As a treat to our readers this Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked Mara Alpert, a librarian at the the Los Angeles Public Library, for some steamy reading recs. See what she has to say about one of her most passionate pastimes:
“Ah February… the month we surround ourselves with red hearts, chocolate candy, thoughtful gifts, and the companionship of that special someone (if we’re lucky)… ROMANCE in all caps. Now would be an excellent time to indulge in a little romantic reading. I’m going to share some of my favorite romance novels (all of which can be checked out with your Los Angeles Public Library card) in the hopes that you will be inspired to add a little more romance to your life.
Suzanne Brockmann – Perhaps you like your males alpha… well, Navy SEALs are among the alpha-est. They can do anything – fix things, rescue people, crack jokes, and make love like nobody’s business. If you want adventure, suspense, a few gun fights, and a lot of romance, try Suzanne Brockmann. You’ll want to start at the beginning of the Troubleshooters Series with The Unsung Hero, in which Navy SEAL Tom Paoletti returns to his hometown to find the girl he left behind (now a doctor), and glimpses a terrorist who’s supposed to be dead.
Jennifer Crusie – You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Okay, possibly your tears will be the result of laughing so hard, but she also knows how to tug those heartstrings. Ms. Crusie loves neurotic dogs, eccentric families, and the odd illegal activity. Her characters are not perfect, by any means. They’re real people – with a kick. My absolute favorite is Faking It, which tells the tale of Tilda Goodnight, who has been pretty much supporting her family (and trying to forget about the wildly illegal forged artwork in the basement) for years, and her growing relationship with the mysterious Davy Dempsey (whose past has a few larcenous twists as well).
Carla Kelly – Regency Romances generally take place in and around England in the early part of the 19th century, almost always among the aristocracy. If you’re only going to read one modern Regency author, Carla Kelly is the one to pick. Her characters are complex (even the minor ones), she has a great feel for both humor and pathos, and she KNOWS HER HISTORY. She also doesn’t shy away from sensitive issues – many of her books deal with war and its aftermath, and it’s not pretty. An excellent example would be With This Ring, which tells the story of Lydia Perkins, who defies convention to volunteer in a dilapidated church full of wounded and dying soldiers after the Battle of Toulouse, and Major Sam Reed, who finds her altogether admirable.
Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle / Amanda Quick – She writes under three different names, and she writes EVERYTHING… contemporary humorous romantic suspense (with a little paranormality thrown in), romantic science fiction (with a little paranormality thrown in), and historical romances touched with mystery, humor, and oh, just for fun, a little paranormality thrown in. Okay, and she does also write more traditional romantic suspense – her most recent title, written under the name Jayne Ann Krentz, is Trust No One, in which Grace Elland finds events from her past rising up to play a terrifying part in her turbulent present, after she discovered the dead body of her employer. Fortunately, an awkward blind date has connected her with the one man who can help.
Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb – Here is another author with so much to say that she needs two personas to say it (over 200 titles and counting). As Nora Roberts, she writes contemporary romances spiced with mystery and suspense (every once in a while a little magic appears); as J.D. Robb, she has one of the best futuristic/police procedural/thriller romantic series around (well, the only one around), built around one of the most interesting married couples in any genre – police lieutenant Eve Dallas and her mega-rich, mega-hunky, ex-con husband Roarke. I like Roberts’ books, but I LOVE Robb’s. Start the long-running series with Naked in Death, and prepare yourself for a wildly romantic ride.
–Post by Mara Alpert
Top Image: From the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. February 7, 1947. Andre ‘Bandi’ De Toth, enterprise studio director receives his Valentine present early from his wife, screen star Veronica Lake, the gift being a four place Navion airplane.