I don't know about you, but I find it impossible to answer any of the what's-your-favorite questions. Favorite movie? Favorite food? Favorite song? And the list goes on.… Recently, I've been wondering...could I, the impassioned reader of nearly 3,400 romance books, choose one absolute favorite book?! A single book?! Oh, the pressure! Just when I thought I might be able to, I'd think of another amazing favorite, and then another.
Sheesh. Fuhgeddaboudit! Why should I choose just one? Who's making the rules here?! HAH, me! Soooo...essentially these twenty-one books are all considered romance (I've decided that a series about the same couple counts as one very long book. I made a further exception to one of the series because I couldn't pick just one. 😊). However, they fall into several different sub-genres: contemporary, erotic, suspense, new adult, historical, and paranormal.
These remarkable and memorable books are all tagged as favorites in my database, if I read them since I've been doing my yearly favorites post they are on it, they are all books I have re-read (and/or re-listened to), and, most importantly, they are all books "I get lost in; the ones that while reading, I lose all track of time; the ones that evoke the strongest emotions; the ones that make me laugh, cry, blush, gasp, and sigh." (<----That is the description I use every year in those year-end favorites lists.)
Another detail that shows how much I love a book is when I do whatever it takes to get a signed paperback. Of course, I wish I had signed copies of all of them, but I am thrilled to have the twelve that I do (edited 2022-02-25: I now have TWENTY!). I will attempt to describe why each of them means so much to me. I realize that only a couple are super well-known, but popularity wasn't a consideration in them achieving my highest regard and long-term affection. I cannot recommend them highly enough!
The books are listed alphabetically by the authors' last names.
|2022-01-15: I have that signed paperback now! |
Catching Caden, book one in The Perfect Game Series by Samantha Christy, turned out to be the perfect love story. I have major league feels for Caden & Murphy—their beautiful and meaningful slow burn friends-to-lovers romance hit a home run and left me feeling gloriously smitten. *swoons* I am no sports fan, but I truly loved this remarkable romance in every way. I loved it so much that I bought it after reading it in Kindle Unlimited last August and then bought and listened to the Audible book! And maybe someday I'll have a signed copy, too!
|Have the Kindle & Audible versions. Not available in trade paperback.|
When it comes to choosing my favorite sub-genre of romance it's always been my first instinct to say romantic suspense. It's also first instinct to think of Pamela Clare, who writes stellar romantic suspense, as well as contemporary and historical romance. Striking Distance is book #6 in her highly rated I-Team Series and was published in November 2013. After reading about Javier Corbray and Laura Nilsson as the featured couple in the sizzling novella, "First Strike," I was eager for Striking Distance to be released the following month. Let me tell you, this is one on-the-edge-of-your-seat story. There's a level of authenticity to the military and war time reporting that reads like this is absolutely what it would be like! Of course, Pamela Clare was an investigative reporter and newspaper editor, so she's got the chops! I can't imagine the amount of research and knowledge she has, given how superbly she writes the details of these dangerous occupations. This is definitely a gritty story with some horrendous events that left me gasping. But after all of that suspenseful stuff came the development of a relationship built from respect, trust, empathy, devotion, and ultimately a hard-earned lasting love. Whew! I get all choked up just recalling how special Javier and Laura are. It's a book that's so good I wanted to listen after I read, which I did when I got the Audible version adeptly narrated by Kaleo Griffith. Striking Distance went the distance, and it more than earned its place here.
