image1Sarah Blumenstock is a Subsidiary Rights Assistant for Penguin Young Readers.  A native New Yorker, she loves singing annoying commercial jingles, running circles around Prospect Park, and quoting Mel Brooks at inappropriate times.

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Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

People who know I read Romance but don’t themselves are always asking me where to start. So, I’m reaching into our backlist for one of my favorite Paranormal Romances to get you going!

Half human, half wyr, Pia Giovanni gets a lot more than she bargained for when she steals from Dragos, one of the world’s oldest wyr and a powerful lord of the Elder races. Now that Dragos has tracked down the beautiful thief who stole from his lair he refuses to give her up. But Pia is a funny, intelligent heroine, and not about to be pushed around by an older than the world dragon—no matter how persuasive his touch might be. The attraction between them is immediate and red hot, with scenes sexy enough to make the pages sizzle.

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Hero by Samantha Young

Who isn’t a sucker for a dark, brooding hero? Alexa Holland is determined to right her father’s wrong by helping the damaged man her family’s scandal almost destroyed. Caine Carraway just wants to make Alexa pay. A classic setup with a fresh, contemporary voice and some seriously steamy loves scenes. This is my first Samantha Young book and I will definitely be back for more!

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The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

After centuries stuck inside a lamp, Zahra is prepared to do anything for her freedom, including taking the Jinn King up on his offer: she must infiltrate the palace to rescue his son and in exchange he will release her. But the lamp’s newest owner (cue Prince Ali song) is not at all what Zahra expected and she finds herself falling in love with Aladdin, even knowing it could ruin her chance at escape.

LOVE Zahra’s kick-butt attitude—she’s the most powerful Jinni out there and woe to the man (or mystical being) stupid enough to get in her way! I’m always up for an Aladdin retelling and Khoury doesn’t disappoint!


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Rebel of Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Speaking of strong female leads—meet Amani Al’Hiza, a gunslinger turned outlaw desperate to escape the lecherous men of Dustwalk and make it on her own.  Amani teams up with a mysterious foreigner named Jin to outwit soldiers, fight off djinn, and aid an outcast prince. You’ll eat up this gritty adventure where the magic and romance of Arabian Nights meets the savagery of wild west. Perfect for fans of The Wrath and the Dawn.





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marisa_novelloMarisa Novello is the editorial coordinator for Puffin, at Penguin Young Readers. Originally from Seacoast New Hampshire, she loves paperback books, getting hyperlinked gifs in emails, and quoting Hyperbole and a Half with coworkers.


My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I’m pretty sure Huntley’s first book has been recommended here before, but she’s well worth mentioning again. I suggest starting with My Life Next Door because her third book, The Boy Most Likely To (out August 2015!), centers around two of the supporting characters from this first one. Besides, it’s a really good one. Huntley has a way of building tension between her characters that makes her a romance writing queen, and these characters will give you some serious butterflies and you will fall in love. She also writes a pretty sexy story for YA, so it’s the perfect pick for a cross-over adult audience as well.

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Sweep- Book of Shadows, the Coven, and Blood Witch by Cate Tiernan

Sweep by Cate Tiernan

Sweep! This is kind of cheating, because it’s not really one book but a series. Sweep is just plain FUN! I love any kind of witchy read, but this one is like a saga that would be the perfect CW series. If you like The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, then this one’s for you. It’s fun and fast paced with love triangles, spells, and teenagers saving the world while the rest of society has no idea they’re even in danger (especially those silly, naïve parents who are more concerned about grades and curfew. Jeez!) And it’s set in the 90s, which I also love. Don’t let the books’ page counts scare you off, the five volumes are bind ups of the original fifteen short stories but they’re quick reads.



Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

I have never been a huge fan of Westerns.  I think it’s because of all the John Wayne movies my mother made me sit through when I was growing up. Sorry, John Wayne fans! But this book is Thelma and Louise meets the Oregon Trail, and has changed my mind about the Wild West as a backdrop. I also prefer my romance tucked, wrapped, and layered inside a really great story, and that’s exactly what this is! Though it’s not the main plot, it’s definitely in the forefront and I found myself falling in love along with the characters. It’s adventure, history, and a great tale about friendship, saving yourself, and looking forward after a troubled past.  You also learn some Chinese culture that really adds to the narrative. This is Stacey Lee’s debut, but you’ll see more of her. She has another historic novel on the way in Summer 2016!

