I hope y’all are still interested in some recommendations a month and a half after #SpringIntoLoveBingo started, but regardless, I’m here to provide some books I’ve enjoyed that fit these prompts! Since this is already so delayed, let’s just go ahead and jump in, shall we?
Prompt: Black Love
I know in my TBR I mentioned His to Defend by Sharon C. Cooper and The Bad Boy Experiment by Reese Ryan and y’all. I’ve read them both and I would definitely recommend them both! They’re two category romances that I really enjoyed as you have either already seen in my ARC reviews or will see soon depending on what gets posted first… Another book I also just completed and really enjoyed was A Delicate Affair by Lindsay Adams. This was a spicy historical romance set in the early, early 1900s (which also means it could work for intriguing time period!!). But my new favorite Black Love book is definitely Love’s Truth by K. Lashaun, which is about a divorced couple finding their way back to one another. It’s so good! Oh, and I really did like Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Audible novella, A Walk in the Park, which is what I already told y’all I counted for this prompt. It was a really fun and quick listen.
Prompt: Spring Fever: Some Like It Hot
There are some books that came to mind pretty rapidly when I thought about what books I would recommend for this prompt and we’ll go through the five I found the quickest when I was looking for the covers. First up is Ate by Rilzy Adams. Rilzy is excellent at writing some steamy scenes and this one is pretty dedicated to those scenes. I also truly adore the steamy scenes in Go Deep and would recommend that book for about a million reasons. Katee Robert’s Gifting Me to His Best Friend almost literally set me aflame. Like this book was… something else. Bottle Rocket by Erin McLellan is my favorite of her So Over the Holidays series, but each of the books is very spicy. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey has some great steamy scenes and is one of my favorite books of last year. Just keep in mind she’s very into describing body parts as very binary! Birthday Sex by Té Russ is a very short, very sexy story that delivers on exactly what the title promises and it was excellent. (You can interpret this prompt in other ways, but my brain is not interested in helping me to provide other ways at the moment, so go forth with my blessing to interpret it however you need to in order to fill the prompt. In the meantime, feel free to leave your favorite steamy reads in the comments!)
I mean, obviously, the book I have to first recommend is The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn, which is honestly, a much better romance than season two of Bridgerton. (Admittedly, I haven’t brought myself to finish it yet, but I know I’m right because this book is truly excellent.) Another very obvious choice for this prompt is The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite, which is a very slow burn, sapphic historical romance. Then we’ve got Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen, which really just references bees in passing, but that counts. Or you could read Reel by Kennedy Ryan, which is basically a perfect book, and also references bees like one time. But it counts! And then if y’all want to go a little outside of just bees, then you could always read Holiday Honey by Chencia C. Higgins, which is admittedly a holiday book, but why let that stop you? It’s a fun time! Or, along those same lines, The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren.
The Duke who Didn’t by Courtney Milan actually features a glossary where you can go and listen to some of the Hakka and Cantonese words be pronounced, which I thought was so cool. A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria features two characters who both speak English and Spanish. Wreckless by Katie Golding is (a) a magnificent audiobook and (b) has a male love interest who is Italian and speaks both Italian and English. In Thirsty by Mia Hopkins (a book that would definitely work for Some Like It Hot), both characters speak English and Spanish. Then in Finding Joy, Elias is an interpreter for Desta and his co-workers, along with many other things.
This prompt is one that for some reason gave me some trouble, which means, y’all are just getting recommendations for five books I’ve read this year that fit the prompt. Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt includes the hero trying to put back together a necklace that belonged to his mother, while trying to solve her murder. The Lady Tempts an Heir by Harper St. George is a fake engagement romance where a ring is specifically procured for the occasion. Wildfire by Ilona Andrews includes a scene where my beloved Rogan gives Nevada her Christmas gift. It’s… lovely. The Bad Boy Experiment by Reese Ryan also has a scene where a ring is obtained, as does Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti. I really enjoyed all of these books and would recommend them depending on what you’re in the mood for!
Prompt: Last Book Acquired
I can’t really recommend anything for y’all here. This is very dependent upon you!
Prompt: Feels Like Home
This prompt is my favorite because it is my actual favorite thing to read! I hope y’all love stumbling across this as much as I do. In an effort to not repeat any of the recommendations I made last time, I’m going to endeavor to keep this to recent reads. In The Spire by Kate Canterbary, there’s a lot of feels like home vibes. It includes the line, “I didn’t have a clear vision of our future, or how we’d get there. I only knew that my compass pointed toward Erin, and bringing her home–wherever that was for us–was the endpoint.” That line in particular may not be the most feels like home line that I tend to include but I promise you the book delivers. In Dolci by Katrina Jackson, there’s the line, “After Zahra, home is real, tangible,” which, let’s be honest, is an absolutely gorgeous line. The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout is what I used to fulfill this prompt because it literally includes the line, “You are my home.” Witch Please by Ann Aguirre also works, as it includes the line, “He’s my home too.” Both Twisted Games and Twisted Love by Ana Huang include lines that work for this and they are really quite excellent. And that’s just the last six books where I specifically wrote down a quote in my bujo to know that they work. There are several others I listened to on audio and then forgot to make a note, I’m quite certain.
