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How many of you have heard of Read a Romance Month (RARM)? It’s a wonderful site that hosts three posts a day from authors and bloggers, giving their recommendations of books to read.
I was so delighted to find out that one of my all-time favorite authors, Anne Calhoun, is recommending my books in her post on Monday! This is a huge deal to me, because Anne’s books are my go-to books when I need smart erotic romance with unfathomable depth. Thank you so much, Anne!
Bobbi Dumas, the founder of RARM, asked if I would like to write a post of my own on this year’s theme, The Joy of Romance, and include my own author recommendations. There are also some questions that all the authors are being asked to answer, so you’ll see mine below. Plus, I’m doing a giveaway. More on that later!
The joy of romance
For me, the most joyful moments come during times of pain or struggle. After all, if your life is chugging along just fine and something wonderful happens, it never feels quite as wonderful as it really is. It’s almost expected, like a neat little bonus.
But when you’re really struggling, when simply getting out of bed seems like a triumphant feat, and then something wonderful happens…it can make all the difference in the world.
Throughout my life, romance novels have been a way of battling depression. I first discovered romance novels when I was about 11. I had very few friends (actually, only one, a girl who was probably also suffering from depression, though we never spoke about it), and life seemed dark. I mostly read fiction that featured the occult. Then a box of Harlequin Presents showed up on my doorstep. I have no idea how I ended up on their mailing list, but I read the first book and I was hooked. They introduced me to a glitzy, glamorous life and gave me hope that being a grown-up would be better than being 11. They were right. (No amount of money in the world would convince me to go back and be 11 again. Give me mortgage payments and job stress any day!)
Since then, I’ve battled my way through several periods of darkness and anxiety, and reading romance has never failed to calm my out-of-control brain. I’m not sure how to describe it other than this: Beautifully written romance novels — the kind that make your heart bleed for the characters — take me away from my own life’s stress. They remind me that triumph over adversity is not only possible; it is joyful.
One of my all-time favorite reviews of one of my books says, “I absolutely love the characters that Kat Latham writes… They are broken but not beaten” (Fiction Fangirls on One Night with Her Bachelor). That statement means so much to me because those are exactly the kinds of characters I love reading about. My author recommendations below are people who write the kinds of books I love, with characters who are broken but not beaten. I hope you read and enjoy them!
Anne Calhoun is absolutely amazing and always at the top of my recommended authors to read. They’re sexy, smart and emotional. I can’t get enough of them.
Molly O’Keefe writes books that make me so jealous. Every time I finish reading one, I think, “I wish I could write like that!”
Alison Packard‘s Feeling the Heat is one of my all-time favorite sports romance series. If you haven’t read her books, you absolutely must!
I would read absolutely anything Sarah Mayberry writes, even a grocery list. Her characters are so real and their struggles are wonderfully rooted in real-life problems. I absolutely adore her books!
If you love historical romance, Rose Lerner‘s books are amazing. Her stories are always unique, with storylines unlike anything I’ve read elsewhere. Her research is impeccable, making her books richly detailed.
Cecilia Grant is another historical romance author whose books shine a light on the intensely emotional possibilities of life’s small decisions. Though her characters’ world is far removed from my own, Cecilia Grant always draws out their humanness in ways I can not only relate to but feel deep empathy for.
Laura Kinsale‘s books feature such wonderful adventures that I can read them over and over again. They are brilliantly unusual, full of sensuality and creativity. Rereading her books has helped me stay calm through several bouts of anxiety.
There are so many more authors I love, but I’ll leave it there for now. That should fill up your ereaders!
1 – Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.
The moment I finally realized I was pregnant with my first child. We’d tried for two and a half years to get pregnant, and we were in the process of starting infertility investigations. The doctor had explained that it could be up to a year before we even started treating any problems they might find, and I was heartbroken. I sat in her office sobbing, thinking that medical intervention was our only option. It turned out that I was actually a few days pregnant but didn’t know it. A couple of weeks later, I missed my period but I didn’t believe the positive pregnancy tests. My brain was so conditioned to cope with not being pregnant that it didn’t seem to understand what the little blue line meant (plus, the test’s instructions were in Dutch and there weren’t any helpful illustrations). My husband had to convince me I was actually pregnant. It took three days. We were lying in the park on a hot August day, and my body started feeling strange. A little nauseated. A lot excited. And I turned to my husband and said, “I think I’m pregnant.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, I think you are too.”
2 – Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.
La Jolla, California. During summer vacations, my mom used to take me and my brother to the La Jolla Cove, a beautiful nature preserve with loads of sea lions and caves. My husband and I got married in La Jolla. It’s gorgeous and relaxing and full of good restaurants.
3 – Tell us about a sound that brings you joy (or a memory attached to sound — music, laughter, wind chimes… ?)
My daughter’s laugh.
4 – What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?
Anna Richland’s His Road Home. I read it last weekend, and I already know I’ll never forget it.
5 – And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~ Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?)
Okay, this is a little embarrassing, but I’ve only heard of Christopher Plummer and Chris Rock. I’m really out of touch with American pop culture! Plus, I always find celebrities disappointing, so I’m going to choose none of the above. Instead I’ll go with my best friend from high school, Christine, who is still a wonderful friend more than two decades after we met.
I’m giving two winners their choice of an ebook from one of the authors I mention above. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter. Leave a comment on this blog post, either answering one of the questions above or:
1) What kind of romance novels bring you joy?
2) What romance authors would you recommend reading during Read a Romance Month?