Gays Reading

Cozy Season Book Recs feat. Jasmine Guillory

December 05, 2023 Brett Benner, Jason Blitman, Jasmine Guillory Season 1 Episode 29
Cozy Season Book Recs feat. Jasmine Guillory
Gays Reading
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Gays Reading
Cozy Season Book Recs feat. Jasmine Guillory
Dec 05, 2023 Season 1 Episode 29
Brett Benner, Jason Blitman, Jasmine Guillory

'Tis the season to be under a blanket, sitting by a fireplace, reading a book! Just in case your TBR doesn't have something you're in the mood for, Jason and Brett have some cozy recommendations for you. If that's not enough, they also enlist  the help of bestselling author Jasmine Guillory (The Wedding Date, The Proposal) to share her recs.

Jasmine Guillory is a New York Times bestselling author of novels including The Wedding Date, the Reese's Book Club selection The Proposal, and Drunk on Love. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, and Time, and she is a frequent book contributor on The Today Show. She lives in Oakland, California. @jasminepics

**BOOKS!**
Check out the list of books discussed on each episode on our Bookshop page:
https://bookshop.org/shop/gaysreading | By purchasing books through this Bookshop link, you can support both Gays Reading and an independent bookstore of your choice!

Join our Patreon for exclusive bonus content!

Purchase your Gays Reading podcast Merch!

Follow us on Instagram
@gaysreading | @bretts.book.stack | @jasonblitman

What are you reading?
Send us an email or a voice memo at gaysreading@gmail.com

Show Notes Transcript

'Tis the season to be under a blanket, sitting by a fireplace, reading a book! Just in case your TBR doesn't have something you're in the mood for, Jason and Brett have some cozy recommendations for you. If that's not enough, they also enlist  the help of bestselling author Jasmine Guillory (The Wedding Date, The Proposal) to share her recs.

Jasmine Guillory is a New York Times bestselling author of novels including The Wedding Date, the Reese's Book Club selection The Proposal, and Drunk on Love. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, and Time, and she is a frequent book contributor on The Today Show. She lives in Oakland, California. @jasminepics

**BOOKS!**
Check out the list of books discussed on each episode on our Bookshop page:
https://bookshop.org/shop/gaysreading | By purchasing books through this Bookshop link, you can support both Gays Reading and an independent bookstore of your choice!

Join our Patreon for exclusive bonus content!

Purchase your Gays Reading podcast Merch!

Follow us on Instagram
@gaysreading | @bretts.book.stack | @jasonblitman

What are you reading?
Send us an email or a voice memo at gaysreading@gmail.com

Jason Blitman:

I Can't believe it's December.

Brett Benner:

I know I'm a little like,

Jason Blitman:

our listeners can't see the like eye roll head shake you just did, but that was the pause.

Brett Benner:

No it's, by the way, speaking of December and my my whatever bi weekly check in of all things, Trader Joe's these for our listeners. I saw it today,

Jason Blitman:

Astounding multi flavor mini pretzels. Wait, it's one, two, three, four different pretzels covered in various chocolates and sweet coatings with drizzles, sprinkles, bits, and pieces.

Brett Benner:

I'm, I spent part of my day yesterday going through and trying to Okay. Christmas shop, and I don't know if it's good for me, I just, I tried to do some on like, Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Jason Blitman:

Oh. Yeah. I don't have my shit together enough to like, chop on those days.

Brett Benner:

Yeah luckily my kids give a list, which is great, with links, which is great. But

Jason Blitman:

is that fun? I will never understand that.

Brett Benner:

You mean versus getting all surprises?

Jason Blitman:

Yeah.

Brett Benner:

Because there's things that they absolutely want, so it doesn't mean that they're going to get everything. And it doesn't mean that I don't get stuff beyond the list. You know what I mean? But

Jason Blitman:

steer you in the right direction.

Brett Benner:

yeah, and they don't necessarily know what they're getting from the list. Like Ryan will write, absolutely want this. And that's helpful, but

Jason Blitman:

That's what a job is for, Ryan.

Brett Benner:

oh my God.

Jason Blitman:

make your money, and then you can buy that thing you absolutely want for yourself.

Brett Benner:

And that will happen eventually. That's what will happen eventually.

Jason Blitman:

Happy December,

Brett Benner:

Grandpa Jason just spoke up

Jason Blitman:

back in my day. We had to earn,

Brett Benner:

did you have a job? Where do, what was your

Jason Blitman:

my whole freaking life, it was like everything from when I was in elementary school. This will come as zero surprise to you. I was a birthday magician.

Brett Benner:

How much, what did you get paid in? Quarters

Jason Blitman:

I think I charged like 25 to come do a birthday party.

Brett Benner:

packs of bubble. Yum.

Jason Blitman:

And so that was like the beginning of my like entrepreneurial life. I was literally in fourth grade and was performing at birthday parties. From then on, I would do I would babysit, I would I like worked at the local little theater companies and just get paid in classes or get paid, you know, little things here and there. Then when I was a teenager, I worked at like a burger joint called Cheeburger Cheeburger

Brett Benner:

Cheeseburger. CHE.