I’ve read four of these books this year, which feels actually wild because it’s not really a concept I seek out. Meta covers a few different concepts, including when a book specifically narrates something about romance novels, but also when a book is about writing the same story essentially that is playing out in the book you’re reading. That’s where The Devil and the Heiress, A Beastly Kind of Earl, and A Deal with the Devil all come in. They all include characters who are writing a book and all three are including elements of what is happening in their lives in the book they are writing. Seven Days in June is similar, but also includes other meta concepts like a general discussion of literary vs. genre fiction. And then you have All the Feels, in which Marcus keeps talking about tropes and fanfic. I really enjoyed all five of these books!
Prompt: Clinch Cover
I’m actually going to skip this one because I think y’all have got this one covered.
Prompt: Term of Endearment
Again, I’m going to skip this one because it’s so easy to find. You can use any endearment you’d like, as well.
Prompt: Sparks Fly
The easiest interpretation of this is basically immediate chemistry, so I don’t think y’all really need recommendations. I will say Witch Please by Ann Aguirre has literal sparks flying, so that’s fun. I still want books with kissing in the rain on the sidewalk, but alas, so far, I’ve not read one.
Again, so many romances have hugs! I don’t think y’all need help to find a book to fit this prompt. If you do, just let me know in the comments.
The easiest of prompts to fulfill. 🙂
This prompt is one that can be interpreted in several ways. Sometimes romance series are connected because they’re about three sisters or two sisters or whatever and sometimes there are just important sibling relationships contained within a book. Take a Hint, Dani Brown is book two in The Brown Sisters trilogy and it is one of everyone’s favorites, pretty much. It’s fake dating, featuring the softest man and a bisexual witch in Dani who is really prickly and fantastic. A Deal with the Devil features Tali, whose motivations and character are largely influenced because of her family relationship, including her relationship with her two sisters. The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe, I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones, and A Wedding One Christmas by Therese Beharrie are all book one in series where each book features a sister. And then The Spire really tackles the sister relationship between Erin and Shannon and I sobbed. Highly recommend, tbh.
One of my favorite things about romance novels, and perhaps the sort of romance novels that blend with women’s fiction as well, are ones with a really solid growth ARC. I think this is partially because I love books with hot mess characters where a) someone falls in love with them and b) they sort of start to figure out their life during the book as well. The best book that covers this, for me, is A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole, because, as I now know from real life, that ADHD diagnosis really comes in clutch when you are a mess and don’t really understand why. Portia is unlike me in many ways (for real, where is my #SwordBae??), but I love her so much and am forever grateful for what Alyssa caused me to consider about myself. Similarly, in The Wedding Ringer, Willa is putting her life back together so slowly and I just… everything about it. Both The Cornerstone and The Magnolia Chronicles by Kate Canterbary include Canterbary’s excellent character work and these two women learning so much about themselves. They’re both great. Then you have Dirty Rowdy Thing where both romantic leads wind up going through a lot of growth as they find their way together. (It would also work for Spring Fever!) And finally The Ex Talk is about a millennial woman figuring out her life, which is, obviously high key relatable.
Prompt: Marriage of Convenience
This is the trope that I am currently obsessed with and I don’t know if I’m really going to escape it anytime soon because it is entirely too much fun for me. Very technically, The Heiress Gets a Duke is more like the lead up to a marriage of convenience, but I’m counting it because it still hits many of the same beats. The others actually include a marriage of convenience on page. In Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt, the couple has actually been married for two years before we pick up with them. In A Beastly Kind of Earl by Mia Vincy, both know that the “marriage” of convenience isn’t actually real because our heroine is pretending to be her sister. But in To Marry and to Meddle and Tempting the Bride, the marriage of convenience happens and then it’s about what comes after.
Prompt: Hobby You Enjoy
Again, this one is very personal to you so I can’t really give recommendations!
