If you haven’t seen it yet, Jenica at Firewhiskey Reader and I made a bingo board! Jenica was commenting on Twitter that she wanted something similar to the Ripped Bodice bingo to get her through the fall, and I thought it sounded like fun to make one, so we did! And then Jenica’s sister got involved and illustrated it, and the final product is just so cool!!
I started out making one blog post with recommendations and my personal TBR, but it just got so long. Like, sooooooo long. I was at 2000 words just typing up titles I wanted to mention for the different prompts! So I decided to break it down into more manageable pieces, both for me and for readers. First up is my own personal TBR! Of course, this might change, but this is a great starting point.
Also, while Jenica and I wrote these prompts and might include some guidance in our blog posts, please feel free to interpret the prompts however you see fit! We fully support stretching a prompt in order to count a book for it. This is all just in good fun, after all!
Makes you hungry
I can’t tell you how often I read a book and then get mad that no one told me to have specific food on hand because that book was going to make me crave it! Sometimes you should know, like when a book it titled Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, but so often you don’t and it catches you off guard!
So there’s a high likelihood that I won’t know for sure what book I’ll use for this prompt until I actually read it, but just in case! Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol has been on my TBR for ages, and I suspect this is going to be the perfect choice because the heroine is a chef. And it’s a great pick for Latinx Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15)!
I had no idea where to start looking for a book to fulfill this prompt and was just going to ask Jenica, since I know she loves books with lots of pining (yes, this prompt was her idea), but then I remembered that one of the books we have left in our When Old Meets New reading series is a friends-to-lovers book with lots of pining!
In Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simona, the heroine quits her job as an assistant to a star quarterback, who just so happens to be her best friend who she’s been in love with for years. Of course, when she expresses an interest in dating, he starts to realize how little he likes the idea of her dating someone else, and of course the two of them fall in love!
While these prompts are open to interpretation, the definition of Black love is pretty strict: a romance must include two Black main characters. Multicultural and interracial relationships are great, but this prompt is specifically about Black love.
I have a few options on my shelves for this one, but I’m thinking I’ll go with A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read so far from her, and I especially love that this features a Black cowboy, since cowboys are almost always white in romance. Plus I haven’t read an amnesia plot in ages! (PS: This one might also count for a book that makes me hungry, since it sounds like the heroine in this one is also a chef!)
I mean, technically you could read an English-set historical set in the Georgian or Victorian eras and have it count towards this prompt, but the inspiration was definitely a desire to go outside of traditional historicals! So that’s how I intent to interpret the prompt, and what my recommendations will be. Also, I started writing this, and it got out of hand very quickly, so I think I’m going to have to keep it brief in my bingo posts, but then write a full blog post on this topic!
As it happens, Jenica suggested this topic because she knows how much I want historical romance to diversify beyond being straight, white, and set in Regency England, so it’s not surprising that I have a lot of options for this prompt!
First up is Lady of Secrets by GS Carr, a Civil War era romance with a spy heroine! Then there’s Hearth and Home by Rebel Carter, a Western historical romance involving a mail order groom. I’m also intrigued by The Devil to Pay by KC Bateman, an elaborate medieval Italian romance. And last but not least, Briarly by Aster Glenn Gray is a WWII-era m/m retelling of Beauty and the Beast. These books all sound amazing, I want to try and get to all of them this fall!
Set in another world
When suggesting this prompt, I was thinking of it more along the lines of scifi or romance that’s literally not set on Earth, though I know Jenica chose to include urban fantasy in her suggestions as well, so there’s definitely more than one way to interpret this prompt!
For me, I’m thinking I’ll use A Treason of Truths by Ada Harper, a f/f scifi romance between a queen and her spymaster. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and I really need to pick up the sequel already!
Some other contenders are The Blacksmith Queen by GA Aiken and Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven. I’m not actually sure what either of these fantasy romances is about, but I know the heroine is a blacksmith in The Blacksmith Queen, and I liked the first book in the Fallen Empire series enough to want to read Dragon Unleashed (also, who doesn’t like dragons?).
