Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Reviews, Interviews, and Discussion About All the Romance Novels You Love to Read
Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Reviews, Interviews, and Discussion About All the Romance Novels You Love to Read
Sarah Wendell - Romance Novel Reviewer, Reader, and Author
Each week on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell interviews authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishing professionals, editors, and librarians about romance novels, which are among the most popular genres in fiction worldwide. Popular guests include: Ilona Andrews, Robin Bradford, NPR's Barrie Hardymon, Jaye Wells, and Rachel Aaron. Amanda, Carrie, Elyse, and RedHeadedGirl, the crew of reviewers at, also make frequent appearances with maximum silliness. Frequent topics include romance novels, the way the genre is changing, and the brilliant and interesting people who read, write, and produce it, and issues common among romance readers. Plus, we always recommend some books we're reading and really enjoying. Learn more at
456. Bananas, Pajamas, Cat Yak, and a TV Theme Sing-Along with Sarah & Amanda
Sing along with us! Reach into the deep vault of your memory, and sing TV themes as we attempt to stump one another. We also start by talking about cat vomit because of course we do. We cover all the great children’s tv themes, teen crushes, songs that come with instant Pavlovian responses, and more. So if you were craving some bizarre and enjoyable silliness, this is your episode. (We hope you sing along!)  Spotify playlist: ... Music:
May 6
1 hr 3 min
455. History, Engineering, and Air Fryers, with Vanessa Riley
My guest this week is Vanessa Riley, whose newest book, An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler is out now! We talk about reframing history, interrogating the fantasy of historical romance, and the overlap between mechanical engineering and writing romance. We also talk about the narrators for her books, including Bahni Turpin and Adjoa Andoh (aka Lady Danbury on Bridgerton!). And we discuss air fryers - you know, all the essentials. ... Music:
Apr 29
52 min
454. Anchored Hearts and Appetites with Priscilla Oliveras
Amanda and I talk food, Key West, more food, writing bilingual characters, family drama, food, baseball, and writing with Priscilla Oliveras. Her latest book, Anchored Hearts, is out now, and there is SO much to discuss. This book made Amanda full on sob, and we have a really good time talking to Priscilla about it (don’t worry - no spoilers!). If you caught my goof last week, that was episode 453, not 463. I’m ahead of myself. ... Music:
Apr 22
54 min
453. Uzma Jalaluddin and Hana Khan Carries On – with Bonus COVID Vaccine Info with Dr. Jen Gunter
Uzma Jalaluddin joins Amanda and me to talk about Hana Khan Carries On, which caused one of us some Bad Decisions Book Club membership. We discuss the book (no spoilers, don’t worry!) and the fabulous podcasting heroine, Hana, who’s got a You’ve Got Mail kind of relationship with the owner of a rival Halal restaurant. We cover representation, gorgeous cover art, and writing about characters finding and using their voices. It’s so much fun - Uzma is a wonderful guest. But first! We have a special health bulletin of sorts. This week I interviewed Dr. Jen Gunter for her upcoming book The Menopause Manifesto. Her book is out in June, and our interview will be released in May, but because of new information about how the COVID vaccines may be affecting menstrual cycles, I asked her about the information available now. That brief conversation starts the episode as I know many of you may be scheduling appointments for yourselves and others. The upshot: the vaccine may affect menstrual cycle and cause irregularities, and it’s important to know so you’re prepared. You can read more in Dr Gunter's latest newsletter: And you can learn more about Dr. Kate Clancy's study here: ... Music:
Apr 15
1 hr 2 min
452. Historical Pandemics and Ye Olde Social Media with Anna Lee Huber
[bookaside slug="a-wicked-conceit"] The latest book in Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series is out, and she’s my guest this week to talk all about it. If you haven’t read this book yet, there are no spoilers, so fear not! And if you haven’t read the series, this might tempt you to try it (it’s great) because we’re going to talk about history. A Wicked Conceit has several relevant parallels to life right now.  History totally went through the mimeograph machine on this one - remember those?  Please note: during our conversation we talk briefly about Lady Darby’s first marriage, which was abusive, and about trauma response and memory, but we don’t go into specifics. Thank you to Brittanie Black, Anna’s publicist at Berkley, and to Angela James for some of the questions this week. ... Music: ... The show notes know that your efforts are deeply appreciated!
