GS vs. STA: Happy, Funny, Escape Romance

It’s time for a Very Special Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid, which is also partly a “Help a Bitch Out” request as well. Bitchery Reader L is on bedrest going through hellacious chemotherapy. The drugs have weakened her legs to the point where walking is painful, and so she’s staring at her bedroom walls for way, WAY too much time while she attempts to Kick Cancer’s Ass.

So! She has a request of the well-read and brilliant Bitchery: we’re looking for total escape romance, the kind that sucks you in and pulls you into another world, preferably one with a superb happy ending. We need your favorite “removes me from my present location immediately” romance reads because bed rest + chemo = NEED FOR GOOD BOOKS. L adds regarding the Bitchery:

They are so incredibly smart well-read in the romance area and I suspect other areas as well. If they have any recommendations of funny laugh-out-loud Regencies , I’d really be a happy camper. To give you an idea I love love love Loretta Chase and have read every one of her books, but unfortunately she doesn’t write fast enough.

Bring it on! We’re looking for the very best in uplifting, happy, happy, joy, joy, funny, funny romance. I’m going to open the suggestions to all subgenres, not just Regencies, so as to compile a longer collection list of romance that makes your day better. So please let us know the subgenre of your suggestion.

And special message to L: kick ass, take names, and I wish you many, many happy new years.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Teddy Pig says:

    Off the cuff… Anything by Shelly Laurenston on Samhain though I prefer Pack Challenge and Go Fetch!

  2. 2
    Teddy Pig says:

    Dang it! Subgenre um um … Paranormal Comedy Romance

  3. 3
    Elizabeth says:

    The Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig.

    Also, this is technically YA but it also is completely seductive: “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer.  Vampires ahoy!

  4. 4

    First off, I wish L all the best and many years of good health and happy reading in the future.

    Second, I have to recommend my own books, especially Pirate’s Price.  I try to inject a lot of humor into everything I write, and I guarantee a happy ending every time.

    Other laugh-out-loud authors include Barbara Metzger and Mary Janice Davidson, especially her Alaskan Royal Family books.

    If you can find it, Connie Willis’ Uncharted Territory is a short romantic novel that’s full of great, laugh-out-loud scenes.

    Again, hang in there, L!  All of us in the Bitchery are cheering for you to kick cancer’s ass!

  5. 5
    KCfla says:

    Well, anything by Nora would work. Especially the Key or Circle trilogies.

    Or, since they helped me through my bout with the devil Chemo- the In Death series will work as well.

    Having said all that,and as a 2 year cancer survivor, I send all good vibes and well wishes her way. It’s a hard fight- but well worth it ;-)

  6. 6

    Any of the Stephanie Plum novels.

  7. 7
    Chris S. says:

    Eva Ibbotson’s adult books are being reissued.  Start with SECRET COUNTESS (which is really COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS, with a new title to go with the shiny new cover).  MORNING GIFT is also available – though, while delightful, it’s not quite as strong.  But they’re both charming and delightful.

    Best of luck now and in the New Year!

  8. 8
    Laurie says:

    Cotillion by Georgette Heyer.

  9. 9
    Estara says:


    - All the Historicals by Georgette Heyer not set in the Napoleonic Wars
    – Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn (the first five, definitely)

    Bar Cynster Series by Stephanie Laurens (first six – more dramatic but strong heroines)

    Fantasy/SciFi Romance:

    Anything by Robin D. Owens (lots of drama and comedy in her Heart series).

    A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold, doubly hilarious if you’ve read the previous Miles Vorkosigan books, but they are quite a bit darker.

    Best wishes to you!

  10. 10
    MplsGirl says:

    L, Luck and happiness to you now and into the future. Maybe you could comment in, oh, six months, on what you read and loved from the SBTB list . . .

    —The Gift by Julie Garwood (this one is particularly funny, but most of her heroines in her books from the 90s are spunky and generally humorous)
    —Julie Quinn’s “How to Marry a Marquis”, “The Duke & I”, and “Brighter Than the Sun” (this one first, the opening scene is a hoot)
    —Suzanne Enoch’s “The Rake”, and try her contemporaries like “Billionaires Prefer Blondes”
    —Christina Dodd’s contemporaries have humor and crime-solving
    —Karen Hawken’s St. John brother’s books (“Seduction of Sara” might be the first in that series).
    —Katie MacAlister’s books are contemporary but they are laugh out loud funny. Really funny.
    —I second the Key and Circle trilogies from Nora Roberts as good escapes, draw you in, shut off the world books.

    veri word: areas51. I should probably be recommending paranormals . . .

