way Christina C. Jones develops the neighborhoods she writes in. Mahogany Heights and Blackwood both feel like real places you ought to be able to go and visit. In other words, I can pick up most any CCJ that I’ve mentioned above, but if not a book by CCJ, I’m considering The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker because I’m assuming a book set in Alaska is sure to incorporate the area.
Even though with the imagery, we tried to go a little more modern, I can’t help but think of mostly historical romances when I think of house parties and fortunately for me, I’m in an intensely historical romance mood at the moment. So while I read The Rebel and the Rake by Emily Sullivan for this prompt, I also considered Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt (which definitely works and was also a delight), The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas, and Slightly Married by Mary Balogh (which Dani and I are supposed to read as soon as I manage to attempt The Rose in Winter).
And there you have it! A very, very late announcement post and a TBR where I’ve already filled half the prompts. Oops. I do sincerely apologize for the delay, but I’m thrilled to have this out to you at long, long last!