Prompt: Intriguing Time Period
As I mentioned in the announcement, you can use this prompt to cover a few different things, a time in the past that is interesting or different, or a time in the future that intrigues you. Additionally, I used it for a prequel to a fantasy romance series I’ve been enjoying (A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout). Here, the recommendations I have are all for historical time periods I find interesting and not time periods I see or read often. So, while you could definitely read something set in The Gilded Age if you usually read Regency only, for me, I read enough Gilded Age that it doesn’t feel interesting to me. Anyway, my five recommendations are A Delicate Affair by Lindsay Evans set during the first decade of the 1900s, Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (a stand in for the whole Maiden Lane series) set during the 1700s and they do a lot of talking about wigs, Round Midnight (a stand in for the entire series) set during the Space Race so the 60s?, Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole (a stand in for all of her historical romances) set in 1961, and Indigo by Beverly Jenkins, set pre-Civil War, I think.
Prompt: Glasses Wearing Main Character
Arguably there are really just not enough books with characters who wear glasses that I could think of or find quickly enough, so here are five of my favorite books that also happen to fit the prompt: Love at First by Kate Clayborn, A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare, You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle, Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (also The Ex Talk!), and Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (also, Act Your Age, Eve Brown!!).
I think it’s important to see representation of all sorts of people in the books that I read, but here are a few books that I think have good representation, but cannot attest to it from my own experiences, of various disabilities. In Reel, Neevah is dealing with Lupus and has some medical experiences throughout the book. In Can’t Escape Love, Reggie uses a wheelchair (and has several kinds!). In Always Only You, Frankie has rheumatoid arthritis and often uses a cane to walk. She is also on the autism spectrum. In Last Guard, Canto uses a wheelchair. In Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren, Hollyn has Tourette’s Syndrome and anxiety and then in What If You and Me, Hill Dawson has a prosthetic leg. Similar to Hill, in Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones, Jason does as well. Each of these books is obviously much more than the disability of one of the characters, but since that’s the prompt, that’s the aspect I highlighted. I really enjoyed all of these, and as y’all may recall, Reel tied as my favorite of the year last year.
Each of these books features a garden in some way, but I think most of them actually have characters who actually participate in the gardening. In Cherish Hard, Sailor is a landscape architect, and he designs a garden sitaution. In Open House, There is a community garden that sort of sets the stage for our conflict. In Lord of Darkness, Megs is into gardening. In Sun-Kissed, Anne maintains her neighbor’s gardens. And in The Countess Conspiracy, Violet gardens.
The time we had secrets as a prompt, almost all of my reads involved secrets. This time ,almost all of my reads have fit the sleuthing prompt! Obviously a large part of that is reading the Maiden Lane series, where each book contains some element of mystery. In Fate’s Edge, before the heist, there are some mysteries and clues to solve/find. In Twisted Love by Ana Huang, well… let’s just say there’s some stuff going on under the surface. Christmas in Rose Bend by Naima Simone has the mystery of who Nessa’s birth father is. (Also, it would be a great choice for Sisters.) And then The Rebel and the Rake by Emily Sullivan has quite the mystery to solve and it just kept me on my toes.
Prompt: Muslim Main Character
I definitely have not read enough romance novels with Muslim main characters, but here are five that I have read. Accidentally Engaged is a great fake dating for a reality tv show type situation and the food descriptions are to die for. Saints and Misfits is a YA contemporary that is definitely hard hitting, but also, I just loved Ali’s writing so I had to share it. Then Wrong to Need You is one of Alisha Rai’s angsty Forbidden Hearts series and it is fantastic! First Comes Like follows Sadia’s sister and is much more chill and not so heavy on the angst. It has tropes jam packed within it and is pretty fun. Then Let Us Dream is hands down one of my favorite Alyssa Cole historical novellas.
Prompt: Setting as Character
Both Hang the Moon and Today Tonight Tomorrow feature Seattle so well, they literally got me to book a flight so I could go see the sights for myself. Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews is so set int he swamp that Jess and Aarya refer to it as just The Swamp Book. Love Lettering is actually a love letter to NYC and it’s beautiful. And then Love Notes is a stand in for almost all of Christina C. Jones books because she is AMAZING at creating a sense of place.
Prompt: House Party
There are four historical romances that I’ve listed here that each feature what I usually think of when I think of house parties in romance novels. The ones I’ve listed are To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters, A Dangerous Kind of Lady by Mia Vincy, The Heiress Hunt by Joanna Shupe, and Do You Want to Start a Scandal? by Tessa Dare. But I really wanted to include a contemporary version too and the closes thing I could come up to the contemporary equivalent was Turth or Dare by Danielle Allen, because it’s also a situation where a group of people are at a destination together in a party situation. But I also think you could do anything that includes a house party in the contemporary sense. Like, in Good Girl Complex, there is a typical very alcohol heavy party that takes place at a house. Even though the whole book is not set at the party, and in fact, it’s a relatively short part of the book that takes part at the party, I think it would count!
I hope your #SpringIntoLoveBingo is going well if you’re participating! What’s been your favorite discovery so far?