Hello Friends! It is that time for one of my favorite posts on my blog–my romance chat with Friends. On today’s post, I will be posting my chat with the ladies of Romantics At Hart, an online book club hosted by best friends Angela and Nicole.
Both ladies are very active in the online reading community and I love that they are encouraging and so supportive of romance readers. I always start these chats out by asking my Friends about their ‘romance origin story.’ I am always interested in how they discovered their love of romance.
Romantics At Hart: (Nicole): I distinctly remember my Mom having a couple Danielle Steel books. She had Nora Roberts books. So my first dive into romance, I used my own money at the bookstore and I picked out this author, Sandra Brown. I started reading her contemporary romances. I read it and fell in love. I then go back and try to get all the books I could by Sandra Brown because I wanted to read all the books she’d written. I did get started reading in 6th grade reading Harry Potter but I wanted to get into a different style of books so I asked my Mom what she liked to read so she showed me the books she enjoyed which lead to me going to the book store and picking out Sandra Brown who I still love.
Falling4Romance: I love that you ladies are bringing the love of romance to the online book community because the genre still in so many ways catches a lot of slack. What inspired you two to start Romantics At Hart?
Romantics At Hart: (Angela): I love the romance genre. I read romances, I’m writing my own romance novel, and I’m studying the romance genre for my dissertation. Romance is my life. When I joined booktube, wanted to talk about them too. Nicole and myself somehow found one another; we watched each other’s videos, commented on them, tweeted back and forth and more. We got to know each other and one day after I gathered up enough courage I direct messaged her and asked if she would be willing to start a romance genre book club for Youtube with me. To my absolute delight, she said yes. Nicole named the book club after me and my channel and I named our movie watch alongs after her and her channel. Tuesday nights have become my favorite day of the week because I get to talk about a genre I love with someone I completely adore. The romance genre has introduced me to my best friend. (Nicole): I was humbled and surprised when Nicole approached me. I think back when she did, I had maybe 300 subscribers to my channel. I was shocked. Out of anybody she could’ve asked, she came to me!
Falling4Romance: If someone found you browsing the romance section at a bookstore and asked you for a recommendation as a first time romance reader, what author would you recommend them and what book specifically by that author?
Romantics At Hart: (Angela): Personally, I would ask the person seeking the recommendation if they have a favorite subgenre (mystery, thriller, comedy, paranormal, contemporary, etc) then go from there. That is the beauty of the romance genre, there is something for everyone. (Nicole): “If you want a cup of tea, someone is pouring it.” (Angela): I totally knew you were going to say that! I remember you loved that scene in ‘Love Between The Covers.’ Whenever someone says that now, I think of you. It does summarize the romance genre really well. Plus I think it was Beverly Jenkins who said it in the documentary and she’s amazing. I absolutely adore her. (Nicole): My gut instinct is to go with anything by Sandra Brown or Nora Roberts. Bow down to the Queens of Romance especially Nora Roberts. She is in the 200s of books out. Like Angela mentioned though, I’d probably ask their favorite subgenre because depending on their answer I do have recommendations for whatever subgenre they give. My first gut reaction is to recommend something by Sandra Brown and my favorite Sandra Brown is Chill Factor which is a suspense romance, having the suspense, mystery factor. If they said their favorite is historical, I’d definitely recommend Eloisa James or Lisa Kleypas. They are Queens of writing historical. If Paranormal, I’d recommend J.R. Ward or Gena Showalter. I’d have to ask a couple of questions and go from there.
Falling4Romance: What is something you would like to see more of in romance?
Romantics At Hart: (Nicole): The first thing that popped in my head really stems from romance readers. I would like to see more pride in romance. What I mean by that is I would love to see readers of the genre not try to hide the covers of the books they’re reading. Or when you ask them what they’re reading, they kind of stammer and shrug it off like, “Oh it’s just one of those stupid books.” I had a patient come into my office the other day who was reading a Harlequin Romance and if someone brings a book into the office, I ask what they’re reading. She tried to hide it. You could tell she was ashamed of what she was reading and she said, “Oh it’s just one of those silly little Harlequin books that don’t have a lot of plot that you can just get through without a lot of thought.” Having had that experience just the other day I would like to see more pride from romance readers. Don’t hide those covers. Tell me what you’re reading. As far as the romance genre, what’s being published and put on the table I can’t really think of anything. If you like a specific trope, there is a romance book for you. As opposed to content, I would say the romance genre is the most diverse. It covers a lot of bases. In my day to day life though I’d like to see more romance readers proud of who they are and what they’re reading.
Falling4Romance: What is on trope you will never be tired of reading?
Romantics At Hart: (Nicole): I really love the alpha hero trope. I love that trope. Angela and I recently discovered this about myself while Angela and I were doing out shifter and paranormal recommendations. It’s not something that I knew about myself but every single book I was recommending it was a macho character who didn’t need love, doesn’t feel anything until the female character comes into the picture. Then they melt. I also love hate to love romances. It is more believable to me, than a couple who falls in love instantly.
Falling4Romance: Are there any lesser known romance authors you think people should check out?
Romantics At Hart: (Nicole): For lesser known authors, one that is sticking in my head is Sawyer Bennett. I have only read a couple of things by her but I really enjoyed them. Also, Jennifer Bernard. She writes this really witty and cute fireman series that I adore. Carol Bristol’s, “Reckless in Moonlight,” as well.
Falling4Romance: Romance is such a huge genre with so many authors and so many sub-genres. How do you keep up with what is new? How do you come across the books you decide to pick up?
Romantics At Hart: (Nicole) I keep a list of all the new book coming out that I’m interested in. I usually peruse Barnes and Noble or Amazon because they have a Coming Soon section. When I discover a new author, most of the time it’s recommended to me. Then if I read one and I love it, I get on this rampage to buy and read all the books they’ve ever published.
I am so grateful to these two ladies and their contribution to the romance reading community. You can find Angela on Youtube here and Nicole here. The ladies do a live show at least once a month, and it is so much fun. Their live shows are always just the girl time I need.