Romance Novels

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  punzy on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:44 pm

She is awesome, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Bad Username on Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:28 pm

I had never heard of Bertrice Small before she passed away and the Smart Bitches wrote this wonderful eulogy, so I picked up her book 'The Captive Heart', about a heroine who becomes widowed and then runs away from her lechy father-in-law, taking shelter in a Scottish keep. Of course there is a handsome laird there, and they fall in love and have to overcome all the requisite obstacles before they can live happily ever after, including the father-in-law, the laird's dead wife and his inability to trust after her infidelity, and the heroine's fear of sex after her first husband's terrible technique. This book is like a soap opera, there's not a lot of subtlety, but it is well-researched and the hero and heroine are very likeable. I enjoyed it a lot.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  big chicken on Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:04 am

I've seen her name for years on the romance bookshelf and at book sales and it wasn't until two years ago that I realized her name was not Beatrice.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Bad Username on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:59 pm

Ha, yeah, I had to triple check before I posted.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:18 pm

I kinda wanna dip my feet into the genre some more. Does anyone have any non-Scottish countryside recommendations?

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  big chicken on Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:34 pm

My favorites are Julia Quinn's Romancing Mr. Bridgerton because Colin is such an atypical regency era hero. He loves his family, he doesn't have a particularly tragic or painful past, nor does he distrust all women because one woman did him wrong.

I also love Susan Wiggs' The Charm School. It's the ugly duckling story set.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Cynara on Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:46 pm

I've said it before and I will keep saying it: Laura Kinsale. She writes wonderful, engaging novels that happen to be romances. Like, I picked up this book at a yard sale in high school (haaay there Fabio) and joke was on me: it's fantastic. I still own it. I mean, it starts out as Duke Sexy McRakehell and Secretly Hot Quaker Spinster and then
Spoiler:
in Chapter two he has a massive stroke. And it doesn't magically go away--it's the impetus for the entire plot. And you like them and root for them to get together even though he's absolutely an arrogant, elitist jerk and she's genuinely pretty passive and not particularly brave; they're real characters and you see how they mutually change each other.
There's genuinely complicated backstory, subplot, characters, and research that go into all of her books but it never feels like an infodump (coughGabaldoncough), just like part of the story. (Although for my money you can skip Uncertain Magic.)

Courtney Milan, Eloisa James, and Tessa Dare are my other favorites. I also recall liking Lisa Kleypas, but it's been a while. I don't read a lot of contemporary, so my only real rec is Jennifer Crusie. Her standalones are great; I haven't read any of her ones with Bob Mayer. I do like Marian Keyes as well, if that counts.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  punzy on Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:12 pm

Courtney Milan just released a contemporary, Trade Me and it is super good. As are pretty much all of her books.

I second the other recommendations given. Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series is good.

There are also a bunch of urban fantasy novels with romance plots, but they tend to wander over several books. If you enjoy fluffy scifi/fantasy mashup romance and have a high tolerance for the ridiculous Robin D Owens has a series that is fun. The first book is Heart Mate*, this is the original cover, which has since been changed.

Are you interested in a particular time period or genre style in particular?

*hero is a maladjusted ass

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  MLIS on Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:24 pm

I love Julia Quinn's middle period (the first Bridgerton books, mostly). Her earlier stuff is good, but pretty standard, not very original Regency romance. Her later books are like she ran out of ideas, so her situations and characters get a bit too unbelievable. But her first four or five Bridgerton books are heaven -- funny (I remember laughing out loud in public at a scene in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton where the family has an argument about grammar), romantic, sympathetic and believable characters.

Lisa Kleypas and Stephanie Laurens were favourites of mine, but I haven't read anything recent by either.

For contemporary I pretty much only read Nora Roberts (I prefer Regencies). She's hit or miss these days, but she is a master of the genre.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:07 pm

punzy wrote:Courtney Milan just released a contemporary, Trade Me and it is super good. As are pretty much all of her books.

I second the other recommendations given. Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series is good.

