I’ve been obsessed with romance novels for as long as I can remember, so I’ve been wanting to do some sort of throwback-type book recommendation post that highlights books that I loved years ago.
Some of these books I’ve reread recently, others I haven’t read in a decade (or longer), but I do remember adoring them.
All of the books I’m listing here are books that I read for the first time over 5 years ago. (That’s not to say I haven’t reread them recently. I get obsessive, what can I say.)
Feel free to play along! Ransack your bookshelf or flip your “Read” shelf on Goodreads to descending dates read and play along!
How to Kill a Rockstar by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza’s reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul’s, and the two fall wildly in love.
When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul’s sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.
My sister introduced this book to me because we found out that Paul’s character was based on Jimmy Gnecco from one of our favorite bands, Ours. We did not fully comprehend what we were in for when we read this book.
Tiffanie is, by far and large, my all-time favorite writer. Her words are absolutely stunning and heart-wrenching and effortlessly poetic. If nothing else, read this for the words.
The Shifters series by Rachel Vincent
There are only eight breeding female werecats left…
And I’m one of them.
I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.
I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back… for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them…
This. Series. Slayed. Me.
There are so many swoony moments in this series, I can’t even handle it. And not just that, but the storyline is so epic.
My sister and I have read and reread this entire series dozens (if not hundreds) of times. To put it in perspective, when Rachel Vincent released the first chapter of the final book in the series, we locked ourselves in the bathroom together and took turns reading that first chapter together… and we screamed multiple times.
To this day, the first chapter of Alpha remains the best first chapter ever written. And we got to tell Rachel that when we met her at Apollycon!
We also told her our favorite line from the series, and when she signed our books she wrote it in there!
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever.
Rose has to be one of my favorite main characters of all time. I freaking love how badass she is and how much she grows in this series. And, dear Lord, Dimitri. He is so much yum. Vampire Academy, despite the horrific name, starts off with a bang and somehow the series only gets better and better.
It absolutely kills me that MTV turned this book into a cringey teeny bopper movie to the point where they wouldn’t make the rest of the series into movies because it was so lame. Womp.
The Georgina Kincaid Series by Richelle Mead
When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?
But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore–free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.
But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny.
OMG, this series I’ve reread a gazillion times and every single time I laugh out loud and forget how absolutely glorious and unique it is. I know I just said that Rose was one of my favorite main characters, but Georgina is so very different, but also one of my favorites.
You will fall in love with every single one of the many side characters and their relationships because they are just that good. The love story is unique and swoony, but honestly, it’s the story and the characters that really make this so epic.
Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions… she sees them in human form. Longing hovers around the shy, adoring boy at school. Courage materializes beside her dying friend. Fury and Resentment visit her abusive home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, except beautiful Fear, who sometimes torments her and other times plays her compassionate savior. He’s obsessed with finding the answer to one question: What happened to Elizabeth to make her this way?
They both sense that the key to Elizabeth’s condition is somehow connected to the paintings of her dreams, which show visions of death and grief that raise more questions than answers. But as a shadowy menace begins to stalk her, Elizabeth’s very survival depends on discovering the truth about herself. When it matters most, she may not be able to rely on Fear to save her.
I have never and may never read a story quite like this again. Kelsey Sutton was so freaking young when she wrote this and it’s so hard to believe. This book swept me away, gave me goosebumps, freaked me out, and had me completely mesmerized all at once.
I am dying for more. This book seemed so short, I’ve had to read it over and over and over again!
The Nightwalkers Series by Jacquelyn Frank
Since time began, there have been Nightwalkers – the races of the night who live in the shadows of the moonlight. Love with humans is absolutely forbidden, and one man makes certain to uphold this ancient law: Jacob, the Enforcer…
For 700 Years, He has resisted temptation. But not tonight…
Jacob knows the excuses his people give when the madness overtakes them and they fall prey to their lust for humans. He’s heard every one and still brought the trespassers to justice. Immune to forbidden desires, uncontrollable hungers, or the curse of the moon, his control is total…until the moment he sees Isabella on a shadowy New York City street. Saving her life wasn’t in his plans. Nor were the overwhelming feelings she arouses in him. But the moment he holds her in his arms and feels the soft explosion of her body against his, everything changes. Their attraction is undeniable, volatile, and completely against the law. Suddenly everything Jacob has ever believed is inflamed by the heat of desire…
This series was my very first taste of uber steamy times in books and I was ill prepared. It was one of those situations where the book was sitting on my shelf FOREVER and I finally just grabbed it off the shelf one day and started reading… and I didn’t stop until I finished it. I never knew a book could make me feel the way that first book did, and the rest of the books in the series were just as incredible.
Jacob and Bella in this book may have the best meetcute of all time. I still talk about it whenever I’m in a discussion about meetcutes.
The Shadowdwellers Series by Jacquelyn Frank
At one with the darkness, the mysterious Shadowdwellers must live as far from light-loving humans as possible in order to survive. Yet one damaged human woman will tempt the man behind the Shadowdweller throne into a dangerous desire…
Worlds Couldn’t Keep Them Apart
Among the Shadowdwellers, Trace holds power that some are willing to kill for. Without a stranger’s aid, one rival would surely have succeeded, but Trace’s brush with death is less surprising to him than his reaction to the beautiful, fragile human who heals him. By rights, Trace should hardly even register Ashla’s existence within the realms of Shadowscape, but instead he is drawn to everything about her—her innocence, her courage, and her lush, sensual heat.
After a terrifying car crash, Ashla Townsend wakes up to find that the bustling New York she knew is now eerie and desolate. Just when she’s convinced she’s alone, Ashla is confronted by a dark warrior who draws her deeper into a world she never knew existed. The bond between Ashla and Trace is a mystery to both, but searching for answers will mean confronting long-hidden secrets, and uncovering a threat that could destroy everything Trace holds precious.
This series kind of goes without saying since I mentioned The Nightwalkers series as it is a spin-off to that series, however, what I loved about this spin-off is that it is very different than The Nightwalkers as the Shadowdwellers live in a very different world than the nightwalkers do.
I’ve also reread this series so many times I’ve lost count and every single time it manages to give me butterflies so intense it’s hard to breathe.
The Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan
Something is happening to me that I don’t understand.
I see things, feel things in a new way. I can do things normal people can’t do. Powerful things. Magical things. It scares me.
I never chose to learn witchcraft. But I’m starting to wonder if witchcraft is choosing me.
This is one of the few favorites that I’ve only read once, and that is because these were published so long ago and I read them over a decade ago that I don’t even have them anymore because I’ve lent them out so many times.
This series makes this list, however, because I still remember how they made me feel and how much I loved them. Whether or not I would still love them if I read them now, I’m not sure, but I had to include them because the echos of how great these were back then still carry on today.
The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.
But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind … and Suze happens to be in the way.
Same situation as The Sweep series, I’ve only read this series once and it was over a decade ago, but I absolutely loved it and still remember how it made me feel. However, I don’t remember how it ends! It’s a unique story about a girl who can see and speak to ghosts and ends up falling in love with one, yet I can’t remember how it all pans out! Makes me want to see if it is available on audio so I can reread it again easily!
What are some of your Throwback Favorites? Let me know in the comments or send me a link to your own post!