I decided to do this tag ages ago after seeing Jenica at Firewhiskey Reader do it (check out her post here), but then never actually finished it! Since I’ve really been reveling in the romance lately, I figured it’d be fun to revive and share.
What is your romance origin story? (How you came to read your first romance novel)
I found romance through Meg Cabot! I was obsessed with her Mediator series and her 1-800-Where-R-You series when I was in middle school and decided to check out her entire backlist. So I checkout out She Went All the Way (I had no idea what that meant) and read it, and my world changed forever. It was like my favorite YA romances on steroids! It was really cool to go back and buy a copy of that in order for Meg Cabot to sign recently, in addition to some of her books I’ve had since middle school.
If you could be the heroine in a romance novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?
I would probably want Tessa Dare to write it, and I would insist on enemies to lovers and some sort of forced proximity, either marriage of convenience or just one bed. Tessa Dare is probably my favorite author, and those are some of my favorite tropes!
What is a romance you’ve read this year that you want more people to read?
I actually think a lot of my favorites I’ve read this year are from pretty popular authors, so they’re already widely read. A couple of newer favorites I read last year that I don’t think are as widely popular are The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller and This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman. The Widow of Rose House is a beautiful Gilded Age debut with a bit of a gothic element and a grump/sunshine trope that I absolutely adored, while This Earl of Mine is a marriage of convenience where the heroine marries a man about to be deported in order to protect her fortune from a greedy relative, only to later discover he was undercover and is actually a lord. They’re both so good!!
What is your favorite romance subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?
I was exclusively a historical romance reader for a long time, and I would say it’s still definitely my favorite, though a decent chunk of my reading these days is contemporaries and paranormals. Romantic suspense is probably one of my least read subgenres, though I don’t pick up many westerns or small-town romances, either.
Who is one of your auto-buy romance authors?
Why name one when I could name them all? My auto-buy authors include, in no particular order: Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Lenora Bell, Joanna Shupe, Sarah MacLean, Eloisa James, Jessie Mihalik, Helen Hoang, Alyssa Cole, Alisha Rai, Cat Sebastian, Alexis Daria, and Nalini Singh.
How do you typically find romance recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram…)
I get A LOT of recs from friends, including my romance book club and blogger friends. In fact, I would say that’s where I get most of my book recs from. But I’ve also bought and read a ton of books because I saw the hype for them on Twitter, especially when some of my favorite authors recommend them or when literally everyone is talking about a book.
What is an upcoming romance release you’re excited for?
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews is probably my most anticipated release for the rest of the year! I really enjoyed the first Hidden Legacy trilogy, so of course I had to preorder Sapphire Flames. But I was not prepared for how absolutely captivated I would be by that book, so I seriously can’t wait to continue Catalina and Alessandro’s romance in the second book!
What is one misconception about romance you would like to lay to rest?
I wish people didn’t automatically assume romance isn’t for them! I’ve seen so many people discover romance in the past year or so after trying it on a whim, and it’s such a shame to see the stereotypes about the genre prevent them from finding it earlier. It’s a massive genre, so while a historical romance might not be your thing (though you never know!), maybe a scifi romance is! Or a romance that blends more with the literary fiction genre. There’s literally something out there for everyone, and if people try romances that mix with genres they already read, or something that’s purely escapist, they might be pleasantly surprised, too!
Who is the most recent romance reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?
I’m not sure I’d say I came her account recently, but major shout out to Ana Coqui for organizing #RomBkLove, a monthlong romance discussion with LOTS of recs! This is my first time being a more active participant, and it’s been a lot of fun!
If someone had never read a romance before and asked you to recommend the first three romances that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?
What I would recommend to someone would probably be very dependent on what they normally like reading. I think Tessa Dare is a really great place to start for anyone who wants to give a classic historical romance a try. Her books are definitely on the low-angst end of the spectrum, which isn’t necessarily for everyone, but she has some great humor and her books are always fun. The Wallflower Wager is her most recent release, and it’s one of my favorites. It features a grumpy hero, a goat birthing scene, and an obscene parrot, and it’s so funny.
For contemporaries, I think I would recommend A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole. This one is perfect for readers who want to get swept up in a royal romance involving mistaken identity (think The Prince and I), and it features an awesome STEM heroine and lots of great consent scenes. Though I do have to say, the sequel, A Duke by Default, is my absolute favorite in this series!
And lastly, I think Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik is a great place to start for people who tend to enjoy science fiction and fantasy but want more of a romance element. This is a great space adventure story in which a princess in hiding teams up with an escaped convict in order to escape capture by a group of mercenaries intent on returning her to her father. It’s such an intense read!
Bonus: What’s something you’d like to see in the romance genre in the future?
This isn’t a topic in the original tag, but I just wanted to put this out there in hopes that we’ll get it in the future. Because as much as I love a Regency historical, I really want to see more historical romances set in different times and places. There’s just so much cool history out there! Why are we limiting ourselves to one small time period in British history?! Also, it makes me really sad that I have to dig to find historical romances written by authors of color. When I started reading more historical romances at the beginning of the pandemic, it was upsetting that my reading became suddenly very white, and I would love to see that change in the future. There are so many great contemporaries out there by authors of color, and I really want to see that in historicals as well!
I can’t even remember the last time I did a tag post, but this was a lot of fun! What’s one romance you’ve read that you wish more people would pick up? Let me know in the comments, and drop me a link if you decide to do this tag yourself!