Hey Friends, I hope all is well with you. An idea I have had for my blog and really wanted to do was the occasional bookish chat with different friends from the book community. My first two friends I chatted with are both romance readers and have been reading the genre for years now. I chatted with Britt who is a big contemporary romance reader and blogger. And Sarah who shows a lot of love to Harlequin romances and has a booktube channel. I will post these ladies information and I highly recommend you go follow and show love. They are both so sweet and super passionate about the books they read and their individual ways of sharing what they’re reading with the rest of us!
The contemporary side of the romance house is one I am very interested in but haven’t explored yet. Britt and I have been following each other on twitter now for a couple of years and I always look forward to seeing her reviews of different contemporary novels on her blog, blissfully-read.blogspot.com. She isn’t going to sugar coat anything. She’s very descriptive and honest about her thoughts on a book and I am just always intrigued to see what sounded interesting enough for her to pick up.
I am always fascinated to hear romance reader’s “origin story.” I want to know how they came across and read their first romance novel. I asked Britt if she’d share hers..
Blissfully-ReadBrit: “Hmmm it’s kind of hard for me to pinpoint. But I can remember being in like 5th grade and discovering the YA section, namely Sarah Dessen and just falling in love with her books. I binged one after the other and very impatiently waited for all her new releases. There was also another book I read by Sharon M. Draper that was one of the first (and very few at the time), books by a black woman featuring a black female lead that I read and loved. It was a modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet but with an interracial twist. I think I read that book back to back for a few weeks straight because I just loved it so much and I loved the romance in it. From then on out I just loved all YA Contemporaries and loved seeing love develop in a book, but also see how characters grew and how storylines evolved as well. As I grew older I just always stuck with that and eventually discovered the new adult genre in high school back when it first started, then moved to adult romances as well!”
Falling4Romance: What is one romance trope you are tired of?
Blissfully-ReadBritt: Miscommunication. I cannot stand it, so much can be avoided when couples actually talk things out together! It irks my soul whenever I see it happen in books and it sometimes comes across as such a lazy way to throw drama into a book. I can admit that sometimes it can make sense in certain books but most of the time it’s very annoying.
Falling4Romance: What’s something in the romance genre you’d like to see more of?
Blissfully-ReadBritt: I definitely want to see more diversity, especially more black romances since that’s what I’m able to relate to the most. There’s plenty out there now, but it’s still only just a small corner of the romance genre as a whole and I think it deserves to be seen and promoted more.
Falling4Romance: Who are 3 authors and any books in particular by them that you wish more people would read?
Blissfully-ReadBritt: I feel like there’s so many I could name but the first 3 that come to mind are Work Song by Danielle Allen, the Grip series by Kennedy Ryan, and Love on the HighLight Reel by Christina C. Jones
Falling4Romance: What made you decide to create your blog and what keeps you excited about blogging?
Blissfully-ReadBritt: I started my blog back when I started college because I wanted a fun hobby to help take away some stress, and I’ve always loved gushing about books to people so it seemed like the perfect thing to do!! And I think just seeing new releases pop up on my feeds, reading new books and falling in love with them, talking about my favorite books with blogging friends, and just being around like minded people that share my same passion for reading keep me excited. Knowing that I can always talk to friends about any book I’ve read or plan to read keeps me happy and excited, even if I’m in a slump.
Falling4Romance: You’re the BOMB BRITT! My last question for you is what are you currently reading and is there anything coming out soon you’re excited about?
Blissfully-ReadBritt: I’m not currently reading anything just yet, and there’s a few releases coming soon that I’m excited about. But if I had to name a few it’d be The Beautiful Hearts duet by Emma Scott, and The Chase by Elle Kennedy (been waiting years for this spinoff!!)
I loved my chat with Britt and she is definitely someone you should be subscribing to and following. You can find all of her online information here.
