Let’s talk about: Romantic novels!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating or not, here are thirty books that will give you serious 😍.

romantic comedy:

💞 The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey
💞 The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn
💞 Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
💞 Slightly Stalky by Amy Vansant

lgbt:

💞 Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
💞 If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
💞 Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💞 Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
💞 The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
💞 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

young adult:

💞 Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
💞 Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
💞 Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen
💞 The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
💞 The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers
💞 The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

new adult:

💞 The Deal by Elle Kennedy
💞 Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💞 Remember When by T. Torrest
💞 Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.

on the steamier side + some erotica:

💞 Lust is the Thorn by Jen McLaughlin
💞 Frenched by Melanie Harlow
💞 Personal Escort by Ainsley Booth

enemies to lovers:

💞 Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey
💞 Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
💞 The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

contemporary romance:

💞 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
💞 Arm Candy by Jessica Lemmon
💞 Break of Day by Andie J. Christopher
💞 Roomies by Christina Lauren

What are your favorite romantic reads? Do you have any Valentine’s plans? (I don’t since it’s a Wednesday and I work.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I loved more than I expected

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  I actually forgot to post this last week, and I even had everything all ready to go!  Luckily for me, this week is a TTT hiatus, so I have another chance to post it.

Anyway, this topic is all about books that I loved more than I thought I would.  There was an option to do books that I disliked, but I figured I’ve talked about those enough!  I tried to go back in time since I feel like I’m always raving about the same few books.  I went way back to 2013 for this one, so I hope you enjoy!

Please feel free to send me any books that you’ve enjoyed more than expected and I’ll add them to my TBR!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I have a documented problem with bestsellers.

Margot by Jillian Cantor: Historical fiction about the Holocaust, however important it may be, is not my favorite topic.

In the Blood by Lisa Unger: I don’t read a lot of thrillers and I really like kids, so I don’t generally enjoy books about creepy children.

Stiff by BB Hamel: This was the first stepbrother romance I ever read and I honestly did not expect to like it even one bit.

Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan: If I’m honest, I don’t generally love memoirs. Especially memoirs from people I’ve never even heard of before. But this was surprisingly good and it read like fiction, which helped a lot.

Marie Antoinette’s Head by Will Bashor: Although I was a huge fan of Sofia Coppola’s film about her life, Marie Antoinette’s hairdresser does not top my list of interests.

Lust is the Thorn by Jen McLaughlin: I really just requested this book for kicks, but even though I went to thirteen years of Catholic school and have never thought of a priest sexually before, this book was HOT!

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane: As a rule, I’m generally skeptical of anything from Kindle First, but this book was honestly really great.

Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman: I only read this book because I needed something published in 1990 for 2015’s reading challenge and it was enchanting.

The Void Series by Peter F. Hamilton: I don’t read a lot of epic fantasy – like the real kind that spans universes and millennia – but Hamilton is one of my boyfriend’s favorite authors and I can clearly see why.

Best of 2016: Galleys

I read a lot of review copies in 2016.  I had 32 total galleys between Netgalley, Edelweiss, and author mailing lists. At one point during the year, I stressed myself out pretty badly by accidentally signing up for an author’s ARC team.  I’m still not even sure how it happened!  I was getting flooded with (rather rude) emails with PDFs attached, demanding that I read and review within the week.  Needless to say, I cut all ties with that author and even ended up taking a little break from reviewing.  But overall, I read a ton of really great books from really awesome authors.  Here are my top fifteen, in absolutely no order whatsoever.

image

Goodreads links:

off the hook // seven ways to lose your heart // a list of cages // lured in // beyond the stars // you know me well // the summer before forever // ink and bone // the last boy and girl in the world // just a girl // something i need // arrows // addicted to you // lust is the thorn // all the feels

   Goodreads   Amazon

Let me first give you some background information about myself.  I am a Catholic school girl through and through.  I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through my senior year of high school.  (That’s thirteen years of daily prayers, by the way.)  I would go to the rectory with my grandma when I was young to help count the money after mass.  Priests were an everyday fixture in my life.  They are certainly not something I associate with a romance novel, so I just had to see where Jen McLaughlin was going with this.

The good news, for the faint of heart like myself, is that Thorn isn’t a priest.  He’s still in the seminary and has not taken any vows.  Thank goodness, because I don’t think I could have handled it if he were actually a priest.  But a lot of guys go into the seminary thinking they want to be priests, and then go on to get married and have children.  Not a big deal.  But still, it definitely has a forbidden romance vibe to it.

In short, I was blown away by this book.

If you want to get into details, here we go.

I did not expect to get such fully formed characters.  Rose and Thorn have pasts, presents, and futures.  They have a deep connection that goes back to their early childhood when Thorn was Rose’s brother Mikey’s best friend.

After Mikey died in a car accident many years ago, Thorn was lost.  He’d spent his teenage years drinking, getting high, and sleeping with a different woman every night.  Mikey’s death was a wake up call: something needed to change.  The quickest path to the straight and narrow was the seminary, in which he promptly enrolled after a life-changing conversation with Father John.

Now, eight years later, Thorn has completed his studies and is waiting to take his vows when he gets a call that Rose is in trouble.  Her relationship with the guy she’d been living with went bad, and she found herself forced to take a job at a strip club that also offered housing.  She didn’t want Thorn to know because she knew he wouldn’t approve, but he’s listed as her emergency contact and he’s the one who gets the call when an overexcited client attacks her outside the club.  This begins Thorn’s renewed interest in keeping his promise to Mikey.  The promise that he would take care of Rose no matter what.

One of the things I loved about this book was Rose’s resilience.  She hasn’t had a good life.  Her parents were abusive.  She’s had a string of horrible boyfriends.  She works in a strip club.  But she’s not ashamed of anything.  She’s not looking for handouts.  She would rather do what has to be done than ask anybody for help.  In so many books, we see the heroine accept the hero’s gifts without a second thought.  A house, a car, a whole new wardrobe.  And I get that.  But Rose?  She has trouble accepting a coffee pot from Thorn.  She’s that independent.  Rose is fine on her own.  She doesn’t need a man.  And that is so refreshing to see in a romance.

And what about Thorn?  This guy blames himself for so many things in life.  He’s been punishing himself for years, choosing a life that he knows will deny him everything that he wants.  He has so much restraint and so much respect for Rose.  He cares for her and legitimately wants what’s best for her, even if what’s best for her is a life without him in it.

I’m not going to say a whole lot more about this book except that I am still fanning myself over that bathtub scene.  I will definitely be checking out Jen McLaughlin’s other books!

Thanks to Netgalley and Loveswept for the ARC!

Final rating: 

★★★★☆