b: my favorite books. #atozchallenge

My favorite books.
My favorite books are romantic, sexy stories with a laugh-out-loud sense of humor and a happy ending. I have, unfortunately, met some people who look down on me for enjoying such stories. Hopefully, you’re not one of them. I like to fall in love while laughing with a side of hot sex, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

I’m done being ridiculed for my taste in books. The crap some people believe about romance readers is just that… crap. I like this [albeit old] article.

Some would say these books are a bit formulaic but I think that’s by design. Still, they are so different. I just started reading a book last night that began with the guy getting out of prison, buying a used car from a woman who got drunk the night before and passed out in the back seat of said car [nicknamed Metallicar]. He didn’t know she was there until she woke and popped her head up from the back seat, scaring the hell out of him, half way from San Francisco to Los Angeles [at which point she proceeded to vomit out the window]. I cannot say I’ve read anything quite like it. Will there be romance and sex and laughs and a happy ending? Damn right. But it’s the journey.

Some [maybe many? maybe most? maybe all? I don’t even know] of these books are self-published. I didn’t know this when I stumbled upon them, but when I realized it, I was glad to know I’m supporting authors who did it on their own. I’ve looked into this for my own writing, and it’s a ton of work. [And after reading so much, I realize I am not even close to good enough to put my work out there, but that’s another story. No pun intended.]

Authors self-publish because they couldn’t get a book deal with a traditional publisher.‘ That may still be what people think. I know because I admit that’s what I used to think before I knew better. And the truth is, we have no idea if the author ever wanted a traditional publisher in the first place.

And some of these authors are all over the NY Times Bestseller List.

Of the 200+ books on my goodreadsread‘ list since around the time of the initial quarantine in March 2020, I’d only not recommend about fifteen, tops.

The ones I’m mentioning here are probably not all true ‘favorites‘, but I can’t go back and refresh my memory of 200 books. [I tried but after about 20, I was, like, no way can I do this.] So some of these books are just the best I’ve read recently. But some are all-time favorites.

By the way, don’t judge a book by its cheesy or ‘cringey‘ title. But go ahead and judge by its cover. These authors clearly have great taste in cover models.

Here goes. Don’t judge me.

[Aside: These books are definitely not for kids. When I say ‘hot’ sex, well, I could probably say ‘graphic’. I, obviously, have no issue with this. But if you do, you might not want to read any of these books. Except for the last one before the p.s.]

[Aside #2: All links go to goodreads.]

Cocky Bastard, Stuck-Up Suit, Playboy Pilot, Mister Moneybags, British Bedmate, and Park Avenue Player by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward.

I loved all six of these. They are connected, sometimes in funny ways like a random YouTube viewing in one book of a character from another. Or by a recurring pet goat [true story]. And look at those covers! Damn.

After reading these six books, I discovered that the authors accept book submissions inspired by the original six. Over 150 books are out there by a bunch of different authors—and more on the way. [I have not read all 150+, but it is a goal of mine. I even made a spreadsheet. You may laugh.] This going-on-forever series is how I found many other authors to read—they all have other books unrelated to this series—so all hell broke loose.

I joined email lists and got free books, giveaways, and tons of recommendations. And I’m easy… if it has romance, humor, and naughty bits, I’m probably going to like it. I currently have 316 books in my ‘want to read‘ list on goodreads. I’ll probably never catch up since I add faster than I can read.

Okay. Now more [potentially embarrassing for me] books [with potentially embarrassing titles].

Man Candy by Melanie Harlow. Yes, cringey title. Moving on… I had to list this book if not for this exchange alone:

Irresistible, right?
She shrank back, wrinkling her nose. “What the hell is that? Your Flynn Ryder smolder?”
“Who’s Flynn Ryder?”
She rolled her eyes. “He’s from Tangled, the Rapunzel movie?”

“Sorry. I missed it. So does he get in her pants?”
“Not before she hits him over the head with a frying pan.”
“Ouch.” I leaned right and left, checking her hands. “Since I don’t see any cookware in your grasp, is it safe to come in?”

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward. The love interest is a musician, and the authors found someone to record the song he sings near the end of the book. It’s very John-Mayer-ish
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
. Yes, I totally love these two authors. I could recommend others by one or both of them. I love too many of them to list. I might make a whole separate post about these two writers. Hm… my favorite duo? Anyway, I love love love this book.
Junk Mail by Kendall Ryan. Yes, junk means what you think it does.
Dirty Like Me by Jaine Diamond. And the rest of the six-book [plus two-novella] series. These are hot. Rockstar hot. [What else would one expect with a band called ‘Dirty’?]
Mr. Right Now by Lila Monroe. This book is part of a series. I like them all, but because of my thing for musicians, this is the one I’m mentioning.

His Banana by Penelope Bloom. Also, Her Cherry, and the rest of this series [mostly—I could take or leave the last one]. All connected, and ‘William‘ [who appears in all six books] is hilarious.

Something New by Amanda Abram. Every once in a while I want to read a sweet YA book. I’m serious. After every other book I’ve mentioned, maybe that’s a surprise, but I loved this story. It reminds me of something I might have written when I was younger. But mine wouldn’t have been as good.

