What does Mackenzie actually think of Reese's Book Club? Is Lily really reading 400 books this year? What were some of the worst reads in 2020? In their first-ever midseason Q&A, Mackenzie and Lily keep keep the goss piping hot. Major episode timestamps: Introduction (0:00), Housekeeping (1:19), Introduction to Q&A Episode (2:50), Question About Where Mackenzie Sees Bad Bitch Book Club Going (3:43), Question About Why Mackenzie Thinks BBBC Caught On (7:01), Mention of Love Lives Here by Amanda Jette Knox (8:46), Mention of Parachutes by Kelly Yang (8:56) Question About What Mackenzie and Lily Do Professionally (12:44), Question About How Significant Others Support Mackenzie and Lily's Love of Books (17:59), Question About Best Career Advice (21:14), Question About How Mackenzie and Lily Organize Their TBRs (24:37), Mention of Next Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton (26:39), Question About How Mackenzie and Lily Read Over 50 and 400 Books, Respectively, in a Year (31:38), Question About Book Boyfriends and Favorite Romance Tropes (40:09), Mention of The Idea of You by Robinne Lee (40:31), Mention of One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (41:10), Mention of Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas (42:43), Mention of Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan (43:15), Mention of Beach Read by Emily Henry (44:07), Mention of Beard Science by Penny Reid (44:32), Question About the Most Disappointing Reads of the Year (46:00), Mention of the Two Lives of Lydia Bird (46:23), Mention of Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (48:06), Mention of Untamed by Glennon Doyle (49:58), Mention of Helena Hunting's Kiss My Cupcake (51:12), Mention of How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (52:05), Mention of Loathe at First Sight by Suzanne Park (53:09), Conclusion (54:35). You can get full show notes and episode transcriptions on the Bad Bitch Book Club website: http://badbitchbookclub.com/podcast. Give us a five-star rating wherever you get your podcasts, and say hi to us at @F2LPodcast on Twitter and Instagram. You can also join the private F2L Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292095932008569/.
If you want to support Bad Bitch Book Club's initiatives (including this podcast), become a Patreon member: https://www.patreon.com/badbitchbookclub. Buy all books mentioned on Friends to Lovers: https://bookshop.org/lists/friends-to-lovers-podcast. Friends to Lovers is a Bad Bitch Book Club podcast hosted by BBBC founder Mackenzie Newcomb and writer, editor, and bestie Lily Herman. Each week, they use books as a jumping off point to talk about sex, relationships, dating, love, romance, and more. Podcast logo by MKW Creative Co. (https://mkwcreative.co/) and music by Eliza Rose Vera (http://www.elizarosevera.com).
Love Lives Here by Amanda Jette Knox
Parachutes by Kelly Yang
Next Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Beard Science by Penny Reid
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Loathe at First Sight by Suzanne Park
Lily Herman: Hey, y'all welcome back to Friends to Lovers, a podcast where we use books as a jumping off point to talk about sex, relationships, dating, love, romance, and more. Friends to Lovers is part of the Bad Bitch Book Club network, and you can learn more at badbitchbookclub.com/podcast.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Hi everyone. My name is Mackenzie Newcomb. I'm the founder of Bad Bitch Book Club. I am an influencer marketing expert and consultant, and I am a Taylor Jenkins Reid stan.
Lily Herman: Yes, we will see this in two more episodes when we see how much you love Taylor Jenkins Reid. My name is Lily Herman. I am a writer and editor by day. I am also a person who only just started liking broccoli relatively recently, as a fun fact. And I am also one of Mackenzie's best friends.
Mackenzie Newcomb: I love broccoli and Ben hates it. It's an actual contentious part of our relationship.
Lily Herman: You know, I can see both sides of it. I really did not like broccoli until definitely like my mid-twenties, like 24ish, maybe 25.
Lily Herman: So we also have a couple of quick usual housekeeping reminders about where to find us online. You can find show notes and transcriptions of our podcast episodes, including every book we talk about, at badbitchbookclub.com/podcast. You should also join Bad Bitch Book Club's Patreon for just $7 a month at patrion.com/badbitchbookclub. You get discounts on merch. You get to be part of an exclusive group that just includes other patrons, who are amazing people. You get to help with voting and selecting the book of the month long before other members do. And you get a bunch of other cool ass perks that I can't remember off the top of my head 'cause there were like 27 of them.
Mackenzie Newcomb: For just $7. Just join, you won't regret it. You'll see it once you experience it.
Lily Herman: Exactly. And then you can also follow our podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @F2LPodcast, and that's two as in the number 2, and you can also join our Friends to Lovers Podcast Facebook group, which is—just search that. You do not have to be a Bad Bitch Book Club member to join that group. However, we obviously recommend you join the Bad Bitch Book Club, just cause it will enrich your life. You can also find the Bad Bitch Book Club itself on instagram at @badbitch.bookclub and on Twitter at @badbtchbookclub. But without the "i," because as we all know, Twitter is an asshole when it comes to character limits. So that's—that's that on that.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Here we go!
Introduction to Q&A Episode (2:50)
Lily Herman: What are we doing? What are we doing today, Mackenzie?
Mackenzie Newcomb: Well, today actually we're taking it a different direction than usual. And I'm sure those of you who have a million books in your pile that we have recommended over the last few weeks can take a sigh of relief because we are not going to give you more homework today. Instead we are answering some of your most pressing questions cause we are officially halfway through season one.
Lily Herman: Weeee! Yay! Love to see it. Yeah. So people asked us in the Bad Bitch Book Club group a mix of things that were—some were more personal life, work, life stuff. Some was more book culture, like how we do reading. And then some people just had either recommendations or wanting to hear, you know, your top three books on X or whatever. So that's sort of how we're, how we're breaking it up. And I think we're starting with personal and professional life questions.
Question About Where Mackenzie Sees Bad Bitch Book Club Going (3:43)
Lily Herman: So the first one that multiple people wanted to know, which makes perfect sense, is Mackenzie, where do you see the Bad Bitch Book Club going? And what's your biggest goal for the book club?
Mackenzie Newcomb: So I feel like for context, it's important to mention that when I started the book club, it was kind of a play off of a blog I already had of a reading goal situation I was already doing. I was reading 50 books a year and posting about it on my Instagram and had a lot of people that wanted to join in with me, and by a lot, I mean about 50 people, which felt like a ginormous group at the time. Now that we are over 5,000 members—
Lily Herman: Somewhere around there, somewhere around there, a casual 5k. Yeah.
