Like Romance Novels but Hate the Covers? Here’s one solution.

I’m going to come clean – I’m a romance reader. There, I’ve said it. There can be some  stigma about the genre, though. Smart women don’t read romance. Romance is poorly-written schlock. It’s paperback porn. And the covers – oh the covers! – don’t exactly help overcome these assumptions about the quality of romance books.

Well, I’m a smart woman. I’m not a fan of bad writing. And the porn argument is pretty sexist. One thing I can’t argue with, though, are the covers; so many of them are just awful.

Like every genre, they’re not ALL gems, but these cheesy covers dumb the books down considerably. So what’s a romance-loving, cover-cringing reader to do?

E-books! We can read the books we like without flashing the eyebrow-raising covers around. Until the publishers figure out that romance readers don’t need a disembodied torso on the cover to sell copies, I will do most of my reading with a digital book.

These are just a few books I’ve loved in which the cover (and sometimes even the title!) had little or nothing to do with the actual story. If I were going by the covers, I probably wouldn’t have picked up these books, and would have missed some great reads:

 

 

 

Lucky for me, the library has digital copies of these titles, plus a LOT more. Cheshire Library has a large collection of all types of ebooks (including romance) available to download with your CPL card to your device of choice.  Our OverDrive platform has over 1500 romance ebooks available to check out, while our hoopla platform has over 1000. Enough to keep the most voracious reader supplied with happy endings.    

What is the Next Book in This Series?

whats-nextIt is extremely frustrating to read a book only to discover it is part of a series, and there is no clear list of reading order. While some series are loosely tied together and allow for skipping around and reading out of order, others can only be fully enjoyed when read in order. To help ease your frustration, I am going to share the tools that I use to help determine the correct reading order. There are several routes to find the answer to this question, some are simple and easy, others require a little work.

The first way to find the answer of reading order is to find the author’s website. Many internet savvy authors, or their publishers, maintain websites with series listings in order and, in the case of multiple series, the suggested reading order for everything. Not all authors do this, but some have very helpful lists to help out their readers. Many include printable lists so you can easily keep track of titles you have read and what you should read next.

Some examples of authors that offer comprehensive lists or tools on their websites to find the reading order include Nora Roberts, Gail Carriger, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, and many more. I highly suggest checking with the author’s website first before branching out and trying other avenues, because who better to explain the best reading order than the person that wrote them?

goodrdsIf the author fails you, do not lose heart! My second choice for series order, and further reading suggestions, is Goodreads. If you search for a book title, Goodreads will give you a wonderful amount of information. On the book’s page you can follow links to the author page or a list of book in that series (both published and sometimes books that have not been released yet) in order. The bonus is you get suggestions for books that might appeal to you because some authors list what they are currently reading or their own recommendations. For instance, on the author page for one of my current favorites, Maria V. Snyder, you can see her books listed by series, in order, and what she is currently reading.

There are also a few websites dedicated to helping readers find the next book in a series, or the complete reading order of any given series.  One website that I often use is well titled as: Book Series in Order which you can search by author or character name.  Order of Books is a second site that can help you find the reading order of different authors and series. This site allows you to search by author or main character. If you are looking specifically for children’s series check out Juvenile Series and Sequels, and if you need young adult series listings I would suggest using Series and Sequels. whats-next-in-series1

If  you still are not sure about the series order of the books you are reading or want to read, please stop in and visit our Welcome Desk or give  the library a call. We are here to help.

A Beautiful Ending To A Wonderful Romantic Series

Back in August 2016, I introduced you to a new series, Wild Aces, by Chanel Cleeton.   on-broken-wingsYou can read about it here.  Available now is the third and final book in the series, On Broken Wings.   Here’s the official summary:

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory.

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

I can’t remember when I have ever been so moved by a fictional book.  When I finished reading it, I just sat in my chair stunned, only able to think “wow”.  The three books in the series can stand on their own, but On Broken Wings ties all the books together with a genuinely authentic military love story full of emotion, humor, love, passion, heartache and triumph.

What a way to end a series.  This book was completely captivating and everything a romance should be.

Hot New Contemporary Romance Series

heart-2I’ve been reading contemporary romance books for a very long time.  It’s getting harder to find a book that grabs my attention and captures it until the end of the book. After awhile, the plots seem to be so similar and the endings predictable.  After starting three books and returning them to the library after just two chapters, I was thrilled to find a book that held my interest all the way to the end!  Author Tessa Bailey has come up with a fresh new series, Romancing the Clarksons, about four siblings coming to terms with the death of their mother.

tooThe first book in the series is Too Hot to Handle.
The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn’t seen in years. When rescue shows up—six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle—Rita’s pretty certain she’s gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he’s about to be sorely tempted. There’s something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn’t just for tonight—he’s forever.

