Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels
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Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Take a dashing hero with a heart of gold and a mullet of awesome. Add a heroine with a bustle and the will to kick major butt. Then include enough contrivances to keep them fighting while getting them alone and possibly without key pieces of clothing, and what do you have? A romance novel. What else? Enough lessons about life, love, and everything in between to help you wi...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published January 1st 2011)
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Audrey
3+ stars. A good, quick, humorous read, but only a few things that will remain memorable.

The book covers a variety of different romance novel- and love-related themes, to varying degrees of success. For example, I only skim-read through the chapter on heroes, titled "We Know More Than A Few Good Men." Why? Well, I know what I like in heroes, and I don't necessarily need analysis on why or what others like. I found that this section just didn't hold my interest, to be honest. Also, there are a l...more
Denae
Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels has left me rather conflicted. A week ago, I would not have believed anyone who told me that I would own and read this book, let alone that I would have bought it full price. That was before I met Sarah Wendell and heard her on a panel about love in literature.

I loved both Sarah's personality and her passion for the subject of romance novels and what they can teach. These things came through incredibly clearly both when she spoke and in...more
Holly
I picked up my first romance novel at the age of 12, and just like that I was hooked. By the time I was in high school, I read romance almost exclusively and, during a productive week, could read (or re-read) 5-7 books. And yet, I was made to feel ashamed. My guy friends would grab them from my hands and flip through them until they found a sex scene and attempt to read it out loud. I get it. They were 16 and it was sex and boys pick on you to show their affection at that age. Yet, it still hurt...more
Angelc
Don't you love it when a book reinforces what you already believe? Over and over during this book, I found myself saying "That's what I always tell people!" and "See, I knew what I was talking about!" Many of you may know Sarah Wendell from her blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and her new book is a must read for romance novel addicts like me.

This book is all about all of the positive things about romance novels, including contemporaries, paranormals, and my romance of choice-historicals. There...more
Meredith

Originally published on The Librarian Next Door:

Romance novels, and the readers who love them, tend to get a bad rap. I can’t tell you the number of times my stepmother would bemoan my choice in novels, telling me I “could do better than a romance novel.” Better than a romance novel? Surely you jest! Sure, not every reader will gravitate towards a romance novel, but then again, not every reader will want to read science-fiction, crime thrillers or Nicholas Sparks novels (*gag*). Romance novels a...more
Alina
I didn't expect this book to make me tear up, but it did. I didn't expect it to fill me with a warm, fuzzy type of comfort, but it did. I did expect it to entertain and delight me, and it did that. I should've expected the first two things, too, after all, reading can be an intensely personal experience and this is a book that collects some very candid, personal experiences.

I also didn't expect it to validate my habit of skipping ahead to the end, but it also did that, for which my undying devo...more
Karen
Relationship advice and book recommendations in one funny package-- who can go wrong with this? If you're a reader of romance and DON'T yet know who Sarah Wendell is, shame on you. No, really-- she's the person behind the "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books" romance blog, and she's here to take the "guilty" out of romances as a "guilty pleasure."

I was a latecomer to the romance genre. In my teen and college years, I didn't have a lot of respect for the "trashy novels" my female relatives gobbled up so...more
Aoi
How fine is it to re-iterate reading romance novels (is not only fun), but a learning experience for romantic relationships!

Smart Bitches Trashy Books co-writer Sarah Wendell embarks on an exploration on the benefits of spending the day reading about billionaire oil tycoons and rugged cowboys. The book covers a variety of themes, and how romance readers have been influenced through their lives- allowing teenagers to tentatively explore sexuality, but not necessarily giving in to peer pressure;...more
Sarah Morgan
I knew I'd laugh. I didn't expect to cry (the bit about the purses....sniff...)
Linda Banche
EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE I LEARNED FROM ROMANCE Novels by Sarah Wendell is a joyous celebration of those novels we all love to read, romances.

