The best books to manage a romance book hangover

Who am I?

As a romance author, I have written over thirty books, some published as K.L. Shandwick or Kelly Shandwick to define the genre differences, and more yet to be published. Having left school with no formal qualifications and returning to education as an adult, I learned that it doesn’t matter where you start it’s how you finish. These books are mainly about relationships and having been a midwife, and a health and social care professional, I regard books as a way of teaching people something about their own relationships. There are messages within all these stories. Readers connecting with the characters can walk in their shoes in these fictional worlds.

I wrote...

Another Life

By K.L. Shandwick,

Book cover of Another Life

What is my book about?

Imagine for one minute you are a famous rock star. Now imagine life as a widowed father of a newborn baby with all the expectations of your management team, band members, and contractual agreements. Now Imagine that sorrow with the stress of facing all of that each day without the love of your life. Can the sun ever shine in a world where grief is your first and last feeling each day? 

Another Life is a fictional man’s journey through the grieving process and shows how healing through the love of others in unexpected places can bring an uplifting gift of second chances and the acceptance of love after loss.

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The books I picked & why

The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold,

Book cover of The Lovely Bones

Why did I love this book?

This story tapped into my emotions and gave me all the feels of dread, despair, frustration, and fear the storyline of a child going missing could bring. It’s a storyline that would be every parent’s nightmare. The way the writer connects the emotions for me made me live the raw pivotal moments during the search for a child and the raw feelings I'd imagine someone with a missing child would feel. As a writer, it helped me understand that language used is all-important when setting a scene, and to think more as a writer about how the reader feels when a story is unfolding.

By Alice Sebold,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Lovely Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling novel that inspired the acclaimed film directed by Peter Jackson.

With an introduction by Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

In heaven, Susie Salmon can have whatever she wishes for - except what she most wants, which is to be back with the people she loved on earth. In the wake of her murder, Susie watches as her happy suburban family is torn apart by grief; as her friends grow up, fall in…

Book cover of The Girl in the Love Song

Why did I love this book?

Well, because the hero of the story has type 1 diabetes and so does my son. The story was empathetically written, and the research was accurate. It was also good to see an author write an inspirational story about a hero with disabilities. I did this myself with Gibson Barclay in Gibson’s Legacy and had positive feedback from readers who have, or their children have ADHD. 

By Emma Scott,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl in the Love Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At Santa Cruz Central High School, they called them the misfits, the outcasts, the weirdos. But most of us knew them as the Lost Boys...Miller Stratton is a survivor. After a harrowing childhood of poverty, he will do anything it takes to find security for himself and his mom. He’s putting all his hopes and dreams in the fragile frame of his guitar and the beauty he creates with its strings and his soulful voice.Until Violet.No one expects to meet the love of their life at age thirteen. But the spunky rich girl steals Miller’s heart and refuses to give…

Book cover of Fifty Shades of Grey

Why did I love this book?

Not specifically for the content, but E.L. James was brave enough to spark controversy which brought a lot of adults back to the world of reading. But I read it due to all the publicity and opinion surrounding the storyline. Having not read romance previously, I found the book more boundary-breaking than I’d expected, and I began to question the trust needed between a couple practicing such a lifestyle. Although I don’t write BDSM romance, it was the relationships between couples that became one of the reasons why I began to write in the genre. 

By E L James,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fifty Shades of Grey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"And in this quiet moment as I close my eyes, spent and sated, I think I'm in the eye of the storm. And in spite of all he's said, and what he hasn't said, I don't think I have ever been so happy."
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent…

Shuggie Bain

By Douglas Stuart,

Book cover of Shuggie Bain

Why did I love this book?

This is raw true to life story of a young boy being brought up in 80’s Glasgow to a single parent. It was a touching account of Shuggie and his siblings as they fought to support their alcoholic single mom and the prospects of a poor Glaswegian family. I related to this story as I grew up in a poor family in the west end of Glasgow in the 60’s. The book transported me back to a world of grey tenement buildings where the whole community lived in poverty, with my friends’ fathers’ battling the same alcohol addiction as Shuggie’s mom. Some of my youngest memories were of the domestic violence within some of those families and of my mum supporting the wives with food and second-hand clothing as they tried to feed and clothe their children.

By Douglas Stuart,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Shuggie Bain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A stunning debut novel by a masterful writer telling the heartwrenching story of a young boy and his alcoholic mother, whose love is only matched by her pride.

Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings.

Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she…

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Why did I love this book?

Having left school at fifteen with no qualifications, this was the first book I picked up as my reading literature when I sat an exam as an adult. The story was way ahead of its time and Harper Lee had insight we all can learn from. This book tackled race inequality and how fairness and justice were eluded from a character based on the color of a man’s skin. The story evoked a strong sense of angry within me and made me more conscious of the injustices faced by people of color both past and still present in societies today.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…

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