Category Archives: Romance

#Friday Reads — A Bollywood Affair, Frisky Business, and Tiny Beautiful Things

What a wonderful week for reading, full of laughter, love, and maybe, just maybe, a few tears. These three selections are highly recommended.

 

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

 

 
Frisky Business by Tawna Fenske

No more rich men for Marley Cartman. Absolutely not. Thanks to her dad, her ex-fiancé, and the overbearing donors she schmoozes for a living, she’s had more than her fill. From now on, she wants blue-collar men with dirt under their fingernails. But when Marley makes a break to handle donor relations for a wildlife sanctuary, she finds herself drawn to the annoyingly charming—and disturbingly wealthy—chairman of the board.

The kind of man she doesn’t want

Judging by his hipster T-shirts, motley assortment of canine companions, and penchant for shaking up stuffy board meetings, you’d never guess that William Barclay the Fifth is a brilliantly successful businessman. Will has good reason to be leery of scheming women, and as he and Marley butt heads over the wisdom of bringing grumpy badgers to charity events, he can’t help but wonder if his new donor relations coordinator is hiding something other than a perfect figure beneath that designer suit…

 

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills. And it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar-the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild-is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things gathers the best of “Dear Sugar” in one place and includes never-before-published columns. Rich with humor, insight, compassion-and absolute honesty-this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

The audiobook is riviting, rich, and bursting with heartbreak and beauty.

#Friday Reads: Mary Kubica, Taylor Jenkins Reid, & Jane Graves

friday reads 2

I read too much. Wait, no, I retract that statement. You can NEVER read TOO MUCH. Though I work at a library fondling handling books all day, I never have an opportunity to crack open a cover while on the clock. And in my “spare time” at home I’m bouncing on my yoga ball while attempting to coax words onto the computer screen. So reading is saved for work breaks and nighttime relaxation. Usually.  I still manage to squeeze it in. Priorities.

My time to write glowing reviews is zilch, yet I’m still reading SO MANY AMAZING BOOKS! Friday Reads is my quick way to share a short snippet of the books that keep me reading well past my bedtime and urge me to continue on my own writing journey. If I include a book, I’m recommending it to friends. (And you, my dear readers.)

This Friday Reads highlights books I read in August. Though this post disappeared in my draft folder for a few months, these are books I thoroughly enjoyed, so I still want to share the love.  (See, I told you I’ve been short on time!)


Pretty Baby
by Mary Kubica

When a compassionate Chicago wife and mother sees a teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms, she is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

 

Genre: thriller
Print Length: 381 pages
Publication Date: July 28, 2015

 


Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Aimless wanderer Hannah Martin’s fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame one night in L.A. Uniquely told in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results. As the two alternate realities run their course, we’re left to wonder if  anything is meant to be? How much in life is determined by chance? And is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Print Length: 353 pages
Pub Date: July 7, 2015

 

Baby, It’s You (Rainbow Valley #2) by Jane Graves

Runaway bride Kari escapes to the Texas Hill country and lands on a tall, dark, and gorgeous winery owner’s doorstep. All she needs is a job and a place to live until she can get back on her feet. Marc has devoted his life to managing the family wine business and being a single dad. Now with his daughter away at college and his brother taking over the winery, Marc is ready to enjoy his freedom, but when irresistible passion turns into something more, will Marc give up his future to take a chance on love?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Pub Date: May 27, 2014

What’s your Friday Read?

 

#FridayReads — Dangerous Books for Girls

Dangerous books for girls - the bad rep of romance explained

 

Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels ExplainedThe Book:

Long before clinch covers and bodice rippers, romance novels have had a bad reputation as the lowbrow lit of desperate housewives and hopeless spinsters. But in fact, romance novels—the escape and entertainment of choice for millions of women—might prove to be the most revolutionary writing ever produced.

Dangerous Books for Girls examines the origins of the genre’s bad reputation—from the “damned mob of scribbling women” in the nineteenth century to the sexy mass-market paperbacks of the twentieth century—and shows how these books have inspired and empowered generations of women to dream big, refuse to settle, and believe they’re worth it.

For every woman who has ever hidden the cover of a romance—and for every woman who has been curious about those “Fabio books”—Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained shows why there’s no room for guilt when reading for pleasure.

The Author:

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence, and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. She has received her BA and MA from New York University. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

 Dangerous Books for Girls Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Good Stuff:

Face it: romance gets a bad rap. Thanks to the Kindle, its selling hotter than every, but some say that’s because women can read romance in public without having to face embarrassment while discretely hiding that  classic clinch cover. They can read without being looked down upon.

