Category Archives: Book Talk

SAPAHM Encore Guest Eilis Flynn Celebrates a Festival of Stars in a Year of Diversity

Hi friends! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Eilis Flynn to ALBTALBS!! For once I didn’t include any of her other book covers because I think the focus is as it should be – on Festival of Stars and I hope you’ll find a new book to love. (I’m also super excited to have this little visit back to APAHM.) I love fairy tales and twisted fairy tales! <3 

Celebrating a festival of stars in a year of diversity

By Eilis Flynn

Like the fairy tales that kids in Western culture grow up reading and hearing about, the story of the festival of stars is one that kids all over Asia know. The annual meeting of the Weaver Princess and the Cowherder—that’s the version I knew when I was a kid growing up in Japan; you’ll find it under several different names—is a wonderful, tragic, yet hopeful love story, and I always wanted to adapt it to modern, American times. It goes like this: The princess and the cowherder meet one day, and fall in love. But because they neglect their duties in their devotion to each other, the Celestial King rules that they must be separated, with only one chance a year to get together. This is the “romance of the Milky Way,” the Tanabata, as the ancient Japanese poems refer to it, the Festival of Stars.

That kind of love is universal, and it speaks to us all, I figured. Right? So I wrote it.

When this book was originally published in 2007, it was the book of my heart, allowing me to retell the story of what I had always regarded as the ultimate romance, but set in the United States of contemporary times, taken from the Japanese folktales with which I had grown up. But I ran into a road block when I was told, and told again, that the majority of readers wouldn’t be able to relate to it because of its theme of biracialism and bigotry. Editors to whom I submitted it literally told me that Asians didn’t read (which surprised the heck out of me and possibly to the billion literate Asians out there) and thus would have no interest. In any case, when I did sell it, despite decent reviews the book sold poorly, so when I eventually got the rights to it back, I laid the book to rest, assuming it would never see the light of day again. Continue reading

Debut Author Eve Pendle Dishes British Inside Jokes

Hi friends! Today we have Eve Pendle guesting with us, and her debut book Six Weeks with a Lord was released on June 25th! Congratulations, Eve, and thank you for visiting us!

Five jokes in Six Weeks with a Lord that only British readers will get

I love historical details, but I also like to make little puns and jokes in my stories that refer to modern things, to delight the diligent reader. When you read Six Weeks with a Lord, you’ll easily catch the jokes about how many Dukes there are in London and the endless puns on Grace’s name. But there are more!

British readers will see in six weeks with a Lord some little jokes that they’ll wonder whether they’re deliberate. The reference will be just a little bit obscure. So I’m going to tell you about some here and hopefully American and other non-UK readers will be able to share the joke. Though bearing in mind that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not that funny. Please expect very mild spoilers. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest: Tamsen Parker on The Power of the Female Default

Hi friends! I’m super excited to welcome our first Pride guest author of 2018, Tamsen Parker! A new friend to ALBTALBS, so please welcome another first timer with a fabulous post!

The Power of the Female Default: Why I Love F/F Sports Romance

Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker Book CoverI went to an all girls high school, and one of the best things about being at an all-female school was that all the resources were devoted to us. Classrooms and the dedication of our teachers, but also both of the gyms, the theater, all of the squash courts and tennis courts, the classrooms, and the weight room were for women. They were women’s spaces that centered women’s effort and accomplishments.

The romance genre is also a space that centers women. As a genre that is written primarily by and for women, it centers the pleasure, agency, and voices of women in a way that most genres do not.

