Sunday, December 13, 2015

Favorite romance reads of 2015

Mina asked this question on Facebook the other day, and while I answered with three of my favorite books, new ones that I really enjoyed kept popping in my head. Lest I spam her thread, I'm doing this blog post instead!

Now for me when I really love a romance book I immediately re-read it. Like, right when I finish it, I stew around in a puddle of feels, and then I go back to the start and experience it all over again. These were the books that did that for me this year, in no particular order:

1. Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco. A feminist and an MMA fighter walk into a bar right after his match. Sounds like the recipe for a joke, but instead it delivers a lot of steam and lots of food for thought for subscribers to Jezebel and Bustle and The Mary Sue but also love romance.

2. When A Scot Ties The Knot by Tessa Dare. Because Scotland, and Jamie Fraser, and drawing, and hilarity, and so hot. 

3. The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. The Ivy Years series, you guys. (Because I had to restrain my self from putting up The Year We Hid Away and Blonde Date up here too.) They don't shy away from difficult topics, but Sarina writes them with such honesty and heart, they just grab you by the chest. The Year We Fell Down's Corey Callahan, a former hockey star disabled by a terrible accident, is tough and vulnerable in all the best ways, and Adam Hartley, her next-door neighbor? Sweet and complex.

4. Songs Of Our Breakup by Jay E. TriaThis one brought me back to high school: Bands, and hanging out with boys all day, and trying to get over your ex when he's always there. Plus cute Japanese actor friend to help (that part not in high school experience but a girl can always dream!)

5. Off Base by Tessa Bailey and Sophie Jordan. HOO BOY. The sizzle in this one is off the charts. May I present to you two sample sentences?
"You're worth shaking hands over. Worth the time it takes to be read the riot act." (Beck & Kenna)
"You're not going to run out of here and pretend you didn't just back that ass into me." (Cullen & Huntley)

6. The Duke Takes A Bride by Suzette de Borja. An aristocrat called The Delicious Duke and the childhood friend he tries to marry for convenience. Add a bug-eyed goldfish that happens to be black. This one had me laughing, squirming and clutching my heart for feeeeeelllssss. 

7. Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera. A YA book in a sea of contemporary romances? Yes please. This had me in tears in the best way possible. The story of shy, overweight Jessie discovering herself is just too wonderful.

8. Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra. Team Stayson! Hunky rugby player and quirky book blogger, with an interesting 'Live Like Fiction' challenge in the end and proof that awesome alpha males need not be jerks.

And that's for my 2015! I wish I could've read more (she said, looking guiltily at her towering TBR pile) but it's been an awesome book year so far! What's on your list? :D

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Update: So much stuff happened edition

So much stuff happened, you guys. It's kind of nuts.

Thank you sooo much to everyone who dropped by and bought books at #romanceclass booth at yesterday's @filreadercon! We hope you enjoy your haul and please keep on supporting homegrown authors, regardless of the genre they write. And if it isn't too much to ask, leave your reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. Keep talking about them on your social media pages because these things help authors a huge lot! Most of them are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so reaching out to them is pretty easy. If you're an eBook reader or have friends who are, head them over at romanceclassbooks.com for more choices! We also hope you had so much fun (and feels!) at the #romanceclass live reading by @giogahol and @theatrachel! Did you heart take it well? ;) By the way, the lovely booth setup was made by some authors themselves! Photos from @jotheeful
A photo posted by #romanceclassbooks (@romanceclassbooks) on
FilReadercon
I had a blast at the FilReadercon with the rest of the lovely #romanceclass and RWP ladies. Highlights of my day would be:
  • joining the Speed Dating event, where readers got to sit with authors and talk about what kind of books they like and what we could offer them, in 3 minute-intervals. I got a lot of interesting insights, lemme tell ya! 
  • The live reading by Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates from #romanceclass books. FEELS EXPLODING EVERYWHERE. At one point, while they were reading from Dawn Lanuza's The Boyfriend Backtrack, Rachel narrated a bit that asked "Should I take his hand?" and I was all "Do it. DO EEEETTT." BTW please subscribe to the Romance Class Podcast Youtube Channel to hear more of these wonderful performances by Rachel and Gio!
  • Just hanging out with awesome authors with the same silly sense of humor, hugot and feelsplosions. Check out more recaps from Mina, Jay and Anne.
Sports discussion
We got to sit down and talk with Gabe Norwood! Too awesome!!
So every other month or so we meet and talk about our favorite books. This month, it was all about sports romances, and Gabe was kind enough to answer all our questions about the life of a pro-athlete -- and yeah, that includes his love life! It was an enjoyable afternoon, crazy traffic notwithstanding. Recaps from Mina and Anne.

Reading
My TBR pile is just getting longer and longer! I have my Readercon haul and lots of new and not so new e-releases from my favorite authors, like Agay Llanera's This Side of Sunny (I'm a huge fan of her Vintage Love, Once Upon A Player and my super favorite Choco Chip Hips, so excited for this!), Tessa Dare's Lord Dashwood Missed Out and Mina V. Esguerra's What You Wanted (back to the Philippines for this one!). Plus I started on Sarina Bowen's FREE series starter, The Year We Fell Down, and now I'm hooked on her Ivy Years series. Blonde Date was awesome and now starting on The Year We Hid Away. WHEW. 

Writing
Takedown 3 is coming together, you guys!! I SWEAR. Sorry it's taking so long. Because...

Real life
It's the holiday season and it's get-togethers and shopping and cooking and decorating and putting up contingency plans at work for the lean season left, right and center. I've been squeezing in writing time where I can (mostly at lunch. Hah!). I'm so inspired lately that I feel the words just itching to flow down to paper, but where's a Time Turner when you need it?

So how's that for an update blitz? Thanks for keeping up and I'm wishing you the loveliest Christmas season ever! 

kisses,
Bianca