|Sadly, Worth the Fall is not available in paperback.|
|2015-11-25: Books #1 & 2 signed! 2022-02-08: #3 not signed! 🤔|
|2022-03-17: These lovelies need Sylvia Day's autograph!|
The year was 2012, and there was a new erotic romance book heating up my Goodreads feeds. It was about six weeks after its release, and my curiosity was more than piqued. Needless to say, I caved and went for it. I could not have expected the journey that this 5-book series would lead me on. That book that had set the romance world on "fire" was the first book in the Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day. Bared to You and the subsequent books, Reflected in You, Entwined with You, Captivated by You, and One with You—feature the dazzling disaster of a couple, Gideon Cross and Eva Trammell. If ever there was a couple with a load of (designer) baggage it's these two. Individually, I don't know which of them had the most damaging childhood. Together, I think they fight nearly as much to be together as they fight with each other. If you want conflict to spice things up, then look no further than these two hot messes. Now, you may be thinking it doesn't read like I even like these books. Well, you'd be reading me completely wrong because I'm absolutely crazy about Gideon and Eva! An over-the-top fictional couple like Mr. Cross and Ms. Trammell deserve my jubilant devotion. So here it is. I've read the books and listened to the audiobooks several times. Even when I'm losing my patience with them, I'm wishing them all the peace, joy, and happy-ever-afters fictionally possible. They're super rich. They can do anything. They don't need anyone else. They should just run away, and I don't know, go hang out in a tree house and make love all day every day. Yeah, that sounds perfect! Gawd, I love 'em. 🥰
|2022-03-02: From The Poisoned Pen, signed by "Herself"!|
|2015-05-09: Received my copy back signed by Tracey!|
|2021-05-04: Thrilled to have Battle Scars signed by JHB!|
War is horrendous, and to be the setting for a romance novel takes some genius writing skills. Jane Harvey-Berrick displayed those skills from beginning to end in Battle Scars. Marine Corps Sergeant Jackson Connor and foreign correspondent, Margaret Jean (MJ) Buckman, are such remarkable and heroic characters. Their degrees of dedication to their jobs and then to each other are impressive to say the least. Throughout the story I found myself crying, not only for what was happening in the lives of MJ and Jackson, but also over the author’s inclusion of actual devastating historical events. Jane's melding of fact and fiction is seamlessly done. One thing that stands out to me is how realistic and sensible the conversations between Jackson and MJ are. The author doesn't have them conversing like a romantic hero and heroine. They feel like real people in real situations, quite often breathtakingly dangerous situations. It's not all dirt and danger, though. There are humorous moments, strong platonic friendships, close-knit family interactions, and romantic & sexy encounters. I consider Battle Scars my favorite book of 2017 (out of 280!). Recently, when my long awaited reread was possible between the actual printed pages of a personalized author-signed paperback, well, it made the story even that much more meaningful.
|2022-03-02: Having these signed beauties is EVERYTHING! |
|2022-03-31: The movie editions were gifts from my daughter. Christian's books were gifts to myself. |
|These will likely never be signed but I'm still pleased to have them!|
The Ravenels Series (Cold Hearted Rake, Marrying Winterbourne, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil's Daughter, and Chasing Cassandra) by Lisa Kleypas—ah, how much do I love them? Let me count the ways. 1) They're filled with delightful, colorful characters. 2) There are commitment phobic rakes who fall hard for their lady loves. 3) Those aforementioned lady loves are all bright, open-minded, intelligent, compassionate, loving, and unaware of their very pleasing appearances. 4) Reading as the heroes fall under the charms of their heroines is just so much fun! (Goody-goody, hand-clapping, and giant-smiling kinds of fun! I recall some serious swooning on my part, too.) 5) And if reading the books wasn't enough fun, I then listened to the audiobooks (this all done via my library's digital collection). OH MY GOODNESS! The narrator of the entire series is freaking fantastic! (I have yet to read the 7th book, Devil in Disguise, but have it on hold.) The written stories that I loved so much were brought to life very vividly and flawlessly by Mary Jane Wells. They are beyond-description good! When I was gifted an Audible 12-month subscription while on a free month, can you guess which books were my first acquisition? You betcha. I got all of them and listened again! Honestly, I'm much more of a contemporary romance reader. I do make exceptions and am beyond ecstatic I made one for this series. Undoubtedly, it is my favorite historical romance series ever!
|2022-03-29: I tried to get a signed copy from the author...🙁|
|2013-12-14: Books #1,2, & 3 signed by Raine at an event! 2014-12-13: #4 Received in the mail!|
|2022-03-29: Isn't it gorgeous? No chance getting this signed but I'm still thrilled to have it.|
I've read my fair share of student-teacher romances but none more fine than this debut novel by Leah Raeder/Elliot Wake. I think the author created a character that is in a class of herself in Maise. I believe it's Maise that sets the tone for the entirety of Unteachable. I was impressed by her character's fortitude, bravery, intelligence, and prodigious vocabulary. Her observations, descriptions, and dialogue are quite astute, and her and Evan's sexual chemistry is off the charts. This keenly written book inspired me to highlight a great number of passages and to reread and re-listen to the audiobook numerous times. Unteachable is not a lighthearted romance but it is certainly a thought provoking one. I should mention that Maise is a very mature, jaded eighteen-year-old when she hooks up with the handsome older, Evan, at the beginning of the book. Little did they know...
