Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: Mr. Ridley

Mr. Ridley Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

This was so wonderfully fresh, non-cookie cutter that I reveled in it. How has this author escaped me before??? Like I said in an update, the hero is left of center and the almost gothic tone with bdsm threads bubbling under the surface (I fully expect them to see daylight in the next book in the series), is not going to be for everyone. If you usually like books I do, abandon your friends and family to go out, buy this book, and cocoon yourself for some uninterrupted reading time.

*I want to note, because of the over-saturation, and in my personal opinion, not well done bdsm themed books, this is not like the typical ones you all are tired of. This is a first in the series with the hero and heroine's relationship just developing, so first off, sanely and emotionally maturely, we don't get active (well, one scene could sort of kind of fall into this) scenes of bdsm play. However, because the hero is aware of his personal proclivities and the heroine is, at turns consciously and unconsciously responding to these proclivities, it is bubbling under the surface.

I wish I could write a coherent review of this story but it kind of took me off guard and all I have are quotes (I highlighted the hell out of this and whittling them down so I didn't get in trouble for posting the whole book was agony, I tell you!) and excited emotional disjointed thoughts. I think it was this friend's review, Jaci ,that alerted me to this book (if I'm wrong, please let me know if you are the one who told me about this book so I can smother you in you're my new bestfriend praise and credit). Read her review for a coherent take.

Ropes, ravens, murder, and poison is only the beginning.

His presence whispered of a dominating man with very high standards of sophistication edged with unnerving patience and…darkness.

Mr. Ridley. A backstory that is Dexter-ish, we get a sketched and shaded in relay of his past but even more wonderfully, we get a fully in depth emotional written character from the author. He's intriguing, nuanced, complex, sweet, hot, smart, darkly witty, and the list goes on; I could read about this man all day.

“It was not your analogy to use. It was my analogy. An analogy I used with respect. Do you have any idea how many white British men have referred to me and my people as being animals?”
His features flickered. “Kumar. Cease. That wasn’t what I was—”
“Be mindful of how you speak to me.”
His voice softened. “I will. I’m sorry.”
It was something. “Be mindful.”
“I will."

Jemdanee. For as strong a character Mr. Ridley is, she more than matches him (I would say surpasses him at the end even). She's young (18 to his 32) but her childhood and living and life situations have given her the strength and maturity older than her years. Instead of just telling us this, the author did a magnificent job of crafting Jemdanee's character and personality to reflect this, thus creating a believable and chemistry sparking relationship between her and Mr. Ridley.

Gothic tone:

She swallowed and turned toward him in the darkness, his undefined features in the shadows close behind her. “Your house makes too many sounds at night.”
“It’s the books,” he whispered. “Some are as old as the Crusades and they’re all telling stories. They try to crawl out of the pages and drag you in with warped words. The ones in the attic are by far the worst. They’re piled high enough to enable you to stand on them and reach the rafters where all the old ropes from the building hang."

The murder, tone, and atmosphere gave this more of a dark and bleak feel but with Halloween coming up, I thought it provided a darkly enticing welcome. Also with Gothic feels, sometimes the drama gets a bit Drama and the dark mystery gets a bit Dark Mystery but it was all in darkly spooky drama fun for me.

Chemistry sparking:

Skimming her bare shoulders and the exposed upper rounds of her breasts sitting above the corset, he paused. Their eyes locked and her heart seemed to rush to her head and every toe. His steady gaze bore into her with the heat of sandstone. It was the only acknowledgement she needed as a woman. She almost, almost smiled but thought that would be over-flirting. “It must have fallen.”
His eyes grew flat and unreadable. “Along with whatever respect you have for yourself. Wit over tit, Watkins. Pull it up.”

"Wit over tit" Y'ALL.

“Few will ever point out their own flaws, but I will be the first to admit I carry the greatest one of all. I deny myself nothing and regret everything.”
Ridley quirked a brow. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Control.”
She feigned surprise. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is None.”


She swallowed and sank back down onto the mattress, her body burning as she released his hands. “I have desires and feelings much like any woman. Yet you refuse to acknowledge it. Why?”
He set his shaven chin against her throat. “I am acknowledging it by not permitting you to have control. Don’t throw yourself at things you have no understanding of. There is more to me than even I understand. Leave it be.”


“Learn to kneel.” His voice grew gruff and ominous. “It’s Mr. Ridley given I do not belong to you. Just as you are and will always be Kumar, because you do not belong to me. We belong to ourselves and not to each other.”


"Whilst we may never see each other again, I wish to offer you this parting advice: You need to be your own person, Kumar. You need to belong to yourself first before you can belong to anyone else, especially someone like me. Do you understand?”


