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  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2019/12/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , e. l. james, , , , , , , ,   

    Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ Favorite Romance Novels of 2019 

    It’s getting chilly out—perfect weather for curling up with a good romance novel or five. The past year has been an amazing one for romance—and no one knows that better than Barnes & Noble’s team of experienced booksellers, who each day make it their mission to connect every reader with just the right book. We wanted to know what romance novels to put on our year-end must-read lists, so we asked them. These are our booksellers’ favorites of the year—and, we wager, they’ll soon be yours too. (Explore all of our booksellers’ 2019 favorites.)

    The Wedding Party, by Jasmine Guillory
    Alexa Monroe from The Wedding Date is getting married, and her best friends Maddie and Theo are both going to be involved in the big day. This would be all fine and dandy if Maddie and Theo didn’t hate each other so much after their one-night stand. (To be fair, Maddie and Theo, you both made—er, un-made?—that bed…) Anyhoo, Theo and Maddie need to work together in order to help make Alexa’s wedding day dreams come true. How long will it take for each of them to realize they are perfect for each other? Will they find a private moment during the wedding reception to unabashedly make out? And where the heck are all of OUR wedding invitations?!

    Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston
    Alex Claremont-Diaz, the President of the United States’ son, and Prince Henry, heir to the British throne, really, really can’t stand each other. Like, they really don’t like each other. At all. (Gentlemen, don’t you understand that you’re both WAY too hot to be fighting?!) Things take a turn, though, after the tabloids catch the two of them fighting. This prompts a major public relations campaign in order to preserve the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain. Alex and Henry have to embark on a bit of a fake friendship in order to stave off any pesky rumors, and it doesn’t take either of them long to realize that there was some crazy delicious sexual tension brewing between them. (Now THIS is the kind of special relationship we all want to read about!) Alex and Henry will need to come to terms with the fact that they wouldn’t mind jumping into bed together. (Like, every day.) Here’s hoping they realize they are perfect for each other, that British and American relations remain intact, and that the next royal wedding gets exceptionally thorough and extensive media coverage!

    Window on the Bay, by Debbie Macomber
    Intensive care nurse Jenna Boltz has been doing the single mom thing for the past 20 years, and now she’s facing an empty nest thanks to her kids going to college. (Jenna, you clearly did an awesome job with your kids! Oh, and we’re all coming over with pizza and wine and planning tons of fun times!) She doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. One thing is for sure: Jenna is not ready to navigate the dating world. (That’s okay, Jenna. No one ever really is!) Then she meets Dr. Rowan Lancaster, a silver fox of a man who helps Jenna’s elderly mom when she breaks her hip. (Rowan, we are all SO bringing our relatives to you—from babies to grannies!) Rowan certainly has that whole Stiff and Silent Man act down pat, but beneath that stony exterior beats a heart that soon becomes wholly devoted to Jenna. Oh, Rowan, Jenna’s about to go through a really tough time, so please put on your best face (as in, you know, smile) and use your envy-worthy body to give our gal a helping hand!

    Under Currents, by Nora Roberts
    On the surface, Zane Bigelow’s childhood looked idyllic—successful parents and a big, fancy house and all that jazz—but said childhood was actually filled with all kinds of abuse. (Zane, you’ll need to run exceptionally fast in order to escape…our hugs!) Fast forward many years and Zane is now a successful—and smokingly gorgeous—lawyer. He decides to return to his hometown and be with his loved ones. There he meets Darby, a landscape artist who’s new to the area and has her own haunted past. (Darby, what is the name of your business? We all want to give it the positive Yelp reviews it deserves!) Darby and Zane may each have their own issues to grapple with – not to mention dark pasts they can’t seem to shake—but that doesn’t stop either of them from realizing they’d like to do the nekkid dance on a regular basis. Will they be able to dodge their demons and start a new chapter of their lives together?

