When we first started The Smut Report, I had no idea that the world of romance blogging was so huge. I knew about a couple of the really big sites (like Smart Bitches), but that’s it really. Imagine my surprise when I started poking around on WordPress – look at all these other people talking about romance, from all kinds of different angles!
Ironically, since we primarily do reviews at TSR, I don’t necessarily read other blogs for the reviews. I don’t read them to find new books to read, or to find out what’s on sale, or to track new releases, or to do book tags and memes. (What can I say? I’m a grump.)
Instead, the blogs I return to again and again are the ones where I learn something new, where the authors help me broaden my thinking about romance and romance novels, where I can see romance novels in a new light.
Here are six of my favorites.
Miss Bates Reads Romance
Miss Bates was the first romance blogger who I started avidly following, and her reviews remain *chef’s kiss*. Did I say I didn’t read other blogs for the reviews? Miss Bates is an exception, because her reviews are top-notch: thoughtful, detailed, and with an eye to the transcendent. It helps that we have similar taste in books, so I trust her recommendations.
Check out: Her review of Just a Heartbeat Away by Cara Bastone, which I immediately added to my TBR.
Jeeves Reads Romance
Jeeves is a prolific reader who posts a ton of reviews, plus notes about new releases and daily deals. What I like about Jeeves is that I have never heard of 99% of the books and authors she reviews. Her reviews never get spoilery, but she’s clear about what does and doesn’t work – and has shared the juicy details of some particularly eyebrow-raising stuff when I’ve asked her in the comments section.
Check out: This recent review of The Knockout Rule.
Here we have a mix of posts – reviews, opinion pieces (think things that we would call “Smut Reporting”), and recommendation lists. She participates in readathons pretty regularly, so if you’re interested in playing along, this is a great resource.
Check out: This piece talking about third act break-ups that…don’t quite work
The Infinite Limits of Love
Nick is super-engaged with the romance community at large (she was one of the brains behind the Readers’ Choice Swoon Awards this past year) and is a great resource for things like new releases. I especially appreciate how playful Nick is in her reviews – it’s a good reminder that reading romance is a fun endeavor, and that maybe I shouldn’t take myself so seriously.
Check out: Her epic write-up on Nalini Singh’s psy-changling series, because those book cover / dessert pairing reviews are truly a thing of beauty.
Close Reading Romance
This is the most academic of the blogs I have listed here (but not the only academic romance blog I follow, because, come on, of course), and I love it. Charlotte does close readings of passages of romance novels she loves – like, really close readings. Let’s break these sentences down into their component parts and talk about what literary effect these decisions have close readings. I love that her analysis shows that romance can be taken seriously as a literary genre, and that doing so is worth the effort.
Check out: Her analysis of the pauses in Layover. OMG.
The Misadventures of Super Librarian
SuperWendy has a penchant for category romances, and reading her analysis of them is part of what convinced me to try them as well (and I am so glad I did, because sometimes a category romane is *exactly* what you need). But my absolute favorite feature is her monthly roundup of unusual historicals, where she highlights forthcoming historical romances that are NOT set in Regency England (or if they are, feature working-class characters).
Check out: Her post on the background and method behind my favorite feature.