I am so delighted to let you know that #FallInLoveBingo is back for the third year in a row! Dani is taking this season off so Aarya and I brainstormed (tbh, mostly Aarya, I spitballed some basics and she put in the elbow grease to get us the rest of the way there) to bring you 25 prompts and we hope Dani will be feeling up to returning to join us in the Winter. A huge thanks and shout out to my sister, Sarah, for managing to complete her Master’s Capstone Project and to complete the board illustrations in the same month!
So the rules are the same as usual. #FallInLoveBingo begins on September 1, 2022 and will last through November 30, 2022. Please do your best to make your posts and graphics accessible if you make any! This includes capitalizing each individual word in the hashtag as it makes it easier for screen readers to process. The only other rule is that Black Love means a book with Black love interests only and written by a Black author. Now let’s show off our spiffy new board!
Prompt: Lights! Camera! Action!
For this prompt, Aarya and I were aiming for something more versatile than just a pure Hollywood type prompt because I’ve been really in the mood for that but I know not everyone is. So this allows you to really go broad and you can choose something like Hollywood or reality TV or you could do something where there’s some measure of a performance, like with fake dating in front of other people. For example, the new Chloe Liese that I already mentioned has a blurb that really nails this concept. You know, whatever floats your boat and you can argue fits the prompt. “To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark?” As for me, I’m leaning toward The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale, mostly because I loved The Shaadi Set-Up so much last year. But for real, it’s giving me vibes of The Stand In by Lily Chu and I enjoyed that one.
Prompt: Memorable Kiss
I think this prompt is fairly self-explanatory and is ultimately one I think I’m going to have to find for myself. It’s a little hard to plan some of these. But if you have any that just jump out at you already to recommend, please drop them down below!
This is another prompt you can twist in a few different ways. First, and to me the most obvious, you can go with a book that you own. Second, you could go with a book that has “Mine” in the title, like When You Are Mine by Kennedy Ryan or Will You Be Mine? by Rilzy Adams. Third, you could go with a book that gives you the same vibes as the Taylor Swift song, “Mine.” Find a book with a character who embodies the line, “I was a flight risk, with a fear of falling,” for example (The Spire by Kate Canterbary is a perfect book for this).
There is a whole lot of whimsical fantastical type books coming out in the next few months and that have already dropped. However, you can really interpret whimsical however you wish. Maybe a whimsical character? Whimsical has at least two definitions per Google, though I’m personally leaning toward this one: playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way. I’m thinking about using Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle or finally reading Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree.
Prompt: Black Love
I mentioned this at the top of the post, but Black Love means that all love interests must be Black as well as the author. I still need to read Cherish Me by Farrah Rochon and it’s exactly the book that I want to read, so I don’t know why I’ve been dragging my feet. It’s a marriage in trouble book, which is still one of my favorite tropes and there just aren’t enough books that fit into it! I’d also really like to finally start the Falling Like a Johnson series from Rilzy Adams. I think I’ve bought all of them at this point and still haven’t read one. And I have at least half a dozen CCJ’s I’ve been stockpiling but not reading. Truly, just an abundance of options here. I just need to commit to something.
Prompt: Queer YA
Honestly, we just wanted to celebrate all of the incredible Queer YA books and concepts that we’re lucky enough to have available for us to read these days. Given, you know, the United States right now, it seemed important to celebrate. I have many books on my TBR for this particular prompt (mostly because I have a stockpile of YA since I so rarely pick up books in the age range), but the two that I’m most leaning toward are Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi and Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler.
I did mention being in the mood for witches, no? I’ve got From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper still waiting for me to sit down and focus on it, as well as The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling. I also just gave in and picked up Go Hex Yourself by Jessica Clare while on vacation. Then there is Witchful Thinking by Celestine Martin, which comes out on September 27.
Prompt: Break in Case of Emergency
I’m not sure if this is a thing that all readers do, but it is definitely something that I do, but have you ever held off reading a book because you’re afraid you’ll need it on a bad day and won’t have anything else? Like that book that you just know is going to deliver so you’re afraid to read it too soon? Or, in my case, I have been hoarding Sweet on the Greek by Talia Hibbert because it’s the only Talia book I have left and how am I meant to cope if I don’t have one in reserve? I’m also hoarding Laura Florand, but in my mind, that’s absolutely rational because she’s on a writing break so I really can’t risk it. (Never mind that I have like seven books left from her.) Anyway, that’s the idea behind this prompt. If we’re being honest, the last two years have constituted an emergency and if you’re still coping like a champ, I applaud you. But if you need to dip into that emergency stash, let this be your sign. You deserve it!
