Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Rating: ★★★ | 356 pages | Paranormal Romance | Berkley | Release Date: 9/1/2006

I’ve been hearing about this series for years and when my book club picked it I finally got the change to learn all about the Psy-Changelings....which I totally thought was the name of one race of people but turns out it is two different things.

Sascha Duncan is a  Psy--a race of psychic people programmed not to feel emotion. But for some reason, Sacha can experience emotions and it takes everything in her to hide her glitch or else be “rehabilitated.” When Sascha is made a liaison on a work project with Lucas Hunter, a panther changeling, he notices something is different about her immediately. Sascha may be the key to help him solve  a series of murders of changeling women before all hell breaks loose

I've said it once I'll say it again; I have always shied away from paranormal romance and I really don't know why. I’m going to lean into it more this year and this classic fan favorite was a great start. Singh's writing style works for me, the stuff about Psy can be very cerebral so even though I didn't understand what she was talking about I could still "see" what she was describing. I thought the dynamic between Sascha and Lucas worked and I love a good found family arc.

There are a few things I find a little cringe, like the phrase "skin privilege", but overall I get the appeal and I'll be curious to read more. I heard her Guild Hunter series is really good so I may hop over to that one.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson Signing

Photos from Deadly Sexy Facebook Page
This event happened a few months ago, but I still wanted to write a recap.

Last year Jess and I went to the signing Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson hosted during the weekend of the Deadly Sexy movie premiere. Here is a quick recap and some thoughts I had.

The event was held at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in the historic neighborhood of Jackson Ward. This museum moved to this spot a few years ago and is in a gorgeous building that was once an armory. I'm ashamed to say I'd never visited the museum before, but I definitely plan to visit again.

I'd heard both authors on various podcasts but I  never realized Beverly Jenkins and  Brenda Jackson were such close friends who vacation together and have been supporting each other for the last 20 years. I can't remember everything they talked about but there was so much positive light coming from that stage.

The first thing I noticed is that a majority of the audience was older than what I'd seen at other romance events. Later, we found out most had come from out of state to do to the whole signing/movie premiere weekend. It was a bit overwhelming to be around so many superfans but also amazing to hear other women's stories of coming across books with black characters for the first time and falling in. There were lots of inside references and fangirling and I feel like I have a lot of reading to do.

Something else that struck me were the comments from readers about how people in their lives were dismissive and downright rude about them reading romance. It's really frustrating to me how this always comes up at romance events and that romance readers have to justify what they like.  I think there is more being done to combat this message and romance is getting a little more respect as a feminist genre but I can't imagine what it was like to read it before then.

The other thing about this event that was different from other romance events I've gone to is that is was 99% Black women and it was so cool to see so many voracious black women readers. At one point romance author Denise Jeffries talked about going to her first Romance Slam Jam and admitted that up until that point she didn't even really know Black people read. It made me think about how I knew that sure, some Black people read but it wasn't until I started blogging that I met other Black people who read voraciously and honestly it wasn't until this event that I really saw older black women who read so enthusiastically.

During the signing, the authors were so gracious while we did some general word vomiting and got a bunch of books signed. I felt weird bringing a tote bag of books but a few people had their books on wheels!

Overall it was a great event and I have so much reading to get done. While we didn't go to the film premiere, the Deadly Sexy movie is now streaming on Amazon.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Our Top 5 Favorite Romance Novels of 2018 !

This year we reviewed 51 romance novels and these are 5 of our favorites!

Shimmy Bang Sparkle by Nicola Rendell

Two jewel thieves road trip across the desert to pull the biggest con of their career in this modern-day Wild West heist. Fans of anti-heroes with hearts of gold and punchy dialogue will enjoy this show-stealing novel. - Jess

Small Town Secrets by Katrina Jackson

 Bria and Sully's small town romance feels inevitable but it could all be over before it starts when a decades-old secret threatens to pull them apart. Small Town Secrets is everything the title promises. and brims with sweetness and love in all its forms. - K.E.

Intercepted by Alexa Martin

When Marlee Harper catches her NFL wide receiver boyfriend cheating she calls it quits on the whole "football girlfriend" life to do bad all by herself.  This book skews a nice line between women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Marlee’s 1st person POV is snappy, fast-paced, cheeky and is easy to sink into. - K.E.

No Earls Allowed by Shana Galen

War hero Major Neil Wraxall is assigned the impossible task of bringing the headstrong Lady Juliana back home from the rundown Sunnybrooke Home For Wayward Boys but she isn't going anywhere.A heartwarming romance that isn't afraid to bring the heat. - Jess

Indecent Exposure by Tessa Bailey

Irish markswoman Katie McCoy is invited to teach a workshop at the NYPD Academy and falls for Jack Garrett, the charming police recruit with a dark past. Katie is an inexperienced virgin and Jack is something of a manwhore but it never felt cliched. Bailey also handled the instructor/student part of their relationship fairly well. - K.E.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Romance and Sensibility by the Numbers 2018 !

All year long we track our reviews in a spreadsheet so at the end of the year we can crunch some numbers and take a look at our stats. We track info you can't find on Goodreads like diversity, format, and retailers; then pull the most interesting stats in a handy infographic via Canva.

If you'd like a copy of our infographic template to do your own, e-mail me at ! If you are looking to track your own stats you can download a copy of our basic Romance Reader Spreadsheet. Feel free to edit and or add formulas to it, we'd love to see what you can come up with.

Publisher Breakdown

35% HarperCollins
25% Self-Published*
10% Harlequin
4% Random House
4% Kensington
4% Sourcebooks Casablanca
2% Amazon Publishing
2% Shadow Mountain
2% Simon and Schuster
2% Penguin

*Two self-published books, Permanent Ink and Coming in From The Cold, were previously traditionally published.

Retailer Breakdown

23% Avon Addicts Program
12% Fountain Bookstore
6%  Public Library
6% Review Copies
4% Kindle Unlimited
2% Audible Romance Package
2% Barnes and Noble
2% Fresh Fiction Subscription Box

Other Numbers

53% of reviews were for 2018-2019 frontlist titles

10% feature characters with a  mental illness or physical disability

K.E.'s Thoughts
I'd like to work on getting all the diversity numbers higher. The author of color and heroines of color numbers are up from last year but the heroes of color are down. I think this comes from a lot of interracial romance having White heroes. While I am conscious of reading a diverse array of authors I'm not intentional about it. I think putting it in numbers shows how easy it is for diversity to slip through the cracks even when you are thinking about it.

Last year I said I wanted to read more backlist and more of the used books from the piles in my closet.  I failed that pretty hard. I think I may have bought more used books and only read a total of one backlist book.

Other Reading Tracking Resources :

Sarah Wendell @ Smart Bitches Trashy Books Reading Spreadsheet

FryeFly's Book Blog's Reading Tracking Spreadsheet (2012)

Lose Time Reading's How To Organize Your Reviews using Excel (2013)