Courting The Adult Romance Genre

One of my bookish New Year’s Resolutions was to read outside of my normal genres and venture in to some areas of literature I’ve barely read. I’ve done a REALLY bad job about it so I decided to be proactive.

So I’m going to start a new series, called “Courting the X Genre”, in which:

1. I will get some recommendations from some trusted friends/experts in the genre and then…
2. YOU, my dear readers, will vote on which read I’ll be tackling first as I court this new genre.
3. I’ll update you on my progress after one book and let you know if I’ll be continue to court this genre!

First up, I’m courting Adult Romance!


How many adult romances have I read? NADA. Literally.

Why Am I Adverse To This Genre? The bodice ripper covers scare me and I just didn’t think I would ever get into them. I love romance IN my books (obviouslyyy you know me) BUT straight up romance novels have always scared the bejeezus out of me.

The Experts I Called On:


Ginger from GReads!: She’s always been my contemporary YA partner in crime and I trust her advice implicitly so I knew she’d have some great contemporary romance suggestions for me as she has been reading a good amount of them this year! She’s also one of my long time blogging bffs.

Anna from Anna Reads: Anna is one of my bffs as well and is my go to when it comes to good kissing book. She’s one of the most sparkly and awesome people I’ve ever met.

Tara from Fiction Folio: Tara is one of my longtime blogging bffs as well and she is a girl after my own heart with her eclectic reading tastes! She knows her stuff from many different genres so I know I’ll be getting the best of the best!

Julia from The Broke and the Bookish: Julia is one of my co-bloggers over at TBTB and I’ve known her for SO long — like before blogging. We met in a College Students Goodreads group I created in 2008 and she has been the resident romance expert over at TBTB! She also isn’t afraid to crack the whip when I’m being a slacker leader of the blog.




Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox
Goodreads | Ginger’s Review

Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett
Goodreads | Ginger’s Review

How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Goodreads | Ginger’s Review

Exclusively Yours (Kowalski Family) by Shannon Stacey [the 3rd book in the series is actually my favorite, Yours to Keep — & the great thing about these books, you can read them out of order & it doesn’t ruin anything]

Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols



Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis ( The Lucky Harbor series) — This one was echoed by Ginger as well!
Goodreads | Tara’s Review
Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah Maclean (Love by Numbers series) — Anna recommended this as well!
Goodreads | Tara’s Review

annapicsanna rec1

A Night To Surrender by Tessa Dare (Spindle Cove series) “Tessa Dare is also amazing. Lots of girl power and smart heroines in between all the doin’ it. Spindle Cove is a great series from her.”

Wicked In Your Arms by Sophie Jordan:  “For some YA appear, an author we all know and love…Sophie Jordan! April gave me this one and it was fun:



The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (Bridgertons series) ” I really like reccing Julia Quinn to people new to romance. And usually I go with The Duke and I. It has some lighter stuff, but the main meat of the novel is two people falling in love while also having to deal with some personal issues of their own, especially the hero Simon.”

When Beauty Tamed The Beast by Eloisa James: “Beauty and the Beast with some twists.”
Firelight by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London series) “Paranormal wise I LOVED Kristen Callihan’s series. Masked hero, heroine who is a bad ass. Set in Victorian London.”

Final List Of Books To Vote For:

Other genres I’ll be courting this year:

-Fantasy (YA or adult)
-Science fiction (YA or adult)
– Graphic novels (YA or adult)
– Mystery (YA or Adult)
– New Adult (is this a genre…I don’t know…whateverr I’m still doing it)

Feel like you are an expert in one of these genres? (minus fantasy because I already know who I’m asking!) Email me at: jamie at perpetualpageturner (dot) com with 3-4 recommendations and I will randomly pick a few people to be featured. Put your blog link if you have one along with any reviews of the books you recommend! 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. So many good ones! Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Sarah MacLean, Eloisa James, Sophie Jordan, Tessa Dare, or Julia Quinn. Any of them would be a great choice. If I HAD to pick one, I’d say Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake because it was my introduction to adult romance (entirely because I loved Sarah’s YA so much).

  2. I’d go with either The Duke and I by Julia Quinn or Nine Rules for Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean! both huge favorites of mine! I also just started reading Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series and it’s great. okay I’ll stop now (bit of a romance junkie lol)

  3. Shannon Stacey, Macy Beckett, Jill Shalvis (my fave is Head Over Heels, though), & Julia Quinn [The Duke & I has a heroine named Daphne, so bonus points :)] I love the Bridgerton series, 8 books & it’s fantastic. Exclusively Yours is so great, it’s funny & sexy & I loved both the MCs.

