Y. M. Nelson and Nerdy Romantics guests Marcie, Staci, Dana, and new guest Mary recommend their favorite romance reads as part of the “Who Gets An HEA?” miniseries. The mini-series showcases romances with marginalized heroes and heroines, and in episode 21, we feature romance novels by Olivia Dade, Sierra Simone, Twyla Turner, Iris Bolling, and Kenya Wright. These are just a few of the many books featuring marginalized main characters.
While we recommend these books, we also discuss two trending topics in publishing: trigger warnings and finding the representation we crave. Going on this journey has been a very eye-opening experience for most of my guest hosts and me. Here we share some of the reasons why.
In this episode, we recommend:
Misadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone (Misadventures multi-author series):
Freelance photographer Ireland Mills is headed out to a Kansas country farm to take photos for a Chamber of Commerce campaign. She meets farm owner Caleb Carpenter, and there are instant sparks. And though Ireland has accepted her plus size, she’s worried that he doesn’t. But when they get trapped at the farm in a storm and roommate Ben comes home to help, Ireland finds out there’s a lot more to the roommates than just farm living and casual attraction.
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (Spoiler Alert Series, Book 1):
Enter the world of fanfiction with online besties @UnapologeticLaviniaStan (April) and @BookAeneusWouldNever who write fanfiction for a popular fantasy show. When plus-sized April decides to post a pic of herself in Lavinia cosplay, she gets a lot of online hate. But she also garners a date from the lead actor of the show Marcus Rupp. Secretly he also writes fan fiction … as @BookAeneusWouldNever. From hidden identities to real life struggles with fame, body shaming, and dyslexia, Marcus and April work to pursue a relationship.
Trigger warnings: body shaming
An International Affair by Iris Bolling (the Lassiter Wedding Series, Book 1):
An International Affair spins off from the Lassiter Family Series with the wedding of Luke Lassiter and Sasha Coles. When dysfunctional families with a lot of outgoing personalities come together for a grand wedding, more than a few hijinks ensue. The soon-to-be-wedded couple must devise a plan to get through the wedding with the family’s limbs and their sanities intact, while keeping their love as the focus.
Redemption by Kenya Wright:
In Ms. Wright’s book description: “This is a slow-burn romance about two broken people with one goal—to survive.” Female main character Ebony is fighting to get away from her abusive husband by packing up her and her kids and driving off in the middle of a snowstorm. When she crashes on former mob boss Yoshiro’s property, Yoshiro, Ebony, and the kids are trapped at his house during the storm. Though Yoshiro can handle fighting off an abusive husband, he’s having a hard time handling his growing feelings for Ebony, who’s basically shut herself off from all men.
Trigger warnings: murder, racism, body gore, violence against children, domestic violence. Content warnings: graphic sex scenes, sexual illustrations.
His Muse by Twyla Turner:
When Etienne first sees Taryn, he’s smitten. Taryn isn’t. Or at least she isn’t letting herself feel smitten because he’s twenty years younger than she is, and she doesn’t want to get her heart broken again. It doesn’t help that her daughter Kari is only a few years younger than Etienne and jealous of his relationship with Taryn.
What we point out:
- Book or series’ title and author
- What the selection is about
- Why we love these marginalized main characters
- Why we love the stories in general
- Who these stories would be perfect for (heat levels, tropes, character types)
Other topics addressed:
- Trigger Warnings
- Audiobooks and Christian Fox (my love for his voice is what started this podcast.)
- Mention of our show chat about Bridgerton Season 2 (which does have spoilers)
- We mention our first Book chat–Episode 5, Rock the Curves by Twyla Turner (also, our most popular episode!)
- More age representation for heroes and heroines (We recommended Royal Holiday on episode 13)
- Character Intersectionality and Representation
Where to find these books:
Only at Amazon
Only at Amazon
*The images to the above are Amazon affiliate links. I will receive a small commission for each purchase when using these links. (This does not affect what you pay.)
*The image above is linked to our list of books on Bookshop.org. I will receive a small commission for each purchase when using these links. (This does not affect what you pay.)
Movies & Shows Mentioned
- PValley (2022 – currently running, Hulu)
- Bridgerton (2020 – on Netflix)
- Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Movie 2022)
Where you can find some of our Nerdy Romantics Guests
Staci and Dana:
While Staci and Dana represent themselves here, they are also permanent guests on the L-5 podcast, a YouTube podcast reviewing newly-released movies and TV shows. Check it out!
Mary Warren lives in central Illinois with her husband and 3 children. Her journey to seek out and encourage fat representation began after reading a book that had the fat representation she didn’t even know she needed. This spark inspired her to read as many fat main characters as she could. After a while, she became an activist for representation on tiktok under #fatgirlsinfiction and then founded fatgirlsinfiction.com a website dedicated to the books and authors featuring positive portrayals of fat characters. Since then, she has kept reading and talking about fat girls. She is now also writing about fat girls. In March of 2022 she will be contributing to the anthology Curves and Magic. She is also working on a fat girl rom-com all her own.
A Highlander for Hannah, Mary Warren’s debut novel, has time travel, magic, and of course romance complete with HEA and will be available September 20, 2022.
Want to contact her?