Confession: I’ve never watched an episode of Survivor which is uncool because my nephew by marriage Erik Reichenbach has been on the show twice. Erik is one of the loveliest men I know so this makes me feel a bit… guilty.Erik has now settled down into everyday life and is, among other things, doing something he calls Outsider Interviews. He asked me if I’d be up for chatting about romance and, duh, I said yes.

The interview is long, yes–26 freaking minutes–but is enlivened by Erik’s art which is fantabulous. Erik’s show looks at how an outsider make sense of something unfamiliar and, well, I gave him my perspective on romance. In doing so, I recommend books by Joanna Bourne, Kristan Higgins, and Loreth Anne White.

Erik asked me to suggest romances for someone who’s never read romance. I picked six:

The Drafter by Kim Harrison (for those who like gritty urban tales). In our DIK review we wrote:

The Drafter is a book that kept me glued to my iPad from start to finish, even without a clear romance arc. It’s filled with action, and I really wanted to know what would become of Peri. Would she triumph over everyone who yearned for her downfall? Finding the answer was an exhilarating journey, one I urge fans of action-packed fiction to undertake.


Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (for those who love graphic novels). In our DIK review we wrote:

Alex + Ada has been around for a few years, but this new omnibus is the first to put the entire story in one volume. You can also buy it in three separate, smaller paperback versions if you prefer. If you’re looking for a gift for a sci-fi/comics nerd, male or female, and romance fan or not, I highly recommend this book.


 

Dark Horse by Michelle Diener (for those who love sci-fi). In our DIK review we wrote:

The romance here is slow and subtle and perfect. I loved how Rose and Dav built carefully on the chemistry between them and developed a strong relationship. I loved too how they dealt with the issue of Sazo and his effect on them as a couple. It was an interesting and important part of the plot and I was impressed by how it was handled.


Firestorm by Rachel Grant (for those who love suspense). In our DIK review we wrote:

This is one high-octane, high-stakes ride; steamy, complex, intricately plotted, politically astute and emotionally fraught, Firestorm is easily one of the best romantic suspense novels I’ve read in ages and Ms. Grant is clearly an author at the top of her game.


Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas (for those who love history). In our DIK review we wrote:

Not Quite a Husband has everything I want from a romance (well, except a map …): Delightful but flawed characters I love and can identify with, luscious prose, an interesting setting, and a romance that touches my heart. I can’t recommend it enough, and am looking forward very much to Sherry Thomas’s next book.


Famous by Jenny Holiday (for those who love Taylor Swift, modern life, and the ways in which we are all trying to make it work). In our DIK review we wrote:

There are about seven hundred small moments to adore in this book, but the thing I loved the most was that it’s grounded in reality. Emerson’s pain is evident and so relatable – she’s a young woman who has let other people define her for far too long. Her time in Iowa reminds her who Emmy is as a woman and who she wants to be, and allows her to separate that from the public ideation of Emerson. Who among us has not had that same journey, albeit perhaps not on the cover of People and in the full glare of the media spotlight? Evan has been taught through a lot of life experience not to trust people and his choice to not only let Emmy in, but to allow her to open up his world is charming to watch. They are fully formed folks who could continue to operate without each other, but are so much better as a team. My, what a lovely thing to read.