Bookish Ramblings: Bookstore Romance Day 2022

Love is In the Air – 2022

It’s time to celebrate love, all shades of love. August 20, 20221, is officially Bookstore Romance Day. This is the fourth year of celebrating romance in fiction. According to the website: “Bookstore Romance Day is a day designed to give independent bookstores an opportunity to celebrate Romance fiction—its books, readers, and writers—and to strengthen the relationships between bookstores and the Romance community.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for grabbing a good romance book to read (okay, I’m always up for grabbing any good book to read). Contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, or historical romance, I’m always up for the HEA (happy ever after) or HFN (happy for now). Steamy romance or mild romance, it’s all good. If you’re not a romance reader, I hope my recommendations will help you become a Romancelandia convert.

No list is complete without my all-time favorite author, the incomparable, the Slayer of Words, the Queen…Beverly Jenkins! I’ve repeatedly recommended her books to you in the past and I sincerely hope you’ve taken my recommendations. Where do you start? I suggest beginning with her Blessings series (soon to be a television series [we hope]). This series, inspirational with hints of romance, begins with Bring On the Blessings, A Second Helping, Something Old, Something New, A Wish and a Prayer, Heart of Gold, For Your Love, Stepping to a New Day, Chasing Down a Dream, Second Time Sweeter, and On the Corner of Hope and Main. If you enjoy historical romance, then I encourage you to grab copies of Ms. B’s Indigo and Vivid, especially the 25th-anniversary editions. You definitely don’t want to miss out on her “Women Who Dare” series: Rebel, Wild Rain, and the soon-to-be-released, To Catch a Raven.

If you haven’t read anything by Lyssa Kay Adams, now is a good time to start. The Bromance series features men learning how to be better husbands or significant others by reading romance novels. This is one series you’ll want to read in order, so start with book one, The Bromance Book Club, then on to Undercover Bromance, followed by One Crazy Stupid Bromance, and Isn’t It Bromantic?. Make sure you add A Very Merry Bromance to your list for reading later this year.

Another favorite is Jasmine Guillory and her Wedding Date series. This series includes The Wedding Date, The Proposal (one of my favorites), The Wedding Party, Royal Holiday (another favorite because the main female character is named Vivian!), Party of Two, and While We Were Dating (a new favorite). New additions to Ms. Guillory’s list of works include By The Book, released earlier this year, and Drunk On Love scheduled to be released next month.

I can’t say enough good things about Ayesha at Last and Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. These are fantastic stories that feature Muslims as the lead characters and have just as much drama and comedy as seen in other romance reads. Come on people, read diversely! Again, I’m not just saying that because I’m a Black Muslim woman from Appalachia or a Muslim Affrilachian, I’m saying that as a Book Diva!

Need more author suggestions, here’s a partial list for you of authors I’ve read and can strongly recommend: S.K. Ali, Sandra Brown, Alyssa Cole, Lori Foster, Linda Howard, Sarah Jio, Susanna Kearsley, Sandra Kitt, Alexa Martin, JJ Murray (only male on this list), Alisha Rai (I have read and can highly recommend the Modern Love series: Girl Gone Viral, The Right Swipe, and First Comes Like), Vanessa Riley, J.D. Robb & Nora Roberts, Farrah Rochon, Juno Rushdan, Sharon Sala, Meg Tilly, Sarah Title, Tia Williams, Lauren Willig (love the Pink Carnation series), and more.

Bookstore Romance Day is also providing a host of virtual events, please click here to learn more. Registration may no longer be available for some events, but you can always watch any missed events on YouTube.

Let’s celebrate romantic love in all its forms, as well as support our beloved romance authors and indie bookstores. Love is Love! I hope you’ll be able to spend some time at your favorite indie bookstore today and treat yourself to a romance book or two.

Bookstore Romance Day heart-shaped logo

I’m super excited and pleased to announce that there are two indie bookstores in West Virginia participating in Bookstore Romance Day this year. I’ll be heading to Booktenders in Barboursville, West Virginia to grab some books. Who knows, I might also buy a few from WordPlay in Wardensville, West Virginia as well.

Happy Reading, y’all!

2015 Book #268: FRICTION by Sandra Brown

Friction by Sandra Brown
ISBN: 9781455581160 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781455581177 (ebook)
ASIN: B00US1STWW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 18, 2015 
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing


Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to desk work and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet. 

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat. 

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them. 

Friction will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them.


Crawford Hunt enters the courthouse in Texas expecting to do nothing more than battle his in-laws for custody of his daughter. He winds up saving a judge’s life in the courtroom ambush and chasing down the suspect, but it leads to even more trouble in Friction by Sandra Brown. 

