Romance is Lover-ly!

Romance! Full of love and affection! Who doesn’t love love? Well, I guess maybe the heartless are physically incapable of love -not having a heart and all- but if we ignore those walking medical miracles? Reading a book that features strong emotions and two individuals struggling to become a happy pair will hopefully leave everyone in a good mood! Let’s see if that’s what happened in our very own romance genre discussion, shall we? (You’ll have to base your opinion on the brief descriptions people provided..)

Megan: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg is the story of Levi and Macallan, two best friends set on proving to everyone that guys and girls can be just friends. They manage just fine for years, but then something changes. What follows is a series of missed connections and misunderstandings that could potentially ruin everything. Full of witty banter and lovable characters, readers will be rooting for Levi and Macallan long after they close the book!

Chris: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert tells the story of woman in desperate need of romance. Emma Bovary hopes to find it with her country doctor husband, Charles, but he proves to be dull beyond words. She enters into a secretive love affair with the worldly Rodolphe, but after awhile he becomes bored with her demanding affections and leaves. She then succeeds in rekindling the flame with an old lover, Leon, but soon tires of him. Will she ever find that excitement and passion she yearns for? Madame Bovary’s search for romance leads her to suffering financial woes and ill health and, ultimately, to taking her own life.

Emma: Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie is the story of two Bradleys’. One is Lucy’s ex-husband Bradley Porter, and the other is a high school friend of Lucy’s ex, John Bradley. John Bradley has stolen a sizeable amount of government bonds and Lucy’s ex is helping him hide the evidence. There is a key to a safety deposit box somewhere in Lucy’s house and it must be found. Tina, Lucy’s sister, has threatened her former brother-in-law if he ever enters the house or tries to contact Lucy. John Bradley tries to scare Lucy away from her house by blowing up her car, but she won’t leave her dogs behind. Police detective Zach Warren moves in to protect Lucy and catch the culprit. The two become a couple very quickly. Getting Rid of Bradley is a great combination of romance, humor, and a touch of suspense.

Dori: Ellen O’Farrell is a hypnotherapist, helping to guide people to change through the power of the mind eve4n though she can’t seem to hold onto a relationship of her own. Then she meets Patrick through an online dating site and the two hit it off immediately, though Patrick has a secret: his ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen, being the empathetic person that she is, is both fascinated and repelled by the idea while Saskia, the stalker, is deeply hurt and confused by Patrick’s sudden rejection. Liane Moriarty explores the inner lives of both Ellen and Saskia in The Hypnotist’s Love Story while delving into the intricacies of relationships, love, loss and just plain old dumb luck.

Donna: The Rosie Project is the debut novel by Australian Graeme C. Simsion. Don Tillman is a genetics professor who is looking for a wife. He designs the Wife Project, a very detailed questionnaire, to screen for potential perfect matches. He starts the Rosie Project when he meets Rosie who wants him to help her find her biological father. Soon, the two projects merge. Rosie and Don are two delightful, quirky characters that the reader will constantly root for in this charming, laugh out loud romance.

Steve: A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux, finds Dougless Montgomery stranded by her boyfriend in a medieval English church near a statute of Nicholas Stafford, an earl who died in 1564, executed for treason. She had been anticipating a marriage proposal and asks aloud where her knight in shining armor is. The earl, in 1564, hears her sobbing and travels to the 1980’s to aid her. Dougless thinks he is crazy, but grows to believe his time-traveling story and soon is helping him research who falsely accused him of treason. This is a light, funny love story with a touch of intrigue. The historical details and time travel add a nice element. All in all not too shabby.

Ann: Anyone but You by Jennifer Crusie introduces us to Nina, recently divorced and turning 40. She’s moved into her own apartment and is going to get a puppy (her ex-husband never wanted a dog). She goes to the shelter to pick out a bouncing puppy- to cheer her up. Instead, she comes home with Fred. Fred is an overweight, quirky, sad-faced basset hound-beagle mix. But when he crawls through the wrong apartment window, Nina gets to meet her downstairs neighbor, Alex. Now Nina is not looking for a new man and if she would be, it would not be Alex. Sure he is charming, great looking, and shares Fred’s love of Oreos, but he just is turning 30! 10 years is a huge age difference- isn’t it? A witty, clever romantic comedy.