She jerked toward him, refusing to let him command her. “What did you mean by one day?”
“As in not now.” He flicked her forehead. “Cease letting your body dictate what you want. At your age, even a finger resting in your mouth seems exciting.” His tone hinted he was mildly amused. “You were riled by it, weren’t you?” He tsked. “Call on me in five years. In the meantime, do you need a towel for those moist thighs? Because I’d hate for you to slide off the bed and hit the floor.”

The restraint and coinciding slow burn weaved into this story, was/is EVERYTHING.

Jemdanee eyed it and him. He thought a woman choked by rope was…beautiful? His finger traced it, his voice fading. “I only point her out to those I trust.” Which hinted it meant something to him.

The build up to Mr. Ridley showing this hint of truth and vulnerability and cracking the door open to Jemdanee, should be material for a writing, building romantic genre relationships class.

I feel like I should take a moment to very briefly and roughly sketch out the story premise.

Jemdanee is in England, having traveled with a guardian, gets arrested due to wrong place, wrong time and racism. Mr. Ridley who investigates murders takes on her case. The chemistry and relationship building I've been going on about. Murder investigation, drug overdose, pasts, and futures interwoven throughout. There are secondary characters that add to the story and our main couple's characters and could probably have novellas of their own. The ending is cliff-hangerish in the sense Jemdanee and Mr. Ridley's story is clearly not over but not an abrupt cut-off, this felt like a complete book/story.

Back to the quotes that I hope make you want to read this:

Deranged as she was, it made her want to reach out a hand and push aside the ferns. Those soulful eyes reflected a granite-like strength that were as charming as they were feral. Very few people knew that crocodiles had soft bellies. And this crocodile had the softest belly of them all. Kali save her from falling in love with him for she knew he was too dark to ever love her in any normal way. It was there in his eyes which taunted. His heart was slumbering in the deep cave of his chest, yes, but it had not seen much light for it to grow into anything normal.

I know the age difference will be off-putting for some and in contemporaries this usually bothers me, but the author's crafting of the characters shows, tells, and gives reason to their attraction.

Something primitive within her emerged as her pulse roared and she grew…wet. There was no shame in it because she had made herself wet. He hadn’t forced her to be wet. Something within her body and mind wanted to prove to him that she was ready to know real passion. The sort women rarely got to touch without labeling themselves as whores.

Oh yes, there is seemingly innocuous but nuanced points and discussion on sexism, racism, imperialism, consent, and power dynamics.

She tilted her head. “Shall we agree to meet in Calcutta in five years?”
He dragged in more smoke. “Are you insinuating you would wait five years?”
Was that an offer? Or was he teasing? She couldn’t tell. She sat up and propped her shoulder toward him, trying to exude the sort of grand sophistication he required. “If I am promised something worth waiting for, why would I not?”
He said nothing, merely drew in more smoke. Turning a page, he kept reading.

Like I said, this is not the end of their story and after this, I'm dying to continue reading about their relationship, especially since Jemdanee will probably be of an age Mr. Ridley deems ready to embark on something with him.

For she at her mere eighteen had a taught a man at two and thirty that without self-respect, no life was worth living. She was right. But that didn’t mean he had to stay wrong.

Like I said, Mr. Ridley captured my attention first and is an incredibly alluring character (for all his mystery and dark, we also get tears from him) but Jemdanee ultimately emerged as the stronger one (her personal strength and self-respect will touch many women). I rarely come across such intriguing characters that feel different, while still encapsulating some tropes, and are amazingly chalk full of depth and emotional.

Like I said, read this so I have more people to talk about this couple!

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Menu Monday

The nights are starting to cool here and salads are beginning to fade away in favor of oven delights.

Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies

It is the bf's birthday week and as a chocolate fiend, this was one of the desserts he requested. I chilled the "dough" (I put this in quotation marks because, dough? Lol. More like small ball of chocolate) for three hours and had no problems with the cookies flatting too much. These are only for the hardcore chocolate lovers among you. I can only eat one bite at a time because they are so chocolatey; they are not cookies to me but balls of chocolate chunks. I think the bf strives on getting me to create the biggest chocolate monstrosities out there. Easy to make but remember to chill dough.

This is much more my speed. I let the oats soak overnight and had it for breakfast, it was a bit too sweet for me as a breakfast food but would make a great nighttime craving snack. I added extra coconut on top and a sprinkling of white chocolate chips. Tasted like a more healthy cereal. 
Coconut > Chocolate. SorryNotSorry

You need to marinate the shrimp for 30 mins but other than that, extremely easy. I would normally have served them over rice (would actually be really good to make shrimp tacos out of too) but we had some sweet corn to use up. Sauce was a little thin so I drizzled more sweet chili sauce over them. Nice light, tasting and calories, meal.

