Cover image of Fated Mates - A Romance Novel Podcast

Fated Mates - A Romance Novel Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Fated Mates is a romance novel podcast co-hosted by author Sarah MacLean and critic Jen Prokop. Weekly episodes include romance novel read-alongs and discussions of the work of the genre, highlighting the romance novel as a powerful tool in fighting patriarchy…with absolutely no kink shaming.

Read more

Fated Mates is a romance novel podcast co-hosted by author Sarah MacLean and critic Jen Prokop. Weekly episodes include romance novel read-alongs and discussions of the work of the genre, highlighting the romance novel as a powerful tool in fighting patriarchy…with absolutely no kink shaming.

iTunes Ratings

265 Ratings
Average Ratings

So excellent

By MarielleRR - Jan 14 2020
Read more
Love it, love Jen and Sarah! They are so smart and so funny!

My IAD fix!!!!

By sabine is my queen - Jul 22 2019
Read more
I love this podcast! Thank you for making the wait for Munro’s book bearable!

iTunes Ratings

265 Ratings
Average Ratings

So excellent

By MarielleRR - Jan 14 2020
Read more
Love it, love Jen and Sarah! They are so smart and so funny!

My IAD fix!!!!

By sabine is my queen - Jul 22 2019
Read more
I love this podcast! Thank you for making the wait for Munro’s book bearable!
Cover image of Fated Mates - A Romance Novel Podcast

Fated Mates - A Romance Novel Podcast

Latest release on Feb 19, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 4 days ago

Rank #1: 1: We're Gonna Come Back to Biting - A Hunger Like No Other

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, a like would be awesome!

Our next read (in two weeks) will be No Rest for the Wickedthe story of Sebastian Wroth (vampire) and Kaderin the Cold-Hearted (valkyrie), and the beginning of the IAD Amazing Race mini-arc!

Show Notes

- Why do people hate the word moist?

- There really are catacombs below Paris, and they seem very creepy.

- Co-ed is a more dated word than you'd expect. According to the Oxford English dictionary, it's been in use since the 1880s. Game, set, and match to The Independent, which printed the following sentence in 1903: "Any college where the girls are commonly called ‘co-eds’ is not a truly co-educational institution."

- The TSTL trope in romance heroines.

- All about Mary Sues.

- The Fated Mates trope.

- Maybe you all missed the Kavanaugh hearings. I love myself, so we'll just stick to one informative infographic.

- Jen's romance book club at 57th Street Books in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. If you're not in Chicago, bookstores and libraries across the country and online will be participating in The Great Big Romance Read in December 2018. Find your people!

- Romance isn't the only genre examining old favorites through the lens of #MeToo. Molly Ringwald looked back at John Hughes and The Breakfast Club in The New Yorker. This podcast from WNYC is about pop culture in the #MeToo era.

- The list of RITA award winners, sorted by year.

- A million articles have been written about Twilight, but I like this one that looks at the big themes that bubble up time and time again.

- Alisha Rai has said lots of smart things about toxic masculinity, as it turns out.

- Representation in BDSM matters.

- Take a crash course in modernity.

- A brief overview of Cassandra from Greek mythology.

- The Devil in Winter, because everyone loves to read about a sex deal.

- According to The Smart Bitches, a magic hoo-hah is "shorthand for the equally illustrious and many powers of the female sex organ, specifically the vagina. The Magic Hoo-Hoo tames the Mighty Wang, and becomes the magnetized true north for the hero’s trouser compass from the point of their first sexual coupling. The Magic Hoo-Hoo brings the hero to monogamous attachment, because after experiencing it, the hero will not be satisfied with anything or anyone else."

- I'm sure everyone wants to learn more about moon phases.

- Fury is an actual furie.

- When we say Lothaire was a big deal, we mean there was an actual Lothaire bus touring around America.

- Are you ready for No Rest for the Wicked?

Nov 14 2018

1hr 6mins


Rank #2: S02.13: Best Romance Novels of 2019

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review!

In two weeks, we’re moving across the pond to Beverly Jenkins’s Indigo, with one of Sarah’s favorite heroines ever—Hester Wyatt, Underground Railroad conductor! Read Indigo at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo or your local indie.

Show Notes

In between our recording and release of this episode, Kristen Callihan did release a new book, Outmatched, which is cowritten with Samantha Young. But don't miss Scottie from Managed, who will appear later in season 2 as a book that blooded Jen.

Munro. That's it. That's the show note.

Some of the best of 2019 lists from Bookish, NPR and Kirkus. Sarah's website has all of her past Best of the Year Lists for the Washington Post. Amazon also has a best of the year list, but the Goodreads Award list is strange.

Emma Donoghue's Room was a big literary fiction book back in 2010, and it was on all the end of the year lists.

Jen will be appearing at The Book Cellar on Dec 7, 2019 if you're looking for something to do. She'll be talking about the best books of the year with other critics.

Around the same time we recorded this episode, Kini at SmexyBooks wrote this thoughtful piece about transparency in romance reviewing.

Kylie Scott's Repeat was also on our Amnesia episode.

Love's Sweet Arrow is a romance-only bookstore in Chicago's south suburbs.

Quelle suprise!.

Jen also likes Rebecca Zanetti, who also resists romantic suspense that is just "women in peril" plots.

Face/Off is a very goofy movie from the late 90s. So of course they're going to remake it.

In this Juno Rushdon series, Jen wants the boss's book.

We're talking about historicals, but we're not talking about Brazen and the Beast even though Jen wants you to know it's spectacular and you should definitely read it.

I guess we're singing this episode: Just One Night is a twist on Phil Collins's One More Night in the Moulin Rouge movie and All Night Long.

Jenny Nordbak recommended Dare to Love a Duke to Sarah, and after the unreliable narrators essay, Amy Jo Cousinsrecommended Any Old Diamonds to Jen.

