July 27, 2017

romances that stick

If you're reading this, I'm in Orlando at the Romance Writers of America National Conference. And at this moment, I'm probably schmoozing with my favorite authors who have decided we should now be best friends. Kidding. I'm probably breathing into a brown paper bag after seeing one of my idols across the room.

And I probably miss my cats. A lot.

But if I'm not breathing into a bag or having mimosas with my new BFFs, I'm probably attending a workshop and thinking about new love stories to tell. However it shakes out, I have romance on my mind. In the spirit of that, I wanted to share and celebrate some of the latest romance stories that have stuck with me after reading.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
This is also one of my latest reads. As a devoted fan of "While You Were Sleeping," I was in love with this story before I'd even finished reading the blurb. The chemistry between Cecilia and Edward was palpable and delightful. It played up its tropes well: friends to lovers, big brother's best friend, a "marriage" of convenience. And Edward... I think I know what his red coat is made out of--book husband material. He's one of my favorite heroes in a long time.

To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne
Cute, sexy, and funny. What more could you want in a romance novel? I'm obviously a fan of wedding planner stories (and ones where the planner falls for the client's big brother and vice versa) and this one didn't disappoint. This was my first book by Lauren Layne and it won't be my last.

New Attitude by Kathryn R Biel
A clever and laugh-out-loud continuation for a fabulous chick lit series. With a relatable character you instantly wanted to cheer for, an ex you wanted to punch, and a series of dates ranging from bad to ridiculous and ultimately smile-worthy, this book is filled with great characters. Fast-paced, fun, and full of heart. I was fortunate to beta-read this story, and I'm thrilled others now have a chance to discover this story for themselves.

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt
Intriguing characters with likewise engaging conflicts to overcome, this was a sexy read that set up a new series well. While our hero isn't always likable, he's compelling, and I slowly but surely softened my attitude toward him just like the heroine. I found the Jack-the-Ripper-esque mystery component an unexpected--but welcome--pairing for the other conflict of saving a home for children in need. With a cast of supporting characters I'd like to know better, I look forward to carrying on through the series to discover how each character will find his or her own happy ever after.

And, strictly speaking, these next two stories aren't romance stories, but they're craft books that have changed my game: Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romances Novels by Gwen Hayes and Write Naked: A Bestseller's Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success by Jennifer Probst. Both of these books have made such a big, positive difference for me, I have to include them. And I can't thank either of them enough for writing such great books.

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