Reading this Week – April 7

I didn’t get that much reading done this week because I had to work late several nights, but what I did read was really fun and bananas.

  • Clutch by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly – Dragons, m/m, and male pregnancy and lots of fun. What more could you want?
  • Bond by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly – I enjoyed the first one so much I had to continue the series. More dragons and more male pregnancy!
  • Coffee Boy by Austin Chant – Sweet m/m, trans rep, #ownvoices romance.
  • Mate by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly – Last book in the dragon mpreg series. More dragon babies. And menage! So crazy-pants.

Reading this week – March 30

  • 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.
  • Debauching the Virgin by Mel Blue – Cute novella. I want to read more by this author.
  • 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.

Reading this week – March 23

This week I had to do a lot of work so I didn’t get to read as much. And when I did I focused on shorter books. But there were some awesome ones in there!

  • Misadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone – Very steamy mmf with body positive, fat heroine
  • Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein – Enemies to lovers, very intense feels
  • Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole – Geeky, sexy fun. There were some great lines in this one. Probably my favorite of the Reluctant Royals series so far.
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – I feel like I was the last person to read this and I’m so glad I finally did. It was so sweet. Great consent.
  • Inheritance by Katrina Jackson – Sweet, exhibitionist love
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – Another one I’m late to the party on. I didn’t like this as much as The Proposal, but it was fun to get Drew and Alexa’s story.

Rereads

  • The Heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts – The first romance novel I remember reading, from my mom’s stash of Harlequins. Still very sweet.
  • Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau – Awesome grumpy hero. I’m a sucker for a writer character.
  • Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken – I freaking love this book. Read it.

Hopefully next week, I’ll have time to post a real review, but I’m enjoying writing about what I’m reading, even if it’s just these short, quick posts.

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons. Keywords searched: geek, small town

Me and Romance Novels

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.

Photo by Creative Commons license and found by searching post keywords of romance novels, reader.