Contemporary, historical, time travel, urban fantasy--we can't get enough of these stories. And not just because of gorgeous heroes with ridged muscles and large…ahems. Whatever trials the hero and heroine suffer in these courtship stories, the book always ends with a Happily Ever After (HEA). In an imperfect world, romances give us hope that we can so...more
Lesa
What gives Sarah Wendell the credibility to write a book called Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels? Wendell is “Smart Bitch Sarah” from the romance novel website, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. For six years, she’s been reviewing romance novels, discussing them with thousands of readers, and evaluating readers’ likes and dislikes. Now, she’s compiled lessons learned from the books and authors in a fascinating book containing life and relationship skills.

Wendell finds it’s w...more
Hannah
Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels is more than just a passionate defense of a much-maligned genre. It is a how-to book on achieving happily-ever-afters in the real world. Although it isn't perfect, this little book is full of great advice, affirmation, and hope.

Sarah Wendell's writing style is chatty and entertaining, but sometimes it reads a little too much like a blog. In my opinion, she uses a bit too much slang and internet-speak. She also loves run-on sentences. On...more
Jennifer
The word of the day is: Derivative.

Wendell brings her Smart Bitches, Trashy Books shtick to the world of self improvement with only middling results, possibly because the majority of Everything I Know seems to have been lifted directly from either her previous book (Beyond Heaving Bosoms) or the SBTB website.

There's nothing particularly offensive or annoying here, but neither is there anything especially illuminating or insightful. Wendell seems to rely on only a handful of romance writers to il...more
J
Giving this three stars because I agree with the book's basic premise and I think that for many people, it would be a funny, insightful introduction to romance novels and their validity as a genre. Personally, I just could not get into it; I tried several times, got to about page 67, just came to a halt. The tone is a bit all over the place, and the inset quotes from the main text make it come off like a magazine or a particularly slick blog entry. It's also kind of repetitive, or rather, it's n...more
Lizabeth Tucker
This is a great defense of romantic fiction that talks about how the books can help, educate and encourage the readers.

Despite what people who don't read romance books claim, it isn't all about porn and the mighty wang and the magic hoo-hoo. It is about communication. It's learning what to expect in a relationship and how to get it. It is what to be wary of and how to recognize what you don't want.

Romance books can teach you what turns you on and what turns you off. The more erotic books can e...more
Leslie
Well, if you're familiar with Sarah Wendell, then you're probably familiar with her website, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Sarah has been an outspoken advocate for the romance genre. She takes it one step further and breaks down the subtle and not so subtle nuances of the romance genre. This isn't a dry, dull text but a fun and insightful look at why romance novels are so popular and have been for decades and how readers can benefit from reading them.

Through interviews of both readers and authors...more
Elizabeth
I don't often say this about a book, but dang it's pretty. I was quite disappointed with the e-version of this book then I received a paperback. It feels nice. It's inside covers are gorgeous. I'm in love with the physical version of this book. As much as I love my nook, sometimes you just can't beat the real thing in your hands. Sigh.

This book is a love letter to romances. If you've ever been skeptical about reading romances, Ms. Wendell may change your mind. She makes the case for why reading...more
Robyn
I enjoyed this book so much I bought it twice (in print and ebook). ;)

This is a great companion to Beyond Heaving Bosoms, and continues the discussion of the importance and impact of romance novels on readers and authors. It's funny, heartwarming, and inspiring.
Shelley
"You don't see adult gamers being accused of an inability to discern when one is a human driving a real car and when one is a yellow dinosaur driving Mario Kart, but romance readers hear about their unrealistic expectations of men almost constantly." Word. Of course women are too stupid to know fiction v. reality, right? Haaaate.

Half of my reaction to this book was similar to my reaction to the Glee concert movie - I know fans, I don't need this much focus on them, where's the good stuff? But t...more
Tez
May 03, 2014 Tez rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: to-swap
Nowhere near as entertaining as Beyond Heaving Bosoms. Less laughs, and more...well, I think this is strictly for romance fans, to have their opinion reflected, because I doubt this will change non-believers' minds. The only thing I got out of it was the piece about men holding women's purses in the waiting rooms of cancer centres while the ladies have treatment. THAT is romantic, but that was from a real life article, and NOT in a romance novel, so... Yeah, this book didn't work for me. (I stil...more
Rachel McCready
I knew I would love this book because I love the irreverent, but wickedly smart blog that Sarah Wendell is co-founder of, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I was not disappointed. I love the romance genre and it's certainly true that reading romances has taught me things: 1. communication is important, 2. sexytimes should be fun and swoon-worthy, and 3. happily-ever-afters DO exist. Wendell believes the same.

