Sunday, January 8, 2023


For the indie romance community, the year concluded with awards run by Reading Writing Ladies

Throughout December, over 2,000 readers voted for their favorites out of the selection of books this Facebook group has helped promote in 2022.

CheckMate by Angela Taylor won RWL Best Featured Book 2022, having endeared itself to the readers with its lively characters and hilarious banter.

( ; @angelataylorauthor)

RWL Favorite New Release 2022 title went to Bound by Survival, Part 1 by A.J. Wyatt, a clear favorite amongst lovers of dark and angsty mafia romance.

( ; @ajwyattauthor)

The immense response and support the RWL Awards got in their first year of running ensured their continuance in 2023. 

For further information on the RWL Awards and how to participate, visit Reading Writing Ladies Group.

( ; @readingwritingladies)

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

It’s a whole new world … A Wicked one @lunajoyawriter

Wicked Crown: The Wicked, Book 1

Luna Joya

City Owl Press


It’s a whole new world …


There are hints even in the title – Wicked Crown – that this book’s darker than Luna Joya’s The Legacy Series (all of which I've devoured). The characters are complex, with a history that’s complicated – dare I say, borderline anti-hero. The path toward love, though, often contains redemption.


As an International supermodel, Vori is one of the most-recognized faces, but few truly knows her darkest secret. With time running out on a dark vow that’ll cost her everything, she needs a union, to find the last of a treasure she’s seeking and ultimately to save more than one realm.  An enemy of the witch Senate, Perry has long since been forgotten, left for dead or might as well be.  The odds of happiness stack against them, but destiny and desire bring them together. 


Beneath the rich storytelling also lies the beauty and the beast trope. We all know beauty isn’t only skin deep. Joya’s luscious writing echoes the longing that runs throughout the novel.


Here’s a favorite passage highlighted in the reading:


“Did I?” The wind whipped through the stripped trees, sweeping Vori’s hair across her sharp cheekbones and creamy skin. “Or did I make it worse?”


Part of the magic of Joya’s interweaving storylines is how she brings it altogether. Each book stands on its own. But there’s a hint of familiarity that runs throughout. A few special guest appearances from the Legacy Series in Wicked Crown leaves the reader wondering: Foe or friend.


Wicked Crown: The Wicked, Book 1

Luna Joya

City Owl Press


Available on Amazon for a sale price of .99 cents


B&N ($4.99)


Until next time,

Louisa Bacio

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Unapologetic Romance: Flames, Flirts & Festivals

Each story within Flames, Flirts & Festivals features a special event during the year. While A.M. Roark’s short highlights a modern-day Hogmanay and Up Helly Aa, Alexa Santi’s tale “Masquerade” invites readers to a ball on Halloween night in 1812 where a lost love may not be truly lost.

I started this reading experience with “Can’t Help Falling … in Edinburgh” by A.M. Roark.


Women of a certain age run out of fucks. A.M. Roark’s story “Can’t Help Falling … in Edinburgh” takes place post-divorce for the main character Natalie. She travels to Scotland to fulfill dreams and experience new adventures. Of course, she also runs into a hottie Scotsman, Graeme, to help light the fire.


An engaging wit runs through Roark’s tale, especially for some parts that feel like inside jokes. She had me at Nakatomi Plaza. (If you get it, you get it.)


“No, Graeme. I think you’re pretty close to perfect.” My voice drops, wavering slightly as I look up into his eyes, “Don’t fuck it up, okay?”


The novella is satisfying and filled with emotion, and the unapologetic tone is refreshing. If you have the pleasure of knowing Roark in real life, you can hear her through these words. As Roark writes, “pretty close to perfect.”


I haven’t yet had the pleasure of finishing all the stories, but I have high expectations.




Flames, Flirts & Festivals: A Diverse Short Story Romance Anthology


Authors:  Everleigh Allen, A.R. Bell, Brianne Gillen, Milly Gray, Allegra Johnson, Chele MacCabe, Maida Malby, A.M. Roark, Saharra K. Sandhu, Alexa Santi, Heather Scarlett, Catherine Stein


Flirting always gets me into trouble. Flaming hot trouble ...

From Samhain to Up Helly Aa, these sizzling stories by award-winning and bestselling authors will whisk you away to celebrations around the globe. Featuring spectacular locations, diverse characters, and rich storytelling, you're sure to find something to love.

Come join the fun as we eat, drink, and live happily ever after. 


Available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-retailers.



Friday, July 8, 2022

The Sexuality of Valkyrie (spoilers Thor: Love and Thunder)

 This blog contains potential spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder, in particular concerning the character of Valkyrie. If you don’t want to know, please don’t read on.

Before the release of Thor: Love and Thunder, there was speculations and discussions on how the movie might address the sexuality of the warrior Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. In Thor: Love and Thunder, now King Valkyrie now watches over New Asgard. 


In an interview with “Behind the Movie” on Fandango, Thompson was asked what the vibe was with Natalie Portman, and if there was any connection there between the characters. 


“Valkyrie is someone who is deeply steeped in her love of sisterhood.” Thompson responded. “I think also it’s delicious that she is another version of Thor.”


In fact, during the filming of the movie, shots of Thompson getting close with Taika Waititi and Rita Ora, and the idea of a real-life threesome made the possibility even more delicious – to borrow a word from Thompson. (If you want to see them, do a search for their names on Twitter … circa May 2021).


With Valkyrie, there are three (maybe four) references that address her love of women.


1) After ribbing Thor about what’s happening with Jane, Valkyrie says that she’s on the same “team” as Thor, aka Team Jane. 


2) Korg draws Valkyrie out about her lost love, referencing the death of her lover of another Valkyrie warrior on the battlefield. Valkyrie brushes him off that she’s better off not thinking about it. 


3) Brief flirtation with one of Zeus’ fair maidens. 


4) Gorr uses the loss of Valkyrie’s sisterhood as proof that the gods do not listen for cries for help (not as directly related; however, in light of the conversation with Korg, we’re drawn back to the idea of her lost love.)


Thor: Love and Thunder shows a fair representation of LGBTQ+ characters organically. There’s not much to draw a conclusion of bisexuality. The only reference to male appreciation is when Zeus strips a chained Thor, and viewers get a flash of golden buns. I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate!


If Marvel is thinking about an origin film for Valkyrie, I’m down for it. If it’s just going to focus on the love she’s already lost, please don’t. It kinda feels like finally get a Black Widow film, well, after the events of Endgame. 

Until next time, 

Louisa Bacio

The teens and I, Thursday night showing of Thor: Love and Thunder.