Historical Romance Guide- Part 2

Hi there fellow coffee addicts and winos! Continuing on from my previous post exulting “The Standards” of historical romance, today we cover a new category of wonderful books and authors: a category I refer to as “The Comedians”.  While these historical romance authors all possess the ability to make you swoon with their amazing characterizations and intriguing stories, they can also make me laugh my butt off, and that is truly something I NEED in my life. Some of these ladies are quirky and witty with the perfectly placed sarcastic quip, while others put their characters in the funniest situations that make you flip the pages faster to see how everything will play out. Without further ado, here are my favorite hilarious historical romance authors.

Tessa Dare

This list would be incomplete if she wasn’t on it. From the first chapter of the first book I read by this extremely talented woman, I had to put my drink down in order to avoid spilling it because I was literally laughing out loud. Now, we are quite accustomed to responding LOL when we are smirking or smile on social media, but I truly laughed out loud to Ms. Dare. Other reads by this author have proven that the first book I read wasn’t a fluke: she truly is as funny as I originally thought, but I am always looking for that Tessa Dare book I haven’t read yet that will bring a smile to my face.

My Recommendation: “Any Duchess Will Do”


An ingenious take on “Pygmalion” or “My Fair Lady” with a heroine that just doesn’t quit, this book is what won me over to Ms. Dare. Situational humor, witty dialogue, and wonderful characters who are true to themselves are what set this gem apart from many historical romances.

Lenora Bell

A relatively new author, but she has cemented herself as one of my favorites with her first trilogy: The Disgraceful Dukes. I can pinpoint the exact moment Ms. Bell cemented herself in my heart. It was when her heroine, at a dinner party, in a dress too small for her bosom, comes bursting out of her dress to everyone’s dismay. I laughed so loud and told so many people about this book after that scene… Brava, Ms. Bell, brava. And trust me, it is way funnier in the book than I could possibly explain.  The rest of the book made me laugh and swoon, and the subsequent books in the series (which I devoured) solidified my love for Ms. Bell’s writing. Yep; I am a devoted fan and made it my goal to see her whenever possible at RT to tell her how much I loved her. Sue me. We all have favorites, and Lenora Bell is one of my tops. Her stories are all some spin on something you are familiar with. The first is a Bachelor-type retelling of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The second is “Wizard of Oz”, and the third “Alice in Wonderland” AND she has a Jane Eyre/ Mary Poppins mash-up on the way. Yay!

My Recommendation: How the Duke Was Won


The original Golden Heart winner and retelling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This is the one with the bosom-busting scene and a particularly enchanting plot. What more can I say? I love it.

Julia Quinn

Wit is the name of the game with Ms. Quinn. Sarcasm and intelligence are her tools, and she wields them with particular skill. Personally, I think Julia Quinn is the author I would like to go out for a drink with, if only to hear her chitter-chatter all night. Because it would be funny. Like Lucille from “Arrested Development” funny. (If Lucille isn’t your favorite, you are wrong.) At RT, she went off on a tangent on vaccines that had the audience in stitches. Vaccines, people. I like to think I’m smart. For my day job, I teach gifted kids all day and put them in their egotistical places here and there, as needed. (They tend to think a lot of themselves and their own intelligence.) But, I think that Julia Quinn is smarter than me. And that’s ok, because I will keep reading her books and laughing and smirking.

My Recommendation: Just Like Heaven


A terrible violinist, some chocolate cake, and a great marriage of wit, verbal sparring, and extraordinary chemistry make this one an absolute winner. Of course, there are many many examples of amazing stories from Ms. Quinn (heard of the Bridgertons?), but this one has a special flair that I love.

Valerie Bowman

There I was, clicking along, reading a nice historical romance that made me giggle here and there, turning pages with desperate intensity when all of a sudden, I finished a chapter and gasped… I put the book down, laughing out loud. “Oh no, she didn’t!” I exclaimed. “What?!” my kids who were visiting my room over lunch asked. “Just a very well-written plot” I explained, dying to get back to my book while cursing the bell that would make me wait. That, my friends, is Valerie Bowman. Her series, The Playful Brides, perfectly describes her style, and it makes me happy. Each one is a take on a different famous story, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it unless you looked it up. Why? You will be so engrossed in the plot of whatever it is you are reading that you won’t recognize that you’ve seen it somewhere before. Another author who won my additional love  with her personality at RT, Valerie (we are on a first name basis…at least in my head) is totally down-to-earth and approachable. So, if you want irresistible situational comedy and great banter, check her out now!

My Recommendation: Never Trust a Pirate


The book that made me gasp. This twisty, fun plot is impossible to put down.  A little bit “Scarlet Pimpernel”, a little bit “Mr. and Ms. Smith”, this one is so smart and enjoyable, you will feel like you spent some time at a great movie when it is all over.

Kimberly Bell

There’s another Bell on this list that is making waves in the historical romance community! (Maybe there’s something in the name… I do love Kristen Bell also.. hmm) The first book I read from Kimberly Bell put her on my radar as someone who is willing to do almost anything in her historical romance with one of the most sexually liberated heroines I have ever read in a historical. Then, she blew me away with her next book. Situational humor and kick-ass heroines are Kimberly Bell’s calling cards. I absolutely LOVE her women. Can’t even… A definite rising star in the historical romance genre, Kimberly Bell is one to keep her eye on. I, for one, cannot wait until the second book in her current duology comes out.