Somewhere you’ve never been
The inspiration behind this prompt, at least on my end, was to pick a book set in a country you haven’t been to, ideally outside of the US and UK, where so many romances are based. That said, this could mean a new city you’ve never been to, or you could be on the “other world” prompt and pick a book set in another world, since technically you’ve never been there!
For me, I’ve had Better at Weddings than You by Mina Esguerra on my TBR for ages. It’s set in Manila and is a romance between two wedding planners, and I’ve heard great things! Also, Adrianna Herrera had a book come out earlier this summer called Finding Joy that’s set in Ethiopia (one of the heroes is an emergency relief worker and the other is a future doctoral student), so I’m excited to check that out. I could also read some more of Jeannie Lin’s backlist, which is largely set in historical China (and could double up for the Non-Regency Historical prompt).
Ok, not going to lie, I specifically picked this prompt because I’m hoping Jenica will read Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid for it! (Also, I love hockey and played it growing up, but it was mostly for Heated Rivalry, ngl.) I’m obsessed with that m/m, enemies-to-lovers romance and need everyone to read it! But we’ll get to recommendations in a future post.
Personally, I’ve been meaning to read Sarina Bowen for ages, so I think I’m going to use this prompt to make me finally pick up her Brooklyn Bruisers series, starting with Rookie Move! I’ve literally owned this book for years, and both Twitter and my book club are obsessed with this series, so I need to start already!
So there are a few different ways this prompt can be interpreted! Initially, it started off as specifically saying “older heroine, younger hero,” but it got shortened at some point, and then when Jenica’s sister drew an older woman with graying hair, we decided it was a good prompt to encourage people to read books with heroines who are older and potentially have all gray hair since so much of romance is focused on younger characters. So I encourage both interpretations!
I didn’t have a book in mind when picking this prompt, and nothing stood out immediately when I glanced at my shelves, so I did some digging for this prompt. I think I want to stick with the older heroine, younger hero concept, so when I saw Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt sold as “virgin batman,” I was sold.
Librarian / Bookseller MC
So I had two books in mind when suggesting this prompt: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath and Hearts on Hold by Charish Reid. I’ll talk about The Earl Takes a Fancy in my recommendation post, since I’ve already read it, but I bought Hearts on Hold on release day and still somehow haven’t picked it up yet! She’s an uptight professor and he’s a librarian, and the two connect when he teases her about a late fee on an overdue romance. It sounds so cute, and I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet!
Another great option would be Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon. One of the heroes runs a romance book club and is annoyed by the new employee at his local bookstore, so he’s not thrilled when said bookseller shows up at his next book club! It sounds so cute, and I’ve also been meaning to read this for a very long time.
Honestly, I’m thinking this one just gets filled in as I read! There are some authors I know do great banter, but I don’t think any of my favorites have books coming out this fall. I have no doubts, however, that I will be pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained by some great banter at some point this fall!
Soooo many of the books mentioned in this post are actually new-to-me authors, so I could easily double up on this! But I’m going to specifically call out Heartbeat Braves by Pamela Sanderson, which is an office romance between two people working at the Crooked Rock Urban Indian Romance. I really want to make sure and include at least one book by a Native author on this list in celebration of Native American Heritage Month in November!
I actually have an arc of A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday, so I definitely think I’ll be reading that for this prompt! She’s a princess from a made up European country who gets rescued by a cab driver outside of the UN. His kindness makes such an impression on her that she asks him to be her driver for the rest of her trip, and of course the two wind up falling in love.
I could also use The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman, which isn’t out until December but that I also have an arc of. I believe it involves a princess in disguise and a Bow Street agent, and I’m really looking forward to it. Another book on my shelves that popped out at me is The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert, which, like so many other books on this list, has been on my kindle for ages. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from Talia Hibbert so far, so I really need to get on the rest of her backlist!