Mackenzie Newcomb: That's just one the Facebook group. We are a hundred times bigger than I thought we were going to be. So I have some immediate goals that I would like to accomplish. So for one, I would like to have enough revenue from the book club to make it my full-time job. I totally—and we'll get into this a little bit later—but have not neglected my full-time job. I'm still very much in it, but there's only so much time I have. And if you are an active member of the book club, you probably understand why. So I would like to grow the book club to be something that has an event going on almost every single day. I would hope by the end of 2021 to have about 50,000 members. And I really want to create a bunch of micro-communities amongst that community. Of course, I hope that that increases revenue from affiliate links, Patreon, all of that stuff so that I can a be a full-time employee and also bring on an assistant. I would say those are my short-term. Long-term goals—and you know—I would love to get Taylor Jenkins Reid and Kristin Hannah on to talk to the book club. If I can get those two, they're my favorite authors—oh my god, no, if I can get Roxane Gay to come talk to the book club—.
Lily Herman: I would scream.
Mackenzie Newcomb: I would simply die. I would die and I'd have to find a replacement for myself. That would be unbelievable. So I think just acquiring my favorite authors over time, we had Brit Bennett come in August, which was insane. And so I do see it going in this direction. I just need to figure some more revenue streams. I would also love to, and this will make sense for members who are pretty active, I would love to take the production of merch and bring it in-house so that I don't have to use drop-shipping companies. And that's, I think all like really practical, tactical things that I have going on and planned. But I think for winter, I would love to also start serving more time zones. So right now we're really in the Eastern Standard time zone that we do our meetups for. And I would love to serve our European fans, our people on the West Coast really simply. And I would say that those are definitely my 2020 and 2021 goals. Past that I would love to be an accolade for an author to be Bad Bitch Book Club-approved, you know, a sticker on the book at the airport, that kind of stuff. That's the dream shit. I would love to be brought on to talk about books on morning shows, these are all things that I would love to do someday, but for now I think I have a pretty clear vision of what it looks like based on the growth rate for the next year and a half to two.
Question About Why Mackenzie Thinks BBBC Caught On (7:01)
Lily Herman: Why do you think the Bad Bitch Book Club has caught on and grown so much? And especially what I think is interesting is it was already growing at an absurd rate pre-pandemic. So this wasn't just something that just happened right now. You've been building this for, since what, April of 2018?
Mackenzie Newcomb: Good memory.
Lily Herman: Yeah. Gotcha. But yeah. So why do you think that it has caught on in a way that maybe, you know, plenty of people have tried to create virtual book clubs and it's just not ever quite become what, what Bad Bitch has become.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yeah, so I actually have a pretty clear answer on this. So at least what I believe is the case, which is that Bad Bitch Book Club had a really, really strong foundation. So for all of 2018 and most of 2019, it was a really small. By small, I mean under 500 people, an engaged group of people who really cared about the book club. And when we got our website in November of last year and our merch and our brand design, the people who had been members for almost two years at that point felt really, really proud of it and happy to share. We also stayed off Instagram in the beginning. You know, we didn't do this for Instagram followers. I only made an Instagram account a year and a half after creating the book club. So at the very base in its core, it's about community. And I think another big difference, a lot of people tried to do this, like you've said, is this isn't about me. And a lot of people start book clubs that are centered around them. Whereas I, I definitely am a leader of sorts. I keep everything organized to keep the thing going, but I do have a lot of people who help with that, but it's not all about my personal opinions. We're a democratic book club. People vote on the book of the month. I always take suggestions from members. The June book of the month, which was Love Lives Here, was recommended by a book club member named Beth. Beth Lydon. I hope I'm pronouncing your name right, girl. And the August book of the month, Parachutes, was recommended by Emma. So there are a lot of books that are coming from not me. But also our quality is I believe to be outstanding for selection. And I think when there's so much consistency, which you don't see even in—I hate to call someone out, but who cares? She's famous—Reese Witherspoon's book club, for example, does not have consistent picks at all. And I don't consider them our competition because they're not, but they are so all over the place that they're now known for being a book club with selections that are all over the place. Whereas for us, we maybe have had one or two picks that weren't insanely popular, but overall, generally our selections are really solid.
Lily Herman: I feel like too, there's like a vibe to what a Bad Bitch Book Club pick where I think sometimes—yeah, like not to say that like Reese's book club is terrible. That's ridiculous. She has a gigantic book club and you know, sells out and all that shit. But I think sometimes, which has been a common piece of feedback for her book club, is that it feels a little up and down in terms of what types of books she's putting out. What's good, et cetera. So I think Bad Bitch has always made sense to me in terms generally, in terms of generally speaking, what you're going to find and what the books are going to be. And you do a feature, a lot of authors who are not big names. Like you only have maybe what, two to three big-name authors a year, like Brit Bennett, where everyone has to read The Vanishing Half. Like you just have to.
Mackenzie Newcomb: It's just such an amazing book.
Lily Herman: Yeah. Then Parachutes by Kelly Yang, unless you were following Bad Bitch Book Club, you probably haven't heard that book. It just came out and the average person, even the average YA reader, might not have heard of it.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Exactly. I feel like those big names give the book a little bit of credibility from a standpoint that like, oh, okay, they've read this. That it's almost a point in history, right? Like we read Evelyn Hugo in early 2019. And at that point, it was really, really relevant. And so people can look back and say, "Oh, they picked this that long ago." Our first selection in April, 2018 was Little Fires Everywhere before there was even the announcement that it was going to be a Hulu show. So we've always been on point. Another big thing I think is I did a kind of an inventory of what our author racial diversity makeup looks like. I did this right during the Black Lives Matter movement in June and right off the bat, I was, I had exactly 50%. I had 50% white authors, 50% non-white authors. I was like, okay, this ain't great. Like, this isn't great, but it's not a horrible place to start and from there have made a point that the rest of our authors this year, with maybe the exception December's author cause I have a very specific pick in mind, are women of color. And I'm aiming for the book club to be 60/40 makeup by the end of the year. And by the end of 2021, it to be a 70/30 makeup women of color versus non-woman of color makeup. So always having that in our DNA, I think is super important that people can't look back and be like, "Oh, this has been a really problematic book club from day one" because we just haven't been.
