It’s (almost) Valentine’s Day and that means it’s time for my favourite genre of books to shine. That’s right. True crime.
I kid, I kid.
While I do enjoy true crime, some might say I have an unhealthy obsession, it nicely balances the copious amounts of romance novels I read. There’s just something about romance novels that speak to me.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that romance readers are single women in possession of cats and in want of a man. Other “true” facts about the romance reader: They’re “nice people with bad taste in books”, uneducated, bored, stupid, “lack romance in their lives.” Or if we want to be really specific, they’re “middle aged women who are bored in their marriages and want to fantasize about hard, chiseled men.” Or maybe they’re “younger women who are using them as emotional porn.””*
That’s right, I know the stereotypes. You can’t fit romance readers into a box!
First of all, I have a dog, not a cat.
You also can’t fit all romance books in a box. Gone are the days of the “bodice rippers“. Okay, correction. They aren’t gone. And people still love them, which is A-OK. Read what makes you happy! Romance books have just grown into much more than the cookie-cutter rich man-virgin heroine secretary-secret baby-marriage of convenience romance books that your Grandma read. (Again, if you really enjoy those types of romance books, keep reading what makes you happy and sorry for poking fun at them.)
In all seriousness, for me, it’s that you always know what you’re getting into with a (well-written) romance novel. The characters are smart and sassy and can be inspiring. Not that there’s anything wrong with aspiring to be Mistress of the Sheikh, but maybe now I’d rather live vicariously through dating app developer Rhiannon in Alisha Rae’s The Right Swipe. Going into a romance novel I know I’m going to laugh and there’s going to be a happy ending. Honestly, if there’s no happy ending I’m out. I don’t need that negativity in my life. No, I don’t have some tragic backstory that can’ t handle emotions. Reading romance books is an escape for me, and I want my escapes to have a happy ending.
Right, back to Valentine’s Day. In case you wanted to dip your toes into the world of romance books, or you’re an avid reader looking for your next find, I’ve got some suggestions for you.
Let’s start with one of my favourite reads of 2018. Do you enjoy the great outdoors, the strong, silent type, and a touch of family drama and emotion? You’re gonna want to read K.A. Tucker’s A Simple Wild. (She’s releasing a sequel independently next week and I CAN’T wait.) Honestly, there’s just something about romance books set in Alaska.
Okay, let’s set the scene. A renaissance faire. Wait – hear me out! Well Met by Jen DeLuca is an enemies to lovers story that has the unlikely backdrop of a Ren Faire and I dare you not to laugh out loud while reading this. It was fun, fresh, and had relatable characters.
You don’t have to take my word for it, but Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue was voted Best Romance Book of 2019 in the Goodreads Choice Awards. This is also very timely if you’ve been following the saga of the other British breakup (not Brexit, but Harry & Meghan leaving the Royal Family). This book is a twist on a traditional story and features that American First Son and the Prince of Wales. I’ll let you guess what happens next.
Are you a sports fan? There are literally hundreds of books that would satisfy your need for a sports-themed romance novel. Seriously. Hundreds. If you’ve been in the romance game long enough, you probably recognize the name Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Imagine you know absolutely nothing about sports and inherited a professional football team…which in turn leads to a clash with the head coach. Obviously sparks fly, but more importantly, you will laugh from start to finish with It Had to Be You. (The first in a completed 8 book series)
Lyssa Kay Adams gives you a fun take on romance books, from a male perspective, in this first in a new series. Each book in the series is based around (and told from the perspective of) the male lead following in the steps of a romance novel. That’s a weak description of what is one of the most unique plots I have read in the romance world in a while. Start the series with The Bromance Book Club and witness an alpha man trying to win his wife back with the help of a regency romance.
Last, but certainly not least, (seriously I could go on for hours) I give you my personal all-time favourite romance novel. I know, big claim. I own far too many copies of this, that’s how much of a favourite it is. It’s nothing new, or super popular, but Nora Roberts’ Honest Illusions is the last pick I leave you with. We know Nora is the queen of romance and romantic suspense. Honest Illusions gives you the best of both worlds and MAGIC. Seriously. There’s romance, magicians, heists, and suspense. If you give this a read, let me know what you thought about it! It’s my go-to when I can’t figure out what I want to read next.
While I could go on and create a never-ending list, I hope this gives you some either something new to check out if you love romance, or it has you wanting to check out a romance. I promise, they’re more than all the stereotypes you hear.
Source: Romance Writer’s of America, The Dangerous Books For Girls survey.