Hello! (If there is anyone actually following my blog) I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, life has just been busy and there hasn’t exactly been anything new (writing-wise) to post about. Then I got tagged by Rowan Speedwell on Facebook for the 10 book thing a couple days ago. And as I started the list, I found myself expanding and writing a dissertation about why I liked each, LOL, which was not necessary for the rules of the Facebook version. So I decided to make the expanded version into a blog post.
So the deal was:
In your status write 10 books that have stayed with you. They don’t have to be great works, just books that touched you.
Well, my list is definitely not a list of great works! LOL I’ve always read for fun, for the romance, for the escapism. The collected works of Shakespeare or Leo Tolstoy will not be listed below. 🙂
I don’t know if I can say all of these books had some monumental effect on me, but they are all books that either were read at crucial times in my life, or inspired me to read again or just became comfort reads that I love to read over and over. I was a voracious reader from a very young age, my mother taught me to read before I went to school. I remember the librarian in grade school letting me pick books from the older grades’ shelves because I was that advanced. Then something happened about the time I graduated college/started working, suddenly I just stopped reading. There was never time or nothing appealed to me or whatever…I just never read much at all anymore. Thankfully I found my way back and ended up here in M/M romancelandia and I couldn’t be happier!
The Little House on the Prairie books – I would list just one but I can’t even remember all the titles now. But definitely one of the first book series I remember reading.
Family Secrets by Norma Klein – Or any Norma Klein book really, but this was one I read a lot. As a small town girl (living in a lonely world…ha ha ha!) I loved that her stories were about teens my age living in New York but also these were not kids going on dates to the mall or the movies. Her characters had divorced parents and non-traditional families, had sex (that wasn’t perfect), got pregnant, dated boys in wheel chairs and dealt with the consequences.
Easy Connections by Liz Berry – This is a YA book from the 80’s by a British author. I remember I picked it up by chance in my late teens as a cheap paperback at a Wal-Mart-type store. Involving a rock band, it appealed to me. Over the years I have read that little paperback so many times, even as an adult. I am such a “true-love always wins out” and “the bad-boy always has a good side” fan that it wasn’t until I was older that I realized that the sex scene and the way the two main characters get together is actually pretty controversial. Still Ms. Berry deals with it well, it takes a very long time for these two to really become a couple. (in fact not really until book 2, which I discovered later as an adult and probably jumped around with joy when I found out there was another book about these characters)
The other thing I loved about this book was Liz Berry’s writing and descriptive style. I could literally feel and breathe the intensity and fire and passion of the characters and the clothes they wore and the music they played and the deep connection between them all.
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong – I don’t remember if this was actually the first Erica Jong book I read, but it is the first in a series about the same character, Isadora Wing. I discovered Erica in college and I consider these my first taste of erotica. (although if I went back and read them now I’d probably think they were pretty tame.)
Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner – I found this book during my non-reading phase and if it hadn’t been for a trip I was taking and needing something to read in the airport and on the plane, I probably would never have read this either. She immediately became a favorite author, I loved the humor and snarky main character Cannie and her imperfect journey to finding the Mr. Right.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – Yes, I know, there will be comments from the peanut gallery about this one. But if it weren’t for this book (and the other 3 in the series) I would never be reading again, or writing and I never would have discovered M/M. It was Nov. 2008, I saw a story on TV about the first movie coming out and all the teen girls who were fanatical about this book and movie and this perfect guy named Edward. Normally vampires would never have intrigued me, but I’d heard it was a romance and I’d heard (like Harry Potter) that a lot of adults were reading it and loving it too. So, on a whim I bought the book. This was still in my non-reading phase so it was definitely an impulse buy. It was around Thanksgiving time, and by New Year’s I had devoured all four books, including rereading book one while waiting on Amazon to deliver the others to me. They may not be great literature but there is some kind of crack in those books that just suck you in. And if you can’t tell from the rest of my list, I’m a sucker for a good love story.
When I’d finished the books, I went looking online for more information, about the books, about the author, about the movie–whatever I could get. It was in this searching that I discovered something I’d never heard of before–fanfiction. I started reading tons of fanfiction, eventually veering into slash (M/M) fanfiction stories, which led to discovering the wonderful brilliant world of M/M Romance stories. Along this yellow brick road I also started writing (fiction), something I hadn’t done since the 4th or 5th grade.
I would never have dreamed that five years later I would have a book published or have attended a convention like GRL or meet so many new and wonderful amazing people. It may sound corny to attribute it all to a book like Twilight but I truly don’t believe I would have found my way here otherwise.
Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – Really all the Black Dagger Brotherhood books could go here. I almost listed the first one in the series, but decided to use the M/M one as a representative because yeah, Blay and Qhuinn… (sigh) 🙂
Came to these through Twilight too, but well, the Brothers are QUITE different. Big, tough men with big cocks and bonding scents and … rawr. What surprised me about these books when I read them, was how much I actually enjoyed the dramatic action parts along with the romance. (And sex.) 🙂
Okay with three slots left, I’m forced to choose M/M books and that is nearly impossible because I’ve read so many amazing ones in the last three years. I could do a whole list of M/M alone and it would be way longer than 10 because to even narrow it down to 10 would be impossible. I thought about adding Honorable Mentions but even that would be a list a mile long.
Enlightened by J.P. Barnaby – I’m including Enlightened because it is the first M/M book that I ever read. I read this first version that J.P. self-published before all of her publishing success. (So I had to wait a LONG time before book two came out! But it was worth it)
Caught Running by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban – The main reason I picked this one (because as I said there are just too many great M/M books to choose) is because this is one of my go-back-to books to reread. When I’m just in the mood for a good, plain romance with not a lot of angst. And I love the relationship between Brandon and Jake, it has everything–heat and passion, emotion and humor. One of my favorite couples of all M/M books.
Into this River I Drown by T. J. Klune – It takes a lot to make me cry when reading or watching something, and like most of T. J.’s books I shed a few tears on this one. Except this one was more than a few. There is one special scene, if you have ever lost someone close to you, well I dare you not to cry. (I lost my mom two years ago) This book gives all of us the chance to talk to that person one last time. (Or at least experience the feeling of what it might be like)