When the worlds of sports and romance combine, it can sometimes be jarring to find most of the books in the popular subgenre of sports romance dominated by male athletes, especially those hitting the tops of the charts. Which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising. The big money sports—both professional and at the college level—feature primarily men. That’s where the money and the media and the fame are weighted. But still… Isn’t this a space for women? Why do so few sports romances feature female athletes? Continue reading

Mini Interview with Courtney Milan

[Aidee here!] Courtney Milan generously answered some questions I had following the release of her most recent novel, After the Wedding. I have not yet read this book, and this mini-interview contains no spoilers. After the Wedding is the second full-length novel in the Worth Saga, which begins with Once Upon a Marquess. Milan writes historical and contemporary romances; the Worth Saga is her current historical series. What I enjoy most about Milan’s books is the humor and the way she subverts common tropes. Without further ado, here is the mini-interview!

First, I’d like to know how you think authors can change romance’s centering of England in the historical genre, aside from not setting the story in England?

Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan Book CoverHistoricals used to range the whole wide world and I think one of the reasons this stopped is because people very awkwardly realized that there were massive issues with unproblematically glamorizing certain portions of the past. Like there used to be a whole genre of southern historical romance novels that just…glossed over the issues with slavery? Yeah. Or the entire spectrum of historical titles involving stereotypical Native Americans, sometimes with racial slurs in the actual titles? Eeeeek. It seems almost horrific to me that those exist, and yet there were probably hundreds, if not thousands, published over the years. Continue reading

SAPAHM Guest: Ines Bautista-Yao on Filipino Characters in Filipino Settings

Hello friends!!! I’m thrilled to introduce another first time guest to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet. Ines Bautista-Yao was kind enough to respond to my request for guest posts for APAHM!I know that “#ownvoices” is the “trendy thing” right now but … it’s not a trend – it’s life, and I’m so pleased we’re able to continue celebrating SHM months!

Filipino Characters in Filipino Settings
By Ines Bautista-Yao

Growing up, my favorite books were by authors Enid Blyton, Carolyn Keene, Jahnna N. Malcolm, and Sheri Cobb South. I would lose myself in the adventures, heartaches, and triumphs of the characters. That was easy. Emotions, no matter where in the world you belonged, were universal. What wasn’t so easy was trying to imagine what it would be like to see what the characters saw, and to interact with people who had blue or even green eyes, and flaming red or flaxen hair. Funnily enough, my classmates and I didn’t know what flax was, but when we read “flaxen hair” in a book, we all knew it meant blonde. So whenever my classmates and I would write stories or imagine characters, they would more often than not have blue eyes and that so-called flaxen hair. It had gotten to a point where I would stay after a movie was over so I could read the credits and file away the last names in my mind. I didn’t know enough American last names for my characters, and movie credits were a good source of information.

It had never crossed my mind to write a story about a little Filipino girl like me. Continue reading

SHM APAHM Special Guest: Chachic on #romanceclass

Hi friends! I “met” Chachic on twitter – and I’m super excited for her to be the “kick off” guest for APAHM 2018! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming her – and read on for some great information about #ownvoices books and authors!

Hello everyone! My name is Chachic and I’m a book blogger, bookstagrammer and foodie from the Philippines. I have been chatting with Limecello on Twitter for a while now and I’m so glad to be here on her blog for a guest post for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. To be honest, I was super flattered when Limecello asked me for a guest post but I had no idea what I should write about! But then I remembered that one of my favorite genres is romance (the other is fantasy, in case you were wondering) and that I love supporting Filipino authors so why not talk about romanceclass? Continue reading

Desperately Seeking: Adult High Fantasy Romances

Hi friends! … I’m back! Yes, I’m looking for more book recommendations, and I’m hoping the hivemind can help me.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Box Set ImageI’ve read a lot of the “usual suspects” – or at least, I think I have? There are some that I know of but haven’t had a chance to read yet, but I’m always looking for more. (We’re voracious readers!)

High fantasy means that the setting is an imaginary World. An alternative/fictional world or universe. There might be magic, and such, and often an “epic quest.” What matters most to me though, is the non real world aspect, and the romance. Generally they don’t (dare I say … shouldn’t?) have modern technology either – no cars, planes, drones, etc.

