I read a lot. Seriously. A LOT. I'm not shouting, I'm just using ALL CAPS for emphasis. I get recommendations of what I should read from a lot of different sources on the internet. As a romance writer, the books I hear about are usually in the genre or subgenre -- but the truth is I like to play the field when it comes to books. I read a lot of this, and even more of that. Oh, and I didn't even know I had a thing for that over there..but now I do.. There is nothing special about me that should my reading recommendations be of particular interest to anyone other than me. But just in case you're in search of a book to add to your ever-growing 'TBR' pile, here are the books that kept me flipping pages over the past twelve months. Enjoy xo. SVT
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult
From the first sentence I was immediately aware that I was in the hands of a gifted storyteller, but this book wasn't the kind where you have enough time to pause and be jealous of the skills of the writer. It's all you can do grab a breath before being swept into the story. The main character's voice is so distinctive and clear. I had to remind myself I was reading fiction and not a news story in the Washington Post. I know this book is being marketed in the YA genre, but I honestly believe this book should be mandatory reading for every adult registered to vote in the United States.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
This book was published in 2016, but I read it at least a half dozen times in 2017. It's the book I'd like to crawl inside the pages and live in. 'Enemies to Lovers' is my favorite romance trope and this book in no way disappoints. There is a bit of 'Fake Engagement' and 'Office Romance' trope in this book as well -- as the main characters pose and boyfriend and girlfriend at his brother's wedding. This book has something for everyone. Written in first person in Lucy Heaton's point of view only -- I didn't care that I didn't get to know what Joshua Templeman was thinking. I swooned for his tall, dark and handsome self any way. It was also the first book I'd read in a very long time I wished was illustrated.
The Opposite Of You by Rachel Higginson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
After I finished The Hating Game and I'd re-read six more times, I found myself in search of another good 'Enemies to Lovers' trope, and this one was recommended on Twitter. (A place I seek out many recommendations of what to read next.) A contemporary romance between a female chef running a food truck and a male chef running a five-star restaurant, this book did not disappoint. By the time the two main characters finally get some nooky, I was absolutely panting for it. I suppose it's almost too on the nose to say -- but I can't help calling this book absolutely delicious.
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
I loved this May-December celebrity romance between the mom of a tween with a crush, and the member of a British boy band. (My inner thirteen year old believes Harry Styles is super dreamy.) The story frankly turns many stereotypes on its head and that's the reason why I was able to forgive the fact that it isn't a romance in its purest form. It is a wonderful escape and since it features a woman over 35 as the object of attraction, it should be gobbled up by anyone seeking a romance featuring a more mature woman in the lead role.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Genre: Lit Fic
Okay. I know I'm going all highbrow with this one, but as a regular genre reader who occasionally finds lit fic difficult to immediately engage with from the first page, I can tell you this book was accessible from the first word. The quirky main character reminded me of The Rosie Project -- but I have to say that I found myself identifying with her social miscues constantly. Not a lightweight book or topic -- but very satisfying nonetheless.
The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Queer YA Historical
This is the book I didn't know I wanted to read until I was five pages in and couldn't put it down. The storyteller's voice is infectious and the writing style is a delight. if you hear editors talk about 'voice' and wonder what they could possibly mean -- read this! You'll get it immediately. I love the fact that you constantly think you're seeing more behind the bedroom curtain than you ever actually do. It's a very sexy book -- and yet -- it's perfectly clean -- until it's not. I adored the way the book was divided by the countries visited during a 'grand tour' of the continent. I also loved the fact that the main character was naughty -- it made all the escapades even more fun.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Genre: Lit Fiction
Did you watch Big Little Lies? Are you still in search of something just as dark to sink your teeth into? Then read this! I've been a big fan of Megan Abbott since her debut novel, a period story set in 1940s Los Angeles, so when I saw this book in paperback at my local Barnes & Noble I swept it up into my 'to purchase' pile which is why another book published in 2016 made my list. As a former competitive figure skater, this book, set in the world of competitive gymnastics, totally hit the mark for me. It's totally dark and disturbing -- and I enjoyed every moment.