  4. I haven’t read any of these, since this is a genre I tend to avoid as well, but my friend Jac at For Love and Books is a book romance reader, and I’m pretty sure she loves Jill Shalvis.

  5. Oh! This is a genius idea. Plus, I read a lot of romance novels for a period, so they give me happy feels. Highly recommend James and Quinn. Also romance is fun because although it’s predictable it’s happy and smishy! Yes, smishy is a word.

  6. Those are some really solid choices. I’d have to vote for Ride With Me, because it’s just so fun and a clever twist on the road trip story; Exclusively Yours is a solid choice too. FWIW, I usually recommend Julie James (any of her books) to first-time romance readers.

  7. Ok, if you want contemporary you should go with Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis and if you want historical The Duke and I by Julia Quinn is fabulous.
    Good luck and I hope you enjoy the romance. 🙂

  8. Actually I don’t know anything about Adult Romance books haha. But I’ll be following your journey. Maybe I’ll find some books to put on my TBR list 🙂

  9. I don’t read a ton of adult romance either. The various terminologies for male anatomy send me into a fit of giggles and that heat and passion are sort of lost. But I can’t help it. Nevertheless, Ginger recommended Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series and I ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT. I definitely recommend that as a good spot to dip your toes in this genre. : )

  10. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    I’m so excited you’re going to read Adult Romance! Yay! It’s so good, Jamie, trust me. Don’t be afraid!! lol If you’re wanting historical romance, Sarah MacLean is a great place to start. Nine Rules is so, so good. Regardless how the vote turns out, I hope you get a chance to read all of these.

    And thanks for featuring me 🙂 this was super fun!

  11. Definitely How to Kill a Rock Star. It’s AMAZING!

  12. Woo! You know I’m ALL about the romance genre and I get super excited whenever I hear someone is willing to give it a try. Definitely recommend Jill Shalvis because they’re fun, small-town, feel-good romances. Also, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars series are hilarious and good reads as well (Natural Born Charmer is my fave).

    I hope you enjoy whichever book you end up with & if you ever need more recs, I’m always up for dishing ’em out! 😉

  13. Jill Shalvis for sure! It’s adorable and cutesy and a fun series 🙂
    Also, you could check out Susan E Philips or Julie James

  14. Whoa – go Jamie for reading outside your comfort zone. Okay, so I used to read adult romance ALL THE TIME while in college, and a little post grad. Now I read mostly YA and children’s, but I still read romance once in awhile. So, of the ones listed, I’ve only read a few.

    But I definitely suggest starting with The Duke and I bu Julia Quinn. It’s a great intro to historical romance, and JQ is AMAZING at creating these wonderful characters that belong together. It’s not that the author is telling you that they belong together. It’s that these characters have distinct personalities, and you can see why they should be together. Also, damn she is good at dialogue. Plus – LADY WHISTLEDOWN! I think the mystery of who Lady Whistledown is will really intrigue you, too.

    As for contemporary romance – although not suggested, maybe Nora Roberts. It doesn’t get heavy on the sexytimes side (not as much detail, I mean) and the women characters are more than just someone to fool around with. Nora Roberts has a zillion books out, but I always had a fondness for her MacGregor series.

    I can’t wait to hear what book you chose, and what you think of it.

  15. I love love How to Kill a Rock Star but it definitely doesn’t fall in to the “romance” genre for me. It’s more like contemp fiction because it’s more than just a romance story. It’s kind of more coming of age in your mid-20s? Pre-new adult? (But even better than the typical NA books.)

    As for romance, Danielle Steele is always a classic try. She’s more about the writing a good story than about going into full detail about sexy times but I do like her a lot. (My favorite is: Message from Nam.) “Newer” series like Fool’s Gold and Thunder Point are pretty great. I mean romance is like very detailed sexy times but often times not the best writing so it really coems and goes. I do like Carr’s TP series a ton. I haven’t had too many issues with it and for Fool’s Gold… Three Little Words which comes out soon is my favorite.

    I went to dinner with a new friend last week and she had a lot of great things to say about Julia Quinn and also Lisa Kleypas. She called them “vintage” but loved them so much and was recommending them to me like crazy.

