27313682I’m going to admit something extremely embarrassing in this post.  Please don’t condemn or judge because I’m slowly working to overcome what I perceive as my deficiencies.  Do you ever sometimes feel like there’s unofficial “required reading” for romance?  Or maybe that you’re missing elements of romance knowledge which would enable you to be a more informed reader simply because you haven’t read certain authors or you’ve missed some of tomes that are considered “great” works?  I do and I hadn’t realized until recently just how much I’ve missed along the way and how much catch-up I still have to complete.

I’m almost embarrassed to write that in terms of big, sweeping, epic romances, I’ve managed to miss The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons.  I’ll be on the verge of taking the plunge (because I do want to read them) when I’ll read comments about their story and back out because I fear it will  be too heart-wrenching of a journey. The same applies to Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie and Claire.  While I’ve read Outlander and loved it, I can’t make myself continue yet because of the time gap.  Nor have I read Dorothy Dunnett and the Lymond Chronicles, but I plan to – very soon.  All of the above – sacrilege, I know.

Where I feel the most lacking is in the paranormal category.  Sadly, I haven’t read J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series or any Nalini Singh.   It’s not that I’ve been avoiding either of these two authors, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to fit them in.   I also haven’t read Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, and Lynn Viehl.  I’m working to correct this appalling lack of education, as sometime I really feel as though I don’t know quite enough about vampires and werewolves.  Seriously.

When it comes to romantic suspense and contemporary romances, I’ve done a smidgen  better.  Saying that however, I have to admit I haven’t read any of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, although at times I am a little relieved that I’m not addicted to this one.  Nor  have I read Jennifer Crusie or Rachel Gibson, but to my credit I have read many of Susan Elizabeth Phillips books.  However, I haven’t read any Nora Roberts (although I have read J.D. Robb) or Linda Howard.  Why?  I honestly don’t know.

Growing up, historical romances were readily available and lying around the house since my mom read them voraciously.  Because she had ‘em, I would read ‘em.  Therefore, I’ve actually got the historical category covered as I’ve read Kleypas, Putney, Balogh, Beverley, Chase, Quinn, Goodman, and a slew of others that I consider fantastic writers.  Yet again, I managed to miss some big names in romance – Amanda Quick, Connie Brockway, LaVyrle Spencer,  and Laura London.  One day, I’ll fix this too.

However, I’ve saved my biggest reveal for last.  I’ve only read one, just one, Georgette Heyer book.  Only one.

Do you ever feel that there are romance books that you need to read.  Are there any that you’ve missed that you intend to read, but just haven’t had the chance to yet?  Do you think that reviewers should read certain “unofficially required” books before reviewing?

-AAR Heather