This winter I’ve become fascinated by the Danish concept of hygge, or coziness. Growing up in Maine, curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book was how I kept my sanity with three feet of snow on the ground. It turns out the Danish had a very similar idea. Even though I’m spending the winter in Florida this year, I still love books that inspire a feeling of coziness. Here are four novels that have made me feel cozy and warm inside even if it was miserable outside. Continue reading “4 Cozy Romances to Read Before Spring”
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1) The Power of His Touch by Alaina Stanford
Word Count: 42,180
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
The longer angels tread on the face of the earth the more susceptible they become to mortal emotion.
Rafi discovers a demon plot to release a pandemic in a large metropolitan city. Disguised as an agent of the World Health Organization Rafi searches for the source. When he meets a young biochemist name Sophia at the center of the pandemic everything changes. Rafi is quickly torn between his divine mission and his growing feelings for Sophia. Dare he give into the temptations of love with millions of lives at risk?
2) Vengeance’s Fire by Alaina Stanford
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural
Word Count: 53,630
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.31 out of 5 stars
3) The First Bite Is the Deepest by Elisa Catrina
Genre: Supernatural, New Adult
Word Count: 89,630
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.83 out of 5 stars
What starts as a quirky send-up of vampire romance quickly turns sinister. Stella and her friends find themselves pitted against not only Sebastian but his entire family–a cadre of supernatural predators determined to keep the secret of their existence from spreading any further.
Sometimes, breakups really are a matter of life and death.
4) They Are In Love Again by Becky Harris
Word Count: 11,630
This book is not yet rated on Goodreads.
Emma and Brody had been friends since they were in Kindergarten. When high school rolled around their feelings for each other turned into something more than just friendship. Their love was fast and furious, just like their relationship. All was going perfectly until an accident struck Brody’s family. His brother had been in a fatal car accident with a drunk driver.
Struck by the tragedy, Brody turned to alcohol. When Emma found out she immediately confronted him. The confrontation immediately went south when Brody lashed out at her. It severed their relationship separating them for four years.
At Emma’s graduation, she stumbles into him. As soon as their eyes meet the feelings rush back. When Brody asks Emma for a second chance she can’t help, but give it. Though it comes with a few stumbles along the way they pick up right where they left off.
5) Fallen Hero by Lorhainne Eckhart
Genre: Contemporary, Western
Word Count: 44,360
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.21 out of 5 stars
Buy Fallen Hero now and 41 percent of your purchase will be donated to the Malala Fund to help girls around the world get a quality education.
A cowboy who walked away from his family’s fortune. A woman who returned for justice. What they didn’t expect was to find love.
“When life deals an innocent a bad hand it isn’t’ surprising when they want revenge. This story handles the situation in a simple fashion. Turning anger and distrust into love. Well written, and a story which leaves you wanting to read more about this family.” Voracious Reader
6) A Vow of Love, A Friessen Family Christmas by Lorhainne Eckhart
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, New Adult
Word Count: 45,850
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.18 out of 5 stars
Sometimes families need a helping hand…
Holidays are about family, love, and giving, but this Christmas The Friessens are in for a rough holiday season.
Thirteen days before Christmas, In the mail, a letter arrives that was never meant for Candy Friessen. It is for her husband Neil, and when she opens it, she discovers a lie that rocks her world. And she begins to question everything they created together, including his love for her and their family.
Seven days before Christmas, Even though her heart is breaking she considers leaving. She makes plans until a call one night alerts all the Friessens that Becky Friessen, their mother is in the hospital fighting for her life. And without a second thought, the entire Friessen clan is on a plane to her bedside. Faced with uncertainty Brad, Neil, Jed, and their wives are together for Christmas, but there’s no happy celebration, and gifts piled under the tree.
And for Candy and Neil, once trust is destroyed, is a family bond strong enough to make a difference?
7) A Different Kind of Love by Lorhainne Eckhart
8) The Two Schillings by Anthony O’Brien
Word Count: 183,680
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33 out of 5 stars
The 100 Years War has torn both England & France. King Henry IV is on the throne newly taken and his son Harry of Monmouth, soon to be Henry the V is up to his legendary deeds.
This epic centers around a stalwart young man, Adrian, trained in the art of war, but not in the art of love. Honor is paramount and heartbreak is imminent. His first love, Victoria Marie becomes his study in both.