Who wouldn't want to talk about Frankenstein, Shelley, and Wollstonecraft?

Don't sleep on the Gilded Age.

Kennedy's Basketball series is also great. But in The Kingmaker duet, she also tackles the problem of missing and murdered indiginous women and land grabs on Native land. Here is a list of #OwnVoices Native American authors from BookRiot, and another from Smart Bitches, but Jen specifically recommends Pamela Sanderson.

Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik.

Jen interviewed Robin Lovett for Kirkus. And our friend @Bandherbooks was quite taken with the "space chaise" in this book.

Jen and Sarah tried so hard to undersatnd the cinnamon roll phenomenon.

Maybe you want to check out Jen's many amazing Pinterest boards featuring very specific romance novel cover kinks.

Looking to buy some swag? You can buy Fated Mates buttons from Best Friend Kelly and Sarah has an awesome line of romance themed t-shirts and other swag from Jordanene.

This week, our listener-recomended books are When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn and Truly, Madly, Yours by Rachel Gibson.

Dec 04 2019

1hr 17mins


Rank #3: S02.2 The Alpha in Romance Novels - Interstitial

Podcast cover
Read more

Next week, we’re digging into one of our original alphas, Derek Craven! You can find Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local indie. It's currently $2.99 in digital everywhere, so snatch it up!

Show Notes

- The alpha, the beta, and the cinnamon roll.

- You should all follow Cora Harrington (lingerie addict) on twitter. It's all so beautiful.

- Jen screams about first person a lot, but MOSTLY about first person present.

- It was Demon Rumm by Sandra Brown that was all in the male POV, and this review is so great. Jen's going to follow Alaina, the author, on twitter. UPDATE: The Browne Pop Culture Library was able to find the descriptions of Demon Rumm, and as Jen predicted, they were in the back matter of the previous month's books! Thanks, Steve!

- Alec Kinkaid, The Montgomerys, James Mallory, and the Westmoreland heroes.

- Did you somehow miss us talking about The Professional?

- It the Movie may or may not be your cup of tea, but this discussion of Jane Doe with Victoria Helen Stone has some really interesting points about horror and romance.

- Bourne from A Rogue by Any Other Name is "Sarah's worst hero" by which she means it was just reall satisfying to break him.

- You have to listen to our antiheroes episode if you want to know what it means to "take the finger."

- P in V is great, but 2Ps in V is even better.

- Hillary Clinton was wrong about romance novels, and Lisa Kleypas explains why.

- Adriana Herrera's American Dreamers series is one of our faves.

- What it means to be a Kinsey 2.

- Romance for Raices has a few more days. Spend enough money and you can pick an upcoming interstitial topic!

Sep 18 2019

1hr 7mins


Rank #4: 2: The Best Led Zeppelin Song is by Pink Floyd: No Rest for the Wicked

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review.

Our next read (in two weeks) will be Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night and the witches are coming! WDOAWN is the story of Bowen MacRieve (werewolf) and Mariketa the Awaited (witch)…and the book that really breaks open the wide world of IAD. We’ll be joined by the brilliant Adriana Herrera, and you won’t want to miss it. Get ready for the read along at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books or your local indie.

Show Notes

- Some fun facts about The Amazing Race.

- The Valkyeries in mythology, and maybe you didn't notice that "Val Hall" is a play on Valhalla.

- Vampires in pop culture & literature.

- Remember your high school English teacher talking about characters who are foils of each other? This is not to be confused with your algebra teacher talking about how to solve quadratic equations.

- On Urban Dictionary, I want to kiss the person who defined Frigid it as "An outdated, Victorian term used to describe women who aren't interested in sex. Only used today by drunk men in bars to explain why the woman they attempted to pick up wasn't interested."

- A wacky look at some potential real life examples of time travel.

- Just out of curiosity, this is what you'll find if you google "Bad Ass Estonian General." IMPRESSIVE.

- Sarah's wet noodle joke is part of a long literary tradition where vampires just need a good dose of viagra.

- All about beta heros, cinnamon roll heroes, and a link to a lot of talk about the latter from Ana Coqui's November 2018's #RomBkLove.

- Sarah mentions "the vampire chained to a bed" and she's talking about Conrad Wroth, the hero of Dark Needs at Night's Edge (book 4).

- Just a brief review of birth control, how we use it, and why it is so important to women's rights.

- In case you were wondering why Jen talked about "no one ever has to go to the bathroom." It's a thing. Sarah accused Jen of RUINING ROMANCE, but clearly that's not the case because here we are.

- More about lightning and planes.

- Chicago's Bubbly Creek. That's real. If you ever want to nerd out on this history, Jen recommends a book called Nature's Metropolis. Honestly, you really have no idea how fascinating grain elevators are.

- The short and incomplete list of magical items introduced in this book: Kaderin gives the Furies armor that can't be pierced and a battle axe that can kill Lore beings without having to behead them. The New Zealand coven of Valkyeries has a choker that allows the person wearing it to sing a siren's song. No one knows what happend to the armband that makes the wearer feel overwhelming sexual desire. Amphitrite's tear is a bead that will heal any wound. The Blade of Honorius never misses its target. Thrane's Key was the time-traveling prize in this Hie, and at the end of the book, Riora gives Sebastian one to use at his discretion.

- Deus Ex Machina is fun to say, but kind of a bummer when that's how an author gets her characters out of a jam.

- All the cool vampires from the mid-2000s carry RAZR phones.

- Diamonds are a construct, just like virginity.

- Sarah is pro-Kardashian.

- Bowen & Mariketa are coming up next, but the thing she was excited about at the end of that book actually happened at the end of Dark Needs at Night's Edge.

- Swineherds vs. shepherds, and the only time Jen ever felt truly understood on Reddit.

- The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin, and if you think Jen wasn't dying to update Genius with this Kresley Cole reference, you don't know her at all. But maybe the video is more your speed.