Another birthday pick and shows my love for the guy since I was willing to breathe in disgusting pickle fumes. Easy to make if not a bit time consuming with dipping and coating individual pickles. Healthier option than frying in oil (I always like baked more anyway). I can't comment on how they tasted because of my loathing of the cucumbers corrupted by Satan, but bf said they were pretty good, not better than the Buffalo Wild Wings fried ones, though. Sigh, leading a man away from his fried food is not for the weak of heart.

This is the highlight of the week. Holy f*ck was this good. Not particularly healthy, THE CHEESE y'all, THE CORNBREAD y'all, but my god was it spectacular. The cornbread bottom makes this and I happened to make it on a day that was cooler and just make it on some football Sunday and you'll see what I'm talking about. I only put the pie back in the oven for 10 of the 20mins it calls for the second time to not burn the bottom of the cornbread and it was cooked perfectly. I would maybe put some jalapenos in the cornbread mix or drizzle some jalapeno Tabasco sauce on top for next time to add some kick (my favorite statement!) as it was fairly sweet taste overall. A bit longer, a little over an hour to make but worth it. You'll probably see this one pop up again as I'll definitely be making it again in the not so distant future. It had taste, depth, and presence. (How's that for some bullshit foodie talk? ;)

If the tamale pie is the winner of this week's list, this vegan pasta is the loser. It says serves two but only calls for one cup of pasta. Hahahahhahahahaha. No. Mama need more than half a cup of pasta for a meal. I doubled the recipe. The taste was a bit...different, it had a spice/kick to it because of the chili flakes and smoked paprika but at the same time was bland. I don't know, didn't work for either of us. A little over a half hour to make but won't be revisiting this one again.

Any recipes to share?

Friday, August 24, 2018



The story and characters won't be for everyone but my god is this deliciously dark (in a gothic, emotional way, not kidnapping, non-consensual trending way).

I want to share so many highlighted passages but they are too long for updates. With out a doubt this main couple will show up in Favorite Couple category for Romancies awards.

Wit, banter, mystery, murder, emotion, depth, different.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Reading Update: 1%

Mr. Ridley - Delilah Marvelle
His nude body had been cleaved with an axe, pieces of him flung as far as the ceiling. 
Nothing had been taken. Not even a wad of bank notes left on the écritoire.
Yet tucked into the gore of Mr. Ridley’s broken sternum was the feather of a black raven.

Should have saved this one for Halloween Bingo I guess

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: American Gods

American Gods American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not usually an audio book person, the one person reading with just changing voice doesn't distance characters enough for me, so when I saw this was an ensemble cast, I jumped all over it.

I watched the show on Starz before listening to this and was pleasantly surprised at how closely the show follows the book, for the first 1/3 or so. I thought the beginning was endlessly fascinating but as the story goes on, my gods do the tangents get plentiful and looong. I started off listening really closely to the stories being told by the townsfolk Shadow encounters, thinking there was hidden meanings, clues, or foreshadowing but after more stories about moose, I just couldn't do it.

Listening to an ensemble cast was ear catching but listening to this "author's preferred" text, which I'm taking to mean little to no editing, gave it a very plodding pace. I think the show did a fantastic job cutting out what dragged for me and instead of having Shadow's wife kind of disappear for a good amount of time like she does in the book, having her travel with Mad Sweeney (view spoiler) to keep the audience's relationship growing with her.

Again, I'm not an audio book person, so the feeling of the story dragging along and having pointless stories told by secondary characters, could have been amplified by the format. I thought the voice actors did a great job verbalizing their parts and thought it added a lot of fun to the story. I think I have to give the nod the tv series, though. Here's to hoping for a second season.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: The Gamble

The Gamble The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've, mostly, given up on Ashley as her writing style/voice more often than not, constantly draws me in with promise but never delivers. This was a Kindle Freebie and Random Number Generator picked it out of the abyss.

This story:

An Ashley hero calling the heroine "babe" and/or "baby"? NEVER. (She has an English accent so he also calls her Duchess)

"Executed a perfect 3 point turn". Why did I read this sentence over and over again? Was Ashley a driver instructor in a former life??

Sandwiched between the "babe" calling, three-point turning, and drama ending was some honest to god deep emotional issues (domestic violence, rape, disabilities) that get broached but never fully developed. Ashley's ability to incorporate these issues and emotions are what tempt me to keep reading her (the promise I was talking about) but ugh, no development. These issues almost start to seem sensationalized and click-bait reading because Ashley doesn't develop the issues and characters.

The ending, my god, the ending. Drama after sensationalized drama. The repeat situations our heroine found herself in got to be tedious and one of the villains ended up being portrayed cartoonish.

I can see why Ashley is popular and I can see why she in not popular. All I know is, my kingdom for an Ashley hero to speak in full coherent sentences.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Menu Monday

Well, that turned out to be a longer hiatus than I expected, lol. Life, too busy. Anyway, what delicious treats have you all been making?