Lily Herman: Yeah. It doesn't need to be another, we don't need another white lady book club picking all white lady books and then awkwardly being like, "Oh, and we, for this one month, you know, when everyone was talking about Black Lives Matter, had one." Yeah, like had like Brit Bennett and then the rest of it is more—.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yeah, Black History Month or whatever. Yeah. Like we always do read a book by a Black woman during Black History Month, but it's not the only time we're reading books by Black women. So I would say that that has all contributed to the success. Also, honestly, it took me really cute branding and community-oriented people feel like they have a stake in the book club. And that makes all the difference. It's not just about me.
Lily Herman: 10 out of 10 agree.
Question About What Mackenzie and Lily Do Professionally (12:44)
Mackenzie Newcomb: Now let's hear from you a little bit. Right. I want to hear from you. So especially since I need a drink, I'm winded after talking about it. I get very passionate. So Lindsay Roseman wants to know about your day job.
Lily Herman: Oh yes. And you're going to answer this question to answer this question too.
Mackenzie Newcomb: But you're going to answer it so I can have a glass of water.
Lily Herman: Yes, good thing it'll take me a second to explain what I do. So I am technically a freelancer. I don't work full-time in office with benefits with any one company. On my LinkedIn, you'll see that it says "writer, editor and digital strategist." That's kind of my umbrella term for what I do. I do a mix of writing editorial pieces for different websites. I was for instance, a contributing editor for Refinery29's news and politics team for about two to two and a half years. I am also finishing up a stint as Teen Vogue's Election 2020 columnist. I do a ton of writing for Shondaland and a bunch of other sites. And then there are other things where I just do one-off pieces here and there, but I've been a professional writer for almost a decade, which is actually kind of wild and also do editing on top of that. And then also I have a bunch of other private clients and other people too, where I do social media for them. I might do some PR elements of things, some tiny bits of event planning where needed and a lot of other editorial, be it copywriting or newsletter writing or things like that. So that's the overarching "day job." I'd say, too, I have a lot of passion projects. So aside from this podcast and helping Mack with book club things as they arise, I also have an organization called Get Her Elected that helps facilitate volunteers and everyday people offering their professional skills pro bono to progressive women candidates. We've, to this date, not including the 2020 election, we've helped somewhere around ballpark 75, maybe even 80 women get elected to office since the beginning of 2017. And we have well over 3,500, almost 4,000 volunteers. At this point. I also have a networking newsletter called (Net)Work B*tch that I've been running on and off since 2015, which is like fucking wild the five year anniversary. Hopefully by the time this podcast is out, I've redesigned that newsletter because it's been the same since 2015, like Obama's second term, that's wild. And then I also, hopefully again, by the time this podcast is up, I have launched my new book newsletter, which TBD the name. So we'll see what that is, but yeah, so I constantly have about 87 different projects going on. That's just kind of how I roll. I don't do well doing one thing and only one thing. It just gets me very neurotic and messy. So I like to kind of have 87, you know, irons in the fire, so to speak.
Mackenzie Newcomb: 87 to 89 at any given time.
Lily Herman: Just always somewhere around there, just right there, that range.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Well, yeah. So I know people are like, "You have a job?!!" So I have a full-time job and I am the influencer marketing and social media manager for a software platform called Traackr. So we're an influencer marketing platform/solution that works with really big-name clients like Loreal, Revlon, Ola Henriksen, Bite Beauty, Relic, really, really cool clients. And I create content for their site. I am the cohost of an influencer marketing podcast and it is really, I'm just gonna be completely honest, incredibly difficult, having a full-time job while also working on a side business that I'm hoping to turn into a full-time job. I am always at capacity. I am always on the verge of a mental breakdown. This is just the honest-to-God truth. I like my job quite a bit. It's a good job. I love my boss, my boss, her name's Evie. If she's listening, I love you so much, evie. She's brilliant and compassionate and cool. And I feel very invested in a Traackr. When I started there, we only had about 500 members of the book club, things were different, a little different. It takes up a lot more of my time, but it's a good job. And I would hope to, when I work for myself full-time, I would like to bring on some consulting clients for social media and audit social media, audits as well as strategy. So if you need that, call me because I am looking to bring on some clients.
Lily Herman: Yeah. I like self-employed life personally. I know it's definitely—obviously a lot of people are self-employed, unfortunately, because of industries being laid off; even pre-pandemic media is a disastrous industry. I would say I personally have really always vibed with doing my own thing. That's kind of the motto of my entire life is me just not quite wanting to do what everyone else was doing and in that sort of way. So I personally really enjoy self-employment. I have plenty of things that drive me nuts, but it's kind of I'm okay with those trade-offs. For me personally, I would never recommend that self-employment is the way to go for everyone. There's plenty of issues. Insurance, taxes, self-employment taxes are a fucking bitch. You know, there's all this other stuff. That's a mess.
Question About How Significant Others Support Mackenzie and Lily's Love of Books (17:59)
Lily Herman: So next question is from our girl, Anna. Anna asked, and this is a question from Mackenzie, cause it does not apply to me currently. Do your significant others ever feel like you spend too much time in the world of books? And if so, how do you handle that? And then what are some ways your significant others have shown that they support your bibliophila—oh fun word. So I don't have a significant other. In general, my friends and family leave me alone to read. So I can't really answer this one, but again, you are, as of this recording, about to marry a person who will obviously be dealing with your book journey for the rest of your lives. So please shed some light.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yes. So I'm really like, I'm incredibly lucky that my husband—we'll be married at this point because we're eloping by the way, Lily, I'm just like—.
Lily Herman: We'll talk about that later.
Mackenzie Newcomb: So my husband who, I mean, he's like a fiance-husband cause we've eloped at this point, but we're still having a big wedding next year, corona brides unite! We can all relate to this. So he is probably the most supportive person in the planet. Both my parents, they are entrepreneurs. It's just something that runs in my family. I've always made it really clear that entrepreneurship was my main goal. And so he supports me reading cause he knows that that is all going towards this greater goal of being my own boss and working in, making the book club, my full-time job. He was actually the first person to even spark in my mind that it could be a full-time job. He understands that I need to be reading pretty much 24/7. However, there are definitely times where he's like Mackenzie, don't bring an audiobook with you in the shower. Your mind needs to rest for five minutes. Like holy shit, bitch. He definitely tells me what I need to chill. Sometimes when I'm stressing out about something in particular or sometimes we'll be at the beach together, he'll be like, please talk to me for five minutes and I'll be okay. So he's really, really understanding, but he definitely sometimes just wants a little, maybe a little bit more of my attention and time. But he's so supportive. I mean, like I said, he's the first person who told me I should do this full-time. He's offered to let me quit my job and have him support us entirely on his salary while I'm making this happen. So I can't think of a more supportive guy. He also always buys me books when we're just at Target. I'll just have a book in my hands and he'll put it up with all of his stuff and buy it for me. And he's just the best. I'm so fucking lucky.