Jason Blitman:

C-H-E-E-B-U-R-G-E-R, Cheeburger Cheeburuger and I could still do this, ready American Blue Cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, jalapeno, or Swiss.

Brett Benner:

see, my only claim to fame with all that was I worked at Borders bookstore for so long that we talked about that, but I could recite, I knew every what everything costs with the tax. So like 14. 99 was 16. 23, 19. 99, everything all the way up. I would just get 11. 99 was 12. 98. So

Jason Blitman:

that's funny. And like useless outside of that state

Brett Benner:

completely,

Jason Blitman:

Because the tax is just different everywhere.

Brett Benner:

Of course. Yeah. No, completely useless. If I ever left California. Yeah. My first job was Baskin Robbins. So scooping ice cream and I used to love to go on I'd have the Saturday morning shift and I'd have to go in at seven o'clock before we opened, I think at nine and he's buying ice cream at nine o'clock, somebody. But I used to have to go in and make cakes. And that was my favorite being creative with the,

Jason Blitman:

and that's, that was the beginning of the sweet tooth.

Brett Benner:

Oh, yeah, that was well, it was well before that. But yeah, I, we grew up, I grew up with like sweets. I told you my mom used to bake every Saturday morning.

Jason Blitman:

Yeah. Tradition.

Brett Benner:

it was like getting up. In the morning on Saturday, and you'd always smell something and there was a little kind of, it's this weird thing, it was almost like a, not a drawer quite, but like a shelf that she'd pull out, and there'd always be like a pie sitting on that, or like a some kind of sweet bread, and, oh my god, and then all of a sudden, always at Christmas, she'd make tons of Christmas cookies, which I tried to do for years, like when the kids were little, and now I'm just like, I cannot ice one more cutout, so anyway,

Jason Blitman:

that sounds very cozy. Which is perfect for our episode today.

Brett Benner:

it is very cozy and you know what? It gives me cozy feelings. Absolutely.

Jason Blitman:

I had fun coming up with the list and I can't wait to share it on our episode today. We also have Tremendously special guest who I feel like I was very starstruck

Brett Benner:

were a little starstruck,

Jason Blitman:

I think, she's just such a

Brett Benner:

good way.

Jason Blitman:

She's such a fun Instagram follow, I just, and is exudes warmth and charm that I just love her so much. But we have Jasmine Guillory on the show today and so first you'll hear from Brett and I About arc, who is he? Seasoned book racks, and then we'll toss it over. Uh, to Jasmine, to her hers. here's a little about Jasmine. Jasmine Guillory is a New York Times bestselling author of novels including The Wedding Date, The Reese's Book Club Selection, The Proposal. and drunk on love among a gajillion others. Her bio is very modest. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, and Time. She's a frequent book contributor on the Today Show. She lives in Oakland, California. And so with that, why don't we dive in to our cozy, fireside, wintry, December, January book rags? I'm Jason,

Brett Benner:

And I'm Brett.

Jason Blitman:

and enjoy this episode of Gay's

Brett Benner:

reading for most, for most

Jason Blitman:

It's the beginning of wintry season, and,

Brett Benner:

country.

Jason Blitman:

North of the equator, where it's winter on the calendar, it is just a night, whether it's, whether you live in a warm place or a cold place there's nothing like, cozying up under a blanket, even if you're turning up the AC,

Brett Benner:

With a good book,

Jason Blitman:

with a good

Brett Benner:

with a good book

Jason Blitman:

that I'm promoting turning up the A. C. because global warming, but in

Brett Benner:

you know, yeah, no, but settling in, sitting down, getting in a comfy spot,

Jason Blitman:

right, people like being cozy. And so

Brett Benner:

a glass of wine of, you know, a little hot cocoa, any of those things.

Jason Blitman:

I just suddenly was like, we do, hot coffee or iced coffee, hot tea or iced tea. Then I was like, what about cocoa? You have hot cocoa, but then what's cold cocoa? I was like, oh, that's just chocolate milk.

Brett Benner:

I was going to say chocolate milk, or that's ice cream. And I would totally do that.

Jason Blitman:

that is not ice cream. That's a milkshake.

Brett Benner:

well, so that's called cocoa to me. Also, what were the, what was the place? Is it serendipity that do we do

Jason Blitman:

Oh my god yes, they do have frozen hot chocolate, yes. That comes in like a vat and three straws.

Brett Benner:

Yeah, that's exactly right. But yeah, I would totally be into that.

Jason Blitman:

So yeah, that's what, so today, you've never had it?

Brett Benner:

I've never had it.

Jason Blitman:

Oh, interesting.

Brett Benner:

Is, does serendipity even exist still?

Jason Blitman:

They closed for a minute because of the the health inspector. Let's see. Yeah, they're alive and well. They're, They're currently open right now.

Brett Benner:

I think you could even buy the frozen hot chocolate, like the mix and make

Jason Blitman:

I was gonna say, I'm almost positive that is something you could do.

Brett Benner:

fOr anybody

Jason Blitman:

They have a major revamp of their iconic NYC spot. So they must have closed and reopened. Something happened.

Brett Benner:

That's amazing. Okay.

Jason Blitman:

iT's a little overrated.

Brett Benner:

okay. I would expect that. It seems very touristy.