Buy why does romance have such a bad reputation?

Everything you wanted to know about the romance genre and readers (but were afraid to ask) is stuffed inside the matte black covers of this book. If you write romance or you are considering it, read this book. It’s chock full of  insights about what the intelligent and affluent readers want. If you read romance, read this book. You will get a validation high. If you think you’re above those cheap paperback bodice-rippers (as I once believed I was), read this book. You will be proven wrong about everything.

The book is eye-opening, to say the least. As a new romance writer, I’ve been devouring every text about the genre I can find. Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained is well researched—it started as the author’s master’s thesis, then she added “a decade’s worth of” reading, studying, writing, surveying, and interviewing. There are stats (and really cool infographics) on the romance novel industry, the readers, it’s reputation and what readers want to see in heroes, heroines and yes, sex scenes.

It explains how romance provides more than a fluffy escape and actually should be considered feminist. Think about it: the industry is controlled by women, and the modern novels feature strong women who always get their way…and their pleasure. So, that infamous happy ending might not always happen in real life, but that’s one of the reasons romances are perfect nuggets of delicious escapism. When we’re drowning in stress from constantly taking care of our busy careers, needy families, messy households, and hectic lives, sometimes it’s a thrill to dive into a story where someone’s greatest desire is to take care of us. In every way imaginable. But only if we want them to.

I can’t remember how I heard about this book. When I noticed that it wasn’t in my library’s collection,  I requested the system order it. (BTW, this is a FABULOUS way for anyone to gain access to books and make sure others discover them.) And once I had the book in my hands, I could barely set it down.
Dangerous Books for Girls - The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels ExplainedThe Details:
Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels
by Maya Rodale
Release date: May 6, 2015

And if you’re looking for another article about How Romance Novelists Got Such a Silly, Sappy Rap, check out this one by Kelly Faircloth on Jezebel.

Love Between the Covers (& some contest love!)

First, a bit of braggy news: my women’s fiction (with elements of romance) manuscript, THE LAST RESORT, is a finalist in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America’s FAB FIVE contest! The Silver Quill Award winner will be announced in June.

Fab Five Finalist

::fingers crossed::

Speaking of romance, have you heard about LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS? This feature-length indie documentary film explores the little-known, surprisingly powerful world of women who write and read romance. The film covers the story of five very different authors (whose day jobs include surgeon and Shakespeare professor) as they invite us inside the vast romance community that runs a powerhouse industry on the cusp of an irreversible power shift.

During the three years the filmmakers shot the documentary, they witnessed the largest power shift in the publishing industry in the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and thrive in the rapidly shifting environment.

I don’t know about you, but I need to figure out how to see this film.


I’m also going to check out PopularRomanceProject.org. The site showcases romance novels in a broad context across time and place—with a huge archive of Love Between the Covers interview excerpts, teaching resources, and blogs by romance authors, scholars and industry insiders.

And for those of you who still live under the delusion that romances are just trashy, cheap paperbacks written for those who “can’t read a real book”, a few stats:

Total Romance Novel Sales in 2013: $1.1 billion
That’s roughly one-fifth of all adult-fiction sales.

Voracious Readers
46% of romance consumers read at least one book per week.
In comparison, the typical American reads five books a year.
Romance Readers At A Glance
Age: 30-54
Education: College-educated
Average Income: $55K
Relationship Status: 59% are coupled, 84% are women, 16% are men
*Romance readers are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner

Top 10 Fiction Genres
1. $1.09 billion, Thrillers
2.$1.08 billion, Romance
3. $811 million, General
4.$548 million, Literary
5.$442 million, Mystery & Detective
6.$377 million, Fantasy
7.$185 million, Comics & Graphic Novels
8.$156 million, Historical
9.$143 million, Contemporary Women
10.$113 million,Action & Adventure

Reading Behavior
29% of romance readers usually carry a romance novel with them.
Romance readers typically begin and finish a romance novel within 7 days.
On average romance readers read more than one book:
A Week—25.5%
Every Week—20.9%
Every 2-3 Weeks—17.8%
A Month—16.1%
Sources: Love Between the Sheets Publicity, Nielsen, Bookstats, PEW Research Center, RWA,Entertainment Weekly, Author Earnings’ July 2014 Author Earnings Report, Harlequin