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  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2017/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: a notorious countess confesses, a rogue by any other name, , , , , , , , , Joanna Wylde, , , , , , , , , one good earl deserves a lover, original sinners series, , reaper's legacy, , , slightly wicked, the notebook, , , 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

  • Tara Sonin 3:00 pm on 2016/06/29 Permalink
    Tags: a walk to remember, , , , love on the big screen, , , the notebook,   

    8 Romantic Movies Based on Novels to Add to Your Netflix-and-Chill Summer 

    If you’re in the mood for some Netflix and Chill during these steamy summer months, you’ll love this list of movies based on romance novels! Add a few to your queue and snuggle in, just don’t forget to read the book first.

    The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks
    The Notebook has it all: Allie and Noah fell in love as teenagers only to be torn apart by class differences and familial obligations. They reunite years later for some much needed closure before Allie marries a successful man her parents approve of—and with whom she has fallen in love as well. If you haven’t seen this movie already, I don’t care what rock you’re living under; crawl out from beneath it, and bring your tissues.

    The End of the Affairby Graham Green
    One of my favorite historical novels was turned into a film starring Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes. The story starts at the end: two years ago, Sarah ended her affair with writer Maurice, for reasons he never understood and could never forgive. The movie takes you back in time as you learn how Maurice and Sarah met, fell in love, and what led to Sarah’s decision to leave him, all the while watching Maurice become entrenched in jealousy, trying to find a way back into Sarah’s heart.

    Cruel Intentions (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Piere Choderlos)
    Les Liaisons Dangereuses was written by Piere Choderlos de Laclos in 1782—in France. But thanks to movie magic, this film (retitled Cruel Intentions) is set among Manhattan’s teen elite in the 90’s. Kathryn and Sebastian are step-siblings, and despite their mutual appreciation for the lustier things in life, have never slept with one another. Kathryn bets Sebastian that because of his bad boy rep he’ll never be able to win the heart (and body) of Annette, a new girl at their school who is a self-proclaimed virgin until marriage. If he does win, though, his real prize will be her. Of course, Sebastian falls for Annette and the results are catastrophic. (They’re making a TV show sequel to the movie, so once that comes out, you’ll know where to find me.)

    Gone With the Windby Margaret Mitchell
    The most romantic movie of all time may not have been on your to-watch list before, because I get it: who want to watch a movie that’s so long there’s an actual intermission in it? But hear me out: Gone with the Wind is the most swoonworthy romance there is, about a girl who thinks she can find the things she wants by manipulating the men around her…until she eventually realizes that she will only be happy once she is honest with herself. This movie will remind you that there once was a time before technology—the scenery is as beautiful as the kiss scenes!

    Eat, Pray, Loveby Elizabeth Gilbert
    Okay, technically this isn’t a romance novel, but hear me out: who says a romance can’t be about a woman falling in love with herself? The bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert in which she quits her job, quits her marriage, and decides to find herself by eating, praying, and eventually, loving her way through the world, stars Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. The romance doesn’t pick up until the last third of the movie, but nothing after the words Javier Bardem should be necessary to convince you, so I’ll just end with them: Javier. Bardem.

    Jane Eyreby Charlotte Brontë
    Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska star in this adaptation of Jane Eyre, a novel by Charlotte Brontë about an orphan girl who, after becoming a governess, finds herself falling in love with a wealthy and mysterious man. Michael Fassbender could have chemistry with literally a brick wall or a fake sunflower plant or me, if asked politely, so do yourself a favor and watch him clench his jaw a lot in this movie.

    The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
    We’ve got a couple of tragic romances on this list, so here’s one that you know going in ends in a Happily Ever After! While technically not a “romance novel”, The Princess Bride tells the love story of Buttercup, “the most beautiful girl in the world”, and Wesley, her family’s stable boy. Buttercup and Wesley fall in love, but he leaves to find his fortune and be deserving of her—and dies in the process. Buttercup becomes engaged to the terrible king Humperdnik, lives in misery, and is even kidnapped by a rival kingdom! She is rescued by a man in black who eventually reveals himself to be her true love, Wesley! Equipped with a cast of hilarious characters, The Princess Bride is the best movie to watch when you’re feeling even a little bit blue.