Nov 28 2018

1hr 15mins


Rank #5: 16: Was It as Good For You as it Was For Me? Sweet Ruin

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review.

In two weeks, we’re finishing up the Game Makers series with arguably Kresley’s most broken hero (don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of this ranking on the episode), Dmitri Sevastyan! Basically, July is “Sarah’s favorite books” month, so settle in for that…we’ll be joined by one of our favorites, Kate Clayborn, who will reveal the name of our group text thread! Read The Player at Amazon, B&N, Apple Books, Kobo, or from your local Indie.

Show Notes

- Short chapters make for quick pacing.

- The Morior are like the Super Friends...but evil.

- All about The Starship Enterprise.

- More about a witch's familiar.

- Runes are actually from Norse Mythology. You'd think Rune would use the internet to learn more about them.

- Rune is poison to everyone but her. Jen's never read The Poisoner's Handbook, but everyone says it's amazing.

- Thinking about theme as a literary device isn't just for English class.

- Our twitter friend Aunt Angelique has changed her username, so follow her for interesting tidbits like this.

- That cock tweet.

- All about edging.

- The Mariana Trench is real deep, y'all, but we've still discovered plastic there.

- Uluru is a sacred place for Aborigines, and Australia reverted to officially using this name in 2002.

- Revenge is stupid.

- Jen loves that scene where Captain America beats the shit out of everyone in the elevator.

- In case you need help finding Shipper Names.

- The What Would Allixta Do Button.

- The story of Supergirl.

- Speaking of our Heaving Bosoms friends, It wasn't Melody, it was Erin who said she doesn't read epilogues!

- Speed is a romance. Don't at Jen or Bandherbooks.

- The Player is coming up after our next interstitial!

- Pre-order Brazen and the Beast, and if you say "Fated Mates" in the notes, Sarah will include a Fated Mates sticker!

Jul 03 2019

1hr 56mins


Rank #6: S02.3: Lisa Kleypas Does Spectacles Better than F. Scott Fitzgerald: Dreaming of You

Podcast cover
Read more

We’re back in two weeks with Johanna Lindsey’s Gentle Rogue, set on a ship with a heroine-in-pants and a hero who really deserves everything she delivers him. Find it at: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books, or at your local Independent Bookstore!

Don’t forget to like & subscribe in your favorite podcasting app so you don’t miss a single second of us in your earholes!

Show Notes

- Anyone know if Warby Parker is looking for a podcast to sponser?

- Sarah & Lisa spent time together because they were signing at Nora Roberts's bookstore, Turn the Page, in real-life Boonsboro, MD. Jen had some hard-core FOMO.

-February 4th is Derek Craven Day, look at some of our tweets from that day.

- A reminder of that 1992 election and what we should have learned from Anita Hill. But Stormy Danielsis more in control of her narrative.

- Josh Lyman never calls it a recession, call it a bagel.

- We love Steve Ammidown at the BGSU pop culture library.

- IRL, Matilda was Pamela. But that ending, classic Lady or the Tiger or The Sopranos.

- The second casino is in Devil in Winter, where Ivo Jenner's daughter falls in love with Sebastian, St. Vincent, whom many think is Lisa's best hero. They are wrong.

- We're back on Moonstruck with that mother-in-law and "Bring me the big knife!"

- More about some of those Jungian archetypes.

- Jen meant coitus interruptus in the Urban Dictionary way, not the Merriam-Webster way.

- This article seems to think head hopping is more common in roamance, but I don't know if that's true.

- Close third person POV or Free Indirect Speech & Jane Austen.

- Have you listened to our bodily autonomy episode?

- Dangerous Liasons the book has been around for a long time, but Jen is talking about the 1988 movie.

- "She leaves the gun on the table" is a reference to a famous writing precept by Chekhov.

- Doing spectacles better than F. Scott Fitzgerald.

- Gentle Rogue is coming up in two weeks.

- Kelly has some Fated Mates swag and Romancelandia buttons for sale.

- Derek Craven would never.

- Fated Mates is produced by Eric Mortensen

Sep 25 2019

1hr 23mins


Rank #7: 18.5 : Antiheroes in Romance: Interstitial

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform so that you know the moment we start Season Two (in early September)!

Next week, it’s the end! WHAT HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! We’re talking Sian (HORNS HORNS HORNS HORNS HORNS HORNS HORNS) & Lila with Wicked Abyss, featuring the literal King of Hell, and the Queen who takes fully no shit from him. Get Wicked Abyss at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local indie!

Show Notes

- What is the appeal of the antihero?

- Fangirl Jeanne wrote a really interesting thread about why she ships villains and what it means to believe in an HEA for everyone.

- The Sierra Simone Scale seems relevant here.

- We here at Fated Mates love a grovel.

- Morality Chain is a very specific trope.

- Jen's goodreads search for books with criminal heroes versus criminal heroines.

- Take a minute to donate to RAICES because we do have concentration camps on our border, and it's so hard to know what to do about it.

- Jen and Sarah talked about female antiheroes in pop culture: Catherine Zeta Jones in Traffic and Mary Louise Parker in Weeds.

- Jen's Rita thread about how white guys get to be anitheores.

- Movie time references: Sarah is Italian, so since there are no Italian mafia guys anymore, watching The Godfather is the only choice. The "one armed man" reference is to The Fugitive.

- What are we talking about when we talk about billionaire money.

- A "diamond of the first water"

- Molly Fader, Molly O'Keefe, and M. O'Keefe are three pen names for one author who really knows her branding. #Blessed

- Wicked Abyss in next and then...we're done with season one. Commence mourning.

Aug 07 2019



Rank #8: S02.11: Romance Recommendations: Stump Jen and Sarah

Podcast cover
Read more

Stay tuned for the second half of the episode in December! Next week, just in time for your tryptophan induced coma, we’re talking Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, which was on both Jen & Sarah’s list, and is on the lions’ share of Best Romance Novels Ever lists. We’ll get into why. Read Lord of Scoundrels at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo or your local indie.