    The Mister, by E.L. James
    In her first novel since the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, E.L. James introduces readers to Maxim Trevelyan, a wealthy playboy with a history of eschewing responsibility or commitment. That all changes when Alessia Demachi, a young Albanian woman on the run from human traffickers, becomes the new “daily” (daily housekeeper) at the estate Maxim has recently inherited and doesn’t know what to do with. Alessia seems immune to Maxim’s model good looks (he moonlights as one), but her exquisite talent at playing piano and her mysterious, haunted ways have Maxim changing his behavior from rogue to protector in a bid to earn her trust and her heart.

    These are the romance novels Barnes & Noble booksellers loved in 2019. What would you add?

    The post Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ Favorite Romance Novels of 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2019/12/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , e. l. james, , , , , , , ,   

    Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ Favorite Romance Novels of 2019 

    It’s getting chilly out—perfect weather for curling up with a good romance novel or five. The past year has been an amazing one for romance—and no one knows that better than Barnes & Noble’s team of experienced booksellers, who each day make it their mission to connect every reader with just the right book. We wanted to know what romance novels to put on our year-end must-read lists, so we asked them. These are our booksellers’ favorites of the year—and, we wager, they’ll soon be yours too. (Explore all of our booksellers’ 2019 favorites.)

    The Wedding Party, by Jasmine Guillory
    Alexa Monroe from The Wedding Date is getting married, and her best friends Maddie and Theo are both going to be involved in the big day. This would be all fine and dandy if Maddie and Theo didn’t hate each other so much after their one-night stand. (To be fair, Maddie and Theo, you both made—er, un-made?—that bed…) Anyhoo, Theo and Maddie need to work together in order to help make Alexa’s wedding day dreams come true. How long will it take for each of them to realize they are perfect for each other? Will they find a private moment during the wedding reception to unabashedly make out? And where the heck are all of OUR wedding invitations?!

    Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston
    Alex Claremont-Diaz, the President of the United States’ son, and Prince Henry, heir to the British throne, really, really can’t stand each other. Like, they really don’t like each other. At all. (Gentlemen, don’t you understand that you’re both WAY too hot to be fighting?!) Things take a turn, though, after the tabloids catch the two of them fighting. This prompts a major public relations campaign in order to preserve the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain. Alex and Henry have to embark on a bit of a fake friendship in order to stave off any pesky rumors, and it doesn’t take either of them long to realize that there was some crazy delicious sexual tension brewing between them. (Now THIS is the kind of special relationship we all want to read about!) Alex and Henry will need to come to terms with the fact that they wouldn’t mind jumping into bed together. (Like, every day.) Here’s hoping they realize they are perfect for each other, that British and American relations remain intact, and that the next royal wedding gets exceptionally thorough and extensive media coverage!

    Window on the Bay, by Debbie Macomber
    Intensive care nurse Jenna Boltz has been doing the single mom thing for the past 20 years, and now she’s facing an empty nest thanks to her kids going to college. (Jenna, you clearly did an awesome job with your kids! Oh, and we’re all coming over with pizza and wine and planning tons of fun times!) She doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. One thing is for sure: Jenna is not ready to navigate the dating world. (That’s okay, Jenna. No one ever really is!) Then she meets Dr. Rowan Lancaster, a silver fox of a man who helps Jenna’s elderly mom when she breaks her hip. (Rowan, we are all SO bringing our relatives to you—from babies to grannies!) Rowan certainly has that whole Stiff and Silent Man act down pat, but beneath that stony exterior beats a heart that soon becomes wholly devoted to Jenna. Oh, Rowan, Jenna’s about to go through a really tough time, so please put on your best face (as in, you know, smile) and use your envy-worthy body to give our gal a helping hand!

