I’ve never been much of a romance reader. My first times reading romance I just wasn’t impressed though admittedly, I hadn’t done much to find a book that was a good fit for myself. I’d merely snatched a random book from the shelf and checked it out secretly at the library. My mother ran a house with very few rules but romance books were not allowed. Looking back, this was so hypocritical of her as she was DEFINITELY reading the Kushiel’s Dart series. She just tried to keep my sister and I very sheltered when it came to sexual content and I’m not really here to pass judgement on that today (but again, ABSOLUTE HYPOCRITE). The book I had grabbed was a Western romance. I never liked cowboys and westerns. I probably never will. The poor book never stood a chance.
More recently I tried a dragon shifter romance because I like dragon shifters. Like, a lot. Like once upon a time I was working on my own dragon shifter novel. It was honestly SUCH a mess. From the choice of words to the horrible behaviors, it honestly made my skin crawl. It was awful. It was abusive. I was absolutely NOT into it. I decided once again, that romance just maybe wasn’t my scene.
Skip forward a year and I started having more and more bloggers and people I follow on book twitter start recommending various romance novels. In particular, the Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole was being suggested to me a lot (especially because the first book is about an epidemiologist and we love a good microbe moment) and the Kiss Quotient books by Helen Hoang. I very reluctantly dipped my toe back into romance and I’m not really sure what all happened but it went from dipping a toe in to straight up having someone push me in because I’m all in now.
I devoured the first few Reluctant Royals books. Every time I thought I wasn’t going to like a book, it somehow took me somewhere I wasn’t expecting and I ended up liking it so much. I’m presently reading my way through a fourth piece of the series and I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when I run out.
I absolutely inhaled the Kiss Quotient series. They were honestly everything I didn’t know I needed in a book. Nalini Singh dared me not to fall in love with the first book and I failed to rise to that challenge. I’m clambering for more. The next book doesn’t come out until next year and I’m trying to convince myself I can make it until then.
I even managed to get my hands on a copy of the highly sought after Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and blew through it in a matter of hours. I’m on a romance train that can’t stop, won’t stop.
I can’t believe I’ve shut myself off from an entire genre of books for so long just because I had pre-conceived notions of how it would be and hadn’t really given it a fair shot in the past. It’s really opened my eyes to a fantastic new reading experience. All it really took was putting the same level of care in picking out a book that would appeal to me as I do with literally any other book I go to read. I think the world just has a stigma associated with romance novels wherein we dismiss them as being frivolous, plotless sex books with no real substance and poor writing. I know this gets addressed/discussed a LOT and honestly, I’m just really disappointed that I let myself fall into that mindset initially and then continued to avoid an entire genre based on poorly curated past experiences.
I’m going to be largely dedicating the month of August to exploring more romance books. I’ll be Romancing August, if you will. When I was doing a little bit of poking around, I discovered that August is Romance Awareness month (or at least so the great Google overlords tell me) so I can’t think of a better time to explore romance a little more.
Titles I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this month include:
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
A Lady’s Desire by Lily Maxton
Do you read romance? Have any favorite authors, books, or series you think I should check out? Share below! I want to know!
If you don’t read romance, I challenge you to try and find something that seems like it will appeal to your tastes and give it a go – you might find yourself pleasantly surprised!