Three Cheers for Category Romance
It is no secret that I love romance novels. I started reading Harlequins when I was 13, eventually branching out to longer romance novels and then the subgenres of romance as time went on. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve read a lot of category romance.
That changed this week as I experienced the next step in the Uterus Chronicles (Episode 3, not yet written). After surgery, in the hospital, the first day I couldn’t do much but deal with the waves of pain and the waves of pain relief in the form of Percocet. Once my vision settled down though (everything rolled upwards – impossible to read the entire first day), I was ready to be entertained.
Though my hubby was ready and willing to entertain me, my brain wasn’t really in a chatty mood so I turned to the stack of category novels I’d brought with me. About half of them I’d picked up at the Romance Writers of America Conference in late July.
They were perfect. Fast reads, just detailed enough to drag me out of my circumstances, and yet short enough to give me a sense of accomplishment when I was done. I don’t remember when I read what, but from Wednesday through Friday, I read nine category-length novels. (There was no way in hell I was able to put my own words on paper; this seemed to be the next best thing.)
Here’s a sampling of what I read:
Night After Night by Kathy Lyons , Harlequin Blaze April 2012
I picked this up at conference the night of the booksigning. I’d met Kathy Lyons at RT in Anaheim 2011, and found her to be a hoot and a half. I’d nabbed one of her plastic cell phone holders, and use it every day at the day job, so I had to tell her about it. That she writes for Blaze is a bonus. (And I bumped into Brenda Chin while talking to Kathy, so that was fun!)
The novel? Loved it. An intriguing premise of two strangers sharing intimate dreams, which freaks out our sexy military hero; outside of sex, what secrets is he unknowingly sharing as he sleeps? Our heroine is no slouch in the dream department; nor is she a “typical” heroine, in that she has real physical issues. This novel weaves to a very satisfying, very romantic ending.
Tall, Dark & Reckless by Heather MacAllister Harlequin Blaze, July 2012
I started reading this one prior to surgery, and didn’t finish it until a couple of days later, so it took me a bit to get back into the rhythm of it. That said, I enjoyed it. Mark’s a journalist who tends to go with his gut (i.e., get a bit reckless in the field). Piper is a compatibility expert hired to find the perfect partner for Mark. Now, any reader of category knows these two will get together in the end. What was interesting was HOW they got past all their barriers to accept they belonged together.
This novel had the danger element in a Mexican drug trafficker that Mark needs to put down. While it wasn’t military, it had a military – or at least special ops – feel to it. Putting Piper in with a guy like Mark felt kinda like Carrie Bradshaw showing up in a Mission Impossible movie. Well, not really, but I had my doubts going into it. The writing, however, made everything work, so Kudos to Heather!
More Than He Expected by Andrea Laurence Harlequin Desire, July 2012
Another book I picked up at RWA 2012, I must say this book charmed the socks off me. Who wouldn’t love a playboy who melts, gets all protective and aroused around a pregnant woman? And not just any pregnant woman, but the one he had a no-strings-attached affair with, 8 months ago? Alex the wealthy, hardworking playboy and Gwen the nurse are two wonderful characters, and their story is a delight to read.
The baby isn’t his (but I can’t say more). As these two renew their acquaintance at a house party in the Hamptons, sparks fly, and it only takes a few days for love to flare between them. After I finished it, I put this book down with a happy sigh. Well-written, it evokes a lifestyle I’ve envied, and I truly enjoyed watching Gwen get pampered and Alex losing his heart to her.
Exquisite Acquisitions by Charlene Sands Harlequin Desire, August 2012
This book has a little bit of everything in it that I love. Auction houses, New York City, Hollywood, Cowboys, huge cattle ranches. Wealthy rancher Carter McCay hits up the auction house to buy one of the famous Tarlington diamond rings. He gets one ring, but not the girl…Macy Tarlington just wants to hide, and grieve, until the hoopla around the auction of her legendary actress mother’s things dies down.
Carter rescues Macy from a flock of paparazzi and invites her to escape to Wild River Ranch. She accepts this offer from a stranger, and both of their lives are changed forever. This is a jewel of a book, filled with surprises and delights as well as two strong main characters. I enjoyed every inch of their romance.
At a time when I was in and out of pain, when my brain cells were still shaking off anesthesia and I didn’t want to talk or watch TV but was desperate for a way out of my own head, category romance came to my rescue. There is just no way I could have followed bigger stories set on other planets (for instance) with multiple characters – my brain couldn’t have, WOULDN’T have, been able to process it.
My thanks and gratitude to all category writers everywhere.
Do you read category romance? Do you have a favorite line?
Thanks for stopping by!