What are we reading: Romance edition.

#1 skipped large middle chunks of Patricia Bray then deleted on kindle.  Waste of a dollar.

I enjoyed Poetic Justice by Alicia Rasley enough to purchase it.  There’s no onscreen sex, if that’s important.  It’s a fun caper where the protagonists fall in love over books.  The end is a bit rushed, but there’s also no unnecessary angst.  (The best part though is a glimpse the love affair of the long-dead parents!)  The first in the series is free on Amazon but I haven’t read it yet (update: it was ok, but not worth paying for).  I also haven’t read the second in the series, but plan to…

I tried a couple of Patricia Rice regencies, but I don’t like how the heroes take away the heroine’s agency, even when having agency is a big deal for the heroine and it seems like the resolution should include the hero giving in on that.  We’re talking about things like, I dunno, secretly marrying the women against their will in Scotland where the marriage rules are different and not telling them they’ve been married until months later when circumstances have made it far too late for an annulment.  Or, you know, not stopping sex when the woman is in pain because of his “need”.  UGH.  Or forcing the heroine to have sex as a transaction in a situation where she doesn’t want to, but feels that she has to in order to save someone else.  Not cool.  Her Genius series is a modern set of romances… the amazon reviews complain about it having a liberal agenda, but there are too many uncomfortable racial and homosexual “jokes” for it to truly be liberal… or maybe it just shows how far we’ve come in the past 20-30 years in terms of what’s not cool to say about minorities.  I won’t purchase it, but I think I’ll try the second in the genius series, and later books seem to get higher reviews.  So I dunno… it felt like the books could be really good if they were just updated and the bad parts that used to be more common in this literature were removed.  It’s possible that, like Mary Balogh, her more recent books are less icky because the entire genre has moved away from icky.

Genuinely enjoyed The Heiress Companion, which is an old fashioned (and clean) regency novella by Madeline Robins.  It is no The Grand Sophy, but a pleasant read nonetheless.  Lady John and My Dear Jenny were also pretty good.  Spanish Marriage and Althea were both pretty awful, though in different ways.

Danse de la Folie by Sherwood Smith was also worth buying.  An old-fashioned style regency, if that makes sense.  (Not a bodice-ripper, older than that– more Austen-style.)  Not perfect, but soothing.

We both love love LOVED KJ Charles’ latest, Spectred Isle. The adopted son of Simon Feximal is in it!  SOOOOO GOOOOOOD.  Neither of us can wait for the next one.

In the modern world, #2 read and liked Attachments, which was Rainbow Rowell’s first book. Can you fall in love with someone via email? (Of course.) I think I’ve already mentioned Carry On somewhere on this blog.

Finally, we love books. I loved the little book, Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life. Writing letters to books is a neat idea and maybe I’ll try it sometime.

Get to reading, Grumpeteers! Tell us what’s good in romance.

17 Responses to “What are we reading: Romance edition.”

  1. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    Are you familiar with this set of P&P spin-offs? http://archiveofourown.org/series/629375 They’re set in an alternative universe, so some intrusions of modern language/attitudes can be explained away, and I found them to be a lot of fun.

  2. Middle class Says:

    I used to skip your posts about romance books, but I really like the Outlander series on Starz so I read the book. I’m curious to know what you think of the Outlander series. There is a lot of rape and attempted rape but that seems common in romance novels?

  3. chacha1 Says:

    oooh Spectred Isle, she had me at “archaeologist disgraced after the War.” Clickety-click.

    fyi Carrie Vaughn’s “Bannerless” just came out. I read a story set in that world, that was in her collection published last year, and it was good, good, good. So of course I bought the novel.

    Also Laurie R. King’s story collection “Mary Russell’s War” is $1.99 today on Kindle.

  4. J Liedl Says:

    This is a rec that people might wonder about, but I adored Mariana Zapata’s “Kulti” featuring a soccer-playing heroine and former soccer star hero. I know nothing of soccer. This still worked – it’s a lovely slow burn story. Another contemporary author I heartily recommend is Lucy Parker – her West End series has two books so far – “Act Like It” and “Pretty Face”. They’re both books I enjoy re-reading

    I’ve recently devoured some of the paranormal romance/adventures by Ilona Andrews – her Hidden Legacy series was great.

    Among historicals – Eloisa James’ new Wilde books are fun (at least the first one I’ve read and the second teaser I’ve read) and I’m enjoying Mary Balogh’s Westcott series immensely although they’re much more lyrical and angst-ridden than James’ fun Georgians.

  5. Donna Freedman Says:

    I was going to suggest the Mary Russell stories but someone beat me to it. Just found these, because a friend lent me several books.

    However, Holmes is apparently about 60 years old, not 45, when the two meet in 1915. Somehow the author makes this not-creepy.

    And as she points out, she is writing Mary Russell stories, not Sherlock Holmes stories. The character is wonderful.

    • chacha1 Says:

      Yes, Holmes is 54 when the series opens and Russell is 15. For me it works because the relationship is slowly and carefully developed as one primarily of the mind.

      LRK did something funny in a later short piece featuring a 92-yr-old Russell, which made Holmes 131 (but still alive and kicking). The miracle of fiction.

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