    Under Currents, by Nora Roberts
    On the surface, Zane Bigelow’s childhood looked idyllic—successful parents and a big, fancy house and all that jazz—but said childhood was actually filled with all kinds of abuse. (Zane, you’ll need to run exceptionally fast in order to escape…our hugs!) Fast forward many years and Zane is now a successful—and smokingly gorgeous—lawyer. He decides to return to his hometown and be with his loved ones. There he meets Darby, a landscape artist who’s new to the area and has her own haunted past. (Darby, what is the name of your business? We all want to give it the positive Yelp reviews it deserves!) Darby and Zane may each have their own issues to grapple with – not to mention dark pasts they can’t seem to shake—but that doesn’t stop either of them from realizing they’d like to do the nekkid dance on a regular basis. Will they be able to dodge their demons and start a new chapter of their lives together?

    The Mister, by E.L. James
    In her first novel since the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, E.L. James introduces readers to Maxim Trevelyan, a wealthy playboy with a history of eschewing responsibility or commitment. That all changes when Alessia Demachi, a young Albanian woman on the run from human traffickers, becomes the new “daily” (daily housekeeper) at the estate Maxim has recently inherited and doesn’t know what to do with. Alessia seems immune to Maxim’s model good looks (he moonlights as one), but her exquisite talent at playing piano and her mysterious, haunted ways have Maxim changing his behavior from rogue to protector in a bid to earn her trust and her heart.

    These are the romance novels Barnes & Noble booksellers loved in 2019. What would you add?

    The post Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ Favorite Romance Novels of 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Cristina Merrill 4:49 pm on 2019/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: e. l. james, , new romance, ,   

    Dark Themes in E L James’ The Mister are Balanced by Emotionally Mature Characters 

    Fans of the Fifty Shades world no doubt wondered where E L James could possibly go after her bestselling books, and the answer can be found in her latest yarn, The Mister. What the novel lacks in sexy shock value—if you’re hoping for some more erotic, BDSM action, you’ll need to look elsewhere—it makes up for with darker themes and emotionally mature leading characters.

    The title character is Maxim Trevelyan, a London-based, modern-day libertine with aristocratic roots and a huge bank account who sleeps around without a real care in the world. (Superfans will note his last name is the same as the maiden name of Christian Grey’s adopted mother, Grace Trevelyan-Grey. There’s also one mention of the city of Seattle in the book. Doth we detect a sequel, Mistress James? One that features cameos from some of our old favorite characters?)

    Maxim grew up with all of the trappings of a privileged English upbringing—fancy schools, fancy homes, fancy friends, etc. Unlike the business-minded Christian Grey, though, Maxim barely has any drive to make himself useful, and instead of requiring one lucky lady to sign a non-disclosure agreement for a long-ish arrangement, he has nightly bed partners. The most anyone can say for Maxim is that he could be a great musician if he applied himself and took advantage of the many tools at his disposal.

    When we first meet Maxim, he’s just slept with his late elder brother’s widow (yes, this sounds terrible, but she’s also Maxim’s best friend and it takes two to tango) and is facing a life as the new Earl of Trevethick. Being the new earl doesn’t appeal to Maxim at all. Indeed, he’s rather emotionally drained, which is why the time is prime for the presence of a certain special lady.

    Enter Alessia Demachi, a young Albanian woman who came to the United Kingdom hoping for a better life and instead found out she was smuggled in via a sex trafficking ring. She manages to escape her guides thanks to her knowledge of the English language and some major determination. While she has a couple of familial connections who help her find work as Maxim’s cleaner, she’s still illegal, incredible vulnerable, and cannot afford to make any wrong moves. For reasons the reader will find out, going back to Albania is simply not an option.

    Maxim senses this vulnerability and, to his credit, makes it his mission to keep her safe. Yes, he wants Alessia in his bed, but he also comes to appreciate her non-physical qualities. The result is a relationship in which Maxim’s ability to truly love and genuinely adore another person is unleashed. When Maxim learns of the real danger Alessia is in, he spirits her away to his estate in Cornwall—a setting that will no doubt appease Poldark fans who are mourning the upcoming end of the popular television seriesand they get to know each other in all kinds of ways.

