Courting The Romance Genre: THE RESULTS!!

So I have finished my FIRST “Courting Genres” challenge as part of my bookish resolutions to try new things that I previously didn’t think I’d like. I started with the ADULT ROMANCE GENRE which scared the bujeezus out of me…I’m not going to lie!

The picks that won (my “experts” picked and then you guys votes):


First up I read the first book in the Lucky Harbor series. It was a contemporary adult romance. I was hoping you guys would vote for a contemporary because at least it wouldn’t be a HUGE shock to my system. Then I read a historical romance called The Duke And I which is part of the Bridgerton series. I plan on reviewing these so I don’t want to give too much of my thoughts away in this post but rather talk about my experience.

My Apprehensions vs. How It Went:

1. I’m no prude but I really wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of the sex in adult romance. I read romance in YA but rarely is it really descriptive. Let me tell you, not even the sexiest of sexy in YA could EVER have prepared me for adult romance. I’m not saying it was a problem…I’m just saying I’m not USED to reading it so it was a bit of a shock the first time a sex scene came up. Lucky Harbor was WAY more steamier than The Duke and I — there wasn’t so much as a kiss for the first half or so of The Duke and I. Lucky Harbor made me blush a bit because I’m SO not used to reading books that actually describe in detail about sex.

2. I was nervous that it would be corny but was pleasantly surprised.I think one of my obstacles with adult romance has been thinking it was going to be corny/cheesy. Mostly it’s because those bodice ripper covers always looked like major cheese to me. My other thing was I thought was that it was going to be super corny because of all the “quivering members” lingo you always think of when it comes to romance novels. There was some of that but not to the extent I imagined in my head. I will say that if I never heard the term “pebbled nipples” again I would be a happy girl. *looking at you Simply Irresistible for saying it A LOT*

3. I also thought romanceΒ  novels were going to be very light on an actual story and just lots of sex. I was actually really happy my judgments were wrong — there was plenty of plot. While there is a LOT of sex in Simply Irresistible, there was also a good storyline about sisterhood and picking yourself back up after bad things happen. The Duke and I definitely had a storyline — more of a romance one because lots of courtship & marriage focus in that day — but I really enjoyed the setting and the storyline of it.

Did I Enjoy Both Books I Read?

Yes– in different ways!

Biggest Challenge?

Not giggling about the sex scenes and all the creative ways to describe ones parts and such. I don’t know…maybe I was having some “first date jitters” in my courtship and acted like a giggling schoolgirl. Perhaps I shall act my age about it next time.

Which Book Was The Fave?

That’s hard because they were different — one was contemporary and one was historical. I REALLY loved The Duke & I because I love books set in that time so I got really swept up. PLUS I loved the family so much AND it was unexpectedly funny. I’m going to have to go with that one even though I really enjoyed Simply Irresistible!

Which One Wins The Steam Award?

Without a doubt, Simply Irresistible! After reading that one, I definitely expected The Duke & I to be more steamy. That one was more swoony (there WAS sex in it) while SI was steamyyy.

Biggest Thing Learned From This Courtship?

Well, that I really loved reading romances involving adults as much as I love my YA. A lot of other elements that aren’t in YA! The adult books I typically read never had romance in them really. And also that it really isn’t all of the things I thought it was. I turned my nose up to romance novels SO HARD. *reprimands self*

Will I Continue On With The Series I Started?

Absolutely! I loved the setting of Lucky Harbor and can’t wait to learn more about the other sisters and other people in the town. I LOVE the Bridgerton family so I will

Will I Read More Romance Novels?

Yes! I don’t think it will be a new favorite genre (But then again, really, who knows?? I’ve only read 2!) but I will definitely be picking up romance novels quite a bit I think. Currently I have Extensively Yours by Shannon Stacey and Serendipity by Carly Phillips out from the library!

Advice for Other Romance Newbs?

