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Topic: WHY did it make your keeper shelf?

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Subject: WHY did it make your keeper shelf?
Date Posted: 5/29/2008 12:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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In light of some of the recent discussions on books and keeper shelves...WHY has a particular book made it to your keeper shelf?   I'm not talking about "it was just so good" or "the writing was great"...WHAT about the book or the writing or the hero/heroine made it a keeper for you?  Details!!!

Sherri

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
Posts: 1,130
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Here are a few things that can tip the balance towards keeper for me:

Good groveling (I like when the hero grovels, a little or a lot. Sometimes a book doesn't have enough for me, especially if he's wronged the heroine in a big way, but most of the time, throw in a little grovel and I am there!) This would apply to Gaelen Foley's The Pirate Prince as well as The Duke, Laura Lee Guhrke's His Every Kiss and Guilty Pleasures, and Jacqueline Navin's Meet Me at Midnight.

A strong, aloof hero who is so untouchable in most areas of his life and used to total control. However, give him the right woman and he goes crazy! Love this in Jo Beverley's Devilish and Mary Balogh's Slightly Dangerous. Probably one of the biggest disappointments for me was Suzanne Enoch's Sins of a Duke, which I hated! But I love Sebastian, who deserves someone way better than Josefina!

Tortured and less than perfect heroes are also a big draw for me. Can you tell I'm focused on the males? Haha. Loved Houston in Texas Destiny, Marcus in To Pleasure a Prince, Jervaulx in Flowers From the Storm, Simon in The Duke and I, and Sebastian in Lord of Scoundrels.

A book will also be a keeper for me if there is something unusual about it, or I haven't seen anything else like it. This would apply to Lady Fortune, a rare medieval that features a hero who plays a fool in the king's court. While it may not be completely perfect, it's originality makes me want to hang onto it. Same with Diamond Rain, a story that takes place during the Queen's jubilee celebration with the hero and heroine competing fireworks designers.

In summary, most of my keepers are keepers because they have compelling characterization, particularly with the hero or something that sets them apart from other books in the genre. Outside plot is not as important, most of the time I prefer a lot of focus on the relationship developing between the h/h. I also enjoy an alpha hero, but don't like heroines that are either doormats or too plucky for their own good, which is a fine line.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2006
Posts: 1,099
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It's a keeper if I know I can read it a few times and still love it.  It will make me smile, it will make me hot (good love scenes) or it will make me laugh.  It has heroes that I want  and heroines I can respect.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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Good friendships and close relationships between the hero/heroine in a book seem to make it to my keeper shelf. The relationships don't have to be perfect, but I like when they can tease and play and have some fun moments in a book. I prefer that to stories where the couple spend most of the time apart or fighting eachother.

Funny romances are easy to find it's way to the keeper shelf. I can re-read those whereas I'll probably not re-read a story with a lot of angst or heartbreaking moments. It doesn't have to be a "romantic comedy" but I like it when a book has moments where I can't help but laugh out loud.

Tortured heroes have a good chance of making it to my keeper shelf. I have a soft spot for vulnerable heroes. What woman doesn't? It's romance novel gold if the author can pull it off right.

Oh, and the hotter the love scenes the harder it is to part with it too. :P



Last Edited on: 5/29/08 7:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/29/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Arnette Lamb's Maiden of Inverness.  To me this was just the epitome of a romance.  Everything the hero did was done with the heroine in mind.  (They were separated as children)  Even when she flat out told him she didn't want him, he still told her he loved her. Yummy.

Ransom by Julie Garwood.  I've always had a thing for the strong, quiet, non pretty-boy hero who's rough around the edge.  Ones who don't take any crap off anyone yet have a begrudging tender side when it comes to their woman.  Perfect example here with the hero.

A recent addition is To Die For by Linda Howard.  The mix of laugh out loud humor with hot, steamy sex is irresistable.  I love the "struggle" between them...or as the heroine said...jockeying for positions!  My favorite scene in this book is when she runs away from him to a beach house several hours away.  He's a cop and tracks her down using her credit cards.  He finds her asleep on the beach, picks her up bodily and takes her back to the house and and then some, if you catch my meaning.  Sigh!!!

I think most of us, while our keepers are different, have the same criteria - they just speak to us from the get-go.