    Fifty Shades fans will certainly see similarities between those stories and The Mister. Like Christian, Maxim is, to put it bluntly, filthy rich. Also, the whole Angry Boy-Man theme is strong in the beginning of The Mister, as Maxim has some deep-seated family issues. Still, he lacks the emotional devastation of Christian Grey, and it takes a much shorter time for him to recognize the genuine feelings he has for Alessia. He has experienced tragedy, but not to the point where he feels the need to crack the proverbial and literal whip on another human being. And while he has money, Maxim is not exactly using it to sweep Alessia off of her feet. Instead, he uses it to help her meet her basic needs. He also makes plans to harness whatever power he has to help her gain legal status.

    As for Alessia, she doesn’t give off an air of outward confidence, but she is a very strong character. Indeed, she certainly wouldn’t have gotten as far as she has without having some guts. She and Maxim don’t have the flirtatious banter of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, but then their circumstances are quite different. Alessia barely has more than the clothes on her back and doesn’t even possess a cell phone. This is not to say the book lacks in sexy times—there’s certainly plenty of THAT and it’s often quite fun—but like the Fifty Shades books, it’s still very much about the emotional journey between the two leads. As the book progresses, the reader will learn more and more about the awful things Alessia has had to endure. It’s all quite dark. Should author James venture into more thriller romance territory, she might find an even stronger niche as a romance writer.

    On its own, The Mister is an entertaining read, one that marks a decided turn towards the author’s British roots. Fifty Shades fans hoping for an extension of that world may find The Mister a bit vanilla in comparison, but those who are willing to embrace new characters and a setting that takes place across the pond, will find plenty to enjoy.

    The Mister is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post Dark Themes in E L James’ <i>The Mister</i> are Balanced by Emotionally Mature Characters appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Cristina Merrill 5:00 pm on 2018/01/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , curmudgeons, , e. l. james, , , , , , lovable grumps, , , ,   

    Our Favorite Sexy Curmudgeons: 8 Guys Whose Frowns We Want to Turn Upside Down 

    No one wants to be tied to a grump, but once in a while we come across that brooding kind of man we wouldn’t mind cheering up. You know the type. He doesn’t give the best first impression, but once you get to know him, it’s easy to look past his gruff exterior and appreciate the wonderful man within. (And you just know all of that seriousness and pent-up longing will release itself in some very pleasant ways!) Guys like these may not always make the best Plus Ones at dinner parties, but they’ll definitely make you remember dessert.

    Here are 8 of the sexiest curmudgeons in romance who can brood all they want!

    Hareton from Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
    No, we are NOT going in the Heathcliff direction! (True, he had it rough, but he was still awful.) Instead, let’s focus on Hareton. He wasn’t raised under the best of circumstances, to say the least, but throughout his harsh life he managed to show an innate sweetness. As he grew older he displayed a loyalty that would bode well for his upcoming marriage to young Catherine. A guy like that may not make the best impression on society, and he might curse in your presence upon your first meeting, but he’ll ultimately stay faithful to you and he’ll always be honest about his feelings.

    Sir William of Miraval in Candle in the Window, by Christina Dodd
    Sir William of Miraval is not the happiest of knights. He was blinded in battle, and his caretakers are growing frustrated with his awful attitude and poor hygiene. (Dude’s quite depressed, so he gets a pass at being curmudgeonly.) He meets his match when Lady Saura of Roget is summoned to help him get his act together. She’s blind, too, but this is a woman who know how to run a house and keep everyone in line. William soon falls in love with her, and he displays a fierce loyalty that would make any woman sigh. William, we knew that beneath that rugged, filthy, muscled exterior was a tender-hearted man yearning to break free!

    Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    There are many mighty good reasons why Mr. Darcy ALWAYS comes up in romantic conversations. He didn’t always have the best manners, and he could hardly be called the life of the party, but when a guy is willing to help your crazy family by keeping your nutty sister on the straight and narrow, well, there’s a lot to be said for that. (Imagine a guy who stays with you even though your extended family posts weird things on social media on an hourly basis.) Mr. Darcy, you practically invented the smolder, so you can smolder all you want!

