This year, one of my reading goals is to read more romances. One of the reader’s advisory questions that strikes fear into my heart at the reference desk is, “I love [romance author], can you recommend other authors I might like?”
I’ve also been doing a lot of reading about the romance genre, including book blogs and the Romantic Times, to which my library subscribes. I feel much more confident about my knowledge of subgenres and authors now, but nothing really replaces reading the books yourself. I have found that the genre is pretty unfairly targeted for derision among literary types and other genre readers. I was one of these people before I started reading up on the genre a bit more. As a public librarian, I’ve always held the belief that you should read whatever the hell you want and ignore anyone who suggests otherwise, but I still held some misguided beliefs about the genre. Yes, some adhere to a formula, but so do many mysteries, thrillers, and science fiction/fantasy titles. There are varying degrees of quality as with any genre.
So far, I’ve read two romances this year (excluding the awful vampire one for my book club). Here’s a review of the first one.
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey – This book is a double whammy when it comes to my preconceived notions. It is a romance and it was only released in ebook format (although I think Stacey’s titles might be coming out in print soon due to her success). It was published by Carina Press, a Harlequin imprint that releases digital-first titles. I read a good review of this book on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and decided to try it out since it was only $2.99 in the nook store.
Keri Daniels is a journalist who heads back to her hometown to dig up some dirt on her high school boyfriend, Joe Kowalski, who is now a famous author. He agrees to do the interview with her if she will come on a camping vacation with his family. Some of his family loves Keri, but his sister has never forgiven her for breaking his heart. I think you can guess what happens when she agrees to the trip.
This book put a smile on my face the way a really good chick flick would. I love stories about people in small towns. I think it comes from living in more urban areas for so long now. These stories feel like an escape, even if they are unrealistic about small town charm. I grew up in one so I know! Stacey’s characterization of the Kowalski family was great, and it paved the way for a book about each brother. As an aside, there is definitely a disproportionate number of families with several brothers in this genre. There was also a good amount of humor, and the relationships between the brothers were believable. There were a few plot holes, but they didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for a light summer read! I will be reading the others in the series.