I’ve been blogging pretty sporadically for the last year or so, but I haven’t stopped reading book blogs. I thought I’d write a short post highlighting a few of the new-ish blogs — especially romance blogs — I’ve been enjoying.
One of the nice things about blog land is that for everyone who has gone MIA, someone else has thrown her hat in to the blogging ring. Whenever I lament that Romanceland is static and boring, another new fresh-voiced blog shows up to prove me wrong.
Warning: I’ve decorated this post with more pictures of my August trip to France.
Miss Bates has been blogging in the third person since May of this year. Eschewing online drama, as a lady does, her blog is focused solely on romance reviews, but they are of the most reflective sort. She blogs about romances both old (Iris Johansen’s 1983 The Lady and the Unicorn) and new (Ruthie Knox’s Making it Last). She is often delightfully out of sync with the hyped book of the week. A big Jane Austen fan, Miss Bates’ blog is worth reading just for her imaginative rating scheme.
The only complaint I have about Miss Bates is that she tweeteth not.
Radish Reviews was founded a little over a year ago by former RT reviewers Natalie and Donna, who both have a strong background in speculative fiction. Donna has since moved on (she has a real life? Is this allowed?!), but Natalie has kept a strong pace with her famous Linkspam posts as well as astute commentaries on book blog land, where Natalie’s long (in internet years) history in the world of SFF fandom and book reviewing give her a knowledgeable perspective. Natalie reviews both romance and SFF, making Radish Reviews one of the few blogs to cross those genres.
Full disclosure: I blog occasionally at RR, because I emailed them out of the blue asking them to let me post, and pity was taken.
Pamela, who started her romance blog in March of this year, is a lifelong romance reader, but reading Outlander and discovering the Ladies of Lallybroch really got her going online.
As she writes:
I am inspired by fellow readers and writers who are blogging and tweeting to share what moves and intrigues them, creating a groundswell of commentary and conversation that is literary, limber, and occasionally licentious.
Pamela doesn’t blog constantly, but her thought-provoking reviews are worth the wait. Her most recent post shares her struggle with the heavier Patricia Gaffneys, and her enjoyment of Crooked Hearts.
You can also find her on Twitter: @Badass_Romance
This blog, run by Jackie C. Horne, has been around since September 2012. I confess I have some ambivalence about this blog, but I do read it regularly, and think it adds an important (although certainly not the only feminist) voice to the romance reviewing culture. Jackie Horne offers intelligent readings of mostly currently popular romance novels. Recent posts include The Challenges of Cross-cultural Romance, and Thinking Outside the Oppressor’s Box.
Blue Moon is a months-old book blog by Diana Coleman, who has been around Romanceland “forever” as she herself says. Blue Moon offers two unique things: Diana’s veteran analysis of books in the romance genre, and a lot of audio book reviews. Here’s a review of Linda Howard’s Cry No More, with Diana’s characteristic straight-on yet sophisticated analysis:
I think everyone should read, or better yet, listen to Cry No More even though it’s a given that you’ll cry buckets. Dark and tragic themes, baby selling, betrayal, and more abound. Milla faces terrifying moral questions and must make impossible choices. I can’t think of any other book where the epilogue was as welcome and cathartic as it is here.
You can also find Diana on Twitter: @saschakeet
Love in the Margins is the newest romance blog on this list, but is poised to be one of the most influential. As they put it:
We (mainly) review romance and erotica featuring characters from every corner. Of special interest to us is how the romance genre tells (or avoids telling) the stories of those whose lives don’t fit into the neat and tidy box labeled “default.” …
Love in the Margins is for all of us, the readers. All fiction carries an underlying message about how the world works; and we’re going to try to hit on the love stories that represent us all. This is a blog that welcomes discussion and criticism. Hate speech is prohibited but open speech is not.
Despite this overtly political aim, LITM reads and functions like any other really good review blog, with links posts and reviews by people with knowledge of the genre. The difference is that a greater percentage of LITM reviews are of books featuring protagonists who are members of social groups not typically represented in romance.
Audiogals has been reviewing romance on audio for just over a year. Their review of Perdition by Ann Aguirre (by Kaetrin, who reviews at group website Dear Author and her own blog, Kaetrin’s Musings) indicates why it’s so important to pay attention to format:
There were times when I felt Ms. Reading used the wrong tone. For example, there is a scene where Dred says “Kneel” and the text immediately after indicates that the command was so powerfully stated that various other characters (than the one to whom she was speaking), responded and went to their knees. However, to my ears, the word sounded… bored and cavalier.
Of all of the blogs on this list, Audiogals is the most commercial, in terms of ads, interviews with authors, giveaways, and a consistently positive vibe, but it is the only blog I know of dedicated to romance on audio.
You can find the Audiogals on Twitter: @Audiogals
That’s it for now. I am positive I will hit “Publish” and realize I’ve forgotten a few. So… if you’ve been reading any good book blogs lately, I’d love to know.