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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Contemporary Books (Plus a Bonus!)

 Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This Week's Topic:
Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in X Genre
We wanted to change it up a little this week, so we are picking CONTEMPORARY with Racquel featuring contemporary YA and Sharon listing adult contemporary romance! And we're getting CRAZY. Instead of splitting TTT between the both of us like we usually do, we're each doing a list of ten. Twice. We will be splitting it up into two categories:

• Top Ten Books We've Re-read
• Top Ten Books We've Only Read Once

Since we're big re-readers, we thought this would be a fun way to split it up. Plus, we're adding a shocking encore in which we answer last week's TTT with one selection. And thus, it becomes TOP FORTY-ONE TUESDAY!

Racquel's picks:
In no particular order!

01. by hands down, my favorite YA book in the history of ever. This is one of the first YA books I've read and I fell heads over heels for it. Also, it's the one book I took with me to school and made my non-reading friends read. They loved it. They passed it along among themselves until I was like OMG WHERE IS MY PRECIOUS COPY, GIVE ME BACK MY BOOK ITS SPECIAL, I'LL BUY YOU A COPY IF YOU WANT. So yeah, Alex and Brittany have a special place in my heart. It's told from 1st person alternating POV which is my FAVORITE method of storytelling to read.
Total times read: around 10 times

02. by

03. by : I easily credit my involvement with reading and blogging because of of my love for Sarah Dessen. is my first read by here and also one of my first YA reads. It's why I went and looked for more YA books to read. It's just a precious book.
Total times read: around 10 times

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Favorites that I've only read ONCE but they're still favorites: 

01. by will screw your brain real hard and you will enjoy every second of it. I read this in the beginning of January and two months later, it's still fresh in my mind, I still cannot get over how absolutely flawless it is and how I will never read anything ever again that will blow me away as much as .

02. by takes place during a 24 hours period, a favorite trope of mine, and is told from alternating 1st person POV. Insta love, duh.

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Sharon's Picks

I decided on adult contemporary romance for a couple reasons. One, I thought it would be a fun change since I tend to focus more on YA and historical romance. Two, it would be easier since I don't read as much contemporary. But I didn't realize just how much I was challenging myself, since I wanted to NOT repeat authors. I tend to find the authors I love and stick to them because I know they won't disappoint me (I'm looking at you, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Julie James, and Sarah Mayberry!). I do this in all genres but especially contemporary romance. There are a lot of things that are prevalent in contemporary that annoy and/or frustrate me, so I am more wary of branching out. Regardless, I still have quite a few favorites, and I'm here to share them with you today!

Top Ten Books I've Read Multiple Times

01-03. Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil, and Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas. Who's surprised? I mean, REALLY. These books are the epitome of amazing. They contain Hardy Cates, for one. Overall, though, they really are three of my all-time favorite books. It doesn't matter how many times I reread them; they never disappoint.

04. Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. While rereading took this book off the pedestal where it once sat, I still adore it! The last scene never fails to make me sob lots of happy tears.

05. Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry. This book is hate-to-love done to absolute perfection, PLUS an awesome forbidden element. And holy chemistry, Batman.

06. Vision in White by Nora Roberts. This is my favorite Nora! Carter Maguire is the best beta hero ever. I positively adore him. Plus, I just love the natural and easy way Carter and Mac actually develop a normal relationship and fall in love.

07. Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot. I haven't read this one in a couple years, but I read it several times throughout my teens. It is just so much fun!

08. Substitute Lover by Penny Jordan. If I haven't read Every Boy's Got One in years, it feels like eons since I've read this one. Back when I first discovered romances (a little over a decade ago! How time flies.), I devoured 80s Harlequins like they were penny candy (dying laughing over here at my accidental choice of words, as Penny Jordan was my 1000% percent favorite author at the time), and this was one of my favorites. I probably read it a dozen times.

09. Hunting and Gathering / Ensemble C'est Tout by Anna Gavalda. I've reached the point where I'm kind of stretching, because Hunting and Gathering is not a contemporary romance. It is a contemporary novel with a love story in it, though, and it is a massive favorite of mine. The prose is stunning, the friendship moving, and the romance beautiful. Fun fact: The movie - though obviously not quite as amazing - is very good too, and it features the swoon-worthy Guillaume Canet!

10. Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn. I have officially deviated, because Just Like Heaven is flat-out historical romance. BUT I did include it for a reason! I think it would be a great starter historical for contemporary fans who are looking to branch out, because though it is a historical romance, it has some great contemporary elements. Quinn writes with pretty sparse prose which allows for quick reading, and it features a light tone with tons of humor sure to elicit everything from light giggles to outright guffaws.

Top Ten Books I've Only Read Once

01. Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis. If nothing else, this TTT led me to the realization that I have not once re-read a Jill Shalvis book. Sacrilege! Clearly, I need to do this ASAP. Regardless, there's a reason I have devoured over a dozen books by this talented lady, and Head Over Heels (or any of the Lucky Harbor books, really) showcases this perfectly.

02. Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James. This was one of my very first ~official~ current contemporary romances, and I fell completely in love with it. I am terrified to re-read it, though, for fear that it won't be as good as I remember. This is nonsense, though, given how much I adore all the more recent releases by Julie James.

03. Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey. Even though I've only read it once, this one quickly cemented a place among my favorites. It has a ton of great quotes and is fabulously sexy, romantic, and hysterical. I really want to own this book just so I can keep it close by always.

04. Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan. This is the most recent (both read AND published) book on the list, and I was surprised by how hard I fell for it. It was the perfect Christmas romance with a charming setting and a family that captured my heart utterly and completely.

05. Within Reach by Sarah Mayberry. I was doing my best to not repeat authors for this TTT (minus Lisa Kleypas, obviously, because she makes her own rules and is the exception to everything ever), but I just had to include this one! Because while Her Best Worst Mistake showcases her ability to write hate-to-love stories, Within Reach is one example of her ability to write stunningly amazing friends-to-lovers stories, as well. I felt like I barely breathed during this book, but I loved every second of it

06. Perfect by Judith McNaught. This book is huge, and I still vividly remember the one lazy, freezing, drizzly Saturday in college I spent lying on my bed and devouring this book. I was utterly captivated, reading from morning until night. It's definitely different from your typical romance, but I loved it.

07. Something Blue by Emily Giffin. I was rather wary about this book because of how strongly I disliked Something Borrowed, but I'm glad I let my friend talk me into reading it. So good! It was such a fun and surprisingly moving story of two people who never expected to fall in love.

08. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. Most people tend to list Bet Me when they mention Crusie, and while I do love that one, Welcome to Temptation is my favorite of hers. It is so funny and charming and sexy. It made me fall in love with the name Phineas (before I started watching Phineas & Ferb, obviously, because that is now the other awesome connotation that name holds for me).

09. The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans. I read this book one time nearly a decade ago, but I still remember it. On a whim, I started it at 11 PM after finishing a different book (something Meg Cabot, if I remember correctly), stayed up 'til an ungodly hour on a school night reading, passed out, and finished it the first chance I had the next day. It is probably a little more fiction than official contemporary romance, but HOLY CRAP was it swoony. It had build-up like no one's business, and we all know how I feel about that. ♥

10. Dying to Please by Linda Howard. This one is really more romantic suspense, but it is technically contemporary since it's not historical! And I just didn't feel right leaving Linda Howard off a contemporary romance list. The heroine of this one is a BODYGUARD SLASH BUTLER, okay. How much more awesome can you get? I do love a strong heroine. And the romance was spectacular.

AND NOW since we know you've been waiting and wondering, we shall now reveal our top answer to last week's Top Ten Tuesday question: What popular authors have you never read?
We have never read a single book by John Green.

We know, we know. YA sacrilege.

Before you begin pelting us with stones - or, more likely, hardback copies of The Fault in Our Stars - please allow Joey to eloquently express our feelings on the subject:
The Hype Monster is an evil, evil thing. By this point, there's really no way anyone could live to the sky-high expectations that have been built. Sharon does plan to read one eventually, if only because she has two non-blogging friends who might physically tie her to a chair and shove a copy of Looking for Alaska in her hands if she doesn't cave soon. But for the most part? Eh. Pass us a Lisa Kleypas, please.
What about YOU? Have you read any of these books? Do you share our adoration? What are your feelings on rereading? And are we the last people in the world who haven't read a John Green book?

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