Jason Blitman:

It's very twisty. We have that frozen hot chocolate with six R's in

Brett Benner:

Yeah, I would be completely fine just going to getting a frappuccino or a a Wendy's mint.

Jason Blitman:

You know what, while we're talking about... While we're talking about cozy and things in New York City, this is gonna, give you a stomachache slash maybe a heart attack, but the chocolate company Max Brenner makes the most unreal hot chocolate and anybody who's in or around New York City, it's, there's one in Union Square and there's also like at the little markets, they have a little Max Brenner pop up. Oh my God, they're hot chocolate. It is it's melted chocolate. It's like

Brett Benner:

it's thick.

Jason Blitman:

It is you can taste the cream. You could taste the cow. It is so thick. Oh my God. It's so good. You have to share it because otherwise like you literally might die, but oh, it's good. Anyway, as we're thinking, as we're talking cozy, we're just look at the rabbit hole. We're following this.

Brett Benner:

We really do. We really do. Oh, I wish I was a savory person.

Jason Blitman:

So what's, do you want to give me your first one?

Brett Benner:

Yeah okay, this is a series, which is the number one ladies detective agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Now I should also just preface this by saying Alexander McCall Smith has multiple series and all of them are fantastic. Cozy type stories but the number one lady detective agency was the first one. And it revolves around a female detective named Precious Ramotsway. In South Africa and her life, the people around her assistant, none of the books are very long. There are a lot of them. It was made into an HBO series years ago with Jill Scott, the singer, and she's Fantastic. And it's a great series. It only lasted one season, which I don't know why. However, it is just a delightful book. It's what every single one of them, you read it and you're like, for me, when I think of these types of books, I'm always like putting my hand on my chest and being like, Oh my God, I love this so much. And so the whole, I would just say the whole number one number one ladies detective agency would first one is aptly called the number one ladies detective agency.

Jason Blitman:

This is very on brand for me because I like have a hard time narrowing things down. So my quote unquote, first book is actually four books, but.

Brett Benner:

Okay.

Jason Blitman:

But it's more of a style or a vibe, and for me, it's the medium stakes family drama. I was like, oh, this is really interesting that there are four books that I've read to this year to last year that I loved so much, but are all easy to like, mistake for the other, and that's not to, that sounds like a negative thing, I just mean they would all sit really nicely next to each other on a shelf I'll just say what they are and we can

Brett Benner:

I say what they are.

Jason Blitman:

So the first is called Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close. An Irresistible Comedy of Manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the deep fried, beer battered, cream cheese frosted love that feeds them all. The next is We Are the Brennans by Tracy Lange, which explores the staying power of shame and the redemptive power of love in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets. Both of those books are the Brennans own a pub, wearing the ketchups, there's a restaurant in the family, so that's why it's like family around a restaurant and then we have The Connellys of County Down, which is also by Tracy Lang it's a story about fierce family loyalty, good intentions gone awry, and the consequences of improbable love again just a great family story, and then Another book that I would say falls into that category comes out at the beginning of January, so it still falls into this cozy everybody could put it on your to read for January because it's, it was fantastic, and I think will be certainly a highlight of my books for next year, but it's called Mercury by Amy Jo Burns. A roofing family's bonds of loyalty are tested when they uncover a long hidden secret at the heart of their blue collar town. So yeah, they're all, I love them. Honestly, I would recommend each of them. I loved them each individually. I love them as each family. I just would want to go revisit. I'd want to have dinner with them. So highly recommend these family stories

Brett Benner:

I want to call the Jason's family of four.

Jason Blitman:

Jason's four families.

Brett Benner:

I love that. I love that. All right. My next one was a book that I think it was last year. I'm almost sure it ended up being one of my favorite books of the year. And it worked into my obsession with octopus, which is Shelby van Pelt's remarkably bright creatures. Which. This is a charming, witty, and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus. I loved it so much, and I have to also say, I listened to this on audio, and they had two amazing narrators and, we've talked about audiobooks before and I've gotten so into audiobooks in the last two years. And for me, a good reader of an audiobook can make or break it, but it can also certainly elevate a book to

Jason Blitman:

I read this book, physically, and I can't put my finger on what it was, but I didn't love it. You're not the first person to talk about how fantastic the audiobook was, and it's actually my book club book's selection for January, and I'm excited to revisit it. On audio because I'm like, you know what? I'm happy to give it another shot. I want to listen to it. And I like cared about the characters. I just think perhaps not in a way that I wanted to or frankly, I can't remember exactly why I didn't love it. But it's that we talk a lot about sort of an emotional feeling that you do or don't remember after reading a book. But I'm looking forward to listening to it. I know it's Marin Ireland. And

Brett Benner:

Michael Urie as

Jason Blitman:

Urie? Yeah.

Brett Benner:

And Marin Ireland, honestly, I think she's such a phenomenal actress, she's someone that I will look for. If she's read the book, I will listen to the book because she's just so damn good. She's amazing.

Jason Blitman:

Have I ever told you my Marin, Ireland story?

Brett Benner:

No.

