We’re midway through January 2022, and I still feel like I’m playing catch-up from 2021. Who’s with me? The “Quickie” TBR theme was exactly what I needed because my brain just doesn’t have bandwidth for more. I used this month to try a novella from a 2019 trilogy I’ve been meaning to read while Caz went for some suspense in the novella she selected. Both ended up being solid reads. […]
I’ve read, according to my Goodreads profile, 47 books this year. Six of them have been contemporary romances and while I’ve enjoyed a few of them, none of them wowed. Two, I could barely get through. It’s possible I’m too old and cranky for modern romance, but, heavens, I hope not.
I used to love contemporary romance so, hit me up. What are the best contemporary romances you’ve read recently?
Sometimes in doing the TBR Challenge, we learn more about our reading habits than we realized. Since the May TBR Challenge prompt is contemporary romance, I went combing through my stacks – and came up almost empty. Most of the single title contemporaries I buy are books that I want to read right that minute, so they tend not to linger in the TBR. After dithering a bit, I settled on Irene Brand’s 2008 release, Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska. I remembered liking a few of Brand’s inspie romances when I was about twelve, so I decided to give this a whirl.
My twelve-year-old self might have enjoyed this book, but as an adult? Um…train-wreck would be a good term to use here. I actually read it in one sitting, but as I read, […]
Under the Lights by Shannon Stacey
Do you like small town romances set in towns that feel like they actually could exist? If so, you should try reading Shannon Stacey if you haven’t discovered her already. For this month’s multiblog TBR Challenge, I decided to read her 2015 novel, Under the Lights, first in the Boys of Fall series.
When I talk about small towns that feel real, the setup of this book hints at it. Stewart Mills is not an idyllic little town with financially secure residents shopping in cute, trendy businesses who seemingly do not need to worry about money or deal with commuting to larger cities. In fact, we learn right away that this small New England town has fallen on hard times and may need to cut one of its social staples, the high school football […]
Today we’re talking with Julie Anne Long. Wild at Whiskey Creek, the second book in her contemporary series Hellcat Canyon, releases on the 29th of this month. Here’s the blurb:
Everyone knows the Greenleaf family puts the “Hell” in Hellcat Canyon—legend has it the only way they ever leave is in a cop car or a casket. But Glory Greenleaf has a different getaway vehicle in mind: her guitar. She has a Texas-sized talent and the ambition (and attitude) to match, but only two people have ever believed in her: her brother, who’s in jail, and his best friend . . . who put him there.
Sheriff Eli Barlow has secretly been in love with Glory since he was twelve years old. Which is how he knows her head is as hard as her heart is soft—and why she can’t forgive him for […]
Our reviewer Haley enjoyed the first book in Katee Robert’s O’Malleys series, The Marriage Contract (her review is here). The second one, The Wedding Pact, comes out next week. Ms. Robert’s kind publicist gave us this sneak peak excerpt.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
It’s always a bit of a scramble for me to find a contemporary romance for this prompt, because I don’t read them very often and don’t own many. And I like to choose my challenge books from books I already have, as buying something new rather defeats the object of the exercise! Fortunately, I found Sarah Mayberry’s Her Best Worst Mistake among my Kindle books; I know she’s a popular and highly-rated author, so that was it, job done and choice made.
The story is pretty much a classic enemies-to-lovers one, which is a trope I enjoy when it’s done well – and that’s certainly the case here. But even in a relatively small page count (170 pages), the author has done more than simply write a couple that gripes, snipes and then falls into bed with each other; she’s fleshed out both protagonists in such a […]
Reading (or writing) a small town series is like going on a family vacation. You know how you load into the car, going back to the same spot year after year? It’s a getaway where you kind of know what you’re getting into: same beautiful setting, same favorite spots, at least a few familiar faces. Happy memories. An almost-guaranteed good time.
The thing is, you don’t want to settle for doing the same thing all the time.
When my husband and I were first married, I dragged the poor guy to New England every summer to spend a week with my family. Because what could be more romantic than vacationing with the in-laws on Cape Cod, where the water reaches a balmy 56 degrees in July?
My husband was game, but he didn’t really get the appeal. His dad, a career Sergeant Major stationed at Camp Lejeune, used to take him fishing […]
One of the things I like in a good contemporary romance is how real the characters feel. In a contemporary, the setting is familiar and the technology and manners and culture are all familiar, so I can sink into the characters and the story. Everything about the book feels like it could be happening down the street from me. It’s this quality that pulled me into Harlequin Superromances to begin with and it’s something I strive for in my novels.
The trick is to make a setting feel like it could be happening next door to me and next door to you and next door to a reader halfway around the world while still making the book feel like it’s set in a real place, rather than a generic Every Town. The realness of the setting helps the […]
For April’s TBR Challenge read, I dove into one of my RWA book boxes in search of a contemporary, and came up with Elisabeth Barrett’s Long Simmering Spring. This novel is a 2013 Loveswept that simmered quite a while, but never did come to a boil. For the first time in a long while, I found myself with a DNF on my hands.
Haunted by memories from the war in Afghanistan, Cole Grayson is now home in Star Harbor. Star Harbor is a small New England town, so guess who’s the sheriff? That’s right – Cole has his demons to wrestle but he’s been cleared for law enforcement duty. To be fair, Cole’s brothers also have books in this series and they can’t all be the sheriff, so if you read more by Barrett, you’ll get some non-sheriff, small town romance.
Once back in Star Harbor, Cole finds himself […]