Pick a romance, any romance!
Series following a big family
I was inspired by authors like Johanna Lindsey, Jude Deveraux, and Julia Quinn when I picked this prompt. I love all of the big series following huge families, and I wish we had more of them these days!
Personally, I think I’ll read Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath for this prompt! It’s the last book in a six-book series following a family of bastards whose parents dropped them off at a baby farmer hoping to never see them again. This book is for the last brother who hasn’t gotten a story yet. Benedict, more commonly known as Beast, is approached by Althea after she is left penniless and cast out by the ton. With his help, she hopes to learn the art of seduction so she can return to Society on her own terms.
Crafts or puzzles
I was at a total loss as to what to pick for this one and had to consult Jenica’s recommendation post! I don’t do a lot of YA these days, but I actually really like the idea of using this as an excuse to read The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, which is a contemporary f/f romance in which both heroines are competing in a school competition to create their own businesses, and both choose to do henna.
A beautiful outfit
Oooo, there are so many great books out there that fit this prompt! You could definitely do this one based on a beautiful outfit one of the characters wears, but I’m totally going for a gorgeous dress on the cover.
Honestly, I feel like almost any historical could work for this, because they’re so often wearing beautiful dresses on the cover! For now, I’m going to call out Love Is a Rogue by Lenora Bell, which is out on October 27, because I really love the blue color of her dress. It’s so stunning! Also, this is a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast retelling that I’m really looking forward to. And based on Lenora Bell’s previous books, I suspect this will be a good candidate for the banter category, too!
Grumpy & Sunshine
I love love love grump/sunshine books! It’s just such a great pairing. Bonus points if the heroine is the grump and the hero is the sunshine!
I know I tend to one-click buy anything when I see the grump/sunshine trope, so I know I have plenty on my shelves, but without reading all of the descriptions, I’m not sure which one to pick? I see from poking around the internet that A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert is a grump/sunshine pairing, which is perfect because I really need to read more of her backlist (the heroine is the grump and her friendly new neighbor is the sunshine). I also have Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen (a pun title), which is also a bodyguard romance!
So I actually requested this prompt because I recently learned programming and am hunting for a job in software engineering, and I’d love to see more heroines in tech and STEM more generally!
I’m thinking I’ll read Level Up by Cathy Yardley, which I bought because Jenica loved it so much, but which I somehow haven’t managed to read yet (I’m sorry, it’s really a theme in this post!). I believe she’s a video game engineer who falls in love with her roommate after they work on building a game together.
I mean, I’m pretty sure most of my tbr is books that I found through Twitter recommendations!
The first one that jumps out at me on my kindle is The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, which I specifically remember Aarya raving about, and which I have seen lots of great things about since! I’m going to stick with that one for now, but I personally have so many that could fit for this prompt! We’ll see which one I wind up actually using.
I had no idea what to use for this prompt and was going to look at covers for books on my tbr to see if any of them had rain or umbrellas, but then I was reading through the plots of the arcs I need to read the next few months and saw that the blurb of Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincey literally starts with “When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman.”
This book wasn’t really on my radar until Avon sent it to me, and even then, it wasn’t at the top of my TBR until I saw Diana Quincey talk about it on a panel for Bookstore Romance Day. I believe she said it’s Muslim own voices, which I have literally never seen in a historical before, so I’m really excited to check it out! And the plot sounds great, too. After the handsome stranger helps the heroine fight off the ruffians, they have a one night stand. But of course, the next day they find out that he’s the duke who’s supposed to marry her stepdaughter!
I love a good pun in the title! Seriously, the punny titles are one of my favorite things about romance, and I think historicals do this especially well. I even have a whole blog post dedicated to some great titles whose puns give me earworms because they always remind me of songs!
