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Book Beat: Halloween Romance, Age Differences, & More

Welcome to Book Beat!

Book Beat aims to highlight other books that we may hear about through friends, social media, or other sources. We could see a gorgeous ad! Or find a new-to-us author on a list of underrated romances! Think of Book Beat as Teen Beat or Tiger Beat, but for books. And no staples to open to get the fold-out poster.

  • Apocalypse Nyx

    Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley

    Author: Kameron Hurley
    Released: July 17, 2018 by Tachyon Publshing
    Genre: ,

    Ex-government assassin turned bounty-hunter Nyx is good at solving other people’s problems. Her favorite problem-solving solution is punching people in the face. Then maybe chopping off some heads. Hey—it’s a living.

    Nyx’s disreputable reputation has been well earned. After all, she’s trying to navigate an apocalyptic world full of giant bugs, contaminated deserts, scheming magicians, and a centuries-long war that’s consuming her future. Managing her ragtag squad of misfits has required a lot of morally-gray choices. Every new job is another day alive. Every new mission is another step toward changing a hellish future—but only if she can survive.

    Apocalypse Nyx is the must-have collection of Kameron Hurley’s five newest Nyx adventures.

    Source: @KameronHurley on Twitter

    Apparently there’s a lesbian threesome.

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  • Bewitching Desire

    Bewitching Desire by Elizabeth Davis

    Author: Elizabeth Davis
    Released: October 8, 2017
    Genre: , , ,
    Series: Coven of the North Star #2

    Linnea Peterson’s life is perfect: perfect hair, perfect house, perfect job, and perfect(ish) boyfriend. She runs marathons, has wine nights with her friends from coven, and does everything you’d expect from a witch with intermittently useful powers in her mid-twenties. The few things in her life that aren’t perfect are just details, really.

    But then her law firm hires someone who threatens to upend everything she thought she knew about herself. The more time she spends with Jack, the more Linnea comes to realize that perfect doesn’t cut it when it’s just a façade.

    She doesn’t want something perfect, she wants something real.

    Source: @E_Davis_Romance on Twitter

    A lawyer witch!

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  • Criminal Intentions: The Cardigans

    Criminal Intentions: The Cardigans by Cole McCade

    Author: Cole McCade
    Released: July 8, 2018
    Genre: , , , , ,
    Series: Criminal Intentions: Season One #1

    ABOUT THIS EPISODE

    When a string of young queer men turn up dead in grisly murders, all signs point to the ex-boyfriend—but what should be an open-and-shut case is fraught with tension when BPD homicide detective Malcolm Khalaji joins up with a partner he never wanted. Rigid, ice-cold, and a stickler for the rules, Seong-Jae Yoon is a watchful presence whose obstinacy and unpredictability constantly remind Malcolm why he prefers to work alone. Seong-Jae may be stunningly attractive, a man who moves like a graceful, lethal bird of prey…but he’s as impossible to decipher as this case.

    And if Malcolm doesn’t find the key to unravel both in time, another vulnerable young victim may end up dead.

    Source: @Thisblackmagic on Twitter

    Cole listed quite a bit of catnip for this one.

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  • Love Spells for the End of the World

    Love Spells for the End of the World by Alys Murray

    Author: Alys Murray
    Released: September 16, 2019
    Genre: , , ,

    Leyton is pretty much your normal town. And I’m pretty much your normal twenty-something. Except that Leyton is populated by magical beings and I’m a witch.

    Every year, for the month of October, Leyton opens its doors to the mortal world. They bring their money, their hokey human charm, and…they bring Him.

    Elijah Thorne.

    Elijah Thorne is a proper thorn in my side. And a world-renowned witch-hunter who, for some reason, is obsessed with the idea of hunting me. For years, we’ve been playing this game of cat and mouse and for years, I’ve managed to evade him.

    But this year…Well, this year I accidentally knitted all of my anxieties into these enchanted scarves I was selling on Easy, one of them got back to an all-powerful warlock in the Fairy Dimension, and, as punishment, he’s going to bring about the end of the world on Halloween night.

    So, the witch hunter and I have to team up with the rest of the town to stop him. Which would be easy if I could just, you know, stop falling in love with Eli long enough to finish the job.

    Perfect for fans of Practical Magic, Halloweentown, and Hocus Pocus, this Halloween romance will have you under its spell!

    Source: @WriterAlys on Twitter

    A Halloween romance novella!

