Romance Book Tag

The oh-so-lovely Chai @ Like Chai Tea tagged me to do this Romance Book Tag. Never mind that it was (ahem) a month ago. Better late than never, right? Right. 

We all know that romance is my jam. As a wise person once said: If there's not a romance, why bother reading it? Actually it was me that said that. Just now. But let's move on.

There are a lot of questions - 25 of them (25?? What is this, am I back in school being tested??) - but this should be fun. :)


first romance you remember reading
I don't have a clue! I've been reading for 40+ years and reading romance for at least 30 years sooo... who knows? I'll take a wild guess, though and say that it was probably something by Danielle Steel that I borrowed from my mother or grandmother. 

last romance you read
Just For Now (Sea Breeze #4) by Abbi Glines

the romance you are most likely to recommend to a newbie
Oooh, tough one. I've never considered myself great at recommendations. I always want people to read the books I love (and obviously they have to love them, too *stomps foot*), but actually making helpful recommendations? Yeah, not so much. I guess I'd go with something on the lighter side and not scare them off with anything too angsty. Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren would be a good choice (I think). 

the romance you are most likely to recommend to another romance reader
I'll go with Love and Other Words. Because as popular as Christina Lauren is, I feel like this one doesn't get enough love.

an underrated romance you wish more people would read
How much time do you have? I have so many underrated favorites. But I'll go with Goodnight, Nic by Marley Jacobs. With a measly 72 ratings (and 48 reviews) on GoodReads, it breaks my heart that more people haven't experienced this one. And, because I'm a rebel, I'm going to add a YA option. The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson is one I push recommend relentlessly.

an overrated romance you wish people would stop talking about
Oh, so we're getting salty, are we? This is difficult because for me to consider it overrated means I would have had to read the book. And I'm struggling to come up with a book that I consider overrated that people talk about. I'm stretching here, because this one goes back several years, but I remember the Confessions of a Shopaholic series being hugely popular and getting lots of buzz. But I read the first book and just thought... meh. It felt silly and the slapsticky (did I just make up a word?) humor left me unimpressed. 

an auto-buy author
Colleen Hoover. Forever and always. Amen.

an author you used to love that you have since abandoned
Jane Green. I used to inhale everything she wrote. Back when chick lit was a thing and made its debut (c. 2000) I discovered Jane Green. The first novel I read from her, Jemima J, meant so much to me and remains a favorite. But over the years her writing has morphed into bland stories that seem to feature the exact same setting and the exact same character types over and over again. 


favorite trope
Many! I have many favorite tropes! Second chance romance, friends to lovers, damaged hero, forbidden romance. I refuse to choose just one. You can't make me.

best book with your favorite trope
Archer's Voice is pure gold. He was a damaged hero - a recluse - and his story broke my heart. But in a good way. 

a book you didn't like even though it has your favorite trope
Misbehaved by Charleigh Rose. It was an age gap/forbidden romance but it just... wasn't good.   

most hated trope
Miscommunication. The Big Misunderstanding. It makes me ragey. 

a book you like even though it has the trope you hate
Nash by Jay Crownover. Saint had an unrequited crush on Nash in high school. When she heard him talking trash, she assumed it was about her and hated him after that. Years later he doesn't know why she hates him and them getting together was way more difficult than it should have been. Even so, I was a sucker for their story because I heart Nash so much. And, other than being an idiot about what happened in high school, Saint was a good person. 

your problematic favorite
First, I just have to say I loathe the word "problematic". It's become such a catch-phrase for anything anyone deems inappropriate in a book. But I'll stop before I get on my soapbox. (You're welcome.) And I'm skipping the question because if I had issues with a book it's doubtful that it would be a favorite. 

a book everyone else loved that has you scratching your head
Isn't this basically the same as question #6? An overrated book that you wish everyone would quit talking about? I don't really understand the difference so I'm skipping this one, too. (The rebel strikes again!)


your favorite romancelandia person to follow on twitter
Fact: I'm not a big Twitter user. I go days and days without ever checking it. I mostly follow authors and fellow bloggers on Twitter. I like seeing the bookish artwork Charlie Bowater creates and I'm always amused by Brooding YA hero. :)

a place or person you go to for recommendations or reviews
Sophie @ Beware of the Reader is a professional book pusher and my book twin so I get plenty of recs from her. BookTubers Jessica @ Peace Love Books and Lacey @ Lacey Booklovers also give great romance recommendations.

a book that has a character that reminds you of yourself
This is a tough one. I've never read about a character and thought, "Oh, this is me exactly." But I have seen some aspects of my personality or life in characters. One that comes to mind is Annika from The Girl He Used to Know. Her anxiousness in social situations and her need for solitude were relatable.

