Books to the Sky

Archive for October 2009

I am both a romance reader and a history nerd, so you can imagine the little thrill I felt when I stumbled upon this post on Racy Romance Reviews about Kathleen Winsor, “a romance foremother,” who wrote a book that frankly sounds awesome, if only because the Massachusetts government tried to ban it.

In honor of today being Ms. Winsor’s birthday, a bunch of romance bloggers are posting their 16 favorite romance novels, so I’ve wracked my brain to come up with mine. By which I mean I logged into my Goodreads account and made a list of the romances I gave 4 or 5 stars to. I think it’s a pretty serviceable list.

In no particular order:

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (Because obviously.)

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Meyer (which is not strictly a romance, but I saw some other bloggers list it)

St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield (One of the heroes is a violinist and the other is deaf. What’s not to like? This was my introduction to a writer whose books I’ve really enjoyed.)

Faking It by Jennifer Crusie (My favorite Crusie. I figured I should pick one.)

Northern Lights by Nora Roberts (My favorite Roberts. It was one of the first of her novels that I read, so I didn’t recognize The Formula yet, but what I think makes this book stand out was the setting. It helps to read a book about Alaska during the summer, but I thought this little town was so well drawn, and all of the members of town seemed like real people.)

Lord of the Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (Oh, I love a historical with a scoundrel hero, and this is probably the best of the bunch, and it’s light-hearted and funny in a way a clever Regency should be.)

Dreaming of You by Ethan Day (The premise is a little hokey and it gets wrapped up too fast, but Day can write a protagonist that pops right off the page.)

Body Guard by Suzanne Brockmann (This is my favorite of her non-Troubleshooters books.)

Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP annoys me sometimes, but I keep going back, and I really liked this one, perhaps because it takes place mostly in Italy, and, again, the setting is really well done.)

Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen (A really interesting treatment of a gay couple in Jazz Age New York, and a really sweet romance to boot.)

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood (I love romantic suspense above all other genres, and this is a great example of it.)

The Loner by Geralyn Dawson (This was the first in a whole lot of Westerns I read this past winter, and the hero and heroine are both great in this novel.)

The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn (I like Quinn because her prose is clear and straightforward and her dialogue is witty; this is, I think, among my favorites of her books, though I have so far only gotten through the Duke and I in the Bridgerton series, so that’s subject to change)

Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwuss (More of a sentimental favorite; I do love a good epic, and this one is so hokey, but somehow it works and I enjoyed reading it.)

The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale (The h/h hardly spend any time together in this one, which makes their reunion at the end that much more delicious.)

Can I site a whole series? I love Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, among which Dark of Night is, to my mind, the best book (albeit the least romance-y). I could site a bunch of my favorites from the series here, too: Gone Too Far, Hot Target, Breaking Point, Forces of Nature, and All Through the Night.

Honorable mentions: the whole Quinn/Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts; Josh Lanyon should be on this list, but my favorites of his books are really more mysteries than romances; I had some problems with False Colors by Alex Beecroft, but I feel it’s worth mentioning just because it seems so unique: a well-written gay romance that takes place during the Age of Sail; pretty much every other Crusie book would be on my list; and Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander by Ann Herendeen, which, again, I had some problems with, but it sure made me think.


Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
--Arnold Lobel

From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
--Groucho Marx

Interested in writing for us?

We're looking for a few more people as devoted to guilty-pleasure reading as we are! Email bookssky (at) fshk (dot) net!