Lemon Herb Salmon Burgers

These were delicious and didn't take a whole lot of time to make. I prepped the salad while the salmon was thawing. I only used three salmon fillets and it ended up making four patties, which was perfect my "you've got to be kidding with that one serving size" ass. I paired the burgers with a lemon, kale, and cranberry salad. All the flavors combined deliciously well and I highly recommend adding some Greek yogurt to the dressing and topping the salmon burgers with it. Yummy healthiness! 

I, of course, substituted the beef with ground turkey, left out the zucchini (mushy cucumbers??? Yuck), and added some tortilla chips. Anything that has cheesy in the title has got to be good, right? This was and browning the turkey was the most time consuming. Yummy quick easy cheesiness!

I love the creamsicle flavoring and try to jam it into any desserts in the summer. It is sweet without being too sweet and I don't know, just seems fun. I added some extra marshmallows (I never spell that word without first putting an "e" instead of the second "a") because I love them and added only around 10 mandarin oranges because I think it is minutely freaking to have real fruit in these things, they always seem to overwhelm it and I end up picking them out anyway. This didn't make a huge amount which was nice and it delivered on the orange creamsicle taste. A tiny time consuming with adding, chilling, adding, and chilling, but worth it I say!  Yummy summer time fun!

I know pizza is sacred to some people and this will be considered an abomination by some, but y'all, it was so good! I didn't make the suggested crust but did do the vegan cheese sauce (had to order nutritional yeast flakes off Amazon, lol).  I thought this was super good, don't leave out the avocado toppers! The smoked paprika seasoning is crucial and gave the whole thing an amazing smokey flavor. I'd definitely make this again...and hope my cheese sauce came out a little thinner, it was a bit, um, silly putty? I don't know, I was rushed and it tasted good and baked up fine. Just alerting in case others have the same problem and letting know not to fear. I drizzled more hot sauce on top for more kick. Yummy smokey goodness!

These are the most time consuming food on the list, took probably around an hour (mostly roasting the cauliflower but also dicing up a mango can be a butt).  I'm constantly amazed at how seemingly wackadoodle combos can taste so good together. I guess I'm still a foodie newbie. The jerk has some kick so be careful if you usually can't handle that sort of thing, I thought the mango did a great job of toning it down. Some serious amazing taste combos happening in this one. Yummy wackadoodleness!

I hope my vegan/vegetarian friends found some new recipes and my meat eating friends got inspired to try something different. I missed doing these and catching up on what you all were eating, hoping to get a streak of Mondays going again :) 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review: An Unseen Attraction

An Unseen Attraction An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My friends' list has nothing but love for this author and book and I have a bad feeling this could be one of those "Everyone but me" moments. This is the first time I have tried this author, so I'll give it another chance but this really just did not hit the mark with me.

The synopsis starts off with stating this is a "slow-burning romance". Our couple have their first sexual experience/play/moment by chapter four; that is not my personal want from a slow-burning romance. What I do like seems to have happened before our story starts off, Clem and Rowley's relationship has already developed to the point of friendship with attraction and we the reader's are coming in when they are finally ready to act on it. I mostly favor the initial spark and building rather than the finally acting sexually on it.

Another personal dislike was Rowley's taxidermy, the author does a great job describing, explaining, and realistically weaving it into the story but for someone who loves human slasher movies, I just can't read about people wanting to stuff their pets and Rowley explaining the process. Greatly appreciate the research and depth but bowels and skinning animals is not for me, but like I said, didn't seem to bother the majority of people.

I think this would be better to be described as a slow-burning mystery, as the building, plot, and pace slowly reeled you in, I also think the mystery dominated the story more. Their chemistry wasn't as sparking as I usually like but missing that beginning building probably hurt this for me.

The mystery isn't fully solved in this but I'm not sure I'm going to continue with the series, I think I might try another of hers in a different series. I hope this isn't one of those everyone loves but me authors :/

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review: An Extraordinary Union

An Extraordinary Union An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

She was Ellen Burns, and she was going to help destroy the Confederacy.

I'm wait late to the party on this one but, oh yes, do I agree with the majority of you all, this is my highest rated book of the year. Our heroine Elle definitely is the stand-out character, the hero Malcolm was very overshadowed in the beginning but began to shine brighter in the middle and end. Working on behalf of the Union in a ring of spies called the Loyal League, Elle is placed in a southern senator's household as a mute slave to gain and pass on as much information as she can. Malcolm spies for the Pinkerton Agency and is currently posing as a Union soldier. Malcolm is immediately drawn to Elle, a bit insta-lust, but what saves their romance from my personal dislike of insta, is Elle's thoughts and feelings. When they first meet, Elle is a slave and Malcolm a Union soldier but even after their undercover roles are revealed, Elle is a black woman and Malcolm a white man in 1862 America.