Jason Blitman:

This is so lame. And we'll see whether or not it actually makes this mix it into the episode, how succinct that could be. But when I was first an intern at the public theater before I started working there one of our jobs was to be on book for shows that were in tech. And so for those who don't know, being on book means you're a person sitting like at a music stand with a script in front of you so that when an actor. doesn't remember their line, they call out line and then it's your job to just quickly feed them the first two or three words of the next line. And so I was an intern. I was sitting at the music stand, looking at the script of a play that she was in at The Public and she was doing this monologue in the scene over and over again. And she was so good at getting every word perfectly. And she's just such a talented performer. I became riveted and I was like, Oh, she's getting it every time. Like I can, it's okay that I look up. At one point she called for a line and I immediately was a puddle. I burst out sweating. Like my body just became a sweat machine. And it took me, I couldn't find the line and sure enough, she like picked it up on her own. But I like. was mortified forever. And that was well over, that was like 15 years ago.

Brett Benner:

And look at it and it's still so embedded in your

Jason Blitman:

this is still so embedded. So anyway, that's my Marin Ireland story. She's very talented.

Brett Benner:

Yeah. She's amazing.

Jason Blitman:

So my second book it's a little bit more on brand for the holiday season. It's called Mistletoe and Mishigas by M. A. Wardell Sheldon is a first grade teacher. He turns to Theo, the gruff custodian, to be his date to his ex's wedding. In exchange, Sheldon is Theo's date to his family's Hanukkah dinner. They like practice getting to know each other. They practiced that they could be as convincing as possible and as they get to know each other better all the rehearsing starts feeling a little too real, and both of their pasts come roaring back to haunt them and then the big question is, will they be able to pull off the ultimate holiday masquerade? And it's this very sweet gay romance and yeah, it's almost like a Beauty and the Beast story. Theo's Grefg, and Sheldon is, the charming leading man. And yeah, it's so lovely and cozy and warms your heart.

Brett Benner:

And what's the steam level for people who are wondering?

Jason Blitman:

What's the steam level? Oh, that's a really interesting question. It's a solid medium. It's, there's there's sex a hundred percent. But it's not it's not,

Brett Benner:

It's not graphic.

Jason Blitman:

Maybe it's a little graphic, but it's,

Brett Benner:

Yeah, I understand. Yeah,

Jason Blitman:

yeah. It's not smut. Ha,

Brett Benner:

okay, so my last one. is I just read this and it's new. So it's like end of the year, which is James McBride's the heaven and earth grocery store. I don't know. I don't know what I thought this was going to be when I went into it. And I love James McBride's last book. So I should have just known, but I loved this so much. From James McBride, author of the best signed Oprah's Book Club pick, Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small town secrets and the people who keep them. So this thing starts in 1972. when this land is being dug up and a body is found. kind of a mystery but it becomes so secondary. It's really not about that. It finds its way back to this, but the story is really about the people in this town predominantly black and Jewish. And this is set in Pennsylvania who all come together in this town to save this boy who's been put in an institution. It is. It just, I got through it and it's exactly with everything that's happening in the world right now, the kind of, I feel like so many people are just, it seems like ever since COVID, this was such a reiteration to me about the goodness of people and working together and the love of your common man and looking beyond, our physical exteriors or our beliefs and really working together for a common good. I just I loved it. Loved it. Loved it so much. And I was so wrapped. It became so wrapped up with these characters. It's really, I thought it was really beautiful.

Jason Blitman:

Amazing. I'm like a hundred pages in and I need to keep reading.

Brett Benner:

Yeah, no, I really I would say keep going. So anyway,

Jason Blitman:

Fantastic.

Brett Benner:

and you.

Jason Blitman:

And me, so again, I cheated, and this is why we have her on this episode today, because not dissimilar from Poolside Rex, I would say anything by Jasmine Guillory. So I guess Family dramas and romances are the things I want to read under a cover or under a blanket. And just to rattle off a handful of Jasmine's books, she wrote The Wedding Date, The Proposal While We Were Dating, Party of Two, The Wedding Party, Royal Holiday, By the Book endless books and she's so great and so charming and her, like I said, she's a great Instagram follow and she's such a great supporter and champion of books, which we talked to her about and authors. And I was really surprised by what she had to say in terms of her recommendations. Enough from just the two of us, let's take it on over to... The one and only Jasmine Guillory.

Jasmine Guillory:

Hello.

Jason Blitman:

Hello!

Jasmine Guillory:

I am.

Brett Benner:

How are you?

Jasmine Guillory:

I'm good. Thanks. How are you?

Brett Benner:

Good. We are so good.

Jasmine Guillory:

So nice to meet you guys.

Brett Benner:

It's a pleasure to meet

Jason Blitman:

to meet you too. I'm like, a little starstruck. I love following you on Instagram.

Jasmine Guillory:

that's so nice.

Jason Blitman:

Wait, what day of yoga is it today? Mazel

Jasmine Guillory:

It's actually almost the, it's like 2100 and something, but it's it's almost my yoga anniversary, which is in a few days uh, which is very exciting. I think it'll be six years, which is wild.

Brett Benner:

amazing.

Jason Blitman:

there something particular that you do? Is it like a class? Is it a, you just do your own thing?

