I'll tell you a secret: I don't actually like going out on Valentine's Day. Everything is crowded, babysitters are expensive, and, here in the Northeast, it's COLD. I don't want to even go outside, much less put on fancy, potentially itchy clothing.
Have you checked out the Player's Club series?
But the best part is, my husband knows that. He and I both would rather cook dinner, drink wine, light a fire and read (me) and look at random sports news on the internet (him). And if you're reading this website, you're probably like me, thinking hot food, good wine and a great book sound like a perfectly romantic evening! To hell with pantyhose.
All too often, if I start reading a book in the evening, I end up staying up really, awfully late to finish it, especially if it grabs me and I have to read one more page, or one more chapter. I call these books "sticky," as they tend to refuse to release my attention, and I'm stuck reading until either I fall asleep or finish the book, gritty-eyed and sated at 3 a.m.
Sometimes I have to keep reading because the plot is so tense and angled with twists that I must know what happens next. Sometimes, with those same plots, I can't stop reading because I worry if I come back to the book, I won't remember what happens.
Other times, the clock rolls past midnight and beyond while I'm reading because I refuse to leave the world of the book I'm in, and I would rather be sleepy and somewhat addled in the morning than stop visiting.
Reading a good book is one of the few times where I do only one thing for hours at a time. If the book is stellar, I'm completely absorbed and I do not ever want to stop, not even for my own rest. Staying up late is a sign that the book is gripping—akin to missing my stop on the subway because I'm reading so intently.
There have been a few books I've stayed up too late for recently:
Nikki and the Lone Wolf by Marion Lennox (Harlequin, 2011): I had to find out the resolution to the tension between the hero and heroine, and the final scene made me tear up.
Truths and Roses by Inglath Cooper (Inglath Cooper, 2011): This romance was so sweet and adorable, I didn't want to stop reading it. I could have put it down and picked it up again in the morning, but I didn't want to.
I asked folks on Twitter which books kept them up late, and it was one mammoth list—some romance, some not:
@sarrible: Courtney Milan's Unraveled (Milan, 2011)
@Virginia Kantra: The Other Guy's Bride by Connie Brockway (Amazon Montlake, 2011)
@booksmugglers: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Ecco, 2012) – “A retelling of the Iliad focusing on the romance between Achilles and Patroclus."
@katydidinoz: Thea Harrison's Dragon Bound (Berkley, 2011) and Storm's Heart (Berkley, 2011)
@KeiraSoleore: Untamed by Pamela Clare (Berkley, 2012)
@KelliBruns: Laid Bare by Lauren Dane (Berkley Trade, 2009)
@NX900: One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur, 2011)
@Smexybooks: Bad Boyfriend by K.A. Mitchell (Samhain, 2011) – "Stayed up waaayyyyy late for that one."
I started collecting all the responses using the #uplate hashtag, because the book suggestions were a great reader-recommendation list. I should have known that among readerly types, there are many books that make us stay up later than we should, just to read one more page, one more chapter. I think that happens to all of us—and it's horribly wonderful when it does.
So, which books have kept you up late?
Sarah Wendell is the co-creator, editor and mastermind of the popular romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.