posted on August 27, 2020 by Stefanie London

What makes a book a keeper for me?

Like a lot of authors,I’ve been an avid reader since I was a young girl. Reading now is an activity that sits in this strange spot half-way between work and pleasure. I read for enjoyment, but I also read to keep my creative well full while I’m working on a project. Over the years I’ve read a lot of books.

So what makes a book a keeper for me?

A book that keeps me guessing

This can be tough in the romance genre because we know the HEA is a guarantee (that’s why we read them, after all!) but I still love an element of something new. Whether it’s a plot twist I didn’t see coming, an unusual setting or a character with a quirky job or situation—I like to be surprised.

Romance recommendation: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon for sexy aliens, survival and fun sci-fi action.

Characters that I can cheer for

For me, even when a book has an outstanding plot I still need to feel invested in the characters. That means a heroes and/or heroines I connect with and understand (even if I don’t always agree with their actions or motivations). This doesn’t mean that they have to be totally likable, either. A well-motivated character with an interesting personality needn’t always be nice.

Romance recommendation: Wicked Pleasure by Taryn Leigh Taylor for a totally kick butt, tech-savvy heroine.


Where romances are concerned, I need to feel the connection between the heroes and/or heroines. Whether that connection is sexually or emotionally fueled, I wants to see some sparks fly!

Romance recommendation: Not Until You by Roni Loren for two characters that are hot enough to start a wildfire.

Real Problems

Even in the most far-out fantasy-driven stories, I still want to see characters with relatable problems. Whether that’s emotions that they don’t know how to handle, situations that thrust them out of their comfort zone or fears linked to their past, I need to understand and believe that any real person could face these same problems.

Romance recommendation: Driving her Crazy by Amy Andrews for a heroine with body-image issues and a gorgeously grumpy hero who has PTSD.

So, how does this play into the books I write?

Well, I try to deliver on all those aspects in my own stories. Let’s take my latest release, Her Aussie Holiday, for example.

A book that keeps me guessing

In Her Aussie Holiday there’s a big secret within the Walters family, and it’s the kind of thing that can tear a family apart. When I first started working on this book I hadn’t planned to include a secret like this, but as I wrote it started to develop (the joys of being a pantser is that I discover the story as I write!) and it ended up being a huge part of the hero’s journey.

Characters that I can cheer for

I know many romance readers are all about the hero, and I love the hero, too. But as a writer, I often start with the heroine and her journey of self-love and self-discovery. Cora has quite the road to walk! She comes from a difficult family situation, has big dreams and a lot of people who’ve tried to clip her wings.


Trent and Cora have instant attraction. It might not be love at first site, but the lust is definitely there. What I love about their romance is how the deep feelings build over the course of the book, going from the physical to them really appreciating each other as people.

Real Problems

I think everyone can relate to having a dream that seems big and scary and out of reach, right? Both Cora and Trent have dreams like this, and I really believe that part of the power of romance novels is that they show us we can achieve the things we want in life. Whether it’s finding love, taking a leap in our careers or changing who we are, we get to live through these amazing characters and figure out how to reach the happily ever after for ourselves.

GIVEAWAY: What’s one thing that gives a book a spot on your keeper shelf? One person who comments will win a signed mystery paperback


Stefanie London

Stefanie London

Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart. Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Her favourite activity was going shopping with her Nan during school holidays, where she would sit on the floor of the bookstore with her little sister and painstakingly select the books to spend her allowance on. Thankfully, Nan was a patient woman. Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her 'very practical' Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn't fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night. Now she lives with her very own hero and dreams of travelling the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, French perfume, high heels and zombie movies. Recently she gave up her day job to write sexy, contemporary romance stories and she couldn't be happier.

11 thoughts on “What makes a book a keeper for me?”

  1. Avatar Liz Semkiu says:

    A keeper book for me must have dynamic, likeable characters who evolve, a complex plot and some surprises.

    1. Character evolution is a total must! I love a good surprise too 🙂

  2. Avatar bn100 says:

    good writing and interesting characters

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Avatar Ellen Schull says:

    When I get so caught up and feel like I am actually there with them. So, characters I can cheer for.

    1. Yes, I love that feeling of the characters being real people!

  4. Avatar Sheila Bonuso says:

    I do love a snarky heroine, who really doesn’t need a man or so she thinks until she meets him!

    1. Me too, Sheila. Love me some snark 🙂

  5. Avatar Margo B says:

    a good character that I can relate to.

  6. Avatar Angela Voorhees says:

    Books that are keepers for me are the ones that I just can’t get out of my head. Those are the books that I know I will read again!

  7. Avatar Lisa Murdock says:

    Books that I consider keeper ones are the ones that I consider my comfort reads! Doesn’t matter how many times I have reread one of my keeper books it takes me away! My comfort reads have helped me get through some pretty hard times!

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