Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Five Questions for Romance Readers

The Definition:

This post is a meme. “Meme,” alternately pronounced to rhyme with “cream” or as the first syllable in “memory,” has been defined in various ways. The definition I like best is “an idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.” I’ve seen variations on the web of the reader’s game (the idea), and I copied (replicated) it, adapting it for my interests and purpose (evolution). Incidentally, I prefer the second pronunciation because the memes I like best are inevitably questions that require me to use my memory.

The Questions:

1. What are you reading today?
2. What are your top five all-time favorite romances?
3. What romance author have you recommended most often?
4. What romance could you honestly call “life-changing”?
5. What romance novel are you most looking forward to reading in 2010?

My Answers:

1. What are you reading today?
I’m reading Madeline Hunter’s Ravishing in Red. Except for her medievals, a subgenre I generally avoid no matter who’s writing it, Hunter is an autobuy author for me. I love her voice, her way with language, and the complexities of relationships that are characteristic of her writing. I was a bit hesitant to start this one because friends have raved about it so enthusiastically that I was afraid it might not live up to expectations. But I find fascinating the core idea of the new series, women living communally, and I quickly fell hard for Sebastian. It’s a great read, and I’m primed for the rest of the series.

2. What are your top five all-time favorite romances?
I could probably list a top 500 more easily than I can limit myself to five, but if forced to choose, I’ll go with the following: Persuasion by Jane Austen; Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase; Frederica by Georgette Heyer; Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James; Till the Stars Fall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (with A Place to Call Home by Deborah Smith a very close sixth). I’ve read them all more times than I can count, and I discover new things to love with each reading. The characters are familiar now but no less engaging for that.

3. What romance author have you recommended most often?
For years, I rarely recommended romance novels because suggesting one usually resulted in friends proclaiming "I never read romance novels" or warnings that my reading such “trash” would “rot my brain.” One of the joys of discovering online romance communities was building friendships with intelligent women who sgared my enthusiasm for romance reading. Now I recommend favorite books regularly. I recommend all my favorite writers, but I most enjoy recommending older books I’ve loved. I’ve recommended Carla Kelly’s Reforming Lord Ragsdale many times. Till the Stars Fall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel may be the book I’ve recommended most often. Both Kelly and Seidel are writers who often get overlooked, so I delight in making other readers aware of what wonderful writers they are.

4. What romance could you honestly call “life-changing”?
Sometimes I was a covert reader of romance, but from my tenth summer until the present moment, I have read them. I don’t have a single book that I can point to and say that it’s the one that shaped my love of the genre. There have been many romances that opened my eyes to some new truth and have been life-changing in that way. But the most definitively life-changing were the category romances of Essie Summers. When I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life, when the very term “happy ending” seemed bitterly ironic, I read Summers’ sweet romances that were filled with courage and humor and a love that won over all odds. They allowed me to live in a world where love did conquer all. That world helped me heal.

5. What romance novel are you most looking forward to reading in 2010?
This is another tough question. I can name ten titles that I’m excited about reading next month alone: Moonlight Road, Robyn Carr; In Bed with the Duke, Christina Dodd; On the Steamy Side, Louisa Edwards; Something About You, Julie James; The Family Man, Trish Milburn; On Shadow Beach, Barbara Freethy; Lois Lane Tells All, Karen Hawkins; Match Made in Court, Janice Kay Johnson; Mad, Bad, and Blonde, Cathy Linz; The Wild Marquis, Miranda Neville. Again, if forced to limit my choice, I’ll say that my most eagerly anticipated romance novel of 2010 is a tossup between two, both out in July: Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, the second of Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzie Brothers books and follow-up to my top read of last year, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie; and Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase, the long anticipated story of Olivia and Peregrine, the wonderful, battling, adventuring 12 and 13 year-old duo from Chase’s Lord Perfect.

Now it’s your turn. What are your answers to the five questions?


MsHellion said...

1. What are you reading today? Linda Lael Miller’s McKendrick book: Tate. DELICIOUS!!! Also reading a craft book called: Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind. (I’m loving it too; and highly recommend)
2. What are your top five all-time favorite romances? Whisper of Roses (Teresa Medeiros); The Secret (Julie Garwood); Sugar Daddy (Lisa Kleypas); Pleasure for Pleasure (Eloisa James); The Perfect Rake (Anne Gracie); Dreaming (Jill Barnett)—gets an honorable mention
3. What romance author have you recommended most often? Probably Eloisa James or Teresa Mederios
4. What romance could you honestly call “life-changing”? The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch (the whole series); or maybe Sugar Daddy.
5. What romance novel are you most looking forward to reading in 2010? So many. Maggie and Tiff’s books are coming out this year…so definitely theirs. Probably the Lisa Kleypas historicals. I want to see how the Hathaways end up. OH! And Linda Lael Miller has two more brothers in the McKendrick series, and they’re also delicious!—single title contemporaries with heroes who aren’t cops—how RARE that is! *LOL*

quantum said...