[...]one wrong word from him and she would lose her life, whereas his sex and skin color inoculated him from harm at her hand.

I've complained many times about forced angst or conflict in stories contrived to keep heroes and heroines apart, yeah, nothing forced here. The author deeply provides us with Elle's thoughts and emotions about the danger of having feelings for Malcolm. This is shown not only personally, the immediate bodily danger to Elle and the personal stake she has in the Civil War but also outwardly, the encompassing work they are doing for the Union and the importance of the information they have to pass on. In beginning notes I took, I mentioned that the heroine was crotchety, which I appreciated because the heroes always get to be the surly ones fighting the romance and struggled with because of personal thoughts of just accept this sexy awesome dude already. As the story went on though, the author does such an amazing job putting you in the historical context, place, and time, and it becomes felt how the stakes are very real for Elle. This isn't a light falling in love but a hard hand gripping leap of faith.

“Help me to understand,” he said. He was still asking of her when he should be giving, but he didn’t know how else to proceed.
“We don’t want revenge, Malcolm.” She looked at him like he was the densest bastard to ever walk the earth. “We want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, just like any damned fool in these United States is entitled to so long as he isn’t Black or Red. So you can keep your outrage. All I can do is try to make a difference.”

This didn't have a lot of overall reaching Civil War tidbits dropped in, it is more of an immediate spotlight on how networks of spies could gain knowledge and help their side and one take on how a women in Elle's position could have fallen in love. I don't often mention how a character's emotions and thoughts help set the time period for me but Elle was a huge component for placing me in the story. The clothing, atmosphere, incidentals, and society were all there, too. Tied into the spying for information battle and danger, was some awesome ironclad ships and blockade talk. This may seem like a weird thing to get excited about but this is why I read historicals, to get little nuggets of information to gain knowledge and understanding with a feel of the time.

This was who she was when she was allowed to be free from fear.

Malcolm didn't quite leap off the pages for me, due to spying being a waiting game for info at times there was some slowness, and I would have liked some outer happenings (more big Civil War happenings going on, more of the Loyal League people, structure, and happenings). I know this is first in series, so maybe some information was held back about the Loyal League but in a contrarily way (I complain a lot about first in a series syndrome and how authors focus too much on setting up characters for future books) I could have stood for more character presence from ones that will star or appear in future installments in the series. Secondary characters gave without stealing the show, this "little" line from Mary: “I was just worried, is all,” she said, adjusting the ragged lace trim on Elle’s sleeve. “You remind me of my daughter sometimes. She had eyes just like yours . . . Caffrey sold her down South to pay off a debt. Every time I look at you, I wonder if she gonna grow up to be as pretty as you. And I hope she won’t.”
"I hope she won't", devastating. There was also Timothy, who Elle feared his judgement about her relationship with Malcolm but he informs her that he is part Seminole and a host of other characters that show that "kind" people can participate and be blind to atrocities.

This book made the list of several best of 2017 lists and I completely see why. The historical richness is great, there are some awesome emotional and thought provoking on fire comments/commentary, and the consequences, angst, and attraction between Elle and Malcolm are felt, but read this book for Elle. Her anger and underlining pain give way to such a well of strength; she's the heroine you want to read about, hope you're a little bit like, and inspire to be.

(The author notes that some of her characters were based on real life people: Elle was based on Mary Bowser, Malcolm by Timothy Webster, and Robert Grand by Robert Smalls. There was also a reference guide of books the author used for research in the back. Historicals with history! Give me more historicals like this)

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Top Ten Recommended

Divided up into Contemporary, Historical, and I have no idea (Fantasy usually) here are the lists of some of my friends top ten favorite books. I tried to query friends that were younger and older than me, who's favorites were the same and different sub-genres than me, and have been reading romance for years and just started. I'm really pleased with the variety of recs that came out of this. 

Apologies for how long this took me, whew, it was way more work to get the information organized and formatted in a way that was readable. I also wanted to make it printable for people that didn't want to have to keep returning to my post. 

Thanks to everyone again for the time and effort they took to send me their top reads, whether it was 20 books because they just couldn't cut it down to ten or simply author names because they enjoy their whole backlist. Can't wait to dive into this list :)

Contributors to the list (click on names to go to their Goodreads page or BookLikes:


Comments after rec are from contributor.

Not able to Categorize
(Without reading the books, I couldn't decide if they were leaning more Hist or Contemp, usually fantasy or sci-fi in this category.)

