I’ve been listening to audiobooks because my daughter was going to an out-of-district school. It was 20 minutes from my house, then 30 minutes back past my house to work. 50 minutes a day and I thought… I could be reading. Sort of. In a way that doesn’t take my eyes off the road.

My first foray into romance in audiobooks: The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones. Spoiler Alert: It ends on a cliffhanger. I figured out pretty early what the big bad secret revolved around, and I waited and waited for it to be revealed. For the non-romantic plot to move along.

And I waited some more. Here’s what actually happened: the secret is revealed directly prior to The End. And the plot… doesn’t. Moving on…

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: The Bastard

  1. If you feel lust for a man, and I mean once-in-a-lifetime lust, you act on it. Even if he treats you like shit, like a possession, or you’re just stroking his ego, or making a point–you take that. Lust is what really matters here.
  2. Don’t chase after what you want, in the beginning. But, after six years of no communication whatsoever, have sex with him like he’s got the only dick in the entire world. And by “have sex,” I mean fuck. Because this book says that word at least every three lines. So if you’re not comfortable with hearing that word repeatedly, this is not the book for you.
  3. If you have a capital-B-big secret that you know will cause a riff between this man you realize you love, and everyone else in the story knows but him, don’t just tell him like a responsible, intelligent adult. Keep it locked up. Wait for the right moment. Especially if no one wants you together. And they hate him. They’re not going to whip that secret out to hurt him. Or you. Or both of you.
  4. Don’t be interested in his money, but make sure you bring it up a lot to prove you’re not interested in his money.
  5. Men: if your asshole brother tells you this big-ass secret and he’s clearly trying to not only hurt you but drive a wedge, you make the worst assumption possible, ghost the woman you “love”, and leave her in a situation you have already deemed is physically dangerous to her. Don’t put up with that shit. I mean, yeah, she should’ve told you–fair point. But, um… why ask her about her motivations at the time? Or act like you didn’t just leave six years ago and not speak to her the entire time.

So, if you didn’t notice, this was not my favorite book. I’ve only ever done a DAfRN from a book I didn’t enjoy once before so it’s not something I do lightly. But… I think I’ve pretty much laid out what put me off.

The characters are compelling and the heat is a 7.8 out of 5. There’s that.

So, I’m a little late to the party. I’ve heard people raving about this book for a long time. So I downloaded the sample. And I couldn’t stop–come on. And so I devoured this book. But, it wasn’t all in one sitting. Like Josh and his chocolate Easter egg, I wanted to savor it.

This book gets about eleven million stars from me, so that translates to: go buy it. NOW. It’s worth all 899 pennies. It’s better than a movie ticket and you can make your popcorn at home. I’m kidding–home popcorn is never as good as movie popcorn. But it’s so good, you won’t even notice.

Beware, spoilers ahead. Come back and read this once you’ve read the book.

DAfRN: The Hating Game

  1. Really smart grown-up lady (who is kind of a pushover): he’s in love with you. If he knows exactly how to push your buttons, knows all about your life, and then hate-kisses you in an elevator until you can’t walk straight, he’s in love with you.
  2. If he covers you in paintball, when that’s not the plan, and steps in front of the pelting you’re about to take… he’s in love with you.
  3. If he spends the weekend at your apartment and calls his brother who is supposedly a “nice guy,” just because you’re sick… if he holds your hair while you throw up… if he’s seen you at your worst and still thinks “you’re always beautiful,” he’s in love with you.
  4. If he is obviously looking for other jobs because he can’t imagine taking away your dream position, and you forced him to say he’d quit if you got it, then, guess what? He’s in love with you.
  5. If he takes you home as his fake date to a wedding, even though no one–including you–is acting like it’s fake, and his family already knows everything about you, well, he’s. in. love. with. you.

Get the picture? <3

P.S. If you haven’t read my new book, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, you’d better hurry. Book two, My Big Fat Vegas Wedding, comes out April 10th. You can read chapter one of book one here.

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: Magnate by Joanna ShupeI recently finished Magnate by Joanna Shupe. This first in a trilogy gripped me until the very. last. page. Like, I went and bought the prequel novella, read it in a day, then pre-ordered the other two books. This month and January will be good reading months for me.

