January Reading Roundup

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

My reading list for the first month of 2020 was characterized by the randomness that is typical of my reading tastes. While querying Incomparable, I’ve been making headway on research for my historical romance set in post WWII Puerto Rico, tentatively entitled La Trovadora (The Troubador), and many of my reading selections over the last few months have centered on researching for this manuscript.

I overloaded on romances in December so my selections this month tended a bit more towards lit fic and nonfiction, but a few wonderful kissing books made their way into my reads. I grouped each book accordingly.

Inspiration and Creativity:

Steal Like an Artist / Show Your Work / Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Every single one of Austin Kleon’s books are must reads for me. They are easy to carry around, visually striking, and topically streamlined. They speak from an authentic place about the creative process and all the complications that come from balancing creativity with…everything else.

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

I expected a book about the merits of a social media purge, something I’m fond of doing periodically. However, what emerges in these pages is a reflection on the commodification of free time as a result of the gig economy and the resulting dissipation of boundaries between the personal and the professional. Odell covers multiple topics from the narrowing of focus in the context of art and social media to the history of unions in the United States. If you are really interested in harnessing the tools of the information age without being drowned in them, this book is a must read.

Latin American history and literature:

Sugar, Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico by Luis A. Figueroa

This selection is part of the research I am doing on my current work in progress – a historical romance set in post WWII Puerto Rico. This is a continuation of a now six-month research project to understand the important changes on the island as a result of the transition from agricultural to industrial economies. To accomplish this, I had to school myself on the role of slavery and sugar production to get a sense of the cultural, political and economic climate in Puerto Rico in the 1950s. This is an excellent non-fiction companion to Conquistadora, by Esmeralda Santiago, a novel set on a sugar cane plantation in southern Puerto Rico during the late 1800s.

A Summer for Scandal by Lydia San Andres

When I discovered that Lydia San Andres’s romance novels set in the Caribbean, I squealed with joy. It is my dream to write a historical romance series set in Puerto Rico, my current WIP being the first in that series. She creates a fictional island and proceeds to set a delightful array of characters to the task of falling in love. Lush descriptions, and steamy, passionate scenes capture the sensibility of living on a Caribbean island and I, for one, became an instant fan. I’m looking forward to reading The Infamous Miss Rodgriguez in these upcoming months.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

I have a soft spot for short story collections. When I read the reviews for Her Body and Other Parties, I knew I had to read it. She crosses genres, fusing elements of magical realism, horror, and psychological suspense for a collection that fixes its gaze on the way women’s bodies become the battleground for society’s prizes and punishments. For a writer, it is rich in lessons on pushing through prescribed literary forms to achieve narratives that resonate through the senses to strike at the secret travails of women’s lives.

National Book Award Finalists

There There by Tommy Orange

A narrative composed of 12 separate storylines, Orange’s novel reminds the reader that Native American culture is a living, breathing thing rooted in the luminosity of spirituality, the generational pain of historic injustice, and the negotiation of vitality and relevance in a modern world. Orange manages the intersection of so many interconnected narratives with deft and delicacy.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

There is something masterful and controlled about the writing in this novel, a true feat considering the young age of the novelist. Layers upon layers of stories run through this story, compounding the mystery, not only of the village Natalia, the main characters, visits as a physician, but also of her grandfather’s mysterious choices before his death. It is a novel about the power of stories, and the impossibility of secrets to remain hidden. Gorgeous.

Romance:

The Sheriff of Wickham Falls by Rochelle Alers

I was recently awarded the Romance Includes You Mentorship Grant, hosted by Harlequin Romance. My debut novel, Incomparable, will be published in the Fall of 2021. In consequence, I began to snap up copies of recently published novels in Harlequin’s Special Editions and Desire lines, including this entry by Rochelle Alers. A veteran romance writer with dozens of novels to her name, Alers writes a steamy, delicious story about a physician who relocates to a small town and the sheriff who captures her heart. I’m looking forward to the other books in her series.

Shamrocks, Shillelaghs and Shenanigan’s – Released Erotic Shorts

sss

I was fortunate enough to participate in EOT Publications’ Shamrocks, Shillelaghs and Shenanigans: A St. Patrick Day’s Sexy Shorts Collection. As happens with these collaborations, after a specific period of time, the rights revert back to the author. As for my story, Dream of the Fae, I’m collecting together my short and novelette length paranormal romances for publication next year in a collection.

Below, you will find four of the released shorts, including their buy links. If you are interested in a quick, erotic morsel, these sexy shorts might be just what you’re looking for, regardless of the holiday.

shamrock's fourth

Amazon

Submissive Fiona Tay signed a contract with Mr. H. O’Brien. Little did she know there are three of them. She can handle one Dom or two. For three, she needs Luck. (m/f, m/f, m/f, mmm/f).

the night shift

Amazon

Devin McDiarmuid is on a mission. When a priceless family heirloom is accidentally donated to a famous library, she travels all the way to Dublin only to find it’s been lost. The library is like heaven, and she knows the book is somewhere inside. She is determined to find it herself, even if that means sneaking in after dark.

getting lucky

Amazon

A funny thing happens in Boston every March 17: everyone becomes Irish. The lasses shake their shamrocks. The lads party with their shillelaghs out. Liam, Jenna, and Max are up to some naughty shenanigans. Join them in Getting Lucky!

This book contains explicit sexual situations including male/male activities. If these things offend you, please do not download this book. All characters are of legal age and consent.

whiskey in a jar

Amazon

Jason is reluctant to catch up with his best friend, Luke, at a frat party of all places, especially with Luke’s annoying girlfriend, Sarah, tagging along. She was always coming on to him, even in front of Luke. But Sarah has plans that include both Luke and Jason, and this St. Patrick’s Day party is the perfect setting. She will just have to use all her charms to get Jason on board. (m/m/f)