I’m not exactly sure when I started my love for reading romance novels. The beginning might have been with Nicholas Sparks, but after 2-3 of his books I quickly realized most of the stories are predictable and carries the same plot. I remember rapidly moving on to other authors then. I think what really triggered it was when a friend gifted a Lisa Kleypas book to me back in high school then I bought a Danielle Steel hardback. Though I can no longer recall the entirety of the story and its characters, I knew that I quickly fell in love with the genre. It wasn’t until I was well into my college years that I have seemingly gotten addicted to romance novels, and frankly I’m not seeing myself stopping anytime soon.
A lot of people argue that these romance novels are skewed or unrealistic interpretation of how love is in real life. Well, yes and no. Yes, the most common ingredient in a lot of romance novels may be the seemingly perfect characters and scenarios. Handsome male leads with hot as sin bodies and really sexy, drop dead gorgeous female leads. Couple in a lot of seemingly synchronized scenarios which will lead you into thinking if the universe really worked in that way kind of thing. But I would say that a romance novel is more than just a pretty face. I think a lot of the romance books right now has evolved and matured along with their readers. They know that these common type of plots and tropes no longer work. There should be more to the story. Which leads me to my no.
No, there are a lot more to these stories than just steam and blush. I admire that more and more authors are incorporating everyday social struggles in these books for both male and female leads. Characters with real life insecurities, struggles in their career or finding their passion, their bout in moving forward from abuse and finding peace. These are just some of the issues that can be found on these stories. I also would like to commend these authors, they’re as a detailed oriented and as well researched as any writer. They take their work seriously and as much as possible they would like their stories to be as realistic as it can be (A little tip, read the acknowledgements page in these books, you’d always find them thanking experts who helped them in their research). And now, you can easily fall in love with the male and female leads not just cause of how they look like, but because of their humor and funny witty exchanges and quips. That’s why I usually frown upon people who judge readers who are proud to read romance books. There is NOTHING wrong with that. May it be historical romance, erotica, action-suspense romance, fantasy etc. Just take a look at what my good friend (and co-book addict) has to say about romance novels : Historical Romances, Apologies and Weekends
I used to say that reading romance novels is part of my guilty pleasure. But I’ve come to realize that it’s not. I shouldn’t feel guilty about it at all. I read for my own pleasure. And I read whatever my heart desires. Yes I love fiction, YA, Sci-Fi and the classics (given that I haven’t read all of them yet). But I also devour romance novels. That does not make me any less of a person or that it somehow diminishes my intelligence. I stand proud of whatever I read. Again, I READ FOR MY PLEASURE. And I will not let other people dictate otherwise.
This post is not really about me ranting…well okay maybe partially about that. But my main driving point in this post is just to share some of the most recent romance books and series that I’ve followed and come to love. I usually get tunnelled vision into one particular type of romance “sub-genre” or type once I get my hands on a really intriguing plot so I wanted to give a quick rundown of the ones that have captured my attention most recently.
Burn Trilogy – this is my first encounter with Maya Banks and it opened my eyes to more sides of the BDSM / erotica genre. I would say I like this above all of the other Maya Banks’ books with BDSM play.
KGI Series – this was the first Maya Banks series that I read which doesn’t involve BDSM or at least that wasn’t the core of the stories. I love the overprotective, honorable and heroic boys of the Kelly Group International. If there was any fictional family I would like to marry into, it would be the Kelly’s.
I also like that one of the books featured a bad-ass female sniper who can run with the boys in terms of lethal skills.
Billionaire Boys Club series – this is a sizzling series about a group of billionaires who formed a secret society which foremost goal was to strengthen each other’s empire. This in turn developed into a brotherhood stronger than any ties of blood. I love Jessica Clare’s clever writing and ingenious use and twist of the traditional love stories. She also wrote some of the most hilarious and smart not-so-damsel in distress female characters.
Corps Security Series – I admit I was in a bit of action-romance rut so this series is practically grouped together with the KGI series in my book. What really got me glued to it is how the male leads had that strong bond of brotherhood and innate sense of honor and drive to do good.
Her Russian Protector series – this was a bit of surprise to me. Given that most of the male leads are part of the Bratva or Russian mob. Still Roxie Rivera was able to write complex back stories to these characters that somehow made them more human and lovable once you get started. Yes, the plot can get a bit gray or even dark at times but certainly it presented the bratva in a particularly new light.
Crossfire series – one of my ultimate favorite romance story is that of Gideon and Eva. I think a short blurb is not enough to profess how I love this series. Sylvia Day is a master in weaving these intricate characters into one rich story.
Jodi Ellen Malpas
It was by accident that I discovered Jodi Ellen Malpas and I’m really happy that I did. Her stories are mostly set in London and as far as the two series I’ve read, her plots are different from the norm. She’s able to introduce her character without revealing too much and this mystery is what keeps you coming back for more (no pun intended hahaha).
This Man trilogy
One Night Promised trilogy
Real series – Mixed Martial Arts, rock music and intense encounters. Yes that and a whole lot more. The first book really reeled me in, how Katy Evans wrote one of the characters, Remy an MMA fighter dealing with a precarious condition is really fascinating. The strong female leads also did not disappoint.
I believe that romance novels are here to inspire. It might sound too altruistic but that’s what I get after reading them. I get inspired when characters make selfless choices and when they’re determined to bring back the pieces of their lives together. When they fight for what they believe in no matter what and that they stand for something. I think that’s what romance or any other books in general should do, move you in many ways than one.
These are just some of the romance novels that made its mark into my memory. I know there are a whole lot more that I didn’t cover but I would love to hear from you guys. Have you read any of these series? Did you love ’em or hate ’em? Let me know your thoughts! 🙂