And even though it’s set in New York City’s Gilded Age (which Wikipedia tells me is from the 1870s to about 1900), I decided a book this great had to offer some quality dating advice. So, you’re welcome.

  1. Don’t have silly, girly ideas, like thinking for yourself or working. That’s beneath the elite women. Unless, you’re awesome, and even though you are from old money, you still want to earn your keep and save your family from financial ruin.
  2. Do hit up your brother’s friends for help, even though you know it would make him, like, crazy mad. And ruin your chances to form a good marriage. Because see number one.
  3. Don’t assume that when a man invites you to a private dinner at a trendy restaurant, and then he kisses you (which means marriage, pretty much), that it was actually intended for you. Brothers are wicked matchmakers.
  4. Honeymoons aren’t for sex. They’re for being lonely and cold. And arguments. And jealousy. And a little bit of sexy kissing on the stairs.
  5. Oh. my. gosh. Do have sex with your husband, as soon as you can find a blizzard to hit New York.

I’m totally off to mine Joanna Shupe’s backlist.

What books or new-to-you authors have you discovered recently?


DAFRN DukeI recently read Sarah MacLean‘s third Rule of Scoundrels book, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. Yes, it’s a historical but I think there are still some wisdom nuggets we can mine.

  1. If you’re going to accidentally frame a man for your murder, make sure he’s not your soul mate. It makes quite the mess to clean up later in life. This is probably a good rule in general, as coming back from the dead would be challenging in any situation.
  2. Women who work for a living have rough hands. And a man falling in love can’t stop thinking of them.
  3. A boxing ring and a two-way mirror can lead to sexytimes aplenty.
  4. Brothers and lovers don’t always get along. One may steal all the money you’ve collected to care for illegitimate sons or get stabby with the one you love.
  5. If he really loves you, he’ll want you to be warm. No, literally. He will buy you a heavy cloak and gloves for your work-roughened hands.


Dating Advice from Romance Novels: Sarah MacLean's No Good Duke Goes Unpunished! Click To Tweet

dafrn hollywood dirtI recently decided to jump on the bandwagon and read Hollywood Dirt. I couldn’t put it down until it was all gone. Plus, can you say, “Hot, hot, hot?”

The heroine is just a normal girl from the South, so I thought dating advice would be totally helpful from this book (even if the hero is the hottest actor alive).

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: Hollywood Dirt

  1. Always sleep in your good red panties and leave the front door unlocked. And sleep late, at least until a crazy sexy guy shows up to be overwhelmed by your hotness.
  2. Play hard to get. Apparently, that’s the way to a movie star’s heart.
  3. Kick rude people out of your house. Go ahead, you know you want to, and this way, you might become a star.
  4. Just because you’re insanely attracted to the biggest star on the planet, like you had personal happy time with him in mind, is no reason to not knee him in the balls.
  5. If, by some chance, you’re a gorgeous movie star whose wife broke your heart… go for the girl next door. Every time.


if the shoe fitsI am reading all the Megan Mulry books I can get my hands on (like I do when I discover a new-to-me fave author).  Without further ado, some guidance at looooove.

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: If the Shoe Fits

  1. Save your v-card for just the right opportunity, then toss it aside for a fling, because that guy might turn out to be the love of your life.
  2. It’s really awkward when your dad comes in the morning after. Even when you’re in your twenties.
  3. It’s doubly awkward when you bring a fake boyfriend to make your fling jealous, then forget the poor slob to hang all over aforementioned fling.
  4. Internet espionage for love. Just don’t.
  5. Jealous outbursts when you’re barely more than a booty call. Just don’t.


DAFRN Queen MabI read Queen Mab by Kate Danley in less than a day. (BTW, I also read her book The Woodcutter and both are divine.) Naturally, a story with Romeo and Juliet at its center lends one to learn some awesome dating advice.