Carol: A Victorian Rose by Catherine Palmer is a historical romance that takes readers back in time to Victorian Yorkshire, England. Artist and young widow, Clemma Laird, has caught the eye of Dr. Paul Baine, a man who is shunned by the community for his past amoral behavior. Despite her better judgment, Clemma is drawn into Dr. Baine’s lifework, and what she discovers about his past changes her outlook on life and her future. This book was a quick, charming, and thoughtful read about love and redemption.

Julie: Beth Harbison’s latest book grabbed me with the title, Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave him the Wrong Finger – fun, right? The story follows Quinn ten years after she left her high school sweetheart at the altar because she found out he had cheated on her. Oh, and it was his brother who told her and who she then ran away with to Vegas. She quickly ended that, but now they’re both back in her life and she has to figure out what to do about it.

Stacey: The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch probably falls a bit between romance and general fiction but it delivers nicely on the main points of a good romance; and so this is my book of choice! Sugar Wallace has moved once a year for the past fifteen years and each new location is chosen by the queen bee of her hive. Wherever she lands, Sugar likes to help as many people as possible and it looks like her newest home in NYC will be business as usual. Well at least until her new friends decide Sugar might need some redirecting herself, no matter what she says! Even better if that new path takes her into the arms of Mr. Right, right?

And next time, if you care to read along with our genre challenge of March, you’ll want to find a biography or autobiography! Yes, that’s right! You’re looking for a book that is written by or about one person and focuses on their life experiences. Enjoy!

— Stacey

Happily Ever After

The romance of Valentine’s Day may be over for another year but the love for romance novels continues to run “hot” in the publishing industry. According to the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2010, romance books had the largest share of the consumer market in 2009 at 13.2 percent with over $1.36 billion dollars in sales! According to data gathered by Bowker, romance novels are now also the fastest growing sector of the e-book market. What’s the appeal of a romance novel? For myself, it is definitely not the gorgeous hunks on the cover (although I will admit that I do drool over some). I enjoy my romances for “the happily ever after.” Yes, during these unstable times, I truly can escape the troubles of the world for awhile by reading a juicy romance with a “happily ever after” ending. Life is good when I know that there will be “a happily ever after.” What about you? Do you read romance?           

            

Having reading as always!                                          Donna

My Top 10 Favorite Historical Romances

I carry paperbacks wherever I go, in my purse and in my car and I have been known to carry a paperback in my coat or sweater pocket. Yes, I love to read paperbacks and especially historical romances. Oh, how I love a good romance with a happy ending for all! These are my top 10 historical paperback romances for 2010 (of course, I have read other hardcover historical romances in 2010 but I’m limiting my top ten list to just paperbacks). For an entertaining, pure escapism read to warm you up on a cold winter’s night, these books won’t disappoint:

How I Met My Countess
by Elizabeth Boyle

Aching for Always
by Gwyn Cready

In Bed with the Duke
by Christina Dodd

A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior
by Suzanne Enoch

Wicked Intentions
by Elizabeth Hoyt

A Kiss at Midnight
by Eloisa James

Love in the Afternoon
by Lisa Kleypas

The Year of Living Scandalously
by Julia London

How to Beguile a Beauty
by Kasey Michaels

The Wicked Wyckerly
by Patricia Rice

 

As always…Happy Reading!           ~Donna

Romance Books!