Jasmine Guillory:

I usually watch a Yoga With Adriene video and then do along, do it along with that. Sometimes if I'm like feeling super lazy or if I'm traveling and Wi Fi isn't great, I will just do my own thing. Do some of my favorite poses and call it a day. But I will usually go along with the video. I usually do a slightly longer video on the anniversary days just to be like, I can really

Jason Blitman:

good for you.

Jasmine Guillory:

Be fun.

Jason Blitman:

I like never did a lick of yoga in my life. And during COVID discovered yoga with Adrian and changed my life.

Jasmine Guillory:

I love her.

Jason Blitman:

I fell off the bandwagon cause I have gout. And it affects my joints, which is a pain in the ass, but I have said many times there are two humans. If I met them in person, I think I would cry. And Adrian is one of

Jasmine Guillory:

Oh my god. I think she doesn't like, she's one of my best friends. She doesn't know that,

Jason Blitman:

we have that in common.

Jasmine Guillory:

but she's really one of my best friends. No, sometimes she'll Instagram about being in Austin what must it be like to just live in Austin and know you could run into Adrian at any minute.

Jason Blitman:

I was waiting for My husband in the car, the other day and I turned my head, and in the car next to me was this dog, and I was like, is that Benji?

Jasmine Guillory:

Where's

Jason Blitman:

here? Anyway, all that to say, I was glad, I didn't know if you did yoga with

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah, oh yes.

Jason Blitman:

huge

Jasmine Guillory:

I even subscribed to her like special app and

Jason Blitman:

what feels good app.

Jasmine Guillory:

like I've gotten enough out of Adrienne that I need to give back to her now.

Jason Blitman:

Anyway, big fan. Brett, do you ever do yoga?

Brett Benner:

I have done yoga in the past and I did it a few times during the lockdown, but I did, I was on Peloton. So I was doing Ross. And a lot of it was almost like more meditative than actually

Jason Blitman:

I have to send you a yoga with Adrien video.

Brett Benner:

No, I looked it up because I was like, I clearly am not in this cult. So I have to

Jason Blitman:

I also maybe would marry her. I love her.

Jasmine Guillory:

No, she's

Jason Blitman:

And I think I've told that to my husband before. I'm like, I think if Adrien would have me, I'd just love her

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah. I just love her.

Brett Benner:

but had she started well before the pandemic.

Jasmine Guillory:

Oh, yeah. She's been, she started cause so she does a 30 days of yoga every January. And I think this coming January will be like, I don't know, the 8th or 9th year.

Jason Blitman:

number. Yeah.

Jasmine Guillory:

she's done that for a long time. So she's been like doing YouTube stuff. I want to say at least 10 years, but I'm not

Jason Blitman:

like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. She like owns a studio in Austin. It's like a big deal. A big thing. Yeah.

Brett Benner:

Oh, wow.

Jason Blitman:

Anyway. So there's that also there's one giant elephant in the room that I have to address Brett and I on almost every episode talk about our sweet tooth and the things that we love. And I said, I was starstruck when he came on the screen. I don't know that this is going to last because you don't like sweets, but you love to bake, which is why you could be in our circle.

Jasmine Guillory:

is not that I don't like sweets. I do. I just have much more of a salty tooth than

Brett Benner:

Yeah. Okay. You're one of the

Jasmine Guillory:

I can, I love to bake, but I can bake a cake and then have a little bit of it and then give it

Jason Blitman:

I'll DM you my address.

Jasmine Guillory:

But if I have a bag of potato chips in my house, that bag is gone within 30 minutes.

Brett Benner:

Yeah. People are generally one or the other.

Jason Blitman:

I could, I love a salty sweet too. Like I just may or may not have finished a bag of chocolate covered pretzels.

Jasmine Guillory:

so any kettle popcorn is right in my the salty and the sweet and the crunchy, yeah.

Brett Benner:

Have you guys had these? I always, Jason laughs because I always have something right next to

Jason Blitman:

He always has a different snack.

Brett Benner:

Okay, so these are Trader Joe's, right? And they just brought them out only for, they bring them out for the holidays. I'll show you like, they're like, unfortunately they're all like broken. It's like I was, but they have So they're like the first time I tried when I was like, Oh my God. And I got two bags and I just try to parse them out as best as I can. But that is the, that's,

Jasmine Guillory:

no, that's the thing. I could, if I have a bag of them in my house, they're gone.

Jason Blitman:

Though I will say, I did just see your Instagram story where you had jalapenos on your pizza and that, ooh. I do meatball, jalapeno, pepper, onion, spinach. And garlic. That is my, that's my perfect pizza

Jasmine Guillory:

that sounds delicious. I do I like a little bit of vegetables on a pizza. It cuts some of the, yeah. Broccoli, I love broccoli on pizza, yeah. Oh,

Jason Blitman:

day, but I also, I am obsessed with your books. Okay, I've only read three of them. I'm obsessed with the three that I've read. And when Brett and I were talking about what we wanted to do for the holidays, I was like, Jasmine Guillory is the only person we could talk to. And you always have such fabulous recommendations.

Brett Benner:

you were like the queen of the recommendations. You honestly are and such varied ones to there's no you're in no one lane. And that's what I love. They're everywhere.

