As an author, I’m often asked by readers and interviewers to recommend my favorite books. I’m more than happy to discuss the latest book I’m reading, one that has lingered in my mind for weeks after finishing, or a classic I’d read long ago. But on occasion, I’m asked to narrow my preferred genre down to one—an impossible task!
When Book Cave asked me to share with subscribers the top must read books in a specific genre, I wasn’t sure what to choose. Since I write women’s fiction/contemporary romance, that would seem the obvious choice. However, my tastes are eclectic and asking me to choose is like asking a mother to choose one child over another as their favorite.
I think everyone should at least read a few classics. The memories of mandatory high school reading materials might make one shudder, but what you hated as a teen you might appreciate now. Who doesn’t love Elizabeth and Darcy? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is on the top of my list. East of Eden by John Steinbeck is my favorite book of all time. It’s a study of the human condition and morality, rich with a cast of complex characters.
Women’s fiction can be a broad genre. Often there is romance, but it usually isn’t the main point of the story. Sophie Kinsella writes women’s fiction, usually with an added bit of humor. Her characters take a ride of self-discovery, learn important lessons and become better women though the journey. Twenties Girl is a book I read several years ago but I still frequently recommend it. What begins as a wild goose chase for a lost necklace becomes a life-changing discovery of self, family, and life.
Historical Fiction is fascinating. Learning of other eras and countries’ histories through realistic fictional characters is riveting. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton gave me insight into the revolution in Cuba, something I knew little about. The Masterpiece and The Address, two books by Fiona Davis, showcased New York City landmarks through compelling fictional characters.
I enjoy certain paranormal stories. Throw in angels, witches or vampires and I’m usually interested. A Discovery of Witches, as well as the other books in The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, is one of the most detailed and spellbinding series I’ve ever read. Jaci Miller builds a magical world with many unique realms that include supernaturals of all kinds in The Scrying and The Hallowed. The Watchers Trilogy—Cursed, Blessed, and Forgiven—by S.J. West is a series I still think about a year after reading it. There were so many twists and turns. The last book answered all my questions and was so emotionally beautiful.
There are many types of romance sub-genres. If the story is well-written and has a plot beyond the love story, I generally enjoy it whether it’s a sweet, steamy, or erotic romance. Addison Cole writes the Seaside Summers novels, a sweet romance series that is set on Cape Cod. K. Bromberg writes very steamy romance that include interesting plots and detailed character development. I could enthusiastically go through her entire list, but to name a few, The Driven Series, Sweet cheeks, and The Everyday Heroes Series. Also, The Story of Us by Sydney Jamesson intertwines steamy romance, mystery, and paranormal elements to create a unique story.
Last but certainly not least, The Gabriel Series by Sylvain Reynard, which is categorized under erotic romance. It is sensual, romantic, and erotic in the most respectful way. But it is also a literary work of art. Mr. Reynard has woven together literature, art, music, religion, and culture in a one of a kind romance that is unforgettable.
There you have it! Just a small sample of my top must read books and authors. If space allowed, I could go on and on . . .