  11. 11
    Tumperkin says:

    Georgette Heyer for definite.  Nice light funny ones: Friday’s Child, The Grand Sophy, Cotillion, The Corinthian, Sylvester.

    For easy-read feel-good category romance, you can’t beat a bit of Lynne Graham.

    Contemporary-wise, Jilly Cooper.  Very British; very funny.  No-one puns like La Cooper.  Try her short novels if you don’t fancy a bonkbuster: Emily Prudence and Imogen are all fantastic.

    Best wishes!

  12. 12
    Eunice says:

    Well I’m still kind of new to romances (I was converted a year ago this month!), so I’m limited on strictly Romance recommendations.

    But I would recommend:
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, I love the way she pokes fun at the classic Gothic romance.

    Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, definitely an upbeat “take me away” book, with romance.

    The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

    All three have romance, comedy, and are immersive, so I hope they count.

    Keep fighting, Reader L!

  13. 13
    Angelina says:

    ok – I will fess up. My favorite Calgon take me away novel that I will not cop to liking in the light of day is Knight of a Trillion Stars by Dara Joy. Reader beware, you may feel shameful about enjoying it. The way I look at it is this: Just because I love Filet mignon does not mean I am above eating a Big Mac. It’s serious cheese but I love it anyway, God help me!

  14. 14
    Ciaralira says:

    Katie MacAlister is hilarious. Her regency era books are Noble Intentions, Noble Destiny, and The Trouble with Harry.

    Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series is Victorian, not Regency, but funny and yummy and thoroughly engaging. They are, in order: Secrets of a Summer Night, It happened One Autumn, The Devil in Winter, and Scandal in Spring. I’d recommend anything by her, but these stick out as being funny.

    I second the recommendation for Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. The Duke and I, in particular, made me Laugh Out Loud.

    Eloisa James is an amazing writer and she sprinkles Shakespeare through her books. The Essex Sisters series is funny (in order): Much Ado About You, Kiss Me Annabel, The Taming of the Duke, and Pleasure for Pleasure.

    Elizabeth Boyle’s Love Letters from a Duke is good too.

    Happy reading! We’re cheering for you!

  15. 15
    Dragonette says:

    Rebecca Paisley – Rainbows and Rapture (or Moonlight and Magic) makes me *gigglz* all the way thru it and leaves me with a smile! 

    whatever happened to her, anyway?  she was great with with the malapropisms and absurdities

  16. 16
    Ciar Cullen says:

    I’m not a knee-slapper, but I would love to send one of my books, electronic or paper, to our friend Reader L. She can send me a note at terrybrucemac at

    Ciar Cullen

  17. 17
    MaryKate says:

    I recently finished Jo Goodman’s If His Kiss Is Wicked. The dialog is priceless and witty. I laughed out loud at quite a bit of it.

  18. 18
    Chrissy says:

    I’d second anything by Dara Joy before she went nuts and out on her own.

    Early Sherrilyn Kenyon.

    (both sff/romance)

    I second all Julia Quinn.  Add Susan Enoch and Eloisa James—historicals, mostly regency.

    Julie Garwood’s early historicals were great, light, funny.

    Jeri Redding did some adorable historicals in Scotland.

    If you want to take a side trip and read a histerical Christmas themed novel, try Chris Moore’s The Stupidest Angel.  Hysterical and totally fun holiday reading.

  19. 19
    Lorelie says:

    Dang it, I’ve been beaten to the punch – twice.

    Count me as a third vote for Julia Quinn’s way back whens.  Though my favorite’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (no 4). 

    And I’m vote two on Eloisa James.  Don’t start with her first series though.  In the Pleasures ones something Dire and Tragic must happen before the hero admits he’s in lurve.

    They’re not Regencies and they’re not exactly funny (funny moments but not over all) but I have to throw in Suzanne Brockmann’s Team 16 stories.  They’re definitely escapist, exciting and several are set in exotic locations.  (And now I’m out of E’s.)  My favorite, Out of Control, is set in Indonesia.

  20. 20
    Bailey says:

    L! Ill keep you in my thoughts. I vote you kick cancer’s ass, as well.