The author managed to surprise me with intricate story telling and dramatic turns of events – a complex story hidden beneath excellent writing, with an intriguing cast of characters.  This dysfunctional cast of four siblings literally leads you on a journey of anguish, vulnerability, sorrow, humor and passion.  This is a book full of life and passion!

I will admit that parts of Too Hot to Handle were, well, too hot for me!  There are several explicit sex scenes throughout the book, but not enough for me to stop reading it.  Whatever your comfort level is, the book is worth reading to the end.  Just skip what is uncomfortable for you!

too-wildBook two in the series is Too Wild to Tame – due out January 31, 2017.  Hired to work for the country’s most powerful senator, Aaron Clarkson, known for his prowess in the bedroom, finds it hard to not mix business with pleasure when he meets the senator’s daughter, the black sheep of her conservative family who is wild, gorgeous and 100 percent trouble.

too-hardBook three in the series is Too Hard to Forget – due out April 25, 2017.  Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

highres-MJB_5140.jpgAuthor Tessa Bailey – Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

 She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of nine years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Enjoyable Reads

Life has a way of getting in the way, and I’ve had to cut back on my reading.  I used to finish a book even if I didn’t like it.  But now, if it doesn’t draw me in after the first two chapters, it goes back to the library.  It’s been awhile since I’ve finished a book.  But, finally, I actually finished two in a row!  Not only finished, but I actually finished each one in a day!  On two beautiful Sunday afternoons, I sat and read, and read, and read.  It was wonderful!

robbThe first one was J.D. Robb’s Apprentice in DeathIf you’ve been a fan of Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, you probably noticed that her last several books were, well……different.  Some say she has a ghost writer (which she vehemently denies), others say writer’s block, and others say she’s just spreading her wings and trying something new.  Apprentice in Death is more in line with her earlier writings and I was hooked in the first chapter.  There is a subtle difference.  In the earlier In Death books, Ms. Robb spent a lot of time writing about the actual killings in very graphic detail.  In Apprentice, she spends her time inside the characters’ heads and their lives.   I love how Roarke and Eve have ‘grown up’.  There is a quiet maturity about them, but they still sizzle and crackle.  All the supporting characters are back and a few new ones have been introduced, giving hope that future books will be as entertaining as this.  This is my favorite book of the In Death series.

Summary

“The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be. Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer. Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources–and genius–at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two–one older,one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil.”

 

alwaysThe second book I finished was Always A Cowboy (The Carsons of Mustang Creek) by Linda Lael Miller.  This is book two of a trilogy.  Ms. Miller has been writing about cowboys for a very long time.  You think she couldn’t possibly write something new and different, but she proves over and over that she can!  Again, I was hooked in the first chapter.  This is a gentle romance with just the right amount of spice and it gives us a good look into modern life in the American West.  Ms. Miller has a way of making her characters come to life and the settings are rich with details.  The story moves along quickly and there is an eclectic assortment of secondary characters that adds a richness to the story.

This book has an added bonus.  At the end of the book, Ms. Miller wrote a very personal essay giving us a glimpse into her life.  Ms. Miller is one of those authors who shares a lot about herself.  She has a wonderful website with news, a blog, and contests.  Check it out here.

Summary

Drake Carson is the quintessential cowboy. In charge of the family ranch, he knows the realities of this life, its pleasures and heartbreaks. Lately, managing the wild stallions on his property is wearing him down. When an interfering so-called expert arrives and starts offering her opinion, Drake is wary, but he can’t deny the longing—and the challenge—she stirs in him.

Luce Hale is researching how wild horses interact with ranch animals—and with ranchers. The Carson matriarch invites her to stay with the family, which guarantees frequent encounters with Drake, her ruggedly handsome and decidedly unwelcoming son. Luce and Drake are at odds from the very beginning, especially when it comes to the rogue stallion who’s stealing the ranch mares. But when Drake believes Luce is in danger, that changes everything—for both of them.

rancherBook one in this trilogy is Once A Rancher.  It too, was an outstanding read.  “ Offering a troubled boy a job on the ranch he shares with his younger siblings, Wyoming businessman Slater Carson falls for the youth’s beautiful guardian, Grace, a resort manager whose busy life is threatened by dangers from her past.”