Recommended Read, Review

Review: A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran (2011)

Thank you to Kay of Miss Bates Reads Romance for the recommendation! 

Heat Factor: A few open-door scenes where the focus is more on the emotions than the moving pieces.

Character Chemistry: They have some serious trust issues, but that’s the whole point. 

Plot: Guttersnipe + Rake in a Marriage of Convenience 

Overall: The emotional beats in this book are PERFECTION.

Continue reading “Review: A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran (2011)”

Saturday Smutty Six: (More) Romance Blogs Holly Reads

Look, I’ve come to discover a love of the blogosphere! And I want to share that love, because these folks are doing great work.

Roses and Thorns

File this one under: books I am never going to read, but I find fascinating to read about. Roses and Thorns is not exactly a romance blog, though Elizabeth does sometimes review romance novels—rather, it focuses on kink and fetish books. I keep claiming that I don’t read other people’s reviews, but maybe that’s just not true…

Check out: Her review of Claiming the Clean Freak by Daniel May. I am absolutely never going to read this book, but I found it very interesting to read about. 

Romance Fiction Has a History

Steve Ammidown is an archivist by training who is chipping away at the thankless (but important!) task of recording romance fiction history. Look, I’m a nerd, so I read nerd blogs! 

Check out: Steve’s profile on David Wind, who published dozens of romances in the 1980s under several different (female) pen names. (PS: If you don’t already, Steve is definitely worth giving a follow on Twitter

Regency Reader 

Have I ever mentioned that I’m a nerd? The Regency Reader does have book reviews (regency romances only, of course), but I live for the extras. The advertisements! The old beauty recipes! The old food recipes! Posts frequently highlight primary sources, so if you want to look at a bunch of old fashion plates and pretend that you’re at a fancy faux-French dressmaker, this is a great place to start. 

Check out: Regency Fashions: Full and Walking Dresses (1805), which serves to highlight the fact that not enough historical romance heroines have fashionably dressed hair, due to a dearth of silver leaves on their heads. 

Joyfully Jay

Joyfully Jay focuses on LGBTQ romance. This is a long-running blog (more than ten years!) and has a half-dozen reviewers writing for it. I admit that I don’t keep up with this one actively, but it’s an awesome resource for finding queer books that are off the beaten path, as they cover a ton of self-published books.

Check out: This comprehensive list of their favorite virgin heroes. I gotta applaud Jay and the team for going back and updating their old lists to add more titles as they come out, because that seems like an awful lot of work. Plus, I have a soft spot for those sweet virgin heroes (probably due to my deep and abiding love of When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James).

‘Nathan Burgoine

I’ve never read any of Burgoine’s books (Erin has! You can check out her review of Village Fool here; she liked it!) but that doesn’t mean I can’t read his blog. Since this is an author blog, he obviously posts updates about his upcoming books, but also highlights book sales, posts short fiction pieces, and writes the occasional essay. I’m honestly mostly in it for the essays, because they’re thought-provoking and make me examine my responses to queer romance. 

Check out: The Shoulder Check Problem. This essay is old-ish (or ancient in internet years), but it’s what brought me to Burgoine’s blog in the first place. Just read it. Trust me.

Teach Me Tonight

“Romantic Fiction from an Academic Perspective”? Tell me more! Ok, so I keep up with Teach Me Tonight to assuage my minor sadness about washing out of academia. I swear, one day, once my kids stop waking up in the middle of the night and yelling about it, I will do a deep dive into the academic world of romance novels, because it seems like it’s really burgeoned in the last ten years. For now, I have this blog to track new publications and conferences—plus, it’s an excellent go-to spot for recaps of Important Romancelandia Drama. 

Check out: When did “romance” become love story + happy ending. If you’re not Very Online, you may not know that there’s a kerfluffle in Romance Twitter basically once a month about what counts as a genre romance. I assume that Laura Vivanco wrote this piece, which looks at books published in the first half of the 20th century to determine when love stories began to be marketed as romance, in response to one such kerfuffle.

PS: Want more romance blogs to love? Here’s the first list I put together!


Review: The Quid Pro Quo by A.L. Lester (2021)

The Bradford Trilogy, Book #2

Heat Factor: There’s one vaguely uncomfortable blow job

Character Chemistry: That feeling when you have flutters about someone new but you’re not sure if they reciprocate

Plot: Simon is investigating a murder, and Walter’s close friend is the primary suspect. Also, oh shit, there’s a demon.

Overall: Everything is very stiff upper lip; I liked the serenity in the midst of chaos.

Continue reading “Review: The Quid Pro Quo by A.L. Lester (2021)”
Recommended Read, Review

Review: Breath to Bear by Paula Dombrowiak (2021)

Blood and Bone, Book #2

Review of Blood and Bone, Book #1

Heat Factor: It’s hot but it’s also really deep and intense.

Character Chemistry: Having been a Team Mia fan in the first book, I am shocked to find myself fully team Erin in this one.

Plot: Having researched and ghostwritten singer Jack’s memoir, Erin is stuck in a situation of her own making–she’s fallen in love with her subject, he’s famous, and she’s pretty sure he’s still in love with his late lifelong love and bandmate Mia. 

Overall: This was such a satisfying ending to the first book–Mia and Jack’s happily ever after is hard-earned, slow, and satisfying.

Continue reading “Review: Breath to Bear by Paula Dombrowiak (2021)”

Review: Wisdom Check by Katherine McIntyre (2022)

Dungeons and Dating, Book #2

Review of Dungeons and Dating, Book #1

Heat Factor: They’re super horny. But more importantly, this book prompted me to Google men’s lace panties, so now I’ve seen that

Character Chemistry: I was very convinced that Cal and Jules were totally into each other

Plot: Why have one obstacle to the relationship when we can have one obstacle every other chapter?

Overall: This book was charming, and the aforementioned obstacles reasonably kept the tension up throughout the book.

Continue reading “Review: Wisdom Check by Katherine McIntyre (2022)”