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Monday has become a day of firsts chez The Sleepless Reader. Last week we’ve had the first joint review and now the first guest post. Patricia is a fellow member of the Brontë Brussels Group and one of the most avid readers I’ve met since moving here. She is also the only Maltese I know!

When we talked about a guest post I asked her to write about why she loves romance novels so much and also to give me some recommendations, since it’s one of the genres I know less about.

If you have any other recommendations, please let me know!

When Alex asked me to contribute a blog to her website my first reaction was ‘but the type of books I like reading are different from the ones she reviews’.  So it got me thinking ‘why do I enjoy romance novels?’ Judging by the number of romance novels published and sold every year and the large amount of websites and blogs devoted to this genre I am not the only person to enjoy these types of books.  There are various subgenres; historical romance, suspense, paranormal, chick-lit, contemporary, futuristic, the list is endless with most readers preferring one or the other.  I do not have a real preference, it generally depends on my mood.

I have been a bookworm from a young age. One of my earliest memories is walking to the library with my sisters during school holidays.  This was long before DVDs and computers were invented so books were our main means of recreation.  Our local library was an old building lined with old musty books from the 14th and 15th century which were just to be admired from the distance.  But on the bottom shelves there were books by Enid Blyton and the Nancy Drew adventures. Then for my 9th birthday I received a copy of Jane Eyre. I was immediately transported into a world of young heroines who have to make their own way in the world fighting against evil relatives and poverty but end up finding true love. At school we studied Dickens, Hardy and Austen but in the weekends to relax my sisters and I read ‘Mills and Boons’ novels borrowed from our aunts. From there we moved on to the historical romances of Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer before discovering the blockbusters of Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins.

Why are romances novels so popular?  Speaking from experience I find that after a long busy day I want nothing more than to curl up with a book that does not require too much thinking and which leaves me feeling good.  I dislike nothing more than a book that has no clear ending or ‘horror of horrors’ a sad ending (I feel the same way about movies).

As anyone who has come to my house can attest I own a lot of books. When I find an author I like I tend to read everything they have written.  My biggest collection must be Nora Roberts novels (she has over 200 in publication). Her stories are mainly contemporary with a mystery thrown in. Another favourite author is Jayne Ann Krentz, who writes under three different names. As Jayne Ann Krentz she writes contemporary suspense and/or paranormal, as Jayne Castle she writes future paranormal but my favourite are her Amanda Quick novels. These novels are historical romances, straight up romances with a hint of comedy, adventure and sometimes paranormal thrown in. Her heroines are independent women who know what they want and are equal partners with the heroes despite living in a period where woman equality is unheard of. I also enjoy the historical romances by Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Cristina Dodd and Teresa Medeiros.

I am also a big fan of Meg Cabot, of the Princess Diaries fame. She also writes books for adults and my favourite are the Heather Wells series about a former teen pop star who now works as a residence house coordinator at a New York College while trying to rebuild her life after being fired by her record label and being swindled out of all her money. Small aside, Meg Cabot has one of the better author websites, her video blogs are hilarious. It is worth checking out.

I am currently going through a paranormal romance phase. One downside of this genre is they tend come in the form of a series so once I read one book I’m hooked and have to buy and read the rest. I’m big fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I have just discovered the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. It is so much fun to read about these fantasy worlds where anything is possible, the heroes face insurmountable challenges and villains and yet still find time to fall in love despite sometimes being of a different species.

In case you are wondering if my sisters still share my love of books, I am happy to say that although we now live in different countries and have demanding careers and families, when we meet-up we regularly discuss and exchange the latest novels we have read, or as our children call them ‘books with half naked men on the cover’.

If you would like to know more about this genre I regularly guestblog on Patty’s book blog ‘A Tale of Three Cities‘.

Thank you Alex for allowing me to share my ramblings on your site.