Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making Recommendations Part I: The Best Place to Start

I have been making a lot of book recommendations since starting this blog. Hardly a day goes by now without someone asking me what books to read, and in what order to read them. It seems to me like there is a romance novel lover inside of everyone just dying to get out. And it makes my heart simply sing.

And every time I get the question "what should I read?" I do the same thing. I stand in front of my overflowing bookshelves, looking at each book in turn. I think for awhile about the person. Because if she is a practical sort, I certainly can't recommend my beloved Nora Roberts Key Trilogy, chock full of gods, goddesses, fantasy and magic. Well, actually, I usually do suggest this trilogy (i can't help it, they are Nora's best female characters), but with a disclaimer, lest the inquirer judge the entire genre based on a single book.

But there are certain books, certain amazing books, that I would recommend to absolutely everyone. 

So, in a nod to these inquiries, and as a tool for those of you who might be afraid to ask, I have categorized my romance novel collection on the pages of this blog. There are books for every mood, appetite and preference, and you will invariably find something on these lists to suit you. Some books belong in more than one category, but I have put them where I think they most appropriately belong. Not every romance novel I have read is represented here, just the ones nearest and dearest to me. Where the books belong to a series, I listed the series in order with publication dates, in case any of you are as obsessive compulsive as I am when it comes to reading books in order.

There are obviously way too many books in my collection for a single post, so every Thursday for the next few weeks I will post a different list, giving you ample time to plan your weekend reading, if you so choose. I start today with the best books to read to start your romance novel exploration, and end in a few weeks with the most fantastical of romance novels (think witches, wizards, time travel, ghosts, and the like). 

You may be saying I have too much time on my hands. Well, the opposite is actually true. But my love for romance novels, and my desire to share them, knows no bounds. 

Enjoy the lists. I hope they help you find your heart's desire.


If you are new to romance novels, today's books are, in my opinion, the best place to start. If you have been reading romance for awhile but have never read these? Well, I say its time to go back to the beginning and fill in the gaps. Within the pages of these books are some of my most beloved characters, my favorite families, love stories that warm my soul, and gloriously happy endings. I have read each and every one of these book many, many times. I hope you love them just as much as I do. 

The Best Place to Start

The Chicago Stars Series - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Meet Phoebe Sommerville, the glamorous owner of the Stars, Chicago's second NFL team; Phoebe's feisty sister Molly; Molly's best friend Annabelle Granger; Stars coach Dan Calebow; players Bobby Tom Denton, Cal Bonner, Kevin Tucker and Dean Robillard, among others; sports agent Health Champion, and many more. These delightfully vivid characters twist and wind their way through each other's lives with heart, love, and snappy dialogue to boot.

The Books
It Had to Be You (1994)
Heaven Texas (1995)
Nobody's Baby But Mine (1997)
Dream a Little Dream (1998)
This Heart of Mine (2001)
Match Me If You Can (2005)
Natural Born Charmer (2007)

The Brides Quartet - Nora Roberts
Best friends Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker grew up playing "wedding day," and now own and operate Vows, a premier Connecticut wedding planning company. Throughout this series, these four amazing women work together, support each other, and learn to trust their own hearts when love finds each of them, in turn, in quite unexpected ways.

The Books
Vision in White (2009)
Bed of Roses (2009)
Savor the Moment (2010)
Happy Ever After (2010)

The Templetons - Nora Roberts
Margo Sullivan, Kate Powell and Laura Templeton grew up together, close as sisters, in Templeton House on the breathtaking cliffs of the California Coast. As children they shared fun, games and stories. Now, as adults, they share beautiful dreams of love, happiness and family.

The Books
Daring to Dream (1996)
Holding the Dream (1997)
Finding the Dream (1997)

The Quinn Brothers - Nora Roberts
Brothers Cam, Ethan and Phillip Quinn return to Maryland's eastern shore to honor their father's last wish; to raise and protect Seth, the newest Quinn boy. The four brothers learn to live together, and love each other, in the face of tremendous adversity, and along the way, each finds his own peace, and his own happy ending.

The Books
Sea Swept (1998)
Rising Tides (1998)
Inner Harbor (1999)
Chesapeake Blue (2004)

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