I need to stop myself now. This post is getting way too long.

p.s. — My least favorite books are the ones I’m ‘supposed to’ like. The ones the ‘book snobs’ say are essential reading. The ones they say must be among your favorites. The ones they refer to as ‘great literature’ [they do not use the word ‘literature’ when referring to the books I read]. Maybe I’m not as sophisticated as they are because I rarely enjoy ‘literature’. Boring. Maybe I’m not reading the right ones, but I have little interest in doing so—the ‘book snobs’ have soured me on ‘literature’ [you have to say it with a snooty rich lady accent with your nose in the air]. I want to read what I like—what I think is good—not what I’m ‘supposed to’ think is good. Oh, and I hate history so no historical novels for me. And, well, nothing without romance. This is why Tangled was amazing and Frozen sucked.

p.p.s. — I have edited this post at least 50 times. I’m still not sure this should be my final version, but I can’t stay stuck on B for much longer… I need to move on!

p.p.p.s. — Damn… I just thought of another book I should have mentioned. No. I can’t do it. I need to stop. 

p.p.p.p.s. — Nope… I have to do it. I started this post a couple of days ago… and yesterday, I finished the book I wrote about above [the one with the prison guy and Metallicar]. I loved it! This Much Is True by Tia Louise.

©2021 what sandra thinks

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, sometimes blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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29 Responses to b: my favorite books. #atozchallenge

  1. gigglingfattie says:

    I started reading and a few suggestions have been romance. Not this type of romance, but still romance. I didn’t think I would enjoy them but I do! Sometimes you just need something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or brain power to enjoy!


    • That’s what I’m saying though. “Doesn’t require a lot of brain power” sounds like one of those stereotypes that romance readers are not smart… that this “light reading” is all their little brains can handle. It’s insulting. I seriously doubt you meant it that way, but those are the kind of things people say and it’s why I was reluctant to do this post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gigglingfattie says:

        Oooo no! I meant this whole world is a massive mess and I don’t want to be reading all these books we are supposed to like which are usually heavy reading. Especially after dealing with my job all day. I don’t want a theology book. Sometimes I just want an enjoyable story to read – I was totally agreeing with you. Im sorry I didn’t mean to insult you ☹️

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s okay. I knew you didn’t mean anything negative. It’s just one of those things that I’ve heard before from some people who do mean it in a negative way.

          No worries! 🙂 ♥

          Liked by 1 person

          • gigglingfattie says:

            Oh yes for sure, and its why I have stayed away from the genre honestly. But have been really enjoying it! You should try the bromance book club series. 3 so far and one more on the way!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Liam says:

    I’m impressed that you’ve read 200+ books in a year! That’s so awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hari OM
    I am not a ‘literature snob’… but I also accept that- just as in neighbourhoods – there are some places I simply won’t go. This is such a place. That does not mean it is less valid – just not my scene. Currently, my TBR list consists of everything from texts on Gulls of The World, through cheesy whodunnits, politics, biography, animal stories, to historic spies and dystopia. My problem is finding the time to read… I need a book on time management! YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, that’s a lot of books, and a lot of abs (am I surprised? Hell NO!) Great post Sandra. I think you should offer your services as an editor, or reviewer. What a lot of books have banana in the title. I wonder why?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mrs Fever says:

    Hahaha! HOT SEX might mean ‘graphic’ — yes! And good for you for liking what you like; usually the “must-read” books that “everybody is talking about” are NOT what I want to read, so I am with you there!

    My experience so far with reading self-published material has been pretty ‘meh’.I think that might be because I’m not yet digitalized (I cannot handle more screen time, and I love the feel of holding an actual book in my hands!) and therefore have experienced only a very limited selection, as the printed availability of self-published works tends to be slim. But your post has reminded me to keep an open mind.

    Good luck with the rest of the A-to-Z challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The first self-published book I read (years ago) was terrible. I thought all self-published would be terrible. But if these books are self-published, my opinion has changed. These are at least as good–or better–than a lot of traditionally published books I’ve read. 🙂


  6. Iain Kelly says:

    Safe to say I haven’t read any of these, but at the same time, I don’t like the idea of ‘snobs’ when it comes to reading. Read whatever you want, so long as people are reading, it’s all good!


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ogden Fahey says:

    Hot stuff! Love it 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. jrvincente says:

    I love this! I love romance novels, too, and people judge me for it, and I don’t care. I want something predictable. I want to know that the characters are going to make it out okay. It brings me joy and comfort and the real world is serious and often sad. I don’t want that from my escape! I’m going to have to bookmark this so I can read some of these.

    Also, with respect to self publishing, I self publish because I like to write specific types of BDSM fiction that publishers don’t always want. They tend to want specific types of interactions that sell well. I’m bi, poly, and a switch. I literally like it all! And yes, of all the self-published books I’ve read, there are only a few I wouldn’t recommend.

    Stopping by from A to Z!
    – Jayden Vincente
    Erotic fiction author

    A to Z 2021

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so happy to read this comment. I really felt anxious about this post. I genuinely *love* all of these books, and knowing that people out there were (likely) laughing at me really got to me. I really did think I was past caring, but I guess part of me is not.

      And you bring up another important point about self-publishing — publishers want things that sell well. If an author doesn’t fit into their mold, they probably have no use for that author. It’s interesting because I think that makes everything on the shelves at Barnes & Noble more likely to be “cookie cutter” than the books I read..


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  12. I had so much anxiety about this post. I guess I’ve known a few too many people who have basically told me what I read is trash compared to whatever they’re reading. Reading snobs. I’m not reading to impress people.. I’m reading what I like!

    I’ve slowed down a bit lately, but for a while, I was reading about 5 books a week. It’s not hard to do that because I am impatient.. I have to get to my happy ending!


  13. On Sat, Jun 12, 2021, 3:46 AM what sandra thinks wrote:



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