Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Book Recommendations

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a good book? Okay, yes, there are actual better ways to spend it... especially if you have a certain someone to spend it with... but the topic of love is going to be floating around everywhere today, so we Peas decided to contribute by giving you recommendations for our favorite books of love! Now, love comes in many forms, so these won't be Romance novel exclusive {though I have a feeling there will be some in there}. These are simply our favorite love stories... in any genre! Enjoy!

Since I'm the Pink Pea, and the closest Pea, in personality, to a Disney Princess, it's fitting that I start this off.
My first recommendation, of course {because I own 9 copies; one in French and one in Italian, thanks to my sister} is:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
A classic. I love the innocence of this romance. I also love that they spend the entire book getting in their own way. The characters are so real in their faults, and the dialogue is, believe it or not, really witty! And of course {as there must be for me to fall in love with a book} there's at least one character I want to do some kind of physical harm to.

The Symphony of Ages Series by Elizabeth Haydon
High Fantasy. Epic Romance. You know those movies where you get more info than the main characters, and so you scream at the TV in frustrated suspense as they miss clues or walk right into obvious {to you} danger? A story that crosses the planes of time, this series has that same effect in its romance. You know well before the main characters do what's going on and you can't read fast enough for them to put it together... before it's too late. It's your classic "boy goes back in time, meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy gets sucked back to future without girl, girl unwittingly finds her way to the future years later, but neither recognize each other" story. I have never wanted a character to figure out something so badly in my life. Except for maybe this next book...

The Way of Shadows {Trilogy} by Brent Weeks
This is decidedly not a love story... on the outset. It's more like... ninja assassins with magic powers. But the love story that blooms inside these three books was, to use the word again, Epic. I nearly cried when I finished the last book because I didn't want the story to end. {Though it ended fantastically}. I am ever grateful to Michelle for suggesting these.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
One of the few true romances I own, this story was beautifully told. And the plot was cleverly set up. Though I cringe at stories of love blooming from adulterous situations, factor in the time period and setting, add a scarily abusive husband/antagonist, and I can let it slide. Definitely one worth turning into a movie.

J's Black-Hearted Almost Love Stories

A thinks her list is the shortest. Nope! That would be mine. Unlike the Pink Princess and Dr. Buttons over there with her "touchy-feely" addiction, I don't read a lot of romance. If a love story pops up as the natural progression of a death and despair story, I'll read it and often enjoy it...as long as it's believable. So here are a few of my favorite "almost" love stories.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I love the natural progression of the "romance" between Katniss and Peeta. It fits the story, the time, the place, and the characters...and it's not over-the-top-sappy.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R is Dead. Julie is Living. Their world is changing. This is not your typical boy-meets-girl story and it has a great twist on the zombie myth. Plus, it's the first novel for the author.

The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison
I love this series. Love the characters and the various love stories are real, affectionate, heart-breaking, and seamlessly blend with the action.

 My list might be the most expected (and unexpected -- in some ways). My romance reading chops started young with a very large box of some fifty Harlequin romances handed over to me by a family friend at age thirteen. Though I believe every story has a romance at it heart -- these are a few "hardcore" romances that still hold special places on my bookshelves and in my heart.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
It's no secret that Jane Eyre is my favorite romance and book, ever. I own twenty-one copies and my collection grows each year. Classic, Gothic, full of tension and missteps -- Rochester is the ultimate almost bad boy and Jane is the heroine that you want to see overcome it all in the name of love.

Jane by April Linder
A great companion read to the classic is the retelling by April Linder, Jane. I love this book as much as the original. It's a fresh up-to-date retelling of a romantic tale that shows how this story stands the test of time. I might even love Nico Rathburn a little more than Rochester -- because who doesn't love the idea of falling for a musician.

If you like a nice light romantic read I have two favorites that I dust off and reread once in a while.

Jemima J  by Jane Green
This is a fantastically fun Chic-Lit novel about an ugly duckling journalist that learns love isn't always about looking like a swan. It's a fun, fast, and light read with a lot of heart and humor.

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian 
This is a YA favorite of mine. Thrust into a household with seven boys, what's a single and only child like Megan to do? If you want to reclaim that boy crazy and young love feeling you remember at thirteen -- this is the book for you.

Both Megan and Jemima are heroines you can champion because they learn that love isn't always what you expect and sometimes we find love (and love finds us) in unexpected ways.

Lastly, Fire and Ice by Catherine Hart
If you want something a little (a lot) steamier and enjoy a fun Historical Romance, this is a classic of the genre. Pirates, a feisty Irish heroine with a couple tricks up her sleeve for rogue Captain Reed Taylor, and a lush old southern Savannah landscape -- couldn't ask for more.

Have a {sweet/romantic/sexy/steamy/fun/chocolatey/delightful/wonderful} (circle one... or more) Valentine's Day!! See you next week for part two of all the fun I missed! -A


  1. Combined... that is quite the eclectic list of Valentine's Day reading suggestions. Lol