How it started
How it’s going
Almost 5 years ago Mandi DM’ed me to ask me if I ever wanted to write a review for Smexy and I did. I wanted it so bad. Little did she know- I’d been an avid Smexy reader for quite some time. I knew that if Mandi, Tori, or Sheena loved a contemporary, I was going to love it too. And they asked ME to join the crew. To say I was excited was an understatement!
Mandi and Tori taught me so much about blogging and reviewing. They were both adamant that we be honest with reviews. Neither worried about posting a negative review on release week. They always had our back if a review was not liked. And when a reviewer went rogue, Mandi and Tori shut it down with integrity and honesty. It has been my privilege to have this site as my review home for the last 4.9 years. One of Mandi’s biggest things was reviewing should be fun. This is a mostly unpaid job, so no need to do it if it isn’t any fun. In 2020, it stopped being fun for me. I had grand ideas but 2020 drained me. Working to fill 5+ days of content is very difficult. As you may have noticed Angela has brought on several new reviewers and it is amazing. I love them all already. I will forever remember this time on Smexy as being fantastic. The best part is the friends I have made- Mandi, Tori, Helyce, Sheena, and Angela- I love you. Our group chat has been a highlight in my life. I’ve only ever met Mandi but that means nothing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and families and animals. I hope that chat thread never ends.
As my season at Smexy has come to an end, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite reviews/posts over the years.
Never fear, I will still be on the Twitter running my mouth about books. I will leave some info at the bottom of this post about what I am up to next.
Please bear with me during this trip down memory lane. I pulled like 30 links and need to figure out a way to incorporate every last one of them.
I present to my favorite posts.
My first review!
That time I hated the hero SO MUCH
Paging the Book Queen and Jen Reads Romance. The hate I have in my heart for this ZERO is strong. But also 4+ years later, I still remember this. So the joke is probably on me.
Review: Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn
The series that started my love for Jenny Holiday.
For real, Jenny is a one-click/auto-buy/auto-read.
Review: The Fixer by Jenny Holiday
The time I rated stories by their level of resistance
That time an author emailed Mandi and Tori and claimed my D review was going to ruin her career.
Sometimes the books made me mad as hell and I needed to tell people.
I also learned that negative/ragey reviews get way more clicks than average reviews and I can’t lie it is hard to not want to write angry reviews all the time for the clicks. Rage filled reviews are also emotionally exhausting to write.
Review: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros
Review: Elijah’s Hope by S Doyle
Review: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
That time I fell in love with a prickly heroine and the first time I remember reading and loving a book from the male-only POV
Probably one of my favorite grief books
Friends, I beg you, please give Ainslie Paton a try. Her voice is fantastic and in my opinion, her books are underrated.
One Night Wife by Ainslie Paton
The male main character cares for the female character while she is on her period. Swoon.
Joint Reviews are so much fun to do!
Sad Girls are 100% my Jam
Some of my favorite posts were from other people. Giving someone else the opportunity to write a feature on Smexy brought me so much joy.
I will be forever ridiculously proud of the following post and it wasn’t even my idea!
Melinda absolutely killed it with this Gaslighter but make it Romance post. Being able to provide a space for this was amazing. It was one of our most viewed posts in 2020. Melinda, I am grateful to be able to call you a friend.
The Chicks Gaslighter Album but make it Romance
That time I talked about transparency aka disclosure in Romancelandia.
This one got a LOT of views in late 2019 but weirdly only a few comments.
Transparency in Romance: My Thoughts
The number one thing I have loved about Smexy and the posts has been the opportunity to make new friends. My blogging friends, my reader friends, my IG friends, my publishing friends, I was able to find you because Smexy gave me the opportunity to elevate my voice. Every comment from loyal commenters like Disco Dolly Deb, Kareni, Norma, and Laurel was appreciated. I see you. Just like you saw/see me. I truly love being a part of this community. The books are great but the people are even better. I hope to be part of it in some capacity for a long time.
During the hellscape of 2020, one of the things that I kept coming back to was friends and friendship. I have become friends with so many people because of our shared love of books, particularly romance books. We don’t always love the same books or sub-genres (y’all I am never going to love or seek out Regency historical books, LOL) but we still come together on this thing called the internet and talk about them. Then we start to talk about our animals. Then it evolves from there. We talk about our families or feelings and we become friends. 2020 has made it impossible to gather in person with my friends, but every day I know you are in my pocket or on my computer or that I can press a button and listen to you. This is a comfort that I will never have the words to fully express.
Thank you to everyone who ever read one of my reviews or posts on Smexy. Special shout out to those of you that decided to read or not read a book based on my review.
My next adventure will be called AllMyBookishFriends and it is inspired by you, the readers of this blog, the readers of my tweets, the ones who have become my friends. I hope to talk to you and about you and share that with the world. We’ll talk about books and friendships and friendships in books. Until my new site is up and running and I post episodes of my new podcast, please follow me on Twitter (@kinilei1) or Instagram (@1kinilei). I hope to have the new site live in January.