2017 Valentine’s Day Reads

I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of fun watching 50 Shades Darker this weekend as my own little Valentine’s Day gift!

With the opening of 50 Shades Darker over the weekend and a very popular romantic holiday coming up, I figured I’d give you a few of my favorite Valentine’s Day reads.

Whether you’re spending the day solo or with someone you love, nothing gets you in the mood like a good old fashion romance novel. The idea of quivering members and heaving bosoms doesn’t really get me in the mood, but if you’re in the mood for love you should definitely check out these reads. I decided to go with the ones that have a little bit of complication, but in the end everyone gets that happily ever after.

Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

33037374Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.

It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.

The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.

I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.

The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.

Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good. 

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

17788401When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

25486998While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

 

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

17838528Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

 

Also, you can just read 50 Shades of Grey if you’re not doing anything special and have a few hours to waste :/

 

Bearllionaire and My Thoughts on Romance Novels

fabio-rogue-romance-novelThere was a period in my life when I wanted to be a publishing editor. It was in college and I was testing out the different ways that I can somehow be a part of the publishing world.

I took an internship at a huge publishing house in their Romance/SciFi imprint. I’m not quite sure why those two genres were put together, but I read a lot of manuscripts during my period there.

Romance stories. SciFi stories. Romance/SciFi stories. A lot of vampire loves because it was right around when Twilight was super popular. I read them all.

And with all the manuscripts I’d read, I always thought that the romantic ones were kind of dull and silly. However, there needs to be some mass appeal for them because people are still buying romance novels. People are still writing romance novels.

What is it about these novels that people feel compelled to read? Is it the “lonely housewife” thing? Or is it the “ache down there” that people enjoy?

Fast forward to today. I’m in between books and I need something to take my mind off the crazy high fantasy worlds I’d been reading. After talking to some bookish friends, they all said the same thing. Romance novels are a little bit of a guilty pleasure and they take the book slump/hangover feelings away. But what is it about them that people like?

So, I decided to set off and find out what’s so great about romance novels. I had a certain set of criteria that the book required.

  1. There has to be some muscly dude on the front cover
  2. It needs to have a sexy name of some sort
  3. It needs to be short

That was basically it. I didn’t know many of the other requirements for a good romance novel, so I went with more aesthetic pieces. Also, I didn’t want to spend my time reading an epic tome about some sea wench who falls in love with a ruthless pirate.

Somewhere on the Internet, I stumbled across the novel Bearllionaire by Terry Bolryder. I don’t know how, but it seemed serendipitous that I was going to dive head-first into the seeded underbelly of literature and there’s some muscly dude with far too many abs on his stomach to be considered natural. I picked it up.24476957

One of the great draws of romance novels is that they’re cheap. This book just so happens to be $2.99 on Amazon and I can download it to my Kindle. No having to wrap my romance novel in brown paper! But also, you can find romance novels EVERYWHERE. The mass market throwaways at your local grocery store can fill your shelves with the blissful torsos of burly looking guys. Sometimes, you get lucky with a girl hovering oddly close to their “manhoods,” but usually it’s just torsos. And hair. Let us not forget the elegant hair streaming down from some dude’s scalp as it blows majestically in some breeze. It always just happens to blow in the most attractive way possible.

After downloading the book, I went right into it. And two days later, I was done.

And. It. Was. Bad. 

I’m worried that this isn’t the best representation of the romance genre because it was so bad. Without giving any spoilers away, the main characters fall in love and get engaged after only knowing each other for two days. TWO DAYS spent in the woods and they know that they’re meant to be together. And do you know why?

BECAUSE OF THEIR BEAR INSTINCTS.

Yeah, the reason why this book is called Bearllionaire is because it’s about a dude that’s a billionaire and also happens to transform into a bear. Now, with his bear instincts, he keeps talking about finding a mate and making cubs and all these other words used to describe bears. It just felt so contrived and poorly described.

Yes, there was sexy scenes. Yes, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and there was a ton of heaving and sighing, but sexy scenes doesn’t make a romance novel.

I’ve read a lot of books where the author puts a painstakingly long amount of time to create their universe. They have to be detailed and they have to do a good job of it otherwise the reader would be lost. This book, not so much. She just describes in vague detail that he’s a bear and he needs to get his bear-on. And he finds someone willing to do that and she agrees to it! The whole story is so unbelievable and poorly written.

enhanced-23561-1397668595-3Is this what romance novels are like? Are they just shots of bad writing about some quivering members and throbbing loins? Even though it is a romance novel, doesn’t it still deserve to be written thoroughly and with some reality? Isn’t that whole universe just a little bit outdated?

Love has changed over the years and people get down and dirty so much more than what they did in the past. They swipe right and you can be in someone’s arms in less than 3 minutes. That’s the world we live in. And when we read contemporary fiction, that’s what we want to see. A story of love with the heat of passion reflected in reality. Otherwise, I’d read Victorian smut or pirate sex books.

Perhaps reading Bearllionaire wasn’t the best first choice for romance novels. Perhaps there’s something a little bit more around what I’m looking for. However, this first impression wasn’t my favorite and I would much rather read Nicholas Sparks and read him kill someone off.

If you have an option that I can read, let me know! Even if it does have a sweaty ab-y torso on the cover.