1) reading today
a) Robin Hobb, 'The Rain Wild Chronicles'.
I have read all of her other books and this one fleshes out the origins of the dragons that first appeared in 'The Live Ship Traders' Series..... excellent.

b) Sophie Kinsella, 'Can You Keep a Secret'. The embarrassing and hilarious situations conjured up by Kinsella make me roar with laughter. She is a real tonic!

2) Top Five
Heck that's difficult. I have to choose from a very small subset due to limited reading experience. If only I could have read them all to make an authoritative Choice! On reflection though, the first book that I read from an author is the one that makes me read more if I like it, thus making the book and the author a favourite.

I'm going to cheat and give five favourite authors with the first books that I read:

a) Mary Balogh, 'Secret Pearl'
b) Eloisa James,'Wild Pursuit'
c) Julia Quinn, 'Romancing Mr Bridgerton'
d) Amanda Quick, 'Mystique'
e) Lisa Kleypas, 'Worth any Price'

3) Most Recommended
Amanda Quick

4) Life Changing
Again the Author that I can identify as getting me really interested in romance novels is Georgette Heyer and the first book that I read was 'Those Old Shades'

5) Looking Forward
I think it would be the last book in Balogh's Huxtable series if it comes out as an audio book. I find that audio editions of Balogh's work when read by a good actress are quite irresistible!

Janga said...

Hellion, my macho, former All-SEC football lineman, good-ole-boy brother loves Miller's McKendrick books. He's already read Tate. :)

And I agree about the books of writer friends that will be released in 2010, but since I could not choose among Tessa, CM, Sara, Maggie, and Tiff and Vanessa Kelly--all of whom have 2010 releases, I chose books from authors that I don't know beyond their books. The same thing is true with the Squawkers and JQ. I'll be thrilled to read all their books, but I can't choose just one.

And someday I'm going to blog on writers from whom I've learned the most about writing. Marsha Moyer and her Lucy Hatch books will definitely be in that company.

Janga said...

Q, I need to catch up on the Kinsella books, I've only read the Shopaholic books.

And I approve of your top five list--all great books by some of my autobuy authors.

And Con's book is the Huxtable book I've been longing for since the series started. I am so eager to read that one.

MsHellion said...

I have to agree with Q about Kinsella's Can You Keep a Secret? book (I loved The Undomestic Goddess better for the situations), but CYKAS was also very hilarious and you choke at some of the situations she ends up in.

Jane said...

1. I'm rereading Carly Phillips' "Hot Stuff."
2. Julie Garwood's "Saving Grace"
Loretta Chase's "The Last Hellion"
Julia Ross/Jean Ross Ewing's "Illusion"
Stephanie Laurens' "The Devil's Bride"
Lisa Kleypas' "Then Came You"
3. Julia Ross
4. Any of Julie Garwood's historicals
5. Barbara Freethy's "On Shadow Beach" and "In Shelter Cover" I'm also looking forward to Olivia and Peregine's story.

TerriOsburn said...

This is going to be tough, but I'll try.

1. What are you reading today? The Comeback Kiss by Lani Diane Rich.

2. What are your top five all-time favorite romances? This is tough since my memory is bad and I've been reading these since the 80s. BET ME by Crusie is #1. The rest in no particular order would be AFTER THE PARADE by Dorothy Garlock, MORNING GLORY by LaVyrle Spencer, KINGDOM OF DREAMS by Judith McNaught, and AIN'T SHE SWEET by SEP. That was so hard, I can think of at least five more I want to mention.

3. What romance author have you recommended most often? Probably Eloisa James but lately I recommend Crusie far and wide. I also recently read Jennifer Ashley and will definitely be recommending her books.

4. What romance could you honestly call “life-changing”? KINGDOM OF DREAMS got me through some tough times in HS. Judith McNaught was the first author I ever latched onto for dear life and I'll always be grateful that I found her books. More recently, BET ME changed how I saw everything from writing to myself in the mirror.

