Saturday, April 14, 2018

Whatcha Reading? + Romancelandia Recap (April 14th)

But first, a little

Romancelandia Recap

I wish I could say romancelandia is back to dick jokes, hero inspiration, and book discussions . . . but it's not. Or I should say, that's not the big story in the community this week.

The discussion on racism in the community continues. First, NPR did an interview with Alisha Rai, which on its own was great. BUT here's the problem: the article they wrote to go with it talks about the lack of black RITA winners . . . and doesn't talk to a single black romance author (Rai, while an author of color, is not a black author). Courtney Milan stepped up to say that she was sorry for being part of this, and Alisha made a similar remark. While their statements of apology are appreciated (by other AoC, especially black authors), the fact remains that the blame falls on NPR (and any other media outlet who has done this over the years). If you want to talk about a group -- in this case, black romance authors -- the only way to do so is to INTERVIEW and listen to black romance authors. It's really that simple. And yet here we are. Again.

Then, there was another comment shared, where this reader (name blacked out) stated that they didn't know "African American romance authors" existed and, worse, they wanted to know if their books were about the "African American lifestyle" or if they were like the white experience.

You guys . . . I don't know what to say to that. Honestly, the last part of the statement is the worst, as the view point there is "Well, *those* people are different from white people so IDK if I can read about their experiences."

Once again, Becky, your racism is showing. I've seen a few trying to defend this reader by saying that it sounds like they want to learn and were asking a legit question, that they could very well be under a rock so much that they don't know AOC exist. But the hill I will die on is this: there is no excusing these racist statements, and when white people jump in and say "Well, but they didn't MEAN it that way, obviously! Can't we just excuse them and move on?" that's how we got here in the first place. Yes, they need to learn, and yes, that falls to white people, not POC, to do the teaching. But they don't get a free pass just because talking about all this makes YOU uncomfortable.

But the hits just kept on coming this week. All About Romance (AAR), a huge review site for the genre, posted up their list and poll for the Top 100 romances of all time. There were zero black authors on it, and only one or two non-black AoC. AAR tried to defend their list by stating that it was "not a complete list yet", that readers would have a chance to add their own choices and of course there would be a more diverse list after the write-ins were added. Then they tried to say that the list was so white/basic because it was using the titles from the last list, in 2013, and that was before they started reading more diverse titles.

Wrong and wrong. Expecting readers to make your list diverse is bullshit. Do the damn work yourself first or step down and let another site lead the way because you're not helping the community with that mentality. And also, there were titles on their original list that were released AFTER 2013, so that's also a bullshit excuse.

I would also like to point out that their list includes YA titles and non-romance titles. IN A TOP 100 ROMANCE LIST. But really, that's a small problem compared to the big problem of just how white (and cishet) their list is. [But seriously, I will die on this hill: a romance list should be ALL romances, not YA titles, not goddamn Jane Austen, and not "well, this had a love story in it!" books. But I digress right now because we need to focus on the racism part.]

Things with AAR got messier as the days went on, as they doubled down, said shit they should not have -- especially to AoC -- and then one of their reviewers (their main editor, I believe?) did a thread on her personal account that was all sorts of fucked up. She has since put her account on private, so the link to the thread won't work. But don't worry, there are screencaps.

Honestly, there's so much to say about the AAR incident, but I'll leave it at that and, of course, link to as many threads and explanations that I can.

To round out the week, romance was also thrown under the bus by a women's fiction group/author. And while some are defending them by saying that the poster in question was misleading and the workshop in question was actually very positive about romance and women writers, I refuse to accept that. You don't get a pass just because you are a romance reader -- and writer, ahem. That poster title was a giant pile of shit in regards to romance, and I find it hard to believe that the speaking event was any better when discussing our genre, especially considering the weak-ass Twitter response to it, when the author finally did respond.

But wait! Least you think Friday was quiet, nope. Here I am, updating the post again, and guess what? It's another big white author showing us her racist side. Rachel Gibson boldly dropped into a two week old thread from Courtney Milan, and proceeded to tell Milan that she's been in the business for so long, she knows publishing only sees one color: green (cash), not race.