Crawford Hunt is a Texas Ranger that has pulled himself out of depression and the bottle and is now determined to regain custody of his daughter. He has relocated from Houston to his in-law’s hometown just to be closer to his daughter. Shortly after the shootout in the courthouse, he knows that the guy caught and killed wasn’t the shooter. If that’s not enough to deal with, his father-in-law is willing to do anything possible to ensure he doesn’t regain custody. Needless to say his attraction to Judge Holly Spencer needs to be put on the back burner, but the mutual attraction won’t allow him to take the necessary step back. Judge Holly Spencer was appointed to the bench and is currently campaigning to retain her position on the court. The last thing she wants or needs is a relationship . . . especially a relationship with someone that has appeared before her in court. While Crawford and Holly fight their attraction to one another (they lose), they must also contend with an investigation that seems more focused on them than the shooter and his motives. Will they be able to find the truth behind the courthouse shootout before more lives are sacrificed?

As most of you know, I enjoy reading mysteries, suspense, suspense thrillers, and romantic-suspense, needless to say, I was quite happy when I obtained a review copy of Ms. Brown’s latest romantic-suspense thriller Friction. Once I closeted my inner prude (Crawford and Holly have a brief sexual encounter shortly after the shooting), I was able to fully enjoy Friction. I found this to be a fast-paced and enjoyable read with realistic characters and plausible action. Crawford has to deal with a local police officer that suspects him of most of the criminal activity taking place and ignores all evidence to the contrary. His father-in-law is out for blood and willing to do whatever he can to ensure Crawford doesn’t regain custody of his daughter. Crawford has reconnected with his alcoholic father, a father that abandoned him after divorcing his mother. And then there’s the Judge. Holly Spencer wants to stay on the bench, but she isn’t willing to compromise one man’s career, namely Crawford’s, to do so. She must battle her campaign manager, the local police detective in charge of the case, and her attraction to a man that should be off limits. Friction is filled with plenty of suspense, family drama, and sexual tension. If you enjoy romantic suspense, then you’ll definitely want to add Friction to your TBR list.


Read an excerpt of Friction here.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Book 302: MEAN STREAK Review


Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
ISBN: 9781455581122 (hardcover) 
ISBN: 9781455581139 (ebook)
ASIN: B00HQ2N52K (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing


Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive. 

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.



Dr. Emory Charbonneau is kind, selfless, and generous. Emory also has great wealth and does a lot of good with her wealth. She works hard as a pediatrician and enjoys her work. She also enjoys running and is training for an upcoming marathon that she organized for a charity. Emory also knows that her marriage is on shaky ground but stands firm about her intent to get away for the weekend to do some mountain training. Her husband, Jeff Surrey, is her opposite. Jeff is self-absorbed, disingenuous, and petty. When Emory is reported as missing, her husband quickly becomes the prime suspect. But all is not what appears. Yes, Jeff is arrogant, self-absorbed, and quick to anger. Yes, he’s also been having an affair, but is he capable of murder?

I had some difficulties initially with Mean Streak. How can you empathize with a nameless character? Yet I did empathize with him as well as with Emory. (The other difficulty was the female character named Emory. I have an uncle with that name and couldn’t quite get past it being used for a female.) Emory’s savior/captor hints at being a bad guy with a mean streak, yet everything he does for her proves the exact opposite. As Emory recovers from a head wound and concussion, she begins to bond with her savior. It isn’t until an incident with one of his neighbors that Emory truly begins to see his true character. When Emory is returned to “civilization” she quickly begins to realize that the four days she spent with this man in the wild was more valuable and important to her than the entire time she’s been married to Jeff. Just when Emory thinks her life can get back to normal she begins to realize her husband may have been responsible for her injuries and her savior reappears just in the nick of time.

Ms. Brown has a way of creating romantic suspense stories that pulls me in and makes me want to continue reading just to find out what will happen next. Mean Streak is slightly different in that we have an unnamed protagonist and we fall for him as quickly and easily as Emory. (There’s just something about those strong, silent types!) I enjoyed Mean Streak and found it to be a fast-paced read. I enjoyed all of the characters, even the bad guys, and found them to be realistic. If you’re like me and enjoy suspense or romantic-suspense then you’ll definitely want to add Mean Streak to your TBR list. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Book Spotlight: MEAN STREAK by Sandra Brown



Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
ISBN: 9781455581122 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781455581139 (ebook)
ASIN: B00HQ2N52K (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing


Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive. 

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.


Read an excerpt here.


Watch the book trailer:








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Meet the author:

Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including Deadline (2013), Low Pressure (2012), Lethal (2011), Tough Customer (2010), Smash Cut (2009), Smoke Screen (2008), Play Dirty (2007), Ricochet (2006), and Chill Factor, all of which have jumped onto the Times bestseller list in the number one to five spot.

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into thirty-four languages.

Brown holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She served as the president of the Mystery Writers of American in 2012 and was named ITW’s Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


Connect with the author:

Website      |     Facebook      |     Twitter      |     Goodreads      |     Pinterest 



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