Shelf Love
  • This Guy? "Dreaming Of You" By Lisa Kleypas [Whoa-llab w/ Shelf Love]

    May 25, 2023

    This week, yr grls at long last encounter Derek Craven in "DREAMING OF YOU" by Miss Massachu herself LISA KLEYPAS. It is time for Morgan and Isabeau from Whoa!mance to wade into this collaboration with Shelf Love. You probably already know this - but Sarah is a regency country mouse who is secretly a best-selling novelist. Facing the dreaded sophomore slump, she seeks out a real Gambling Hell to research her next novel and instead finds Derek Craven. Derek's a gutter baby cum Cockney made good by establishing the most luxurious gambling den in London. But, it turns out, his personal tastes skew a bit more bucolic if you catch our drift (they fall in love!). What makes a character captivating and why doesn't Derek Craven have any of it? Is the sentimental version of the Culture Wars any more forgivable? It's 10 p.m. - is your child a Perry? Take our "lump of ice" and tune in as we give this "weep and wail" its "early hours".

  • Dreaming of You: Justice for Joyce

    May 18, 2023

    Let’s talk about Joyce Ashby from Lisa Kleypas's novel Dreaming of You. We delve into the dichotomous portrayal of Joyce as an irredeemable villainess alongside her foil, the redeemable “hero” Derek Craven. We explore the parallel themes of violence, possessiveness, and animalistic sexuality resulting in problematically differing fates and treatment by the text. Belched from the underworld, Defender of Bisexual Villainesses Dame Jodie Slaughter joins Shelf Love in this special cross-over project with Whoa!mance - watch for the next episode, in which Morgan and Isabeau share their conversation about Dreaming of You.

  • Autistic Representation in Romance with Amanda Cinelli

    May 8, 2023

    Amanda Cinelli joins me to discuss representation of autistic characters in romance novels. Amanda shares how reading Helen Hoang’s "The Kiss Quotient" played a big part in her realizing that she was autistic, and talks about some other romances with autism representation that she loved. We also discuss why representing autistic love is important to Amanda as an author and her writing journey pre and post diagnosis.

  • The Problematic is Calling From Inside the House

    Apr 5, 2023

    "Somebody’s Trying To Kill Me and I think it’s my husband" by Joanna Russ is a brilliant bit of 50 year old scholarship about modern gothics, but I say it applies just as well to romance novels of today. In part one, I explore the theme of passive protagonists in adventure stories. Part 2, the personal is the problematic. In all parts: unpacking heteropatriarchy.

  • 2 North, and 2 South: Romance Catnip

    Mar 7, 2023

    Part 2 of the conversation about North and South with Helena Greer. AI generated these action items from the transcript of this episode. AI responses can be inaccurate or misleading. [ ] Schedule a kiss scene between the main characters for modern audiences [ ] Make the male protagonist more sympathetic by toning down his violent behavior [ ] Make the female protagonist more likable and relatable to modern romance audiences [ ] Follow a beat sheet to hit expected pacing and plot points for romance novels

  • Look Back at Me: North and South with Helena Greer

    Mar 1, 2023

    Trains! Fruit! Allusions to Hell abound! Victorian industrialist city mortality rates! Writer, sex educator, and librarian Helena Greer is here to discuss North and South. Did the 2004 BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's 1854 serialized novel make the heroine more likable and everyone else less nuanced? This conversation is serialized just like the original text. We compare and contrast the romantic moments in the book and adaptation, highlighting how the adaptation focuses more on negative emotions and drama, while the book emphasizes character growth and acts of romantic love.

  • When Your Lover Rips Your Father’s Heart Out

    Feb 8, 2023

    Dame Jodie Slaughter, Feather Fetish Understander, and I recently discussed how The Savage and The Swan speaks the unspoken, what a winged wolf looks like, and whether this book is a metaphor for toxic masculinity and healing generational trauma. This summary below was written by AI using my episode transcript: The Savage and the Swan by Ella Fields is a groundbreaking work of Enemies to Lover literature that combines elements of dark fairytale retellings, a possessive anti-hero, and spicy fae romance. The story follows Opal, a princess in a kingdom at war with its neighboring kingdom, Vordane, ruled by the shape-shifting wolf-with-wings Dade. Opal is forced to marry a human prince to strengthen the alliance between the two kingdoms, but is kidnapped by Dade and must find a way to reconcile her feelings for him despite his shocking act of violence.

  • Cold(breath) Comfort Reads: January 2023

    Feb 1, 2023

    Starting the year off with some cozy re-reads, comfort reads, and short reads to combat the wintery weather and get through winter cold season. I share thoughts on all the books I read in January 2023, including Alice Coldbreath’s Victorian Prizefighter series, A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews, His Majesty by Shon, Better Off Wed by Susanna Craig, Hero by Claire Kent, and the Murderbot series by Martha Wells.

  • Anais Nin, writer of “Female Erotica”?

    Jan 17, 2023

    We need to talk about Anais Nin and her erotic short story collection Delta of Venus. Did Anais Nin write "female erotica"? Is there such a thing? Have Things™️ changed much since 1941? Noted smut writer Dame Jodie Slaughter is Shelf Love's international smut history correspondent. She schools us on the long history of smut, French people, Choice Feminism, why she doesn't believe in the female gaze, how her work is contributing to the demise of "our value system," and more! We unpack Anais's assertion that "women are more apt to fuse sex with emotion, with love" via Dr. Jodi McAlister’s book "The Consummate Virgin," and her theories of compulsory (female) demisexuality.

  • Arranged Marriage Trope in Contemporary Indian American Diaspora Romance Novels

    Jan 9, 2023

    Arranged marriage trope in contemporary Indian American diaspora romance novels with cognitive psychologist and author Sri Savita.