Five Books Everyone Should Read: #SoCalBlogger Lori

Posted July 5, 2015 by Holly in Features | 8 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Lori is a long time friend and fellow Southern California Blogger. She and I (Holly) have very similar reading tastes, so I know when she tells me I’ll like a book to pick it up right away. As a matter of fact, all but the last (only bc I haven’t read it) of these are on my own list.


Like everyone else, I’m thinking that Holly & Rowena are masochists. 5 books? I have to choose 5? But, but….

In order to pick, I had to stop and think which books made me either say, “WOW” or made me think about them long after I read them, or were so different and unexpected, yet, well, WOW.

So here are my 5(ish) books everyone should read, in no particular order. Since I mostly read romance and non-fiction, that’s what I’m sharing with you. But really, there are soooo many more I shoulda, coulda, woulda picked. I still cry foul!


see jane scoreSee Jane Score by Rachel Gibson.


A little subdued. A little stubborn. A little tired of going out on blind dates with men who drive vans with sofas in the back, Jane Alcott is living the Single Girl existence in the big city. She is also leading a double life. By day, she’s a reporter covering the raucous Seattle Chinooks hockey team—especially their notorious goalie Luc Martineau. By night, she’s a writer, secretly creating the scandalous adventures of “Honey Pie”…the magazine series that has all the men talking.


Luc has made his feelings about parasite reporters—and Jane—perfectly clear. But if he thinks he’s going to make her life a misery, he’d better think again.


For as long as he can remember, Luc has been single minded about his career. The last thing he needs is a smart mouthed, pain in the backside, reporter digging into his past and getting in his way. But once the little reporter shed her black and gray clothes in favor of a sexy red dress, Luc sees that there is more to Jane than originally meets the eye.

Maybe it’s time to take a risk. Maybe it’s time to live out fantasies. Maybe it’s time to….


Say Luc and Jane and immediately people know what book you are talking about. Say Honey Pie and everyone knows. The hockey is fun, the characters vivid, the romance adorable. It’s everything a sports romance should be.

I love how vulnerable Luc allows himself to be, how he lets Jane into his life. I love how Jane lets herself soften up, how she comes to see herself as beautiful, while never losing her professionalism – ok, mostly never losing it. This is the book that got me and so many others hooked on Rachel Gibson, on hockey (ok, maybe The Great One had something to do with it too), and on sports romances.

worth anypriceWorth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Blurb: Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished – but that was before he met the lady in question.

For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who could destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition – one he has never offered before. He asks her to be his bride.

And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know – that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London’s most notorious lover might claim Charlotte’s body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

Pretty sure everyone knows how I feel about Nick Gentry. Still, let me explain, if I even can. Nick is an unconventional hero. He’s not a rake. He’s not a man-whore. He has issues being physical with a woman. And yet, a complete alpha-male. From the moment he steps onto page 1, my heart broke for him. I was rooting for him as a hero within the first paragraph. That’s impressive.

I’m a tough sell on heroines, but Lottie is perfect for him. I loved her. She’s strong, tender, smart, steady. They are perfect together – a real team. Picture “You and me against the world” and you have Nick & Lottie.

Plus, tantric sex. Just sayin.

naked in deathNaked In Death by JD Robb

Blurb: In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line–between seductive passion and scandalous murder…Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all–and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire–and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about–except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

For me, where this book batted 1000 was in the social commentary. I loved Eve – flawed, hard, masterfully written. Roarke – suave, edgy, sexy. But the social commentary? Perfect. Robb imagines the world in 2050, following the Urban Wars. It’s a scenario one can actually realistically imagine. The commentary on everything from gun control to birth control to genetic engineering to legalized prostitution and drugs. From extreme conservatism to pharmaceuticals and their evolution and cost due to the control of disease. Yet the common cold and the cockroach are still unresolved problems, never to be wiped out. Flat out loved it.