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The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward

This one’s for those readers that like a sexier, contemporary romance. I had never read J. R. Ward before, but she deserves some serious credit for her world-building skills in this book. She compares this southern estate setting to that of Downton Abby, since the story revolves around a wealthy family and the staff that make their world possible. And I think it’s a fair comparison! Though the main thread follows a second-chance love story between two characters, it’s a third-person narrative that gives you a peek into the lives of the others entwined in their story as well. And the drama! There’s a lot of scandal, romance, money, and a heck of a lotta bourbon! That was probably the most fun for me; learning about the Kentucky bourbon business which I’m sure J. R. Ward put a lot of research into.


Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

This counts because there’s “romance” in the title, right? Plus I just had to sneak a non-fiction title into the mix. But really, this is a great book and it is about romance. So for any of you not interested in romantic fiction, this one’s for you!

 Whenever I visit my great uncle in New Jersey he shares stories about his late wife, and by the way he talks about her I always assumed it was love at first sight. Until recently, when I asked how they met and he told me his friend knew a “nice girl” that lived close by. What?! But that’s exactly what Aziz speaks to when he begins his research about the generations before us, and how proximity and limited options were a key factor in partnership. Aziz even uses his own parents as a model of reference, mentioning his dad took less time deciding on his wife than Aziz does on his Seamless order. Then you add Eric Klinenberg’s sociology research into the mix, and we learn terms like companionate marriage and soul mate marriage while they delve into the modern technologies this generation uses to meet people. It’s interesting and funny, and they raise some insightful observations while making fun of our social behaviors in the digital age. Even with all the statistics, facts, and examples, the writing is easy and conversational. It’s sociology wrapped up in a standup routine, and while you don’t need the audio version to get Aziz’s humorous tone and inflection, it’s definitely a great format for enjoying this book!

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The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

I think I read this in about one sitting. If you like a more action-packed romance, then this is it. It’s a fast read that takes you from a small town in Maine to the streets of Istanbul and Paris, while a compelling mystery narrative keeps the action moving. And though Avery’s story in this is not your typical teen drama, she still has those typical teen girl thoughts. Like, did Jack ask her to the prom for ulterior motives, or because he really likes her? It’s just pure fun, and though the content is completely PG rated, Maggie Hall builds up to a pretty intimate scene for YA romance that had me kind of fanning myself. While you will definitely fall for one boy more than the other in this one, I have a feeling we can expect to find more conflict between her two romantic prospects in her second book, Map of Fates, coming out Spring 2016.

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Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel

Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel

Just look at that cover! This is a really funny read that definitely holds up to its comparison to Bridget Jones. Lauren, the main character, isn’t really looking for love, though. She a modern heroine looking for a male companion to have around, serious or not. Mostly not. She gets herself into all sorts of trouble experimenting with a different book of dating advice for a certain amount of time, and seeing what kind of man and relationship she attracts. This isn’t your swoony romance, and though you won’t fall in love, the romantic debauchery will leave you feeling very entertained.

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LindseyAndrewsLindsey designs middle grade and young adult book covers for all of Penguin’s Children imprints. In her spare time she reads even more YA with her book club and fits literary trips into her travels (for example, Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter throughout the UK). She also loves wine nights in with a good rom-com or two.


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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Guys. This book. So many feels. Me Before You came out a few years ago, but it deserves to be at the top of peoples’ to-read stack. A movie is currently in the works and you’ll be able to see Emilia Clarke (Daenerys from Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (Finnick from Hunger Games) take the leading roles in 2016! This book will put you on a roller coaster of emotions as you see Louise Clark try to break through the impenetrable wall that is Will Traynor after his motorcycle accident makes him a quadriplegic. But, oh how sweet it is when those walls start to crumble. Get those tissues ready (both for tears of laughter and joy and some of heartbreak).

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Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Do you ever just get this urge to run away to Paris and fall in love with a cute boy and run around Europe together? Well, you can at least pretend and gather all of the warm fuzzies that you can in Isla and the Happily Ever After. This is the third book by Stephanie Perkins set in the same world as Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. Isla and Josh are both from New York City but are attending the School of America in Paris. And you even get a dash of Barcelona thrown in. This book is for those travel lovers who also love a good, fun beach read. Isla and Josh’s relationship isn’t all sunshine and roses , there are some real bumps thrown in. But, it makes it all worth it.

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Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

We need more diverse books. And this is one of them! Aisha Saeed gives you the star-crossed lovers kind of romance that you love. But, she delivers it in the form of a Pakistani-American teen whose strict immigrant parents thrust her into an unwanted marriage. Her only hope of escape is Saif, the boy she fell in love with back in America who was forbidden to her. Can he find her before it’s too late? This book is smart and eye-opening while giving you a side of love you don’t often hear about. I highly recommend it!

