Yesterday I received a plea from a fan of “Ghost Light”and “Yonder” asking what books I recommend, that I enjoy reading or are similar in the same vein of the books I write. Which left me flattered, with a broad area to talk about and a problem of where to begin? So, I decided I would start with the beginning. Below are my five recommendations in the romance world:
Number 1- Lisa Kleypas, “Only With Your Love”
Ah! My first romance novel (which I imagine is like your first kiss, being that it is hard to forget) was “Only With Your Love,” by Lisa Kleypas. Now, I was an eighteen year old roaming around Barnes and Noble with a friend in NYC and she said we should read a romance together and she suggested Lisa Kleypas. I am still not sure why I agreed, I mean the title was kind of lacking and silly and the cover only had two swans on it- which this book has nothing to do with swans, it dealt with brothers, pirates, New Orleans in the 1800s, France... have I peeked an interest yet? I was completely spoiled by my first romance novel, in fact, looking at Ghost Light now, Sean and Patrick's relationship was almost me trying to give a shout out to a book I ended up loving and still re-read. I got hooked on Kleypas. I have read so many of her books! She has a talent for suspense, building tension, building characters and taking twists you do not see coming while effortlessly giving you a slight history lesson without realizing it. There is a reason that she is so well loved.
Number 2- Chasity Bowlin, her entire Dark Regency Series starting with “The Haunting of a Duke.”
I am not sure how I stumbled across Miss Bowlins' book “The Haunting of a Duke,” But I am so thankful that I did. I had been reading romance in that time period and was left with a feeling of wanting something else, something different but I couldn't put my finger on it- this novel did it for me. “Haunting” Is the first in the Dark Regency Series and it grabbed me at the very beginning. A girl who can communicate with ghosts? A man who is haunted by his dark past and gossip? What more could a girl want! It has the rich charm of a Jane Austen novel, mixed with the darkness of a Bronte sister and a delicious, wicked touch of the paranormal. Seriously, I started the book and stayed in bed all day reading and even broke into tears at a couple points. I can not recommend her books highly enough. I have since read the entire serious- ( The Haunting of a Duke, The Redemption of a Rouge, and The Enticement of an Earl) and each have dealt with a dark matter, longing looks and a wonderful time period. She has such a talent to weave stories that cause you to lose time, lose your surrounds, break into a chuckle, cause chills to climb up your spine and turn you into a hopeless romantic. I would start with “The Haunting of a Duke,” because you will meet characters there that the other novels are based on. The payoff on her novels is wonderful and meant to be savored. They can get a little dark, so be prepared for that, but they also get a lot of steamy. Miss Bowlin really broke the norm on what I had been reading and I am overjoyed that she did and that I discovered her novels.
Number 3- Eve Silver “Dark Gothic Series”
This is what I am reading now. I started with her first book in this series “Dark Desires” and have kept on with them. This series did a new thing for me- the entire book is told by the heroine’s point of view. It is not told in first person, just her point of view. I stumbled at the beginning getting use to it and then I dove in. Eve Silver did a wonderful job of introducing all these doubts and questions and you get to unravel them as you go along. The payoff for this was awesome. I am now on the fourth book in this series and we have started getting different characters points of views, not sure which I prefer more. But Eve sure likes to put you on cliffs with waves crashing, murder surrounding these poor girls, a man you want to rescue them but maybe unsure if you really want them too, they may have a dark side. Each book is self contained so you can read them in any order.
Number 4- Amelia Hart – Any of her books.
I came across Miss Hart's Books while searching for something new to read. I started with “The Virgin's Auction” - I know, I know, crazy title, but true to the story. The thing that blew me away while reading her novels (Which I have read all of her books now) was her vocabulary. This woman puts me to shame. A lot of her lines are beautiful and lyrical. You really relate with the lead characters and there are times when I would find myself in tears. Her books are as addictive as a bowl of popcorn. They do end kind-a-abrutly sometimes, but I think wishing that the story would go on is the sign of a good book.
Number 5- Colleen Ladd's “The Lady's Ghost.”
This book is just a fun read! There is an arrogant ghost, humor, a head strong female. I was looking for a book one day to just lose myself in and have a good time, this did just that. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You will even find yourself giggling at times.
And now for something even more completely different- five other non romance books I have been reading and recommend.
“Never Let Me Go”- by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is a quiet book. You don't really realize how much of it you have adsorbed until you finished the book, exhale and then go about your day. Then the memories of it will sneak up on you and you will find yourself lost thinking about Kathy H. I read an article that suggested if you enjoyed "The Giver," as a child, you would enjoy this book. I will not tell you what it is about, that is the whole mystery of this novel.
“Peter Pan” - by J.M. Barrie. Okay, I have a scar on my eyebrow because I believed and told a another little girl that Peter had taught me to fly. I love him! But reading where he has come from has opened my eyes. Dang, Peter is a little bit evil and just as wonderful as you remember. There are so many elements in this book that surprised the hell out of me. That being said if you want to read a even darker version of this- read:
“The Child Thief” by Brom- Wow!
This book is a fairy tale for adults, period. It is a retelling of Peter Pan and it gets dark... so dark. It takes you to places you never wanted to go! I didn't know if I wanted to leave my window open or bar it shut! But the last line will leave you smiling and wishing magic was real.
“The Stupiest Angel” by Christopher Moore- What happens when an angel is sent to Earth to fill a child's wish around Christmas and the child has just witnessed what he believes is Santa Claus being murdered? Christopher Moore is hilarious and addictive. This guy! I mean this guy is a complete gem.
“The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan. This is a YA series but dang do you just eat it up! This is a dystopian series dealing with Zombies and even though it is a YA series there are things that happened that chilled me to the bone. If you don't believe me just read a preview, you will be blown away by the first page. I promise.
And in closing- my favorite book of all time: “1984”... I know right? Kind-a-outta left field there. But this is my favorite. I love watching the struggle in this book and learning that 2+2 can equal = 5. I found/ heard this book when I had lost my eye sight in High School for two weeks. (Crazy long story I will go into another day, but I am fine, everything was fine, just had a moment of blackout there that just happened and I am blessed to have nothing serious that caused it.) During that time, we were reading 1984 in my English class and my mom went out and got me the audio tapes to listen to. I found the struggle and war in this book inspiring while I was battling with demons of my own. It took me out of my situation and gave me strength and that is something I cherish to this day.
Anyway, I hope this answered my plea for recommendations and that something on this list has already sparked an interest, because every one of these authors is worthy of praise and a read.