I love Rachel Gibson. Her characters are so great that when the book is over, I wake up to a hard reality where the characters aren’t real and I can’t hang around with them anymore. Unless I read the books again… The Chinooks hockey books are my absolute favorites. The last three are so good that I read them again: True love and other disasters, Nothing but trouble, and Any Man of Mine. Visit Rachel’s website.
My romance book club discovered Julie James. And what a happy discovery! She writes these FBI/US Attorney contemporary romances that make me laugh and are emotionally satisfying. But the best part for me is her heroines. The women are powerful, strong, feminist characters who kick butt in their careers. And I don’t mind at all that her heroes feature men who are fabulously sexy and always a good match for her dynamic heroines. Visit Julie’s website.
I first met Jill Shalvis books with the Wilder Adventures. I can remember most of that first book. I liked that the heroine and the hero were each lonely, battling demons and facing their fears on their own but together they rip the Band-Aid off and face themselves. I find her characters are stripped down to a raw level where one really feels their humanity. I like the Animal Magnetism Series too and that one makes me crack up. But the Wilder Adventures are the ones that really speak to my heart. Visit Jill’s website.
Hot! Hot! Hot! Her books are steamy and her heroes are compelling, a great mixture of rugged manliness and in the case of Ben Lawson and Quinn Jennings, a sense of honor I find appealing. Her heroines are quirky and sparks fly fast in all of her books. Talk Me Down, Lead Me On, and Start Me Up. Visit Victoria’s website.
I loved her historicals, but when she wrote Blue Eyed Devil, Smooth Talking Stranger, and Sugar Daddy, I was in heaven. They feature spunky heroines and sinful manly Texan men in a sparkling backdrop of billionaires and mansions contrasted with trailer parks and class issues. The prose is fabulous, but the stories have heart and are oh so emotionally satisfying. Visit Lisa’s website.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
I smile just typing her name. Her books are a hoot. I have read them again and again. Even the ones that went out of print, like Fancy Pants. The humor is great, the heroines always have a huge path to self-actualization/ redemption and these books are packed full of great characters. I have a special spot in my heart for the Chicago Stars Books, especially the one featuring Molly Sommerville, a children’s book author — This Heart of Mine. In fact, I think I’ll go read it again right now. Visit Susan’s website.
My critique partners
I love these ladies. They have seen the best and worst of me AND my writing! They sat by my side in the hospital when my baby was struggling to live. They kept me as a critique partner for the six months I didn’t write while my son was in the ICU and the year that followed when I ran a mini-hospital/ intervention therapy clinic for him in my home. When I came out of it, they were waiting for me. And they had accomplished a lot in the mean time. I’m so proud of them.
She writes Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal Romance set in Seattle. Publishers Weekly listed her debut novel in Best Summer Reads 2012. Visit Kira’s website.
She writes contemporary paranormal romance set in the Pacific Northwest. She is a Golden Heart Finalist this year. Visit Marni’s website.
When not immersed in reading or writing contemporary romance, I also like to read:
- Vampire Academy Novels, by Richelle Mead