For me, November is a month of gratitude, and while I always try to focus on what I am thankful for, I am especially vigilant in November. I post three things I’m grateful for on my personal Facebook page, and on the Read-A-Romance Facebook page, I post a book each day that I loved.
I can’t tell you how much I love what I do. I get to read books I love, and write about them. I am honored to be a spokesperson for a genre that is so empowering for women, that is concerned with relationships that fascinate women, and that can make us feel better in our lowest, scariest moments.
So anytime I complain about anything in my professional life, I kind of feel like the Julia Roberts superstar actress character in Notting Hill when she tries to win the brownie by sharing her sob story. (You remember, don’t you?)
There’s not much to complain about, actually. Yes, I’d like to get paid more. (Don’t we all?) Yes, there actually are some not-so-well-written romances, even some by best-selling authors—I try to avoid them, and so should you!—and too often, they are ones that get pointed to as representative of the romance genre as a whole (cue long-suffering sigh).
But the worst part of this dream job I have is that I can’t read *all the books*—even all the books I want to!
People often ask me if I’m a fast reader, and I always answer: “I’m a fast reader for normal people, but I’m not a fast reader for fast readers.” (Seriously, I have a writing partner who must read twice as fast as I do.) I manage to read and review over 100 books a year, but if I miss a title for review, I don’t have time to read it later. I have to move on to the next month’s books.
I try to keep up with books I miss on audio, which probably tacks on at least another 100. Of course not every book is on audio, and even if they are, I don’t have access to every one of them. So even with audio, there are still way too many books, not enough time.
As all of the Best Books of the Year lists get posted (by the way, I am told Kirkus' fiction list will be out early next week), I am reminded of all the books I didn’t get to read this year, and yet I must somehow maintain a grateful attitude, since it’s November.
So let’s just say that I am really grateful that there are so many terrific romance novels, even ones I don’t get to read. And here’s my (partial) list of Books I Really Want to Read that I Missed in 2014:
Hell For Leather by Julie Ann Walker. Okay, I have heard so much about the Black Knights Inc. series, I can’t believe I have yet to read one. Looking forward to reading this highly acclaimed (and recommended) author and this series that mixes Black Ops, motorcycle gangs and hot, dangerous nights. Can’t wait to finally get my nose—or would that be ears?—into one.
Between the Sheets by Molly O’Keefe. (Speaking of motorcycle bad boys...) O’Keefe is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and her ability to combine emotional depth with blazing sexual tension is simply breathtaking. I’m sad to say I missed most of the Boys of Bishop titles, but this one—combining a bad-boy come home, the son he never knew he had, and the art teacher who loves them both—sounds like O’Keefe at her best, and I can’t wait to dive in. Someday.
Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase. A dressmaker determined to engineer a nobleman’s come-uppance—even as she refuses to admit she’s falling for him—and an ugly duckling theme, all in the incomparable hands of Loretta Chase? How did I miss this?!
Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer. A dashing spy has never forgotten the girl he rescued years ago, and then unwittingly sent back into harm’s way. Now he’s honor-bound to keep her safe again, only it’s his own life and enemies that threaten their lives and happiness. Anything Dreyer writes is worth reading, but this series sounds especially compelling.
Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones. “Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that.” If you’re familiar with the Charley Davidson series, then you know how well those sentences represent this crazy, wonderful character and series. Add in her sexy fiance and a missing father and it sounds like you have paranormal romantic suspense and adventure on steroids. Which is pretty typical.
Then, there are these three continuations of series that I love:
Suddenly Last Summer (The O’Neil Brothers) by Sarah Morgan
My Darling Beast (Maiden Lane) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Rules for a Proper Governess (Highland Pleasures/Mackenzies) by Jennifer Ashley
So how about you? What books did you miss this year that you can’t wait to read? Or upcoming books you’re anxious for?