romance cover you love
I'm a sucker for a pretty cover. Aren't we all? The Boy & His Ribbon and the UK cover of Who Do You Love are two favorites.

a book you've reread more than twice
I've reread nine of the ten Addicted/Calloway books, but I think I've reread Fuel the Fire more than any of the others.


best romance audiobook
Intercepted by Alexa Martin was so excellent on audio. And Royally Screwed by Emma Chase is another favorite. The narration in both was so spot-on and really brought the stories to life.

best romance/rom-com movie
Love Actually (yes, I'm that basic) and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Does anyone else see a Hugh Grant theme? Hmm.


favorite heroine
Lily Hale from the Addicted/Calloway series. Love her. And Stella from The Kiss Quotient. I get these women. They are my people. 

favorite hero
I had to laugh because Chai and I share the same two favorite heroes! :) Loren Hale from the Addicted series and Cam Hamilton from Jennifer L. Armentrout's Wait For You.

your all-time favorite romance
What absolute sadist came up with this question? You don't ask a book lover to pick one favorite book! That's madness! But for the sake of the tag I'll play along. If I had to pick one it would be... drumroll, please (which is actually quite unnecessary since you can plainly see the cover of the book right above there)... The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Oh, the sweet agony of this book. It was sheer torture but in a good way. (That's a thing, right?)

And now I feel like I've been working on this post for 137 hours and my mind is mush. I'm tagging Jessica @ Booked J and Deanna @ Deanna Reads Books but only if they want to do it. And if I didn't tag you and you want to do it... consider yourself tagged. Go forth and spend 137 hours creating your own post. I'd love to see your answers!

WWW Wednesday #60 | August 28, 2019

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.

Keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Dorian this week.
Current projections show it hitting the eastern coast of Florida (where I live) on Monday as a Category 2 hurricane. Plenty of time to prepare and make plans... and hope the storm veers back off into the Atlantic and away from land.


The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary
It took me a few days to get into this one (I think I was experiencing a book hangover after finishing The Reckless Oath We Made), but now I'm about 100 pages in and really enjoying it. I'm wondering when Tiffy and Leon will actually meet face to face and suspect it will be at the very end .

I shared my review for The Reckless Oath We Made yesterday and - spoiler alert - it was a 5-star read. If you've been around here any length of time you know that I dole out 5-star ratings so sparingly that they might as well be made of gold and platinum. I love Greenwood's ability to create these characters that are so unique, so flawed, and so human. I adored Gentry and he is now one of my favorite fictional characters ever.

I'm still considering both of these for my next read. I've taken a two book break from the Sea Breeze series so I might feel ready to jump back into that series when I finish The Flatshare.

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Review: The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood

Bryn Greenwood
Publication date: August 20, 2019
Series: No
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: G.P. Putnam's Sons and NetGalley



Zee is nobody's fairy tale princess. Almost six-foot, with a redhead's temper and a shattered hip, she has a long list of worries: never-ending bills, her beautiful, gullible sister, her five-year-old nephew, her housebound mother, and her drug-dealing boss.

Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and code of honor. Two years ago the voices he hears called him to be Zee's champion. He's barely spoken to her since, but he has kept watch, ready to come to her aid.

When an abduction tears Zee's family apart, she turns to the last person she ever imagined--Gentry--and sets in motion a chain of events that will not only change both of their lives, but bind them to one another forever.

M Y   T H O U G H T S

Okay. *deep breath* Let’s do this. The Reckless Oath We Made is one of those books that, when I turn the last page, I sit for a moment and let it all sink it. I marvel at what the author was able to convey. And then I wonder how in the world I am going to write a review that does it justice. (Confession: it’s been 2+ years since I read Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and I still haven’t managed to articulate my feelings about it. In the simplest terms, it was phenomenal.) But I’m going to try.

Zee (real Name: Zhorzha) is brash and rough-around-the-edges and it seems as if it weren’t for bad luck she’d have no luck at all. A motorcycle accident left her with a shattered hip, chronic pain, and a mountain of medical bills. She also helps support her hoarder mother, her older sister and her five-year-old nephew so her waitress income is supplemented by occasional drug trafficking. She meets Gentry while at physical therapy and his odd demeanor is impossible to ignore. While their interaction is short-lived, he remains a fixture in her life over the next two years, constantly keeping watch over her.

Gentry is a knight. On the autism spectrum, he hears voices (Gawen, Hildegard, and the Witch), speaks in Middle English, spars with swords and is building his own castle. Gentry is single-minded in his duty as Zee’s champion, and the oath he has taken to protect her. When Zee’s sister is taken hostage by prison escapees, Gentry is by his Lady Zhorzha’s side, ready to aid in battle when she decides to recover her sister on her own.

