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Topic: Romance Newbie

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Subject: Romance Newbie
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/17/2007
Posts: 258
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I've been reading over the post about conversion kits, and it got me to thinking.  I really am a romance newbie.  Years ago, I read the Laurie McBain books which were phenomenal, but I haven't really touched romance since.  What are some good books to get me back into romance.  I like a good solid story line that will keep me reading late into the night.  Any suggestions?

Date Posted: 7/8/2008 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 25,520
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Based on your wishlist (and some of those are considered romances), you might try JR Ward's Black Dagger Series or other paranormal by Ronda Thompson. 


Date Posted: 7/8/2008 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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I always recommend Outlander....it is probably my favorite book after Pride and Prejudice. The series is so addictive you will definitely be reading late into the night.
I always liked Stephanie Laurens and Karen Marie Moning has a great Highlander series.
Nora Roberts is nice for beginners too. After awhile her stuff gets a little stale I think, but I have pretty much loved everything I have read of hers...but I also read her in spurts...

Last Edited on: 7/8/08 4:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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When I first got back into reading romance, I was coming from much the same place; hadn't read them in years, and all of my old favorites were dreadfully old skool - like the Laurie McBain stuff, for instance:P  The genre has undergone a lot of really drastic changes since then.  The old sweeping saga historicals that take you a week or two to read are pretty much a thing of the past.  I think the regency influence, since they were the most popular & most highly published sub-genre for several years, has taken some of the weightiness - for lack of a better word - out of historicals in general.  Likewise, the heroes tend to be a little less (but not always!) on the misogynistic  side, the heroines a little less submissive.  Which frankly, I view as a good thing; I try to read the old school stuff I cut my romance teeth on years ago, and sometimes loved, and I either find it too cheesy for words, or I fall asleep:P  I could see a marked difference when I started reading romance again a few years ago, and boy was I glad.  But to be perfectly honest about it, I got really lucky with recommendations, and did a LOT of research and review reading.  A friend recommended The Bridal Season and Bridal Favors by Connie Brockway for my first forays back into romance, and I loved them both.  I still have keeper copies and recommend them frequently.  They made me a Brockway fan.  I don't adore everything she's ever written, but those two are among my favorites, along with My Dearest Enemy and As You Desire.

From there, I started doing web searches for highly recommended romances, and I found The Romance Reader site, and their reviews archive:  www.theromancereader.com/newarchive.html

And basically started going through those reviews A-Z and compiling a list of books & authors, which I later started cross-checking in All About Romance's reviews archive, once I had a list of authors to work from.  Here's a link:  www.likesbooks.com/archivesindex.html

Through that searching, I found great historical authors like Marsha Canham, and some of her best...

The Robin Hood trilogy:

Through a Dark Mist

In the Shadow of Midnight

The Last Arrow

The Dante Pirate series:

Across a Moonlit Sea

The Iron Rose

And there's Laura Kinsale and the book I recently brought my romance-snobbing sister over to the dark side with:

Flowers From The Storm

And Judith Ivory and a few of her best:

The Indiscretion

The Proposition

Untie My Heart

Sleeping Beauty

And last, but not least, my personal favorites by Loretta Chase:

Lord of Scoundrels (Avon Romantic Treasure)

The Last Hellion (Avon Romantic Treasure)

Lord Perfect

Mr. Impossible


The above titles are not the only books by those authors, they're just my personal favorites and where I'd suggest you start, mostly because that's where I started and it worked out really well for me:P  I don't like to overload with too many choices on the front end myself, so that's probably enough recommendations from me personally.  Aside from which, if you like those authors, you'll have the pleasure of finding more books by them to enjoy:P  On the downside, there's just as much garbage out there as there ever was.  Considering how popular the romance genre is in general, I'm sure there's actually quite a bit more.  In other words, you're going to suck a few lemons in the process of finding your own favorites:P  I try to be positive about it and appreciate the good ones that much more for having been stuck with the lemons.





Last Edited on: 7/8/08 3:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Try Robyn Carr's Virgin River series!  I'd also recommend the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Karen Marie Moning, Lara Adrian, Julie Garwood, Gena Showalter.....have fun!


Date Posted: 7/8/2008 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Don't do this to me, Kim!!! I have a gazillion books in my TBR list already!!! Can't add anymore!!! Why?? Oh Why???

So...I just added the ones I haven't read to my reminder list. :)

I actually have Mr. Impossible coming in the mail - there were none in the system and I couldn't pass it of when somebody offered it to me. :) And I also ordered In The Shadow of Midnight...not that I have the other two, but it's not in the system either and I couldn't pass it up when I ordered something else at Half.com - I'm going to have to join Willa in the BA group.


