August is going to be a rather big month for me. Not only do I have a lot of books I want to read, but I'm leaving for Australia on 12 August, and returning back to the States on 10 September.That's nearly a month away, with airplane rides that can only be described as "Holycraplong" to get there and back. You know what that means? TIME FOR LOTS OF READING! 

I have replaced the batteries in my noise canceling headphones (I look like a dork but my ears are so happy) and am loading up the reader with books to enjoy. Here are some of the books I'm carrying with me around the planet: 

A Curse Embraced by Cecy Robson

I read the first book in the Weird Girls series and gave it a B- in January. The second book in the series, A Curse Embraced, came out 2 July, and has some fantastic reviews behind it already. I've saved it for travel because Robson's plots move fast and quick, and I want to be able to start and finish the book in one sitting (and I'll be sitting for a loooooong time). The family relationships between Celia and her sisters are wonderful and touching, and the whole lot of them are funny and silly. I realized recently that I really like paranormal romances that acknowledge that some of aspects of paranormal worldbuilding are very, very silly—and the first book mixed the silly and the poignant in a way that I found entertaining. 

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Big Girls Do It Better by Jasinda Wilder

Have you ever listened in on two readers talking about books they loved (yes, I know it's bad manners, but BOOKS!) and started noting titles they were discussing? I do this a lot (I'm sorry) and while I'm often turned off by squee and hype that aBig Girls Do it Betterre directed at me personally, overhearing readers talk about how much they loved a book makes me wonder if I'd like it too. At the 2013 Romantic Times signing, which I wrote about earlier, I was seated next to Jasinda Wilder (because W is the most awesome letter of the alphabet) and listened for THREE HOURS as her readers and fans came up to tell her how much they absolutely, seriously, I'm not kidding, OMG LOVED her books. And since there was a line, they talked to one another.  

And I got to hear all of it (this is,by the way, why I carry a pen and notebook with me everywhere). The Big Girls series is a story told in short bites (very short—but the first one is free right now so yay!) about a young woman named Anna who is overweight, insecure and very shy—until a rock star named Chase notices her, and changes her life for the better. There are now six stories (and counting) in the series, and I'm very curious to read the first one. Not only did readers rave to one another about it, but they loved having women of size portrayed in a positive, empowered way in an erotic story. So let that be a lesson: Recommendations by eavesdropping can be dangerous to your TBR. 

Her Road Home by Laura Drake

I met Laura Drake when I spoke at the Orange County Romance Writers chapter meeting a few months ago. She rides all over the country with her husband on their motorcycles, and we got to talking about packing light—I like to, and she has to because, well, it's a motorcycle. She sent me an email about her new book and I was SO super curious. For one thing, the heroine is a motorcycle-riding free spirit—and since I love romances with curious heroines who like to take road trips, I wanted to read it. Plus, it's a spin on the Doc Hollywood trope of new person in a small town stranded by car trouble—except, yes, it's a motorcycle. I love romances that travel, by which I mean they feature some travel and exploration within the storyline, and I love stories that explore what "home" means as well. So I am looking forward to reading this one on the road. And, with an e-reader, I can definitely travel light! 

Are you taking a trip this summer? What are you planning to read and bring with you?

Sarah Wendell is the co-creator, editor and mastermind of the popular romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. She loves talking with romance readers, and hopes you'll share your new favorite romance reading recommendations. You can find her on Twitter @smartbitches, on Facebook, or on her couch, most likely with her eyeglasses turned towards a book.