Friday, February 15, 2019

Romantic Books in Other Genres // Romance Month



This is my last post for romance month: romantic books in other genres. So if you like a little love, or a lot... but you'd rather read fantasy or historical fiction, check this post out! I enjoyed these books quite a lot!




The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox*

Plot: When scandal strikes the Montrose family they must leave Boston for the country. There the three sisters and their parents move into the splendid Willow Hall. In the house strange noises are heard, figments are seen, and messages are written in foggy mirrors, but is it all in their imagination? Emeline, the youngest claims that there is a little boy by the pond, Lydia hears a wailing throughout the house, and Catherine is acting more desperate than usual. As they try to adjust to life in their new home, the gossip from Boston does not fade. Will Catherine and Lydia be able to make matches despite the rumors? What do their suitors know of the strangeness occurring at Willow Hall?
My Rating: 3.5 - 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical fiction and classic novels with a bit of a dark theme.

The English Wife by Lauren Willig *

Plot: When Janie finds her brother, murdered, at his mansion's opening costume party she knows there is more to the story that meets the eye. Her family, one of the richest in the United States, is very proud and suddenly has a ruined reputation. When no one else will seek to investigate her brother's murder more fully, she teams up with Mr. Burke, a journalist, in hopes of discovering the truth, and getting justice. The story shifts back and forth between Janie and Mr. Burke solving the murder, and her brother Bay and his wife Annabelle's past. Both plots reach their apex at once in an exciting revelation.
My Rating: 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy mysteries, historical fiction, and strong female characters.

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Plot: This book follows Julie, as she finds out that her beloved aunt Rose, the woman who raised her, has passed away. Not only that, but she has left her entire estate to her twin sister. She quickly finds out that she was left something even more valuable, a key to a safety deposit box in Siena, Italy. She is soon swept up in an adventure to Italy to solve the mystery of the key, all the while uncovering information about her ancestor Giulietta's tragic past in 1340. The past and present are woven together in a mysterious way, as what had happened in the past, was very much still relevant in the present.
My Rating: 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy books that flash back and forth between multiple time periods, romance, adventure, and bits of "historical fiction". As well as Romeo and Juliet. (I'm not bonkers for R&J, but did enjoy this quite a bit!)

The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay*

Plot: This book follows the Turner family, when their father breaks his hand and is unable to sew boots to support his family, the lady of the house has an idea: she trains her daughters into a Vaudeville tumbling act.. and they set off to tour the country. Along the way the sisters grow, family dynamics are tested and strengthened, they meet interesting characters, and perhaps fall in and out of love.
My Rating: 4.5 - 4.75 stars - I recommend if you like historical fiction, colorful characters, family dynamics, or books similar to Water for Elephants. This also reminded me a bit of Call the Midwife.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Plot: This book follows a former WWII nurse named Claire as she explores the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank. While she's exploring ancient ruins one day, she gets pulled into the 18th century, where she's promptly abducted by a band of Scottish men. She then meets Jamie Fraser, a dashing young Scot. She has every intention of getting back to the ruins and returning to the 1940's ... but it quickly becomes much more complicated than it seemed.
My Rating: 5 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for the perfect blend of romance, historical fiction, and action adventure. Oh yeah, and there's time travel in there somewhere too.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Plot: Louise Brooks is a young dancer, who has been accepted to a dance school in New York City. Her parents make an agreement with Cora, a married woman, to be her chaperone for the trip. Cora has a mission of her own while she is in New York, one that she'd rather keep to herself. Over the trip Cora realizes that Louise is a lot more work than she had expected, but learns from her all the same. This story is an interesting coming of age, and coming into one's own story for both characters, set in the backdrop of the 1920's.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical fiction and complex characters who experience a lot of character growth.



Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

Plot: The plot centers around something that happened 18 years ago on an island off the Seattle coast, two young girls are preyed upon by a man. In the present, hotel executive Madeline is dealing with the aftermath of the situation 18 years ago, and struggling in personal relationships due to the trauma. When the caretaker of the hotel where the incident took place 18 years ago, calls Madeline saying they need to talk, she quickly travels to the island to meet with him. The caretaker was calling to say that their dangerous secret from all those years ago, is in danger of being discovered. When she arrives to find him dying.... and the killer still on the premises things get interesting. Her head of security Jack, comes to help her figure out what's going on. Arson, murder, mystery, and a little romance ensue. 
My Rating: I was really riveted by this one. I don't read a lot of murder mysteries, but this book had a lot of depth to the story lines, multiple POVs in the writing, and some character development that I thought was pretty good. Overall, I really liked this book at lot, and would definitely recommend it if you like suspenseful mysteries! I had to laugh by how glad they were to leave the PacNW and get to Arizona... I definitely felt that way coming back from Seattle! haha