Last Edited on: 7/8/08 4:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Lol.  Diva, if you want the other two Robin Hood books, I'll have extras as soon as my sister reads & returns the ones I loaned her over the weekend.  She's got Through a Dark Mist and Last Arrow, and the two Dante pirate books right now.  I don't have an extra copy of Across a Moonlit Sea, but I do have an extra Iron Rose, if you're interested in those.  I can inbox you when she brings them all back.  And I know I'll get them back because she'll want to raid my vast romance repository here for more:P  The ones she has are my old keepers and a bit worn though - I ordered brand new copies of the Robin Hood books from half.com last week, and I'm just waiting for In the Shadow of Midnight  to show up.

Last Edited on: 7/8/08 5:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Sure, Kim. Thanks! You know I'm dying to order from you again so I can have another bookmark. :)

Date Posted: 7/8/2008 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
Posts: 1,130
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I second Kim's recommendations, particularly Chase - Lord of Scoundrels and Kinsale - Flowers From the Storm.  I would also add:

Shana Abe - she has some medievals as well, but the ones I've read and liked are her Drakon books

Mary Balogh - Her Slightly series is a favorite, but some are better than others

Suzanne Enoch - I really love her books, except for Sins of a Duke. Her contemporaries are page turners as well.

Gaelen Foley - The Pirate Prince, The Duke

Laura Lee Guhrke - avoid She's No Princess

Lorraine Heath - Texas Destiny

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - like all of her books, love most of them

Hope that helps.

Date Posted: 7/9/2008 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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Anything by Marsha Canham, Thunder & Roses (Putney) or anything by Diana Gabaldon. 

Date Posted: 7/9/2008 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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What's interesting to me is how everyone's tastes are soooooo different. Personally I agree with the Outlander recommendation if you want to read late into the night because that's a 6-book series of BIG BOOKS with book 7 coming next year and book 8 in the background... It's not actually Romance as in one hero, one heroine, one HEA Happily Ever After per book. But it's great, and terribly romantic, as well as historical and obsession-creating all the same.

But then I see other recommendations in this post and think, ick, I don't like that author at all!! (won't mention names)

So I guess you have to sorta stumble around in the romance section and read a bunch of stuff to see what you like and what you don't like. I have challenged myself to reading all the All About Romance Top 100 books for 2007 to find new authors - some I loved, some I did not (haven't finished). Then someone here who shall remain nameless but has DUCK FEET in her  icon influenced me to borrow a credit to read more Marsha Canham who isn't even in the top 100 at  AAR!!! and I do love everything I've read so far by Ms Canham. Thank you!!

I find I love historical romance, then I realize I love contemporary just as much - I like funny books, then I like angsty books, then I like romantic suspense, then I like some paranormal, then.... well here's the thing, if (IMHO) it's well written, I like it. I don't seem to have a favorite genre or time period, or even necessarily an author because so far I can love some books by one author, but do not love all books by that author. I love a book with hot steamy love scenes AND I love a book where all the sex happens off-stage, with the bedroom door closed - because if the book is well written enough, I just love it anyway.

Go figure. Good luck in your hunting!!

Date Posted: 7/9/2008 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Lol!  Okay, gotta be fair to the Marsha:P  They don't appear to have read many of her books at AAR - for whatever bizarre reason, I have no idea.  And OT, but I totally hate the review there on Swept Away.  Absolutely WRONG.  I've read that book twice, & granted, it's not my  very favorite Canham book - and not to sound catty, even though I'm sure I do:P - but if AAR Jennifer can give fricking A Lady of His Own by Stephanie Laurens a B, she shoulda had no trouble doling out at least that much for Swept Away.  Hands down, no contest, it's 10 times better, and MC is 10 times the writer.  Okay... end of catty rant:P  There are only a couple of Canham reviews at TRR as well, but this was my system when I first made out my to buy list - starting from TRR: I listed everything that ranked 5 hearts and had a sensuality rating no tamer than PG-13, and everything 4 hearts with a sensuality rating no lower than R.  Goofy system, sure, and I don't use it anymore anyway, but Marsha made it in just under the wire, and since my list was alphabetical by author, I got to her fairly quickly; a lot of the top rated books at TRR seem to be out of print.  I started with Iron Rose, which they reviewed at TRR too (4 heart R rated, if I recall correctly - it's a DIK at AAR), and it kinda snowballed from there:P

Last Edited on: 7/9/08 11:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/10/2008 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/17/2007
Posts: 258
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Ok girls.  I've been stocking up on all of your suggestions and have ordered quite a few books already.  I'm going to make a run to the used book store too and see what they have.  I'm really excited about this --- also I went through my own shelves last night and I have some romance novels on there already including Elizabeth Holt ( the trilogy with The Serpent Prince); Passions by Lisa Valdez, and a few by Eloisa James (the Essex sisters books I believe) so I'll be reading those too.  Keep up the great suggestions and thanks so much for all your help!!

Date Posted: 9/10/2008 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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more recs!