    Wulfgar from The Wolf and the Dove, by Kathleen Woodiwiss
    To be fair, this Medieval knight had an exceptionally harsh life. He was a bastard, which wasn’t easy in those days. (He and Jon Snow of Game of Thrones would probably have a great deal to talk about.) You’re also under a lot of pressure when William the Conqueror wants you to, well, help him conquer England. This attitude of his mostly changes, though, when his posse conquers Darkenwald, the home of the very proud and beautiful Aislinn. It takes a very long time until they actually get along, and boy it’s fun to read that roller coaster of a relationship. Carry on with your growling ways, Wulfgar, and flex your muscles while you’re at it!

    Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
    Love him or hate him, Mr. Rochester was a curmudgeonly curmudgeon who needed some major intervention—and lots of time to soul-search—before he could find some inner peace and have his happy ending with Jane. True, he’d been through a lot in his life—bad marriage, saddled with a kid he wasn’t even sure was his, lost his eyesight, lost his hand, and more—but that doesn’t excuse some of the things he did. (Buddy, you might want to consider taking up poetry writing!) Still, he had some good qualities, and he ultimately changed for the better thanks to Jane. Mr. Rochester, brood as you please, and please make sure you show Jane your appreciation as often as humanely possible!

    Rocco from A Girl’s Guide to Moving On, by Debbie Macomber
    Poor Rocco’s a little bit in over his head. He’s the macho-est of macho men, and he has a teenage daughter with whom he doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye. Fortunately he meets Nichole, the modern-day equivalent of a gently-bred lady who recently ditched her cheating husband. Rocco may be more at home in a biker bar than, well, in many other places, but he’s solid, muscly proof that surprises can come in the most unexpected of packages. Rocco, bring on the cranky. We know that inside you’re really just a marshmallow with nothing but love for your woman!

    Rhys Winterborne in Marrying Winterborne, by Lisa Kleypas
    Welshman Rhys Winterborne worked extremely hard to get to where he is. He owns a major department store, and even though he is supremely wealthy, his modest background means that society doesn’t have much room for him at their social gatherings. He’s determined to win over his lady love, and what’s more, he knows he’s not always the most pleasant man to be around. You can’t go wrong with a guy who admits his faults and is eager to prove his devotion. That said, he also shows an exceptionally sweet and caring side. Rhys, no one is fooled! Admit it. You’re a softie.

    Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades series, by E.L. James
    Christian makes all of the other guys on this list seem joyful by comparison. He spends a lot of time brooding over Anastasia and his dark past. (Christian, buddy, you should seriously consider volunteering at an animal shelter. Giving your time just might help!) And he certainly knows how to, ahem, release his frustrations. Whether his dark ways turn you on or off, no woman can deny that life with Christian would never be boring!

    Who are your favorite fictional curmudgeons?

    The post Our Favorite Sexy Curmudgeons: 8 Guys Whose Frowns We Want to Turn Upside Down appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2017/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: a notorious countess confesses, a rogue by any other name, , , , e. l. james, , , , , Joanna Wylde, , , , , , , , , one good earl deserves a lover, original sinners series, , reaper's legacy, , , slightly wicked, , , , trouble at the wedding, unclaimed, when he was wicked   

    A Romance Novel for Every Song on Taylor Swift’s reputation 

    It’s been over a week, we’ve listened to it over a thousand times…and now the moment has come: we’re pairing up romance novels with Taylor Swift’s newest album, reputation!

    “…Ready For It?”

    I immediately thought of Claire and Jamie for this song, so Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander is my pick! It’s fast-paced, like their adventures, but also sensual and sexy, like their relationship. “Younger than my exes but he acts like such a man” make sense since Jamie is younger than Frank (and Claire herself) in the series. And of course all the references to islands reminded me of the current Season Three (no spoilers, if you haven’t seen it!)