Jasmine Guillory:

Thank you. I

Jason Blitman:

well, and a recent recommendation of yours on the Today Show maybe, was Congratulations, The Best Is Over by our Eric Thomas, featured on Gay's Reading. Plug for that.

Jasmine Guillory:

He's amazing.

Jason Blitman:

amazing.

Jasmine Guillory:

funny. Yeah, He's so funny. Every essay of his makes me laugh. And then I'm always like, oh, but that's real sweet too.

Brett Benner:

Yeah, he pulls the rug out

Jasmine Guillory:

right.

Jason Blitman:

sO I, again, I have a list of things that I would want to talk to you about, but I want to hear from you. What are, do you have, what are some of the things that you would want to curl up under a blanket next to a fireplace? And read.

Jasmine Guillory:

in The wintertime when it's like curl up under a blanket next to a fireplace time with a hot beverage, I always want a cozy mystery. That is like my sweet spot right there. I do love some holiday romances, don't get me wrong. But I I, like a historical mystery set either in England, obviously, many, as many of them are, like a cold place. Or, one set in back in the day somewhere, right? Either if it's roaring 20s America or,

Jason Blitman:

Oh, yeah. There's a speakeasy,

Jasmine Guillory:

Yes. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Big fan of cozy mysteries. I read and reread them all the time.

Jason Blitman:

Do you have a favorite that comes to mind that you read or reread?

Jasmine Guillory:

Okay. I read a bunch of Agatha Christie. You love rereading. Sometimes she can get racist. So you have to pick and choose, right? But

Jason Blitman:

what you're getting

Jasmine Guillory:

you know what you're getting into.

Brett Benner:

a little thing.

Jasmine Guillory:

yeah, I love Dorothy Sayers. Like all of her books, great. I have been reading a lot of the Patricia Wentworth. Yes. Miss Silver series. That is a very good cozy mysteries with a former governess who's like knitting and then solving all the crimes. Yeah. That's just what I want.

Jason Blitman:

Yes.

Brett Benner:

she wrote.

Jasmine Guillory:

Huh. Yes, exactly.

Jason Blitman:

I have not had a chance to read The Thursday Murder Club

Brett Benner:

Oh, my God. That's what I was going to say. And that's what we were talking about. It's that was my one thing. I was like, they're Richard Osmond books. That's what they are.

Jasmine Guillory:

they're great. I love them. They're completely charming and unexpected, too. There are all of the sort of trappings of a cozy mystery that you want. But then there's always surprises, which I really appreciate.

Jason Blitman:

Are you Only Murders in the Building fan?

Jasmine Guillory:

Okay, I have only watched one episode because I started it and then I moved. And then I, lost my, whatever, forgot. You, thank you for reminding me because I'm gonna, as soon as I finish this season of the Great British Baking Show, I'm going to back to my person building.

Brett Benner:

Speaking of cozies,

Jason Blitman:

It's like a funny time of year for, no, this is when British Breaking Show is on, but it's, I wish it was on a little later so that we could watch it under a blanket.

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah, it is. It is the ultimate watch under blanket show.

Jason Blitman:

but only murders in the building. I haven't watched the most recent season, but it's exactly what you're describing. It's, solving a murder while knitting.

Jasmine Guillory:

Yes. Exactly. Yeah. During, actually, early in the pandemic, I started reading two of my best friends and I started doing weekly FaceTime calls during the pandemic, and and then we would always talk about what we were reading, and one person had read a few of these books and turned us all onto them, and so then we would, like, all read them and then discuss them, and they are, like, some of the books that got me through the pandemic which is the series by Ellie Griffith, Um, set in England, the 1st, 1. I'm blanking on the name of

Jason Blitman:

The Crossing Places.

Jasmine Guillory:

Yes. That's the first one.

Jason Blitman:

Yeah.

Jasmine Guillory:

it's about this woman named Ruth Galloway, who is an archaeology professor in England, and then gets tied up in local murders because when they find the bodies around they have to decide Is this a very old body or a recent body? And so she comes in to like help. Oh no, this is a very old body. And then sometimes she gets, gets tied up in the murder. I love all of them. This, the whole series just ended this year and every single book, like I love completely. There's romance in it. There's all sorts of unexpected things.

Brett Benner:

It totally feels like something that PBS should be doing right now. You know what I mean?

Jasmine Guillory:

I would watch the entire series. Yeah, my friends and I have really discussed who to cast and some of the people. Because also because Ruth is very much described as like dowdy but she definitely has a lot of stuff going on throughout the book if you know about the books. I think one of the things that I like a lot about when they cast movies like this in Great Britain, as opposed to the U. S., is that they don't feel the need to Hollywood someone up. So they would have Ruth looking like Ruth is supposed to be in the books. Even though, yeah, so that, that would be fun.

Brett Benner:

Completely 180 degrees in different direction? But it only speaks to what you're saying now. Have either of you watched starstruck on HBO Max?

Jason Blitman:

Love it. Oh, Jasmine, you would love.

Brett Benner:

You would love it. The whole premise is basically, it's noting Hill. It's a girl who meets a Hollywood like

Jasmine Guillory:

Oh,

Brett Benner:

he's a British star and like he is, and they have a one night stand and she realizes after the fact who she just slept with. But. She is dowdy a little bit. She wrote it like the actress wrote it and produced it. She's amazing. It's so charming. It's so good. You and each episode is only like 23 minutes. So you could blow through it so quickly. You're

Jasmine Guillory:

All right. Yeah. Someone else told me about this. I have to watch it.