Adult doesn’t mean omg sex all the time all the sex – it just means … I’d like to read about characters that are adults, or at least considered adults in their world. For example, the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy counts. (And in fact is a perfect example because I freaking loved it.) Yes, Feyre is relatively young – 19, buts she’s been the sole provider for her family for the past 5+ years. … And then most of the other main characters are literally hundreds of years old. I also recommend Grace Draven’s books.

Romance … I mean – it’s just that the romantic relationship is central to the storyline, and of course there’s a happy ending. I don’t want to read a high fantasy where everyone except for a protagonist dies at the end and it’s tragic and miserable. If I wanted that, I’d just watch more foreign films. I’ve also been using libraries for most of these books because … yo that was a lot of books and I am not rich.

I’ve already read a lot of [adult] high fantasy romances. I do want to note … I have a “quirk” where I don’t want to read a series unless it’s complete. I blow through fantasy series and have ~ADD so I don’t want to wait, and I’d forget details. I definitely want to know about series though, so I can start collecting books in anticipation of the completion. (Like the Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass series.)

Here’s what I’ve read: Continue reading

Desperately Seeking: Slump Busters!

Hi friends! So as you see… I’m looking for books that can bust that reading slump!

It’s been a lot for … I mean everyone seems too encompassing, but for a significant number of people just with a lot of personal stuff, work, life, the world. … The low key unease from the sense that now we’re all gonna die at any possible moment and the doomsday clock keeps moving closer and closer to midnight… And in our smaller microcosm, it seems like a lot of people haven’t been reading much lately. Nothing is working, and books are being DNF’d left and right. So …

ANYWAY. Let’s ignore all that. >.>

I’m looking for happy, and joy, and love and happily ever after happy endings in my books!

What’s your “go to” recommendation for people? What have you read and re-read so much your physical copy either is, or would be falling apart?

Tell me! Tell us! What book, what author, so on and so forth! Give us the info in the comments! Hopefully we can cultivate “go to” lists! <3

 

Desperately Seeking … A New Feature!

Hi friends!!! I’m super excited to announce a new feature at ALBTALBS!

I often ask for book recs with a certain theme, trope, character[ization], or sub-genre. People respond piecemeal and across various social media channels and sometimes I miss them so … I’m hoping putting it on the blog, we can keep track of them in the comments.

It’s also going to be open for anyone because I know people like keeping their own lists and such as well.

What does that mean? Well! If you’d ever like me (us!) to ask the hive mind for recommendations, please let me know – you can always ping me on Twitter, Facebook, or email me via the contact form – and one of us will put out a call for what you want!

Hopefully this pans out, and I’m really excited because who doesn’t love talking about books?! <3

Also, if you have anything you can think of right now you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments! Thanks! \o/

My Epic Quest for Adult High Fantasy Romances – aka what I read in the second half of 2017

Hi friends! I’ve been talking about books for quite some time, and it’s been really easy for those conversations to get lost in the mix, but especially these days. Nevertheless, here at ALBTALBS we’ve taken to posting comprehensive lists of the books we’ve read annually … and here’s mine for the ~second half of 2017. It was also heavily focused on high fantasy fiction, because frankly, this is my sentiment: the world is a garbage fire and fuck all that shit. >.>

High fantasy is in general and here “as defined by me” [only not really] – that it has nothing to do with the real world. (Some people say high fantasy requires a “noble quest” … which most of these stories do as well. … All?) ANYWAY. None of this “the hero and/or heroine start out in Chicago and travel to another world.”

Of course I did read some other sub-genres too … but the majority of what I read and what I was looking for was high fantasy ADULT romances. And let me tell you, there aren’t that many. Authors – if any if you are reading this, PLEASE CONSIDER WRITING THIS/TELLING YOUR FRIENDS. Readers are DESPERATE for these books and voracious. There are many more ~YA [older teens/considered ~adults in their world] stories … so I branched out in to that, but I’d love to see adult adult ones. (No, not [just] sex 😛 – but with mature, grown characters.) Continue reading