    “End Game (featuring Ed Sheeran and Future)”

    “Ahh, and I heard about you…you like the bad ones too.” This song is all about a couple whose reputation precedes them, making them probably the least likely to work. “And I bury hatchets but I keep maps of where I put ‘em” made me think of Devon Ravenel of Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas: he’s a rake who lives up to his name. But then he inherits an earldom and must step up to the plate and assume responsibiity for his status—and the honor of the late earl’s three sisters. “You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks” is what happens when he meets Kathleen, who knows better than to ever fall in love with a man like Devon…except, as the song implies, they both wind up wanting to be one another’s end game.

    “I Did Something Bad”

    Unclaimed by Courtney Milan is about a handsome Bachelor known for having unimpeachable character…who finds himself entangled with a secret courtesan, not the high-bred lady he assumed her to be. “I never trust a playboy, but they love me…” totally embodies Jessica’s character: she’s a woman who knows what she wants, and is willing to do “something bad” in order to get it…like team up with the bachelor’s enemies to take him down in exchange for money. But of course, doing bad things makes you feel oh so good, and Jessica and Mark are no exception to the rule.

    “Don’t Blame Me”

    The moody, rumbling, erotic nature of this song brought one threesome to mind: Nora, Soren, and Kingsley from Tiffany Reisz’ Original Sinners series. “For you, I would cross the line/I would waste my time/I would lose my mind/They say, “She’s gone too far this time…” are definitely words worthy of Nora, preeminent Dominatrix and submissive only to Soren, a Priest she credits with saving her life. And of course, there’s Kingsley, the owner of the BDSM club, Dominant in every way…except when it comes to Soren. “If you walk away/I’d beg you on my knees to stay…” The pulse-pounding romance between these three people over the course of the series is the perfect accompaniment to Taylor’s pining words.

    “Delicate”

    Two people with broken pasts—and reputations that have never been worse, as this song croons—meet and marry for convenience in A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. It’s just business between them: Bourne runs a casino after being stripped of all societal influence a decade ago, and Penelope is just trying to secure her future after a string of failed relationships. But eventually their boundaries start to slip. “Is it cool that I said all that?/’Cause I know that it’s delicate…” That’s contemporary speak for the passion that ignites between this regency couple when they least expect it.

    “Look What You Made Me Do”

    A revenge song needs a worthy book—and I can’t lie, this one made me think about one particular villainess in the 50 Shades Series…Christian Grey’s ex-girlfriend, Leila. “I don’t like your kingdom keys/they once belonged to me…” those words might as well have come out of her mouth in Fifty Shades Darker. We all know that Taylor likes to parody the “man-eater” persona the media has developed for her, but in this case, Leila’s instability was totally real. “I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams”, indeed.

    “So It Goes…”

    This is one of the quieter songs on the album, but with lyrics like “You know I’m not a bad girl/but I do bad things with you” and “I’m so chill, you make me jealous” the book to match needed to have the right balance of sweetness with an undercurrent of passion. Sarah MacLean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover totally fits! Pippa is a good girl from a good family who wants nothing more than a quiet life…and the freedom to pursue science. But before she settles down in that life, she wants one little taste of true passion. So she goes to Cross, a notorious gaming hall owner, and proposes an arrangement between them—all in the name of science. But of course, Pippa can’t stay “chill” when it comes to Cross for long.

    “Gorgeous”

    This upbeat song is definitely worthy of a happily ever after! Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked follows the track of the song: a man and woman meet, and sparks fly…the problem—well, in the song it’s that she’s got “a boyfriend, he’s older than us…” but in this book, it’s a betrothal! And to make things worse, the guy she’s marrying is the cousin of the one she falls for. “You’ve ruined my life, by not being mine…” That’s exactly how Michael Stirling feels when she marries the guy anyway. But trust me, there’s a happily ever after waiting for this gorgeous couple.

