February 14, 2023

My Romance Reading Journey

NOTE: If you saw this post last week, it’s because it posted too early. Oops.

Last year, members of the bookstagram community on Instagram created posts to share their romance reading journeys. I loved the posts and had fun checking out other readers’ romance journeys. I wanted to do one myself, but it looked like too much work for a social media post. So, I decided to save it for a blog post. This is that blog post.

Are you ready to go on my romance reading journey from past to present?

Let’s go!

First adult romance - Once In A Lifetime by Danielle Steel. Read at age 15. It was my mom’s book that I’d always seen and was curious about. I loved it and wanted to name my first born Daphne after the MC.

My old copy of Once In A Lifetime by Danielle Steel
Photo by Chrys Fey

Soon followed by - Sam’s Letters To Jennifer by James Patterson

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson
Photo by Chrys Fey

First Paranormal romance book/series - Charmed series by Constance M. Burge. Specific books: Kiss of Darkness, Crimson Spell. Now, these aren’t heavy on the romance, but the little bit of romance in them made an impact on me. This was where I’d first come across the phrases “cupped her face” and “framed her face.” I use both in my writing.

First YA romances - Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares
Photos by Chrys Fey

Then: All-American Girl by Meg Cabot and Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Another memorable YA romance from the same time period - If I Have A Wicked Step-Mother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor

Second adult romance book - The Ring by Danielle Steel 

First Historical Romance - Calder Born by Janet Dailey

First Nora Roberts book - Midnight Bayou

Then I devoured nearly every Nora Roberts and several J.D. Robb books (funny thing is I started with Rapture in Death, which is Book 4) from 2007-2011.

Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb author photos.

In Death Series by J.D. Robb
Photo by Chrys Fey

Romantic-suspense became my everything, which is why romantic-suspense is my favorite genre to write. I also read a few Sandra Brown’s during that period. It was Chill Factor by Sandra Brown that gave me the idea to write Hurricane Crimes

Chill Factor by Sandra Brown
Photo by Chrys Fey

First Shifter Romance - Enchanted by Nora Roberts. Read 2008. I’ve read a couple others since but never got into this genre.

First (and last) love triangle - The Host by Stephanie Meyer. Read 2008. And also the only Stephanie Meyer book I’ve ever read.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Photo by Chrys Fey

First romance that made me swoon - An Angel For Emily by Jude Deveraux. This book locked me in to the romance genre. 

First book with steamy love scenes (and a fat heroine) - Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas 

First re-read that had me question why the hell I liked this book - After The Night by Linda Howard

After the Night by Linda Howard, Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas,
An Angel for Emily by Jude Deveraux
Photo by Chrys Fey

Romance I was peer-pressured into reading - Fifty Shades Series by E.L. James (2014). My sister’s had never read any romance books before, but they read these books, pressured me into reading them, and then never read any of my books. 😂

First true asexual romance - Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

First queer love interest - Michael by Patricia Lynne/Josephine/Royal

First transgender character - Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn

First alien/monster romance - Abducted Life by Patricia Royal

Let’s Talk About Love by Clair Kann
Photo by Chrys Fey
Last year, @literaryintersections started #YesWeCanReadRomance on Instagram to playfully challenge and encourage Barack Obama to read at least one romance book (because his 2021 favorite reads excluded the romance genre, so we wanted to see him read a book with a happily-ever-after).

Let's Talk About Love was my addition to the challenge and to Barack’s reading options. It’s a different take on the romance genre and is lighter, so it could be a great way for him to dip his toe into the romance genre pool (or, more appropriately, OCEAN), it’s an LGBTQIA+ read, and it could introduce him to the concept of asexuality, something many people don’t understand or even know exists. 🖤🐘🤍💜 
I had wanted to read more romance books last year to recommend to Barack, but I didn't, although I'd definitely recommend any book by Selena Montgomery, because that's Stacey Abrams, a fellow Democratic, and I think Barack would love to support writing.
Oh, and definitely Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Tahlia Hibbert. 🙌


Snapshot of some romance titles I’ve read since joining Goodreads challenges in 2014. Coincidentally, 2014-2020 was also the period when I read less romance…

2014 - 2020:

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Night by Gayle Forman

Despite The Fangs by Dylan Newton

Moonless by Crystal Collier

A Cat’s Tail by Melissa Snark 

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Death Stretch by Ashantay Peters

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber

In 2021 I started to read more romance again.

2021 Romance Reads:

Naked In Death by J.D. Robb (reread)

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Act You Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Heartstopper Volume 1, 2, and 3 by Alice Oseman

Rules of Engagement by Selena Montgomery

Deception by Selena Montgomery 

Reckless by Selena Montgomery

Sadly, I didn’t read much (if any) romance in 2022.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Photo by Chrys Fey

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Photo by Chrys Fey

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Photo by Chrys Fey

QUESTIONS: Do you read romance? What was the first romance book you read? What romances were memorable or firsts for you?

Universal Killer Chapter Seven Teaser

She turned back to Chief Logan. "I am the safest option for this task, sir. We lost two SWAT officers already. We can't lose anyone else. Diz can't hurt me." "So, what? You're immune to spiral bullets now?" Chuck asked. Avrianna ignored that question, but inside she thought, yes. She didn't break eye contact with the chief. "Sir, I can pass for an assassin." "Now that I can believe." "I will bring Diz down." She cast a quick glare at Chuck. "In handcuffs."

Chapter Seven is up today with BONUS material. When you’re a patron, you get access to the previous chapters and bonus material as well. And you get special shout-outs and characters named AFTER YOU.


  1. I think the first real romance novel I read was Remembrance by Jude Deveraux. My mom had checked it out of the library and it was sitting on our coffee table & I was bored, so I started reading it. I enjoyed it very much...except for the ending. I hate how it ended.

    (Laughing at your mention of After The Night, by the way...)

    1. I'll have to check to see if I read that Jude Deveraux book. When I started out, I read a bunch of hers.