Lily Herman: A Ben, we can get behind.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Lily, he's the best, right?
Lily Herman: I love Ben. I love, I love Ben in general, but y'all as a couple, I really stan. We love to see Mack and Ben out here making moves. And he's right now currently letting you borrow his headphones, which is another layer of support. So thank you Ben for making this podcast sound good. It's all, it's all Ben. It's neither of us or our expensive mics.
Mackenzie Newcomb: As always, a man's made this podcast successful.
Lily Herman: A man who was not at all involved. Hasn't recorded. Isn't even home.
Question About Best Career Advice (21:14)
Mackenzie Newcomb: Oh my gosh. Okay. I actually don't have an answer for this, but I do think it's a good question. And this is coming from Kaila Vollmer, and I will say, I thought about whether or not I had an answer to this for about 12 hours and I truly do not, but I know you have a really good one. So what is the best career advice you have received?
Lily Herman: Yeah, so I was actually hype to answer this one because in the spring of 2017, I actually did a TEDx Talk at Wesleyan, which is my alma mater out in Connecticut. And the talk was based around what career lessons have been important to me and what not. And the major one, I boiled it down to something that a former editor of mine said. And we were talking about strengths, you know, our strengths and weaknesses as writers. And she said, "Yeah, the most important thing I've learned is don't treat your work as precious." So what that means is, and I'm looking at this from more of a creative writer context, is in writing, there are a lot of people who are much more talented than me in terms of just sheer ability to write pretty things and good sentences or reporting and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But there are also a lot of people in writing, be it creative writing or journalism or whatever, who have massive fucking egos. And it's not just big-name people like you meet people all the time and writing who think that they are, their work is magnificent. It needs no changes, blah, blah, blah. I actually never sought out to be a writer. I didn't actually call myself a writer and editor until I was a senior in college and literally had to win an award from Glamour magazine telling me that I was a successful, impressive college student for me to be like, yeah, perhaps I am a writer. So I think that that's probably the most important piece of advice. And I, even though, again, I'm looking at it in this specific context of my career, it does carry over to other types of work where you see people all the time, who are what I once heard described as "legends in their own minds." People who like believe their own hype mentally, but then don't actually have any of those qualities in terms of the actual reality of the world. So I think that's the biggest piece of advice I've ever gotten that I think has stuck with me is people will give you a feedback all the time, regardless of your career. Know when take it personally or when to get upset or when to fight back and know when it's like, yeah, this person is invested in me being better. I'm going to take their advice. I'm going to learn from it and doing that without making a big scene of it is I think the other big thing. So lots of people in this world who, like I said, are much better writers, but I kind of keep my head down, accept the criticism where it is often due. I need feedback and people too, to tell us where we need to do differently. And I just kind of roll with it. So that's probably been the most influential piece of advice that has served me really, really well professionally. I think that being able to take constructive criticism is just a really important life skill. Anyways, it's something that I have worked on over the years now, I feel very comfortable with, but it definitely is a journey, but people have to, you got to put your ego aside and know that people are usually not out to get you and they're just trying to make you better. Yeah. And I think knowing, learning how to discern the difference between those two is a long, long-fought skill. That just takes a very long time to figure out and understand and know who's in your corner versus who's sabotaging, but often people don't care either way or are trying to help you. So, you know, not thinking that everyone is the worst, if they give you any piece that's not gleaming, you know, shimmering feedback.
Question About How Mackenzie and Lily Organize Their TBRs (24:37)
Mackenzie Newcomb: Love to see it. Moving on to some book questions.
Lily Herman: I guess I'll ask the first book like culture question from our girl Hudy Rosenberg. How do you choose the books you're going to read? My TBR list grows faster than I can read and I don't know how to prioritize which books to read. Mack, do you want to go first?
Mackenzie Newcomb: Of course. So mine's not going to be super tactical for your average person. It's very much a result of being someone who runs a giant virtual book club. But first and foremost, I am always reading a few months out what books I think could be possible Bad Bitch Book Club book of the month picks. Cause that's obviously the most important. So right now I am currently listening to—I always vet books via audiobook because it's like, I don't know. It's just kind of how I figured it out. And so I usually have a memoir going on audiobook at all times. And then I'm usually reading at least one romance novel for this podcast. So yeah, I would say that in the majority of my book choices are based in what I need to read for some sort of passion project. I do have a spreadsheet that lists out everything I have to read and when I need to read it and why I need to read it. So that definitely helps me because the pile just keeps growing and growing and growing. I know this is going to sound horrible, but I hate when I get book recommendations that don't fit into either category because it's just homework. I just don't have the time. I don't want to let somebody down by not reading the book they've told me to read or lent me, but I am so busy. And my TBR is so big that I really do have to plot it all out. I also try to make sure that I am always reading. At least three of the four books I've read most recently are written by women of color. I don't really read books written by men because I don't have time.
Lily Herman: That's the hot goss.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yeah. And there's very few times where I'm reading something that doesn't fully fit into one of those two categories, unless it's a series I absolutely love. So the last book I read that had nothing to do with any of the stuff that we're currently working on was I read The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton, which is number three in the Next Year in Havana series. It's not going to be a book of the month. It's not going to be a one-off book that we've read, cause it's in a series, but I just fucking love Chanel Cleeton and then I had to read it for me and I read it after reading something I really didn't want to read for the podcast.
Lily Herman: Are we talking about Trust Exercise?
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yes, Trust Exercise! I'm reading Chanel Cleeton now.
Lily Herman: Reading solely for pleasure and enjoyment and not at all for anything. Yeah. Oh God. So good.
Mackenzie Newcomb: What about you, Lil?
