Meet Senior Reviewer Abi Bishop
About Me Favorite Romance Novels

I live in Trinidad in the West Indies where there are no large bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble or Borders which carry large romance selections. I grew up reading Mills & Boon romances because those were the books my friends and I could get in the cupboards and shelves of older family members. They in turn would have gotten them from grocery checkout counters and those twirling racks that you find in most bookshops.

Now, I have found a secondhand bookshop that pretends it focuses on mystery but has a smaller but thriving romance section where romance book-loving Trinidadian women like myself can get our fixes. Also, I couldn’t be happier about ebooks (even if it means I have to sit in front of my computer to read them) because it’s another avenue where I can stay relatively au courant with new releases.

My favourite ever category romance from my childhood was a book that never had a front cover and whose name I have long since forgotten. It was about three friends who live together, purely platonically. The man, I think, gets a girlfriend and the ‘heroine’ woman gets jealous and realizes her feelings for him. Everything else is hazy but I remember them going on a camping trip and making sweet lurve (to which we giggled along during lunch times) by joining up their sleeping bags (wowee!!!) When they returned home, things are strained and the man thinks she doesn’t really love him and she thinks he doesn’t really love her and I’m not sure but maybe she gets pregnant?

The more I think about it, she does get pregnant, I remember a scene in the bathroom where she is crying and this makes for a very touching final scene out on their house patio.

If this story strikes a bell with anyone, please let me know! I will be indebted to you for life. I say for life, because I’m not actually going to repay you in any tangible form other than ‘thanks for making my day/week/month/year’.

And this hazy recollection of a story forms part of my bio, because by and large, this is how I remember romance novels – even my favourite ones – by bits and pieces of scenes that may have struck chords with me. I rarely remember titles and worse yet character names. So this makes filling out my reviewer profile a hard job!

Absolute Favorites

Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd
This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Touch of Enchantment by Teresa Medeiros
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Untie My Heart
The Proposition
Black Silk (Whose hero was so very bad! Not faux-bad, or criminal-bad, but just morally depraved and not just in a sexual way bad. I loved him so much and the heroine was so weird.) all by Judith Ivory
Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (Ditto my comments about Black Silk!)
Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson (“Cryin’ all night!”)
Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros (It’s not my favourite romance in the round but it has one of my favourite scenes when they’re playing blind man’s bluff or something like that and he smells her on the breeze - she smells nice - and finds her.)
That story with the girl (she’s young but I got over it) who is a witch and she marries a guy who doesn’t believe in witches and when they make love, rose petals rain down from the sky.
I don’t have one favourite romance! These are different styles for different moods.

Favorite Classic

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Personal Reading Tastes Favorites by Sub-Genre

What I'm a sucker for in a book:

  • Friends Turned Lovers (absolute best plot ever!)
  • Enemies Turned Lovers (second absolute best plot ever!)
  • Grown women with sexual pasts and little to no hang-ups about it (absolute best character ever!)
  • Female characters with wry senses of humour that are not slapstick-originated (second absolute best character ever!)
  • In historicals: bluestocking females

What I don't particularly care for in a book:

  • Slapstick humor
  • Tortured and tormented gothic-style heroes
  • Cougar-cub romances in contemporaries: for example, one partner in 40s, the other in 20s

What drives me absolutely nuts in a book:

  • Sixteen to Nineteen year old heroines in historicals. (I still read them though, if I took a stand on this, it would leave me with precious little to read!)

Favorite Romance Authors

All-Time Favorite Romance Authors

Lisa Kleypas
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Christina Dodd
Rachel Gibson

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Jill Mansell
Kristan Higgins
Kathleen O'Reilly (I returned to category romance for her)
Ann Christopher

My Biggest Glom

Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb

 

Contemporary:

This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Frontier or American Historical:

I don’t have much to choose from but I will say:

Secrets by Brenda Joyce
Slade really set my little heart on fire back in the day.

European Historical:

Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd
Kerrich still sets my heart on fire, and Pamela is amazing.

Medieval:

Touch of Enchantment by Teresa Medeiros
It is also time travel-ish and medieval lite, but I like it.

Category:

Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilly

Favorite Characters Favorites by Plot Type

Favorite Hero

Devon, Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd
Derek, Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Favorite Heroine

Pamela, Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd
Sara, Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Chastity, Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Favorite Couple

Kevin and Molly, This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Best Villain

Bleh, no time for villains!

Cabin or Road:

Irresistible by Karen Robards

Suspense:

Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Funny:

Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella
Bridget Jones duo by Helen Fielding

Least-Favorites

Most Disappointing Books

Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
Oh, what could have been!!!!!!

Worst Books

Can’t remember, I’ve blocked it out.

Purple Prose-iest Book

I love Teresa Medeiros, but sometimes when I read her with a cold eye, it’s embarrassing.

Authors Others Love That I Don't

It’s not that I don’t like her. I certainly read whatever she brings out and enjoy it, but I don’t ‘get’ the brouhaha over Jenny Crusie. Especially for Bet Me. When I finished that book I said, ‘entertaining but so silly!’ - Only to later find out it’s so good, it’s worthy of literary discussion. That is one course I would have failed.




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