Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday News: The Romance Reader is shutting down; Google+ goes into...

The Romance Reader to Close – Although AAR is mentioned much more often, The Romance Reader actually came first, and has been reviewing Romance for almost 18 years. Their one-heart reviews are among my favorites on the site, and even though they never went the way of offering a comments or message board function (which is why, from what I understand, Laurie Gold left to form AAR), they were always in conversation with trends and issues in the genre. It’s really too bad they’ve chosen to shut down, and I have no idea whether they’ll leave their archive of reviews online, so you might want to re-read your favorites asap. –The Romance Reader

Report: Google to end forced G+ integration, drastically cut division resources – You may have heard that the head of Google+, Vic Gundotra, was leaving the company, and now it’s clear why: Google+, the product that Google wanted to sneak into any and every product, seems is no longer a company priority. Which means that upwards of 1200 employees will be transferred to other areas in Google (hopefully not fired) and resources will be seriously downgraded, to. When you think of how much Google had invested in the much-hated Google+, this is no small abandonment. It’s going to affect a number of services, including Google Hangouts and YouTube, so it’s going to be interesting to see where Google is headed with all this.

It’s unclear what the future of Google+ would be, and the report says that Google itself isn’t even sure what to do with the rest of the Google+ team members. TechCrunch says that G+ is not officially dead, but with Gundotra gone and the resources being stripped away, the project seems more like the “walking dead.” We imagine that internally, it’s more like a drastic scaling-down of the social network, which at one point was deemed so important to the company that every employee’s yearly bonus was tied to Google’s success in social. –Ars Technica

COMIXOLOGY DISCUSSES APP CHANGES, STOREFRONT REMOVAL – Now that Amazon has acquired ComiXology, changes are afoot. Hopeful comics fans hoped that these changes would flow in the direction of expanding and enhancing the unique viewing experience and creativity ComiXology has been known for. Thus far, however, the changes have leaned in a different direction. For example, you can no longer purchase directly from ComiXology, despite the creation of a new app, and the Google Play option has been removed, as well. Hmmm.

ComiXology customers will now have to buy their comics through and sync those purchases with the app to read them on an Apple device — or buy them through the individual publisher apps comiXology supports, which are so far not affected by the change. In addition, comiXology made changes to their Android app, as they removed the ability to pay through Google and added the ability to pay with a credit card or through PayPal. –Comic Book Resources

TIL that the New York Times Bestseller list is considered editorial content and the editors can (and sometimes do) choose which books are “Bestsellers.” – For years this was an open secret in traditional publishing, and just in the past few weeks, I’ve seen several public discussions of the fact that publishers often engineered so-called “bestselling” books on the NYT list. Reddit threads are often a hot mess, but they do have some interesting discussions, too, and if you want to blow and hour or four, this thread might be for you. –Reddit

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. PeggyL
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 04:18:51

    Earlier it was Tw/oP and now TRR. I’m going to miss these two frequently-visited sites of mine.

  2. mari
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 06:06:56

    Per Sunita, we need more romance book blogs. Sad that RR is going

  3. Jayne
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 06:51:00

    @PeggyL: I am really sorry to see TRR close. They were like the eye of the storm of the romance world.

  4. Brie
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 07:14:23

    The Romance Reader was the first review blog I ever read, so I’m really sad to see them close. I hope they find a way to keep their archives online.

  5. SusanS
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 07:19:58

    I was a TRR reviewer for 10 of its 18 years and still remember the thrill of firing up my Windows 95 computer and finding a website that had honest reviews of the books I had loved for so many years. I am honored to have played a small part in its history. Founder Leslie McClain (I think that was her name!) and then publisher/editor Dede Anderson were innovative and creative pioneers. I raise my glass to them.

  6. Lil
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 08:33:32

    I’m truly sorry that TRR is closing down. That was the site I went to when I first started reading romance, and it steered me in wonderful directions.

  7. Tanya
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 09:03:20

    Add me to the chorus of “The Romance Reader is the first romance blog I ever read.” Though they never developed the bells and whistles of other sites, I could always count on them for an honest review. I had noticed a decline in updates, but I am still very saddened. I found some of my favorite authors thanks to TRR.

  8. Julie M.
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 09:31:51

    Ditto on “The Romance Reader is the first romance blog I ever read.” Sorry to see it go.

