48 Following


Olivia Waite is a romance author, practicing feminist, and wide-ranging dilettante.

Not quite as ambitious as I'd hoped.

Starlight (Christies) - Carrie Lofty

"More union agitation" was not something I ever expected to want from a romance novel, but here we are. This story of an astronomer-turned-mill master and a female union leader in Victorian Glasgow -- you see why I picked it up, don't you? -- was grounded and turbulent in all the best ways. 


At least, at first.


The set-up is persuasive and the characters really sparkle. But the rich and realistic conflict between union and management devolved into a shipboard rescue and fight scene that apparently solved all everyone's issues -- secondary characters included. I felt like the ending was more softened than I wanted it to be. The author came out swinging, but she pulled her punches. 

Thought-provoking and persuasive.

Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work - Melissa Gira Grant

This is not everyone's idea of light reading, perhaps, but this short little book is electrifying and written with the kind of confidence that comes from strong conviction. So many opinions about sex work and sex workers are formed in the absence of the experience of actual sex workers: this book provides a much-needed corrective. I may not agree with every point in the text, but I'm sure as hell going to spend a lot more time thinking about it now. Highly recommended.

Intersectional Feminism in Romance A-Z

My whole April project is finally up! Analytic reviews of various romance novels through the lens of intersectional feminism, including but not limited to discussions of:

  • disability
  • bisexuality
  • gender dynamics in the romance industry
  • race
  • colonialism

... and so much more!

Two weeks' worth of romance and feminism.

The first two weeks of my A-Z Challenge posts are up! A dozen romance novels analyzed through a feminist lens; squee and snark as required; recommendations and literary allusions and structural analyses to make your heart sing! The first paragraphs of this post introduce the idea, and the list of letters is down at the bottom.

The Jade Temptress - Jeannie Lin

Romances between lonely characters always get right under my skin, and this one's a masterpiece of that particular trope. Unique setting, strong characterization, and some of the most swoon-worthy love scenes I've read in years. Why are you even still looking at this review? Go read the book! You will not regret it.

A is for Ash

Ash - Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo's lovely lesbian YA Ash is a romantic and lyrical retelling of Cinderella with two female protagonists. Yet the structure of the world is very focused on straight marriage as a means of property transfer and means of producing heirs.

An overly ambitious and overthought project about romance novels and feminism. No, really.

Starting tomorrow, I'm posting every day in April (minus Sundays) about romances that feature people with disabilities, characters of color, LGBTQA characters, troubling tropes, genre history, and intersectional feminism. More literary critiques than reviews, a lot of quotes, and tons of spoilers.

It'll be fun!

I can has the next book now?

Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel - Jacqueline Koyanagi

Start with Star Wars. Add some thrillingly poetic prose. And lesbians. Disabled lesbians. Disabled lesbians of color. In space. Luke Skywalker? Now a dreadlocked sky surgeon with a chronic illness and an absolute lust for space travel. Han Solo? Now a disarmingly sexy blonde lesbian spaceship captain with a hidden, desperate agenda. Leia? Now a spirit guide, semi-religious and mystical worker of illusions and empathy.


This is a marvelously fun book, not without flaws, but I'm willing to forgive flaws in a book that drops my jaw so many times. Beautiful sentences! Shocking events! Some truly gorgeous sex scenes! Highly recommended.

Keen Minds: Best Genius Heroines Of Historical Romance

Midsummer Moon - Laura Kinsale To Sin With A Scoundrel - Cara Elliott My Darling Caroline - Adele Ashworth Scandal - Amanda Quick Scoundrel - Elizabeth Elliott Velvet Song (Montgomery, #4) - Jude Deveraux Midnight Honor - Marsha Canham Not Quite a Husband - Sherry Thomas Mr. Impossible - Loretta Chase As You Desire - Connie Brockway

Clever, clever woman.  Pursue knowledge that is denied to you.  Have a talent of your very own.  Makes an excellent heroine.


Here are some great genius heroines of historical romance!


1. Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale:  Merlin Lambourne, Inventor 

2. To Sin With A Scoundrel  by Cara Elliott: Lady Ciara Sheffield, Scientist 

3. My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth: Caroline Grayson, Botany  

4. Scandal by Amanda Quick:  Emily Faringdon, Investment Genius 

5. Scoundrel by Elizabeth Elliott: Lady Lily Walters, Code Breaker

6. Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux: Alyxandria Blackett Musical genius. 