What an interesting experience it was to see and hear how uncomfortable it made people to choose a romance. Ooo, the wailing and gnashing of teeth! Well, maybe not gnashing or wailing but there was definitely grumbling, “I don’t read that kind of book, I can’t find anything I like, there aren’t any good ones to read,” and similar comments, but you could say that about any genre really. They all have: the good, the bad, the clichéd, and the super stars –thank goodness! There are cookie cutter thrillers and poorly written mysteries and super snooty fiction, but those aren’t the books you’d choose to read anyway, right? I’m not sure anyone changed their opinion about picking up a romantic read the next time they’re looking for a book, but maybe they will… I have to admit I’m unlikely to run off to the thrillers for a good read, but maybe I’ll change my mind too. That’s the point of these book discussions, right?

Anyway, these are the books people shared at our meeting and they kindly sent me a brief blurb so I could share them with you…

I shared:

Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

Kate Herrick comes back to the village where she grew up to gather her Grandmother’s belongings from Rose Cottage. Gran is particularly interested in having Kate empty the secret wall safe, which has family papers and heirlooms. When Kate finds the safe already open and empty, the suspense begins to build. Thankfully, childhood friend Davey is around to offer his support. And maybe more?

 

Carol shared:

I read the “Everything But” trilogy by Holly Jacobs.

In Everything but a Groom, Vancy Salo is left at the altar. The press, desperate for the story of how her Grandmother cursed her wedding has her followed by a slew of reporters. Vancy takes refuge in helping her landscaper, Matt Wilde, who has just become the guardian of his two uncontrollable four-year-old nephews. The boys soon win their hearts and Matt and Vancy find there’s room in their hearts for each other as well.

 

In the second installment, Everything but a Bride, Noah Salo’s high school sweetheart Julianna and he are about to tie the knot when she gets cold feet and ends things.To escape his prying family, Noah asks his best friend, Julianna’s stepsister Callie, to go on the honeymoon just for fun, but once there, the lines between friendship and love begin to blur.

 

Everything but a Wedding is my favorite. Architect Bill Hastings presents himself as fancy-dressing, interior designer Carter William “Bill” Hastings IV in order to land an account with the Salo’s family building company. When Bill falls for unmarried contractor Dori Salo, he fears his duplicity will ruin his chances.

 

Dori shared:

Everything But a Wedding by Holly Jacobs  

In this third installment of the “Everything But” series, youngest child Dori becomes Nana Vancy’s last hope of breaking the family wedding curse. Jilted once and determined to never marry, Dori’s stance begins to waver after she meets architect Bill Hastings. Bill has, against his better judgment, promised his cousin to pretend to be slick designer Carter Hastings in order to secure a contract from Dori. Will his deception ruin their chances at romance?

 

Emma shared:

Palomino by Danielle Steel

When Samantha Taylor and John divorce, Samantha heads to California to a friend’s ranch. There she meets and falls in love with ranch foreman Tate Jordan. Tate feels they have no future together based on their different backgrounds. He disappears. Eventually they reunite after Samantha is paralyzed, inherits a ranch, creates a place for disabled children and adopts a young boy.

 

Ann shared:

Consequences by Penelope Lively

A chance encounter on a London park bench in 1935 starts a love affair that spans the generations for Lorna and Matt, two young people from different backgrounds. This is a literary romance, historical novel and saga by Booker and Whitbread Prize winning writer, Penelope Lively.

 

Janet shared:

In Ransom My Heart by Meg Cabot the youngest and most adventurous of sisters, Finnula Crais, promises to capture a man and demand ransom for his release in order to help her sister regain her dowry. Finnula captures a soldier who is returning from the Crusades. What is the true identity of this man? What surprises await Finnula and the soldier as they travel together? An interesting and delightful story awaits the reader of “Ransom My Heart.”

 

Chris shared:

Women by T. C. Boyle

A novelization of the life–especially the love life–of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Narrated by one of Wright’s apprentices, Tadashi Sato, the story presents an entertaining look at love and/or marriage and the bargains men and women make to keep the relationships going. Meet Wright’s three wives and one mistress, all very different from one another, yet all sufficiently captured by his spell.