  9. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:24:25

    I didn’t delve too far into that reddit thread but if the wikipedia page source can be believed, the NY Times list is staff-selected? I don’t know if I believe it. If the magazine manipulated the numbers that much (to what end? selling spots?) it would lose all credibility. I’m not surprised that authors/marketing teams game the list by buying copies, but that’s not the same as paying the NY Times directly for a place on their list.

    I know some publishers pay for books to be placed in more visible areas of the bookstore (co-ops?). I hadn’t heard that the store’s bestseller spots could be bought, however. If this is an open secret, it’s news to me.

  10. Janine
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:57:42

    You can add me to the chorus of TRR mourners as well. @SusanS, it was a great site in its day and all of you are to be commended! It was a source of terrific reviews to me when I first found the online romance community in 1999. The TRR home page mentions that some of the reviewers may be starting blogs soon, so we have that to look forward to, but I’ll miss TRR and hope the archive can be kept online.

  11. azteclady
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:37:43

    Oh man, it really sucks that the Romance Reader is closing. I do hope the archives remain online.

  12. theo
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:48:35

    I too will miss TRR. I won’t however, miss Google+. I’ve hated it since its inception. I hope it’s gone by the end of the year. It was too invasive, expecting me to give over any and everything on every site owned by Google. There’s a reason I don’t Facebook. There’s a reason I never wanted to Google+ either.

  13. Charming Euphemism
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 12:42:22

    I actually would miss Google+ Hangouts. I can have video chats with both of my daughters at the same time. It’s slow and buggy and quits randomly, but I’d still miss it.

  14. SusanS
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 14:11:27

    @azteclady: According to Dede Anderson, the archives will not be available once TRR closes up because of the cost for ongoing site hosting. I’ll be frantically copying any old reviews that I didn’t save!

  15. leslie
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 14:20:44

    @theo: Google+ is why I dumped my Android after only 3 weeks and went back to my iphone 4 at get expense. It was worth it.

  16. Susan
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 14:51:11

    Aargh. I should have know not to read the Reddit thread, which quickly got off-topic and judgey (surprise). I moved on when I hit this one:

    “When I worked at Crown, the people that would come in and buy new releases were always
    overweight women buying the latest Harlequin sequel. All 15 of them.”

    Doesn’t take a genius to figure out why people switched to online shopping.

  17. Willaful
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 14:54:55

    @SusanS: That is terrible news. The Romance Reader archives have been so helpful for me when weeding out my impossible TBR. Their reviews are on target and generally coincided well with my tastes.

    On the other hand, Google+, the invasive weed of the android platform, will not be missed.

  18. Janine
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 19:29:19

    @SusanS & @Willaful: There’s always the internet archive, but yeah, that’s sad news indeed.

  19. azteclady
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 22:25:59

    I hope individual reviewers (current and past) at TRR consider hosting their own reviews individually. Yes, it’s not the same as having a wealth of reviews in one place, but at least they would not be lost.

  20. Evangeline Holland
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 22:46:22

    WinHTTrack is a program that copies & downloads entire websites. It was a Godsend when I used it for a WWI website full of primary resources that suddenly went offline!

  21. Greg Strandberg
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 23:14:53

    Golly, I’ve been trying to increase my presence on Google+ for the past month or two, and have increased my followers substantially.

    I sure hope they keep a lot of the communities in place – they’re a great place to find interesting articles and see what others are doing.

  22. Selene
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 02:04:07

    @Charming Euphemism: You can use Google Hangouts without Google+. I do.

  23. Deljah
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 09:03:52

    I’ve had an Android phone for years, but I’ve never used Google+ or Google hangouts.

  24. azteclady
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 19:39:21

    @Evangeline Holland: Out of curiosity, is that legal?

  25. Xyzzy
    May 18, 2014 @ 04:50:43

    Well, that was sadly quick — I clicked on the link to TRR, and the site’s already completely off the ‘net. The very last day that The Internet Archive grabbed before they went down was March 25th, but it looks like every page prior to that point is still available. It’s just a matter of other sites keeping the link to the archive visible rather than tossing it aside.

    Given Google’s habit of giving up on services at the drop of a hat, the annoying multi-column interface, and how unnerving being “followed” is after having been stalked for years by an obsessive ex-BF, I never bothered to visit G+ regularly enough to really get into it. It was okay, but not remotely as much fun or community-oriented as discussion forums & blogs can be.

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