    A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks
    Every millennial kid sobbed buckets at this movie when it first came out, and possibly hasn’t seen it since, it’s so heartbreaking. But the love story between bad boy Landon and Christian good girl Jamie is worth the re-watch; it’s one of those films that withstands the test of time. Landon meets Jamie while being forced to participate in the school play—because of his bad behavior, it’s that or expulsion. Over time, he finds himself drawn to Jamie, who warns him not to fall in love with her. By then, of course, it’s already too late for them both: Landon leaves his old life and friends behind to be with her, and when Jamie reveals a devastating secret to him, they cling to one another despite all hope being lost. Mandy Moore is a gem in this movie, and if you’ve never slow danced to “Only Hope” while all your friends looked on in jealousy, then you haven’t lived.

    What film adaptations of romance novels do you love?

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 7:51 pm on 2015/03/10 Permalink
    Tags: a bend in the road, , , , nights in rodanthe, , the notebook, the rescue   

    The Longest Ride and Other Nicholas Sparks Novels We Love 

    Nobody tells a love story like Nicholas Sparks. Whether he’s writing about first romances, long-forgotten lovers, or those who long for a second chance at a happy ending, his stories speak to us—and make us cry. Set in beautiful North Carolina, Sparks’s novels are about people from every age and class. His books don’t shy away from loneliness, despair, or tragedy, but hope always shines through. And his stories translate beautifully to the silver screen. Watching a film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book is nearly as satisfying as reading one. The Longest Ride is coming to theaters on April 10th, and to celebrate, we’re rereading 9 of our all-time favorite Nicholas Sparks novels.

    The Longest Ride
    College student Sophie is used to hanging out with rich bros. Her life changes when she meets a kindly young cowboy named Luke at a bull-riding event. Meanwhile, 91-year-old widower Ira Levinson has been in a terrible car accident and waits for help to arrive, tethered to the world only by visions of his late wife, who died nine years earlier. The film adaptation of this lovely, heartfelt and multigenerational story stars Alan Alda, Britt Robertson, and Scott Eastwood.

    The Notebook
    In this epic story of love lost and found, two star-crossed kids meet one summer on the beach in New Bern, North Carolina. Over a decade passes before Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson find each other again—but in the interim, neither forgets the other. When they are finally reunited, many obstacles stand in the way of their love, both because of choices they have made and because of events beyond their control. One of Nicholas Sparks’s best-loved novels, The Notebook also became the blockbuster movie that first rocketed Ryan Gosling to stardom.

    The Choice
    Perennial bachelor Travis Parker is quite content. He’s got a nice waterfront house in North Carolina, great friends, good barbecue, and plenty of time on the water. He figures a steady relationship would only complicate things. But when Gabby Holland moves in next door, everything changes. Despite Gabby’s unfriendly manner and steady boyfriend, Travis finds himself doing everything he can to win her approval. Eventually he faces a choice he never would have imagined—which leads them both down a path that is as surprising as it is satisfying.

    The Last Song
    Her parents’ divorce shattered Veronica Miller’s life. Now seventeen-year-old Ronnie is estranged from her father, who has moved away from New York City, and furious with her mother, who decides that the best way to heal old wounds is for Ronnie to spend the summer at her father’s new house in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. There Ronnie’s father, a musician, is enjoying the slow pace of life in the sleepy town, but it’s a big adjustment for rebellious Ronnie, who is in for a summer of new loves, heartbreak, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of a family.

    Nights in Rodanthe
    Adrienne Willis has been adrift ever since her husband left her for a younger woman. Devoting herself to her teenage children and ill father has worn her down, and she seeks respite in a brief visit to the coastal village of Rodanthe on the outer banks of North Carolina, where she has promised to look after a small inn for a weekend. There she meets an unexpected guest: Paul, a recently-divorced surgeon estranged from his only child and in the throes of a crisis of his own. Each adrift in the wreckage of their lives, Adrienne and Paul discover that they still have the capacity to love, help, and heal each other.

    Safe Haven
    When beautiful Katie arrives in the small North Carolina town of Southport, she receives a warm welcome despite her reluctance to open up about her mysterious past. Eventually, though, she becomes friendly with a few of the locals, particularly gentle, widowed store owner Alex and his two children, and her neighbor Jo. But Katie knows that the peace, love, and acceptance she has found in Southport is only temporary unless she can find the courage to face down the demons of her haunted past.