    The Book Baries are always reading some great romances too, and also Jess from Gone with the Words just posted about the Bella Andre series and I would love to read that soon please. 🙂 Good luck! You have enough variety to definitely find something you will enjoy.

  16. Crap. Of course I meant, THE BOOK BARBIES.

  17. Ooh good luck! I’ve backed off from reading adult romances. That is all I use to read. So I’m branching out and reading more YA. I’m even trying to read fantasy. That is a whole new genre for me. It’s been an interesting year so far.

  18. I’m so excited you’re going to try out some adult romances!! You know you’ll have to keep us posted on your thoughts 🙂

    Thanks for inviting me to participate — so much fun!

  19. I read a lot of romance and chicklit. Shannon Stacey has a lot of great books and this one is well reviewed. Jill Shalvis writes a lot of really fun books that are small-town, feel-good romances, I haven’t read this one though. “Ride with Me” has a lot of good reviews and it’s on my TBR eventually mental list. I can’t wait to see what you think. What a great way to work on your resolutions!

  20. I don’t know if you know this but one of my former jobs was writing the back cover summaries for romance novels. A lot of them from that time blend together in my mind especially since I was reading incredibly fast for work, but I remember Eloisa James being great and I always loved that she is a professor in her day job so that’s my vote.

  21. I love a good romance, particularly historical ones! The girls recommended some awesome names (Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn (!) and Sarah MacLean), but I would also put forward Lisa Kleypas (who is FABULOUS) and Julie Garwood (an oldie but a goodie) who are two of my favorite romance authors EVER.

    You know who recommends great romances? Sharon & Raquel of The Book Barbies. The three of us always bond over our love of romance 😉

  22. Loved the choices, but you should start with Shannon Stacey series, her romances are great. And outside this list I would chose Fool’s Gold by Susan Mallery. Love her stories.

  23. I’ve heard really good things about Star Crossed, but haven’t heard much about the others … guess I’ll have to read more romance! It’s fun getting recommendations from other people. 🙂

  24. I love, love, love Ruthie Knox and would tell you to check out About Last Night by her as well. How to Kill a Rockstar is definitely at the top of the list too!

    Good luck – I hope you find something you like in this genre!

  25. Ooh, this is tough because a few of my favourites are on here.

    Loved Ride With Me, Sultry with a Twist, & Simply Irresistible. If I *had* to pick a top choice? Hmm…. maybe Sultry with a Twist.

  26. You cannot, and I really really really mean this, read contemporary romance without reading Julie James. YOU CANNOT. It’s not right. Anyways. Here I go:

    Lisa Kleypas’s the Travis series is always the one I recommend for romance beginners, especially for YA fans. The series is best read in order (or well, the first two books are) and it’s a great for beginners because the first book, Sugar Daddy, starts with the heroine when she’s 14 years old and it follows her life so I think it has crossover appeal plus it’s in first person.

    Julie James is also great for beginners, especially her first book, Just The Sexiest Man Alive which is super funny and has no sex. I always recommend reading her books in publication order because they get sexier so it’s great for people who are not used the sexy smut. But her books are ridiculously well written, funny and her characters are bad ass, driven people. FEMALES included! JJ is one of the best in contemporary romance.

    Ruthie Knox is just wow. I read Ride With Me when she had no other releases out and I’ve read the rest of her books religiously after that. She gets better and better and BETTER and Ride With Me is a great starting point so I vote for that one! Plus it’s funny and has one of my favorite quotes.

    Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series is also a great one for beginners and I’m with Ginger (and alot of other readers!), the third book, Yours to Keep, is the best one of the series. So I would actually recommend that one over Exclusively Yours.

    You really went to the right people because Jill Shalvis is also great! Her Lucky Harbor series is delightful and the third book of the series, Head Over Heels, is too good for words.

    Onto historical romance:

    Lisa Kleypas. Lisa Kleypas is the queen, emperor, ruler of Racquel-land and I would sell all my body parts and kill someone to meet her and thank her for blessing the earth with her books. I read 20 of her books and love every single one of them. The Wallflowers series (A Devil In Winter is everybody’s and my favorite.) The Hathaway series (Love in the Afternoon is my favorite but everyone’s favorite is Tempt Me at Twilight which is also wonderful). Dreaming of You. Any Lisa Kleypas book, really is a five star one.