Enjoy it! It’s supposed to be fun and have happy endings! I’d also say start in a genre you’d read anyways and there are varying levels of sexytimes so if you have a preference, ask some romance readers or investigate some reviews online! Also, don’t be ashamed of reading it! That was one of my biggest obstacles to overcome. I got over what people think about me for reading YA books but for some reason, probably because romance gets a bad rap sometimes, I felt embarrassed to be in the romance section of the library. Then I remembered, “Oh yeah, I don’t give a crap about what people think. I read what I want” and went about and enjoyed my romance reads!

So, which romance novels should I read next?? ALSO, check out which genres I still need “experts” for!

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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 glad you liked both the Lucky Harbor and the Bridgerton series and will be continuing with them! Idk I still giggle sometimes at the sexy times and I’ve read a lot of romance novels. Another great author is Lisa Kleypas, both her contemporaries and historical romances are great πŸ™‚

  2. I’m so glad you’re giving romance a try. Romance is actually what got me hooked back into reading at a tough time in my life. I told Susan Elizabeth Phillips when I met her at ALA that she changed my life at a young age and was all embarrassed about it.

  3. Yay! So happy you ended up enjoying both despite your reservations. I haven’t read either of these but I do enjoy adult romance from time to time, sometimes it’s good to read about characters my own age! And I agree just because it’s a romance does not automatically mean lower standards in writing or plot development.

  4. I totally know what you mean — whenever I wander down the romance aisle I feel self conscious and then I just remind myself who cares! Haha. Anyway, I just started reading the lucky harbor books last week and I’m really kind of addicted!! I loved the sisters storyline and that continues in 2 and 3. Read more for more swoony lucky harbor men! Haha. Cutest sounding town ever, wish I lived there!

  5. I’m glad you loved the Duke and I. It was actually the first romance book I read and I LOVED it. Since then I’ve been slowly reading through the entire Bridgerton series, because I also like the family so much. It’s definitely not my new favorite genre either, I”ll stick with YA for the moment, but now that I read this I’m excited to start a contemporary romance instead of the historicals I read.

  6. I think it’s so awesome that you are trying genres you wouldn’t normally. Although I read from many genres, there are some that I just never touch.

    Anyway, I’m so GLAD that you liked The Duke and I. Julia Quinn is a favorite author of mine. I used to read adult romance all the time, but not as much any more. But I still make time for JQ. I agree, Simply Irresistible is soooo steamy. I didn’t like that one as much as I thought I would. I mean, I liked it, especially the small town setting, but otherwise meh.

    I’m so excited to see your reviews for them, though, especially The Duke and I! I love the Bridgerton series, especially, The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me and, of course, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. I think you will really liked Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. It’s a favorite for so many JQ fans.

  7. If you think the Lucky Harbor series is steamy, well, I won’t recommend nearly half the erotic romance authors I love! πŸ™‚

    • Hahah I’m going to have to ease into all this. We will seeee! It feels steamy perhaps because I have read almost solely YA for all these years since blogging. Even before the adult books I read would have like a scene or so of sex but that was it bc it wasn’t a romance.

  8. JENNIFER CRUSIE ALL THE WAY– especially “Bet Me!” Also some (but not all) Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Their romcoms are hilarious and wonderful.

    • I feel like a lot of YA readers who read adult romance always rec Jennifer Crusie! I must check her out! I feel like I saw a bunch of Susan Elizabeth Phillips while I was roaming the romance section of the library! Thanks for the recs!

  9. PLEASE read some Nora Roberts. She is the queen of plot-other-than-romance, and her newer novels are not so “steamy” as you put it. She can write a decent sex scene without making me blush or want to put the book down. Plus, she is such a great writer and world/plot/character developer its hard not to love her. Oddly enough, romance was the genre that got me into reading – and look at me now!

