I read a lot of books and that’s always been the case. Reading now is an activity that sits in this strange spot half-way between work and pleasure. I read plenty of romance (obvs!) but I also love a good YA, thriller/mystery, post-apocalyptic, fantasy and non-fiction book as well.
So what makes a book a keeper for me?
A story that keeps me guessing
This can be tough in the romance genre because we know the HEA is a guarantee (that’s why we read them, after all!) but I still love an element of something new. Whether it’s a plot twist I didn’t see coming, an unusual setting or a character with a quirky job or situation—I like to be surprised.
Romance recommendation: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon for sexy aliens, survival and fun sci-fi action.
For me, even when a book has an outstanding plot I still need to feel invested in the characters. That means heroes and/or heroines I can connect with and understand (even if I don’t always agree with their actions or motivations). This doesn’t mean that they have to be totally likable, either. A well-motivated character with an interesting personality needn’t always be nice.
Romance recommendation: Here Comes the Bridesmaid by Avril Tremayne for the quirky heroine, Sunshine Smart.
Where romances are concerned, I need to feel the connection between the heroes and/or heroines. Whether that connection is sexually or emotionally fueled, I wants to see some sparks fly!
Romance recommendation: Not Until You by Roni Loren for two characters that are hot enough to start a wildfire.
Even in the most far-out fantasy-driven stories, I still want to see characters with relatable problems. Whether that’s emotions that they don’t know how to handle, situations that thrust them out of their comfort zone or fears linked to their past, I need to understand and believe that any real person could face these same problems.
Romance recommendation: Driving her Crazy by Amy Andrews for a heroine with body-image issues and a gorgeously grumpy hero suffering with PTSD.
Bonus Points! These are my total catnip things, so while not necessary stories with these aspects they definitely draw my attention and tend to end up on my keeper shelf more easily than other books:
- Anything with a ‘survival’ element to it – desert island, post-apocalyptic settings, stranded in a remote places…gimme gimme gimme!
- Ballerina/dancer heroines…you’re shocked, right? ;)
- Snappy dialogue and banter that sucks me into a scene. Add in a dash of humour and I’m a happy camper!
- Holiday stories
Stefanie's latest book continues her Kite Harbor series and is featured in the Hot Christmas Nights box set, available now at Amazon.
The Hot Christmas Nights (A LoveCats DownUnder box set) contains seven brand new holiday stories from award-winning, best-selling and rising star Australian and New Zealand authors. Whether you want to get caught in a summer storm, find a second chance at love or fall for your best friend—there’s a story here for you.
Sleigh Bells In The Sand by Stefanie London
American Neve Ritter has traveled all the way to Australia to avoid her family for the holidays. But her plans did not include accidentally breaking into the house of a hunky lawyer who’s looking for a little solitude of his own. When a summer storm traps them together, Neve realizes that maybe Santa has been listening to her wishes all along.