7. Midnight Honor by Marsha Canham: Colonel Anne Moy

8. Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas: Bryony Asquith, Surgeon 

9.Mr. Impossible  by Lorretta Chase: Daphne Pembroke, Scholar

10. As You Desire: by Connie Brockway: Desdemona Carlisle, Child Prodigy 


Please tell me your favorite Genius Historical Heroine! Add to by huge TBR pile.


If you would like to vote for the best of the best, go to the Goodreads list: Keen Minds: Best Genius Heroines Of Historical Romance


If you would love to learn more about female genius through the ages, check out my Pinterest Board: Sexy Smart: Genius Heroines in Romance Novels. 




 Elena Cornaro Piscopia


Reblogged from Cat's Books: Romance

Halfway through!

Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America - Ted Morgan

The perfect balance of thorough research and clear storytelling. Maybe one of the best modern histories I've read in years. Not free from the author's thoughts, which is a good thing, and we haven't even gotten to the juicy McCarthy stuff yet.

Frankly, My Dear - Sandra Hill

Stay away. Far, far away. You do not want anything to do with this book.

Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford - S.L. Sanger, Craig Wollner

A great source for first-person accounts, but vaguely unsatisfying as far as historical color and texture are concerned. Does not probe deeply into the moral or ethical questions raised by Hanford's planning and purpose. Makes few mentions of the environmental damage until the afterward -- though part of this may be the lack of documents that have only recently been declassified. Also, hearing people who literally in some cases put their hands on the bomb that would kill hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians claim that dropping the bomb saved countless lives started to feel like doublespeak after the fourteenth repetition. Especially since that particular line has been somewhat debunked.


Short and sweet and perfect.

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo - Zen Cho

You might as well not even read the review I'm posting here -- you'd be much better off just running out, buying, and diving into this sweet and startling historical novella because it will make your day infinitely better. This book has a phenomenal voice and also breaks a ton of the usual romance rules: it has clear adultery, an unrepentant heroine who boinks for reasons other than True Love, a multicultural cast of characters who are not mixed-race but who do participate in more than one culture, incidents of mild racism that are more like realistic day-to-day microaggressions than huge angst-worthy life-altering humiliations. All of these things totally work in the context of the plot. It's hilarious and touching and charming and I could not have loved it more.

Inside the Secret.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II - Denise Kiernan

This book really made me feel as if I knew what it felt like to live and work at Oak Ridge in the lead-up to the glorious, horrible end of World War II. Although I could have used a bit more clarity in the chronology, and certain events felt glossed over, the focus on women's experiences both at Oak Ridge and in the international scientific community was compelling and illuminating. While this will never be anyone's first choice for a comprehensive history of the Manhattan Project, the on-the-ground experiences and day-to-day detail of the workers at the various plants are just the kind of thing a writer looks for in a history she's reading for book research. Highly recommended.

Slightly shameful self-promotion!

Color Me Bad - Olivia Waite

Please allow me to humbly ask you to consider reading and/or reviewing my most recent erotic historical, Color Me Bad, which is available from a range of sellers (Kindle, Kobo, ARe). It's the story of a gentleman painter and a lady thief, features the hilarious phrase "Chubb detector lock," and has the best imaginary paintings since the iceberg seascape in Jane Eyre. Also, look at that cover! It's rather beautiful.


If you're thinking of reviewing Color Me Bad, I would be thrilled! I ask only that you:

  • love it
  • or hate it
  • or forget it as soon as you finish
  • cherish it forever
  • write a short review
  • write a long review
  • fill that long review with GIFs
  • set all GIFs on fire
  • give the book a star rating but no text
  • never post a review but tell all your friends about it
  • tell nobody about it, but keep an eye out for the next book
  • think 'Wow that was swell' and move on to other things
  • whatever, I don't actually care what you do, time is short and life is fleeting and we all have to pick and choose how we spend our energy.


In short, please treat Color Me Bad as you would treat any book of any type, however you interpret that particular phrase, and thank you for reading this far into a truly ridiculous post. If I could bait this last sentence with a tray of reward-cookies, believe me, I would.



Reblog: Book giveaway!

A Lily Among Thorns - Rose Lerner

{Reblogger's note: Rose is a friend of mine; we often hang out, watch tv, and eat cucumber sandwiches together.}


Hi all! My next book, Sweet Disorder, comes out next month. Soon after that (in June and Sept.), my first two books will be rereleased. I have a new cover for In for a Penny and I’ll have a new cover for A Lily Among Thorns soon. In honor of all this wonderfulness, and finally being in print again, and moving to a new chapter of my career, I’m giving away my very last Lily trade paperback (signed and personalized however you like, of course). These things are hard to find, so if you’ve been wanting one, come comment on my blog to put your name in the hat!

Reblogged from Rose Lerner