  10. RUTHIE KNOX!! Seriously. Give her books a try. I think you will love them. If you don’t believe me, feel free to ask Capillya, Anna, Melanie, & Carla πŸ˜‰

    Also, I am so thrilled you gave Adult Romances a try. It can be awkward at first. I know I was totally blushing at all those sexy scenes my first go around. But.. you get more comfortable with it. And once you find an author you enjoy, it’s almost like you know what to expect so it’s not really a shock factor anymore. Yay Jamie! Welcome to the world of Adult Romances! haha

  11. I’m sort of a romance junkie, so I’m glad you enjoyed both books. πŸ™‚ Because I can, I’ll recommend a few others. πŸ™‚
    -Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis (this is my favorite series of hers)
    -anything by Lisa Kleypas (Wallflower/Hathaway/Gamblers series for historical, Travises for contemporary)
    -I-Team series by Pamela Clare (romantic suspense)

  12. Thanks so much for these results, Jamie – I’m still not ready to try adult romance for the exact same reasons that you were – I wasn’t sure about the sexytimes, I thought the lingo would be awful, I didn’t think there would be any storyline…and those covers…I can’t believe what a book snob I am about romance. I’m reading my first New Adult romance in a few weeks by my fave author, so I’m hoping this will help me get over my fears (I’m still totally scared, though).

    • It was definitely a genre I judged a lot which is so silly of me since I hate when people judge me for reading YA. Though I don’t think I judged PEOPLE for reading it..just I would give the stink eye to the whole genre. I hope maybe you will give some a try! There are lots of bloggers who read a lot of adult romance and, if you want to give it a try, I’d say ask someone and tell them what kinds of things you are looking for (less graphic sexytimes, a certain time period, more plot etc.)

  13. I really really really liked Simply Irresistible. It was a bit of a shock – after reading exclusively YA for two+ years it felt like coming up for air, but being unprepared. I was like OHMYGOSH so this is what it’s like. lol. I love how swoon-worthy YA is in all its subtleties so when I read that first sex scene that wasn’t a fade to black I was all O_o. And don’t even get me started on the washer scene. And “pebbled nipples” cracked me up. But the terminology and scenes were NOWHERE near as bad as I thought they’d be, and I loved the sub-plot with the sisters.

    I’m off to add The Duke and I to my TBR!

  14. There are a lot of really good romance novels I could recommend to you. Donna Cummings writes both historical romance and contemporary, and they vary in degree of steamy-ness πŸ™‚ If you like paranormal stories, you should check out Nalini Singh, but maybe not straight away, because her books are steamier than Jill Shalvis’ πŸ˜‰

  15. Julia Quinn was my first romance novel too! I’ve had The Duke and I on my TBR list since, but I keep buying other romances instead. Oops, I’ll have to fix that.

    As for what you should read next, I say Courtney Milan. I LOVE her Brothers Sinister series.

    • Yes! and the first book, a novella, The Governess Affair, is a free on Kindle! I was very anti-novella but this novella is just as good as a regular book. Courtney Milan’s has made a novella lover!

  16. Hahaha pebbled nipples, quivering members. I have all the same reservations as you but am glad to see that the reality isn’t quite as bad as we both expected. I’ve read one or two new adult books. Comparable? Are the sex scenes even more descriptive (cause those books got pretty descriptive). I still can’t get past most of the covers. So lame. Then again, romance books aren’t that fun when you are single unless a) you still have someone to sleep with, b)you have the hormone levels equivalent to a rock, or c) you don’t need a man haha. TMI?

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  17. Dude we are not going to give you dud recommendations. Trust us. πŸ˜‰

  18. Hahaha, I just giggled about the “pebbled nipples” phrase. I agree! There’s really nothing in that description that sounds remotely sexy! πŸ™‚

    I don’t read a ton of romance, but what little I have read I’ve enjoyed! Before I discovered the awesomeness of YA, I read a lot of Nora Roberts books, and I really liked them. But yeah, it totally took me a while to get over the shock of how verrry detailed romances are too!

    I bought Simply Irresistible when the ebook was on sale, so I’ll get around to read it eventually. Glad you enjoyed your first experience with romance!