Sherri

 

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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Most of my keepers are there for reasons that Grace stated much better than I could have.  Like Sarah,  romances that made me laugh also tend to be keepers, as there are times when I know I need a pick-me-up and I can grab one of those.  I like ones where the female isn't the most beautiful creature in the world--but she is to the man.  I also like contemporary romances where the female isn't a single digit size, because most of us aren't either.   And I'll admit I love  well-written hot and steamy sex scenes, and have kept several books that were okay overall because of a hot scene.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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I have the Stephanie Plum's by Evanovich and always will --- they are pee your pants funny, I drool for the men, and the h is a klutzy Jersey girl ( me too).

The tortured heros are for me, too.  Favorites include Black Ice by Anne Stuart, and many others of hers --- her men are the darkest, coldest ever.

I know someone here will recall the hero who was such a badass, to the point of being sure the h saw him with another woman as they practically did it in a window.  It's a western.  He more than proves himself by the end.

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
Posts: 1,130
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What's the title of the western? I think I'll have to read it!

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I keep everything it seems like (and yes I know I'm gonna hve to let some go!) but the super special keepers are ones I reach for to read over and over and just love thinking about the characters. Here are some of mine

Mackenzie books by Linda Howard - mainly Mackenzie's Pleasure(super alpha tough male who absolutely adores his spunky wife and can handle any situation), mackenzie's magic - tough sister gets her tough male, game of chance - didn't like this one the first time through but later saw where he was coming from but another tough but loving alpha male

Virgin River books by Robyn Carr - had love and companionship as well as bits of humor and a believable storyline. just made me want to live there and get one of those guys fo rmyself!

Nora Roberts' Born in trilogy - born in fire isnt' my fave but ' necessary' for background! born in ice I lvoed for the homemaking woman and the man falling for her; born in shame I lliked the guy..strong and determined yet sensitive and musical..also raises horses!

Jayne Ann Krentz: an uneasy alliance-hero is about as persistent as the stalker but still liked him, wildest hearts - spunky woman and tough but gently guy; midnight jewels - alpha male and spunky woman and good storyline; silver linings - bits of humor and good storyline

others make the grade by being alpha male who has a tender side for his woman, women who aren't stupid but do the best they can in the situation; or just a good storyline and good sex is on a keeper shelf all by itself!

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Love a vulnerable/tortured hero.  Therefore, 3 of Lorraine Heath's books made my keeper shelf based on that....Always to Remember (lonely, outcast)--Texas Destiny(emotionally and physically scarred)--Sweet Lullaby (physically scarred, loner with no family). 

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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Grace, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of that book.  But someone here will, I hope.

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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To tell the truth, the vast majority of books I read end up on my keeper shelf...for a while at least. I have a very hard time getting rid of books. Especially series. Eventually books I haven't read in a while get put in the swap pile, like the Susan Krinard books I added recently. I kept those for quite some time.

I even have taken some out of my swap pile and off my bookshelf because I decide I can't bear to part with them. That's what happened to Julia Quinn's The Seduction and I'm also thinking about taking Kleypas's Devil in Winter off my shelf and putting it back on my keeper. The only reason I haven't yet is because I am not much interested in reading the rest of The Wallflowers series and I didn't want to just keep one of the series. Hmm...choices, choices...

 

I am thinking of getting rid of my entire Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. They new ones just aren't holding my interest, although I did like Bitten and Stolen a lot. But then again, if I keep those two I'm gonna want to keep the whole series because of my strange compulsion... =/



Last Edited on: 5/31/08 9:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/31/2008 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I'm the same way Sarah! I ikeep too much then think if I like a few books ina series that I need to keep the others as well...now my house is overlowing with b ooks!

