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Favorite Contemporary/Historical Romance Books

Smooth Talking Stranger
Smooth Talking Stranger

I’m a big fan of Lisa Kleypas Historicals, but I loved her contemporary romance, Smooth Talking Stranger. Also she had shifted to the 1st POV in this one. I loved the banter between Jack and Ella. With lines like:

“No more Dane,” he eventually said with unnerving finality. 
I tried to be funny. “I can’t decide if that means you don’t want me to see him again or if you’re planning to kill him.” 
“It means if the first thing happens, the second thing is likely to follow.”

I wasn’t really sure who was the smooth-talking stranger here, Ella or Jack. Oh, one thing I could almost hear was Jack Travis’s sexy Texan drawl.

It was one smooth reading book!

Kristen Ashley

Sweet Dreams
Sweet Dreams

I was taking a break from paranormal and urban fantasy reads and I wanted to look for more books with Controlling/Alpha Males. Kristen Ashley’s books kept coming up on the list. I was fresh from reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and would have rated those books 5 stars if it was maybe shaved into two books.

Anyway, I digress. I liked Christian Grey and I wanted to find similar books. Enter Kristen Ashley. I almost did not read her books because of some negative reviews that complained of tedious descriptions of places, what a character was wearing or just mundane activities. I like prose to be snappy.  But I was glad I took a leap of faith and read my first Kristen Ashley book, The Gamble. I was hooked. I absolutely loved her Alpha males. Sure, the book could have used some good editing, but she could write one heck of a story with a lot of heart and did I mention her male heroes are absolutely swoonworthy? I devoured all her books in a couple of weeks. And I can say my favorite was Sweet Dreams, followed by Motorcycle Man. I also liked her Rock Chick series book #1  with Indie and Lee Nightingale, but my favorite was Rock Chick Revenge (#5) with Luke and Ava. However, I have a feeling when Rock Chick #8 (Ren and Ally) comes out, this might change. I liked her Burg series too, especially Games of the Heart (Mike and Dusty) — this book didn’t have any big mystery or serial killer but the development of the relationship between the two protagonists was just so well-written and real. There was a bit of angst in the beginning but there was no stupid misunderstandings that kept them apart.  Her paranormal books are also good, Penmort Castle, Somersgate house, Lacybourne Manor and Fairy Tale Come Alive. I’m looking forward to her Chaos Series which is a spin-off of Motorcycle Man.

Wait for Me ~ Elisabeth Naughton ~ I bought this book when it was on sale for 99 cents and it was romantic suspense at its best. I was sucked in from the first pages and the emotional turmoil that the characters go through are so heart-wrenching. I liked the plot, the twist and turns are interesting without being absurd, and one of the best books about second chances. Do not wait to read this book!

WallBanger ~ Alice Clayton ~ this was so funny. I enjoyed the relationship development. Had me in tears laughing towards the end, I had to put the book down to wipe my eyes.

Beauty from Pain ~ Georgia Cates. I really liked the female lead in this one. Even if she was hurting, she did not grovel. This ends with a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the second book.

Escorted ~ Claire Kent ~ I didn’t think I would like this because it was like Pretty Woman in reverse. The author’s male protagonists are not real Alpha males but I would define them as quietly strong and solid. The female lead needs to get rid of her virginity and hires a male escort to do it. What happens next is what neither of them expects.

I have many books rated 4 stars, but really should be 4.5 except Goodreads will not let you rate in half points and are worth mentioning here:

On Dublin Street ~ Samantha Young ~ Well, you’ve got sexy Braden Carmichael in all-controlling, alpha-male, dirty-talking glory. The reason this didn’t get five stars is that the heroine annoyed me sometimes.

The Witness ~ Nora Roberts ~ It took too long to setup and the ending was too tidy but I still consider this a great read. Abigail Lowery is on the run, but hiding in a small town is not exactly a good place to stay low— especially if you’ve caught the eye of the Chief of police. Brooks Gleason is not your typical overbearing alpha hero, which is a nice change, but he has a lot of charm and street smart that will endear him to the reader. Abigail has a big-ass dog, a bull mastiff named Bert whom she had trained to guard her and makes for some interesting scenes in the book.

If you loved Fifty Shades of Grey …

Let’s admit here, there’s a fine line between Overbearing/Controlling and Emotionally Incompetent … but it’s a trend and it’s here to stay for a while.

Up in the Air Series by R.K. Lilly ~ three books: In Flight, Mile High, Grounded Up . The heroine has backbone despite an overbearing hero. I also like the secondary character, Stephan. Again if this was condensed shorter, say two books I would have given this five stars.

CrossFire Series ~ Sylvia Day ~ The heroine, Eva, annoys me with her neediness but what can I say, Gideon Cross  makes up for most of it. The last book has not come out yet, so I haven’t made up my mind about the entire series: Bared to you, Reflected in you and Entwined with you.

This Man Trilogy  ~ Jodi Allen Malpas ~ If you like angst, this book is for you. Sometimes I hated this book, sometimes I loved it. The hero is very intense, sometimes it got scary. Also, I had to skim a lot of the sex scenes because they seemed gratuitous. But it’s one of those reads where I have to know what happens. The third book is not out yet as of this writing. This Man, Beneath this Man, This Man Confessed.

Historical Romances

I’m a sucker for Earls and Dukes, what can I say? I have a couple of favorites, more than a couple. I think I went through Lisa Kleypas historicals quickly. Though I liked her Wallflower series, I also liked a couple of her Bowstreet Runners. Another great historical romance writer is Sylvia Day. Yes, before Eva and Gideon, there was that book called:

The Stranger I Married   ~ Sylvia Day ~ I loved this book. It was unusual because the woman was older and wow was it a hot and steamy novel.

Slightly Dangerous ~ Mary Balogh ~ The draw in this book is how the cold-as-ice Duke Wulfric slowly (or was it quickly) fell in love with the widow Christine Derrick. I love that the heroine was strong enough to hold up to the intimidating Duke.

The Duke and I ~ Julia Quinn

The Bride ~ Julie Garwood

If You Deceive (MacCarrick brothers #3) ~ Kresley Cole

Some of my favorite Lisa Kleypas Historicals

It Happened One Autumn – This was the second book in the wallflower series. Marcus and Lily had been clashing in the previous books. And you know when sparks fly, there is a thin line between love and hate.

Secrets of a Summer night ~ my favorite. I absolutely love Simon Hunt and Annabelle. Simon has been attracted to Annabelle for years, but because he us a commoner he is not in a position to offer for her even if he is filthy rich. Annabelle is also determined to marry a titled gentleman, but without a dowry, her future looks bleak. Will she settle for Simon? (personally I think I’d pick the piratical-looking Simon Hunt over those pasty-faced aristocrats) There is a scene in the book where the girls are playing rounders in their knickers that had me grinning.

Then Came You  ~ another favorite. I loved this couple: Lily Lawson and Alex Raiford. Lily is known as ‘Lawless Lily’ and her scandalous antics (gambling, riding horses in breeches) are well-known in the ton. When her beloved sister, Penelope gets engaged to cold and arrogant Alex Raiford, she is determined to stop the wedding. Alex is not in love with Penelope, but he is convinced she would make a great countess. Lily gets under his skin though, and that makes things complicated.

Lady Sophia’s Lover ~ Sir Ross and Sophia

Someone to Watch Over Me ~ Grant, the hero here reminded me of Simon Hunt.