Top 10 Romance ‘Oldies But Goodies’

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The beauty of reading Romance is that their are millions and millions of books out there. Sub-genres abound: historical, contemporary, paranormal, LGBTQ, erotic to sweet, dark to funny just to name a few, and some authors are writing five or six books a year. The reading potential is endless, and I’d like to bet that anyone could find something that they like in Romance. If you need any pointers just let me know and I’ll help if I can.

But as brilliant as the books are now, I still love to read books that were written 10 to 20 years ago. Some of them are historical romances, so they age really well. The writing styles these days might not be quite the same, but the historical settings are, so they’re a good bet.

Some contemporary romance can age badly, or if not badly, a bit weirdly! I read an old Nora Roberts recently called ‘Night Shift’ and the heroine smoked like a chimney and called the hero ‘Slick’. I enjoyed the book, but it felt really dated and all the smoking was off-putting.

But there are some books that never age; the stories are perfect, the romances timeless, and they draw me in every time I read them.

Here are my top 10 oldies but goodies (all with a HEA):

  1. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer (1989) – set during the Second World War this book is beautiful, tender and heartbreakingly good.
  2. The Return of Rafe McKade (The McKade Brothers #1) by Nora Roberts (1995) – the bad boy returns to town. I loved the whole series except for the last one.
  3. Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay saga #1) by Nora Roberts (1998) – the playboy gives it all up to care for a troubled young boy not unlike he once was… and a social worker brings him to his knees. Brilliant series.
  4. Pretty much anything by Lisa Kleypas who has been writing since 1987 but in the spirit of this list I’ll choose Suddenly You (2001) – set in a world where appearance means everything, passion simmers just below the surface, and a respectable Englishwoman is willing to risk scandal for one night of love.
  5. Slave To Sensation (Psy-Changling #1) by Nalini Singh (2006) – it’s amazing that this wonderful series has been on the go for over 10 years! In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed.
  6. Simply Irrestible (Chinooks Hockey Team #1) by Rachel Gibson (1998) – my first, but by far the last dip into Sports Romance. I loved this whole series.
  7. Hummingbird by LaVyrle Spencer (1983) – The Bandit and the Gentleman and Abigail McKenzie has to choose between them. Brilliant historical novel – funny, tender and wonderful.
  8. Taming Natasha (The Stanislaskis #1) by Nora Roberts (1990) – fiery heroine lowers her guard for music professor and single father.
  9. It Had To Be You (Chicago Stars #1) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (1994) – a woman who knows nothing about sports inherits a professional football team. The sparks fly between her and the head coach.
  10. Making Chase (Chase Brothers #4) by Lauren Dane (2007) – this one’s not really that old, but I’m just sneaking it in. Well-off guy falls for a woman from the wrong side of the tracks.

Happy reading!

Kx

 

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#amreading / #amwriting ~ No. 3

Welcome to my latest reading and writing exploits – including interesting blogs, books, news on social media, alongside my ongoing trials and tribulations as I attempt to write my first book.

#amreading

I’ve been searching for some new authors recently. Inevitably there have been some fails, but I’ve also discovered some keepers.

Books:

Somewhere In Between by Samatha Harris – [FREE ON AMAZON WHEN I WROTE THIS!] I’m pretty sure this is her debut novel and when I say I’m impressed – I really am. I’m not usually a massive fan of the ‘friends to lovers‘ trope, but this really worked for me. Harris seamlessly moves from the past to the present to tell this story and it gives the reader such an amazing understanding of their relationship. I completely understood why they did what they did; there was no raised eyebrows or ‘really?‘ moments. The character development is second to none and I was rooting for them all the way. Did I mention this was free? Grab a copy right now, people – I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Sarah Mayberry – I picked up Bound To The Bachelor as a freebie. I’ve got to say the title isn’t one I would normally go for, but I’ve read some great things about this author, so I went ahead and read it. I’m really glad I did. I LOVE Mayberry’s writing style, her great dialogue, rounded characters, and a wonderful central love story. The title might be a little cliched but the story isn’t. There’s a fulfilling emotional depth to it and I really believed in the characters. I quickly read two other books by Mayberry: Almost A Bride and Make-Believe Wedding. Again, not books I’d normally go for, but I found them really enjoyable. I love romance novels but I really don’t need a wedding for my HEA, and I normally avoid these bride / wedding series; however, again, these books worked for me. The weddings are actually a really small part of them and the stories were great. All highly recommended, quality romance.

Around social media:

  • Jill Shalvis‘ new book Nobody But You was released this week. It’s next up on my Kindle and I can’t wait!
  • Heroes & Heartbreakers reviewed the first book in Robyn Carr’s new series – What We Find. I love her Virgin River series, the Thunder Point series not so much, but I’ll definitely be giving this new series set in Colorado a go. It’s due out April 5th.
  • I love to read good flash fiction – it’s short and satisfying. Here are Writer’s Digest’s top tips for writing flash fiction.
  • All About Romance Annual Reader Poll results are here. Some of my favourite authors are in there: Nalini Singh, Jill Shalis and Victoria Dahl. Take a look for some great reading recommendations.

