Hello Frolic Babes! I went back and forth on how I wanted to approach this post. I knew I wanted to highlight some of the hardworking Black creators reading, reviewing and recommending books on YouTube, aka Booktube, but with everything that’s been going on, what can I say that hasn’t been said? I decided to keep what I have to say simple: the online book community is very diverse. It is beautiful to see how diverse the community has become. What I think the online book community still needs to work on is inclusivity. There is a difference between diversity and inclusivity and I’ve taken the time to read, study and truly understand that difference and I encourage you to do the same.
Today I wanted to celebrate a few Black book reviewers from YouTube who I really enjoy and whose thoughts I truly respect. They read a wide range of books but are all romance readers. I encourage you to go check out their channels and watch their content and I hope you love them as much as I do. Feel free to spread the word! This isn’t even scratching the surface! There are so many Black creators posting videos every day on Booktube. I highly recommend seeking them out and supporting their work.
Tatiana from the channel Musical Tati read her first romance around 1990, admittedly long before she probably should have and her favorite sub-genre at the moment is paranormal. Tati enjoys being able to emerge herself in worlds, different from the one in which we live in.
Tati: “Worlds that are original to the authors who create them yet still take a look at and stance on the issues that are present in society today. It provides escape without allowing ignorance as well as a little bit of hope because, in some way, love wins.”
Tati began making bookish content on YouTube in 2014 because she was looking for a community; she wanted others to converse with about books she loved reading and also be introduced to books outside of her normal scope of reading.
Tati is currently reading and recommends The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus and The Sound of Stars by Alechia Down.
Mina from the channel Mina Reads picked up her first romance in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since! She began creating videos on YouTube in 2018 with hopes to highlight romance and she is doing a phenomenal job at that! Mina speaks with such passion and heart when talking about books, and keeps it so real, you can’t help but root for her. She is really making non romance readers feel comfortable with giving romance a try.
Mina: “My favorite sub-genre is contemporary black romance. Experiencing Black Joy in those pages is everything to me.”
Mina recommends, Something Like Love by Christina C. Jones, which features two black bisexual characters embarking on a journey of self love together. Perfect for Pride Month!
Spencer from the channel Intentionally Bookish picked up her first romance nearly 20 years ago when she hauled her first mass market paperback at a yard sale. As a lover of a happy ever after with humor sprinkled in, Spencer’s favorite sub-genre is romantic comedies. Spencer created her Booktube channel Intentionally Bookish almost a year ago, as an outlet to chat all things bookish.
Spencer: “With everything that’s been going on lately, my reading has definitely taken a backseat. I’m only just now starting to get back into it and that’s thanks to the recent surge in people spotlighting black content creators. Because of that, I’ve discovered so many new-to-me channels and accounts which have reignited my urge to read-and add more books to my TBR!”
If you’re looking for a funny contemporary romance, Spencer recommends the Heartbreaker Bay series by Jill Shalvis, with her favorite being Sweet Little Lies.
Keanna from the channel KeyReadThat read her first romance in 2011 and her favorite sub-genre is contemporary romance. She admits that she’s been emotionally and mentally drained with everything that has been going on which has affected her reading and productivity, but audiobooks have been helping her get back into reading.
Keanna: “I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into my platform but feel like I get nothing in return. Yet I won’t allow anyone to stop me from creating something that young women of color can relate to; whether it be a caption I wrote or a book recommendation. I love what I do.” I am such a fan of Key’s author spotlight videos. Tune into her channel to see who she highlights next!
Keanna recommends A Love Letter To Whiskey by Kandi Steiner.
Steph’s Romance Book Talk
Stephanie from Steph’s Romance Book Talk read Fifty Shades of Grey in 2013 during Hurricane Sandy to help get her through her long work shifts of emergency management duties. After reading Fifty Shades of Grey, she was hooked on romances and admits to thinking at the time that all romance would be the same.
Steph: “As I devoured book after book, I learned the difference between the romance genre and a love story. Now I am happy to promote and help others understand that the romance genre is wide, varied and beautiful.” Steph started sharing her love of the romance genre on Booktube in 2015 and talks primarily about romance on her channel.
Steph: “A realistic romance author to check out is Kennedy Ryan! Kennedy brings so much heart and realism to her stories that you feel everything her character’s encounter.”
A Romantic Comedy author she recommends is Amy Daws, specifically her Wait With Me series. If you watch Stephanie’s channel you will quickly learn she has such a love for Aleatha Romig!
Steph: “The stories that Aleatha tells are gritty and thought provoking. One of her series that isn’t talked about a lot but I think is amazing is the Infidelity Series.” Steph also has a love of sports romances and has been devouring Meghan Quinn’s baseball series; The Locker Room, The Trade, The Change Up, The Lineup and The Dugout. Steph: “All of them can be read as standalones, are fun, sweet and sexy. Many of them also have some of my favorite groveling scenes that I have read.”
Go check these amazing romance loving creators out; all of their personalities will have you feel like you’ve sat down for coffee (or wine) with a friend to chat about books. Make room in your TBR because I promise you’ll leave their channels with more than one recommendation.