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Plot: Nikki is a modern woman. Despite her family's Indian and Sikh heritage, she makes her own way in the world. She works in a pub, isn't interested in arranged marriage, and smokes cigarettes. When her sister asks her to take a marriage ad to the local temple for her, she sees that they are hiring a creative writing teacher for women. Nikki jumps at the chance to empower these women, and takes the job. She doesn't realize that many of them cannot yet read or write, she's even more surprised when she finds out that they really just want to share their deepest fantasies in story form. Kulwinder's daughter disregarded their rules and culture, and now she is dead. Kulwinder spends her days afraid of stepping out of line. When Nikki is hired to teach the women, Kulwinder finds that she is more like her daughter than she is comfortable with. This story blends two cultures, multiple generations, and brings women together.
My Rating: 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy diverse contemporary fiction. Specifically books that delve into gender roles, religion, and immigrant families.



We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Plot: This book follows Marin who's grandfather, her sole guardian, passed away just before she's to move across the country for college. She deserts her friends and heads straight to school. She can't face San Francisco or her memories anymore. When she convinces her college to let her stay on campus over winter break, her best friend Mabel pays her a visit. Mabel has an agenda, but Marin isn't ready to dig up the recent past.
My Rating: 4 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for a raw and emotional contemporary YA read. This book explores loneliness, grief, sexuality, mental illness, and hope.



No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Benson

Plot: This book follows the life of Cara Benson as she pulls herself out of a quarter-life crisis complete with crippling anxiety, the bulk of the story occurs during a 13 day, 8 country trip, with (you guessed it) no baggage & a guy she met on OK Cupid. First of all, how intriguing! No baggage?! Also, no itinerary?! With someone you barely know... ?! Crazypants.
My Review: 5 Stars - I would recommend if you are feeling the "quarter life crisis" or like reading witty non-fiction or travel.



Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven*

Plot: Gilene has the ability to summon fire. When the empire culls girls and women as slaves for the Rites of Spring, they will be given to the gladiators for a bit of fun, and later burned as a sacrifice to the gods. Gilene attends each year out of duty and to save another from her fate. This year, she is recognized (despite her disguise) by the gladius prime, Azarion.When Azarion explains his goal to escape the arena, she must help him or risk her secret being exposed to the empire. Upon escape, however, Gilene is taken Azarion's prisoner and whisked across the world to his plainland home. He needs her help, and her gift of fire.
My Rating: 4.25 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy fantasy with sweeping adventurous plots with a bit of romance.

Saga vol. I by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Plot: This graphic novel follows Marko and Alana, two soldiers from different planets as they embark on a journey to start a family and a new life in a dangerous world. It begins with them having a baby, and follows their journey as they are hunted down by members of their own races, as well as other galactic forces who know that the news of their interracial baby threatens the way their world works. Think action-packed, sarcastic, sometimes explicit Romeo & Juliet.
My Rating: 5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy science fiction, or if you are looking for something different to read. I don't love sci-fi, and I had only ever read one graphic novel before this... but I really enjoyed this one!

East by Edith Pattou
Plot: This book follows Rose, who was born facing North, by her mother's superstitions that predestines her to be wild and always seeking adventure. Fearing that life for her, she lies, and says she was born facing East, meaning she will be level headed and happy at home. However, Roses's destiny will be that of a North child, and everything sets into motion one day when a white bear comes to take her away from her home. Rose must leave with the white bear, figure out his curse, and then journey to the ends of the earth to save him.
My Rating: 4 stars - I recommend if you enjoy epic adventure novels (think long spans of time and space), as well as fantasy elements. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (whole series..)

Plot: This book follows Feyre (Fay Ruh), the main provider for her family. When she kills a wolf in the forest one day, she does not know that a price must be paid. When someone comes to claim her, she must learn to survive in a different world, with different dangers. (I don't like to give the plot away too much on this one!)
My Rating: 5 Stars - I HIGHLY recommend if you enjoy fantasy, action/adventure, and a bit (lot?) of romance. As always -- I implore you to stick with it through book #2. It's seriously soooo good!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Plot: This book follows Tristran Thorne as he journeys from boy to man in search of a fallen star (a gift for his bride-to-be). In order to find it he must cross the wall into the realm of faerie, and weather all that he encounters there. To his surprise the star is not a star, but a woman, and he is not the only one in search of her.
My Rating: 4 Stars - I recommend if you like fantasy novels, beautiful writing, and stories that are not sugar coated. Gaiman is a wonderful writer!

There you have it, quite a few books to add to your TBR for when you'd like something a little bit romantic, but not a full on romance novel!

Have you read any of these? Do you have favorite romantic relationships that are in books of other genres?!

Other Romance Month Posts: Diverse Romance Novels & Favorite (Non-Classic) Romances.

XO,


Alexandra