We’re going to do Book Club again this year, and with a little more formality than last year’s when I just needed all of you to read Station Eleven RIGHT NOW and come talk to me about it. We’re starting with Romance, but other Book Club Reads will be Sci-fi, Young Adult, and Classics with film adaptations in June, September, and December respectively.
I’ve decided to start with a genre that is comfortable for me. For those of you who consider yourself romance readers, hopefully there’s something here that strikes your fancy and for those of you who aren’t normally romance readers, perhaps now is a great time to dip your toe in and see how it goes (like Halbs did last year – but hopefully with better results!).
Based on some informal polls, what’s popular around the Cannonball, and consulting the NPR 100 Swoon Worthy Romance, and Romance Novels for Feminists Best of 2015 list I‘ve come up with a list of choices. Hopefully there are a variety of options for rereading or diving into classic series, the classics themselves, something new or contemporary, some feminist choices, and just things that look fun. Please click on the link below to vote on the poll, ONLY VOTES ON THE POLL WILL COUNT (voting is now closed). Please find a selection of options, each marked with its genre (classic, historical, contemporary, fantasy) and a brief synopsis (usually from Goodreads).
The winner will be announced on Monday January 25th, 2016 and our Discussion post will be published on March 1st in order to give everyone a chance to read. Like last year, I will be posting discussion topics about 2 weeks in advance, so keep your eyes peeled for those in mid-February.
Here are your Cannonball Book Club Reads Romance options:
Loretta Chase, Dukes Prefer Blondes (Dressmakers #4, Historical)
- Desperate to be something more than ornamental, Clara Fairfax escapes to her favorite charity. When a child is in trouble, she turns to tall, dark, and annoying barrister Oliver Radford. Though he’s unexpectedly found himself in line to inherit a dukedom, Radford’s never been part of fashionable society, and the blonde beauty, though not entirely bereft of brains, isn’t part of his plans. But Clara overwhelms even his infallible logic, and when wedlock looms, all he can do is try not to lose his head over her.
Sonali Dev, The Bollywood Bride (Romance Novels for Feminists Best of 2015, Contemporary)
- In rich, lyrical prose, Dev tells the story of a Bollywood star who, as a young girl, broke with her first love out of fear of the illness she might one day inherit via her unstable mother, and who now find herself once again in his orbit years later during the marriage festivities of their mutual friend. Rather than glorify female self-sacrifice, as so many romances do, Dev’s tale insists that self-sacrifice is in many ways the coward’s way out, a running away not only from one’s problems, but from one’s true self.
Rhys Ford, Fish and Ghosts (Hellsinger #1, Sci-fi /fantasy, M/M)
- When his Uncle Mortimer died and left him Hoxne Grange, the family’s Gilded Age estate, Tristan Pryce knew he wasn’t going to have an easy time of it. He was to be the second generation of Pryces to serve as a caretaker for the estate, a way station for spirits on their final steps to the afterlife. The ghosts were the simple part. He’d been seeing boo-wigglies since he was a child. No, the difficult part was his own family. Determined to establish Tristan’s insanity, his loving relatives hire Dr. Wolf Kincaid and his paranormal researchers, Hellsinger Investigations, to prove the Grange is not haunted.
Georgette Heyer, Venetia. (NPR Top 100, Classic)
- Her beauty rivaled only by her sensibility, Ventia Lanyon is nearly resigned to spinsterhood, thanks to the enormous amount of responsibility she inherited with a Yorkshire estate, an invalid brother and the lackluster efforts of two wearisomely persistent suitors. Then she meets her neighbor, the infamous Lord Dameral, a charming rake shunned by polite society — exactly the type of man that a woman of quality should stay away from . . .
Elle Kennedy The Deal, (Off Campus #1, Contemporary, New Adult)
- Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
Julie Anne Long, Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green #1, NPR Top 100, Historical)
- Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary. Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin’s vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth.
Sarah Maclean, A Rogue by Any Other Name (Rules of Scoundrels #1, NPR Top 100, Historical)
- A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury. Penelope has little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.
Courtney Milan, The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister #1, NPR Top 100, Historical)
- Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly–so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention. But that is precisely what she gets. Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…
Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars #6, NPR Top 100, Contemporary)
- Annabelle’s endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town. Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?
Don’t forget to vote in upcoming Book Club Reads!
P.S. the affiliate link above is for a collection of Classic Love Poems read by Richard Armitage. I reviewed it last year, in case you were curious.