Jason Blitman:

She's also I wouldn't call her dowdy. She's gorgeous in her own

Brett Benner:

No. I'm

Jason Blitman:

not, she's just non traditional

Brett Benner:

that's what I'm saying. Yes. Yes. Thank you. She's not but but there's a thing when she walks out of there the next morning, the paps are all waiting and they're immediately like, oh, it's the cleaning lady.

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah. Obviously not the person.

Jason Blitman:

Exactly. Oh, but you would love, it's very charming.

Jasmine Guillory:

Will look it up.

Jason Blitman:

did you have anything else? I know you just rattled off a few.

Jasmine Guillory:

There's a series by Alison Montclair. The right sort of man, something like that is the first one. And it's like. Just post World War II, about two women who started dating agency and they both have secret paths. One was a spy during the war, and one was institutionalized during the war because her husband died, and they come together and become friends, and also solve crimes. It's great. I love it.

Jason Blitman:

The right sort of man. A royal affair. I also love that these covers are, when you picture a like, World War II novel, everybody knows exactly what they look like. It's like women holding a suitcase looking away with a hat on. And this is that, but beautiful painting version. I love it.

Jasmine Guillory:

I love them. And they're also a little unpredictable, when I went in, I expected them to be like quirky and funny, but they really talk about a lot of the grief and trauma that they all went through during the war. And I read them during the pandemic and it made me really think about like the trauma that we were all going through that nobody really talked about. Because of course, during the war, no one was talking about the trauma because we're all living, they were all living through it. And we weren't talking about during the pandemic because we're like in the middle of getting through. So I like, I really liked how they were like fun and cozy, but also really deep and talked about some of those hard things.

Brett Benner:

love that.

Jason Blitman:

I know. Me too. I, so you just said something that made me think of something I wanted to talk to you about. It's a little, I like, don't know how to ask you this question. It's a little sacrilegious, maybe, but you just said quirky and predictable. How? The three of your books that I read were While We Were Dating, When We Were Dating, While We Were Dating, While We Were Dating, The Proposal, and The Wedding Date. They're all fake date. Into lovers books. And yet they each meant something different to me. I love them each separately. They were individual and unique. How the hell did you do that? Like, how do you take what is it? I don't want to call it paint by numbers. Cause that's like unfair to you, but there are tropes in romance. How do you like, how did it was like a magic trick? How'd you do it? Jasmine.

Jasmine Guillory:

you so much. That means a lot. I really appreciate that question. I love all those books myself and they're all very special to me. I think, I think one thing for me that it's important to think about is is to really think about the characters, right? Like when I'm starting a book, I, I'll come up with an outline and it'll seem. This happens and this happens like it's all supposed to happen. And then I start writing and I'm like, oh but these people would never do that. Once I get to know who the characters are, I really have to think about who they are and how life would throw them, a curveball and how they would address it, because I think people don't do things predictively, right? In certain ways they do if you know someone well, then you can predict what they would do. But if you're saying like, those two people at that table across the restaurant from you over there, I can predict what they would do. No, you wouldn't because just because there are two people, like maybe on a first date, you can't predict that. So I think really thinking of the characters as two people coming together, what would... What would attract one to the other one? Who were their friends? Who were their family? Why are they close to these people? And moving out the circle from them and like really thinking about them as whole people, then it helps you to think of the story as whole story and not just like plot points.

Jason Blitman:

That said, do you ever find that you're like writing a character and you're like, wait a minute, this person exists already. Like I've written this one already.

Jasmine Guillory:

exactly. There are definitely times when I'm like writing, not quite, sometimes either dialogue or like certain lines and I'm like, that line seems too familiar. Have I written it? And I will like, go search through, my old books to be like, is this something I've written before? Usually it's not, usually it just feels right. But sometimes I'm like, this, have I done this

Jason Blitman:

funny that you say that. Cause I thought that about sex scenes. I was like, how like the,

Brett Benner:

How do you stay, keep them fresh?

Jason Blitman:

like have to get so creative with yours. You're like, I can't write the same sex scene over and over again. I was like, Ooh, girl, have fun.

Jasmine Guillory:

right. You don't have to get boring.

Jason Blitman:

Right?

Jasmine Guillory:

What sounds more terrible than a boring sex scene? And so, yeah, so you do have to keep it fresh, but also think about like, how are these two people going to do it? Partly, partly because they're different, right? Than the

Jason Blitman:

No, you're totally

Jasmine Guillory:

but also it's different depending on where they are in the book and where they are in their relationship.

Jason Blitman:

where they are literally,

Jasmine Guillory:

Exactly, where they are literally in real life and so it really brings so many different things to their relationship and to that scene itself.

Jason Blitman:

yeah. while we were dating was the first book of yours that I read, and I was telling my friend Julie about it, shout out to Julie, I was like, you have to read this book, it's so much fun, I loved every second of it. She read it, and then literally within, I think four weeks, read every single... wedding day series book. And she was like, I'm obsessed. I love every book. It's done.