9) Nelly by Nora A.M. Crown
Word Count: 15,620
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
London 1923: Nelly is an upper class successful single independent professional woman in her early thirties who needs to find Henry, the man who is behind her family’s tragedy and has tarnished their reputation. Henry holds the key to her past and is her only link to finding her last living relative.
Her journey leads her on a quest of self-discovery and triumph as she learns to overcome her feelings of guilt and inadequacy. But one more obstacle threatens her happiness. She learns that the man she loves follows his own agenda as she makes a startling discovery about his past and an unimaginable commonality that they share… Can she forgive him in order to find trust and happiness once more?
10) Johnnie’s Girl By Harma-Mae Smit
Word Count: 8,530
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.33 out of 5 stars
Johnnie Reynolds has a starring role in his own life. Debbie MacDonald is his leading lady. And Cricket is destined to be the sidekick – forever watching his best friend’s glamorous life from the sidelines.
So when Cricket falls for Debbie MacDonald, he knows it’s hopeless to compete against Johnnie’s movie stardom, looks and charm. Until the day Johnnie suggests Cricket take Debbie out on the town in his place, as he’s managed to double-book himself for the evening. Debbie charmingly doesn’t mind any of the usual mishaps Cricket encounters when he does his best to take Johnnie’s place. And Cricket starts to wish he wasn’t the sidekick of this show, but the star…
Follow the ups and downs of the lives of two aspiring movie stars and the girl they both love, during the dawn of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
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There’s nothing better than waking up feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep. Of course, it’s impossible to feel that way when you’ve been tossing and turning, unable to stop thinking about an intense project or work or the dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen.
One good way to help clear your mind and prepare yourself for sleep is to put the phone away, shut down the computer and read before bed with a nice cup of herbal tea. Here are three romance novels that will relax you without keeping you up reading into the wee hours of the morning.
1) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
Page Count: 277
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.12 out of 5 stars
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
This book is like comfort food for the soul. I loved reading it so much that I rated it 5 stars on Goodreads. While it is entertaining and elegantly written, the action is subdued because it is told through letters and we do not see it first hand. That makes it easy reading to calm you down and help you sleep.
2) Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnea Sinclair
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 447 pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.63 out of 5 stars
After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit-nd shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.
Gabriel Sullivan– alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom– for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line-but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.
While this book has a lot of action, the sexual tension between Gabriel and Chaz will give you some very sweet dreams and certainly chase thoughts of dirty dishes away. The love and devotion Gabriel has for Chaz will comfort and relax you as you prepare for sleep.
Born in Fire by Nora Roberts
Page Count: 416
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.21 out of 5 stars
The eldest Concannon sister, Maggie, is a reclusive, stubborn and free-spirited glassmaker—with a heart worth winning.
Margaret Mary is a glass artist with an independent streak as fierce as her volatile temper. Hand-blowing glass is a difficult and exacting art, and while she may produce the delicate and the fragile, Maggie is a strong and opinionated woman, a Clare woman, with all the turbulence of that fascinating west country.
One man, Dublin gallery owner Rogan Sweeney, has seen the soul in Maggie’s art, and vows to help her build a career. When he comes to Maggie’s studio, her heart is inflamed by their fierce attraction—and her scarred past is slowly healed by love…
Nora Roberts always has cozy romances will put a smile on your face before you fall asleep. While Maggie has a fiery temper, she will not keep you up at night. The action is subdued with the main story being the love story between Maggie and Rogan. This book will leave dreaming of Ireland and local artists.
What are your favorite nighttime reads? Let me know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to like my Facebook page so you won’t miss an exciting giveaway I’m announcing on November 1st.
Public transportation is a great way to save money and save the environment. But it’s also boring as hell and takes forever compared to cars. In my town, taking the bus is equal to driving a car two miles an hour.
It’s really tempting to pass the hours mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed, but should you really spend more time in front of an electronic screen when your work day probably already forces you to spend hours on a computer? Not to mention it drains your phone battery, eats up data, and isn’t so much fun so much a way to numb the discomfort of sitting next to someone who smells like an ashtray.
Instead of stalking your middle school bully online, take some time for yourself with one of these 5 romance novels perfect for commuting. Not only will they leave you thoroughly entertained, but you will be supporting your local community when you buy them at your local bookstore.
1) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander“–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.
Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
Even if you watch the TV show, you should still read the books. Outlander is full of plot twists, action, and steamy sex scenes that will keep you entertained no matter where you are. The book is also really long so it will last you for several commutes before you have to choose another book. However, the paperback copies are still small enough to fit in your backpack, briefcase, or an oversized purse. The Outlander books are my go-to for traveling.
2) The Princess Bride by William Goldman
William Goldman’s modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests — for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love — that’s thrilling and timeless.
Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible — inconceivable, even — to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.”
The book that inspired one of the most quotable movies ever made has a slightly more serious tone but roughly the same plot, with lots of sword fights and true love. Its paperback version is travel size and the entertaining story will transport you off the loud commuter train and into the exciting kingdom of Florin.
3) The Bride by Julie Garwood
By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison…a feisty, violet-eyed beauty. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her…forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian.
He was everything her heart warned against–an arrogant scoundrel whose rough good looks spoke of savage pleasures. And thought Kincaid’s scorching kisses fired her blood, she brazenly resisted him…until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire threatened to conquer her senses…
Not only is this a romance, but it is also a murder mystery that will keep you guessing about who the killer is. The Bride is also one of my favorite romance novels. Garwood’s writing has a way of pulling you in no matter what your environment is. There are sex scenes, but none so hot they will leave you blushing and squirming on the bus. It is long enough to last a commute but small enough to fit easily inside bags or to just carry in your hand.
What are your favorite books to read on the commute? Let us know in the comments. Also, stay tuned for an exciting Lover’s Quarrel giveaway that will be announced on November 1st. Like Lover’s Quarrel’s Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss it.
Page Count: 368 pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.88/5 stars
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
When the Norman king gives Pagan the Rivenloch keep and a daughter of the current laird for a wife, he knows it’s too good to be true. Not only is Rivenloch’s laird suffering from dementia, but the two oldest daughters are not content to take on house-making duties like most women. Instead they are skilled fighters who command Rivenloch’s army. It isn’t long before Pagan realizes why the king chose him for Rivenloch. Only the strongest, most hardened men could conquer the Warrior Maids of Rivenloch.
Deidre isn’t about to give up her power to some Norman, even if he is supposed to be their ally. She’ll marry him to spare her sisters, but that doesn’t mean she’ll make it easy for him. She’ll conquer the Norman before he realizes it.
This book took awhile to get good, but I have to admit, both Pagan and Deidre have very realistic reactions and feelings considering the situation. Pagan comes from a very misogynistic society, so female warriors are unnatural to him. And Deidre sees Pagan as another enemy invading her territory and taking control. But their irrationality them makes them unlikeable at times.
I liked them, then I didn’t. Then I liked them again. Pagan’s devout honor and chivalry is admirable. Although he thinks in terms like “taming” and “conquering” Deidre, he would never actually force her or hurt her in any way. Nor does he want women to fear him. Seeing Miriel, the youngest sister, scared of him made him feel sick. Despite his flawed yet historically accurate upbringing, he does see the value in Deidre and Helena knowing how to fight after learning about the dangers they faced. But there’s so much misogyny in him. He actually thought Deidre would prefer having a man protect her than protecting herself, and he forbid her from sparring.
Of course, Deidre resents all the changes Pagan makes to Rivenloch, even though they were changes that desperately needed to be made. She also has deeply misguided views about sex and men. She planned to control Pagan through his lust by withholding sex, even denying her own desires. During this time, she considered him beating her and forcing her, but the idea that he would commit adultery never occurred to her, even though she repeatedly told him that she would never want him. However, I did enjoy watching Pagan’s massive ego get checked.
They drove me crazy, even though their emotions were realistic. However, after they put their absurdities aside and started working together, the story immediately improved. I loved them working in harmony and the fight scenes at the end were fantastic. Lady Danger is lame at first, but is worth the wait. Medieval romance fans will enjoy this book. Read it for free on Smashwords.
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Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5 stars
My rating: 2/5 stars
Cass runs one of the greatest band of highwaymen around. Despite being a woman, she’s respected by her crew, and every night they return to camp richer than they were and she can enjoy being in the arms of her second-in-command, Will Carpenter. But that all changes when Will accepts a position in the King’s Guard. Cass knows Will wants more than what she can give him. He wants marriage and kids, as well as honest work instead of thieving. But Cass doesn’t know if she can ever give him up.