I was very excited to chat with my next friend. I found Sarah’s Youtube channel, Not Just Romance Novels earlier this year and she was one of the first people I clicked the NOTIFY ME when she posts button for. Sarah lives in Canada and I have no idea what time it was when I asked her to chat with me, but she’s so down to earth and so sweet, she was immediately like Yes, ask away!
I started my chat with Sarah by asking her about her romance origin story..how she came across and read her first romance novel.
NotJustRomanceNovels: My Aunt, who worked for the Toronto Public Library introduced them to me. She used to read them all the time, and I thought they were silly. The first book I read that she gave me was a Harlequin Duets novel (which was a great romantic comedy imprint) and I was hooked!
Falling4Romance: Who are 3 romance authors and any books in particular by them that you wish more people would read?
NotJustRomanceNovels: Excellent question! First I would say Sarah Morgan, I just adore her and all her books. Not only the From Manhattan with Love series (which as you know is amazing), but her Puffin Island series as well! Next I want to mention Debbie Burns. I just finished Sit, Stay, Love and it was amazing. Its the second book in the Rescue Me series and who doesn’t love a romance series based around an animal shelter. The potential for cuteness is off the charts! Last but not least, Tiffany Reisz. I found her work while reading a mini series called Men at Work for the Blaze line by Harlequin. The first in that series was a fantastic and (very) steamy book called Her Halloween Treat (Halloween romance, yes please!). Later I read The Bourbon Thief and while some of the topics in that book toe the line a bit with a taboo subject, it was still amazing and engaging and I am looking forward to reading more of her books this summer.
Falling4Romance: What is one romance trope you will never tire of reading?
NotJustRomanceNovels: Second chance romances! There is just something about a couple coming back together again, and overcoming issues that they had in the past (or just growing up and becoming more mature) and finding true love. I could read those stories all day long.
Falling4Romance: What do you want to see more of or done differently in the romance genre?
NotJustRomanceNovels: Perhaps this is because I am not a parent myself, and while it is partially my choice and partially for medical reasons, I would like to see less of having children being the end goal. Please don’t get me wrong, I adore children, but for many people whether it be their choice or not, having childen is not in their life plan. I can’t tell you the number of books I have read where the female lead is unable to have a baby, and then finds true love and due to a medical miracle, she can now have a baby. It can be difficult for some people to read and I would love to read more where that is not the case.
Falling4Romance: I love that answer. I’d love to see more stories where the couples are just happy being together and that’s IT. –So being a romance reader and starting a YouTube channel. I don’t think romance gets the respect and recognition it deserves in the Booktube community. Were you ever hesitant to start your channel? What keeps you excited about making videos talking about romance?
NotJustRomanceNovels: Yes, I was absolutely hesitant in starting my channel. January 2018 was my two year anniversary on booktube, but I actually had a channel about 18 months before that, that I only kept up with for about 3 months. At that time YA dominated booktube. I was finding it almost impssible to find others who read not only romance, but stuff other than YA. I became discouraged, took down the channel and stopped even watching booktube for quite some time. Then I found my way back and decided to try again. Even at the beginning of this channel, I was censoring myself. I adore my Harlequin books, but didn’t talk about them, like it was a taboo subject. Now I have decided I want to do what makes me happy. As for what keeps me excited, that would be the books themselves. I have always loved talking about books and so many great ones are being written and I now have a captive audience that allows me to talk as much as I want about the books that I love!
Falling4Romance: My last question is what are you currently reading that you’d recommend?
NotJustRomanceNovels: I just started Something About You by Julie James. I’m only about 20% of the way into it, but so far its fantastic!
You can watch Sarah’s latest video here and click here to follow her on twitter. Sarah reads a lot of books each month and at the end of each week posts a weekly wrap up. I love those, and she is currently working on a recommendations series where she recommends books that are all the same theme–for example she recently posted a video where she recommends romance novels set during the American Revolution which you can view here.
I had so much fun chatting with Britt and Sarah and I hope you enjoyed their responses to my questions. What is your favorite genre to read and what is your origin story behind it? Until next time, take care of yourselves–xoxo, Bree.