Show Notes

Question 1: Ennis from New York asked, "is like Lothaire by Kresley Cole or Cold Cole Heartby K Webster, where the hero is someone who would be a villain in any other book. A megalomaniac, horribly damaged, murderous, whatever- and a heroine who takes NONE of his shit and brings him to his knees."

Our Recommendations: The name of this trope is "morality chain" which might help you on your search for books like this. Sarah's Summer 2020 release Daring and the Duke is perfect for this question, but since it's not out yet, try The Masterpiece Duet by Skye Warren. The first is The King.

Question 2: Lesley from Washington DC asked for books "with Jewish heroes and heroines, does not have to be holiday themed."

Our recommendations: : Jen suggests Knit One, Girl Two and Cinnamon Blade by Shira Glassman. In fact, Jen was a special guest on the Heaving Bosoms podcast taking about Cinnamon Blade. Sarah recommends Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker and Dalliances and Devotion by Felicia Grossman. Stacey Agdern also writes about Jewish representation in romance and has written some novellas in the Rogue Anthologies. We also mentioned a great point that inspired a great thread by Felicia Grossman about Jewish characters in literature.

Question 3: Daniela from Winnipeg had this AMA question: If there was a battle royale between all the IAD heroes, who would win? Does the answer change if they can't use weapons?

Our Answer: The Wroth brothers would band togehter, Declan Chase has a real shot, and Lothaire wouldn't care. No matter who wins, Thronos goes down first. Jen mentioned someone who wrote about what would happen if all the US Presidents were in a knife fight. Enjoy.

FWIW, Daniela also asked a question we skipped because we couldn't think of anything: A historical that has a silver fox duke and a spitfire heroine who exhausts the hell out of him. IDEAS? Let us know on twitter.

Question 4: Kristen from DC! asked, "LGBTQ romance easily available in PRINT for my book club???? We do it through a local indie bookshop, and are having a hard time finding things other than Cat Sebastian/Olivia Waite from Avon."

Our Recommendations: Adriana Herrera's American Dreamer series! Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. We think Vanessa North and KJ Charles might be print on demand, which many indie bookstores won't carry. Dreamspinner is a mess right now, but many great authors are there, including LaQuette's latest, Under His Protection, which Jen bought a copy of at Love's Sweet Arrow. Carina titles might be more easily available, so try Syncopation and the rest of the Twisted Wishes series by Anna Zabo. Jen mentioned Being Hospitable by Meka James, but it's just in E. But you should still read it for fun.

Question 5: Courtney from the Bodice Tipplers Podcast wants to know what books made us fall in love with the genre.

Our answer: Well, just listen to all of season 2 of Fated Mates! But Sarah mentioned Nobody's Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Jen mentioned a new book that has made her feel that way is The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux were old-school authors we both loved back in the day.

Question 6: Ali in NYC had an AMA and a question: How is Eric Mortensen so good at podcast editing?

Our answer: Well, he just is and you should contact him if you need podcast editing help.

Ali also wanted recommendations about historicals with witches/magic. Our recommendations: So many of these are old school, because this is not a very popular trope right now, so please proceed with caution. Sarah recommended Bewitching by Jill Barnett and Jen recommended a pair of books by Teresa Medeiros, Breath of Magic and Touch of Enchantment. In fact, Jen reviewed Touch of Enchantment for The Book Queen. Post-recording, we thought of Sex and the Psychic Witch by Annette Blair, which is the first of a series where three sisters use their "magic powers for good and their good looks for seduction."

Question 7: Hannah from Texas asked for a romance that "has a Lucy Liu in "Set It Up" type heroine getting her actual HEA. I need ball-busting energy falling in love with a guy/gal/whoever that deserves her."

Our Recommendations: Sarah recommended The Takeover Effect by Nisha Sharma which has a corporate espionage plot. Jen was maybe thinking of Set it Off and recommeded Elle Kennedy's Out of Uniform series. Jen mentioned Getting Hotter by Elle Kennedy, but upon further reflection, also thinks The Heat is On (in an anthology called Hot & Heavy) might work. But since Hannah was actually talking about Set it Up, which is about assistants and bosses, maybe try The Assistant by Ramona Gray or check out this extensive goodreads list of boss/employee romance novels.

Question 8: Jenica from New York asked for a book that has "Childhood friends to enemies to lovers, preferably contemporary."

Our recommendations: : We don't say it here, but one strategy Sarah and Jen use all the time with more popular tropes is searching for a Goodreads list. If you can find a book with a title or two you like on it, you might like others! Jen recommended His Until Midnight by Reese Ryan, and also noted that Sarah's book A Rogue by Any Other Name has this trope. Sarah recommended Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas. And a trailing suggestion was trying Christina Lauren, who has written many great enemies to lovers books and maybe one also has childhood friends. We didn't mention it on the podcast, but if you like YA, Jen loved Not if I Save You First by Allie Carter. That one would definitely work!

Question 9: Holly from Chapel Hill asked for a book that "Has all the mutual pining. Friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, doesn't matter. Give me every last drop of pining."

Our recommendations: Sarah suggests Waking Up with the Duke by Lorraine Heath. Jen recommends On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton. After we realized that there is lots of pining in Lisa Kleypas, but we think Again the Magic might be best.

Holly had a follow up AMA, "What would your ideal book-centered vacation be?" Sarah said a beach, Jen has always wanted to stay at The Library Hotel, and that led to a discussion of Nora Robert's Boonsboro Inn, in Boonsboro, Maryland. But Jen also loves to read locally, which means reading books set in the places you are traveling.

Question 10: Kara asked for a recommendation that "Has some sort of adventure or quest but is also slow burn."