Anastasi, Jess - Damage Control (Syfy romance)

Bardugo, Leigh - Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

Cashore, Kristin - Graceling

Clare, Cassandra - City of Bones series

Clarke, Cassandra Rose - The Assassin's Curse series of 2 books (Fantasy, YA)

Coe, Cara - The Hidden Princess

Coe, Cara - The White Forest

Cook, Nickolas - Alice in Zombieland (romance is secondary in this book but I love Ali and Cole)

Derr, Megan - Tournament of Losers

Devan, Grace - Radiance 

Feehan, Christine - Burning Wild (Jake is everything)

Harrison, Thea - Dragon Bound

Harrison, Thea - Kinked

Lane, Jex - Captive

Mafi, Tahereh - Shatter Me

McBride, Belinda - The Tenth Muse

McFarland, Caitlyn - Dragonsworn series of 3 books (NA, syfy/fantasy)

Meade, Rachael - Vampire Academy (plus the series as a whole)

Meyer, Marisa - Cinder (plus the series as a whole)

O'Neill, Morgan - The Thornless Rose (Favorite time travel)

Owens, Robin D. - Heart Quest

Pacat, C.S, - Captive Prince

Peters, Elizabeth - The Vicky Bliss series (Borrower of the Night, Street of the Five Moons, Silhouette in Scarlet, Trojan Gold, Night Train to Memphis, The Laughter of Dead Kings. I enjoy the Amelia Peabody books, but I liked Vicky's adventures better.)

Roberson, Jennifer - Sword Dancer (and sequels) (Scifi/fantasy with an unusual dose of romance and two utterly unforgettable characters.)

Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter (all)

Saenz, Benjamin Alire - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe(these guys stole my heart)

Shannon, Samantha - The Bone Season (plus the series as a whole)

Singh, Nalini - Angel's Blood (whole series)

Singh, Nalini - Psy Changeling series (there's too many books from the series that I like but each book is always close to 5 stars)

Smith, R. Lee - Land of the Beautiful Dead  (Urban Fantasy/Dystopian? Hard to categorize but a story that stayed with me long after I finished it)

Sparks, Kerrelyn -  Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon

Spencer, Wen - A Brother's Price 

Untamed, JanJan - The Doomsday Papers

Wright, Suzanne - Feral Sins (only this one of the series, the others eh)

(I typically consider this any story taking place from 1950ish to present times.)

Aaron, Celia - Blackwood

Alers, Rochelle

Anders, Natasha - The Unwanted Wife

Ashley, Kristen - Rock Chick (only this one of the Rock Chicks I couldn't get through the rest of her series too repetitive)

Ashley, Kristen - Sweet Dreams (one of her best IMO)

Ashton, Avril - (Watch Me) Break You

Ayala, Rachelle - Playing for the Save

Barry, Emma, & Turner, Genevieve - A Midnight Clear

Black, Incy - Hard to Forget (R. suspense)

Bette, Kimberly A. - Held

Bowen, Sarina - The Year We Fell Down (NA, sports)

Bowen, Sarina, & Kennedy, Elle - 2 recs for Him and Us (LGBT, M/M, NA, sports) (read this twice in four months and am not against another reread)

Brockmann, Suzanne - Get Lucky

Brockmann, Suzanne - Gone Too Far

Carr, K. - Home

Carr, M.C. - Birdie

Carter, Chance - Royal Engagement

Chauhan, Anuja - Those Pricey Thakur Girls

Christine, Lee - In Safe Arms (R. suspense)

Clayton, Alice - Wallbanger (great romantic comedy)

Cole, Alyssa - Let It Shine

Cole, Kresley - 2 recs for A Hunger Like No Other

Cole, Kresley - Dark Needs at Night's Edge

Cole, Kresly - Demon From the Dark

Craig, Christie - Shut Up and Kiss Me

Crusie, Jennifer - (pretty much anything, her brand of romance ensnares me)

Crusie, Jennifer - 2 recs for Bet Me (longtime perennial re-read)

Cullinan, Heidi - Carry the Ocean

Fitzpatrick, Huntley - My Life Next Door

Foster, Melissa - Tru Blue

Frost, Jeaniene - 2 recs for Halfway to the Grave (I wish this series had never ended, whole series)

Frost, Sosie - Beauty and the Blitz

Gerard, Cindy - Into the Dark (R. suspense)

Gerard, Cindy - To the Brink

Gibson, Rachel - Truly, Madly, Yours

Green, John - Fault in Our Stars

Grey, Autumn - Breaking Gravity (naughty but tortured teacher romance, NA)

Griffin, Laura - Beyond Limits (R. suspense)

Haddon, Mark - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Han, Jennifer - To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Harkins, M.K. - Intentional

Harmon, Amy - 2 recs for  Making Faces (when I need a good cry)