Prompt: Animal Companion
I’ve been wanting to try Denise Williams for a while, but both of her full size novels have content in them that I don’t think I’m okay to handle at the moment. So obviously, the best choice for me then is The Love Connection by her, which has a dog on the cover. It looks like Ollie is a pet groomer at an airport, which is interesting. I’ve only ever flown on a plane with a dog one time. I mean, it was exciting. I wanted to pet the dog, but I think it was on there as an emotional support animal so he didn’t really leave his owner’s lap. Anyway, it looks like a quick novella and I’m definitely looking forward to trying it! I’ve also got quite a backlog of Mariana Zapata books that I need to work on actually reading and Wait for It has a dog so that would be something! It also sounds messy and like it’s about a woman who is an adult, but doesn’t quite think she’s figured out how to be one. So, same. I’m looking forward to trying this one! And then we have what I think is my last Olivia Dade that I haven’t read and can access, Tiny House, Big Love. This would also fit well into Break in Case of Emergency, but for now, I’m going to slot it in here as a possibility.
If we’re being honest, the vast majority of historical romances (at least traditionally published ones) include at least one waltz so this shouldn’t be too challenging to stumble into. I’ve been specifically recommended Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews and haven’t gotten to it yet, but I just did a keyword search and guess what word appears! So it appears I’m golden to use that one for this prompt. I also know that there are some contemporary books that include a waltz, though I’ll have to try and remember what ones for my recommendation post.
This is my favorite of our recurring prompts, I think, because re-reading is one of my favorite things to do. I plan to re-read Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai at some point in September, I think, so I’ll tentatively put that here, but you can re-read literally anything you’d like.
Prompt: Audiobook or Graphic Novel
As a person who primarily reads in audio, I should probably stretch myself and read a graphic novel. But I will not be doing that. Because I’m an audio girl, you know? I have an advanced listening copy of Bad Girl Reputation by Elle Kennedy, so I’ll go ahead and slot that one in here. But we provided both audiobook and graphic novel so that you can pick your less traditional reading path for this one.
This is our standard free space, but it is just for any romance novel that you’d like. Surprising no one, my list of ARCs to read is out of control because I can’t seem to stop requesting on Netgalley. Maybe that habit is what I should talk to my therapist about. Anyway, I haven’t squeezed Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai in anywhere else, so let’s go with that one.
Prompt: Recommended to You
You can get recommendations in a million places and this prompt was specifically designed to give you that flexibility, though I’m hoping you also have books that one of your friends has been telling you to read for approximately a million years. My list of these recommendations has gotten out of control and includes The Hidden Moon by Jeannie Lin (which I put on every list at this point), In the Weeds by B.K. Borison, Truly by Ruthie Knox, and Big Wild Love Adventure by Juliana Keyes to name just a few.
Prompt: Impulse Buy/Borrow
This is a prompt I picked because a couple of weekends ago I walked into an Indie bookstore called Epilogue in Chapel Hill and their selection was made for browsing. I don’t even know how they’ve done it, but everything about the store just invites you in. It’s so well-currated. Anyway, I wound up picking up a copy of a book I’ve genuinely never heard of, Exalted by Anna Dorn, which is a thing that does not happen. Is it a romance? Well, no. Not at all. But it is witchy looking, which is a thing I’ve been in the mood for! (I don’t think there are actual witches.) I’ve also impulse bought recently The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker and The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston so those are two other options, that are actually romances. Another really exciting option is driving back to Epilogue and seeing what I pick up again. I’m making another trip to Durham for my birthday so it’s a distinct possibility!
For this prompt, I was thinking something more broad than just messy characters so this can include messy plot situations as well. So, for example, a trope that just is inherently messy is boyfriend’s dad, which is somewhat popular. As for what I’m going to read, I’m tempted to go for Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun because essentially this woman falls in love with her fake date’s sister. And, um, sign me up, but also, YIKES. I’m also thinking there’s a good chance the relationship in Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner will wind up providing some messy situations considering Cassie’s one night stand and love interest is her friend’s mom. Awkward!
Have I ever figured out exactly what makes literature gothic? No, not really. So imagine my surprise when I looked up the synopsis for Stolen Heir, book two of Sophie Lark’s Brutal Birthright series and it says it is a dark, gothic romance. I mean, okay. I always thought it was like, about houses that are creepy with owners that are the type to have someone trapped in the attic, à la Jane Eyre, but maybe that’s incorrect? Per the Google machine, gothic literature is a “loose” aesthetic of “fear and haunting” so basically, Gothic literature is all vibes. Anyway, for me, in this case, sounds like Stolen Heir is the winner! (Erm… So I might be reading this in August actually, please recommend me something else below! Thank you. Lol)
Unlike books that I think fulfill the gothic prompt, I have stockpiled novellas on my Kindle TBR shelf. Our Favorite Songs and Wherever is Your Heart by Anita Kelly are the two that are topping my list though.