Jasmine Guillory:

Oh, that's so nice. Thank you, Julie.

Jason Blitman:

I say to Brett all the time and I say to everybody all the time, the moment I close a book, it's out of my brain. And I know that I've loved a book when something, a moment sticks out in my mind. I think I'm going to remember the suitcase scene from while we were dating for the rest of my life.

Jasmine Guillory:

Thank you so much. I appreciate that. Partly because it's actually, like, when I'm starting to think about a book, there's always a handful of scenes that I kind of jot down. Long before I start to write. And that was one of the scenes from the very beginning that I knew I was gonna write.

Jason Blitman:

Oh, that's so funny. Yeah, it's like core. Brad, I won't give anything away, but you it's like worth reading the book for the

Brett Benner:

Okay. Now I will.

Jason Blitman:

my God. So okay, we're gaze reading. We're a book podcast. You've talked about what you love to read under the covers. Is there anything that you're like, must shout out the world should know about it, that you're loving that you're reading that anyone should know?

Jasmine Guillory:

There are a handful of books that I read this year that I just loved. First of all obviously I just started Brittany's book I also read the Leslie Jones memoir,

Brett Benner:

Oh Yeah.

Jasmine Guillory:

which is hilarious, but also I have heard that the audio for that one is incredible. And she, cause I did an event with her, it's a few weeks ago in San Francisco for that book, and people had told me like, it is unlike any audiobook I've ever heard, it's just she's telling you the story, it's not, doesn't and I asked her about it, and she was like, oh yeah, I was, I tried to start reading it, but it wasn't, that didn't sound like me, so I just had to like, Don't do it. And so the audio book ended up very different

Jason Blitman:

oh wow.

Jasmine Guillory:

She's still telling the same stories, just in a very different way. And it was really fun to read. She is so funny. So yeah, I love that. On keeping in the like nonfiction category. Nicole Chung wrote a memoir that came out this year about losing both of her parents called A Living Remedy. And that book was so beautiful. Thinking about grief and the pandemic and stuff, I think those are things that we often don't talk about enough. liKe both grief and like end of life and how to all kind of deal with And I loved that book. And so it was There was a lot of good things to think about in it and talk to other people about.

Jason Blitman:

I'm obsessed that you're such a champion for writers and it is so fun to watch and watch you shout out all the people and you're like also freaking them. Thank you. I read, I consumed my first Jasmine Guillory content, I don't know, three years ago, and you've, after that, since then, have come out with four books. It's and you're championing writers, and you're doing all of these things, it's so exciting, and not only in the romance world from a reader who's a follower, thank you for that. As a person in the arts community, thank you for that. And we are thrilled to have you and to, share. Can you tell us a little bit about what's next? Are you allowed to talk about it?

Jasmine Guillory:

Oh, I would be allowed to, I just need to finish it myself before I can talk about it. But I'm deep in the midst of working on a new book. I never like to talk about it until at least I've finished it. Send it to my editor, which I have not yet done, but hopefully soon.

Jason Blitman:

totally fair.

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah.

Brett Benner:

Yes.

Jason Blitman:

So that, that's enough that you're working on something and we have things to look forward to

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah. Let's all send good writing energy my way.

Jason Blitman:

Yes. Sending your way. That's what Adrian's for

Jasmine Guillory:

exactly. That's what

Jason Blitman:

getting it all through the

Jasmine Guillory:

She has a yoga for writers. It's amazing. She

Jason Blitman:

Does she actually, Oh, is it like, does she like do a lot of

Jasmine Guillory:

A lot of hand stuff back and shoulder stuff. Cause yeah. Stretching the hips. Cause we're so much fit so much.

Jason Blitman:

Shout out to Adrian.

Brett Benner:

This episode was sponsored by.

Jason Blitman:

if only my dream was to get her on a podcast. I just want to talk to her. I don't even care. JAsmine, thank you so much for your

Brett Benner:

This is delightful.

Jason Blitman:

could talk to you all

Jasmine Guillory:

So much fun. I know. I can't believe we're over. It's over.

Jason Blitman:

I know, but you gotta go write.

Jasmine Guillory:

Yeah, I know. I just got to go right. But thank you so

Brett Benner:

thank you so much to Jasmine. We so appreciate you being here. You are just truly a delight.

Jason Blitman:

Yes. And thank you all to our listeners. Of course, as always, if you like what you're hearing, share us with your friends, follow us on social media, subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts and.

Brett Benner:

Patreon!

Jason Blitman:

Patreon. We have additional content on Patreon. We have the video from our conversation with the old gays on there, which is super fun. And because it's December, the holidays are coming up. We have our merchandise. Get your gays reading. Stuff, we have all sorts of things from t shirts to tote bags to pins and stickers and write us a review if you like what you're hearing, give us five stars wherever you listen to your podcasts, and I think that's all of the housekeeping.

Brett Benner:

got it covered.

Jason Blitman:

Gotta covered! Just like I'm under the covers to read our cozy under the cover books!

Brett Benner:

Oh my god.

Jason Blitman:

Awesome. Thanks everybody. Have a great rest of your day and happy December. See you next week.