Lily Herman: Oh goodness. So I'll preface this cause I know the next question actually gets into this more. So I will explain this in a second, but I do read roughly a book-ish a day and I'll, again, I'll explain all of this in a moment, but that's a lot of reading. I think what people would be surprised to learn considering how organized I am with other things and other aspects of my life is I don't keep a spreadsheet. I actually have a Medium post that I was writing for something else for it, for a blog series I was doing on my own. That's not going to exist in 2020 anymore. RIP Winging It! But I actually had all of my books listed with my ratings and my reviews. And so I've actually used that to just kind of keep up with what needs to be read in the immediate future for like next week or two. And I kind of have the Notes app with some other books that people have mentioned. And I keep that for when I have library holds open or other things, but yeah, I'm not particularly organized with my reading, which is both a pro and a con of my reading life. I'd say I have, if I think about it, three kind of categories of books, so one is book club-related stuff. I do help Mack with vetting books for book of the month and seeing what things could be potential options that everyone else votes on. I obviously read for this podcast, I read for the various discussion groups, including the ones that I help co-host. So there's just a lot going on with that. And then also I'm really, really fortunate that I do get to write about books as part of my job. And so I do receive a lot of what are called ARCs or advanced reader copies from publishers. So I get a lot of those too, and I'm always constantly trying to make my way through those. A lot of them want you to read, obviously, before the book comes out to figure out book coverage and other stuff. That's, I'd say, column number one. Number two are what I just think of is like straight -p pleasure reads or things I was really looking forward to sometimes. Yeah, like Mackenzie was saying, they overlap with other things, but a lot of romance novels I really love and I'm excited about, and they happen to also fall into podcasts categories or episodes we're doing or book club things sometimes too, if I'm just in a reading slump and nothing's hitting me, you know, I'll pick up a Tessa Dare novel. Like I know my girl Tessa Dare will save my life every time. And that's just purely not for anything except for me to enjoy that romance. So that's column two. And then third I have what I would refer to as, I don't know, like, I don't wanna say like "discomfort reads" or kind of mind-expanding reads, but I always try to make sure I'm throwing in books from a variety of different genres or things I haven't really tried a lot of, or I haven't read a lot of recently. So I do enjoy both fiction and nonfiction, so I always make sure that I have a mix of stuff and have topics I maybe haven't seen before. For instance, I just got an arc of a book on Black Buddhists and I was like, oh—and I wish I could remember the name of it, but it'll take forever to pull up. But I was like, "Oh, I've never read about being Black and also being a Buddhist. "That's kind of interesting and something like that where it's, I can't necessarily say it's going to be enjoyable the way a Tessa Dare romance is, but that's not necessarily the point. Similarly, for instance, I haven't read a ton of sci-fi or fantasy in a really long time, like a ton of it. So I'm like, okay, I want to add that into the rotation. I think to be like a really, I would say like"good reader" with "good book opinions," I think you need to read a variety of things by a variety of different types of people from a variety of different backgrounds and identities. So I try to also incorporate that into like my reading diet as they would say. So that's the long answer of how my reading life is very, very disorganized as a person.
Mackenzie Newcomb: I would say, because you read a lot more than me, I have to be pretty significantly more organized with my reading because—.
Lily Herman: And a little more discerning because yeah, I'll randomly read shit where the Mackenzie's like, what the fuck are you doing reading that book? I'm like, oh, like I needed to read a fantasy.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yeah, I don't have time for really much elective reading, which kind of bums me out in some ways. But that's why I'm working on picking books that are for pleasure that also fit into the romance. Like Lily said, you know, I don't like anything that I'm reading. I mean, no, sometimes I dislike things that I'm reading.
Lily Herman: Trust Exercise!
Mackenzie Newcomb: But I never intentionally choose a book normally that I'm going to intentionally dislike. My hope is that it will be amazing and I'll want to recommend to 5,000 people. It's just usually they fall into kind of a little bit more of a niche category.
Question About How Mackenzie and Lily Read Over 50 and 400 Books, Respectively, in a Year (31:38)
Mackenzie Newcomb: Moving on and similar to that. How do you all do what you do and read so many books? This is coming from Lindsey once again. She mentioned that she stalked Lily on Goodreads and almost passed out at her reading goal. And to that I say #same. I'll go first on this one, because I feel like mine's really simple and short.
Lily Herman: A little more succinct, yeah.
Mackenzie Newcomb: For the past five, four? I started in 2016. So for the past four years, I have read 50 books a year, just over 50 books a year, up to 70 books a year. Really one book a week was my goal and accomplished it. Consistently read on commutes. It was really, really, really easy to fit into my life. And then this year due to pandemic and book club growth, I now read about two books a week and one of them is always an audiobook. The other one is always a physical book. I would say in the summer, I probably read closer to three books a week because I live on the beach. I'm super blessed. And I usually read two books, physical books, on the weekend. I read up to four books a week, but honestly, never more than that. And it's definitely something I now think of much more consciously than when I first started this endeavor. I listened to audiobooks, like I said, before in the fucking shower, when I am cooking, when I am walking my dog—.
Lily Herman: And you're a recent audiobook convert.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yeah you converted me. The first one I listened to is Get a Life, Chloe Brown back in March. And then it has just been—I don't listen to podcasts very often anymore. I hope to not discourage anyone from listening to podcasts right now, but it's kind of just what I have to do. And I do think of it a lot as work, but it has made the pandemic a lot more bearable. Now let's hear from this crazy ass hoe who reads a book a day?
Lily Herman: Oh goodness. So, yeah. So I think the important thing to note is I did not start off this year with an idea that my reading goal was going to be 400 books for the year. Mackenzie and I made a pact to each other that we were going to read 50 books a year for the entirety of the twenties.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Oh we did promise that, didn't we?