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Richelle Mead is one of the best fantasy writers out there, heavy on the romance! She’s created some of the most swoon-worthy characters and seriously complicated relationships. In the Vampire Academy series, you’ll fall for Russian bodyguard, Dimitri. He just so happens to be our main heroine’s teacher at a school for vampires. Add in some evil vampires, lots of kickbutt action, and some atypical high school drama and you get a really fun read. Also check out Richelle’s spin-off series, Bloodlines, where you get to fall in love with artistic, bad boy Adrian.

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Hold Me Closer by David Levithan

Okay, so maybe this isn’t your typical romance. If you read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, then you’ve already met Tiny Cooper. If you haven’t, you’re about to. Written as a screenplay to an onstage musical, (not-so-) Tiny Cooper tells you his life story through song. And lots of glitter. I don’t know how you can’t see this as a romance with titles of songs like “Summer of Gay”, “Parade of Ex-boyfriends”, and “You’re Wonderful! I Don’t Want to Date You!”. For fans of John Green, musicals, and Barbra Streisand, get out there and GET THIS BOOK!

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Jessica Brock pic


Jessica works with romance titles from Berkley and NAL and is also a YA enthusiast. She lives in Brooklyn and is a huge fan of Supernatural, all things Joss Whedon, and live music.






the-shadows-by-jr-wardThe Shadows by J. R. Ward

As a long time Black Dagger Brotherhood series fan, needless to say I was SO excited to start reading The Shadows. Little did I know this would be one of the most emotional installments in the series so far, but that’s a good thing! With her now infamous blend of multiple plot lines, hilarious pop culture references and intricate world-building, Ward gives an unstoppable emotional ride with Trez and iAm’s story.





silver-bastard-by-joanna-wyldeSilver Bastard by Joanna Wylde

Joanna Wylde first hooked me into her world with Reaper’s Legacy, and now as a fan for life I was giddy when I found out there was going to be spinoff series set in a mining community with close ties another motorcycle club. Wylde’s writing remains gritty and raw but still very much emotional. These characters don’t have an easy life and they don’t really rise above it either – they actually plow right through it to get to their happy ever after. This one is dark, twisted, and definitely not for the faint of heart, but absolutely worth it. Sons of Anarchy fans, Silver Bastard is a must read along with all of her Reapers MC books!



still-the-one-by-jill-shalvisStill The One by Jill Shalvis

I’m sure I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to repeat myself, but no one mixes humor and steam quite like Jill Shalvis. The sassy ladies, bromances, humor, sexy times, and adorable animals make the Animal Magnetism series, set in small-town Idaho, stand out for me as far as contemporary romances go and Still The One is no exception. Plus, I can’t get enough of a good hero/heroine pair who can give each other a hard time and still be so completely in love.





captive-prince-by-c-s-pacatCaptive Prince by C. S. Pacat

So #DiverseBooks isn’t just a YA thing – we LOVE them in romance too! Captive Prince is not only a superbly written fantasy, but it features a male/male couple! Their relationship is so layered and complicated that it’s impossible not to be completely enthralled with this book. Did I mention it’s a master/slave story line surrounded by impending warring countries and nefarious enemies? One word – EPIC. Okay, one more hyphenated word, must-read!




too-dangerous-for-a-lady-by-jo-beverleyToo Dangerous For A Lady by Jo Beverley

It is so much fun getting swept up in a historical romance and New York Times bestselling author Jo Beverley’s Too Dangerous for A Lady has everything I’m looking for. A strong heroine, a rogue-type man with a hero complex, a pinch of danger, and the world of corsets and stays…I’m so in! There’s something about the dialogue between our hero and leading lady (and most historicals for that matter) that just gives you the sense that our modern day flirty banter is just utterly lacking in comparison. I always end up thinking “it would so be so much more fun if we still talked like that” so when I read TDFAL, at least I got to live in that mindset for a while…


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Carolyn Telesca is an Associate Director in Berkley Production, managing the backlist production for all Berkley formats and imprints, along with Perigee and Riverhead Trade.  She is passionate about reading and publishing, and loves that she gets to come to work every day, and make books!