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: Queen Mab

  1. Don’t let some dude talk you into moving your sacred bull or other sacred farm animals, because that just makes a whole century-long, life-or-death kind of mess.
  2. Don’t make wagers with aforementioned dude-who-already-tricked-you. Clearly, your bitterness will be your undoing.
  3. UNLESS, of course, you meet a guy who can only see the good in you because chicks and demigods really dig that shit.
  4. If a woman asks what you’d like to dream about, the correct answer is her. Duh.
  5. If people call you ugly, just tell yourself they’re haters. You know you look fine.

dating advice HOC3JI mentioned last week that I’m reading the trilogy that inspired House of Cards (also the name of the first book). I have since finished and thought I’d throw down some rules.

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: House of Cards

  1. Don’t get crushes on married men. You may* not die, but you’ll definitely get hurt.
  2. How many times do I have to say it? Go for the nice guy!
  3. There’s this thing called age-appropriateness. No rule is true in every case, but if someone was pushing four decades when you were born, it’s got to make you wonder what you have in common. For example, my husband and I both grew up in the 80s. So when we run out of things to talk about, we can always rehash old Dukes of Hazard and A-Team episodes.
  4. It’s okay to not want romance. Empowering even, maybe. But don’t lie to yourself. If you secretly want to hook-up with a married power-hungry politician, sort that shit out. #blog quote Click To Tweet
  5. Don’t let your libido prevent you from seeing that he’s a sociopath.


*Spoiler Alert: You’ll totally die.

Read More

Specifically, four years and four months older, which was the average “ideal” age gap as reported by a survey of 2,000 adults.

Dating advice from the novel Party Girl by Rachel Hollis

This week, I finished Party Girl by Rachel Hollis. It’s true stories of the author’s experiences incorporated into fiction (like The Devil Wears Prada).

Dating Advice: Party Girl

  1. Don’t bounce between boys (or girls) like a ping-pong ball. It’s just never attractive when someone only likes another someone when the third someone is persona non grata. See how confusing that sentence is? That’s why your love life is confusing. Pick a person. See it through. If it doesn’t work out, I swear you’ll be okay without a back-up.
  2. Don’t get drunk with other people you may like and you know like you when you’re heartbroken. I realize we’ve probably all made the poor choice of drinking our troubles away. Except, you know, the trouble is still there when you sober up. And I can’t imagine how sleeping with that other someone doesn’t make the trouble increase exponentially.
  3. In fact, don’t get so drunk you black out, ever. This is not a good time. It’s not a typical Saturday night. If you do this, it’s bad. Like maybe you should talk to someone about your drinking bad. Do not seek out this type of oblivion.
  4. Take responsibility for your life. That's not just dating advice; it's good advice all-around. Click To Tweet If you’re unhappy, it’s up to you to change it. If your life is a mess, what are you going to do about it? A friend sent me this great quote the other day, and I think it does an awesome job of finishing this up:

No one is ever a victim, although your conquerors would have you believe in your own victimhood. How else could they conquer you?

–Barbara Marciniak


P.S. I’ve never (to date) been given a book to review. I believe I got this book before release as part of my Amazon Prime membership. This is only my opinion and if yours is different, that’s awesome for us both. Also, shout-out to my awesome friend Carrie for the quote.

2014-09-26_01_56_290001I recently finished Heroes Are My Weakness, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. SEP, as I and most of the internet like to call her, is my favorite author. I love her messy characters, twisted situations, connections between lovers, friends, and families, and the hilarious bow that ties it all together.

It goes without saying, I enjoyed this book and this couple. And, I think, there are a few dating advice gems to glean from this particular story.

This DAfRN contains spoilers.

Dating Advice from Heroes Are My Weakness

  1. Puppets can be wanton, naughty creatures when left to a hero’s devices.
  2. You can always trust a man who loves his cat. And crazy sister.
  3. Old ladies will eff you up every time if it means keeping their families close. But, at the end of the day, if that’s what it takes to make you realize you love the big galoot who you thought was psycho-evil, then thems the breaks.
  4. Always give your high school sweetheart a chance, even if his sister died mysteriously, his wife committed suicide, and you’re pretty sure he tried to kill you. For down that road lies true love.
  5. Little girls aren’t the best free secret keepers once they recover from their trauma-induced mutism. And yet, it’s still adorable, little tattler that she is.

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