The #readRchat community on Twitter just finished nominating their/our Best Reads of 2017, with voting beginning tomorrow, December 4, 2017. One of the founders of #readRchat, Ellie, graciously agreed to answer some questions about reading romance and building a community.
Ellie (@e_savova) is an avid reader and book blogger. She has been running her book blog Ellie Reads All the Books since 2013. She is also co-host of #readRchat – a monthly romance readers chat on Twitter which she started at the beginning of 2017. Scroll to the end for Ellie's book recommendations and make sure to follow @readrchat for updates on voting!
How did you get into the world of romance?
I have a BA and MA in British and American studies and I read lots of classic canon literature in University. Reading took a back seat for a couple of years after I graduated while I settled professionally and in my personal life and only got back to it 5-6 years ago. I started with YA – Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, Gayle Forman, then Kristin Cashore and Melina Marchetta which led to NA and eventually, adult romance.
What keeps you here?
I love the online romance community. I used to be more active on GR and FB but over the last year Twitter has become my to-go place for all things romance reading related. I’ve made some wonderful friendships with other readers over the past few years despite never meeting each other in person. I’ve come to realise that for me part of the joy of reading is being able to share my thoughts about the book with other people and living in Bulgaria and reading romance in English, online communities are my only option to do so. That’s why I blog, participate in discussions online, share recommendations.
In an attempt to bring more to the romance community at the beginning of 2017 together with a friend (later more friends joined us) I started a romance readers chat on Twitter. #readRchat is a monthly one-hour chat on different topics on reading romance which are announced in advance. Currently we are holding #readRchat Romance Awards 2017 with open nominations in 9 categories – voting will take place 4-10 Dec 2017. (December 4-10 for those of us in the US)
What do you read?
I’d say I’m adventurous when it comes to my reading, though lately I stick to romance with the occasional YA, SFF. I mostly read romance, somehow contemporary prevails but I read almost all subgenres and most tropes. I read queer and het romance in equal measure. I avoid certain tropes (billionaires, secret babies, heavy kink/BDSM) but in the hands of trusted authors I’m willing to give them a try.
What trend(s) are you excited for and what trend could you do without?
I’m most excited about crossover romances, series which include queer and het romances. I think (hope) they are gaining popularity and I feel they reflect in the best way the diversity of the world around us. I’m not a fan of the step-brother and captive/abduction romances and could happily do without them.
What have you read and loved lately?
I haven’t even started thinking about my list of best books of 2017 but I can share what I read and loved the most in the past month!
- Dear Mona Lisa by Claire Davis and Al Steward
It’s short, very moving (and painful at times) m/m romance with both MCs in their 40s, one has synesthesia. There is coming out to your adult kid and a fabulous wedding. CW for death of a newborn baby and strong homophobia. (Amazon)
- Handmade Holidays by Nathan Burgoine
A m/m Christmas romance following a group of queer friends over the period of 15 years with them becoming each other’s chosen family and going though good and bad times together. (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo)
- Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn
A debut contemporary m/f romance with a wonderful scientist heroine and a hero (possibly with ADHD) who tries to recruit her for the company he works for. It’s a story about falling in love amidst personal and professional turmoil, the importance of family and friendship and sense of belonging (to a place and with the right person). (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo)
- Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant
A trans historical Western with cowboys and witches and magic spells and bionic body parts, it’s just stunning, utterly mesmerizing. (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo)
- An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Powerful and intriguing historical spy romance set during the Civil War. It’s a richly drawn story about slavery and freedom which explores issues of identity and hero/white savior complex and obligation and following your heart’s desires. (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo)
Don't forget to join #readrchat for voting and a monthly chat! We hope to see you there.