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Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire Series – starting with “Some Girls Bite”

This is a great series for anyone that loves a vampire series without an overtly romantic undertone.  While there are romantic relationships, Neill is able to continually develop her characters on a believable arch and plot line, which continues to draw me in even 11 books into the series. I also love all of the references to the great city of Chicago. Merritt is an amazing heroine thrust into a world she never asked for and certainly didn’t want.  As she continues to fight for her independence and retain who she is inside, while taking her responsibilities to her new “family” seriously, it’s difficult not to root for her and want to be her friend.




Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series – starting with “Moon Called”

Another fantastic author with a strong female heroine at the heart of it all, Moon Called kicks off the Mercy Thompson series in a captivating way.  As a no-nonsense mechanic by day, coyote shifter by night, Mercy finds herself embroiled in the local Pack politics.  Having grown up with werewolves, she is no stranger to the dangers and ways of this culture.  Briggs gives you an amazing story with believable and lovable characters that you find yourself cheering for time and again.  As the characters grow through the series, you find yourself wanting to know more and more about them.  As I tend to find myself drawn to strong female characters, this is a definite win in my book for the promise of a great read!



Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series – starting with “Fool Moon”

Taking place in Chicago, IL the Dresden Files series centers around Harry Dresden – a gruff wizard for hire that is hard not to love.  Butcher’s development of this sarcastic and witty down-on-his-luck hero is absolutely brilliant.  I found that Fool Moon was incredibly entertaining but I actually came to love the series more and more with each book that followed.  The way Butcher is able to draw you in, you feel sucker-punched once you realize that you are emotionally invested in what happens to his characters, and find yourself heart-broken at times right alongside them.




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Denise Roy is a Senior Editor at Dutton, focusing on fiction. Each April, she rereads Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder.




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Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Some of the greatest love stories in American history feature a chapter at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1844, the shy Missouri belle Julia Dent met Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, a brilliant horseman and reluctant soldier. The two fell deeply in love, but four years passed before Julia’s father permitted them to wed. The groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony. Though Julia had the company of Jule–her namesake slave who served as her vision (Mrs. Grant was nearly blind) and her confidante until she emancipated herself in 1863–she and her husband, the great general of the Union Army, endured years of separation and the privations of the Civil War until they were finally brought together as President and First Lady. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini reveals the details of this great American love story—never before told in fictional form.


Girl Underwater, by Claire Kells

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but. “What if the most devastating moment of your life was also the beginning of something beautiful?” New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult praises Claire Kells’ debut novel Girl Underwater, “a compelling coming-of-age love story that will have you rooting for its teen narrator, a girl who survives a disaster, and finds herself trapped between a traumatic past and a fragile future. Trust me–dive in!” If that’s not enough to convince you, “Kells expertly ratchets up the tension in her thrilling debut novel . . . With its subzero temperatures that will make you reach for a blanket and a wounded but never weakened heroine, Kells’ assured debut is a winner.” (Kirkus) Read one page of Girl Underwater, and you’ll be hooked, instantly.


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Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

Jess Dunne is third-generation Hollywood, but her star on the boulevard has yet to materialize. Sure, she’s got a Santa Monica address and a working actress roommate, but with her nowhere barista job in a town that acknowledges zeroes only as a dress size, she’s a dead girl walking. Enter Jess’s mother—a failed actress who puts the strange in estrangement. She dives headlong into her daughter’s downward spiral, forcing Jess to muster all her spite and self-preservation. Oh! You Pretty Things is a family love story and an ode to the city that has inspired endless fantasies. There is also a botanical stylist named Kirk who really fills out a T-shirt. Welcome to Hollywood.




Sweet Forgiveness, by Lori Nelson Spielman

It’s hard to say “I’m sorry,” but Lori Nelson Spielman, #1 international bestselling author of The Life List and master of high-concept fiction, has invented an ingenious method.  In her new novel, Sweet Forgiveness, the urge for atonement is sweeping the nation in the form of a phenomenon called the “Forgiveness Stones.”  Nelson Spielman has a flair for dropping her characters into highly relatable situations that will have readers thinking, feeling, and rooting for wrongs to be righted. After you read Sweet Forgiveness, you’ll never again be tempted to give up on someone you love.




The River of No Return, by Bee Ridgway

This debut novel that combines spy thriller, historical romance, science fiction, and fantasy reads like “the love child of Jane Austen and Dr. Who” (Eloisa James). Named a “Best of the Year” with “the feel of an instant classic, along the lines of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by The Washington Post, this “thrill ride” (Vanity Fair), time-bending chronicle of lovers separated by centuries, dares the reader to sample John Donne’s poetry without blushing.