Our recommendations: Slow burns aren't our speciality. Jen joked she likes a "fast, incendiary burn." Please check out the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews, and the second one where they finally do it is called White Hot. The first one is called Burn For Me, it's right in the title! If you like fantasy, try Bound to the Battle God by Ruby Dixon. Sarah mentioned A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet. And Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik could count for this category and for pining!

Question 11: Chase from Germany wants "Has m/m with a happy ending and the trope enemies to lovers?"

Our recommendations: Sarah recommends Goalie Interference, which has enemy hockey players. Annika Martin has a good series, the first is called Enemies Like You, and Jen also likes a series by Layla Rayne called Agents Irish and Whiskey. Cask Strength also appeared in Jen's list of Who Did It Better on a Pool Table. You're welcome.

Question 12: Caitlin from Wisconsin wants a book that "Has a plus size heroine, emphasis on fashion...vampires would also be nice."

Our recommendations: We had to handle these two separately. For a curvy heroine with fasion, we recommended Take Me by Bella Andre and The King of Bourbon Street by Thea De Salle. For vampires, try Tall Dark and Hungry by Lynsay Sands. It's about a vampire who writes vampire novels. The Sherrilyn Kenyon book Sarah was thinking about is called Night Play, but it's actually about a werewolf. Oh well.

Question 13: Jess asked, "Has an alpha submissive (I’ve tasked Sarah with this before and want more!)"

Our recommendations: Jen doesn't think this exists, but Sarah recommends The Duke I Tempted, Giving It Up, The Devil's Submission and Sierra Simone's New Camelot series. If you can roll with Kristen Ashley's prose style, try Deacon. There is no pony play involved.

Jess had a follow up AMA: "I would love to hear more about audiobook production. How much say authors have. Do they get to check in during production to make sure jokes are being delivered properly, etc?" Sarah replied that the answer is ... authors don't have much say at all, except maybe a choice of narrators. Sarah loves her narrator, Justine Eyre.

Question 14: Lesley from San Francisco asked for a book that "Has a heroine over 50 who is single (not divorced or widowed)."

Our recommendations: This was a hard one, and we are hoping that listeners will chime in with answers. We don't think any of these heroines are single--all widowed or divorced. But try Apples Are Red, Driving in Neutral, Bound with Love, or Mrs. Martin's Incomparable Adventure. But, you can check out this facebook group for seasoned romance, and Donnaposts a weekly Frolic column of seasoned romances. Finally, Sarah recommended London Hale's Talk Dirty To Me.

Question 15: Carly from Atlanta is looking for “there’s only one bed,” historical edition (bonus points if they don’t have sex that time, but do later).

Our recommendations: There are so many of these that we had a hard time answering. Yikes! But A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong is amazing. Later in Season 2 of Fated Mates, we'll read Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens, but the ohter one Sarah was thinking of was The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae Afterwards, we thought of The Duke Buys a Bride and Tycoon.

Question 16: Shannon in Atlanta said, "Ghosts. I need all the ghosts. I’m regrading Lynn Kurland’s Stardust of Yesterday to see if I am still madly in love with Kendrick like 14 yr old me was. But I need more ghosts. For spooky season and for always."

Our recommendations: So obvioulsy the best IAD book is Dark Needs at Night's Edge. But Halloween Boo and Hot Ghost might also be of interest. After recording, Jen thought of The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz and Sarah thought of For the Earl's Pleasure by Anne Mallory.

Question 17: Natali from Tampa asked for romances with "a sexy but serious body guard- saves heroine from her evil husband OR serious sexy body guard that is hired by father to care for wild heroine. And/Or sexy but consensual teacher-student relationship."

Our recommendations: Sarah and Jen both liked The Professor by Charlotte Stein. Sarah also recommended The Unrequited by Saffron Kent. Bodyguards for some reason we didn't have specifics, but check out Sexy/Dangerous by Beverly Jenkins, which has a female bodyguard. Fallen by Rebecca Zanetti will work. But also, Jen is convinced that something in Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries series will work.

Question 18: Nisha wants books that are "bananas sexy."

Our recommendations: Ice Planet Barbarians forever. But Brill Harper anything will work, and Jen especially recommends Altogether. Everyone on twitter thinks White Whiskey Bargain is super hot, and The Red is amazingly sexy. Grace Goodwin's Interstellar Brides series is also pretty hot.

Nov 20 2019

1hr 12mins


Rank #9: 7.5: Scotland Historical Romances - Interstitial

Podcast cover
Read more
It’s Scotland week, Lads and Lassies! We’re talking about the great green jewel to the north of England, where the ladies are bold and the lairds are brawn, and we're all just wishing we could get wrapped in a plaid and cuddled through a cold Highland night.

Feb 20 2019



Rank #10: S02.12: Lord of Scoundrels: Reel or be Reeled

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Notes

Lord of Scoundrels has its own wikipedia page, which in case you're curious, is kind of unusual.

If you haven't listened to our episode on Dreaming of You, what are you waiting for?

Maybe you want to find out what you first ordered in your Amazon account.

Jessica Trent is not a Mary Sue.

Erin from Heaving Bosoms is famous for not liking epilogues, but it's a pretty good reason why. But prologues are fine.

You've been lawyered is from How I Met Your Mother.

Sarah wrote the prologue to a new edition of The Transformation of Philip Jettan.

Maybe watch out when taking DNA tests. Or not.

Stronzo! And maybe some more if you're interested.

Love's Sweet Arrow is a romance-only bookstore in the Chicago suburbs. It's awesome.

Gentle Rogue started too late.

More about Russian religous icons, but maybe you want to buy some.

The gloves scene in the Age of Innocence movie. All that repressed longing from Daniel Day Lewis! In the book, it's this chapter where Newland Archer "bent over, unbuttoned her tight brown glove, and kissed her palm as if he had kissed a relic."

All about Beelzebub.

If you want to know about demon seals and the Wroth brothers, then listen to season one of Fated Mates.

