Friday Fun Review: Cowboys of California, Books 1 and 2

I’ve been reading these for an upcoming episode of Nerdy Romantics Podcast, and I’ve loved them so much, I had to do a couple .gif-happy Friday Fun Reviews.

While we’ll talk a little more in the “Black Love Rocks” episode about these, I wanted to share a little early about how great these are, just in case you don’t want to be spoiled when listening to the episode (you won’t be, but if you read first you get to join in our excitement about this series!) Enjoy!

A Cowboy to Remember (Cowboys of California #1)A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This modern New York/California Western re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty is full of food, family, and fun! Love how the Pleasant brothers interact with each other, and can’t get enough of Zach and Evie together, especially during her amnesia times.

Ms. Leona as family matriarch, mentor, and grandma smackdown on all things hanky-panky is a pure delight!

All around cute, heart-warming story.

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If the Boot Fits (Cowboys of California #2)If the Boot Fits by Rebekah Weatherspoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sam and his brothers make me want to “save a horse” and “ride a cowboy.”

This modern Hollywood/Western version of Cinderella is a total treat! (Just like the desserts at the Big Rock Ranch). I love that the heroine is plus-sized and hella confident! Yes! Can’t wait to read Jesse’s story!

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It’s been a long time coming … (questions answered)

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few weeks about brand awareness, engagement, and what it means to really connect with people about a topic we all love–in this case, books, specifically love stories.

It’s caused me to re-think some of the things I’m doing to connect with you, and it’s shown me that I may need to clarify some of the stuff surrounding my brand and well … me. Read on for answers to your two (three, really) biggest questions below.


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Bridgerton (SEASON 2): Show Chat

Nerdy Romantic guest hosts Marcie, Staci, and Dana join Y. M. in reviewing season 2 of Netflix’s Bridgerton. The group talks about the new and returning set of characters, memorable scenes, and even address some controversy … yes, a little.

And while Dana does mention Penelope and Colin’s story for season 3, we do know now that is book 4, so most likely Season 4. We get a little ahead of ourselves, sometimes.

We did joke about the angsty t-shirt, however, it is a reality, and it’s now available for purchase in the NRP merch store.

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Friday Fun Review: Beast by Pepper Pace

To hear what I and my Nerdy Romantics guests thought about this book, check out episode 16 of the Nerdy Romantics Podcast. If you want to see the hidden spoiler part of the review, just click on the link with my rating and view it on Goodreads.

Beast (Estill County Mountain Man #1)Beast by Pepper Pace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whoo doggie! This is a steamy good time. This is actually an erotic romance, so a heck of a lot more than steamy, but my glasses got fogged up so, there’s that.

The premise: Ashleigh is plus-sized, kinda shallow, kinda vain, and has seriously low self-esteem. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend of 3 years for another woman. Ashleigh decides that she needs to change her love life by losing weight, so she heads to her workplace gym. Christopher, a special Ops Marine has facial deformities and a cleft palate, so he’s content going on secret missions and doing his job monitoring the security cameras of the Federal building where Ashleigh works.

This interracial (BWWM) romance is loosely based on the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast with the “Beast” here being sweet and kind and accommodating, and the Beauty being standoffish and high maintenance. But you can’t totally write off Asleigh. She’s been damaged, and she needs help. She also needs someone who’s 100% in her corner, so thank goodness Christopher’s a STAN beta hero.

What I Loved: I loved the military guys using the building cameras to track Christopher and Asleigh’s relationship! They are like gossiping little girls, and that seems 100 to me. The whole fainting scene is a great one, too.

Christopher’s family is fascinating and entertaining. The “wildcats” joke is hilarious! I also loved Chris’ representation as a marginalized hero (physical deformities).

The sex is erotic level (because of language and number of scenes), which I am all for. And while there isn’t a lot of emotion, it’s not just a “blow by blow” (pun intended), either.

What bothered me: Ashleigh being plus-sized having low self-esteem and wanting losing weight for a man. Granted, this book was written before the fat acceptance revolution that’s currently happening. And some of the stuff that happened in the book wouldn’t have happen if she wasn’t a stereotype of a plus-sized woman. But she could have ended up in the gym because she loved herself and wanted to better herself or something other than wanting to lose weight for a man.

I also thought a few scenes, especially near the end were put in just for drama. They didn’t really move the story forward, they were just showcasing characters or creating drama. (view spoiler)

Overall: I devoured this book in 2 days. It was a great read. I’m told the audiobook is not good, so do what I did–buy the eBook version, and if you have to have the sound, use the kindle text-to-talk function. This story is so good that you don’t want bad narration spoiling it.