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Wendy McCurdy is an Executive Editor at Berkley Books.  As you can see from her picture, in which she is holding several childhood favorites that she rescued from her parents’ house before they down-sized, she has been a romance reader pretty much since she learned how to read.  So the fact that she is able to indulge her taste for romantic fiction in her profession is a dream come true.





The Forbidden Rose, by Joanna Bourne

Joanna Bourne’s books have been staff picks at least twice before.  Pretty soon we are going to run out of titles.  Joanna, if you are reading this, please write faster!  But in the meantime, I’m highlighting THE FORBIDDEN ROSE, a beautifully written, completely captivating historical romance that accomplishes what I might have thought impossible: turning Doyle, the unforgettable and gruffly lovable British spy who is Grey’s partner in THE SPYMASTER’S LADY, into a romantic lead.  And what a hero he turns out to be. THE FORBIDDEN ROSE is a tour de force of sheer romance.




The Last Renegade, by Jo Goodman

Jo Goodman has been writing excellent western historical romances  filled with intelligence and humor for many years now, and she just keeps getting better.  Even her love scenes are filled with intelligence and humor.  THE LAST RENEGADE is one of her finest, along with IN WANT OF A WIFE, which I also can’t resist mentioning.






The Red Bikini, by Lauren Christopher 

A lovely debut novel  about a divorced mother who flees to her sister’s California beach house for a two-week getaway and encounters romance in the form of a very hot celebrity athlete who is lying low after some mistakes in the past. This is charming and funny–a delicious read.







The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, by Madeline Hunter

All of Madeline Hunter’s romances are wonderful, but this one is a particular favorite of mine. Watching the headstrong Emma Fairbourne take on the arrogant Earl of Southwaite is a pleasure.  What I really appreciate here are the undercurrents, the way Madeline conveys what’s really going on—usually something pretty hilarious—without ever overtly stating it.  The hot love scenes don’t hurt either.






Practice Makes Perfect, by Julie James

Julie James has also been a staff pick in the past for JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE.  I’m choosing to highlight PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT,  her second novel, and a real gem of romantic comedy.  Our two main characters are lawyers who are battling it out to make partner at a Chicago law firm.  How they try to get the better of each other results in some of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read—and also makes it that much more romantic when their dislike for each other begins to turn into something else.





Pieces of Sky, by Kaki Warner

What a wonderful piece of romantic western fiction this is.  Kaki deservedly won kudos for this splendid novel that kick-started her career as one of the today’s finest western romance writers.  It is one of my favorite books that I ever acquired, not only because it’s such a great read, but because I still remember how it felt to take the rubber band off that first manuscript—which actually came in through the mail—and start reading, and to know instantly that this was going to be a great read.  (This may actually be my last acquisition that came in via mail rather than email!)





Ravishing the Heiress, by Sherry Thomas

After the hundreds—probably thousands—of romances that I have edited, it is rare for me to be as moved by a romance as I was by this one.  I’m not even going to try to articulate what it was about this novel that so got to me.  All I will say is that those with a taste for an exquisitely rendered historical romance should not miss RAVISHING THE HEIRESS or any of Sherry Thomas’s novels.





A FINAL NOTE: It was very difficult to limit myself to seven romance picks.  I have at least seven more that I want to add. But I will save those for next time.


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photo of J Wade

Jessica Wade is a senior editor, acquiring science fiction and fantasy for Ace & Roc books, and some mystery too. But she’s become an avid romance reader since working at Penguin Random House and she’s delighted to share her can’t-miss-books on Berkley/NAL’s romance list!






Only Enchanting, by Mary Balogh

When I first started reading historicals, and kept asking people who their favorite regency author was, a name that came up over and over was Mary Balogh. Her writing is emotional, lovely, and clever, and I’ve adored every book of hers I’ve read. The newest is Only Enchanting. I’m reading it right now and it’s SO GOOD. It’s got tension and angst and wonderfully nuanced characters. People told me she was the best, and they were so right!






Rogue Spy, by Joanna Bourne

Joanna Bourne’s historicals are unusual, thrilling masterworks, set among English and French spies in roughly the time of the French revolution. Bourne’s deft dialogue, unforgettable characters, swift pacing, and rich historical detail are irresistible. Her books are mostly interlinked, and focus on secondary characters you’ve met in previous novels, so it’s a ton of fun to get to know ‘old’ characters in new ways. Her most recent book is Rogue Spy, and it’s totally wonderful. I also particularly enjoyed The Forbidden Rose and The Black Hawk.





