The most listened to romance novel podcast, Fated Mates is co-hosted by bestselling author Sarah MacLean and romance critic Jen Prokop. Weekly episodes include romance novel read-alongs and lively discussions of the work of the genre, highlighting the romance novel as a powerful tool in fighting the patriarchy…with absolutely no kink shaming.
S05.11: The Best Romance Novels of 2022
The Best Romance Novels of 2022!
It’s the best and worst task of the year for us, because we read so many fabulous books over the course of the year, and choosing ten is hard for us, ok? But here they are — ten gorgeous books that we adored—books that delivered all the things we love in romance: sharp edges, sparkling dialogue, strong heroines and smoking hot chemistry.
Buy the Fated Mates Best of Book Pack in one fell swoop from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria Virginia, and get the eight traditionally published books on the list and a Fated Mates sticker! We love the idea of you gifting yourself this box, but maybe you’d like to slide into someone’s text messages with the link as a very excellent gift for you! Or…you can do what Sarah does, and buy the box and spread the love around—sending each of the books to someone on your list. FYI, you can also throw in other books (or a signed Sarah MacLean book!) if you’d like! Let us know what you end up doing with these fabulous books, and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram or Twitter when you unbox (#FMBestof22)!
S05.10: The Diamond Dogs Book Club: Ted Lasso Romance Recs
Two seasons ago we promised an episode where we recommend romance novels for each of the characters in Ted Lasso. Sarah’s brother is holding us to it! This week, we’re filling the TBRs of every single member of the Richmond Team…and Trent Crimm, of the Independent. It is a very chaotic journey…but one we hope you’ll enjoy.
S05.09: Hold by Claire Kent: There is Nothing Soft in this Book
We’ve talked about this week’s read along so much it’s kind of impossible to imagine that we haven’t read it with y’all, yet! But here we are, finally cracking open Claire Kent’s brilliant novella, Hold. Set on a prison planet, this one dials forced proximity up to 11, and does the excellent job of answering just how horrifying a world can you write a romance in? The answer is very. Very horrifying. We talk about sex and consent and strength and humanity and how love blooms in even the darkest of places. Is it possible we needed this book this week? It sure is.
Content warnings for the book and headphones in for the episode, magnificent firebirds!
S05.08: Trailblazer Iris Johansen
Our Trailblazer episodes continue this week with Iris Johansen, who began writing category romance in the heyday of the format at Loveswept. During her varied career, she’s written categories, historicals and now writes thrillers and crime novels.
In this episode, we talk about the founding of Loveswept, about how she learned to write, and about the power of storytelling. We also talk about the way her career has grown and evolved—about transitioning to thrillers, about writing the Eve Duncan series for 28 books, and about keeping it in the family and writing with her son. We had a wonderful time hearing these stories. Thank you to Iris Johansen for making the time for us.
S05.07: Spooky Stuff! Halloween Romance Interstitial
It’s spooky season and that means we’re reading spooky stuff! We recommend some of our favorite recent witches and demons and incubii and ghosts and vampires and others…and then we try to get to the bottom of why paranormal romance and monster romance doesn’t feel like halloween romance to but these books do? This episode has it all: celebrity witch talk, a welshman named Rhys who isn’t the one you’re thinking of, a peek into Sarah’s past that reveals a painting that just might have installed one of her buttons…she had a beer before we recorded, so stuff happens! This one’s all treat, no trick…but headphones in, y’all. This one isn’t for the kids.
Thanks to Terri Green, author of The Swordmaster’s Daughter and Alyxandra Harvey, author of How to Marry a Viscount, for sponsoring the episode.
Our next read along is Claire Kent’s HOLD. It’s a prison planet romance, so…you know…enter at your own risk. Get it at Amazon or in Kindle Unlimited.
S05.06: Redemption Romance Interstitial with Christopher Rice
In the very best version of “third time’s the charm,” we are finally welcoming Christopher Rice to Fated Mates! A man of many talents, he writes fabulous contemporary romances as C. Travis Rice, and suspense, crime and supernatural thrillers as Christopher Rice. Today we’re talking Redemption Romance in honor of his most recent romance release, Sapphire Spring.
In this episode, we talk about how redemption romances and bully romances work, how tricky they are to write, and why so many of us are so drawn to redemption arcs — particularly when they involve sticking it to our childhood enemies. We had the best time with Christopher, who filled our TBRs…so get ready, because he’s definitely going to fill yours, too.
Just the podcast I needed when I needed it
Like so many if us I got into romance during the pandemic - I found this podcast last summer and have been working through the archives - it’s fantastic. I’ve found so many books through the pod and Jen and Sarah are such experts it’s really great. Highly recommend.
Fated Mates makes me happy
Thank you for creating such an audio delight! I listen to you in the car on my way to work, on my way home and while grocery shopping. I have earned myself a few glances in the store from breaking out in spontaneous laughter from something funny Jen or Sarah said. I feel like I’m a friend listening to another conversation among friends. Thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge on such a delightful topic. The world can be so weary at times, thank you for adding more happiness to it!
Thank you for creating this space!
I just discovered your podcast! I have been a fan of romance novels from the first Barbara Cartland novel I picked up at 14. My love for the genre grew as the space for opened to authors color, LGTBQIA themes and non-western perspectives. Your discussion with the trailblazers just have blown me away. They reminded how I had to defend my choice in reading from strangers on the subway who denigrated my choice in books. People who probably could not even remember the last book they had read. I must admit becoming an early adopter of eBooks readers to get people to leave me alone on my daily commute. As a someone who works in public health romance novels transported me away from whatever epidemic my team had to address. Romance novels introduced me to different worlds and gave me hope. Thank you, for opening this space to us romantics, allowing us to listen in on conversations with our favorite authors and introduce us to new authors!