We are on the home stretch of this trip, unless I do some territories. So many decisions to make. Get your souvenirs and let’s hit the road.
41. Pennsylvania. As a long-time member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, my first thought of Pennsylvania is the annual Pennsic War. http://www.pennsicwar.org/penn44/GENERAL/pwhistory.html In Pennsylvania. I have never been, but love hearing the stories brought back from the event. I had a friend who grew up in that part of the world, but didn’t join the SCA until she moved away. I always hoped to go visit her during the time of the wars when she moved back home for a while. I loved Mary Margaret Pulver’s novel, Murder at the War, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/847916.Murder_at_the_War but I can’t determine and don’t remember if it actually took place at Pennsic, or a fictional war. I’m leaning toward Pennsic, but I am unable to commit. And as stated before, murders don’t entertain me as much as romances do. Instead, I found a highly-rated-by-reviewers romance about a farm. Anything You Ask by Lynn Kellan is a little slice of sweet with just enough tart past to keep things interesting. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17829370-anything-you-ask
42, New Jersey. I honestly am going to start writing contemporary romances in a new genre, Senior Adults. Young and New are great, but there are a lot of us Boomers hitting the golden years, which by the way hit back. I’d really like to read about someone finding out it’s never too late to fall in love and live happily ever after. The first thing I saw about You Dropped a Blonde on Me (okay, after the funny title) was the age of the main female character. Over 40. Yes! Reviews are mixed, but I would give this one a try just for the odd sensation of reading about a real woman. Thanks, Dakota Cassidy, for writing this. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7831173-you-dropped-a-blonde-on-me
43. Delaware. Everyone who knows who Thomas Campano is, raise your hands. You probably live in or around Delaware. Or you really like real life murder mysteries. I think this was a blip on my radar at the time, but it’s not my cup of tea. I am just amazed by how many books have been written on the subject. To find an interesting romance, with no one dead at the end, I went back to 1992 for a book set in 1887. The Reluctant Bride by Barbara Bretton is a cute tale of a proper Englishman who inherits a seaside hotel about to crumble into the sea, and meets the overly enthusiastic Ameican woman who grew up there and wants to restore the building. I have a feeling the title was applied by the publisher, I expect the author would have called it Love’s Bargain or something more to the point. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3031413-the-reluctant-bride
44. Maryland. The only state I know the opening line of the state song! Also know about the naming of the state and the early settlers. Partly because I grew up Catholic, do I know all this. And I also love the Irish and horses and Nora Roberts. This book could have been written with me in mind. And it’s the first in a series called Irish Hearts. Irish Thoroughbred by La Roberts. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/248685.Irish_Thoroughbred
45. West Virginia. Take me home, country roads! Yeah, so not much in my brain about this state, but absolutely can’t wait to read this book. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the first in the series Lux. We have a hunky but alpha rude guy next door, and high school student heroine (sigh) and a very odd twist to the story. So okay, I can hang with a young lady for a bit. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12578077-obsidian
46. Virginia. I have to mention Bridge to Terabithia. My kids had to read it for school, and so I read it, and so I am scarred for life. Great book. Someone said there’s a movie. But on to the state book. A romance has only so many possible story paths. It’s not about creating a fresh way to get two people together, it’s about the fresh way to have them get there. Does that make sense? Well, in Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn (whose secret identity is Jennifer Armentrout) the couple in question tried to get together, but have done nothing but argue since the night they did The Deed. Now there is a family wedding, because her brother is his best friend, and they are thrown together with best wishes for a happy ever after. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13614836-tempting-the-best-man
47.North Carolina. A compass is so important when traveling. West, North, South, all so confusing without that little needle swinging around. Just so you know, we will not be looking at any Nicholas Sparks books. And because you have to start 4 books before they even get to America, no Outlander books. Don’t give me a chance to rethink that, because I am so in love with Ms. Gabaldon’s creations. Instead, I am going with Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist, in part because the book is listed in Christian fiction, but the author includes details of a wedding night. And someone is outraged, OUTRAGED, that married people have sex. Or that someone would write about it. Set in 1898 and filled with Vanderbilts and other rich society folk, the story sounds delightful. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6973771-maid-to-match
48. South Carolina. Please read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Not really a romance, but such a delightful story. And so important to the history of our common growth as people, not as different races but as people. With that, I am going to take a step on a different path and look at a paranormal romance. The Restorer by Amanda Stevens is the first in the Night Queen series. The female main character comes from a family of graveyard restorers, who also can see the dead and know they need to protect themselves from it. She ends up helping a detective when a body in found in a graveyard that shouldn’t have been there, but must keep her distance if she can. Otherwise his ghosts may invade her life instead. The clincher for me on this book, a reviewer mentioned the prose from Ms. Stevens to sound more like poetry. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9722219-the-restorer
49. Georgia. You must have read The Color Purple by now. If not, do that immediately. One of the unusual situations where the book and the movie were both excellent. Thank you, Alice Walker. On a lighter note, I just found a gay werewolf romance that is delightful! The cover is striking, the story blurb is great, and here’s the product warning: Contains color abuse with a really bad sense of fashion, a southern accent from hell, sex on antique furniture, a pouncing playful werewolf, obnoxious siblings, liberal use of a color identifier and impatient sex. No lightning bugs were harmed in the making of this book. So wrong, and yet, so write. Er, right. With Abandon by J. L. Langley is third in the With or Without series, but come on, how can you resist? https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8008274-with-abandon
50. Florida. In the interest of full disclosure, I have family living in Florida. And as far as I know, none of them have been involved in any polyamorous relationships. Some of the first porn I ever wrote involved two men and one woman. To make it worse, the men were brothers. Guess it’s a hidden weakness, and here’s a book that could have been written just for that girl I used to be. Love Slave for Two by Tymber Dalton (how can someone with such a great first name come up with nothing better for this title?) is a plausible story and full of hot interaction between two men, in a committed relationship, who suddenly both fall in love with a woman. Go figure. And it’s the Love Slave for Two series, book one. Talk about a happy ever after! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5899564-love-slave-for-two
So glad to end our tour with a bang. Thanks for reading, and we will find something else to do on Sunday.