Just the Sexiest Man Alive, by Julie James

If you haven’t read Julie James, get thee to a bookery, and I mean NOW.  These books are The. Most. Fun. Romances. EVAR. Our whole office is essentially a big Julie James fan club. Julie writes contemporaries, and most focus on lawyers and FBI agents. Her dialogue is SOLID GOLD.  The heroines are all feisty, fun, interesting modern women, and the heroes aren’t bad either. I have introduced so many friends who have never read romance to Julie James, and to a one, the response I have gotten is basically a version of “OH MY GOD WHERE HAVE THESE BOOKS BEEN ALL MY LIFE.” Right here, kids, and by right here I mean wherever books are sold. I’ll say start with Just the Sexiest Man Alive, about a lawyer who has a famous actor, with a famous ego, assigned to shadow her. High jinks ensue. But really, every one of her books is wonderful.



On Dublin Street, by Samantha Young

Samantha Young writes seriously intense contemporaries. I loved ON DUBLIN STREET, which tells the story of American, early-twenty something Joss, hiding from her past in Scotland. The hero is pretty alpha, and their romance sizzles off the page… it’s ultra emotional, angsty, and engaging, and I stayed up til 2 am to finish it in one sitting.






After Hours, by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna writes superhot, gritty contemporaries. When I heard in a meeting that the hero of After Hours was an orderly at a psychiatric hospital, I knew this book was something really different… and I wondered how it would work. But oh my goodness, it does. She writes fluid, searing prose, and has perfected the unusual hero (and heroine). At the very top of my TBR pile are her Hard Time (which centers around a prison library) and Lay it Down (about a motorcycle gang).




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Amanda Rodell is an Associate National Account Manager in Penguin Adult sales.  She sells to Brodart and Baker & Taylor, and has been at Penguin for 6 years, devouring all the free books she can get her hands on.





Flight of the Silvers, by Daniel Price

Flight of the Silvers is a fantastic read, both science fiction, and dystopian, with a Superhero element, and wonderful characters you can’t help but love. There are romantic and sister-relationship subplots as well.  This fast-paced story of a chosen few saved from the apocalypse will hold you rapt until the end.







Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris

Once again, Charlaine introduces a small southern town full of uniquely quirky characters and their supernatural problems.  This is the start of a new series with lots of potential and a murder mystery from the get-go.  The second book in the series, Day Shift, comes out in May 2015, and is even more gripping, with cameos from some characters you may recognize from the Sookie Stackhouse books.






The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, by JR Ward

These sexy vampire romances may be too steamy to read on the subway, but are perfect for vacation or stay-cation.  There’s action as these warrior vampires fight for the survival of their race against the Lessors, but it’s the push and pull of the relationships that will keep you flipping the pages, thirsty for more.





Dead to Me, by Anton Strout

I have the distinct please of working with the author, and love how well his witty and sardonic voice comes through in his books. This is the first in the Simon Canderous series, in which a paranormal investigator uses his powers to solve otherworldly crimes.  Perfect for fans of Jim Butcher, you’re sure to love this romp through the extraordinary underworld of NYC with wise-cracking detectives as your guides.





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Katherine Pelz photo

Katherine Pelz is an assistant editor at The Berkley Publishing Group, where she acquires romance, mystery and women’s fiction. During the rare moments when she’s not reading for business or pleasure, she’s in Brooklyn binge watching TV shows and hanging out with her cats.







The Spymaster’s Lady, by Joanna Bourne

Joanna Bourne is, hands down, one of the best historical romance writers out there. Her writing, her characters, her settings, her plots…they are all THAT good. If you’re a historical romance reader and you’ve never read one of her Spymaster novels, you’re missing out on a master of the genre. Get your hands on a copy ASAP.






Unwrapped, by Maisey Yates

Small town contemporary romances are all the rage these days, and nobody writes one better than Maisey Yates. Her voice is fresh and ridiculously readable. UNWRAPPED is a holiday read that’s both hot and full of heart.







The Garden of Letters, by Alyson Richman

Not strictly a romance, but a beautiful and moving historical novel that explores the pain and power of first love. It’s an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.







Exchange of Fire, by P.A. DePaul

If you like some action with your romance, then you need to check out P.A. DePaul’s romantic suspense series. The heroine of Exchange of Fire is a sniper—I love a strong heroine (and a hero that can keep up with her!)







When We Met, by A. L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina Lee

I love reading New Adult romance, and WHEN WE MET contains stories from four of my top New Adult authors. You get four times the romance (and four times the hot heroes) with this one!






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