Between the commentary, the kickass heroine, and the sexy hero, I was sucked in completely and totally.

the year we fell down by sarina bowenThe Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

Blurb: The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else. What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

Don’t plotz – I am choosing a New Adult romance. I never thought I would. I tend to dislike YA and NA. Likely because I have 2 kids that age, and don’t want to think of them as sexual beings. Or living such angst. But that’s what I love about The Year We Fell Down. It’s not terribly angsty. Even with a heroine in a wheelchair, it’s not terribly angsty. The characters are filled with humor and intelligence. I really liked Corey and Hartley. And rooted for them the whole way through. I love how Bowen built on their friendship and didn’t put either of them in a preconceived box. In fact, I loved it so much, I immediately went out and bought the next 3 and read 3 more NA books.

our endangered valuesOur Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter

Blurb: President Jimmy Carter offers a passionate defense of separation of church and state. He warns that fundamentalists are deliberately blurring the lines between politics and religion.

As a believing Christian, Carter takes on issues that are under fierce debate — women’s rights, terrorism, homosexuality, civil liberties, abortion, the death penalty, science and religion, environmental degradation, nuclear arsenals, preemptive war, and America’s global image.

Carter is largely viewed as a failure as a president. Mostly because of the Iran Hostage Crisis and the energy crisis. I believe he will go down in history as one of the great humanitarians of our time, and hope history will view his presidency more kindly.

You may or may not know, but I believe passionately in getting involved in the political process, and becoming informed on the issues that face our candidates as well as our nation and world. Having said that, this book was written in 2006 and is still completely relevant. It’s a blueprint for letting your belief system guide your moral principles while still maintaining and valuing the foundations our country was built upon.

Carter tackles a big issue in each chapter.  He puts every issue into perspective relative to his own strong religious convictions and beliefs. He contends that religion has its place in politics in the same way that it has its place in everyday life – by guiding our hand toward being valuable, moral and compassionate human beings – not by guiding public policy and law. It’s a book that everyone should read, especially in this contentious political environment so mired in the debate between religion and policy.

And now here comes the “ish” in the 5(ish) books you should read, just because I have to… You should read the first 6 Seal Team Sixteen books by Suzanne Brockmann (these are the 6 precursors to the Troubleshooter series). The duality of the harsh reality of the SEALs set against WW2 romance is breathtaking. They are filled with strong, alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable to their women, lots of adolescent male humor, intricate storylines, and lots of blowing shit up. What’s not to love? Also, you will forevermore love the song You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman).


About Lori:
Lori is a longtime romance reader. She lives in So Cal as the only girl in the House of Testosterone (soon to be The Empty Nest). Fiercely politically active, she still manages to believe in a happily ever after. Lori’s romance review blog is, which she swears will become active again. Honest.

Tagged: , , , ,

8 responses to “Five Books Everyone Should Read: #SoCalBlogger Lori

  1. JenM

    Like you, I don’t read much NA, but Sarina Bowen is in a class by herself. Just wait till you read The Shameless Hour. It’s definitely going to be in my top 10 books this year. For a similar book vibe, I’d also recommend Megan Erickson’s Bowler University series and Cora Cormack’s Rusk University series, which I’ve just started and am really enjoying. The reason I like them is that they all have likable characters and good feels, but are absent the over-the-top, ridiculous angst and big misunderstandings that so many NA books seem to rely on.

  2. Did you read The Year We Hid Away? It’s my favorite of the series so I wonder if you agree of if you prefer The Year We Fell Down.

    I can’t believe you didn’t include London’s Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch. I’m so disappointed in you (heh).

    • Lori

      Dammit Holly. It’s your fault I didn’t include LPH. 5 books? How is that even possible? I think for me, the difference between LPH and WAP is the heroine. I love Lottie so much. However, LPH is the first historical I read that didn’t sugarcoat PTSD. Bit is an amazing hero, and everyone should read this book. Now.

  3. Lori

    Also, I see a typo, whoops! Brockmann’s series is about SEAL team 16, not 6. Thought I corrected that, but whatevs.

  4. Kareni

    Thanks for sharing your list. I’ve read and enjoyed the first four books on the list as well as some/most of the sixth-ish books. I’d have a hard time narrowing a list down to five as well.

  5. Lori

    If you’re interested, here are all the historicals that were on my list (I only chose 1 above):
    Worth Any Price, England’s Perfect Hero, The Raven Prince, Duke of Shadows, Lord of Scoundrels.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.