If you haven’t heard, The Ripped Bodice is putting on an awesome reading challenge this summer. And there are prizes! You can click the link to their site for an explanation of the rules, plus a printable copy of their bingo board. Or! You can check out their helpful tweet:
— The Ripped Bodice (@TheRippedBodice) June 11, 2017
We’re playing along in our Goodreads group and offering suggestions when we can. You can also follow The Ripped Bodice on Twitter for reading recs. However, for those who aren’t fans of social media (I don’t blame you), we thought compiling a list of recommendations here would be helpful. Plus, any suggestions from the Bitchery are always welcome.
In the suggestion list, we’ve left off a couple of the easier categories like the Romance Novel Free Space, Elaborate Proposal Scene, Rake or Rogue in the Title, and Conflict Could Be Solved With One Conversation. I feel like those might be way easier to find.
For the recs, we’re pulling from books that have been mentioned here on SBTB, are well-known, or have been recommended to us!
Georgette Heyer! We have some recommendations from an older Heyer sale post.
Plus, I highly recommend you check out some of Carrie’s reviews. She frequently reviews classic romances.
Heroine named Rachel
This one is tough to search for and you might have to get lucky while searching through your TBR!
From our GR group:
Three suggestions by Willaful:
A hint of magic
I’m interpreting this as romances that aren’t full on fantasy or paranormal. Let’s go with magical realism!
For an option with more of a central romance, there’s A Little Night Magic by Lucy March ( A | BN | K | G | iB | Au ). I also think the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews would qualify; the series starts with Magic Bites ( A | BN | K | G | iB ).
The easiest way to mark this square off is to go dragons!
I started the Dark Kings series and I’m enjoying it. Dragon shifters who own a scotch distillery! The first book is Darkest Flame by Donna Grant.
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison ( A | BN | K | G | iB | Au ), Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken( A | BN | K | G | iB ), The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe( A | BN | K | G | iB ) are all great dragon shifter romances as well.
Or you know…take a page out of Elyse’s book, get crazy with it, and read Passions of the Wereshark!
Elyse has also read and enjoyed romances with vikings. There’s The Warlord’s Wife by Sandra Lake( A | BN | K | G | iB ) and a time travel romance titled Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown( A | BN | K | iB )!
Hero has a pet that’s not a dog or cat
This one can be a bit tough, especially to find specific suggestions. Characters who work with animals in some capacity are a good lead! Oh and…horses!
Shacking Up by Helena Hunting – hero has exotic pets!
Hero smells like some kind of tree
It’s hard to pinpoint a book that I know for certain has this, but some general tips are to gravitate toward books with outdoorsy heroes! To help narrow things down, Google Books will sometimes let you search inside books for terms and phrases. I frequently use this for a “word hunt” challenge I do on Goodreads.
Some potential leads for outdoorsy, tree-scented heroes or books recommended in our GR group:
After going through past reviews, queer YA books seem to be easier to find than NA, so we’d love some suggestions from that genre.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Thanks to our Goodreads group for these suggestions:
I’d also recommend the Slices of Pi series by Elia Winters, with the first book being Even Odds ( A | BN | K | G | iB ). Most of these recs are contemporary or erotic romance. Maybe we can get some historical romance suggestions with nerdy elements!
Baking/Sweets described in delicious detail
Baker characters seem like an easy why to mark off this square!
Buns by Alice Clayton
Plus, there’s a huge list of romances where the character as a dessert-related profession.
Person in uniform on the cover
Characters who work in law enforcement or are firefighters!
Unfortunately, a lot of the romances who have uniformed characters don’t feature uniforms on the covers. Just lots of dirty, white tank tops, it seems. Or shirtless dudes with guns, which isn’t exactly work appropriate. Also…I think a sports uniform would still qualify.
Heroine inherits a business
I’m definitely stuck on this one, as most of the things I think of, there’s no inheriting going on for the heroine. I also think this is something more common in historical romances.
What do you think? Any suggestions?
Non-Regency set historical
Most books by Deeanne Gist would probably fall into this category and I definitely recommend reading Tiffany Girl.
American historical romances seem like the easy way to tick this box off.
Sub-genre you’ve never read before (honor system!)
A lot of our readers pick up romances across the genre, myself included, which makes meeting this category rather difficult. Some suggestions aside from the typical subgenre labels (historical, inspiration, paranormal, etc.) could be menage romances, rockstar romances, or motorcycle club romances. Think of niches!
Heroine taller than the hero
We recently did a Rec League on tall heroines. Many of them aren’t necessarily taller than the hero, but tall in a general sense. However, there might be some suggestions lurking in the comments.
Heroine smells like a food item
See the “Baking/Sweets” category! A heroine who works in food will probably smell delicious.
Suggestions from the group:
Pretty Face by Lucy Parker. The heroine smells like vanilla because of her perfume.
So far, I’ve seen this interpreted two ways. The hero can be broke as in poor. Or he could be broke as in “broken.”
For the former, a historical seems best given how money often plays into romances with marriages of convenience or class differences.
For the latter, dark contemporaries would be the way to go, especially with anti-hero or mafia characters.
I interpreted as the first option, but I’m finding that it’s much easier to find a Rich Hero/Poor Heroine story than the reverse.
Character on the run
Characters can be on the run of the law, a terrible ex, or maybe is just a runaway bride!
Beach read, set in a beach town
Mary Kay Andrews does a lot of beach-setting books as well!
Some individual suggestions:
Gambled Away ( A ) is an anthology with historical settings across the world.
Whew! Are you playing along this summer? What categories have you stumped and what would you recommend for other readers?
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