Top 10 Reads
by Stephanie Fournet
- When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James: I am a sucker for a Beauty & the Beast retelling. I really love a hero who is wounded and angry at the world, but who meets his match with the right woman. This regency reimagining of the beast as an aristocratic, emotionally and physically scarred doctor had me completely captivated.
- Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor: Okay, yes, so this book—and the resulting series—aren’t even categorized as romance (it’s fantasy), but what a love story! How can you go wrong with this beginning: “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” Akiva and Karou share a love that spans lives and universes. I went into serious withdrawals when I finished the series.
- Random Acts of Crazy by Julia Kent: I absolutely love everything I’ve read by Julia Kent, but this was my first introduction to her, and it blew me away. I laughed at the opening chapter so hard, I think I scared my dogs. But Julia Kent turns conventional romance on its head, and while she does it, she also has a lot to say about the haves and the have-nots in our country. This one really has stayed with me.
- Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard: Again, I have a thing for the gorgeous, wounded misanthrope. I love reading them, and I love writing them—as I did in Fall Semester. Professor/student romances provide a forbidden love allure that is pretty powerful, and Reynard captures this the best.
- Never Never by Colleen Hoover: WHEN is the third installment of this series coming out? I was hooked by about the second page of this book, and the cliffhangers of both the first and second volumes had me shouting at my Kindle in frustration. This is the best romantic suspense I’ve ever read, and everyone who’s taken me up on my recommendation has agreed.
- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean: This was my first Sarah MacLean, and it has kept me coming back for more. The contrast between the purity of Calpurnia and the corruption of Ralston creates some crackling sexual tension, and Calpurnia’s adventurous bucket list keeps the plot highly engrossing.
- Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton: I’ve read most of the books in Clayton’s Cocktail series, and I love them as I loved The Unidentified Redhead series, but I think this one is my favorite. If I had to explain why, it probably comes down to the old house and, of course, Clark the buttoned-up librarian. Who can resist a bookish hunk with elbow patches whose desire is always bubbling up from under that controlled façade?
- The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon: When I pick up an Amy Harmon book, I have to be feeling pretty strong. Because I know I’m going to have to survive a heartbreak that will register on the Richter scale before it’s all over. But what beauty. What honesty. What a soul-expanding journey.
- Law Man by Kristen Ashley: The Dream Man series hooked me with Mystery Man, and I’ve consumed all of these books because Ashley’s heroes are both strong and intense, but Law Man was my hands-down favorite. It comes down to Mitch Lawson’s immediate love and care for Mara Hanover’s kids. A man who says yes to the package deal is pretty sexy in my eyes.
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: I know what you are thinking: “Anna Karenina? But that’s not a romance novel! She throws herself in front of a train at the end. It’s a tragedy!” I read this mammoth book about 15 years ago, and what has stuck with me isn’t the ill-fated love between Anna and Vronsky, but the pure and hard-won love between Kitty and Levin. One of the sweetest love scenes in the world is the one when they play the game with the letters, and Kitty makes amends for breaking Levin’s heart. Good stuff, my friends!
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