Lily Herman: We did, remember that in a pre-pandemic 2019? What a TBT. So I went in thinking, yeah I'm going to read a book a week and that was mostly because I felt like I just hadn't been reading very routinely for a while. I had a lot of books that were just sitting in my room, right? I wanted to read them, like they were books I wanted to read, but just could not get a mind space to read them. And I'm a very goal=oriented person with specific things like that. So I was like, let me have some accountability here with a friend who talks books all the time. I do love to read and I just needed to get back into it. I was also reading a ton of nonfiction and not a lot of fiction. And I was like, I just need more balance for a lot of reasons. I was like, I'm going to just make 2020 my bitch reading-wise. I really kind of started in 2019. I just really went hard on romance, which I hadn't done in a while. And just enjoyed reading a ton of—there's a real, really great amount of amazing contemporary romance right now. So I was really enjoying that. And yeah, I think the year—again, I was going with 50 books—the year started off with me just reading a ton on like the holiday break. Every year, I take two weeks off from my self-employment to vacation like anyone else and just read, like I would just sit there and read constantly anywhere from one to three books a day, just hanging out reading and no pressure on it. It was all just whatever I felt like doing. There was no TBR list. It was just kind of, you know, I had stuff on Goodreads, but was just kind of writing. My only commitment to myself was that I was going to write and review everything that I read just as a fun experiment for myself and to make myself really think and reflect on what I was reading and consuming in that way. So that's where it started. I think it's interesting in that I never considered myself a book a day person or understood how anyone could that until this year, I was already kind of doing that pre-pandemic, but then with the pandemic, I'm already someone who reads a lot. It's my main leisure activity. So that just kind of fell into place. I'd say also reading for me is a form of discipline. I think it's cool that I'm able to sit down and commit to something for three to four to five hours a night. I think the other important thing too is if you're someone who's listening, you're like, I could never do that. My other big tip for everyone who's like, how can I read more? I'm like, put down the phone and put it in another room. Cause I'm going to be on it. Be honest with yourselves. Actually, don't even be honest with me. Be honest with yourself. How often are you scrolling through Instagram, texting, et cetera while you're trying to read a book? Now try to do it with your phone not even in the room. You'd be surprised how much more you get through when you don't have to read something, put it down to pick up your phone, text, go back, reread the same couple of paragraphs where you left off. That really helps. I would also say too, I am a quicker reader. I always have been, I can't do any math, but I can absolutely read quickly and comprehend. Well, similarly I'd say too, I read fun stuff that I enjoy. I also read a lot of stuff that isn't too long. A lot of the books I read are somewhere between 250 to 450 pages. And I might have a longer book kind of running in the background, but I don't read like a 700-page book everyday. Like, no, I have a life, that is ridiculous. But I think overarchingly, when it comes to books and book goals and TBR lists and what not, I think the most important thing is not to put pressure on yourself and on the numbers and to just enjoy reading. If I didn't make my 400-book goal, I'd be fine. It's fine. It is what it is. Like that's a lot of books. Even if a person reads one book a month, that's great. Do that.
Mackenzie Newcomb: I agree. That's a big accomplishment that most Americans like don't even come close to.
Lily Herman: Yeah. So if you read like even like a book this year, great. I think that's the biggest thing, is not putting so much pressure to where it becomes a thing, but I think, yeah, basically do whatever you want to do. Everything is a social construct. And if you do want to up your reading, there are ways to do it, be it being more disciplined, throwing your phone away so that you're not constantly on it, choosing things you really love, doing a mix of longer books and shorter books, giving yourself some variety. Even though I love romance books, I don't read like 10 in a row because that would burn me out and I wouldn't enjoy them all as much. And I would love to enjoy every romance book I read. So I guess that's the long meandering answer to——a book a day is both way more attainable than people think, depending on a lot of factors. But I also don't necessarily think that you're not a real reader if you don't read a book a day, like, no, thank you. That's ridiculous. Like goodbye. I am an absurd human, like, please, please don't think that you're an inadequate reader or book person who talks about books if you're not reading like 87 books a day.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Yeah. Yeah. It's crazy. And I would say on that note, like kind of going off what you said a little bit, libraries are awesome because you can DNF. So DNF means do not "finish" or you can quit a book if you're not feeling it. If you're not feeling a, just quit it. And that's why I think libraries are good because you don't have to feel guilty about paying for it and then quitting it. Although I sometimes do do that. And I would say reading 50 books a year is a lot of books, but it is very doable, reading one book per week. Very, very doable with minimal effort. And if you want to be someone who is a big reader, I think 50 books is a very, very great goal to set. It's a great book to start with a book a week, it's not hard. And if you feel like that is impossible for you, then I recommend having an audiobook going and a regular book and you can do that. Definitely finish both of those in two weeks.
Lily Herman: Yeah. I especially love—and also you might find too that there's just certain genres you like the audiobook and others you don't. I tend to read a lot more fiction on audiobook because I think certain nonfiction books are great audiobook reads, some are just a lot more kind of academic and numbers and studies-heavy, which makes it hard for me to absorb personally, but I can always read—I can always listen to a romance novel.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Funny. I'm the exact opposite. So I think it's all finding out what works for you. Like my audio is always nonfiction.
Lily Herman: Interesting. And I will also mention to people if you're like, "Oh, is it a real read if I listened to it?" Studies have found that the brain processes reading words and listening to words, like if you're listening to an audiobook versus reading a physical book, it processes it in the same way, like with the same amount. So you're not a better or worse person for listening to an audiobook or reading a physical book. It all "counts" cause that's what everyone's always worried about.
Question About Book Boyfriends and Favorite Romance Tropes (40:09)
Lily Herman: And we're going to book recommendations now in Jordan Ellis asked, who are your top three book boyfriends and favorite romance tropes? Okay. Do you want to start or do you want me to start?
Mackenzie Newcomb: I can start. I only have two boyfriends. Okay. I'm not someone who has a lot of celebrity crushes and that kind of also goes into my book boyfriends. I have two book boyfriends I feel very passionately about, and I don't have a third cause I'm not going to cheat on my two boyfriends. So one first and foremost Hayes Campbell from The Idea of You. Whew, hot! Basically Harry Styles. I love him so much. I think that he's sexy because he loves this older woman. He's got a British accent and he's got the moves. He's just a hundred percent my mans. I love him so much. And I would read more fan fiction about him. Robinne Lee is a fan of the podcast slash the Bad Bitch Book Club. She wrote this book The Idea of You and I cannot recommend it enough if you like age differences and celebrity slash normal person romance. My other book boyfriend is Sam from One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins. Reid. If you know this book, you know that Emma, the protagonist, has two love interests: Her husband that she thought was dead and her fiance who she knew was alive the whole time. And I really, really fell for the fiance Sam. He reminds me so much of my current fiance-husband, Ben, and I would say the main scene—and this is not as spoiler cause it's just very anecdotal—that made me think like, "Oh my God, Sam is Ben" is when he came home with the vegan cheese for Emma for her grilled cheeses because he knows that her stomach hurts with cheese. Ben has tried to bring me home vegan cheese so many times cause I have an abundance of stomach issues, which is so cute. And he's like, "I got you this new non-dairy cheese! I heard it's really good!" I never eat that trash. But the thought is there. That exact thought. So I would say those are defs by two favorite boyfriends, very clear favorites, which is why I didn't really want to bring in a third. That didn't feel as honest to me cause it just really matters the integrity, this podcast. And as far as tropes go, I can pretty much fuck with any trope that's really well done. I have more of a least favorite trope than anything. I love love at first sight because that's what I experienced. But I'm very particular about love at first sight because it is my favorite. I also love celebrity with non-celebrity and big age gap.
