Author: vkmartin (Page 1 of 4)

My Top Five … Romance Novels

Starting a new series of posts about my top five favourite [insert topic here]. I’m starting things off with a (literal) bang and talking about romance novels.

I started reading romance when I was in high school. However, it’s only in the last couple of years when I’ve really felt like a romance reader. During those years, I’ve discovered just how wonderful the genre is and how important it can be to have books written (primarily though certainly not exclusively) by women, for women.

So these are my top five favourite romance novels. There are a lot more books out there that I really enjoy but these ones have a special place in my heart.

WARNING: mild spoilers about the books, though I’ve tried to keep things as vague as possible.


The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan
This was such a hard choice because I could fill this entire list with Courtney Milan’s books because she is one of my favourite all-time authors. The hardest choice was deciding between this book, which is not only an amazing romance but also says so much about the role of women in science, and The Heiress Effect, which has my favourite Milan heroine. But ultimately I went for the meatier subject matter because I think this one is probably the most important romance I have ever read and is a book I can’t recommend strongly enough, whether you are someone who regularly reads romance or not.

Also, always make sure you read Milan’s author notes, especially for this book, because they are always filled with great information about her research and writing process.


The Heir by Johanna Lindsey
This one is partly hear because of nostalgia, as it is the first romance I can remember reading. But I recently re-read it and felt that it still stands up quite well as a historical friends-to-lovers story that has one of my all-time favourite scenes in a romance, which also includes a steamy kiss in the rain.

Unlike the other authors on this list, Lindsey isn’t one of my favourite romance authors (she can be a bit hit or miss for me) but this book will always have a special place in my heart.


Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Before reading this book, I didn’t realize that having a historical romance with a cozy mystery subplot was something I needed in my life but oh, I most certainly did. Charlotte’s dedication to discovering the identity of the “mystery tuppers” endeared me to her, especially as it allowed her to show off just how clever she is.

Also, I must admit to having a soft spot for May/December (or June/mid-September) romance … which means it does annoy me that the cover doesn’t quite reflect that Piers is about a decade older than Charlotte.

This book has the extra bonus of being one that I shared with my mother, who is not a romance reader, and was one she enjoyed as well.


One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
This book deserves to be on this list just for that amazing title, which is one of Sarah MacLean’s best (read more about her titles on Goodreads). It’s also my favourite of her books, for one key reason: I freaking love Philippa “Pippa” Marbury.

Pippa is just so delightful in her curiosity and attempts to be scientific about everything, until she can’t be anymore. Cross, the hero, is a good foil to her as well, as they make a connection that is more based on a meeting of minds than a meeting of lust – though there is certainly a lot of that as well.

Also, I wear glasses, which means the book is also dedicated to me <3


His Royal Secret and His Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace
It took me awhile to figure out what would be the fifth book on this list – and as you can see, I’m sort of cheating by including both books in this duology. But it’s one of those cases where the story just isn’t done at the end of book 1, so I really can’t separate the two of them.

I love how this book handles the question of what would happen if the Prince of Wales was gay from all angles. It looks at the crazy life of British royalty, what it would mean for succession, and what happens concerning the Church of England. I also really appreciated that it used alternate history to set up a completely different royal family than the real House of Windsor, which made it a whole lot less awkward and real person fic-y (not that there’s anything wrong with this but it wasn’t what I was personally looking for).

Speaking of fan fiction, I also really enjoy that this book started out as X-Men AU fan fic, with Charles Xavier as the Prince and Magneto as the reporter he falls in love with. Fan fiction is the best.


Have a favourite romance? Leave a comment and help me make my romance TBR even longer!

My book watchlist, 2018; #BookishBloggersUnite

#BookishBloggersUnite is a weekly hashtag that a group of bookish friends participate in to talk about books. This week’s host is Bookish Bron, check out their blog for more links.

Today, I’m taking a look at the upcoming releases for the back half of 2018 and listing the titles I’m most excited about. I have to admit, most of the big 2018 books for me came out in the first six months, including a new Jacqueline Carey which always has me excited (and it was great!). But there are lots of great titles on the horizon. Here are just a few of them.

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I’m still alive – and preparing for a writing weekend

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately, for a variety of reasons. The primary one is that I just finished up editing a book for the amazing Renaissance Press, which took up a good portion of my free time that would otherwise be spent writing things like blog posts.

The other reason is that I finally caught up watching Star Trek: Discovery and proceeded to fall down a fandom rabbit hole. I’m still not quite back from that one but I’m not staying up to 1AM reading fan fiction at this point (mostly because I’ve read all the Lorca/Cornwell fic on AO3 at this point).

To mark my return to the land of the writers, I am partaking on a four-day writing weekend, as well as celebrating Canada Day from the safety of my air conditioned basement. My goal for the weekend is to finish up some of the projects that I’ve had on the go for far too long. I also am giving myself an arbitrary word count goal because that’s easier to track and share. I am usually not great at meeting such goals but I’ll be doing my best, so wish me luck!

Writing weekend tracker:

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The Read Harder Challenge

For the last several years, I have attempted to complete Book Riot’s Read Hard Challenge, which aims to introduce new genres, new authors, and new worlds, both real and imaginary, into your reading life. And each year, I have failed 🙁

This year however, I feel like I will finally read finish all 24 tasks. So far, I’ve managed to pace myself pretty well, finishing two books a month for the challenge in January, February, and March. I didn’t do quite as well in April, only finishing one challenge, and May might only have 1 as well, but I still feel like I’ve set myself up well.

I’m also hoping that by posting it publicly here, I can motivate myself for success. Below, I’ve listed every challenge and the titles I’m considering to read, as well as the tasks I’ve already finished and which I read for them.

# of Tasks Completed: 8/24 (as of May 25)

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Happy birthday, Renaissance Press!

For the last several years, I’ve had the privileged of editing books for the amazing Renaissance Press. And now, with the publication of We Shall Be Monsters (which you can still support on Kickstarter), I am going to be a Renaissance author as well!

This year, Renaissance turns 5 years old and I couldn’t be happier to be involved with so many great people who have become great friends. Here’s to you, Renaissance Press!

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