What does it even mean to dance a waltz in the Continental style? Probably not this Continental-style.

The Beverly Jenkins book where the heroine shoots the hero is Tempest.

Reading the banns and a list of people who were married at Saint George Hanover Square.

You'll be shocked to know that Jen has some theories about internal vs. external conflict.

When they're at the wrestling match, Dain says his friend could have "stayed comfortably at home and pumped his wife."

She Walks in Beauty Like the Night is a glorious poem, but that doesn't make Byron any less of a scumbag. That Ada Lovelace was Byron's daughter is kind of wild, but we're glad she's known for being her own person. Despite Sarah trying to create an authorship question for Byron, that's not really a thing. There's no such person as the Duke of Summerville. Jen just made that up.

If you're interested in The Romantics, you can find Jen's old college syllabus here. Lots of Wordsworth, but no Bryon, which is just fine. But we still love the way Loretta Chase used Don Juan in the text of Lord of Scoundrels.

Friend of the pod Adriana Herrera has been reading Lord of Scoundrels for the first time and her tweets about it are honestly the most amazing thing.

Maybe you want to buy some romancelandia buttons or some of Sarah's t-shirts.

Coming up next on December 11, 2019, Indigo by Beverly Jenkins

Nov 27 2019

1hr 35mins


Rank #11: 17: Sexclamation Points! - The Player!

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review.

We’re getting down to the wire with IAD, but because we’re completists, we’re tackling the Dacians in two weeks with a two-for-one episode featuring both of these Lothaire spinoff stories, Shadow's Claim (featuring demon-sorceress Bettina and Dacian assassin Trehan) & Shadow's Seduction (featuring Caspion the demon and Mirceo the vampire prince)!

Show Notes

- Wecome back, Kate!

- The Grassy Knoll isn't much of a knoll, anymore. But if you're ever in Dallas, check out the Sixth Floor Museum.

- This kind of teabagging does not appear on the Clayborn Scale.

- YA Author Carrie Ryan has smart things to say about first person and scary things to say about zombies.

- Famous for having a big reveal: The Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, and The DaVinci Code. Not famous for a big reveal: Meet Joe Black.

- We should have asked Adriana Herrera about Dimitri's trauma.

- Rocky was also a self-made man, and you cannot even convince Jen that the person who invented CrossFit didn't rapturously watch this a million times.

- Dryer's English is a book that all the writing nerds had a pre-order, and he has strong opinionsabout exclamation points, but absolutley nothing to say about sexclamation points.

- Everyone loves foreshadowing.

- But in romance, no one loves an unreliable narrator.

- Jen recommends the YA novel One of Us is Lying, or you could kick it old-school and watch Roshomon.

- Pre-order Brazen and the Beast! and Love Lettering! And read Jen's interviews with Reese Ryanand Marie Tremayne and Robin Lovett on Kirkus.

- In two weeks, we're back to IAD with the Dacian two-fer: Shadow's Claim & Shadow's Seduction!

Jul 17 2019

1hr 20mins


Rank #12: 13.5: Freewheeling with Sarah and Jen: We’re Big Mad

Podcast cover
Read more

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review.

We’re taking a break next week (Happy Memorial Day! Eat a cheeseburger for us!)…but will be back to regular IAD programming in two weeks with Dark Skye. Get ready to have your heart ripped out by these childhood lovers turned enemies turned lovers again! Poor Lanthe has been running from her Vrekener, Thronos since Kiss of the Demon King, and finally she gets her story! Read Dark Skye at Amazon, B&N, Apple Books, Kobo, or from your local Indie.

Show Notes

- That Victoria Dahl tweet about hysteria.

- More about the forced birth laws sweeping through several states, and where you can donate your money if you're so inclined.

- How transgender and gender nonconforming people might be especially endangered from this recent spate of laws.

- Sarah's twitter thread asking about romances with abortion.

- Fanny Hill and some of the illustrations.

- Tinctures, tonics, and teas.

- The portrayal of abortion in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

- The perils of abstinence-only education.

- Romance is a powerful tool for sex-education, but not all authors view it as a responsibility.

- Romance euphamisms FTW.

- Screenshots from the scene Sarah referenced in Jane Feather's Vixen.

- All about the efficacy of birth control.

- French Letters had to soak for two hours (at least)...oh! And we forgot the best (ACTUAL WORST) part: They were reusable. --scream emoji--

- Sarah says we should all watch the TV show Harlots, and not just because it shows French letters.

- "220/221 whatever it takes," is a quote from Mr. Mom. Actually, we talked about a lot of 80s movies on today's episode, including The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally. But we didn't mention Dirty Dancing which has a botched back alley abortion. We meant to...but this is what happens when you don't take good notes before you rant.

- This 2011 paper about condoms and birth control in romance is VERY INTERESTING.

- A link to the Twitter conversation about PrEP.

- Pulling out is weirdly more effective than you'd think for preventing pregnancy, but not at all effective for preventing STIs.

- All about Plan B.

- The Pop Culture Library at Bowling Green University is a place both Jen and Sarah would like to visit. Librarian Steve Ammidown is the 2019 RWA Librarian of the Year.

- Kelly Faircloth writes great articles about romance for Jezebel.

- Endometriosis deserves more attention than it gets.

- What it means to be "childless by choice."

- Jen's post about miscarriage in romance, and some statistics about how often miscarriages happen.

- 25% of American women have had an abortion.

- Sweet Liar is the only romance that Sarah can think of that references a vasectomy--please tell us if you've got other examples?

- The Jezebel article wondering how many more abortion stories we have to share.

- If you're on FB, check out Sarah's OSRBC (Old School Romance Book club).

May 22 2019

1hr 26mins


Rank #13: S02.1 Welcome to Season Two

Podcast cover
Read more

Get reading, y'all, we've got a lot to say. You can find Dreaming of You at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local indie. It's currently $2.99 in digital everywhere, so snatch it up!

