Tag Archives: Kristen Callihan

So You Want to Read a (Historical, Contemporary, New Adult, Paranormal) Romance …

Alternatively: The Worst Romance Novels I Have Ever Read

This recommendations list is gleaned from at least 80 authors and over 500 books.

Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started

Looking for something specific? Here’s a list of authors I’ve read enough to see thematic consistencies and it’s hard to go wrong with these writers:

Tessa Dare – FUN, bring your willing suspension of disbelief, on double-secret probation right now
Laura Florand – contemporary romances set in France, great intensity
Carla Kelly – lovely Regency romances, often military-themed
Lisa Kleypas  – the gold standard, also writes contemporaries
Julie Anne Long – extremely clever and funny
Courtney Milan – The very best currently publishing, one for the pantheon.
Julia Quinn – An excellent place to launch your reading. Start with The Bridgertons.

I lovehate Jennifer Ashley’s sincere romance mired in tortured heroes and overwrought plotting.

This list is an edited version of my Complete Reading List by Author. Reviewed books are linked.

Mallory, a frequent commenter, asked me to make a personal Top 5 list. I tried. I couldn’t do it.

CLASSICS

  1. Balogh, Mary Slightly Dangerous – historical
  2. Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date  – new adult novella
  3. Chase, Loretta Lord of Scoundrelshistorical
  4. Gabaldon, Diana Outlanderhistorical
  5. Heyer, Georgette Venetia (Dameral/Venetia) – historical
  6. Jenkins, Beverly Indigo  – historical
  7. Kinsale, Laura Flowers from the Storm old school, historical
  8. Kleypas, Lisa Dreaming of Youhistorical
  9. Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter  – historical
  10. Long, Julie Anne What I Did for a Duke – historical
  11. Milan, Courtney A Kiss for Midwinter – historical novella
  12. Milan, Courtney The Suffragette Scandal  – historical
  13. Montgomery, L.M. The Blue Castle – historical now, but not when published
  14. Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton  Bridgerton Book 4 – historical
  15. Thorne, Sally The Hating Game – contemporary

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VIP Series: Idol by Kristen Callihan

Enh. Read The Game Plan instead.

The first book in Kristen Callihan’s VIP Series, Idol features a hero who enters the story passed out drunk on the heroine’s lawn. It’s not an auspicious beginning and though Callihan is a good writer the story didn’t work for me. Admittedly, I read it months ago and am only reviewing it now, but let’s see what I remember about the book.

  1. The off-putting opening which involved a motorcycle and drunk driving.
  2. Killian has been through a trauma and stopped playing music.
  3. I was absorbed enough in the book, and by Callihan’s strong writing, that I brought it to work with me to read during my lunch, but it lost me at some point.
  4. The heroine, Libby, is a musician as well and is able to quickly gain national exposure.

That’s it. I don’t remember any romantic moments and, for comparison purposes, there’s a disappointing Lisa Kleypas book I read exactly once about four years ago and I can still remember the one genuinely romantic/interesting moment in that novel.

I’m going to re-read Idol now. Some notes as I go:

  • Yep, drunk driving on a motorcycle, also a lot more vomit than the average novel opening.
  • Callihan is a good writer, but we knew that.
  • I have a hard time imagining anyone more entitled and privileged than a rock star, except perhaps those billionaires who inhabit contemporary romances, or the aristocrats in historicals. I’ve just realised all of my complaints in this regard are hypocritical given my tolerance for spoiled heroes in other contexts.
  • Why is Libby being so nice to Killian? “Not all drunks are bad. Some are just lost.” Maybe, but drunk driving eclipses all other considerations.

Then I stopped making notes and just read. I got to about two-thirds of the way through before abandoning the story. I simply didn’t like Idol. The “rock star lifestyle” is extremely unappealing to me and almost all of the women are viewed as disposable objects in an “I shouldn’t judge, but here I go anyway,” fashion, so barring free copies, I’m passing on the rest of this book and the VIP series, but will look out for Kristen Callihan’s other work instead.

Also by Kristen Callihan:

The Game On Series – New Adult Romance
The Hook Up – really liked it
The Friend Zone – not so much
The Game Plan – LOVED it

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

idol-315x472

Also by Kristen Callihan:

The Game On Series – New Adult
The Hook Up – really liked it
The Friend Zone – not so much
The Game Plan – LOVED it

New Adult romance recommendations can be found here. Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

The Game On Series: The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

The Game Plan is the third novel in the Game On series about football players and the women that climb them. I loved this new adult romance. I LOVED IT even after getting annoyed with the author, Kristen Callihan, about her The Pig Becomes a Person plot in The Friend Zone.  I loved it so much that it started as a loan from a good friend and I went ahead and bought myself a copy that I have since re-read.

Fiona Mackenzie’s father and sister are sports agents. She has grown up around professional athletes, most particularly football players, and she wants nothing to do with them. Avoidance is a challenge as her sister is married to one and run-ins are inevitable.  Visiting said sister, Ivy, brother-in-law, Gray, and her new nephew, Fi finds another house-guest keeping company with her family. A close friend of Gray’s, Ethan Dexter is large, stoic, sweet, bearded, tall, artistic, gentle, lumbersexual… I need a moment…

 

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Good golly! Smokin’ hot hero alert!

…so Ethan is a close friend of the family and fellow football player with Fi’s brother-in-law. He adores Fi. He’s besotted and has been for a couple of years. (I never get tired of the “I have loved you from afar” trope.) He’s large, she’s tiny. He’s quiet, she’s “noise, noise, noise”. Taking a chance to get her attention, Ethan gains her interest, but their lives in different cities create obstacles, but that’s not the true challenge they face.Things go truly awry when a bounty is placed on Ethan’s virginity and Fi is caught in the resulting circus. This crisis allows The Game Plan to take on issues of sexual experience and consent in a way that will have you cheering in between bouts of fanning yourself over Ethan’s manifest hotness.

A truly enjoyable romance, The Game Plan is the best book by Callihan I have read so far and I expect I will read more; moreover, she should get a special award for how well she writes couple’s arguments. She’s very good with the smolder, too, but her fights are wonderfully realistic and intense.

More New Adult romance recommendations can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.