I posted an amusing graphic in the Read-A-Romance Book Club Facebook page yesterday with this fab quote from Lemony Snicket:

“It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.”

I always feel this way—and I’m sure you do too! So many books, never enough time….

I am happy to say that in the past few weeks I’ve read or listened to a few titles that were big checks off my “I’ve been meaning to read this” list, and wow, were these worth the wait!

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I’ve been hearing great things about Sarina Bowen for a while now. In RARM 2015, I can’t count how many authors recommended her, and you know that makes for some must-read books, when a bunch of authors you love love an author.

Rookie This month, Bowen released Rookie Move, the first book in a new hockey series that spins off her popular New Adult series, the Ivy Years. Rookie Move is terrific, and the author lives up to the hype. (A nice Kirkus review too.) I also had the chance to listen to The Year We Fell Down, one of the Ivy titles that includes a physically challenged heroine—who suffered a spinal injury in a hockey accident—and her hero who is also a (temporarily injured) hockey player, but takes a long time to figure out he loves her. Bowen’s a really great writer, and I look forward to reading more hockey books. This series looks to give Molly O’Keefe’s Crooked Creek Ranch books— which also have a hockey theme—a run for their money, and they are some of my favorites! 

(Speaking of Molly O’Keefe, it looks like she has a free novella up now, The Heart Of It. I’d happily read anything she writes, so check it out!)

I’ve mentioned J.R. Ward’s fantastic Bourbon Kings before, and I finally caught up with Book 2, The Angel’s Share. I have read a number of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, and I’ve always agreed that she’s one of the greats in romance. But, in general, I’m not a huge vampire fan, so I was excited when I heard she was going in a new contemporary direction with this series. Oh my, it’s even better than I expected! This is one rich but damaged family, and when their father—who’s a first class, ummm, jerk, shall we say? And you can insert some choicer vocabulary—dies unexpectedly and under mysterious circumstances, their world goes topsy-turvy.

There’s possible murder and a legacy family who has to figure out how to save themselves, physically, emotionally, legally, and financially.  And friends, the writing in these is lush, smooth, and Southern.

The series is a sprawling, epic family drama, the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. In the hands of master storyteller Ward, the books are impossible to put down. I simply gobbled up Angel’s Share and once again am distressed that I have to wait who knows how long until Book 3 - The Devil’s Cut. (I’ll survive somehow.)

Truly a delicious read.

I’m also a fan of Nalini Singh, another paranormal romance superstar I enjoy—Changelings are okay, but Arrows and Psy totally hit my awesome buttons! Again, though, I was curious to see how she would navigate contemporary storytelling. Short answer: Quite well!

Rock Addiction I recently listened to Rock Addiction, Book 1 in her Rock Kiss series, which revolves around a globally popular rock band. It was seriously hot, but, not surprisingly, also hit some delectable romance high notes. (And the heroine is a librarian! A rock star and a librarian. Who can resist that?!)

Finally, this summer, Eloisa James released an “Official Companion Guide” for her popular Essex Sisters series.  This looks like a treasure trove of fun! According to her website, it includes historical essays on fashion, newspapers, gambling, theater, etc.; an essay on the conception and execution of the series from a writer’s perspective; a new Essex novella, and more. (Read more about it on her site page.)

I listened to Much Ado About You, the first Essex Sisters title, a few weeks ago, and just started Kiss Me, Annabel this week.

I’d never read these before, so maybe I’ll have some time to dive into the Companion Guide once I’ve finished them. That will be a nice distraction until James’ next release, Seven Minutes in Heaven, shows up in January.

So what are you reading these days?