|2021-09-21: Gayle?! See explanation in this Instagram Post|
|2015-11-30: Books #1, 2, & 3 Signed by SR! Now, how do I get a signed copy of #4? 🤔|
How to describe such a lush, grand, cultural, and passionate series? Well, those descriptors are a start, but the Gabriel's Inferno Series (Gabriel's Inferno, Gabriel's Rapture, Gabriel's Redemption, and Gabriel's Promise ) is so much more. It's indescribably romantic and filled with literature, art, music, and Professor Emerson. Granted, he's a bit of an ass to start; but he redeems himself—in regards to Julianne, anyway. Ah, Julianne, his brown-eyed angel...she's sweet and kind, but she matures and doesn't put up with his snobbery and hot temper. There is much Gabriel, being The Professor and all, can teach Julia. And he does, but he also makes a good student when it comes to learning the art of being kind from Julia. The books have a huge fan base around the world. There are extremely active communities of Gabriel's Inferno devotees in many countries, including the United States. The author, Sylvain Reynard, interacts a great deal with us. SR is very gracious, indeed. I have read the books and listened to the audiobooks. My next read will be between the pages of my signed copies. Not only can I read and listen to the audiobooks, but because Passionflix optioned the series, I can watch the movies! That is, I can watch parts one, two, and three (5.5 hours!) of Gabriel's Inferno which have premiered; but Gabriel's Rapture is in post production, and we "Passionistas" are super eager about that! I'm particularly thrilled, as these were the only books I recommended to Passionflix; and I am thrilled they listened to me! 😉
|2022-02-24: At long last...The Witness signed by Nora!|
It's been nine years since I first read The Witness. I have read and listened to the audiobook (Julia Whelan's narration is superb!) several times since. I still find it remarkable that it is Nora Roberts' 200th book! It's another story that stirs nostalgic feelings, which every so often leads me to download it back into my Audible app for another visit with Abigail/Elizabeth and Brooks. Those two...they just hit all my happy buttons. I wrote a really gushy review back in 2012. If you're interested, you can find it here. This book has fascinating plot lines involving Elizabeth's restrictive childhood, her act of rebellion and its repercussions, her character's evolution, character introductions, and character interaction. The dynamic between uptight genius Abigail and levelheaded Brooks is the perfect coupling. The delicious banter that ensues is captivatingly clever! The Witness is an all-around exceptional romantic suspense.
|The Search isn't yet available in trade paperback in the U.S. The wait is on!|
The Search by Nora Roberts—gosh, I get so lost in this one! The suspense aspect is quite chilling. The heroine, Fiona, is capable, driven, focused, and quick-witted. She trains dogs and does volunteer search and rescue. Dogs, you say?! Yes, there are lots of dogs! Then the most adorable grouchy hero and his pesky puppy are introduced into the mix. I love grumpy Simon and his trouble making Jaws! When Simon and Fiona meet it's so enjoyable; but when things become seriously dangerous, they, along with her dogs and close friends, become a vigilant unit to protect her. What a team! The way the entire group puts protection in place is brilliantly choreographed. To have a posse like that would be amazing! There are a lot of those extraordinary Nora Roberts conversations where each comeback is the perfect reply. The book is an immensely gratifying romantic suspense. More suspense than romance but what's there is quite satisfying. The audiobook is very good, too!
|This one has many covers. I'm hoping for an updated one on the trade paperback.|
Carnal Innocence has been a favorite since I first read it in 1992! I've read it five times since and listened to the audiobook a couple of times, too. It's definitely an oldie and a goodie! It is a bit dated, but I think it's still relevant. Confession time: overall, I am not a fan of a Southern accent. That said, I will also confess that when Tucker Longstreet, our Southern hero of the story, utters his first, "Yes'm," I_was_charmed! Dang, he's so affable, generous, handsome, and, yes, charming, too. He just warrants being adored; and he is, by most everyone except the new-to-town Yankee, Caroline Waverly. She's not impressed...at all! Some pretty awful doings are going on in and around his small town of Innocence, Mississippi. Of course, Tucker and Caroline end up in the middle of those awful doings. Still, what develops is some of the most entertaining flirting in my romance-reading history. The way Nora Roberts sets the tone for each of the main themes—the romancing and the suspense—is masterful. And I'm not about to write off this treasure because it's a bit outdated. No, ma'am, it's deserving of my constancy.
|2022-03-29: So many covers are available. This current one is pretty.|
|2013-09-09: Received my signed copy of Easy from Tammara Webber!|
Well, that's my list. I'm extremely curious. Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What are the things that make a book a favorite of yours? What are some of your favorite romances? Any books you are looking forward to reading? Do you strictly read or do you do listen to audiobooks? Or both, like I do? Thank you so much for checking out my love list of books!