There are also a bunch of urban fantasy novels with romance plots, but they tend to wander over several books. If you enjoy fluffy scifi/fantasy mashup romance and have a high tolerance for the ridiculous Robin D Owens has a series that is fun. The first book is Heart Mate*, this is the original cover, which has since been changed.

Are you interested in a particular time period or genre style in particular?

*hero is a maladjusted ass

I do like historical but romance novels don't seem to be go as far back as I usually like to read with historical novels (renaissance/middle ages)?* Maybe I'm wrong. I do like Outlander (the first novel only really though, the later ones, I've flipped through the later one and they seem to get progressively worse and worse) but otherwise I get second hand embarrassment from kilt/Scottish stuff books.

I have sampled some Georgette Heyer, but not really enough action in there for me.

Also I don't like the men to be super assholes. There can be some snark, but no emoman dudes who have to brood and hide their pain.

*I did read Marsh Cranham's Robin Hood book, "Through a Mist Darkly"? I wasn't a fan. It was okay, I just thought it was going to be a lot more fun and swashbuckling than it was. Which is kind of what I want. Like Belle said in Beauty and the Beast lol. "Action, romance, adventure, a prince in disguise!"

Thanks for the recs everyone!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  big chicken on Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:01 pm

Technically, it's not romance but I think Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel might hit the spot for you. It's YA fantasy but it has a lot of romance tropes and there's swashbuckling and adventuring. Don't let the fantasy part turn you off either because there isn't really much magic or fantastical creatures in it

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:32 pm

I'm fine with fantasy, so that's no problem. thanks!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Algae on Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:43 am

A good medieval romance, but not Scottish? I used to read a ton of them, but it feels like it's been a while and most of them are Old Skool.

If you want to go Old Skool, Jude Deveraux's Velvet Quartet is pretty good, as is Amanda Quick's Desire. Both of them are Old Skool, so alpha-male heroes and women that are sassy.

Elizabeth Chadwick writes wonderful medieval stories about William Marshall, but I don't think I'd classify them as romance. Same with Sharon Kay Penman.

I feel like I've read so many of these and I can't seem to get a grasp on any titles.
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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:26 am

Thanks for the recs!

I have read both Elizabeth Chadwick and Sharon Kay Penman. I guess Elizabeth Chadwick is kinda romantic in some of her books? I like her, but I'm not a huge fan. I haven't read too many of her books but I found some of them good but some of them a pretty hard slog. SKP I think has romance but yeah that's not the focus. Although her Elizabeth and Edward in the Sunne in Splendour I love and I don't know how anyone reads that book and comes away focused on Richard III and not Edward IV. Usually that type of male character is not my type but in that book yeah. Revenges his dad and becomes king at 18! Defies his advisors and marries how he wants, and not only that but an older woman who was already married! Cousin tries to control him and dethrone him and he's all screw that and defeats him! Even later in the book when he becomes lecherous (or more lecherous) and debauched and sloth SKP writes him as pretty charming.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  QueenSix on Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:08 pm

An Accomplished Woman by Jude Morgan is an all time favourite of mine. I believe it was big chicken who recc'd it to me years ago and after I read my library copy, I had to buy one for myself. It's in the regency romance style and is a very entertaining, as well having a very endearing heroine in Lydia.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Tabby on Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:49 pm

I loved the Roselynde series by Roberta Gellis. The series starts in the time of Richard I, and the books move through the reigns of John and Henry III. She also wrote some other series that are set in the same period. LOTS of historical detail, especially in the third book (Joanna) of the Roselynde series, which deals with, among other things, the battles between John and the barons, the Fire of Southwark that destroyed much of London, and the Magna Carta.
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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:59 pm

Cool, sounds good! Thanks to both of you for the recs.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  rivki8699 on Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:26 pm

Loretta Chase is one of my favorite historical romance novelists. Her Mr. Impossible has a lot in common with The Mummy, and is absolutely delightful.