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Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    DiscoDollyDeb says:

    I know we’re all in a state of sadness and shock this morning—so I hope that a book recommendation will not seem frivolous right now, but I cried and talked and group-texted the night away and I need to get out of my “What if” mind-set, so I want to recommend the lovely & lyrical MY CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE by Leonie Mack. I would never have looked twice at this book without reading a rave review at AAR—it has an illustrated cover (always a hard sell for me) and Christmas-themed romances (especially in September) are usually not my thing, but MY CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE is a beautifully-written book about two musicians from completely different worlds and cultures (she’s an English singer-songwriter who had some success on the indie circuit before having a breakthrough hit, he’s a Colombian ex-pat living in Miami who has a string of Latin Grammys) who are thrown together when their record label wants them to record a Christmas song (in August!). The heroine is successfully managing anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, and wearing a prosthetic leg; the hero hides his pain and loss behind a flirtatious facade and a misleadingly upbeat persona. Mack does not otherize or fetishize either of them: they are complete individuals. And I don’t remember reading another romance with musician MCs where what music means to them and how they relate to it was so key to the storyline and so much a part of who both of them are. Highly recommended.

  2. 2
    Carrie G says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb
    RBG was all about hope and moving forward. While we deal with the turbulence outside, it’s important to have safe places and ways to self-care. For me, that includes books, so thank you for any and all recommendations.

  3. 3
    DonnaMarie says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb
    I don’t think Justice Ginsberg would begrudge us the things that bring us comfort. A good book to take you away from the woes of the world is just about all some of us have.
    Thanks for the recs ladies.

  4. 4
    Sydneysider says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb, thanks for the rec. I will add it to my wishlist.

    In that spirit, I recently read An Inconvenient Duke by Anna Harrington and it was a nice escapist historical romance read.

  5. 5

    I really, really enjoyed Love Spells for the End of the World last Halloween! I was just thinking about re-reading it.

  6. 6
    Carrie G says:

    These aren’t new books, but I spent a very enjoyable Labor Day weekend listening to the audio versions of the A Charm of Magpies series by KJ Charles. It starts with The Magpie Lord and has a wonderfully emotional m/m romance with humor and magic.

    The books run about $3 on Kindle, and the audio version can be added through Whispersync for $1.99. This woks well for us because my husband reads the print versions and I listen.

  7. 7
    Darlynne says:

    I feel as though we’ve all stumbled into the kitchen together after an impossibly painful and sleepless night. I’m grateful for this community today.

    Jen Williams is a London-based fantasy writer whose Winnowing Flame trilogy I absolutely love and highly recommend. Unfortunately, these books are only available in German at Amazon US so I’ve had to purchase them through UK sites.

    BUT: Her Copper Cat series, about which I know nothing, is available here and the first, THE COPPER PROMISE, is on sale for $1.99. Female lead, fantasy, something new, I’ve already clicked.

    It’s up to us now to be the heroes we need.

  8. 8
    Stefanie Magura says:

    @DiscoDollyDeb:

    I just bought Christmas Number 1 on Kindle and Audible. It seems like the exact type of musician romance I would want. I haven’t read many because they all seem to be contemporary rock star romances, and while I like rock, I think that there are music worlds which haven’t been utilized as much in romance. I would love to see a series of musician romances set in the 1960’s for example. Wasn’t there a series set in the 1990’s Indie Rock scene or am I just making that up? Thank you for the recommendation, especially since your and my reading tastes don’t seem to really overlap.

  9. 9
    Sophydc says:

    @Darlynne, The Copper Cat is amazing! I stumbled on it a few years ago and read it in a day. It is super intense and fairly violent and really well written.I’m so tempted to buy the sequel for $6.99 and I never buy ebooks for more than 2.99…

  10. 10
    Star says:

    @Stefanie Magura – Not sure if this is what you’re thinking of, but former-indie-rock-musician Mercy Brown wrote two New Adult books set in the 90s New Jersey music scene: Loud Is How I Love You and Stay Until We Break. They’re based on her own experiences in the scene (she even married her own guitarist!), and I really liked them. Great sense of place and atmosphere. They seem to both be $2.99.

  11. 11
    Stefanie Magura says:

    @Star:

    That’s the series I was thinking of. Thank you. I just bought those books too.

  12. 12
    HeatherS says:

    I just found this book on order at my library and had to tell y’all about it, since this is the first I’ve heard of it. “The Happily Ever After: A Memoir of an Unlikely Romance Novelist” by Avi Steinberg – it’s about romance (in a not-snarky-book-snob way). Here’s the plot blurb:

    “A memoir about writing a novel about searching for love.