Apr 8
53 min
451. More Earl Had to Die: Victoria Helen Stone’s The Last One Home
Victoria Helen Stone has a new book out! The Last One Home is a dual-timeline domestic thriller in the genre of “Earl Had to Die.” In this conversation, we discuss her moving from writing romance as Victoria Dahl to writing domestic suspense and thrillers, growing up in poverty, and the power of nostalgia. Then Victoria figures out a key reason why “Earl Had to Die” books about revenge are so very satisfying. There are some spoilers for Jane Doe and Problem Child herein, so be ye warned! ... Music: ... Show notes hot diggity!
Apr 1
57 min
450. Dragons on the Sex Planet with Shani and Bridget from Romance at a Glance
This week I am joined by Shani and Bridget from the Romance at a Glance podcast! We talk about their current season, where they’re focusing on dark romances, and about podcasting. Then, we talk about a book. For this episode, we all read Draekon Mate: Exiled to the Prison Planet. Check this blurb: “Crashed spaceship. Prison planet. Snarling, lethal predators. Two big, hulking, bronzed aliens who turn into dragons. The best part? The dragons insist I’m their mate. This isn't the space vacation I thought it would be." We talk about the key elements for sex planet alien fucking books, consent and kink, fantasies, dragon sex, and more. Please note: this episode is much higher on the NSFW scale than usual. ... Music:
Mar 25
1 hr 8 min
449. PB & Mayo Sandwiches (and Girl Scout Cookies) With Amanda and Sarah
As a follow up to last week’s podcast, I share the broadcast of Amanda and I making peanut butter and mayo sandwiches, inspired by folks who have shared strong opinions. Yes, we eat PB and Mayo sandwiches. Live on air. I’m sorry. But we also talk a LOT about cookies so if you’re hungry, maybe have snacks before you press play? We also cover: Good roommate code of behavior The culinary roles of the Wendy’s Frosty Mayo as condiments for fries? (YES) Potato chips IN the sandwich? (YES) We answer these Very Important Questions: What are the regional mayos near us? What peanut butter brands reign supreme? How many mayos are in our fridge? How much does Amanda love pickles? Should we add pickles to the mayo and PB sandwiches? Which Girl Scout Cookies (regional and national) are the very greatest ones? And we have one of The Funniest Neighbor Stories I have EVER heard. Seriously, if the year marker of the Quarantimes has got you a little down like it has me, and if you need more silly-laugh and food mayhem, you’ve come to the right podcast episode. Visuals for this episode are in the show notes. ... Music: ... Visual aids in the show notes!
Mar 18
1 hr 7 min
448. Strong Food Opinions and Sandwich Debates With Amanda and Sarah
Need a break? How about highlights from another Stereo broadcast with Amanda and me! We started by asking what keeps folks feeling happy (pizza FTW), but when we bring up mayonnaise, things go way off the rails. Way, way off the rails. We are going to cover crucial debates and fundamental food opinions such as: the egg-continuum of quiche to pie whether a food is a soup or a quesadilla is red velvet the Very Worst Dessert why are there vegetables in all these baked goods and, grand finale, the species and genus of food inside another food. Seriously, if you need to silly-laugh, you’ve come to the right podcast episode. ... Music:
Mar 11
1 hr 8 min
447. Hanging Out with Sarah J. Maas
[bookaside slug="a-court-of-silver-flames"] Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to do an interview with an author I’ve never met, but with whom there’s an instant connection. That happened for Amanda and me last year when we interviewed Sarah J. Maas in Episode 395.. And now, Sarah J. Mass is back, nearly one year later to the date, to talk about her new book, A Court of Silver Flames, and about sexytimes, the magic romance house, rage, mental health, and re-reading books through the pandemic. There are so many little love letters to romance in A Court of Silver Flames, so of course we talk about the most lovely parts of being a romance reader, too. Special thanks to Elizabeth, Manda, Jennifer, Rachel, and Becca for questions, and to our Patreon community who was so enthusiastic when I announced this interview. Your support helps make the transcription of extra-extra long episodes like this one possible, so thank you. TW/CW: Please be aware: Between 47:30 and 01:05:00, we discuss assault, attempted assault, and resulting rage against patriarchal misogynist bullshit. We also talk about menstrual silliness, and what we call our periods. Many of the Patreon community told me that last year’s episode with Sarah was one they’ve re-listened to, as it’s inspiring and comforting and firm in its support of mental health care, therapy, and medication. This one is no different, and we hope it becomes one of your new favorites. Extra special thanks to Sarah J. Maas for hanging out with us. ... Podcast After Party! Tune in Tuesdays at 730pm ET on Stereo! Live broadcasts and you can record messages for us to play during the show!  Download Stereo now at! ... Music: ... The Shownotes admire how you look after yourself and those around you:
Mar 4
1 hr 45 min
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