As such, I am incredibly disappointed my current physical and digital TBRs don’t have any especially great punny titles! It’s such a let down. The closest I can get is Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews, an urban fantasy series starring an innkeeper whose broom is a deadly weapon and whose inn is actually magic. It sounds great, but it’s certainly not at the same level of pun as The Rogue Not Taken or A Scot in the Dark. Maybe this is my cue to finally read some of Suzanne Enoch’s books, like It’s Getting Scot in Here.
(Lol, I realized as I was editing this that Hearts on Hold is a great punny title, so maybe I’ll use that for this prompt instead of the librarian one! We’ll see.)
Quintessential fall activity
This was another one I struggled with and had to get an idea from Jenica. She highly recommends Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera, in which they apparently visit a pumpkin patch, but I’m really excited that she has Teach Me by Olivia Dade on her list! I read my first Olivia Dade earlier this summer and absolutely loved it, so this is the perfect nudge to go back and read Teach Me, a romance between two teachers with the caption “even ice queens can melt” on the cover. Jenica considers the first day of school to be a quintessential fall activity, and I agree!
I think this is another one that I’ll inadvertently fulfill without trying considering how many great pets there are in romance novels!
The only book I have with a pet on the cover (which made it really easy to pick out for this prompt) is Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher. I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure I’ll like this book, which is why I’ve taken so long to pick it up, but maybe I’ll finally do it this fall. I think I could also potentially read Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes, which has some great cats with helmets on the cover! I’m just not sure if it’s much of a romance, but regardless, I’ve been wanting to read it for the great cover!
Alternatively, I might just reread Emerald Blaze. Catalina’s dog Shadow has a small appearance in this one, but he’s still important to the book!
Plus-sized heroine on the cover
Jenica and I were definitely inspired by Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade when we picked this prompt. It has such a stunning cover, and it sounds really fun, too! The heroine goes viral after sharing fanfiction for her favorite show, and never in a million years expected one of the show’s stars to ask her out on a date to spite her trolls. What she doesn’t know is that the hero is also a fanfiction writer—and in fact they’re best friends online. But he would get fired immediately if his secret identity were discovered! Dade has a lot of other great books that could fit for this prompt, including 40-Love, which is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year!
The other book I’m thinking of using for this is Along for the Ride by Mimi Grace. Did you guess that this has been on my tbr for ages? Because if you did, you are correct! I totally bought this for the cover and the fact that it’s an enemies-to-lovers road trip romance, and Grace has a new book coming out this fall that looks really cute, so I have to read this first! Though to be fair, I’m not sure the heroine on the cover is truly plus-sized, she’s just not super skinny, so maybe this isn’t the best pick for this prompt.
Romance author writing in a different genre
I think this prompt was inspired by Alyssa Cole’s new thriller novel, When No One Is Watching, which comes out on September 1! Jenica and I both have advanced copies that we need to read and review before, then, so I don’t think either of us will actually use it for this prompt, but definitely check it out! I don’t know much about it other than it’s a gentrification thriller set in Brooklyn, but that and the fact it’s written by Alyssa Cole was enough to sell me!
I actually have several options in mind for this prompt, and I’m not entirely sure which one I’m going to go with. As a huge Nalini Singh fan, I could finally pick up her first foray into the thriller genre, A Madness of Sunshine. But if I want to stick to my owned TBR, I own Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin, a steampunk novel set in historical China that I’m sure I’ll love given how much I enjoy Lin’s historical romances. I could also read Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone, who writes romance under the name Victoria Dahl. It’s a revenge thriller that I’ve heard absolutely rave things about.
I am very excited about this bingo board that Jenica and I have created, and I can’t wait to dive in to this TBR. It’s going to be so much fun following along and trying to get all of the prompts! And based on this TBR, I have a lot of great reading to look forward to in the next few months.
I hope you’ll join us and participate in this bingo board! Share your own TBRs and progress, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #FallIntoRomBingo! Jenica already has a recommendation post up, which you can check out here, and I’ve started a Twitter thread here. I’ll also be sharing more recommendations in a few blog posts over the coming weeks!