    Is romance dead? Is that why there are so many vampires in today’s romance novels? When Avi Steinberg’s love life took a grim turn, he did what he always does: He consulted his old books, the usual cast of Great (Very Serious, Usually Male) Authors. And he immediately realized that these books were part of the problem. Instead, he began to read romances, the books he—like so many of us—have been conditioned to dismiss as “trashy.” What he discovered was a genre that was tremendously diverse and daring, along with a vast network of innovative writers who were keeping the novel as alive as ever. His own relationship problems, he realized, came down to a failure of his imagination. And so he set out on a quest to write and publish a romance novel and to find real-life love.

    A hybrid of memoir, travelogue, and critical essay, The Happily Ever After chronicles an adventure in a brave new world of literature. Steinberg offers a report from the trenches of romance, moving between major industry conferences and writing groups at the local bar as he works and reworks his romance novel idea. He reveals the inside scoop from a major romance publishing house, crisscrosses the country meeting mysterious ghostwriters and Fabio’s great unsung rival, and offers a running take on the fascinating history of romance writing, the genre that invented, and continues to reinvent, the modern novel. Along the way he meets many readers, each of whom sheds light on why we are so fascinated by—and phobic of—romance fiction and what the vitality and fractiousness of our biggest genre says about us.

    With quirky wit and disarming honesty, Steinberg captures an often misunderstood literary culture and learns, from its devoted practitioners, how to take the Happily Ever After seriously in his own life.”

  13. 13
    Karen H near Tampa says:

    @HeatherS – I just finished “The Happily Ever After” this afternoon. I found it interesting but he called Smart Bitches Trashy Books a “magazine” at least twice and that drives me crazy. I also felt he didn’t really get deep enough into romance and its readers to satisfy me (that is to say, I did not recognize myself at all and I don’t think I’m that different). Also, his constantly referring to Paranormals, a favorite genre, as “gothic” bothered me since I find them to be widely different genres. I guess it was more of a memoir than a real look at romance. But he was mostly respectful so there is that.

  14. 14
    Escapeologist says:

    @Carrie G: thanks for mentioning the KJ Charles series! I’ve been meaning to try it and the first book is free on Kindle today (The Magpie Lord)

  15. 15
    Stefanie Magura says:

    And for those who don’t know what Christmas Number 1 means, here’s a podcast about it. https://slate.com/culture/2018/12/the-annual-contest-to-score-the-u-k-christmas-no-1.html

  16. 16
    DiscoDollyDeb says:

    I’m afraid the blurb for THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER makes it sound perilously close to mansplaining. I‘m not feeling particularly charitable today, so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t need a man to tell me that romance has been a disrespected and misunderstood genre.

  17. 17
    NT says:

    I think this is the right place to ask. Has anyone read “In Service of Love” by Laurel Greer? It’s a Harlequin Special Edition that was released this month. The back cover mentions that the (half?-)Japanese hero is a widowed single dad. What it evidently doesn’t mention is that he’s bisexual and he was married to a man, which is something I don’t think I’ve ever read in a Harlequin. I’m very curious…but she’s also the author who had the Hanukkah book with the Japanese and Jewish hero last year, and the reviews for that were…not good, so I’m hesitant without hearing some impressions first.

  18. 18
    NT says:

    Oof, I just read the sample on Amazon, and the hero’s daughter’s name is Ruth, named after RGB (FYI for readers not looking to be reminded of our current crisis).

  19. 19
    Stefanie Magura says:

    I’m sorry in advance for the possibly longwinded post, but I have thoughts on the Happily Ever After book, even though the only reading of it I’ve done is by reading excerpts. However, I do have a similar example, and I hope this will provide insight. For anyone who has watched documentaries by Ken Burns, you may have seen or heard of and read about the recent documentary he did on country music. In my opinion, it is similarly disrespected. I am a fan of that genre especially earlier examples, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the documentary on it was going to be his next project. When it came out, I saw similar criticisms to what I’m seeing about this book, and in both cases the criticisms are completely valid by the way. Burns didn’t include enough about what the people were listening to, or Burns didn’t include a segment on insert name of popular singer, or it was too much of an overview of the most famous of famous country stars. I’m paraphrasing real examples of criticism I heard or read about this documentary. I had similar thoughts. I can give you all the things I found wrong about it, but at the same time I was glad to see country music being given serious consideration in a format which was more accessible to the public. It’s for this reason, that I’m interested to read this memoir about discovering the romance novel, in spite of or maybe because of the comments I’ve seen here. I’m starting to think when I might see descenting opinions on a thing, I immediately find it more interesting. Or is it just me? To wrap up I’m sorry to see the shortcomings, both on the documentary project and the book about romance novels, but I am glad to see efforts to hopefully get people outside these genres to try them out. I kind of think media like this isn’t necessarily for the converted.

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