The best romance books for non-romance readers willing to take a chance

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to read young. No really young. I was 3. For more than 40 years I have been a voracious reader. And on top of that, I will read nearly anything, and have for years. From Nancy Drew to Little House. Anne McCaffrey, Louis L’Amour, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, Patricia Briggs and so many more. My preference and passion is fiction but what genre changes with my mood. If you’re willing to take a chance on something new, check these books out!

I wrote...


By Melissa Stevens,

Book cover of Maverick

What is my book about?

Maverick has just returned to Tucson from an assignment that took him out of town for more than two years. Now he’s trying to fit back into his life here. But things have changed around the Demented Souls club house and settling in isn’t as seamless as he expected.

After insulting his vice president’s woman, he’s got to make amends. The last thing he expected was to meet the woman he was sure he’d never see again in the sweet shop where he stopped to pick up an apology. Can Maverick figure out how to keep things from taking a wrong turn and letting Dana get away or will he manage to insult someone else, getting himself into even more trouble?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Outlander

Melissa Stevens Why did I love this book?

I first read Outlander when I was about fifteen.

I fell in love and devoured it and I loved it so much I’ve read it several times over the years, for a lot of reasons. When I first read this, I was on a historical kick. Everything I read by choice was set in the past.

I loved that Outlander was realistic. It didn’t romanticize living in the eighteenth century, especially from the perspective of someone from the twentieth. On top of that the characters were real and they made you care about them, which is what a good story is supposed to do, right?

By Diana Gabaldon,

Why should I read it?

33 authors picked Outlander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first book in Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed Outlander saga, the basis for the Starz original series.

One of the top ten best-loved novels in America, as seen on PBS’s The Great American Read!
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and…

Book cover of Out of Control

Melissa Stevens Why did I love this book?

This one is a contemporary story and is another of my favorites because it’s got more than a little bit of action keeping you going even if you’re not interested in the romance part of the story.

There are actually two stories/romances going on in this one, one now and one during WWII. The characters are real people with strengths, flaws, hopes, and dreams, and bonus, they are just as insecure about themselves and their interactions with each other as the rest of us are.

And they make me laugh. Like really laugh. Bonus points to the audiobook because the performances were amazing.

By Suzanne Brockmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of Control as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Troubleshooters: They Never Let You Down. The fourth addictive romantic suspense novel in New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters series, filled with thrilling adventure, excitement and passion. In OUT OF CONTROL, Savannah von Hopf and Navy Seal Ken 'WildCard' Karmody are lost in a hostile jungle with no choice but to place their trust in one another...

When Savannah von Hopf's uncle is kidnapped in Indonesia there is only one man she can turn to help: Navy Seal Ken 'WildCard' Karmody. But before she has the chance to ask for his help, she finds herself caught up with…

Book cover of First Grave on the Right

Melissa Stevens Why did I love this book?

This one is fun.

Charley Davidson sees the dead, she’s a grim reaper and people have to pass through her to get to the other side. There is always something new, and something unexpected around the corner and even I could never guess (and I’m pretty good at figuring out what’s going on before it’s revealed).

It doesn’t hurt that both Charley and her love interest, Reyes, are more than a little attractive… and possibly more than a little dangerous. Charley’s smart mouth and penchant to find more trouble than she can get herself out of keeps me coming back to read over and over.

By Darynda Jones,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked First Grave on the Right as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Private investigator Charlotte Davidson was born with three things: looks; a healthy respect for the male anatomy; and the rather odd job title of grim reaper. Since the age of five, she has been helping the departed solve the mysteries of their deaths so they can cross. Thus, when three lawyers from the same law firm are murdered, they come to her to find their killer. In the meantime, Charley's dealing with a being more powerful - and definitely sexier - than any spectre she's ever come across before. With the help of a pain-in-the-ass skip tracer, a dead pubescent…

Book cover of One for the Money

Melissa Stevens Why did I love this book?

You may have noticed there’s a bit of a theme here, well, other than that I love all these books, but this introduction to Stephanie Plum and her entourage is a great book that keeps me coming back when I’m in the mood for a laugh and a look at a family that’s even crazier than mine.

Stephanie is down and out, and out of desperation, blackmails her cousin into giving her a shot at bounty hunter. Experience? Who needs experience? Her first skip? An ex-cop she’s had more than a few run-ins with…usually without all her clothing.

Stephanie, her friends, and family make the whole adventure fun and make me come back over and over because I just can’t get enough of Stephanie.

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked One for the Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. She's lost her job, her car's on the brink of repossession, and her apartment is fast becoming furniture-free.

Enter Cousin Vinnie, a low-life who runs a bail-bond company. If Stephanie can bring in vice cop turned outlaw Joe Morelli, she stands to pick up $10,000. But tracking down a cop wanted for murder isn't easy . . .

And when Benito Ramirez, a prize-fighter with more menace than mentality, wants to be her friend Stephanie soon knows what it's like to be pursued. Unfortunately the best person to protect her just happens to…

Book cover of Moon Called

Melissa Stevens Why did I love this book?

This one doesn’t have the same comedy element as most of the others, but it is funny in its own way.

Mercedes Thompson is a mechanic, and a coyote walker (shapeshifter.) I love this book for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it blends a lot of the popular tales of werewolves, vampires, and more with the tales and mythology of Native American creatures in a way I’d never encountered.

I love that Mercy isn’t looking for love.She’s not looking for fame or riches. She just wants to fix cars and make her own decisions. And annoy the werewolf who shares the fence at the back of her property.

By Patricia Briggs,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Moon Called as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in the New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson series - the major urban fantasy hit of the decade

'I love these books!' Charlaine Harris

The best new fantasy series I've read in years' Kelley Armstrong


I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil . . .'

Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She's a mechanic, and a damn good one, who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens…

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Snow on Magnolias

By Betty Bolte,

Book cover of Snow on Magnolias

Betty Bolte Author Of Notes of Love and War

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Author Editor Traveler Crocheter Reader

Betty's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Magnolia Merryweather, a horse breeder, is eager to celebrate Christmas for the first time after the Civil War ended even as she grows her business. She envisions a calm, prosperous life ahead after the terror of the past four years. Only, all of her plans are thrown into disarray when her secret lover returns and starts asking questions she can’t answer without disaster following.

Bryce Day comes home to Alabama after he’s discharged from the First Alabama Cavalry USA with guilt weighing on his heart. His neighbors won’t cotton to his Unionist bent, and the woman of his heart likely…

Snow on Magnolias

By Betty Bolte,

What is this book about?

One terrible lie, a desperate measure to save her past, just might destroy her future…

Award-winning author of historical fiction presents a new novel of love and lies, secrets and sensuality, and the hands of fate weaving it all together.

The American Civil War is finally over and Christmas beckons. Magnolia Merryweather, backyard horse breeder, is eager to celebrate for the first time since the war began even as she continues to grow her business. She envisions a calm, prosperous life ahead after all the terror of the past four years. She’s preparing to follow in her mother’s matriarchal footsteps,…

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