Lily Herman: Mackenzie found this out because—it's supposed to be IRL New York city book club—and the pick for this current month was or is Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas, which is a very scandalous age gap romance. The trope we were going for was a taboo romance, but Mackenzie will explain more in a bit about age gap. Yeah.
Mackenzie Newcomb: What about you, Lily? Who are your book boyfriends?
Lily Herman: So I'd say there was maybe—I'm going to do recent book boyfriends cause I feel like there's some yeah, that I just, I love for different reasons. One would actually be Ezra Stern from Kennedy Ryan's book Queen Move. Loved Queen Move. Wonderful, wonderful book, definitely deals with a trope that I really do like, which is young love reunited or kind of second chance romance, but specifically young love within second chance as a trope. So he's just great. And I also just, I love her writing. I love that book. So, so fabulous. She really mixes a lot of very steamy romance with like deeper themes really well. Also a dude who knows how to work a boob book. There's lots of boob stuff in that book and Ezra knows what he's doing, he's not just kind of honking and calling it a day so much love to Ezra for that. Yeah, "bobby honking" is a phrase from The Office for those who know Kevin Malone said it in an episode. So if you know, you know. Other two recent ones that I loved or love to hate. The first one is obviously Gus from Beach Read by Emily Henry. My adolescent self loves a good broody, dark and mysterious, like dark and twisty man. And he's just like cute and kind of a mess, but also an excellent writer and doing his stuff and he's kind of a chaotic person and I kind of dig it. So Gus, even though my therapist would be like, we should move away from like these types. I'm like, yes, Gus. The other one, which I've talked about before, and it's just my favorite one. That's just like a left field pick is I fucking love Cletus Winston from Penny Reid's Winston Brothers series, specifically the book about Cletus, which is Beard Science. I've also read the first of Penny Reid's spinoff series about Cletus and his love of his life, Jenn, called Engagement and Espionage, which I talked about in a different episode, but I don't even necessarily like Cletus. It's just hilarious. And they, him and Jenn, have a real misunderstood enemies to lovers—I wouldn't say they're necessarily enemies, but really misunderstand each other greatly—kind of story. And I'd say trope-wise, yeah, everyone knows I I love enemies to lovers. I do love within that, I love a fake dating scenario. So if you put together fake dating and enemies to lovers and I just love when two people who hate each other are forced to pretend to like each other, hilarious to me, I'd say least favorite tropes. Yes, similar to Mackenzie, I can do pretty much any trope when done well. I don't really fuck with a lot of the more like hyper-taboo ones.
Mackenzie Newcomb: You're going to hate Birthday Girl.
Lily Herman: Oh, I know. I know. I'm the one who—hilariously, I'm the one who found it cause I watched Booktube and know these things, but yeah I just hate when things aren't done well. I'd say too less of a trope, more of a thing I need in romance is good dialogue. If the dialogue is excellent, I will forgive a lot of other things. If the dialogue is terrible, I can't overlook it.
Question About the Most Disappointing Reads of the Year (46:00)
Lily Herman: Our last question is also by Astha Berry, which we knew was going to be a hot one. And that is, she asked, what are the three worst books we've read this year? I think we both decided we wanted to frame this question as most disappointing since there's a lot of, I think reasons why books aren't anyone's favorite and they require a little more context. So Mack, what books were you not feeling this year?
Mackenzie Newcomb: So this first one actually has a five-star book from Lily, so she's going to be a little sad to hear this. I did not like The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and I want to add the fact that I am a huge Josie Silver fan. I thought that her book One Day in December was amazing. I would have given it six stars if I could. So I had very, very high expectations for this new book and it honestly just didn't really live up to it for me. It was a slow burn, but it was so unbelievably slow and it didn't really capture my heart in any way. I thought it was a little bit boring and it just, it didn't do it for me. And that was disappointing.
Lily Herman: Yeah. I would say with Lydia Bird, I think the thing is, is that there's a lot of these like UK and like UK-adjacent authors who really love this kind of slow burn, a lack of romance romance, so to speak, that I think she can fall into. I think her work reminds me a lot of Mhairi McFarland's work. Mhairi, she's, I believe Scottish, but her name is spelled like M-H-A-I-R-I but it's VAH-REE with a "V" so just a heads up and you're like, who the fuck is that? So Mhairi McFarland, which her, I feel like if you frame both Josie Silver's books and Mhairi McFarland's books, as they're more about people growing to who they have to become so that they can like accept the love that they deserve. I think that that's how I viewed both One Day in December to a lot of an extent, and then also Lydia Bird. And that's why I think I loved it because I was not looking for some sort of like epic love story, but more like woman on a journey. But I think, yeah, the problem was they marketed it differently and that's where people were disappointed.
Mackenzie Newcomb: I just didn't love it. I didn't love it. What was one of yours?
Lily Herman: I'd say first one is actually not a romance, it's depending on who you talk to, it's a couple different genres, but it's actually Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin. I would say my reasons for not enjoying it as much as I'd hoped was actually none of the reasons are her fault necessarily. So the problem is this book, it's essentially almost like a Natalie Holloway-esque tale of a young girl and her family on vacation in a Caribbean Island, her older sister who's 17 goes missing and is found dead. And it's kind of about a mix of why is America obsessed with these young, white, blonde women going missing and obviously not any children of color, her kind of slowly coming to terms with it, and also the fact that the men who are suspected of murdering her sister are, are still free. So that's sort of a lot of stuff on her mind. I think the big problem was, and again, this is not the author's fault at all, is the publisher marketed it as a thriller when this book is in fact just literary fiction with a mystery in it, which are two very different genres. So there's a lot of kind of purple prose, so to speak, so it's very ornate, a little too much in my opinion, but I could have dealt with it better if someone had just said this was literary fiction. I think my view of it would have changed, and judging by the Goodreads ratings and reviews and what not, a lot of people have the same issue of being like, you know, "I'm a Riley Sager fan, why do I hate this book? This is awful!" When in reality, this is not a thriller, sorry if anyone thought it was, it's not a thriller, it's literary fiction.
