But I don't DO…

by Jackie Ferrari in #AmReading

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For me, the end of that sentence is “werewolf-vampire romance” and even when Ali Hazelwood (whose trio of science-y romances I have quite liked) dropped one, causing me to express incredible delight over the sheer PROPS of her, to say “want another best-selling science-y academic romance? Then publish this first, witches”—still, I didn’t think I was gonna read it.

But I did, and reader, I loved it. Bride was pure solid fun from beginning to end, and although I have since realized that she didn’t invent a lot of the bonkers lore about her interspecies coupling (if you know you know, I guess, and I did not) I do not care. I have a great time, I loved beginning middle and ending. You might call it romantasy but the voice and the tone and said ending place it squarely in the romance camp and if you’re even a little bit vamp-were-curious, or even if you’re not, honestly, I bet you’d like it too.

SO THERE WAS THAT. What else was there, since we last chatted?

I finished two holiday romances. Wreck the Halls made me a total Tessa Bailey convert and I am heading down that rabbit hole happily—give me a get the band back together any time but ESPECIALLY give it to me if the band is your moms’ riot grrrl style punk action and they’ve loathed each other ever since they split. (and if you’re gonna write steamy, and she does, then if you can give your characters sexual struggles that mirror their personal growth problems, you WIN). I have Fangirl Down sitting here—will report back. Also A Holly Jolly Ever After, in which I learn that I will read a sexual-innocent-meets-pro story rather happily, especially if there’s lots more to it about Christian TV purity culture and boy bands and figuring yourself out. (But not virgin/man-whore. As mentioned below, that turned out to be a serious ewwww for me.)

(Amusing side story: I also have Tessa Bailey’s Sucedio Un Verano/It Happened One Summer on my shelf. I tried to read it with my Spanish friend and teacher a couple of years ago, but we bailed because it turns out that she doesn’t like romance and for me, the process of laboriously working my way through a chapter highlights all the things that make zooming through a romance fun and makes them…. un-fun. Give me a funny twist on a cliche character in English and I’m there. Give it to me in Spanish and all I see is the cliche. And now I am SO GLAD we bailed bc those books are as previously mentioned STEAMY and there was going to be a LOT of vocabulary for discussion. That said, my Spanish is a lot better now and I am giving it another try.)

I also dove into more romance via Christina Lauren (pretty much always at least a pleasure) and Sarah Adams, whose very sweet and totally non-steamy (aka “closed door”) early book The Cheat Sheet completely won me over, as if I needed it after loving every minute of When in Rome and the rest of that series. Plus, Inheritance from doyenne Nora Roberts, also excellent fun BUT ALSO as someone warned me too late, a cliffhanger because our girl Nora is apparently all-series-all-the-time.

Why all the heart-eyes? Because I am neck-deep in writing my own rom-com, which may or may not ever come to a bookstore near you because that’s the way this game works, and I wanted to dive into some of the genre’s most popular writers. All in all, a success (although I have learned that I don’t like either the virgin/man-whore trope or the Alpha-hole trope, no matter how well done). I’m having all the fun (and leavening my diet with more Brandon Sanderson and a thriller here and there, about which more next time).

So tell me—what genre were you like I DO NOT until you found a book in which you discovered that maybe you did and will you read more? (I… don’t think I necessarily need more.)

AND—if you’re a romance reader, who might I be missing who could assist in the education of young Padawan, aka me? I’m a fan but I think I tend to be a very specific fan, so expand my horizons, please. Tell me more

That’s it from me this week!

BUT WAIT! More on this later but… I one-hundred-percent guarantee you will love The Five Year Lie from KJ bestie Sarina Bowen. Like, I’ll give you your money back. This is one of those books I would give anyone, including both your gobble-all-the-thrillers or romances friend and your “I only read one book a year on the beach” buddy, and I honestly think you should buy two. Get this:

On an ordinary Monday morning, Ariel Cafferty’s phone buzzes with a disturbing text message. Something’s happened. I need to see you. Meet me under the candelabra tree ASAP. The words would be jarring from anyone, but the sender is the only man she ever loved. And it’s been several years since she learned he died.

Seeing Drew’s name pop up is heart-stopping. Ariel’s gut says it can’t be real. But she goes to the tree anyway. She has to.

P.S. I keep forgetting to remind you that you should read MY books! If you haven’t read Playing the Witch Card yet, I very much think you should. Witchy Gilmore Girls, kids—all three generations. (More really). Or try The Chicken Sisters (which is still my most popular book—and I HAVE A SECRET about this one and you’re gonna want to have read it) or In Her Bootswhich most readers tell me is honestly their fave of the three.

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