Shelf Love
  • 028. Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi with Kennedy Ryan

    Mar 10, 2020

    Longing, Connection, and Friendship as Foundational to Romance Kennedy Ryan is back to discuss Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi, a book that LJ Shen (lovingly) forced Kennedy to read. It’s the story of two lonely protagonists who become obsessed with contact and their love story is about friendship, trust, and understanding as the foundation for a relationship. We also talk about meeting your writing heroes, Kennedy’s influences and her nomination for the romance canon, and why love is a hazard to your health. Plus, a cameo from Penny Reid. Also, did you know that tonight on March 9, 2020 it is the beginning of Purim? Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, you’re going to love this enemies to lovers rom-com Write This Book from Hannah Hearts Romance at the end of this episode.

  • 027. Island Fling with the Tycoon by Therese Beharrie with Talia Hibbert

    Mar 3, 2020

    Talia Hibbert, best-selling author of romance novels like Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and Work For It, joins me to talk about how Disney’s 1998 film Mulan explores genderqueer themes, Talia shares her nomination for the romance canon, and we discuss how Therese Beharrie is a master of the condensed timeline, as explored in her sweet Harlequin romance: Island Fling with the Tycoon. Also, if you enjoy Derek Craven, puns and romance novels, you’re going to love a special surprise at the end of this episode involving my favorite Tweet Artist, Ash Dylan.

  • 026. Teach Me by Olivia Dade with Denise Williams

    Feb 25, 2020

    Is power a pie that once eaten, disappears? What’s the opposite of toxic masculinity? And, most importantly, what is a cinnamon roll hero and why are they all the rage right now in romantic fiction? Denise Williams (How to Fail at Flirting) is back to discuss Teach Me by Olivia Dade, which is about two very passionate, mature, and respectful high school history teachers. It's a super hot romance between an emotionally-distant ice queen heroine and a cinnamon roll hero. Also: Preview of the April 2020 NECRWA Conference with Sionna Fox, and what options local RWA chapters are considering in the wake of the national chapter's massive failure to address racism and lack of diversity.

  • 025. Wattpad - The Love Riots by Noora Zaroon with Tamara Lush

    Feb 18, 2020

    Tamara Lush (romance writer and AP journalist) and I discuss Wattpad and Radish, where you can find serialized fiction by writers and for readers that are international, young, and diverse. We also talk about pacing yourself as a writer and what’s troubling Tamara about indie publishing. The text we discuss today is a Wattpad story called The Love Riots by Delhi Belly, aka Noora Zaroon. This cross-genre story reminds us of the bonkbusters novels by Sidney Sheldon or Danielle Steel, and tells a gritty and sometimes uncomfortable story about a toxic inter-religious Romeo + Juliet relationship between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man in India. While this story explores a relationship, it is NOT a romance novel, and the ending is definitely not emotionally satisfying. We also discuss issues of dubious consent within the story.

  • 024. Body Image in Romance Novels with Kennedy Ryan and Esme Brett

    Feb 14, 2020

    An exploration of weight loss and body image themes in romance novels. First, I talk to Kennedy Ryan, RITA-award winning author of Long Shot, as well as Block Shot, which we talk about in this episode. Then, I share a related clip from a previous episode with Esme Brett when we discussed plus-size representation in Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean, plus some ways in which fat women are treated differently in the world.

  • 023. Katrina Jackson: Communication, Polyamory + Financial Conversations

    Feb 11, 2020

    Katrina Jackson, erotic romance author by night, historian by day, joins the podcast once again to talk about polyamory in romance novels, how these relationships challenge genre conventions, and how communication is key in ALL relationships. We also discuss how happily for now is more like real life, and about why combining or discussing finances as a couple can be full of conflict - and how we’d like to see more romances that explore these issues. You can also hear Katrina on episode 17 in which we discuss An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole, about reluctant spy partners working to bring down the Confederacy in the Civil War.

  • 022. Thirsty by Mia Hopkins with Tif Marcelo

    Feb 4, 2020

    Tif Marcelo (romance & women’s fiction author writing joyful stories of Filipino relationships without the oppression) and I read Thirsty by Mia Hopkins. This sexy contemporary explores outcasts, anti heroes, and forgiveness. We also discuss communities, how communities aren’t always what they seem to outsiders, and the personal calculus one makes about wanting to continue belonging to a community - when do you stay, and when is it time to go? This Episode is sponsored by Owner of a Broken Heart by Cheris Hodges (Kensington Books).

  • 021. Secret Baby in Romance with Kini Allen

    Jan 31, 2020

    Minisode! Kini Allen and I talk about the secret baby trope in romance novels, I share all the ones I forgot I had read, and then she shares some favorites. Then, listeners weigh in on the trope and I make the case for representing other reproductive choices in romance. This episode may not be for everyone. Content Warning: We talk about unintended pregnancy in the course of this episode, and in the outro I talk about contraception, abortion, and miscarriage in romance novels.

  • 020. Denise Williams on Teaching Romance Novels

    Jan 28, 2020

    Denise Williams (Golden Heart Finalist, author of forthcoming How to Fail at Flirting) and I discuss the class she’s co-teaching called “Moving Past Bodice Ripping Toward Shredding the Patriarchy: Romance Novels as Tools for Justice.” We discuss her work in student affairs and diversity training, how to fail at naming your debut novel, and how to silence your inner critic. Also: are the kids these days less snobby about romance novels than previous generations? Is romance an inherently feminist genre? Denise will be back in a future episode to discuss Teach Me by Olivia Dade and Cinnamon Roll heroes.

  • 019. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas with Penny Reid

    Jan 21, 2020

    Penny Reid (Knitting in the City Series, Winston Brothers) and I discuss A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. It’s a dark fairy tale that blends Beauty and the Beast, the Hades/Persephone myth, and the Hunger Games. In addition to asking the deep existential questions - At what cost freedom? Freedom at what cost?! - we talk about how your first love isn’t always your last love, YA, and how there’s strength in being a marshmallow. Penny will be back in a future episode to discuss her new publishing venture, Smarty Pants Romance.