  19. I’m SO happy you liked these picks! Simply Irresistible was good but the third book in the series, Head Over Heels, is the best and I’m glad you started historical romance with The Duke and I because it’s a classic! I recently read it and ended up spending the entire week reading the first 6 books of that series because they’re so much fun! As for the sex scenes, bad news, “pebbled nipples” is frequently used. I know, lol. I pretty much only read the first sex scene now and glance over the others unless I’m super invested in the couple.

    Okay, recs:
    -The Travis series by Lisa Kleypas. I’ve made 8 people (that told me they read it–I keep count lol) read them and all 8 loved the series. (Extreme book-pushing right here!) Anyways, it’s just my favorite series for a reason. Just really, really, wonderful.
    -Julie James. Any and all her books. I have them all memorized. Her heroines are all these bad ass bitches. It’s awesome.
    -Ruthie Knox. My favorite books by her are the Camelot novellas but they’re super dirty so skip them for now but her first two releases are awesome! (Plus her newest book Truly, is free on Wattpad. She puts up new chapters every Monday and so far she has 27 chapters up. It’s definitely an awesome way to kick off Monday by reading new chapters because it’s so good!)
    -Bet Me by Jennifer Cruise: this one is outrageous in a fun way. It’s an entertaining read and pretty much a classic.
    -What I Did For a Duke: this book is just SOMETHING. I feel like the author wrote the book in a lab because it’s SO PERFECT. Every word and sentence and paragraph is just so damn amazing. Guh.
    -Anything Sherry Thomas!
    -Any historical romance by Lisa Kleypas. Just go to the store, randomly pick a Lisa Kleypas book, and you’re guaranteed to love it. Honestly. My favorite historicals by her though are Devil in Winter, Love in the Afternoon and Dreaming of You.

    Umm. I think that’s all for now πŸ˜› and again *high five* for enjoying some romance! It’s really awesome how you’re expanding your horizons.

  20. THE BRIDGERTONS! They all have my love forever, but Colin most especially. His book is my favorite of the series, and I was surprised to find that it was because of how much I love the heroine. Quinn did good things there.
    Now that you are venturing into romance you should try Laura Florand: Sexy French men who make chocolate in Paris. (Who can resist that?)

  21. I really enjoyed this post, since I rarely (like never) read romance or erotica. I thought the same thing, that it is just sexual escapades and little story…glad to hear you didn’t find that. Maybe it’s b/c everyone only talks about the sex and hot men. And yeah, I usually giggle or roll my eyes when I read sex scenes, unless they are really well done.

  22. I adore the Lucky Harbor books by Jill… I’d also suggest her Animal Magnetism series.

    Definitely check out Ruthie Knox. she’s my go-to for contemporary romance these days.

    If you’re looking for some romance with just a tiny bit of steam – no graphic stuff with Fade to Black the Entangled Bliss line is perfect – Rachel Harris has a couple books (Taste the Heat & Seven Day Fiance) that are wonderfully done!

    I’m a romance fiend – so glad you liked these and stepped out of the box a bit – and also YAY for lucky Harbor =now you have 7 more books to read! LOL


  23. I am so excited that you enjoyed The Duke and I! The Bridgertons are amazing! The second book (The Viscount Who Loved Me) is one of my favorite books of all time and features Daphne’s older brother, Anthony. Love that you are willing to try out new genres!

  24. Please continue reading the Bridgerton series! The family is so fabulous, and their individual stories are so great, so I’m absolutely sure you’re going to enjoy it. Anytime you want to have a romance read-along where we can squeal over text or discuss favorite parts, I am SO down for that!

  25. One of the things I love about Julia Quinn’s books (especially her later stuff) is that they aren’t overly steamy. Sure, it’s a genre romance so there’s sex but it’s never as heated or over the top as it is in a lot of other genre romances out there. I read her for the stories, which I say a lot and people look at me weird. You DEFINITELY need to keep reading the Bridgerton series. The fourth is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite books ever ever.


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