We'll be announcing the schedule for the first few reads later this week -- so you'll have time to read ahead, but in the meantime, sit back, relax, and let us give you a preview of what's to come!

Don't forget to like and subscribe in your favorite podcasting platform!

Show Notes

- Jen tweeted about Altogether by Brill Harper and then all of Romancedlandia read it. It's deliciously filthy.

- Read Sarah's drunk texts to Jen and Kate on the Vika group chat.

- Take a look at these covers for Rebecca Zanetti's Deadly Silence.

- Sarah was on Wicked and the Wallflowers podcast to talk about Brazen and the Beast.

- You had no idea flag design was so fascinating.

- Looking back at twitter, it might have been a shared love of Derek Craven that made Sarah and Jen friends. We can't wait to discuss Dreaming of You in two weeks.

Sep 11 2019



Rank #14: 12: Do Not Let the Lykae into the Yankee Candle Store: MacRieve

Podcast cover
Read more
MacRieve is here and so is friend of the pod, Sierra Simone! We’re so excited to talk about The Full Kresley, what makes erotic romance, The Simone Scale™ of taboo romance, why MacRieve is so tough to read, why Sarah thinks it might be Kresley’s best book, and why Chloe is such a badass. There’s a lot of hysterical laughter, and Sarah is preparing for legal action.

May 01 2019

1hr 24mins


Rank #15: 8: Triggering the Chastity Clause: Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Podcast cover
Read more
We’re back with the werewolves this week, with one of our very favorite books in the series, Pleasures of a Dark Prince, featuring Garreth MacRieve and Lucia the Huntress, a Valkyrie who is burning it all down.

This episode, we’re discussing the way this book wraps up the first movement of IAD and preps readers for what’s to come (SPOILER: IT’S TORTURE ISLAND), we get into how the books are becoming more political, we update the lost-limb count, begin Lothaire-Watch, and dig into why it’s just plain futile to try to stay away from a werewolf mate on the night of a full moon. More than all that, we’re interviewing moon expert Summer Ash about moon business, and Jen is beyond excited.

Feb 27 2019

1hr 32mins


Rank #16: 1.5: Escort Romances - Interstitial

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Notes

- Sarah and Jen have both loved The Kiss Quotient. Sarah reviewed at for The Washington Post. Jen's been turning her friend Ernie into an occasional romance reader, and live-tweeted his read of TQK.

- Escorted by Claire Kent, which is a pen name of Noelle Adams

- Virginity is a construct

-Romancing the Stone is an 80s movie classic. Kathleen Turner plays a romance writer on an adventure to retreive a missing emerald.

-Curio and the Curio Vignettes by Cara McKenna

- The Smart Bitches made a list of competence porn romances, where all the characters are just really good at their jobs.

- Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas. Here's the Twitter thread where Jenny Nordbak alerts everyone to the sexiness factor.

- The Companion Contract by Solace Ames

- Burn Down the Night by Molly O'Keefe

- The Duke by Gaelen Foley

- Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

- Journalist Melissa Gira Grant writes about sex workers and the politics of sex work. You should follow her on Twitter.

- The Master by Kresley Cole

- Get ready for No Rest for the Wicked

Nov 21 2018



Rank #17: 3: A Great Lay or All the Knowledge in the World: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Notes

- Our special guest this week is romance author Adriana Herrera. American Dreamer, her debut novel with Carina Press, comes out in March of 2019.

-Jen interviewed Adriana about domestic violence in romance for the Smart Bitches.

- Jen and Sarah both loved The Opposite of You, a food truck romance by Rachel Higginson, and Sil at Book Riot made a list of food truck romances.

- Kresley's historical trilogy is called The MacCarrick Brothers, and you can get all 3 bundled together, of course.

- There's nothing more amazing than warring think-pieces. So here's Huffington Post and Slateteaching us about fuckboy, and Jezebel telling us how they're doing it wrong.

- The five witches' castes are warrior, healer, enchantress, conjurer, and sorceress. Jen's going to make a Buzzfeed Quiz that tells you which witch strength you'd have. (This is a lie. Jen does not know how to make Buzzfeed quizzes. But it's a good idea, right?)

-Speaking of vibrators, the best Romancelandia blog is the Bawdy Bookworms, which features review of both books and sex toys!

- Here's a serious video explainer of the Hero's Journey, and also a slightly more silly one.

- This blog is dedicated to looking at feminism and Snow White in American culture.

- Deconstruct Disney for yourself or for your kids.

- There's an IAD wiki, and it's pretty useful for when you're listing Hekate, Haxa, and can't remember the third one is Hela.

- As symbols, apples do a lot of heavy lifting.

- Mirrors and feminism have a long complicted history. And since we're talking action movies, check out this think piece by Carolyn Petit about feminism, movie criticism, and John Wick's house of mirrors. And then I found this article about Sylvia Plath's senior thesis at Smith and it's very far afield from the current topic, but this is a super interesting read.

- Jack Ryan on Amazon.

- There isn't a video for Cardi B's Money yet, but here are the lyrics.

- How young women have internatlized the Girl Power vs. Feminism dichotomy.

- There's a famous image that illustrates the difference between equality and equity. It's most often used in the context of race, but can be used as a way to envision any kind of oppression.

- Romance has been thinking about consent for a long time. Jen wrote a review of a graphic novel for teenagers called What Does Consent Really Mean?

- Our next Dark Needs at Night's Edge is next.

