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Topic: Poking my head in to ask the Romance experts for help...

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Subject: Poking my head in to ask the Romance experts for help...
Date Posted: 12/10/2009 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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...I don't read romance novels, but my best friend does. I was thinking about getting her a couple books to add to a Christmas basket and I could use ideas.

She likes contemporary stories with quiet, overlooked heroines, women who work jobs but maybe don't have families or are just kind of passed by in life. Nothing with babies or kids, nothing historical. "Hot" scenes are fine. Something recently published would be best, as there would be less chance she's already found it for herself.

I know i could just get her a B & N gift card, but actual books would fit in better to the general theme of the basket I'm making for her. Thanks if you can make any suggestions! :-)

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I'm reading Ain't Too Proud to Beg by Susan Donovan right now and it fits your description.  It's a pretty new release as well and so far it's been pretty good.

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 3,291
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Off the top of my head I can't think of recent books but I can think of a few that should fit your criteria.  You could try Jude's Law, Murphy's Law, Too Much Temptation, and Never Too Much by Lori Foster or Grand Passion by Jayne Ann Krentz.  Jude's Law and Murphy's Law are interconnected but can be read alone (Jude's Law is first and Murphy's Law deals with a friend from Jude's Law).  Too Much Temptation and Never Too Much are books featuring brothers.  Grand Passion is a stand alone.  You could also look at some Susan Elizabeth Phillips books but none are recent.

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 880
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Double Play by Jill Shalvis might work, and it is pretty recent. And it is hysterically funny.

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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Janelle - First off, you don't know what you're missing! Looking at your profile, I see you like mysteries, so you might like romantic suspense (Anne Stuart, Cindy Gerard, Suzanne Brockmann, Heather Graham are all popular authors of this sub-genre. Lora Leigh offers up a great series of erotic romantic suspense. And historicals? Boy, do we have historicals! Not just regency England (which often includes characters who fought in the Napoleonic wars), but American West, Revolutionary War, and other eras and locations. I had never picked up a "romance" until about 4 years ago. Grisham and Meltzer were my faves, but I didn't read fiction very often. Now, I finish a book at least every 2 days. Come on over to the dark side.

As for your friend... the suggestions already given are good, but they reflect each reader's preference for certain authors. These may or may not be authors that your friend likes to read. Furthermore, many of us have favorite authors that we pre-order or buy on release date.

May I suggest doing the gift card thing (BTW, if there's a Borders near you, they offer big discounts and frequent coupons that can make your gift go further). For your basket, how about some nice book covers to hide those racy covers?

One of our forum buddies, Lynne Z. (Ginger10), makes pretty fabric ones with ribbon markers. She did a trade-size one for me with hot chili peppers on a black background (to cover my hot erotic romances) and a pretty blue seashell cover for mass market paperbacks. If you PM her (she's in the member directory), she'll happily set you up with a set and will accept book credits in exchange. She's very good about shipping quickly.


Last Edited on: 12/10/09 3:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/10/2009 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 880
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Book covers are fantastic idea for a book gift basket kind of thing. Also, you might consider a copy or subscription (not sure what your budget is) of Romantic Times.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 9:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 753
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It's hard to guess what someone else would like to read. Sometimes it's a nice surprise to try something that's not like anything else you've ever read - it's a great way to discover new authors.

I like the suggestions you gotten already - I think Jill Shalvis is great. I also recommend these books (these books came out this year):

  • Romeo Romeo or Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kaye (Breakfast in Bed - the third book in this series is coming out 12/14)
  • Fair Game - Jasmine Haynes (very hot)
  • Dangerous Passion - Lisa Marie Rice (very hot)
  • Victoria Dahl - Talk Me Down, or  Start Me Up (she usually writes historicals, but these were very good)
  • Practice Makes Perfect - Julie James

Book covers are a great idea too - you can get them in so many sizes - for a tradesize paperback, a mass market paperback and those series (for example Harlequins) romances. I bought several on eBay from a seller called linedancer1. They were wonderful.

Though gift cards seems kinda boring, they're a great way for your friend to pick out what she wants.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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I would recommend the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr.  Great mix of romance and intrigue and hot studs!

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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If you like mysteries (with a really subtle dash of romance), you might want to try the Lady Julia Grey books by Deanna Raybourn.  So when you go to the bookstore for your friend, get yourself a little something as well!:)

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 6:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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You may not be able to connect with a copy before Christmas, but  Gracie in Susan E. Phillips' HEAVEN, TEXAS is that type of heroine. She kinda dresses funky, doesn't think she's much of anything, takes on a job that's way beyond her scope but has the grit and gumption to stick with it. She's one of my favorite contemporary romance heroines. She made me cry, made me laugh, sometimes broke my heart.


Date Posted: 12/12/2009 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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I would recommend See Jane Score or True Confessions by Rachel Gibson. 

Date Posted: 12/13/2009 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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Thanks for the great suggestions--I really appreciate it! :-)