Three-Way Split by Elia Winters – fun m/m/f. I’ve decided that I prefer m/m/f to m/f/m. I like for everyone to be in love with everyone in my poly-romances.
Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay – m/f romance. I am not always of fan of one of the MCs being in a relationship when they get together with their True Love, but I was able to get past that because the writing was so gorgeous and the hero was so wonderful.
Picture Perfect Cowboy by Tiffany Reisz – short and sweet m/f. My first exposure to Tiffany Reisz was the totally bananas The Red. This was a fun one with some D/s in there.
Single AF by Sherelle Green – clever, funny m/f. This was one of my better finds on KU.
Before Girl by Kate Canterbary – 35+ m/f. I enjoyed reading about a couple that’s my age and older. The hero called the Heroine “sweet thing” and that took me out of the story every single time.
Cocky Cowboy by Jamila Jasper – m/f with a mystery attached. I didn’t love this one, but I didn’t hate it either. I liked the Heroine. She was really strong. I guess I just had trouble believing their relationship because they didn’t really get to know each other much.
An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles – m/m with a mystery attached. The relationship was sweet but the mystery was kind of boring to me until the very end, when it was solved and hinted at further mystery that comes along later in the series.
That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert – m/f, last in the Ravenswood series. I have been anticipating this one like crazy and I got an ARC from the author. It comes out May 2, and I’ll post a full review that week. I have squee for this book.
28 Dates by Stacey Lynn – m/f, sort of second chance, friends with benefits to friends to true love. This book has a horrible cover on the ARC but it was a sweet story.
Damn, I read a lot this week. But I didn’t do any rereads and a lot of these were 2 hours or less.
Small Town Secrets by Katrina Jackson – Third in the Welcome to Sea Port Series. Cute f/f romance. I’m really looking forward to Book 4.
From Heiress to Mom by Therese Beharrie – I got an ARC of this from the author. Full review to come.
Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh – Trying again with the Psy-Changeling Series. I enjoyed this one but I’m not super enthusiastic about the series so I’ll probably read Hawke and Sierra’s book and skip the rest.
Laying Pipe by Kate Allure – This book was ridiculous. How ridiculous? One word: Drilldo.
Heat Stroke by Tessa Bailey – Second book in the Beach Kingdom series. Very sweet m/m. Opposites attract. Marcus wasn’t the kind of character I’d typically like but I loved him.
Reread this week:
Mouth to Mouth by Tessa Bailey – The first book in the Beach Kingdom series. Had to reread it after Heat Stroke to remind myself of Jamie and Marcus’s first interactions.
My goal was to post my first full review this week, but work and life got in the way so it will probably be another week. I signed up for a Romance Blogger e-conference that’s happening in a couple of weeks. I’m excited even though I’m still very much a baby romance blogger and I’m just doing this for the fun of it.
I started reading romance novels when I was about 14. I went to a very conservative Christian school and a Baptist church. I wore a True Love Waits ring. Because of and apart from all that, I had some big fears around sex, thinking it was dirty and shameful and secretive and gross. But I had boys on the brain. I was a serial crusher. Convincing a boy to hold hands with me was my driving purpose in life. (One that wasn’t fulfilled for another 14 years, but that’s another story.) I was also in my first of many major depressive episodes, as part of my emerging bipolar disorder. I was numb and looking to feel. Feel something, anything. And I was also a big reader in a house full of romance novels.
My mom was a big romance reader, picking up the newest Harlequin releases with the groceries every week. The books were scattered in piles all over the house, filling cabinets, overflowing the closets and tucked away in trunks. I’m not sure what made me pick one up for the first time, but it quickly became my secret after school activity. I didn’t want my parents to know I was reading them. I wasn’t sure if I even should be reading them, but once I started, I was hooked. Admittedly, I started out skimming to the sexy parts just to see what the fuss was about but eventually I started reading whole stories.
The first book I remember reading was The Heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts. Sexy cop, single mother recovering from a history of domestic violence, sexy brothers (with their own stories, as I later discovered). The hero was so patient and gentle and dreamy. The consent was enthusiastic. The ending was happy. That’s when I realized these books were fun and could make me feel things. Not that romance novels cured my depression, but they alleviated the crushing numbness for a little while.
But time went on, I got older and more religious and more guilt-ridden and I couldn’t justify reading about all that premarital sex. I tried Christian romances but the closed door, kiss on the cheek just wasn’t doing it for me. (Except for Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I liked that one. I should re-read and see how it holds up.) And in college I became a big time literary snob so I was too cool for any genre fiction at that point. Years passed, I’d occasionally read a Nora Roberts or Harlequin Silhouette title at my mom’s house. In that time, I got less book snobby and less evangelical and more mood-stable. I met and married a patient, gentle man and had a gentle, impatient baby.
And one day (We’re up to late 2017 by this time.), I realized I wasn’t reading much anymore. I wanted something light, easy, and feel-good. I bought the MacKade brothers series for my kindle and they were just as good as I remembered. So I checked out more Nora Roberts from the library. And then I found Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and it spiraled from there. I discovered Tessa Dare and then Sarah MacLean and then Courtney Milan and then I found paranormals and m/m and menage and all the other wonderful subgenres out there. I don’t read much romantic suspense or darker books, but pretty much anything else, I’ll try.
I still have some residual shame/embarrassment over reading “trashy” and “dirty” books. Yes, I know those terms are insulting and shaming. But so is my inner monologue, but I’m working on getting better. I enjoy the enthusiastic consent, the strong heroines, book boyfriend guys, and hot sexy times. I think reading romance has made me happier and more confident about my sexuality, certainly more comfortable with it. And it’s definitely increased my reading pace. So I’m admitting out loud that I’m a romance reader. And even aspiring writer. But that’s a story for another day.