Claiming Her Highwayman is free on Smashwords.
I found myself underwhelmed by this story. When it starts, Will and Cass are already a couple, and the chemistry between them already feels forced, as well as the heist they’re about to go on. It’s like a bad first draft that hasn’t developed into something greater yet. Cass and Will feel more like paper dolls than people and unfortunately, I never get that attached to them. They just don’t have the chemistry.
It doesn’t help that my suspension of disbelief took a huge beating when Will’s offered a job with the King’s Guard, as the princess’s personal guard. He’s a highwayman! Since when do they let criminals guard princesses? Um, never. Not only that, but he’s still in contact with his old gang, and he’s not even in training to be a soldier! He just is. Apparently the standards for becoming a member of the King’s Guard is really low.
It would make a hell of a lot more sense to me if there was a scarcity of guards for some reason, like the country was at war, and that’s why they’re turning to criminals to keep up with the demand of soldiers. That would flesh out the plot, too. But nope. Apparently we’re supposed to accept that a robber can become a princess’s bodyguard easily after mugging her with his gang of bandits. Oh, and he almost becomes her husband. Because every king wants his little girl to marry a common criminal.
Despite everything wrong with the story, I like Will’s and Cass’s characters. Even though Will only exists to be Cass’s lover, he’s got some pretty charming lines in the story. His need to protect her is incredibly sexy.
Cass’s character is a little more complex. She’s strong and independent, and she knows what she wants in life. She’s the type of girl who would be bored to death in most respectable professions for a woman, instead enjoying being a bandit. But I hated her when Bryce, one of her men, attacked her in her tent. All she did to defend herself was bide her time until she could scream for help
What. The. Fuck.
She’s a damn gang leader and she doesn’t know how to defend herself against one man who gets too handsy? Please. That’s fucking ludicrous, and all of my respect for her is just gone because of that one scene. How the hell did she become a leader in the first place if she needs to scream like a damn damsel whenever she gets attacked? Not cool.
This book really didn’t do much for me. While it’s all right, it’s not that good. The characters aren’t good, and neither is the writing. I suggest you look elsewhere for your historical romance bad boy.
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1. It’s more than just a romance
War Bride by Elise Marion is primarily a romance, but it’s so much more than a love story. The book covers a lot of social issues today, even though it’s a medieval fantasy romance. Lady Emery Calliot fights for equal rights as a woman in a misogynist world. Leofred grieves over his brother’s death. Both of them have PTSD from a recent, brutal conflict between their kingdoms that almost turned into a devastating war. Even though this is book is a lot of fun to read, nobody can ever call it a piece of fluff.
Elise Marion, author of the Chained series, was generous enough to do an interview with me in anticipation of our War Bride giveaway event. It’s a pleasure to be working with her and to have her on the blog. She has some great answers, including her opinion on the lack of diversity in books. I highly recommend you read her work, because she really is a fantastic writer.
Genre: Medieval, Fantasy, Adult
Goodreads rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I’m going to earn your trust, Emery Toustain, he thought as he released her hand. Perhaps, if you let me, I’ll earn more than that.
The first time I read War Bride was several months ago. It was so good I actually missed a call from my boss because I was so busy reading it. No, really. I didn’t even “ignore” the call. The fact that my phone was ringing didn’t even register because I was so absorbed in the book. I ended up finishing it in less than a day.
I just finished it for the second time today, and it’s still incredible.
Emery Calliot kicks ass.
Doctor Who is a show I’ve been binge-watching recently, not only for the plot and the antics, but also for the amazing love stories in the show. While most people probably don’t consider Doctor Who a romance, that is basically what it is. There are the main love stories, like the Doctor’s love with Rose Tyler, a woman he can never be with, and his marriage with River Song, a time-traveling femme fatale brain-washed to kill the Doctor but falling in love with him anyway. And who can forget Rory and Amy, who have to have the most ideal marriage ever? There are also the single-episode stories, like John Smith and Joan Redfern in “Human Nature” and the Doctor and Astrid in “Voyage of the Damned”. So here are ten books for Doctor Who fans who can’t get enough of these fantastic love stories.