#amwriting

The kids are off school for Easter, so work on my WIP is on the back burner at the moment. I’ve made some notes for the next section I’m going to write but that’s about it. It doesn’t feel good; my brain feels a little mushy and I’m antsy about getting stuck, but my head is so full of other things right now I can’t focus.

Blah!

I have managed to write a couple of pieces of flash fiction though. One more and then I’ll start to publish them on here.

Take a deep breath, K…

Kx

#amreading / #amwriting ~ No. 2

Welcome to my latest reading and writing exploits – including interesting blogs, books, news on social media, alongside my ongoing trials and tribulations as I attempt to write my first book.

#amreading

It was Mother’s Day recently and I got spoiled with Hotel Chocolat chocolates, a bottle of Prosecco and an Amazon voucher. Cue some serious time spent reading book blogs and reviews trying to find some new authors and books.

Here are some of the books I one-clicked:

  • Black Hills, by Nora Roberts – a really good romantic suspense story as well as a romance. Lil and Coop have history and she makes him work to get her back. She’s a strong, kick ass heroine and there’s some interesting stuff in there about cougars and big cats (Lil runs an animal refuge). Not one of Robert’s very best, but really enjoyable all the same.
  • How To Catch A Wild Viscount, by Tessa Dare (currently free on Amazon)  – my first novel by this author and I really enjoyed it. I don’t dip my toes into historical novels as much as I used to, but I really enjoyed her writing style in this novella. It reminded me a little of Lisa Kleypas – who I love. I’m going to check out Dare’s Spindle Cove series soon.
  • Almost Like Love, by Abigail Strom – I haven’t read anything by Strom in a while, but I LOVED this story; contemporary romance at it’s best. It’s funny and tender, sexy and geeky, with the best Dungeons and Dragons scene EVER! Honestly, it’s worth reading just for that. This book gave me the feels in all the right ways.

Around social media:

  • This great little post on The Pros and Cons of Plotters and Pantsers, from The Write Practice, gives the pros and cons around different planning approaches when writing.
  • This is a little out of date, but there is the sad news that Samhain Publishing are closing their doors. They have some great authors that they’ve worked with over the years. Potentially, this is a worrying reflection on the state of publishing today.
  • Stacey is SASSY, an excellent blog, reviewed Jill Shalvis’ latest Cedar Ridge novel – Nobody But You. I can’t wait for this book. I’m a die hard Jill Shalvis fan and Stacey’s fab review left me wanting more.
  • Follow Red Cheek Reads on Twitter – amongst other things, they tweet about free books and books on sale. I’ve picked up some great freebies over the last few weeks from their tweets.
  • A final treat, again from Twitter, is from @ForeverRomance – I love this quote!

 

  • #amreading #amwriting no 2 twitter quote forever romance

#amwriting

I wrote a piece of flash fiction this week. For those who don’t know, flash tends to be 1000 word or less. It’s a great way to exercise your writing muscles and it gives prospective readers a good idea what to expect from you. Ideally, I want to join an existing flash fiction meme, but I’m struggling to find one. I know there’s a hashtag on Twitter (#flashfiction) so maybe I’ll just do that or start my own. I’ll be posting soon, so if you’re interested look out for that.

I’m knee deep in my second draft of my romance novella and finding my way through the editing process. It started off well. I printed off my first draft and got out the old red pen to correct mistakes and move things around. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to change. So I changed it, then realised that I needed to add quite a few more scenes and decided to develop a few ideas / characters. This rapidly devolved into an overwhelming feeling of it all getting out of control. This is a familiar feeling now so I kind of know how to handle it:

1) Panic 2) Sit with head in hands wondering what the hell I was thinking when I started this 3) Tell myself to get a grip 4) Make another cup of coffee 5) Pick up a pen and some paper and try and organise my scattered thoughts!

It took a few days, but I managed to come up with another plan (there’s that damn word again!) and I think I’m back on track now. I’m aiming to finish this second draft by the end of next week, before the kids break up for Easter and I lose my writing days to child care!

Wish me luck!

Kx

 

What’s This All About Then?

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I love to read romance and I love to talk about books with people who share my addiction.

One of my favourite things is recommending a book that I love to somebody and that person going away and falling in love with it too, so there will eventually be some book recommendations on here, plus the odd review or post about my favourite authors.

I also love to write and I’m currently in the process of trying to write my first contemporary romance, so there will also be posts about writing (the inevitable highs and lows) and interesting – hopefully – posts about sub-genres, popular tropes and themes etc. I’m also thinking about posting some romantic flash fiction.

All my best laid plans for writing romance and regular blogging will no doubt be put to the test by my young family – but keep the faith, I’m determined to keep writing.

Please feel free to comment if you feel like it 😉 You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy reading!

Kx