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This Is Very Complicated

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Trisha and Jess wade into an author identity maelstrom, work to untangle the implications of The Ripped Bodice’s Report on Diversity in Romance Publishing, and wrestle with the age old question of what to read next.

This episode is sponsored by The Sweet Spot by Heather Heyford, and Penguin Teen’s If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson.

Also! Book Riot is doing a giveaway for $500 of Penguin Clothbound classics over on our Instagram account but only until March 13! $500 WORTH OF BOOKS. Go to to enter (giveaway post is sticky at the top of the profile).

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First, are you subscribed to “Kissing Books,” the Book Riot romance newsletter that Jess puts together every week? If not, get on that.

This Santino Hassell stuff is complicated (see show title), but here’s a general round up of the info that seems to be out in the world that includes a bunch of other links, and here’s the Riptide statement we talked about.

Two updates since we recorded March 8:

  • On March 9, this statement went up on the Santino Hassell website.
  • Also March 9, Dreamspinner Press tweeted that they would no longer be selling Santino Hassell titles.

In different news! Check out both the 2017 “State of Racial Diversity in Romance” report from The Ripped Bodice. (And the 2016 too while you’re there.) Take the couple of extra minutes to read the FAQs too.

And in far lower stakes news, I started to explain the wine term “terrior” while talking about The Sweet Spot, but then I got distracted by talking about Walla Walla (as happens when I’m excited), so let’s just let Wine Folly do it. #themoreyouknow

Books Discussed:

One in Waiting by Holley Trent

A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

Night Song by Beverly Jenkins

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Help explain this complicated world to us (or just share in our general confusion). Find us on email ( and, Twitter (@jessisreading and @trisha_reads), or Instagram (@jess_is_reading and @trishahaleybrown).