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,769
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I am thinking of getting rid of my entire Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. They new ones just aren't holding my interest, although I did like Bitten and Stolen a lot. But then again, if I keep those two I'm gonna want to keep the whole series because of my strange compulsion... =/

Sarah, i know what you mean!  i also tend to collect whole series.  i've been working at it though.  i was trying to make more room on my shelves a couple of months ago, and there was one 6 or 7 book series where i loved the first two, liked the middle ones, and then got annoyed at the direction they went.  (Jane Lindskold's Wolf series)  i realized i was probably never going to want to read the whole series again, gave up the others, but i couldn't give up the first two.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
Posts: 1,130
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I'm a completist as well with regards to series and sometimes entire authors' backlists. But it is just not feasible for me anymore so I think I'm going to have to start being a little more ruthless. And I don't think it's a problem to just keep Devil in Winter. It's the best one. I found Scandal in Spring disappointing.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 9:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 7,052
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One of my books is a keeper for a different reason. I love the author and the story ( have read this book at least 20 times). It takes place near Evian in France and years ago I lived  in Paris for 4 months. While traveling through the country I saw the sign for Evian and took the turn off thinking maybe I'd see something I recognize. Well, I followed this windy road that was heading in the direction of Lake Geneva and suddenly I was at a casino. It was EXACTLY the casino in the story- all the way down to the description of the lights that lit up the place and the weird knobby trees that grew around it. I was so excited- you'd think I won some money there or something( I didn't). Now every time I read that book I grin remembering I was there! The book is Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, btw.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
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oh - Mary Stewart!  i have kept a hardback copy of Touch Not the Cat for probably 20+ years.  i just love the story.  the main character has had mental contact with her 'phantom lover' with the family gift for most of her life but doesn't know who he is.  while she's trying to figure out which of her cousins he is, suddenly she's in danger.  that reminds me - i'm overdue for a re-read.  :)

Subject: The Song Cycle
Date Posted: 6/2/2008 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/12/2006
Posts: 26
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The Song Cycle by Mary Burchell.

I don't know what it was about those books.., partly how many story plots exist around the opera life. Really unsual and surreal world. With these huge stars and the ordinary people around them.

Each and every book was an entirely different type of character...well not exactly, but only the first book featured a Soprano and a Director. Their character play a part in every book there after.

One involes a child and her teachers, another a triange with a brother who does more pop music writing and an opera composer the woman sings for both of them in the end of the series.

I read and reread them 20 years ago and decided to move on and let them go when I married. Then I started a search for them when I found this site and kept all but one.

Otherwise.., my keeper shelf has pretty much only childrens books not so much romance. I like the Little House Books, have enjoyed them with both my son and my daughter, and Betsy Tacy books which I can't get my kids to read or listen to, and also a couple of Books by an author I can't remember but they were Runaway Alice and Ready-Made Family. All books I enjoyed as an teen (or younger) and have reread multiple times.

I too like series where you really get to know characters. Best if there's only about 7 books or less more and it's just too much. Was reading a Christian Romance Series "The House of Winslow" loved the first 12 or so books then my interst started to wain. Tried to stick it out...but couldn't read the last couple. The same with Centennial.

Lori V. (cjsmom) - ,
Date Posted: 6/3/2008 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 423
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I would have to say that it is hard to get on my keeper shelf.  I do not have much rooms and after moving across country i did not want to have to have so many books at one time.   My TBR pile stays in th 200-300 range so the odds that I am going to re read a book are slim.  That being said I have kept all 6 of the Julie Garwood FBI series.  The heros are AWSOME and I fell in love with everyone of them.  I also kept Ramsom by Garwood because it is the best historical hero of all times in my book.  When she gets mad at him for the fact that she got married on horse back I laughed so hard I cried.     I alos have all the Stephanie Plum books on my keeper shelf because like stated before herem they are so funny that I could not put them down.  I have and will read all of them again and again.

 

Date Posted: 6/3/2008 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I keep almost everything I like for a little while at least.  It sometimes takes me up to a month to decide if it's worth keeping permanently or not.  My Marsha Canham collection are the books that whoever has to dispose of my stuff when I'm gone will be dealing with:P  Those I'll keep forever.  If I had to say why, I guess it would be that she does everything just the way I like it.  Historicals being #1, but everything else too.  Her characters, main & secondary, the historical aspects of the story, the plotting, sex & romance - she's just the total package, IMO.  After that, come the rest of the books I keep just because I love the books and could easily read them again; some by Karen Ranney, Candice Proctor, Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale, Loretta Chase, Connie Brockway, etc.  The rest are my collectibles, like my Mary Balogh collection, etc.  In other words, I don't love all of them, but I'm not necessarily keeping them to read again someday.



Last Edited on: 6/3/08 1:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1