As for contemporary romance, my favorite author is Jennifer Crusie. Faking It is possibly a perfect farce.
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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:44 pm

thank you!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Algae on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:06 am

SBTB's podcast this week is about 12th century attitudes on sex and romance, so that might be interesting and get some book recommendations for you. :) http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast/132-12th-century-love-stories-an-interview-with-dr-william-m-reddy/
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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:13 pm

thanks, that seems very cool!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Jude on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:10 pm

Cynara wrote:I've said it before and I will keep saying it: Laura Kinsale. She writes wonderful, engaging novels that happen to be romances.
Oh, I LOVE Laura Kinsale. She's truly wonderful, so much so that I never understood why she wasn't more popular. Her storylines and characters are always so interesting and different from the usual type found in most of the genre. Now you've kind of inspired me to go back and re-read her, actually!

ulkis, I wasn't sure if your question was about the romance genre in general or about historical romance? If it's about the former, I really like the writing duo of Christina Lauren for contemporary romance. They write pretty erotic scenes, though, so if you don't mind reading that (ha!), you might like their books. As a former French major, I particularly liked Sweet Filthy Boy, which is about a young woman who meets a cute French guy in Las Vegas and hijinks ensue, of course.

In that same Francophilic (is that even a word?) vein, I also liked Frenched by Melanie Harlow, which is the story of a jilted bride who meets a hot bartender in Paris. Yeah, I know it sounds lame, but it's really not.

There's a lot of terrible romance out there  -- I know, I've read too many of them -- but I really like when I find one that I hate to put down. Wish I could find more!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  stargirl on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:26 pm

I loved Mary Balogh's "Simply" Series--fairly typical Regency type setting, but with unusual and intriguing family dynamics. I really had quite a literary crush on the oldest brother by the time I got halfway through the series.
Other old favorites: Mary Stewart ( 1950's type suspense/mystery romance); M. M. Kaye (she wrote both epic historical romances as well as several formulaic but still enjoyable murder mystery romances); Julia Quinn's Bridgerton family regencies.

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  ulkis on Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:14 pm

Jude wrote:
Cynara wrote:I've said it before and I will keep saying it: Laura Kinsale. She writes wonderful, engaging novels that happen to be romances.
Oh, I LOVE Laura Kinsale. She's truly wonderful, so much so that I never understood why she wasn't more popular. Her storylines and characters are always so interesting and different from the usual type found in most of the genre. Now you've kind of inspired me to go back and re-read her, actually!

ulkis, I wasn't sure if your question was about the romance genre in general or about historical romance? If it's about the former, I really like the writing duo of Christina Lauren for contemporary romance. They write pretty erotic scenes, though, so if you don't mind reading that (ha!), you might like their books. As a former French major, I particularly liked Sweet Filthy Boy, which is about a young woman who meets a cute French guy in Las Vegas and hijinks ensue, of course.

About both! :)


I loved Mary Balogh's "Simply" Series--fairly typical Regency type setting, but with unusual and intriguing family dynamics. I really had quite a literary crush on the oldest brother by the time I got halfway through the series.
Other old favorites: Mary Stewart ( 1950's type suspense/mystery romance); M. M. Kaye (she wrote both epic historical romances as well as several formulaic but still enjoyable murder mystery romances); Julia Quinn's Bridgerton family regencies.

Thanks!!

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Re: Romance Novels

Post  Bad Username on Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:16 am

I recently read another Bertrice Small book, called A Dangerous Love, about a woman who finds out as a girl that she was actually fathered by King Edward IV, and not the man she always thought was her father. Her parents are killed during the War of the Roses, and she escapes and is raised in her real father's court. She retains her lands as Countess of Stanton, but loses them after her second husband fights for King Richard III (and dies at the Battle of Bosworth). Then she's captured by Scottish raiders who sell her to some small border laird, and long story short they fall in love and get married. Or I should say, they bone a lot, fall in love, and get married. I don't think that's a spoiler, given the genre. Something I really like about this book is that the heroine goes through a lot and stays cool, without being a Mary Sue. The story is not just about her relationship with the laird, but it's about her whole life and her personal development, and coming to terms with the two halves of her life (the before and after Stanton).

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Re: Romance Novels

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