5. What romance novel are you most looking forward to reading in 2010? This would be a toss up between the next Jennifer Ashley and Eloisa's take on the classic fairy tale. Also looking forward to new Crusie being released this year.

PJ said...

1)What are you reading today? - I'm reading Christina Dodd's new historical, IN BED WITH THE DUKE.
So very good!

2) Top five all-time romances? - That's pretty much a daily moving target, with a couple exceptions. Here's today's list.

SAVING GRACE (Julie Garwood)- DREAMING OF YOU (Lisa Kleypas) - THE SPYMASTER'S LADY (Joanna Bourne) - VIRGIN RIVER (Robyn Carr) - THE DUKE AND I (Julia Quinn)

3) What romance author have you recommended most often? Probably Julia Quinn.

4) What romance could you honestly call "life-changing?" I can't think of a specific romance that was life-changing for me.

5) What romance novel are you most looking forward to reading in 2010? - How could I choose just one? There are so many! Since they haven't been mentioned yet, I'll say SWEETEST LITTLE SIN by Christine Wells (I can't wait to see what she does with Louisa and Jardine) and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER by Anna Campbell (She just keeps getting better and better).

Janga said...

Hellie, if you and Q both recommend a book, I must try it.

Jane, you're a big Garwood fan I see. I miss her historicals. And how I wish Julia Ross would write another book! She's a good example of how just a sample is sometimes enough to hook readers. I used a bit from My Dark Prince in an EJ/JQ Monday Puzzler and several people started searching for books by Ross.

Janga said...

Terri, I really want to try a book by Lani Diane Rich. The only thing I've read by her is her collaboration with Crusie and Stuart, Dogs and Goddesses. I agree that Crusie and Bet Me are wonderful. I voted for Bet Me for Book of the Decade. :) There are other books that I'm more emotionally attached to, but I loved Bet Me--and I think it's a VIP book.

And Spencer! There's just nobody like her. I found a new edition of That Camden Summer in trade pb at Kroger yesterday, and I had to buy it, even though I'm already way over my book budget for February.

Janga said...

PJ. I'm so-o-o jealous! I am thrilled that Christina is giving us a new historical. Not that I didn't love the Fortune Brothers and even the paras, though I'm a selective paranormal reader, but it's been too long since we've had a historical from La Dodd.

I'm also eager to read Louisa and Jardine's story. I've been looking forward to that one since The Dangerous Duke. And every Anna Campbell book is an Event IMO. I know that whatever she writes will end up drawing me completely into the story. I always try to schedule a big block of time to read an AC book because I hate being jerked out of the world of her characters with questions unanswered.

irisheyes said...

1. What are you reading today? Today I am reading Double Play by Jill Shalvis, a new-to-me-author and I’m loving it. I’m kind of excited cause I think I just found a new glom.

2. What are your top five all-time favorite romances? Wow, this is always a hard one. You are always asking me to make decisions, Janga! It Had to Be You, SEP; Whispering Rock, Robyn Carr; Then Came You/Dreaming of You (I always read these 2 together), Lisa Kleypas; Born In Ice, Nora Roberts; The Viscount Who Loved Me, Julia Quinn

3. What romance author have you recommended most often? Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Mary Balogh

4. What romance could you honestly call “life-changing”? This one is definitely a tie and not necessarily because of the books themselves but because of the situation. I would say The Bride by Julie Garwood and An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn. I hadn’t read a book for pleasure since I was in high school and then about 10 years ago I went to the library and picked up these 2 books looking for a little escape. Boy did that pay off big time! LOL

5. What romance novel are you most looking forward to reading in 2010? This one was easy. As soon as I read the question, Lisa Kleypas’ Married By Morning popped into my head. I would say runner up would be the new Jennifer Ashley. I want to read all the Mackenzie’s stories ASAP.

Janga said...
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Janga said...

Irish, I think there should be one of those tests for Carr's Virgin River books that tells what your favorite reveals about you. I love them all but some more than others. Shelter Mountain is my favorite.

We're all glad you made the acquaintance of Garwood and Quinn ten years ago and that they indiretly led you to all the online communities we share.

I'm looking forward to Married by Morning and Love in the Afternoon. I'm always looking forward to a new Lisa Kleypas. :)

TerriOsburn said...

Janga - I'm really liking this book. Fast paced and funny. I'm only a couple of chapters in and she managed to work in the line "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" seemlessly. LOL! How can you not love that?!