For more thoughts on this one, check out episode 16 of my podcast Nerdy Romantics Podcast

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Differently-abled, same Love (“Who Gets an HEA?”)

In our new mini-series, “Who Gets an HEA”,  that showcases romances with marginalized heroes and heroines, episode 16 has romances that feature differently-abled main characters. Y. M. Nelson and Nerdy Romantics Dana and Staci along with new Nerdy Romantic Jen recommend several romance novels that showcase people finding love whether they are deaf, or disfigured, or on the autism spectrum.

Speaking of autism, did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? (We did). Also, most of these books are by differently-abled authors! 😍🥰😍🤩 Even more incentive to pick up these recommendations. As if you needed it.

While we recommend several books, these are only a few of the growing collection of masterfully done differently-abled romance. EVERYONE should read romance with differently-abled main characters!

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Ruckus, Race, and … Romance?

It was the slap heard around the entertainment world, and while there are a lot of things in play here that I’m not going to discuss, one angle of the event made me think.

So for the record, know 2 things:

  1. I am a singular individual expressing one opinion that stemmed from–but is not about–this singular event that in and of itself was taken out of context.
  2. I am looking from 1 viewpoint only–The defense of Black women (especially in romance).

I was not watching the Oscars and hadn’t even thought about it when the slap was broadcasted. When Twitter blew up. I just went to bed. Then, the next day I saw the clip of Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Romance novels and beta heroes

What played out on screen at the Oscars could have been a scene from the first novel in a series I’m writing. I didn’t even think about this at the time, but then I saw this tweet:

When I read it, I thought, I’ve actually just written this romance novel. Well, except the woman is Black and not an actress. And I loved that scene in the book. In fact, I laugh every time I tell someone, my MMC will punch someone out in EVERY book of this series so far. And he does it every time to defend his woman.

It’s not because she’s not capable of defending herself–in fact, she’s been defending herself for decades. But part of the reason why I wanted this damsel-in-distress type scene is because in real life, Black women so rarely have someone to rescue them … except other Black women.

Wanting to feel valued, needed, and as someone who should be protected, I imagine, is everyone’s wish–no matter how that manifests. But for Black women, so many of us have to fight our own battles, suffer others’ ridicule, and then are expected to save the world. No. That needs to stop. I for one am over it. For centuries, white women have been protected, coddled shielded from all the ills of society, while at the same time orchestrating what happens to it. So it’s no wonder why I saw several white women “embarrassed” and “disgusted” by what Will did. It’s because they’re just getting out from under that protective shell, and they like the view from out here. Especially when “out here” for white women means never having to feel the flames of backlash for their actions. You’re not vilified or labeled too aggressive for speaking your mind or standing up for yourself. And you haven’t been truly left alone when you’ve done so. Must be nice.

There was a lot wrong with the actual incident that sparked this conversation, and it’s been discussed ad nauseum. I don’t care to discuss that. That’s between those people.

My point here is the defense of Black women should be normalized in romance. We are not superwomen holding up the world. We’re humans that want someone standing up for us, too.

DCTV Review: Titans … Unite?

On episode 15, author Y. M. Nelson and guest Jen Graybeal reviews Titans TV series airing on HBO Max for the “DCTV and DCU reviews” miniseries. In this miniseries we review current TV shows and movies with DC Comics superheroes.

We go into depth with the many characters on the show, compare storytelling through the seasons, and give a star rating along with a few trigger warnings.

Note** If you don’t want to be spoiled, go straight to the star ratings chapter (if chapters are available on your podcast provider), listen, then come back after you’ve watched for the review!

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Romance Novels Explained

Ever been confused by the acronyms HEA, H/h, or BBW when finding a romance novel to read? Don’t know what a cinnamon roll hero is? Your questions about romance novel terminology and romance categories are answered in this episode.

This one’s for readers and writers. So, take a listen. This may help you find (or create) your next book boyfriend.

*Note: These answers are based on my experience, workshops I’ve taken and my basic research of certain terms and meanings. This is not an extensive industry research project.*

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Black Love Rocks! Black Romance Book recs (“Who Gets an HEA?”)

In our new mini-series, “Who Gets an HEA”,  that showcases romances with marginalized heroes and heroines, episode 13 has romances that feature Black main characters. Y. M. Nelson and Nerdy Romantics Marcie and Staci along with new Nerdy Romantic Jen recommend several romance novels that showcase the wonderfulness that’s Black Love.

What’s even better? These books are by Black female authors! 😍🥰😍🤩

While we recommend several books, this is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to masterfully done Black romance. Yes, Black characters should get an HEA, but who should read these? EVERYONE who loves a well-done romance!

Continue reading “Black Love Rocks! Black Romance Book recs (“Who Gets an HEA?”)”