My Recommendation: The Importance of Being Scandalous


One of the most original and real sister relationships I’ve ever read in a romance novel, let alone a historical. The boy next door is not supposed to marry the scandalized girl he’s been writing letters to for a decade, and now she’s engaged. Looks like she’s gonna have to pull out all the stops to get her fiance to call off the wedding… Y’all. I read this so fast. Snappy dialogue, hilarious situations, super-sexy times; this is one you need to check out.

Honorable Mentions

I have read some other great funny authors this year that I’d like to mention: Lara Temple, Jenni Fletcher, Stacy Reid, Maggie Robinson, and Emily Larkin. What books have made you literally laugh out loud? I would LOVE the recommendations… I can always use a comedy in my life. Stay tuned for Part 3! The Edgy Ladies of Historical Romance






Best of 2016

2016 was a big year for my romance reading hobby.  I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, downloaded Overdrive for library books, and of course, started this blog which led to even more books.  So, without further ado, here are my favorite books that I read in 2016. (Not all books were released in 2016, but all were read by me in 2016.)


Best Closed-Door Romance

Although I usually read romance that is very open-door, sometimes I enjoy a sweet story that doesn’t need to give me salacious details in order to be a very good romance.  My favorite romance in this category this year was “Her Unexpected Engagement” by Kyra Jacobs. It’s a very uplifting come-back story that left me feeling like no matter how bad things can get, there is still hope.


Best Erotica

I also don’t tend to read erotica, and although I’m not sure this is technically classified as such, it should be. Friends, this is everything they said that 50 Shades was, but with much, much better writing. Why, oh why was this book not made into an international sensation and movie? I would watch that movie. This book is crazy-pants, that’s for sure, with the Russian mafia, sweat lodge bdsm, and some other insanity that I don’t want to ruin. A roller-coaster ride of a book that is totally worth it and impossible to put down.


Best New-Fave Genre Book

Before this year, I had never read steampunk, and oh boy, did Bec McMaster provide an amazing introduction to this romance sub-genre for me with “Kiss of Steel”. McMaster is the “master” of the anti-hero, and this one is a doozy.  For literally like the first quarter of the book or so, I was like, “who is going to be the hero because, surely it can’t be this guy?” But it was. And it was so, so good. I loved this book and its sequel, and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series and start the next series and so on and so forth. McMaster has a fan for life. If you like paranormal or historical, try the steampunk genre. I think you may just love it as much as I do.


Best Medieval Romance

It’s no secret that I love historical romance. In fact, I love it so much and read so much of it, that I had to create some sub-categories to include more of my historic faves. Sarah Hegger’s “Conquering William” was definitely my favorite medieval romance of the year.  Her world-building is so solid, which is not normal for medievals, and her characters are compelling- flaws and all. This was such a fast read with a plot that never let up and kept me engaged to the very end.



Best Regency/Victorian Romance

Oh my goodness, I had so much trouble selecting my favorite for this category. I was between this one and Tessa Dare’s “Any Duchess Will Do”, but gave the tie to this book because it was actually released in 2016.  I love a good house party story, and this one with an identity swap and chocolate and bosoms accidentally spilling out at dinner had me in stitches, while still providing the heat.  Bell’s focus on character and comedy made me an immediate fan, and just writing this snippet has me wanting to revisit this one.

Best Fantasy Romance


Juliette Cross is one of my favorite authors, and her Vessel series would be my best paranormal if I had read it this year, but I also love this fantasy series with hot half-dragons called Morgons.  Her first book with a Morgon heroine was wonderfully fresh and is a great continuation to this captivating series. Her world-building is second to none, and her continual reveal and tease of secrets and deeper plots is addicting. I recommend reading “Waking the Dragon” first, and you are in luck because I have decided to give away 5 copies of this book. Enter the giveaway by clicking on this link.



Best Paranormal Romance

Rhenna Morgon who, by the way is also my favorite new author of the year, hits it out of the park with the finale to her Eden series.  Morgon writes alpha males like no other, but just when you think she’s gonna zig and have this alpha save our broken heroine, she zags and totally surprises the reader in delicious ways. Yes, it is the 4th in a series, so if you want to catch up on all her amazing world-building, you need to read “Unexpected Eden” first, but I think this one can also stand on its own.  Hot, hot, hot sex and such wonderful characters will keep you coming back for more with Ms. Morgon. Speaking of…


Most Anticipated of 2017

Ok, I’ve already read this one, but you should be anticipating it. Hard. This book is everything, and I can’t wait for you all to read it so we can fangirl together. Jace is one of the most drool-worthy alphas I’ve ever read, and Vivienne is so relatable that you will just want to let your hair down right along with her and cozy up to the Haven Brotherhood for as long as possible.  More books are coming in this series in 2017, and I cannot wait!

So that’s my list of 2016’s best. How many have you read? I am super-excited for 2017 and all the romance I’ll read along the way. I’d love to hear all of your suggestions in the comments below. Happy Reading!

Here’s another link for the Waking the Dragon Giveaway in case you missed it above!



Fall Haul 

I know this is a book blog, but I couldn’t resist sharing my “fall haul” from Bath and Body Works today. Fall is my favorite season, and they totally saw me coming today with their pumpkin-scented masterpieces of marketing genius. Seriously, put a colored leaf on something, and I am in! Now,if only it wasn’t 90 degrees outside…