The book is a series of lessons learned from romance novels with quotes from romance authors...more
Delphine Dryden
I enjoyed this, but thought it lacked both the thematic cohesiveness and the comic punch of Beyond Heaving Bosoms.
Krista
Jan 12, 2012 Krista rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Krista by: NPR
Shelves: romance, pop-psych
I read this book after I saw it mentioned on NPR. It's a quick, enjoyable book that defends romance novels by describing the useful life lessons that readers take away from them. I prefer it to Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, which is also a defense of romance novels, although the ground they cover is slightly different.

Pros: the tone of this book is more consistent and pleasant, which makes it more satisfying to read. I already agreed with many of the author'...more
Jeanne
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win an ebook copy of Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels (hereinafter referred to as EIKAL) on The Waterworld Mermaids' blog. I say "lucky" not merely because it was a random draw with only one winner, and it turned out to be me, but also because as much as I enjoyed reading Ms. Wendell's lively, sometimes caustic prose and nodding to her oh-so-true opinions, I'm glad I didn't actually pay for it. Here's why...

Sarah Wendell is none ot...more
Malin
Sarah Wendell, also popularly known on the internet as Smart Bitch Sarah, is the co-founder of the romance blogsite Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, which is one of several websites I discovered a few years ago, which helped me rediscover my love of romance as a genre. Readers of my book blog will know that I read a LOT of it, and Sarah Wendell, in this book, as well as in her previous novel, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, explains why it's such a hugely popular g...more
Paperback Dolls
Previously posted at PaperbackDolls.com

Hello, my name is Noa and I’m a romance novel reader. I read them on the train, I read them on planes, I read them when I’m happy, I read them when I’m sad, I read them at work… hmm? what? who? ;)

I think by this time everybody on this site knows I love romance novels, I mean, only someone who loves them as much as I do can stress so much about things I don’t like about the genre. I also realize that calling oneself a reader of romance books AKA “bodice ripp...more
Micki
Hmmm. Some major problems with this book. First, it seems to be an extended defense of why it's OK to read romance novels, and that defense is not really well supported by actual numbers (Harlequin research is cited, IIRC, but not that many real numbers), nor by the excerpts. It's kind of preaching to the choir, so if you like that sort of thing, you may want to pick up the book.

Second, I expected it to give specific problems (which it did) and show by specific romance examples how those problem...more
Vantine
This book is both a hilarious romp through great romance books as well as a sharp, feminist look at love and relationships. Sarah Wendell does a great job of showing how romance books have changed as society has changed. The characters in modern romance have a lot to tell us about what we should expect from our partners and what is not acceptable. As with her website, Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Wendell is filled with wit and not above skewering the more hackneyed tropes of her favorite genre.
H...more
Kazen
I'm torn. I want to give more stars because I agree with the message - romances don't create unrealistic expectations, on the contrary, they provide a way to examine all sorts of relationships and determine what works and what doesn't. By seeing everything out on the page you can ask yourself, what if that happened to me? How would I react? Would I want the hero to act like that? Each novel is like a case study in love.

But as wonderful as the message is the way it was delivered was less than ide...more
ZaBeth
All good stories involve strong emotion; such as love. For that reason, every author can learn how to put emotion and caring between characters into their novels by reading and learning from romance novels. Sarah Wendell, the well-known co-founder of SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com, has put down her reasons for why people should stop criticizing the romance genre and start to learn from it in "Everything I Know about Love I Learned From Romance Novels." And her points are very compelling.

Romance Les...more
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Sarah Wendell is a transplanted Pittsburgher currently living in New York metropolitan area. By day she's mild mannered and heavily caffeinated. By evening she dons her cranky costume, consumes yet more caffeine, and becomes Smart Bitch Sarah of
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. The site specializes in reviewing romance novels, examining the history and future of the genre, and bemoaning the enormous pr...more
More about Sarah Wendell...
Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels

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