Update: Rachel deleted her tweets to Courtney (of course she did). If I can find some screenshots, I'll update the links below. Otherwise, you'll just have to go on what Courtney said in response, and what everyone else was talking about when this was going on.

Well, there's another author to put on my "Never Again" list. Thanks, Rachel!

Seriously, you guys. My kingdom for a quiet day in romancelandia. JUST ONE. I'm not asking for an entire week, that would be asking too much.

As always, links to everything I can find about all of that stuff will be listed at the bottom of this post.

As to my week, the weather still can't make up its mind -- from 70 and sunny to 30s and snowy -- things are still crazy (hence no time for a podcast), and I made a giant batch of awesome chocolate chip cookies, which I then froze so I can quickly pull out a few and enjoy a fresh baked cookie any time. Have you ever tried that? 12/10, definitely recommend! Do you have a favorite cookie dough recipe, especially one that freezes well? Let me know!

Okay, enough of all that. How about we finally move on to the books I read this week -- that's what you came for!

Press play or click this link: No Podcast!

You can now find the podcast listed on:

What I Read:

Pretending He's Mine by Mia Sosa
4 1/2 Stars
April Royal Pick

✦ Dual 1st POV
✦ BFF’s little sis + temp roommates + fake dating
✦ Hollywood agent (to her brother! so double "off limits" conflict)
✦ Flight attendant and aspiring singer/songwriter
✦ Slow burn then BAM 🔥🔥
     ✦ Masturbation FTW! FOR BOTH
✦ So much fun! A great rom-com feel
✦ Only complaint: the ending wasn't as strong as I wanted (rushed, a bit incomplete with things)

Find all the quotes I shared HERE
Full review HERE

Just What I Needed by Lorelei James
Narrated by Lidia Dornet and Roger Wayne
2 1/2 Stars

✦ Dual 1st POV
✦ He owns a construction/renovation company (comes from family money though)
     ✦ A bit quiet, bearded
✦ She’s an artist
✦ Slow burn/low heat
✦ It was all just “okay”, with a few things that bothered me
     ✦ Unnecessary drama, casual fatphobia, hero thinks feelings are        for pussies, etc
     ✦ No friends for her -- and the two that show up, VERY briefly, are horrible -- the dude is a complete dick, the female friend is only mentioned once, and all we know is she has to shop at Lane Bryant. Ugh
✦ Felt NA but it’s NOT and they’re both 30?
✦ Reminder that I didn't like book 1 either.

Syncopation by Anna Zabo
4 Stars

✦ Lead singer / songwriter (gay)
✦ New drummer (pan aro)
     ✦ Classically trained
     ✦ He's the Dom/top in the relationship
✦ They knew each other in HS, didn't really get along
✦ A+++ consent -- AS IT ALWAYS SHOULD BE
✦ Kinky (and hot) AF
     ✦ D/s, bondage, spanking / flogging, some fun with toys
     ✦ All very kink positive. Zabo is not one of those authors writing something they don't know about!
✦ These two were just sweet together?!
     ✦ My heart . . . oh, they were adorable together and had some great romantic / intimate moments
✦ Need the rest of the series ASAP -- Dom is next and I cannot wait.

Find all the quotes I shared HERE

Currently Listening To:

My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster

I'm about half way done, liking it so far -- except the hero's name. Lynch. WTF? NOT SEXY. But whatever. He's a Blue Blood (vampire), she's in disguise as his secretary (works for a rival group).

Currently Reading:

Heart's Choice by Celeste O. Norfleet

Almost done with this one. One of the few romances written by black romance authors that my Overdrive has (or really, romances by AoC in general). Football player + actress.

Next Up:
Fallen Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

Out Tuesday (04/17)

Been a while since I've read CAR. This is the start of a new series. Friends to lovers. Tattoo artists. He's a single dad. SO MUCH CATNIP HERE.

Miscellaneous Links

So what are YOU currently reading?

Oh! And favorite cookie dough recipes? Especially if they freeze well. TELL ME ALL THE THINGS I NEED TO BAKE NEXT.


Until Next Time,

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