Harvey-Berrick, Jane - The Education of Sebastian and The Education of Caroline

Hazard, Alessandra - Just a Bit Ruthless

Henry, Lisa - The Island

Higgins, Kristan - Catch of the Day

Hoover, Colleen - Hopeless

Hoover, Colleen - It Ends With Us

Hoover, Colleen - Ugly Love

Howard, Linda - 2 recs for Mr. Perfect (favorite romantic suspense) (although I'm very pissed off at LH at the moment, I couldn't leave this one off the list)

Hype, Jenn - Simply Crazy

Jackson, Brenda - Westmorelands

James, Julie - Just the Sexiest Man Alive

James, Julie - Something About You

Janzen, Tara - Crazy Hot

Jenkins, Beverly

Jones, Darynda - First Grave on the Right - (I love this whole series, it mostly revolves around the same couple)

Kelly, Brynn - Edge of Truth

Kennedy, Elle - Fragment

Keplinger, Kody - The DUFF:  Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Kinsella, Sophie - Confessions of a Shopaholic (even if in new installments Rebecca has gotten on my nerves with her refusal to learn from her past I still over the first in the series)

Kinsella, Sophie - Finding Aubrey

Kleypas, LIsa - Smooth Talking Stranger

Lanyon, Josh - Death of a Pirate King

Laurenston, Shelly - The Beast in Him (PNR/Shifter, just funny and one of her best)

Layne, Lauren - Walk of Shame

Llosa, Mario Vargas - The Bad Girl

Loch, Kathryn - Haunted Heart

Lyga, Barry - I Hunt Killers series

Malone, Lily - So Far Into You (chick-lit)

Manning, Sarra - You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

March, Meghan - Beneath this Mask and Beneath these Scars

McAvoy, J.J. - That Thing Between Eli & Gwen

McDonald, Jeanne - Compass

McKenna, Cara - Willing Victim

McKinley, Brooke - Shades of Grey

McLean, Jay - More Than This

McNaught, Judith - Perfect

Nelson, Latrivia S. - Dmitry's Closet (both series)

Nelson, Latrivia S. - Ivy's Twisted Vine

Pace, Pepper - Stranded!

Park, Jessica - Flat Out Love

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth - Dream a Little Dream

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth - 2 recs for Kiss An Angel

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth - Match Me If You Can

Powell, Liz - Hunted

Rai, Alisha - Hate to Want You

Ray, Francis

Reed, Jamie - Burning Emerald

Reed, Jamie - Fading Amber

Reed, Jamie - Living Violet

Reid, Penny - 2 recs for Beard Science

Reid, Penny - Neanderthal Seeks Human (when I need that touch of awkward/funny)

Rinyu, Beth - Thursday Afternoon

Robbs, J.D. - 2 recs for In Death series (because- Roarke! futuristic)

Romig, Aleatha - Consequences (whole series)

Roux, Abigail - Divide & Conquer

Schlosser, Jamie - Outcast (The Good Guys)

Scott, Kylie - Play (Rocker, for those times I just want to laugh)

Shalvis, Jill - Lucky in Love

Shalvis, Jill - Rainy Day Friends (new favorite)

Shalvis, Jill - Simply Irresistible

Sheehan, Madeline - Unbeautifully

Sheehan, Madeline - Undeniable

Sheridan, Mia - Stinger

Singh, Nalini - Rock Hard

Sjoberg, Lori - Grave Vengeance (paranormal)

Smith, Maureen - The Swede

St. Pierre, Raven - The Complete Free Falling series

Swain, Shea - The Awakening of the Halo

Swain, Shea - The Binding of the Halo

Swain, Shea - Chained to the Devil's Son

Thompson, Nancy S. - Stirred

Thorne, Sally - 4 recs for The Hating Game (new favorite)

Turner, Twyla - Chasing Day series

Untamed, JanJan - The View From the Bottom

Ward, J.R. - 2 recs for Dark Lover (favorite PNR)

Ward, J.R. - Lover Awakened

Webber, Tammara - Easy and Breakable

Young, Samantha - On Dublin Street (again I adore the series however the couples change each book and Joss and Braedon are my favorite)

Zabo, Anna - Just Business

Zapata, Mariana - Kulti (it took a long time for me to fall in love with this one but once I did there was no stopping it)

Zapata, Mariana - The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (when I need that slow burn)

(I typically consider this any story taking place from dawn of humans to 1940ish)

Anderson, Catherine - Summer Breeze

Ashley, Jennifer - The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie (just love it so much)

Austen, Jane - Persuasion

Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice (I know, I know--but--Mr. Darcy!--Classic)

Brockway, Connie - Bridal Favors

Brockway, Connie - The Other Guy's Bride

Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre

Canham, Marsha - Through a Dark Mist and In a Shadow of Midnight

Cleeton, Chanel - Next Year in Havana (women's fiction)

Dare, Tessa - Any Duchess Will Do 

Dare, Tessa - Romancing the Duke

de Blasis, Celeste - The Tiger's Woman (MY FIRST HISTORICAL ROMANCE! I will NEVER forget it. It's bodice rippery, but back in the day I devoured this book-several times.)

