Five Books Everyone Should Read: Rowena’s Picks

Posted January 4, 2015 by Rowena in Features | 12 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new 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

Holly wanted to start a 5 books project where readers share their top five books everyone should read. I liked the idea but it was a lot harder to choose just five books than I thought it would be. But I did it. Here’s my list of books that I think everyone should read.

11. Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught. This was the very first romance novel that I read that stayed with me long after I finished the book. The relationship between Jordan and Alex was a drawn out and dramatic one but holy crap was it a satisfying one. I remember one Sunday, I wasn’t quite finished the book and I was sitting in Church, not paying attention to anything going on because my mind was so focused on Jordan Addison Matthew Townsende, the Duke of Hawthorne.

The romance between Jordan and Alexandra quite took my breath away. I loved it to pieces and it was this book that opened the doors for my interest in romance novels so I’m ever so grateful to this book in many ways.

22. The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen. This was my first m/m romance and even though it’s not really my thing, I’m SO glad that I read it. I thought it was a pretty important story for me to have read. Like Thirteen Reasons Why, this book made me sit up and think about the kind of person that I am and want to be. Reading about what Rikker and Graham went through when they were in high school and got caught by some terrible bullies broke my heart. I want to live in a world where people feel free to be who they are without fear of being punched to death but I know that is not the world that we live in.

My admiration for John Rikkers throughout this book stayed with me after I finished this. He was incredibly brave to stand up for what he believed in and for not letting the world dictate who he fell in love with. I admired the hell out of him and would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

33. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I read this book a few years ago and could not put it down. From the time I opened and read the first sentence to the very last sentence in the book, I was wrapped up in the story being told. This isn’t your typical Contemporary YA. This book is about a young girl who commits suicide and sends tapes to the thirteen people who influenced her decision to kill herself. There were mean girls, some mean boys but there was also the boy who had a fierce crush on her thrown into the mix as well.

This book spoke to me. It made me step back and take stock of the person that I am. The person that I want to be. It also made me think about the person that I wanted my daughter to be. I want so many things for my daughter and one of the most important things I want for my daughter is for her to be a kind person. I want her to stick up for those that are being bullied at school. I want her to be the kind of friend that kids can go to when they need someone to listen or just be there for them. I don’t ever want her to receive the kind of tapes that Clay received. This book was powerful to me and I feel like it’s an important book for teens to read because I think it’ll help shape them into the people that ought to be.

44. Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury. I read this book a long time ago and it was one of those books that I read in one sitting. It’s a story that breaks my heart every single time that I think about it because I hurt for Max, for Connor and even for Michelle. This story is about young Max who is Connor’s son from an affair he had years ago. When Max’s mother dies and Max is left an orphan, he goes to live with his father Connor, who had no idea Max existed.

This story is a Christian fiction story about forgiveness and it was one that made me cry my eyes out. It’s not a story that everyone will love but I did. Max’s story touched my heart and getting to know Michelle (the wife) was tough because learning to forgive her husband after learning of his infidelity and living with his son from another woman made me sit up and think about how I’d handle that situation. You can read my review for this book here. It says everything that I still feel about that book today.

55. Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. Each and every single time that I read this book, I love it a little more. I fall in love with, not just McBain but also with Baron Nicholas and Calum and Keith and just, everyone. For a long time, I wanted to marry a Highlander. I wouldn’t turn a Highlander away these days either, haha but Laird Gabriel McBain took every single feel in my body and brought it to the surface. I adored him. I loved the heck out of him.

I loved the romance between McBain and Lady Johanna. I loved the relationship that blossomed and I really enjoyed seeing Lady Johanna come into her own throughout the story. McBain was a fierce warrior who fell in love with this little slip of an English woman and I loved every single part. Seeing how far Lady Johanna came from the beginning was so satisfying. My favorite scene was in the end when Johanna is trying to break the punishment stick and Gabriel comes over and helps her. Oh my goodness, the feels! <3 <3 <3

There are so many other books that come to mind when thinking of this but I’m going to stop here.

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12 responses to “Five Books Everyone Should Read: Rowena’s Picks

  1. You know, I think JM was the first author I read that I absolutely hated as I was reading her books. The angst and drama killed me! But in the end I absolutely loved her stories and her characters.

    Of course, she hasn’t held up for me over the years. With the exception of a couple books, I honestly have zero desire to re-read her books. Though I admit she shaped my young romance reading and will forever hold a special place in my heart.

  2. Yeah, I know all about your hatred of the angst and drama of JM books. LOL. I’m not going to get you started on your hatred of a certain heroine of JM’s.

    Which JM books have held up for you?

    • Remember When and, believe it or not, Every Breath You Take (the revised, lengthened paperback edition, not the first hardcover release).

      • Remember When? Seriously? That’s one of her lesser popular books so that surprises me. What about Paradise? I know that Perfect didn’t.

        It’s been ages since I re-read Every Breath You Take. I never read the first hardcover but I loved that book when I first read it. I don’t remember anything other than the hero’s name was Mitch. It was Mitch, right?

        • No, Perfect didn’t. Neither did Paradise and I’ll tell you why: the heroines in both sucked. As soon as the going got tough, they turned on their man. Meredith had daddy issues, sure, but Matt proved to her time and again that he was strong, and loyal and true. He orgasmed when she said I love you, ffs. Yet she didn’t choose him.

          Julie thought she was being helpful by turning Zach in, getting him the help he needed and all, but it was still a betrayal. Especially since his actions prior to her meeting with his grandmother were so far apart from the claims the old woman made.

          Diana (from RW), on the other hand, was loyal to Cole from the very beginning, when they were kids. When the going got tough for him she went straight to him.

          It always comes back to the heroine for me. Zach was never my favorite hero, but I adored Matt. In my opinion, both deserved better than they got.

  3. ppellini

    Also that McNaught is one I’ve often recommended to friends, along with others by her I love as much – A Kingdom of Dreams, Almost Heaven, and Once and Always.

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