    My favorite take me away books are
    Nora Roberts Three Sisters Trilogy, (Dance Upon the Air, Heaven and Earth and Face the fire)

    Nora’s Irish Trilogy (Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon and Heart of the Sea)

    And her Chesapeake Bay books (Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Blue)

    Besides Nora Roberts, for a take me away read, I adore Anne MacCaffrey’s Dragonrider of Pern books. I love them one and all.

    I know you mentioned historicals but I don’t read those as a rule.

  21. 21
    Liz C. says:

    Oh damn, someone beat me to Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series. I love those books and am eagerly awaiting the next book in February. My favorite, though, is The Masque of the Black Tulip because Miles and Henrietta are just loads of fun.

  22. 22
    Jean says:

    I recommend Elsie Lee’s books – I’ve never read anything by her I didn’t like.  She has a Regency set and a contemporary set. Of the regencies, I like Second Season best, and of the contemps, I guess I would start with The Curse of Carranca.

    And, while these are not romance fiction, the Sweet Potato Queens books are rolling on the floor funny. Perhaps start with The Sweet Potato Queen’s Book of Love, or The Sweet Potato Queen’s Wedding Planner/Divorce Guide.

  23. 23
    Becky says:

    Cindy Holbrook is a wonderful, funny Regency author.  I don’t think she’s writing anymore, but you can get her books used on Amazon.  My favorites are Lord Sayer’s Ghost, A Rake’s Reform, The Actress and The Marquis, and The Country Gentleman.

    Other books that have swept me away recently:
    Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer
    Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen
    Moon Called and Blood Bound (2 books), Patricia Briggs
    All the Vorkosigan books, Lois McMaster Bujold
    Asking for Trouble (or The Wedding Date), Eliabeth Young (I enjoy all her stuff, but this one was my favorite)
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
    Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer (Romeo/Juliette, teen-angsty, but absorbing)

    If you ever just want to listen to an audiobook, The Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelai King are fantastic.  Jim Dale does an amazing job with the Harry Potter books.  And the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, read by Johanna Parker, are fun.  If you want something non-fiction but still really funny, check out I’m a Stranger Here Myself, or A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, read by the author.

  24. 24
    Emma says:

    Anything by Cathy Kelly! Just Between Us and What She Wants and Best of Friends.

  25. 25
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Heyer’s books always make me smile. And as for Regencies, I’m a big fan of Candice Hern, Mary Balogh, and Jo Beverley.

    If you’re up for eBooks, you can’t go wrong with the re-issues of Emily Hendrickson’s classic (and award winning) books from Belgrave House. And there are lots of other class re-issues over there too:

  26. 26
    Jessica D says:

    Darlene mentioned Connie Willis’ Uncharted Territory above. I’d like to add Willis’ novel To Say Nothing of the Dog to the list. It’s a Victorian time-travel romantic comedy/mystery (and probably a few other things besides), and it’s one of my favorite comfort reads.

    Best wishes to you, L.

  27. 27
    Kay Webb Harrison says:

    My favorite Georgette Heyer, The Unknown Ajax, has several hilarious scenes. All the Amanda Quick Regency books have romance, mystery and HUMOR; she is the Queen of Banter. You could also explore her contemporaries under Jayne Ann Krentz and her futuristics under Jayne Castle.

    My younger son battled testicular cancer from Fall 2003 through half of 2004. In addition to the surgery and chemo, I attribute his recovery to the fact that his favorite TV channel is Comedy Central. Laugh on to recovery, L.


  28. 28

    Kay, I have to inject a note here.  My husband survived testicular cancer, one of the most common cancers of young men.  Ladies, remind the men you love to check out their jewels, at least once a month! TSE is every bit as important as BSE!

    You can even offer to lend a hand and do each other’s exams.  It doesn’t replace doing your own, but it’s a lot more fun.

  29. 29
    Leah says:

    I think we’re up to third-ing the recommendation for Katie MacAlister – she has historicals and contemporary paranormals. 

    Princess Bride is great escapism too.  And Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, though I wouldn’t exactly call it humorous. 

    Gemma Halliday’s High Heels series consistently cracks me up.  And it’s hard to go wrong with Julia Quinn, Amanda Quick or Eloisa James.

    Best of luck!

  30. 30
    Mads says:

    All the Bridgertons. Well, all her books really.
    Some Eloisa James
    Sabrina Jeffries
    Lisa Kleypas
    Georgette Heyer.

    Wishing you the very best of luck. My Grandmother is going through the same thing right now, so it’s near to my heart, kick some smart bitch ass girl!

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