I was 30 when I picked up my first romance novel. If you’re new here, my venture into the romance world all began with me lounging on the couch engrossed in a Hallmark Christmas romance. After questioning why I faithfully watch Hallmark’s holiday romances every year, yet had never actually read a romance novel..here I am! Two years later, a little obsessed with the genre.
I remember going into the bookstore and always beelining it to the romance section and feeling overwhelmed. I had no idea where to start. I followed a couple romance readers on Youtube, but it was hard to find the books they chatted about in the actual bookstore and I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for the types of romances they were recommending.
I get quite a few DMs on Instagram that go a little like this, “I really want to read romance but have no idea where to start.” Without further ado my loves, here are my recommendations on where to find recommendations as a new romance reader.
Youtube. The Booktube corner of Youtube is continuously growing with romance readers. I remember for what felt like forever, Jess, from Peacelovebooksxo was the only romance reader I could find, followed by Carol from thereadingwallflower. With Youtube you can literally type an author’s name, a book title, or even romance reader into the search box, and *wha-la* romance recommendations just a click away. Also with the surge of new romance readers, we are seeing more readathons dedicated to romance! Join in on those and watch out for people’s to be read videos. A lot of times, creators will also post recommendation videos for the different prompts within a readathon. Steph, from Steph’s Romance Book Talk hosts Romance GenreAthon and with each new month she will post recommendations to go along with whatever category is up for reading that month. Click here for one of her videos.
Podcasts. Are you a Podcast listener? I freaked when I began finding podcasts dedicated to romance reading. The very first I discovered was Smart Podcast, Trashy Books but my library now consists of Heaving Bosoms, End of Story, Smart Women Read Romance, Wicked Wallflowers Club, Learning The Tropes and Journeys of Romance. Ranging from reviews and author interviews it is impossible to not walk away from one of these podcasts with a new to you title. I honestly recommend starting from their earlier episodes and work your way to the current. You are bound to find recommendations along the way.
Goodreads. Romance kicks total ass on Goodreads. Romance readers create all types of shelves. Looking for an historical romance? Paranormal? Contemporary? With a little digging, you are bound to find shelves that other romance readers have created. For example, my friend Sarah, from Steeped In Books on Youtube has tons of shelves on Goodreads. Looking for Harlequin Intrigue recommendations? She has a shelf dedicated specifically to that, just click here, to check it out.
Frolic. When I started reading romance, I read a lot of backlist titles. This is fine, but I also think reading new releases can also be a big help with figuring out what you’re going to vibe with and what you won’t. Weekly over on Frolic, Mary Dube writes Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for *whatever week you’re currently on* This is a must read for me every week. I am not always the best with keeping up with new releases just because I live with a constant stack of books I need to get to on my nightstand, but I’m constantly checking for Mary’s recommendations.
Blogs & Instagram. Now I put these two together because I didn’t really consider blogging until I got pretty serious with Instagram and decided to leave Youtube. A lot of romance readers who post avidly on Instagram are also bloggers. Find them and follow them. With Instagram, I search hashtags. Search for #romancestagram #romancelandia to begin with and peruse through the results. Once you come across creators who pique your interest, if they are also a blogger, follow them to keep up with reviews and posts that they don’t post on Instagram. I get tons of recommendations from other bloggers.
I really hope this helps. I am always only a message away if you want to chat a bit more. Romance is huge, and I truly believe there is something out there for everyone, you just have to find what works for you. Give yourself time, peruse a bit. At first it may be trial and error but have fun with it. And I haven’t met a romance reader yet who isn’t willing to gush about the genre with me, so never be too shy to reach out.