    The Best of Me
    High school sweethearts Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole were each other’s first loves, but tumultuous events and the wide social chasm between them tore them apart during senior year. Now, 25 years later, they find themselves reunited at the funeral of a former mentor. Neither ever forgot the fire and passion that once united them, and neither has found themselves where they expected to be in life. As they dutifully carry out the wishes of their departed friend, Amanda and Dawson find themselves facing difficult truths as unhappy memories resurface, and asking themselves tough questions—about who they are, who they have become, and what they really want out of life, and from each other.

    The Rescue
    When dashing volunteer firefighter Taylor McAden saves Denise Holton from a car wreck, the chemistry between them is palpable. A single mother who has devoted herself to her four-year-old son with special needs, Denise has every reason to be wary of Taylor, who has a proven track record of falling for women who need rescuing and then leaving them when things start getting too intense. Still, as the two grow closer, Denise finds herself piecing together the puzzle of Taylor’s past in an attempt to discover why he can’t commit. And Taylor finds himself wondering if he can be the man he knows Denise deserves.

    A Bend in the Road
    When his wife Missy is killed by a hit-and-run driver, Miles Ryan, the deputy sheriff of the town of New Bern, North Carolina, feels as though his life is over. Fortunately, caring for his son, Jonah, helps anchor him. It is through Jonah that he first meets Sarah Andrews, his son’s teacher, who is recently divorced and moved to New Bern looking for a fresh start. She and Miles recognize something in each other’s sadness, and find solace in each other’s company. Before long, they find themselves falling in love, and happy for the first time in ages. But a dark secret links them both—one so terrible that, if revealed, it could prove to be their undoing.

     What’s your favorite Nicholas Sparks novel? How many of the ones on this list have you read?

    Shop the Nicholas Sparks collection >
  • Joel Cunningham 5:00 pm on 2014/06/19 Permalink
    Tags: , eric gansworth, if i ever get out of here, jellicoe road, lone survivor, marcus luttrell, mark owen, melinda marchetta, , no easy day, , saving ceecee honeycutt, , , , , the notebook, , the secret life of bees, ,   

    What to Read Next if You Liked The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Outsiders, The Secret Life of Bees, Lone Survivor, or The Matchmaker 

    wtrn061914[1]The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, has won admirers and courted controversy for its frank depiction of the inner workings of the mind of a teenage boy living a hardscrabble life on a Native American reservation and trying to fit in at an all-white school. (Unsurprisingly, he thinks about sex. A lot.) If you are looking for another book that explores similar experiences but charts its own course, Eric Gansworth’s If I Ever Get Out of Here tells the story of a young Native American boy who befriends a white kid but struggles with the undeniable socioeconomic divide that separates them.

    The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, is a stone-cold classic of hyper-concentrated teenage angst that still endures despite its 1950s setting. (Stay, gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.)  Though few books could hope to compare, Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road, an Australian-set YA novel about a turf war between the townies and students from a nearby military academy, is a similarly affecting story of confused, youthful rebellion.

    If you enjoyed the Southern-fried atmosphere, memorable characters, and historical resonance of The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, you’ll want to read Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. After her mother is killed by an ice cream truck, 12-year-old CeeCee is sent to live in Savannah with her crazy old aunt (the best kind!). The town is filled with colorful eccentrics, but Georgia in 1967 has a darker side as well—though Hoffman never allows the racial tension to overpower what is, essentially, a feel-good ode to a bygone era.

    Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell, the basis for the recent motion picture of the same name, is the harrowing tale of a routine mission in Afghanistan in 2005 that went horribly awry for a team of U.S. Navy SEALs. For another riveting example of the risks taken by these elite soldiers, there’s Mark Owen’s No Easy Day, a detailed account of the mission that targeted Osama bin Laden.

    With The Matchmaker, best-selling author Elin Hilderbrand offers the perfect romantic escape for summer, the story of a woman with an almost supernatural ability to spark romances between others—who never got over her own lost love from the distant past. It’s a good match for fans of The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks’ unabashed tearjerker about a romance that refuses to die, no matter what life throws at it, or how many years have passed.

    What are you reading?

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