Breathe With Me

Breathe With Me

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let's talk books...

Hello, friends! I’m unusually reflective this evening, as I prepare for all of you to have SEDUCING LAUREN in your hands on Tuesday. This is the second book in the LOVE UNDER THE BIG SKY series, and as I’ve said before, this is one of my very favorite couples of all of my books.
And that’s saying a lot because choosing a favorite is like choosing a favorite child. It’s impossible.
But while I’m super excited for Tuesday (and, if the truth be told, I’m as nervous as a whore in church too), what I’ve been thinking about tonight is reading.
Because at the heart of it all, I’m a reader.
I don’t believe that I can be an effective writer, an engaging writer, a learning writer, without also being a reader. And, let’s face it, it’s my first love.
There’s nothing better than getting lost in a story. When the words are magic, and you’re sucked into a world you didn’t even know existed, with characters who quickly become friends. I want to root for the characters. Cheer them on, hurt for them, cry with them.
And when it’s over, I want to try to flip the page to read more, stunned to discover that I’ve reached the end.
In the past few months there have been some books that have done this for me. I’d love to share them with you.

An author that I just discovered this year is the amazing Jill Shalvis. This woman can write the hell out of a love story. I devoured all of her Lucky Harbor series, Animal Magnetism series, and every other book she’s ever written in the matter of about two months. I couldn’t read them fast enough. Jill is a master at what I love most; the family/small town saga. Her heroes are simply sexy, alpha deliciousness. Her love scenes are H-O-T. If you haven’t read her before, DO NOT WAIT! Start with the beginning of a series, any series, and dig in. She will delight you.
"Where did that flashlight come from?" Chloe asked. 

"My purse."
Chloe looked at Tara. "She carries a flashlight in her purse."
"For emergencies," Maddie said, trying to see into the yard.
"You have any chocolate?" Chloe asked hopefully. "For emergencies?"
"Of course. Side Pocket, next to the fork." 

A book that left me with a naughty grin and begging for more was SWEET FILTHY BOY by Christina Lauren. It’s no secret that I adore their Beautiful series, and the first in the new Wild Seasons series, and featuring the delectable Ansel was… EVERYTHING. Funny, sexy, heart-wrenching. Did I mention sexy? So damn sexy. The first five chapters had me in stitches, laughing until I thought I was going to pee myself. It’s utterly charming. I adore Christina Lauren. The talent in these two women is staggering. They also have a YA Paranormal book releasing in a couple months, SUBLIME, as well as more from the Beautiful series and the Wild Seasons series. These women are BUSY!
"You should see him with his shirt off."
Ansel rocks on his heels, sipping his drink. "Please continue as if I'm not here. This is fantastic." 
— Christina Lauren SWEET FILTHY BOY

Another series that I devoured like it was carrot cake (I really love carrot cake) was the Marriage to a Billionaire series by the amazing Jennifer Probst. This series is just… Wow. Romantic, and sassy. Sensual. Sexy as hell. Again, Jennifer does a great job writing a family saga. One of the reasons that I write in this style is because I enjoy seeing the characters from pervious books, to see how they are, what they’re up to. I’m nosy as hell. And I love this series so much. These will be old friends that I return to over and over again.
He closed the distance another tight inch. Her breasts pressed against his chest, and her nipples were hard little points stabbing out of the scarlet material, begging to be freed. Her breath came in ragged gasps, her perfume swamped his senses. He grew hard, and her eyes widened as his full length throbbed against her leg in demand. 

“I’m calling your bluff, baby.” 
Pure shock registered on her face as he removed one hand from the wall to casually unbutton his shirt, slide off his tie, then grasp her chin with a firm grip. 
“Prove it.” 

An author that I recently fell in love with is Marie Force. This lady also writes a family saga like a master. Her Gansett Island and Green Mountain series are just spectacular. You will fall in love with the fictional towns that the stories take place in, as well as the quirky, sexy characters she creates. Marie will rip your heart out. Her characters face such real, painful obstacles, and she expresses their emotions so clearly, so flawlessly, you will be caught up in every page, cursing Mother Nature when you have no choice but to pee and eat. I lose myself in Marie’s stories, and always plan to settle in for a long, happy read.
‎"I think," she said, tipping her head to give him better access, "that at least once in a lifetime, every girl should be pressed up against a wall and kissed stupid by a sexy man." 
— Marie Force

An author that I’ve loved for decades, and began rereading this year, is Lori Foster. If you’ve never read her, please do. She writes one hell of a sexy man. If there were any heroes that I wish were real, it’s Lori’s men. These guys… they make you swoon, smile, bite your lip and hold your breath. They make you laugh and squirm and want to slap them. They’re infuriating. And absolutely wonderful. I love that many of Lori’s heroines are not the stereotypical size 2, perfectly gorgeous supermodel. They’re real women, with insecurities and sass and flavor. And their men love them FIERCELY. The lust and passion is out of control, my friends. Two of my favorites by her are TOO MUCH TEMPTATION and NEVER TOO MUCH. The heroes in these books are brothers, and they will leave you with wide, happy grins.
“I want sex. Hot, wet, grinding sex. I want a woman who’s willing to give me her body, in any way I want it. But until I get everything else squared away, that’s all I want. No commitments. And God only knows how long that’ll take.” ~ Noah Harper 

And finally, my own personal idol, Nora Roberts. I could go on and on for pages about why I love Nora’s work, but I’ll just talk about two of her series that I’ve already reread this year. The first is the CHESEPEAKE BAY TRILOGY, about four very different, yet all very sexy brothers and how a family tragedy brings them together, and ultimately each one to his soul mate. I’ve reread this series many times over the years. I have signed paperbacks that are well-loved, and retired on my bookshelf. This series is the very best family saga I’ve ever read. It’s about loyalty, integrity, doing what’s right even when it doesn’t feel good. It’s about falling in love with not just a partner, but with a family, a town and the people in it. Cameron, Ethan, Phillip and Seth are forever in my heart.
The other series by Nora that I’ve been reading is the GALLAGHERS OF ARDMORE trilogy, JEWELS OF THE SUN, TEARS OF THE MOON and HEART OF THE SEA. These books are set in Ireland, and while I read them, I can smell the sea, see the deep green hills and old ruins on the countryside, and the inflection of the Irish accent is simply beautiful in the dialogue. Nora does an amazing job of absorbing everything about the country into her prose, making you believe that you’re right there with those characters. I also love the story of the centuries-old tale of a Faerie Prince and his true love, and the spell he cast on them. The whole trilogy is simply magical.

"Please let me go."
"Anna." He lowered his brow to hers. "Don't ask me to do that, because I don't think I can live without you. Take a chance, roll the dice. Come with me." 

And, there you have it. This is what I’ve been reading. I enjoy a true contemporary love story. I want there to be obstacles, but at the heart of it, I want to watch the couple fall in love. I want to see why they’re attracted to each other, and I want to watch that attraction grow. I want them to get angry, but never give up. And at the end, I always, always want a happy ending.
Because in these love stories, the love is the most important thing. It’s important to me that there’s a place I can hide where everything really is okay in the end. The guy always gets the girl.
There is happy ever after.
Always happy ever after.