I was thrilled when Jeeves, from Jeeves Reads Romance, said I could interview her for this blog! As a romance writer, I’m always interested in why some books work for some people and not others. I like knowing what weighs more heavily with a reader and what, as a writer, I don’t have to stress so much about. I hope any romance author out there can learn a little something about crafting their own novels, and if you’re a romance reader, follow her blog, and bookmark her website and other social media. She completely takes the work out of finding your next read!
Let’s dive it!
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourself. How did you get into reviewing romance novels and how long have you been doing it?
No problem, it’s kind of fun to take the time to step back and reflect once in a while! I started reading romance back when I was young, probably 13 or 14. My mom would have her Nora Roberts novels around the house, or I’d sneak off with one of my older sister’s historical romances to see what she was reading at the time. That love of romance stuck with me, even after I (temporarily) ditched the books when I got a real life boyfriend. For several years, I consumed my romance via rom com movies, sitcoms, and Hallmark movies, until I got a Kindle for my birthday one year – and that love of romance novels came rushing back. I haven’t stopped reading them since! I started reading books by the authors I was familiar with growing up, and then I discovered Kindle Unlimited… and it was like a whole new world opened up. Once I started reading more indie authors, I realized how important reviews are – and one thing lead to another. I’ve had my blog since 2019.
How many books do you read a month? And please count all the audiobooks you listen to, as well!
I was reading about a book a day when I started my blog, but now I get busy with everything else related to blogging, so it’s more like 4 a week. And I’m listening to them about 75% of the time, whether it’s true audiobooks or just having Siri read text aloud to me. I love having the option to switch back and forth between text and audio, which enables me to fit a LOT more reading into my schedule.
What do you need for a book to be “unputdownable?”
That’s a tricky one! There’s no tried and true formula that works, but a book needs to grab me right away, or I make assumptions about how the story will go and I lose interest. I’m a true romance reader, so I really prefer for the characters to spend most of the book on the page together. Building the chemistry is essential, and sexual tension is a definite plus. I read everything from rom coms to mafia to angsty stories (at all steam levels), so I always love it when I’m left guessing about how things will play out. I’m much more forgiving of minor issues if I’m entertained and surprised!
For various (marketing) reasons, romance authors are encouraged to write in series. Do you like reading series or can you dig into a standalone just as well?
Standalone or series, I’ll read either. If an author has a unique idea that doesn’t work in a series, then I’m happy to dig in. There’s something to be said for interconnected standalones though – I love getting to know side characters and trying to predict which tropes will be used in their stories. It just makes the anticipation of the next love story that much stronger. I vastly prefer when a couple’s love story is contained to one book though. I’ll read duets from authors on my one-click list, but I’m done with trilogies. There always seems to be either too much time in between book releases or the middle book is dramatic filler, so if I see that a book is in a trilogy, I (almost) always pass. Don’t give me an unexpected cliffhanger though, that’s a surefire way to anger readers, lol.
Do you have a preference over 3rd person POV over 1st?
I greatly prefer 1st person, with dual perspectives unless there’s a good reason why the second shouldn’t be included. It makes me feel like I’m a part of the story, not like I’m an outsider looking in. That makes the experience more immersive. I read 3rd person occasionally, but it’s definitely not something I seek out and it has been the reason why some books haven’t resonated with me in the past.
Does the cover matter when you’re choosing what book to read?
100%. Covers typically indicate what kind of story you’re in for – something light and fun, something dark and twisty, something sporty. I read different types of romances when I’m in different moods or settings, so even if it’s a one-click author for me, I want to make sure the vibe will match. If I’m trying out a new-to-me author, then I will also be turned off by a cover that doesn’t look professional. A poorly designed cover usually means the author hasn’t taken the time to get the book properly edited, which is never an encouraging sign. Also, if I’m scrolling on social media or Amazon, then the cover is what will lead me to check out the blurb of a book I’m unfamiliar with. Covers are important.
What are some of your favorite tropes?
Tropes are more popular than ever right now! My trope-focused recommendation lists (https://jeevesreads.com/best-of-lists/themed-recommendations/) are by far the most popular pages on my blog. For example, my list of Brother’s Best Friend Romances (https://jeevesreads.com/2020/10/10/15-brothers-best-friend-romances/#more-5826) has been viewed over 40,000 times in the last two years – and that’s not even the most popular one. Readers love tropes because they usually give an indication of the type of obstacles a couple will need to overcome. I struggle with secret baby and second chance romances, but I always seem to be in the mood for a fake relationship romance or enemies to lovers friction. I’ve also been loving marriage of convenience and mafia romances lately, which can play out in a variety of ways. Grumpy/sunshine is also one of my personal favorites.
Earlier you did a blog post on books you did not finish (DNF). We’ll link to that, but can you explain a little about why you would not finish a book? What is a pet peeve or mistake an author can make that will cause you to DNF?
Yeah, talking about why books didn’t work for me can be as helpful to other readers as talking about why they DID work. Occasionally, I post a DNF Report (https://jeevesreads.com/2022/05/16/tossed-off-the-tbr-the-dnf-report-2/) that goes over why I set certain books aside. I’m a mood reader who knows what will irritate me while reading, so it’s usually pretty obvious if the experience isn’t going to go well, lol. Other readers may have different preferences, so what irritates me might be a win for them. I’m not a fan of excessive miscommunication or other woman drama, which is the fastest way to make me DNF a book. Sometimes a character’s personality isn’t a good fit for me either, it can be as simple as that. Or maybe the blurb led me astray, and the tone is not at all what I was expecting. Not all DNFs reflect poorly on the book.
You always have such awesome, up-to-date lists! How do you find the books you read? If a romance author was interested in you reviewing their book, do you accept requests? And if so, how do they contact you?
Thank you! As a reader, one of the most frustrating things for me has always been trying to figure out what to read next, or keeping track of the never-ending new releases. It can be an overwhelming experience, especially when there are so many books I’d love to check out. That’s really been the focus of my blog (http://www.JeevesReads.com) – helping other readers take the frustration out of managing their TBR and making it a more relaxing experience. In putting together my release calendar and new releases lists, I discover a lot of books I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I also follow many authors on social media, or take recommendations from fellow bloggers. Every time I see something interesting, I put it on my TBR and keep it in mind for later. Of course, my TBR is never-ending like everyone else, lol. That’s why I don’t take requests, I’ve always got something on my TBR to satisfy whatever vibe I’m looking for that day.
I’m always happy to interact on social media! I’m most active on Twitter and Instagram.
Jeeves, thank you so much for giving us your time! I really appreciate your opinions. If you want to follow Jeeves for book recs, here are all her links. Also, keep reading to enter the giveaway!
Because Jeeves is a romance novel reviewer, it’s only fitting I have a romantic giveaway! This giveaway includes a $25 dollar Amazon gift card (fill up your Kindles!) two champagne glasses I purchased in a gallery/gift shop in Fargo, ND, and a trinket dish that says, Happily Ever After, for a combined total of $90 dollars. I hope you enter, and good luck to those who do!
Raflecopter collects email addresses but I only use them to inform the winner they have won the giveaway.(US and Canadian residents only.) Click here to enter!