    “Getaway Car”

    One of my favorite songs on the album spins a story about doomed lovers caught in the aftermath of their betrayal. “Nothing good starts in a getaway car”, the song begins…and the statement rings true in Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna Wylde, except for one thing: you can swap out “car” for “motorcycle”. A love triangle winds its way through the story of Sophie, Zach, and Ruger: Sophie and Zach slept together, resulting in their baby, Noah…but Zach’s a deadbeat dad, leaving his brother Ruger to pick up the pieces. But living—and loving—a man in a motorcycle club can be dangerous, and even when he tries to provide security for Sophie and her son, the past always finds a way of catching up with a speeding bike. After all, remember what Taylor says: “Us traitors never win…”

    “King of My Heart”

    This song makes specific reference to the “American” identity of the heroine (and of course, there’s been rampant speculation on the British identity behind most of Taylor’s new songs) so for this one I chose Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke, a story about an American falling for a Brit! Annabel does not want true love (just like the heroine of the song, who knows she is “better off being alone,”) but still, she agrees to marry a high-born man with a British title as a way to protect her new, “Southern” estate. The problem? Christian, the Duke of Scarborough, does NOT approve of Annabel’s choice. “Change my priorities/the taste of your lips is my idea of luxury…” And that’s exactly what Christian decides to do: make Annabel fall for him, instead, and become King of Her Heart.

    “Dancing With Our Hands Tied”

    Mary Balogh’s Slightly Wicked is about the ramifications of one reckless, erotic night that you think no one else will ever find out about. When Judith meets Rannulf after an accident with her stagecoach, she indulges in a passion she knows she will soon have to bury. (“First sight, yeah, we love without reason…”) But when he shows up at her aunt’s house, intending to court her cousin, Judith knows her secret will not be kept in the dark for long, especially when she can’t stop her feelings from pouring out. As this song says, “I knew there was no one in the world who could stop us/I had a bad feeling”, and soon enough, Judith and Rannulf are dancing with their hands tied, too.

    “Dress”

    One of the sexiest songs on the album deserves a romance to match. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long made me think of some of the song’s steamiest lyrics, starting with “All of this silence and patience, pining and anticipation/My hands are shaking from holding back from you (ah, ah, ah).” Evie is an ambitious actress, and has charmed all of London…until her scandalous marriage goes down in flames. (Sound at all like a familiar narrative?) She escapes the tidal wave of gossip only to find herself tempted once more…by Vicar Adam Sylvaine, a man sworn to piety and prayer. “Even in my worst lies, you saw the truth in me…” Soon enough, they can’t stop their passion from overflowing, and the costumes come off to reveal their true hearts to one another.

    “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

    You can finish the title of this romance novel with the title of Taylor’s diss track: If You Deceive…this is why we can’t have nice things! Two people caught at the center of a family feud (aka, a “narrative” they’d like to be excluded from, perhaps?) in the third novel in Kresley Cole’s MacCarrick Brothers series find themselves irrevocably drawn to one another despite the pain and anguish that their families have wrought. “But then you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand…” What starts as a quest for revenge soon becomes a mission to keep the one thing they both hold dear in this Highland romance.

    “Call It What You Want”

    The Royal We by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks is a sweet romance with just a tad of high-stakes drama: Bex Porter has a real-life fairytale in the form of Nick, the heir to the throne of England. But just like Taylor Swift, loving a famous person comes with consequences. “All the drama queens takin’ swings/All the jokers dressing up as kings…” is right: between the paparazzi, backstabbers, and family baggage, it’s going to take everything she has to keep their relationship together.

    “New Year’s Day”

    This poignant, piano-based closer is heartfelt and raw with emotion, all about what happens when the glitz and glamour fades and the reality of life sets in….and who will be by your side when it does. “I want your midnights/but I’ll be picking up bottles with you on New Year’s Day…” It’s not a New Year’s story, but that sentiment really reminded me of The Notebook: a love story all about choosing the harder road, but the one that’s ultimately true to who you are.

    What do you think of our pairings?

    The post A Romance Novel for Every Song on Taylor Swift’s reputation appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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