Prompt: Autumn Leaves Falling Down
“Autumn leaves falling down” is a lyric from mine and Aarya’s favorite, Taylor Alison Swift (and specifically “All Too Well”), but is perfect for the Fall season and can be really useful for cover design elements, a specific scene in your book, or more generic Fall activities. I personally am exceptionally tempted to use The Rivals of Casper Road by Roan Parish for this one because it has such excellent Fall/Halloween vibes. It would also count for Category Romance, but I’ve got plenty of options for that prompt.
Prompt: Second Chance Romance
I used to really not enjoy second chance romances, but lately, I feel like they’ve been giving me more of what I want than a lot of other tropes. Thus, the books I’m throwing out here are probably going to get read, but they may wind up being slotted into other prompts as they may fit because I might be devouring a lot of second chance romances. First up, if I don’t read Bad Girl Reputation by Elle Kennedy for the audiobook prompt, I could read it here. Bad Girl Reputation was set up in the first book of Kennedy’s Avalon Bay series (that I didn’t like) and I was so intrigued. The break up between Genevieve and Evan seemed terrible, so I’m very interested already. I hope this book delivers what I’m looking for! Then we have Built to Last by Erin Hahn, which could also work for Lights! Camera! Action! It’s a story of childhood sweethearts who are reunited by a co-star’s meddling? I’m not exactly sure, but it sounds like a good time and I know Sil really liked it. Most pressing though is that Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan, which is a romance between a divorced couple and… I mean, it’s Kennedy so I’m not sure I’m emotionally prepared, but also, I love being wrecked by her.
I love that I was searching the internet for books on my TBR list that have tattooed characters instead of telling you that I’m just going to re-read Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai for my Contemporary Favorites Project only to realize that Wrapped in Ink by Carrie Ryan was literally right there on my Kindle. I also think Exposed by Kristen Callihan would work for this. And, of course, the new Chloe Liese (Two Wrongs Make a Right) that drops on November 22nd. I mean, that’s cutting it very close but also, it’s Chloe Liese and I’m pretty willing to drop everything for her. Oh and I’ve also got About Last Night by Ruthie Knox slotted into this prompt. So many books and too little time, you know?
Prompt: Back to School
This is another one of those prompts where I was trying to be versatile and also I will never not associate Fall with back to school vibes even though I’ve been out of school for good for five years. Unfortunately, the desire to replenish my pen and highlighter supply every August never seems to fade. Anyway, here you could do any book set in school of whatever level or any book with a teacher or school administrator as a protagonist. Maybe even a romance with a kid who is starting school or going into a new grade of school. You know, whatever you need to do. Personally, I’m leaning toward The Hook Up to continue my Contemporary Romance Favorites project. Or if I’m really dragging my feet on getting through these re-reads, Best of Luck by Kate Clayborn!
Prompt: Category Romance
Oh look, more things I stockpile! We’re learning a lot about my reading habits this go around. Category romances have been really, really fantastic for me lately because they generally live up to what they say on the tin. I tend to purchase Special Edition, Desire, and the Historical lines, but I know Aarya tends to gravitate more toward Presents. I’m going to go ahead and pick one from each of my normal lines for my TBR. From Historical, I’ve got The Flapper’s Fake Fiancé by Luari Robinson, which sounds like a delight. The Desire I’ve been meaning to read for what feels like forever is Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan, the only book in the Bourbon Brothers series I’ve missed. And then for Special Edition, I’d really like to get to The Lights on Knockbridge Lane by Roan Parrish before I read the next book in the Garnet Run series, but we’ll see how that goes.
Prompt: Published Before 2010
Aarya’s been on an Old School Romance kick and while I haven’t, I’ve definitely got a whole host of books to choose from for myself. I really should do Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockman because I’ve been telling myself to complete the Troubleshooters series for at least a year and a half now. I don’t know why I stalled out. I’ve also got Kresley Cole’s If You Dare, which is her historical romance series and since Kresley tends to write bonkers, I’m obviously intrigued. Then there’s Slightly Married by Mary Balogh, which I still need to read for mine and Dani’s project! I’d also like to get to Beverly Jenkins Night Song as well. Honestly, there are really so many choices. We’ll see what I wind up picking!
Monster books are certainly in right now and although I’m not really ready to read most of monster romance that I’ve seen, I am always up for a solid paranormal shifter situation and I’m going to choose to view them as monsters. Alternatively, I could make the argument that archangels in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters world are monsters and read Archangel’s Resurrection… You know. That is high key tempting. But most likely I’ll try and land somewhere in the middle of my comfort zone and pushing myself into the extremes and read Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. This is a cozy high fantasy so probably not really a romance, but it looks adorable so I’m going to read it anyway.
So there you have it! The prompts and all of the many, many books I’d like to read for them. Are there any books that you think I absolutely have to make sure I get to? If so, let me know! Likewise, if there’s anything you think I should avoid, let me know that down below as well. I hope you’re excited about it. Please let me know your favorite prompt and your favorite illustration in the comments! And what you’re looking forward to reading. I’ll have some recommendations up soon so you’ll have that as a resource!