Lost Limb Count
(Leg - 2, Arm - 1, Eye - 1)

- Lachlain tears off his own leg to reach Emma. He regenerates. (A Hunger Like No Other)

- Sebastian pulverizes most of his right arm during the Hie. He regenerates. (No Rest For the Wicked)

- Bowen loses an eye and most of his forehead during the Hie. Mariketa has cursed him and he can't heal until he returns to her. (Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night)

- Mariketa's skull is fractured and her leg is torn from her body. She heals herself after Bowen lays on the ground. Ivy grows over her and heals her. (Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night)

Dec 12 2018

1hr 9mins


Rank #18: 10: Declan Chase is Kinda Trying: Dreams of a Dark Warrior

Podcast cover
Read more
Mr. Vivisection is here, and it’s a whole lot! Regin the Radiant is on Torture Island, and just her luck, the guy running the whole show is a berserker reincarnate who she’s loved in five earlier lifetimes. Declan Chase is a highly controversial Kresley hero, and Dreams of a Dark Warrior is a book Sarah and Jen always skip on the reread…but this week, we’re talking about it and *gasp!* we’re kind of on #TeamDeclan by the end?! UP IS DOWN!

This episode, we’re digging into the way Kresley builds characters and lays the brickwork for the rest of the IAD series. We’re talking about torture, about childhood, about packing for the end of days, and about Lothaire’s Guide to Wooing Women. We’re joined by the wonderful Sarah Hawley, co-host of the Wicked Wallflowers podcast, and Declan-stan.

Mar 27 2019

1hr 36mins


Rank #19: 11.5: Sports Romance - Interstitial

Podcast cover
Read more
Are you a sports ball fan?! Do we have romances for you! We’ve got the brilliant Jenny Nordbak from The Wicked Wallflowers podcast back for a sports romance interstitial! Listen to us chat about why we love sports books, the alpha, competence porn and books by Kennedy Ryan, Tamsen Parker, and Naima Simone!

Apr 24 2019



Rank #20: S02.17: Pegging Romance Interstitial

Podcast cover
Read more

Auspicious beginning, right? Don’t miss a single moment of our 2020 episodes — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast if you’re so inclined!

We’re back next week (WE PROMISE!) with Born in Ice, by none other than the queen herself, Nora Roberts. Read Born in Ice at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo or your local indie.


Jen misquoted a famous scene in Chinatown; it's actually "my sister and my daughter." Yikes.

Pretty sure if you're fancasting us into this clip from Grease about the Pink Ladies, Sierra is Rizzo.

We've talked a lot about Sierra's books on the podcast, but it was on the Small Town Romance interstitial that Sarah joked all of Sierra's books take place in Menage County, Kansas.

The Romance for RAICES auction was the brainchild of Suzanne from Love in Panels and raised TWENTY THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS! You should definitely support her blog and patreon if you can. The crisis on the border is ongoing and getting worse. Please continue to support romance's teams at RAICES and The Young Center.

We were going to rickroll you by talking about Peggy Sue Got Married and pirate romances, but we're nice that way and didn't. FWIW, Jen still thinks the plot of Peggy Sue Got Married is haunting.

Sierra is also, of course, the founder, owner, and operator of The Simone Scale, which does not include teabagging even, but has been, because she loves us, updated to include pegging. The image is on our website in show notes.

We did a lot of research for this episode!

Everyone wants the right pegging playlist, and of course there's one on Spotify. What a world! Besides Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman, we offer up for your consideration Back It Up, Boys by Peaches and Behind the Wheel by Depeche Mode.

Here are some Sierra Simone recommended toys and harnesses. She says of the toys, "The small is VERY gently sized and some men may feel more comfortable with a toy is that isn’t a hyper-realistic reproduction of a cock."

Elia Winters is a Fated Mates favorite, and we want to thank her for her help thinking through the implicatons for gender essentialism and cisnormativity in this discussion. Buy her books! Her latest Three For All has pegging.

Sierra mentioned "that law about gas expanding to fill a space" -- well, I phoned Jonathan, a friend who teaches chemistry, and he says that's called entropy or Boyles Law of Kinetic Molecular Theory. Learn more about it here from Professor Dave, a Jonathan-approved chemistry youtube instructor.

Samhain and Ellora's Cave (which was especially messy) were two earlier and now shuttered publishers of erotic romance.

Jen Porter wrote a great twitter thread about erotic romance and character development.

That's What She Said.

Sarah mentioned "the RITA entry window" and goddamn if that's not a bitter pill to swallow right now. She's sorry.

A little about what it means to be allosexual.

Check out Roan Parrish's short story A Good Old Fashioned Chanukah Pegging, starring Ginger and Christopher from Small Change.

Everyone knows you need a flared base on your butt plugs, or at least anyone who follows Jenny Nordbak knows.

Romance as sex ed is complicated, but Scarlteen is on the job, and Teen Vogue would never steer you wrong.

The Pegging Song that Adriana sent us from Twitter is amazing, and we want to thank @shutupaida for being so gracious about letting us play it during the podcast. Also, be sure to watch Big Mouth on Netflix, because she's writing for it now!

I guess Katee Robert isn't the only one staging elaborate scenes with her Barbie dolls.

The Rogue Anthologies are pretty great and there are quite a few of them.

Jen had to do a major "retcon" on this hero in the Tamsen Parker book in order to read it. It's fine, really.

Special thanks to our special guest Sierra Simone! You can find her on Instagram or Facebook. Read her New Camelot series, the first is American Queen! She also joined us on our MacRieve episode, and we talked about Priest, a book that blooded Sarah.

You can buy a Pegging the Patriarchy button and other Romancelandia buttons at stickers at Jen's shop run by her best friend Kelly, and Sarah's t-shirts and swag from Jordandene.

Next week, we'll be talking about Born in Ice by Nora Roberts! We mean it!

Much thanks to all the members of the Pegging Cabal for their amazing, generous donation, and for asking us to do this episode: E is reading, Jennifer, Stephanie Blackhart, Amanda, Kini, Melinda, Tempest Bonds, Michelle Boule, JS Lenore, Eve Pendle, and Isabel. Give them a follow, or maybe this related account, Is There Pegging? But whatever you do, don't make everyone think that something is wrong with Colin Firth. We hope you enjoyed the episode!

Jan 01 2020

1hr 10mins