    Julie Quinn is like romance royalty. I only recently read her. I picked up The Duke and I and next thing I know, a week has passed and I finished the first six books of that series.

    So final vote? Ride With Me for contemporary and The Duke and I for historical.

  27. Whoa my comment is like longer than the post. Romance obviously excites me LOL


  29. Jamie I am not sure we can be friends any longer if you don’t read a Sarah MacLean book soon 😉 Also, Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey is epicly awesome 🙂 As is anything by Sophie Jordan! YAY for reading romance!

  30. Exclusively Yours or Simply Irresistable. Both have fab, sweet stories with a dash of sexy. Simply Irresistable is probably more sexy time than EY.

  31. I vote Tessa Dare! I just finished one of her books yesterday and it was FABULOUSLY sexy.

  32. i’ve also never read a romance novel! maybe i’ll start with the jennifer echols pick, since i’ve read her YA 🙂

  33. How to kill a rock star is great and will completely throw you off balance!

  34. Voting for Jill Shalvis! I have that book and I really want to read it buuuut I want your opinion on it. I don’t read a lot of adult romance but I have been wanting to for AGES now! I’m so excited for this feature, and I hope you have a BLAST with it and reading new stuff, Jamie!

  35. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    This is such a great idea! What better way to dive into an unknown area of reading, than with a trusted blogging buddy’s recommendation? I haven’t read any of these books, but I DO remember Ginger gushing about How to Kill a Rock Star a year or so ago. I actually have an old, old ARC copy from YEARS ago when I used to work in a bookstore. So, if you do pick that one, I’d be interested in reading along. We can dive into the literary world of Romance together!!! 🙂

  36. OMG– Ride With Me??? hahahhaa def go with that one.

  37. Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox and/or Exclusively Yours (Kowalski Family) by Shannon Stacey would be a great place to start. I loved both of these books.


    So, here’s a paragraph on everything Racquel covered that I echo: Julie James is fantastic! The Lucky Harbor series is amazing (#3, Head Over Heels, is my favorite, too!). The Kowalskis rock, but I definitely preferred Yours to Keep over Exclusively Yours. Lisa Kleypas is a win whether you read her historicals or her contemporaries. She was the reason I fell in love with historical romance! Her Travis series = ALL THE HEARTS AND FEELS AND SWOONS FOREVER.

    Eloisa James rocks my socks! PLUS, hello, she is a Shakespeare professor in real life and inserts references to it in her books and is just all kinds of awesome. Also, the hero in When Beauty Tamed the Beast is loosely based on Gregory House from House, MD. So that added an element of love for me!

    Tessa Dare is a favorite of mine! I would LOVE to move to to Spindle Cove (A Night to Surrender is Spindle Cove #1, and the series just finished with #4!) and just live with all the awesome ladies that live there. And maybe pick up a hot military man. 😀

    Julia Quinn is always a great choice! The friend who got me into romance always recommended her to me, and I fell in love! The Bridgerton family is AMAZING. What Happens in London is another one that’s a lot of fun, and great if you’re wanting a hero who’s more Beta, instead of Alpha.

    AND because we have literally discussed all of my favorite historical romance authors except one, I have to mention her: Courtney Milan. Proof by Seduction is a great one! The heroine makes her living by dressing up and pretending to be a fortune teller. I also really love her Turner series.

    I could go on with contemporary recs, but I will stop myself here, haha. Feel free to ask if you want! Some quick-fire names (besides ones already mentioned): Sarah Mayberry, Kristan Higgins, Nora Roberts

    I’ve heard fantastic things about Ruthie Knox, though I’ve never read her, myself. I really want to read Ride with Me, though! Same with Sultry with a Twist!

    If you decide on contemporary: Lucky Harbor series, starting with Simply Irresistible

    If you decide on historical: The Duke & I by Julia Quinn OR A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare. I’M SORRY. I cannot choose.

  39. Oooh! I’m sorry I haven’t read this last month! I would have recommended Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven. It’s funny and romantic, and felt almost like a chick lit but it was a historical romance 🙂

  40. Jamie! I’d love to be your expert for Fantasy (adult)! I’ve read a ton along with my beloved YA fantasy! I love this whole idea!

  41. Love this idea and the post. I like to read romance novels from time to time but have not read any you have listed here, so I can’t really recommend one. But I’m thinking of reading whatever you pick along with you since they all sound good.


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