Donaldson, Julianne

Donati, Sara - Into the Wilderness

Duran, Meredith - The Duke of Shadows

Enoch, Suzanne - England's Perfect Hero

Garwood, Julie - The Bride

Garwood, Julie - For the Roses

Garwood, Julie - The Gift (funny and sentimental choice.)

Garwood, Julie - Ransom

Goodman, Jo - Sweet Fire

Graham, Winston - Poldark series (The 1970s BBC production of Poldark, with Robin Ellies, Angharad Rees, Ralph Bates, Jill Townsend, Clive Francis, Kevin McNally
Making Poldark, by Robin Ellis
Poldark's Cornwall, by Winston Graham
I can't rave about these enough. I watched half of the first episode of the recent BBC remake with Aidan Turner and was completely turned off. Graham served as an advisor to the 1970s version, and it was much more faithful to the books. And I'm sorry, but Aidan Turner is NOT Robin Ellis!!!!!!!)

Gracie, Anne - The Perfect Stranger

Grasso, Patricia - Desert Eden

Gregory, Lisa - The Rainbow Season (Both of these books featured ordinary people living ordinary lives, rather than dukes and kings and pirates) 

Guhrke, Laura Lee - Conor's Way

Heath, Lorraine - Always to Remember (favorite western historical)

Heyer, Georgette - Cotillon 

Hoyt, Elizabeth - Duke of Sin

Hoyt, Elizabeth - To Seduce a Sinner

Hunter, Madeline - The Charmer

Ibbtoson, Eva A Countess Below Stairs

James, Eloisa - This Duchess of Mine

Jenkins, Beverly

Johnson, Susan - Sinful

Kelly, Carla - Marrying the Captain

Kennedy, Kris - Claiming Her

Kinsale, Laura - The Shadow and the Star

Kleypas, Lisa - 3 recs for Devil in Winter

Kleypas, Lisa - 2 recs for Love in the Afternoon

Kleypas, Lisa - Marrying Winterborne

Kleypas, Lisa - Mine Till Midnight

Kleypas, Lisa - Secrets of a Summer Night

Kleypas, Lisa - 2 recs for Tempt Me at Twilight (basically the whole Hathway series is my favorite!)

Koen, Karleen - Through a Glass Darkly

Krahn, Betina - The Book of True Desires

Krahn, Betina - The Last Bachelor

Ladd, Sarah E. 

Laurens, Stephanie - The Promise in a Kiss

Leigh, Susannah - Wine of the Dreamers (I'm not much into time travel/reincarnation,but one was slightly different. Similar, in a way, to Anya Seton's The Green Darkness. I haven't read it in a long time, maybe 20 years, so it's due to be taken off the shelf again.)

Lindsey, Johanna - Gentle Rogue

London, Julia - The Perils of Pursuing a Prince

Long, Julie Anne - The Secret to Seduction

Mathewson, R.L. - Truce

Matthews, Mimi - The Lost Letter

Marai, Sandor - Embers

Marillier, Juliet - Daughter of the Forest

Mastretta, Angeles - Lovesick

McNaught, Judith - Once and Always

Mederios, Teresa - Thief of Hearts

Morsi, Pamela - Courting Miss Hattie

O'Connell, Ellen - Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold

Osborne, Maggie - The Promise of Jenny Jones

Proctor, Candice - Beyond Sunrise

Putney, Mary Jo - Dearly Beloved (This one is controversial. A lot of readers hate it because of how it starts, but I loved it)

Quick, Amanda - Dangerous

Quinn, Paula - Laird of the Mist

Quinn, Julia - The Duke and I

Quinn, Julia - 2 recs for Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

Rasheed, Lelia - Cinders & Sapphires

Raybourn, Deanna - A Spear of Summer Grass

Shupe, Joanna - Magnate

Simmons, Paullina - The Bronze Horseman series

Smith-Saxe, Coral - Enchantment (absolutely delightful, one of my all-time favorites AND it has one of the most gorgeous covers EVER)

Spencer, LaVyrle - Hummingbird (Though I had some issues with Hummingbird, I loved the laugh out loud humor. Both of these books featured ordinary people living ordinary lives rather than dukes and kings and pirates)

Stewart, Mary - The Ivy Tree (favorite vintage)

Tavares, Miguel Sousa - Equator

Thomas, Sherry - Ravishing the Heiress

Turano, Jen 

Untamed, JanJan - The Magnificent Miss Broadway

Wallace, Bill - Buffalo Gal

Westcott, Jan - The Hepburn

White, Leslie Turner - Lord Johnnie

Woodwiss, Kathleen - Ashes in the Wind

Yerby, Frank - The Saracen Blade