Zee and Gentry were an improbable pairing that still made perfect sense. Zee accepted Gentry in every way and allowed him to express himself in the way that was uniquely him. She did not patronize him or mock him or expect him to change. Her immediate sense of belonging (or at least a wish to belong) with Gentry’s adoptive family was understandable since her own family fell apart (and did not recover) after her father died while serving a prison sentence for armed robbery. Zee wasn’t always a sympathetic character. She was single-minded in her efforts and used whatever means necessary to get what she needed. I found myself railing at her capriciousness while still recognizing the weight on her shoulders. In fact, my only quibble throughout the book had to do with Zee. (Highlight the following text for possible spoiler content: I truly wanted more atonement from Zee at the end of the book. She did recognize that others paid dearly for her decisions/actions – sometimes with life-changing consequences. Yes, she did take steps to apologize (like to Rosalinda and Charlene) but it felt so insignificant in comparison to what was lost. I wanted more from Zee, but maybe that was as much as she was capable of doing.)

In Gentry, Bryn Greenwood has created one of my favorite fictional characters ever. His chapters, written in his Middle English manner of speech, were among my favorites. With a moral compass that guided his every decision, a desire to prove himself worthy, and an innate kindness and compassion that melted my heart, Gentry is truly unforgettable. His surprising sense of humor always made me smile and his unwavering sense of right and wrong, in a world where doing the easy thing is so often chosen over doing the right thing, was inspiring.

The Reckless Oath We Made is a breathtaking mix of literary fiction, social commentary, modern-day fairy tale, and love story. Greenwood’s gift at creating utterly unique, fully-realized characters is astounding. And I lost track of the number of times I came across a sentence or phrase that captured a feeling so perfectly that I would just sit and stare at it. Like with All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Greenwood employs multiple narratives to weave her tale. Told mainly from Zee and Gentry’s points of view, there are also chapters from Zee’s nephew, Gentry’s mother, and more, which serve to create a story that comes to life and is truly mesmerizing. Greenwood is able to infuse this story with themes of family loyalty (which is stretched to its limits), mental illness, chivalry, and love in all its many forms. I could go on (and on) about all this story has to offer, but suffice it to say: The Reckless Oath We Made is among the best of 2019.


Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.


About the Author

BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the NYT bestselling author of The Reckless Oath We Made, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Lie Lay Lain, and Last Will. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Twitter: bryngreenwood 

The Sunday Post #169

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • This week at the office was a killer. Deadlines and stress and way too much peopling. By Friday afternoon I was so done. So mentally drained that I declared Saturday a hibernation day. I stayed in pj's and vegged all day. Just what I needed.
  • My mom is finally retiring (at the age of 74). Friday was her last full day of work. She goes in tomorrow briefly but that's it. Not sure how she's going to fill her time now - maybe volunteer work - but I'm glad she's no longer commuting to a full time job every day. 
  • Otherwise it's been a thoroughly uneventful week. Today is supposed to be stormy so it sounds like a good excuse to hibernate again. :) How was your week?
  • A favorite from the early 90's...


Just as I predicted... another powerful 5-star read from Bryn Greenwood. Review to come (hopefully) this week.


When I say I'm currently reading this one I mean that I'm on page 2. LOL So I really have no thoughts on it at all just yet... but I have high hopes! :)


File this one under: Sophie made me buy it. :)


How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

WWW Wednesday #59 | August 21, 2019

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.

My morning started at the dentist office. 
It has to get better from there, right?


The Reckless Oath We Made - Bryn Greenwood

I haven't had much time reading this week (or I haven't made much time for reading) so I'm only 25% into The Reckless Oath We Made but I am seriously Loving It. It may seem premature, but I'm already predicting a 5-star rating. Greenwood's gift at creating utterly unique, fully-realized characters is breathtaking. And several times I have come across a sentence or phrase that captures a feeling so perfectly... I just sit there and stare at it. Zee and Gentry are giving me life.

I had a love-hate relationship with the fourth book in the Sea Breeze series. Preston was a typical Abbi Glines guy: meaning he slept with anything on two legs and acted like a caveman with the one special snowflake who made his heart go pitter-patter. But he ran so hot and cold with Amanda that I wanted to do him bodily harm. But (there's always a but when I read Abbi Glines), this one was also surprisingly emotional. It took a darker turn near the end that I wasn't expecting and that triggered some events that actually got to me. So, yes Preston was another reformed man-whore (yawn), but Abbi still managed to reel me in with the emotion, So, go Abbi.


I might jump back into the Sea Breeze series or I might move on to When You Were Mine. We'll see how I feel after I finish The Reckless Oath We Made. 

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)