Special Post: Reading Recommendations

Hello fellow romance readers! I have been in a bit of a book review slump lately - usually I have several reviews lined up to be published every few days, to prepare for an event like this. However, whether it be due to personal circumstances getting me in a funk or just a round of books that weren't to my taste, I find myself without a review to present to you right now. My personal philosophy is that I don't publish a review for a book I can't rate at least 3 stars, so here is where I have to get creative to keep you all entertained. Are you ready? Let's go...

I have been a romance reader for over a decade now, starting when I was about 13 and was first introduced to romance by my friend. She had a stash of books in her bedroom that, at the time, appeared super scandalous to my virginal mind. Up to that point, I had mostly read books that had little, if any, romance, and having never been in a relationship before, almost everything in a romance novel was new to me. I devoured those books like a mad woman and quickly became obsessed with this new, exciting genre. Fast forward to present day, and I can safely say I have read over 1000 books in the romance genre, both YA and Adult. Given that, I have many, many books I could recommend. I'm sure I could do a post a day for several weeks featuring at least one book by an author you have never heard of. I don't always read the authors everyone talks about. Many of my favorite books are by authors that are not well known but are dear to my heart. This is why I love when self-published authors write to me asking me to review their books. It's thrilling to know that I know about an author before they become famous. :)

I'm going to introduce you to a few of my favorite books that were published a while ago but are not ones I see pop up on blogs often. Hopefully they are ones that intrigue you enough to give them a go.

First up...The Proposition by Judith Ivory (2010)

I can't remember when I first read this book or why. Most likely, given that it's been several years and recalling my habits of discovery as a teen, I picked this one up at a local flea market or my local library's book shop. Either way, it was a treasure of a find, and I re-read this at least twice a year when I need the reassurance of an old book friend. The story is historical, following a man from the streets and a proper young woman who is bribed into teaching him society manners. He is a ratcatcher and she teaches women how to speak, so it's quite comical, as you can imagine. It's one of those books that sticks with you for a long time, as it has a lesson that can be carried on no matter what decade you read it in. Both the hero and heroine learn from each other, and their differences make them a stronger couple in the end. I loved it then and love it just as much now.

Next is...Rising Moon by Lori Handeland (2007)

This is one that was a bit of a different read for me when I first picked it up. It's contemporary, so it's more realistic to me, but at the same time it's paranormal and odd for a beginner romance reader who is young and naive. The book tells the story of a woman who is searching for her missing sister, and during her search, she comes across a mysterious blind man who runs a jazz club where her sister was last seen. Pretending to need a job, she begins working there, all the while spying on him to see if he knows more than he's telling. So there's this air of mystery throughout the book, both with the heroine keeping such a secret and the hero clearly keeping a secret that the reader is not privy to. There's also a bit of a love triangle, but it's not a major one as the heroine quite clearly sees the other man more as a friend as time goes on. I just liked how the author had so much going on in a way that keeps the reader engaged without feeling overwhelmed. Definitely a great read for someone looking for something different.

Last but not least is...Tempted by Innocence by Lyn Randal (2007)

I don't think I quite understood the taboo quality of this book when I first read it. It wasn't until I was probably in college when I was re-reading it and realized what exactly was the big issue with the romance in this story. It starts off with an anxious young woman who is betrothed to a man who has been kidnapped, and so his family sends her to his estranged brother for help. Only they don't realize that his brother has become a priest, as penance for his past, and the woman meets him when he rescues her after she falls into a river. Suffice it to say, what follows in this book is a lot of forbidden love. A. Lot. The man is a priest, so while he does end up leaving the church to help his family, there's a lot of guilt. Depending on how religious you are, you may have a lot of conflicting emotions about this romance. Personally, I really liked the tension that came from the religious element. On the one hand, they love each other so much, but on the other, he has made a vow and his past holds him back from claiming her. It's a great book in that it shows forgiveness and redemption in a unique way. I personally loved it and pick it up every now and again to relive the tale.

I hope you get a chance to check out at least one of these books. Some are easier to find than others in paperback, but thankfully all are available as ebooks if that's your preference. I have included the Goodreads link for each, so just click on the titles to check them out.

Have a great weekend everyone!