Billie Bloebaum, romance book buyer for Powell’s in the Portland Airport, is exercising the power of her handselling abilities online, and fields requests for books to read. Kimberly writes in with a Bookmatcher request:
I was wondering if you could help me out. I usually read urban fantasy or fantasy books with strong romance elements. I’m ready to move on and expand my horizons a little. I remember that you have done a feature called The Bookmatcher and was wondering if you would do one for me. I would love to read more space romances (think Linnea Sinclair-LOVE her books!)
I also used to love reading books about the western frontier as a kid and was hoping to find some romance books in the genre (I’m thinking Little House on the Prairie for grown-ups)-no Christian books please. I’ve read some and I liked them ok but I’d rather try some prairie/frontier books without the Christian elements. Do you think you (or the Bitchery) can help me out?
For Science Fiction Romance I would recommend Catherine Asaro, Elizabeth Bear (on whom I have a total stoopid fangirl author crush), Lois McMaster Bujold (though if she’s been visiting your site for any length of time that particular rec shouldn’t be necessary), Sharon Shinn, Robyn Owens, Jayne Castle (another pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz)… Some of these authors are more romance-y than others and some may be less Science Fictional than she’d like, but they’re all good to excellent writers. There’s a lot more out there, but it’s not an area I’ve read extensively in. It’s something I usually stumble across by accident because someone recommends a book or an author to me and it ends up being S-F with romance-y bits or Romance with science fictional bits.
The frontier stuff is even more of a challenge. However, I would recommend Jo Goodman’s ‘Never Love a Lawman’, which is quite good and has a nice high page count.
I’d also recommend Janet Fox’s ‘Faithful’, which is one of my favorite romances of the summer. However, it is YA, so if Kimberly’s looking for hot, steamy action, she should be warned that the only hot and steamy in this book is from geysers. (It’s set in Yellowstone, and, yeah, we could read all kinds of symbolism into the spewing that goes on, but is it really necessary? Fun, yes. Necessary, probably not.)
I hope that I’ve given Kimberly an idea of where she might start, but, honestly, I’m waiting to see what the Bitchery recommends so I can start adding to my reading list.
So, what’s on your space and frontier reading lists? Which books are your absolute faces? And come on, someone’s written space cowboys, right?
And if you’ve got a request for Billie, send it over to me at sarahATsmartbitchestrashybooksDOTcom, with “Bookmatcher” in the subject line.