I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
When I was last lamenting my "try, try again" attitude concerning romances, someone suggested Nora Roberts. I read "Dark Witch" when it came out last year and liked it; but I hadn't really thought of it as a "romance" even though I was aware that's really what it was (I was totally focussed on the witch thing, I guess). So I was at work yesterday with a lot of downtime and I was bored. One of my GR friends had just rated book 3 of this trilogy 4 stars so I thought, "what the hell?" and bought The Next Always.
Not bad. Ms. Roberts writes characters really well (one would hope, since she certainly writes more than her fair share of them) and she doesn't make her love interests spend all their time together. More importantly, she doesn't make the reader spend all their time reading about the love birds together. I think that's one of the major problems I have with most romances I've read to date (not many, it should be said): the characters seem to have no lives outside of each other. There is only so much "togetherness" I can take, I guess. Clare has her bookshop, her kids and her friends; Beckett has his brothers, his business, his work at the inn. The reader gets to spend time with each while not with the other and it felt like a more rounded story because of it.
There's a ghost that plays a small but ultimately important part to the story, and I enjoyed her "talks" with Beckett; they were light and amusing. In addition, there's a small "female in danger" sub-plot to the story. I suppose the author needed the dramatic tension to act as a turning point and give the story zing. It was a small part of the story, really, and the climax ended as quickly as it began.
I'll read the next two and I'll see how formulaic it all feels at the end, but at least I know there are romances out there that I can enjoy and that means my reading tastes have expanded just that little bit. Progress.