Mackenzie Newcomb: That'll throw anyone off. That's a big difference.
Lily Herman: Exactly, exactly. Just completely different audiences. And I feel bad for Alexis Schaitkin for that reason of like, the wrong audience was reading this book, or people went into it with the wrong expectations, which again, completely not her fault. She wrote a solid book that just wasn't—it was just not properly categorized.
Mackenzie Newcomb: You're going to like mine.
Lily Herman: I know what your second one is.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Okay. Fucking Untamed by Glennon Doyle. And I don't really feel bad talking shit because she's really famous and really rich and she's doing just fine sitting on the New York Times bestseller list. Whereas some authors I'm like kind of more hand-holdy with my feelings, but this book wasn't bad. Okay? But it was sold to me as a spiritual experience. Like I was told that you're going to read this book and your world is going to change. And the world did not change. And it took me two weeks to read this book, which is a very long time for me. And coupled with the fact that I was reading it in the absolute height of the George Floyd protests, I was like, "Oh my fucking God. I do not care about this white lady's life." It just like, she's a memoirist. It's not doing it for me. I just did not—I just did not care. I thought the way she talked about God was kind of cool. But other than that, I am so glad for those people who get something out of this book. And if it does shape your life or change you in any way, I'm just—know that I'm happy for you. It didn't do it for me. And I probably wouldn't go around recommending it. The cover was pretty though.
Lily Herman: Yeah, gorgeous fucking cover.
Lily Herman: I'll just say my second book pretty quick. It was Helena Hunting's Kiss My Cupcake, which came out in August. There was nothing particularly awful about this. I just really did not fuck with the protagonist who takes on a quirky Zoey Deschanel-esque kind of characterization. The whole book is centered around basically a warring cupcake eatery and a bar, which I actually, again, like enemies to lovers but it just lacked a certain amount of charm and organization of her other recent books, like Meet Cute and Good Luck Charm. I read her books and I just like—they're like good three-star reads for me. Or 3.5-star reads. I enjoy them but don't really think about them too much. After in this one, I was like, it's like pulling teeth to get through.
Mackenzie Newcomb: That's a bad name, too, Kiss My Cupcake. I'm sorry. That's so cheesy.
Lily Herman: Yeah, it was. Yeah. I wanted to like it more and I have a couple of her other books in my Kindle and yeah, I just wanted to like this more and I didn't. I'm sorry.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Just same exact kind of thing. My final one is How to Walk Away by Katherine Center I absolutely loved Things You Save in a Fire. I recommended it in our first episode on books you can lend to your grandma. I thought it was a five-star read. I thought How to Walk Away was pretty bad. I hated pretty much everything about this book. It's about a woman who ends up in the hospital because her boyfriend took her on an illegal plane ride and crashed and she ends up paralyzed. There's a lot of elements from Taylor Jenkins Reid's Maybe In Another Life in here that I think was done better. A lot of people in the book felt like caricatures. I thought the twists were weird. I thought the ending was awful. And I just can say with confidence that I hated that book ,and I'm sorry, Katherine, your other books are amazing. Go read Things You Save in a Fire because it is an excellent book.
Lily Herman: Yeah, I really struggled with How to Walk Away as well for similar reasons.
Lily Herman: My last one of disappointments was actually also Loathe at First Sight by Suzanne Park. This is another one that I think was just kind of mis-marketed. Essentially the premise on the back cover is that there's a woman who works at a really sexist and racist video game company where she's a designer, which sounds really fucking cool. Right? And the idea is that she gets assigned to lead a project, and the idea and project are getting usurped by the CEO's—I believe it's his nephew who's, you know, like an MBA rich kid obnoxious white dude. So I'm like, yes, enemies to lovers in the workplace. Fuck yeah. And this book was kind of messy. I really wanted to love it, but there's very little enemies to lovers in here. They have one slight miscommunication at the beginning and then are fine. And I'm like, that's not, they're not enemies, like they had a very slight conflict that wasn't a non-conflict. And then the romance here is just relegated to like a second-tier plot. So I just felt like, again, I don't necessarily blame Suzanne Park for all of why I was not as big of a fan of this as I thought I was. But yeah, there was some issues with how it was marketed. The title makes you think obviously Loathe at First Sight—.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Oh it's very much romance, like that screams romance.
Lily Herman: Yeah like there's going to be this incredible enemies to lovers story. And that's just not at all what unfolded. So that was just a bummer. I wanted more and there was many reasons why I was just—outside reasons that weren't specifically just the writing though. I had some issues with how the story unfolded.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Well, this is awesome. Yeah. I really enjoyed talking about myself for an hour.
Lily Herman: How, how nice and yeah. Selfless. We're going to skip our usual what we're reading now section cause y'all have heard enough of what we're reading and what we think of books for today or else I'm going to explode for how much we're chit-chatting. Thank you so much, everyone for joining us. Just a quick preview of next week: We are super excited to have an episode of what we're calling Consent and Condoms, which sounds like a late-2000s lifestyle blog, but we're discussing the culture of consent, protection, and contraception in romance novels—or complete lack thereof. And one of my favorite people on earth and a good friend of mine, Ella Dawson, will be joining us. Definitely Google her. I believe her handle and Instagram and Twitter is @brosandprose. So like bros and then P-R-O-S-E like writing prose. So definitely check out her shit. If you Google her, you'll find all sorts of stuff on her. She's lovely and hilarious and smart and interesting and will be fantastic. So that's next week. Mack, where can everyone find us and help us with this podcast?
Mackenzie Newcomb: Please make sure to give us a five-star rating and review, tell us how smart we are, how much you love our book recommendations and how excited you were to hear more about our lives on this Q&A episode. Subscribe to this podcast, please, please, please. If you are looking for more info on the Bad Bitch Book Club, you can find us on Instagram at @badbitch.bookclub or on badbitchbookclub.com. We have very chic merch, right? You can find me at @mackinstyle any social platform and at @F2LPodcast with the numebr 2 on Twitter and Instagram. We are also at badbitchbookclub.com/podcast. Oh, I'm out of breath, thirst yourself out. Where can people find you?
Lily Herman: Yep. You can find me on Instagram at @lilykherman, "K" as in kangaroo, and on Twitter at @lkherman. All right, thanks so much everyone for joining us and we will see you next week to talk consent and condoms.
Mackenzie Newcomb: Oh, I can't wait for our guest. All right, bye Lily!