 

Julie shared:

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton
Weird things are happening in Sugar Maple, and in a town populated with vampires, poltergeists and trolls, that’s saying a lot. After a woman turns up dead, it’s up to the only non-magic resident of the town, Chloe Hobbs, to make sure the secret lives of its residents stay secret. A task that becomes much more difficult when the sparks fly between her and the cop sent to investigate, Luke MacKenzie.

 

Rosemary shared:

What I Did for Love: A Novel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips is set in the glitzy world of Hollywood stars. Georgie York and Bram Shepard are two young stars that have lost their glitter. When they find themselves legally married after a wild Hollywood party, Georgie seizes the opportunity for the publicity it will bring them both. But Georgie’s plans don’t stop with just reviving their careers, she has a proposal for Bram that involves their hearts.

 

Evelyn shared:

Sweet Talkby Susan Mallery

Famous concert pianist Claire Keyes takes a sabbatical to go home to Seattle and care for her twin sister, Nicole, as well as the family bakery. She finds Nicole full of jealousy due to what she assumes is Claire’s life of luxury. Nicole is also after finding their younger sister in bed with her husband Drew. Eventually each sister sees that they each have troubles and both learn they shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Claire and Nicole bond as they help each other overcome problems and give up the sibling rivalry.

 

Sweet Spotby Susan Mallery

Nicole, the “responsible” sister of the Keyes family, has always sacrificed her own needs to run the family bakery. Now Jesse has betrayed her trust and Nicole, still emotionally fragile from reuniting with her fraternal twin Claire, locks horns with the high school football coach after catching one of his players stealing donuts. Learning the player has no family and is living in an abandoned building, Nicole offers him a job and a place to stay. Suddenly she has a houseful of teenagers, as well as an interesting man in her life.

 

Sweet Troubleby Susan Mallery

It’s been five years since sisters Nicole and Jesse Keyes have spoken to each other after Nicole caught Jesse “in bed” with her husband Drew. Jesse left town pregnant and alone, while Nicole remarried. Jesse’s son Gabe has been asking about his father, so Jesse returns home to face her sister and her true love Matt who abandoned her when he heard the rumor about her and Drew. Jesse has grown up, but can she make the others believe that she didn’t sleep with Drew?

 

Why don’t you try one of these and see what you think?

 

Next up? Westerns my friend! Wide open spaces, big dreams, and maybe a cowboy or two…

 

—Stacey

When Opposites Attract Romance Begins

 smart-girls1Cathie Linz is one of my favorite romance authors. She writes funny, ordinary people romances that capture the heart of small-town America. Cathie’s latest Smart Girls Think Twice  is the story of college professor and sociologist Emma Riley who returns to her home town in Pennsylvania to do demographic research for a grant. There, she meets her match in Jake, a sexy bartender who won’t answer her questions. Her two sisters are both getting married within two weeks of each other, so her crazy mother invites Jake to be Emma’s escort. Of course, the rest is happily predictable, but you’ll be laughing out loud all the way.  

big-girls-dont-cry2Emma’s two sisters’ stories are told in previous books.  Big Girls Don’t Cry tells the story of plus-size model Leena Riley whose career stalls and she returns to her hometown of Rock Creek, Pennsylvania to live. To make matters worse, the only job she can find is a receptionist in a veterinarian’s office. The office of Cole Flannigan–the same Cole Flannigan whom she punched in 6th grade for calling her fat.  And, when belly dancer and yoga instructor Skye Wright meets “Studley Do-Right” sheriff Nathan Thornton the sparks fly in Bad Girls Don’t.  They say opposites attract, but…Well, I think you get the picture.

     

bad-girlsdont1

good-girls And of course, the reason I began reading this series was the book Good Girls Do, set in the neighboring town of Serenity Falls, Pennsylvania. Julia Wright couldn’t be more content being a librarian in a nice, quiet small town. That is, until her wacky mother and little niece, “Toni, the biter,” descend back into her life. To make matters worse, bad boy Luke Maguire returns on his Harley to manage his late father’s bar and sets his sights on her.  I can’t wait for Linz’s next “opposites attract” romance.

~Evelyn