Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

How do you choose your books?

I’ve recently had a birthday and received a book voucher which, to a reader and writer, is a gift made in heaven. This was a voucher for a physical book store- I had to go in and choose some books- OMG- the bliss! The confusion! The indecision! What if I chose a book I didn’t like! What if my voucher was wasted? Should I go with tried and tested favourite authors or take a risk?

Having just been to two romance writers’ conference and brought back a haul of books I decided I would choose something from a different genre. The poor woman in the shop approached and tried to sell me at least a dozen books- none of which appealed- well, they all did in some way, but not enough to use my voucher (for the record, books in New Zealand are very expensive- I ended up buying two trade paperbacks at a cost of $37.99 each, which is about $31 US or 19 pounds…for paperbacks- ouch!)

In the end I plumped for JK Rowling’s new crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling which I chose because I was interested to see what she could do in another genre. IMG_0094 IMG_0095 IMG_0096And a book called The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons because of the blurb which went: ‘At thirty a woman has a directness in her eye. Juliet Montague did anyhow. She knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted to buy a refrigerator… But in a rash moment Juliet changes her mind and commissions a portrait of herself instead. She has been closeted by her conservative Jewish community for too long, ever since her husband disappeared. Now Juliet is ready to be seen.’  

Something about that blurb intrigued me enough to choose it above all the others in the shop.

Lastly, I was at a book signing in Atlanta and had to be fairly mindful about weight of luggage, so I chose pretty carefully. As the books were free it was a great opportunity to find new authors without the financial risk. This book I picked purely because of the beautiful cover, The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee.

Choosing just two books was akin to visiting hell and heaven at the same time! But it got me thinking, how do other people choose books? What reels you in- blurb, the cover, the author, the brand?


16 thoughts on “How do you choose your books?”

  1. I feel your pain, Louisa. It is SUCH a lot of money to spend if you don’t like the book. I often spend on books I have loved from the library. I have just finished Mr. Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons . We did it at bookgroup and it was a light read on one level and very heartfelt on another. I hope her second novel is as enjoyable for you.

  2. I tend to stick to the tried and true and its not about the money, its about the time. My reading time is precious so it takes a lot for me to take a chance on someone new to me unless it comes highly recommended from a trustworthy source.
    I do love the Typewriter Girl cover and I know Anna Clearly has just read JK’s latest and loved it!

  3. Before I discovered the romance genre (which I did later in life than most other romance readers) I used to agnst about choosing books. The covers might draw me in, but the blurb didn’t snag me. Or I’d heard a lot about a book and still wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. Lots of times I was disappointed in my choices (thank goodness paperbacks don’t cost nearly as much in the US) and lost confidence in trying new authors.

    Right now the book I want to read, but refuse to pay over ten dollars for an e-book, is Gone Girl. I’m also interested in The Returned (new YA from HQN). Somehow, buying e-books is less stressful than brick and mortar stores with print books on shelves.

    I hope you enjoy your birthday books!

    1. Lynne, It’s interesting that now there are so many new authors in the marketplace, how the heck will they ever get discovered if we’re all so risk averse! I guess that’s why prices have been driven down or the books are available for free for a short while. Great marketing to get your name out there and let people take a risk.

      I’ve just finished Gone Girl- wow, what a book. (I got it through my local book group so I didn’t have to pay). Very interesting – not for everyone, and definitely not a romance! I disliked both main characters (as did most people I know) so the author did a fabulous job at keeping me gripped to the very end. And I see it’s on sale now for $8.66 Not sure whether that’ll change your mind? I’d be interested to see what you think.

  4. I simply cannot pass a book shop, or a library or a supermarket without coming out with a book. Although on one hand I deplore the fact that supermarkets in particular, restrict the number of books on sale to the ones they are confident will make them a killing- and therefore there is less chance of readers being introduced to a new author, their very cheapness means that more readers are prepared to take a risk when it comes to trying a new author. However I’m with Amy and my reading time is precious, so while I try lots of new authors, if I don’t like the book after giving it a good chance, I give up on it and go to the next one. In the past I would never stop reading a book until I had finished it, no matter how much I hated it! But I’m not so prone to impulse buying on the internet. I guess that must mean that there is something about the physical look of a book that reals me in! Whew! Books are expensive in NZ. Enjoy your birthday reads.

    Anne x

  5. Hugs on the expense, Louisa. Those prices are astronomical! I tend to stick with familiar genres, rather than familiar authors, so I do try some new names. It’s the blurb that ultimately sells a book to me. I may pick it up and flip it over because of the cover image, but it’s the tone set up in the back cover copy that seals the deal–it has to appeal to my particular mood on that day. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something light…other times I want to sit on the edge of my seat. Luckily there’s plenty out there to choose from. So much so that it’s often hard to stick to just one or two…or three. 🙂

    Hope you enjoy your new books!

    1. That’s pretty much how I go about it too, Tina, not that I get into a book store that frequently around here(closest bookstore is over an hour’s drive and in another state), but when I do, I plant myself in genre sections and the covers that jump out at me get blurb read first. If the blurb fails to dazzle, I look for covers that are almost as good… I’m very visual and when care has been taken over the cover, I feel like that amount of care will be reflected in the writing and the storytelling, etc.

  6. Hi Louisa, I’m very faithful to authors that I’ve enjoyed, which is why I’ve got a copy of ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ on my tbr pile too. On the other hand, I will go out to buy books by authors I haven’t read before, either on friends’ recommendations or just because I want to know whether I’ll enjoy them or not.

    And – dare I say size? While a nice long book by an author that I love is a real find, when I’m buying on a whim I’ll admit to a tendency to choose from a new author’s shorter books – as Amy says, reading time is precious.

    Blurb and covers aren’t so important to me – I will look at the blurb, but I’m more likely to flip to the first page and start reading. Often the way that books are displayed in the shop makes a difference. I don’t dare count the number of times I’ve picked up an extra book on my way to the cash desk because it’s prominently displayed, or because I’ve been looking through it while I’m waiting to pay. Like Anne, I’m not so prone to impulse buying on the internet, so I’m thankful for the bookshops, where I make most of my ‘new’ discoveries.

    Hugs on the cost of your books!! I hope that you enjoy your birthday present.

    1. Hi Annie- we’ll have to compare notes on the Cuckoo’s Calling- I haven’t started it yet though!
      First pages are a good place to start too- you at least get a taste for the writing and voice.
      Often I’ll read what the shop assistants’ recommendations are too- sometimes they’ll have a little card with ‘MUST READ’ or something- that always piques my interest.
      As for the internet- do not ask me what I spend on impulse purchases! But still, I don’t think you can beat a real book in your hands.

  7. I pick by the cover, the blurb and sometimes “oh” by even reading the back page. Since becoming an author I seem to pick more by the author name. I like to see what others are doing. Do give us a book report on the ones you picked out.

  8. Louisa, choosing books is such delicious agony, isn’t it! You know I’m not sure that brand particularly registers when I’m picking a book – though obviously with Harlequin I know I’m getting a lovely happily-ever-after! For me, it’s all about author name, cover and blurb on the back cover. And I’m a bit like Amy in that my reading time is precious so I’m pretty ruthless if something doesn’t grab me once I’ve started to read. So getting a recommendation from someone about an author new to me is fabulous. And I have to say that Anna Campbell has introduced me to some fab new authors… Elly Griffiths, Julia Spencer-Fleming, CS Harris, Carola Dunn.

    I’ll look forward to hearing about your gorgeous new books – those covers are wonderful!

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