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February 16: Share some of your favorite romantic stories/books.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I read a lot of romance, so I’ve tried to pick a few of my favorites:
Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci
Finding her husband eagerly enjoying his secretary in all those ways he shouldn’t, Avery Bardot finally realizes her marriage to Daniel is over. Not wanting to stay in Boston while her world falls apart, Avery jumps on a plane to Rome, where she stays with her best friend, Daisy. However, on her first night in town, Avery runs into the one man she never thought she’d see again, Marcello Bianchi. With her emotions in a tangled mess, Avery must decide if she can be friends with the man who was the boy who should have been her forever love.
Overall, I truly and sincerely enjoyed my trip to Rome via Avery Bardot. It was a beautiful, vibrant journey of finding ones’ self and getting a second chance at true happiness. The romance was a sweep-you-off-your-feet whirlwind, and the tempo of the story matched its fervor and passion. The book left me with a happy grin on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.
One Christmas Eve by Shannon Stacey
Preston and Zoe start out on the wrong foot when he makes some disapproving remarks about the sexy Halloween display in her bookstore window. Because of emotional damage from her ex, Zoe immediately takes a dislike to Preston, but when he comes bearing an olive branch, the pair discovers they may have more in common than the mutual sparks growing between them.
One of the best things about One Christmas Eve is the use of books in the story. Zoe and her cousin Carly co-own a small town book shop. Zoe gives Preston one of her types of books (a steamy romance) and flags sections for him. This becomes a bit of a game, but also an effective way to help jump start communication between the pair. It’s a way to be vulnerable without feeling completely exposed. And it leads to an epilogue that brought tears to my eyes (in all the best ways).
Although Carly and Preston are quick to fall in love, One Christmas Eve brings serious emotional feels in a compact space. It’s fun, romantic, and some smexy times all centered around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
As teens attending a hockey elite camp each summer in Lake Placid, Ryan (Wes) Wesley and Jamie Canning became the kind of best friends that are forever. However, Wes harbored a secret: he loved Jamie as more than friends, and one night, their last night at camp ever, Wes pushed things a bit too far.
Four years later, the pair haven’t spoken throughout their college careers, and Jamie never figured out what he did to lose Wes as a friend. Running into one another at the NCAA Frozen Four championships allows the pair to start a new friendship. Yet working together as coaches at the place where their friendship all began gives this pair time to reflect on what they really mean to one another.
I don’t know if I can adequately express my affection for Wes and Jamie and their beautiful relationship. Him is one of my favorite books; it hits every emotional note and has a wonderful happy ending. But the journey to get to that happy place is filled with bumps and tears, as well as some smoking hot sex.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
What do you say about a romance between a high-functioning autistic economist and a hard-working sexy male escort? The premise of The Kiss Quotient is unconventional but beautiful because these two seemingly opposites are perfect for one another in so many ways. Right from the start, there is an attraction and common interests, which helps, but it’s the way that they interact that brings them together. Michael honestly enjoys Stella’s quirks and oddness that most find off-putting. He is kind and gentle, but never views her as a charity case or someone who needs to be fixed. However, his own self-view is dark. Because of his father’s actions and words, Michael feels he will never be good enough for someone as wonderful as Stella.
I absolutely loved The Kiss Quotient. It was just one of those stories that touched me right from the start. I connected with both Stella and Michael, feeling both their fears and successes along side of each. Ms. Hoang’s storytelling is emotional and honest, leaving me utterly satisfied and hopeful.
Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
Recipe for Persuasion is a beautiful second-chance romance, chocked full of powerful emotions and multiple levels of character development. The story revolves around Shobie, Ashna’s mother who is trying to repair her relationship with her daughter, Rico, who is looking for closure and a way to move on, and Ashna who wants to save her father’s restaurant and is pretty messed up. Ashna grew up working in her dad’s restaurant, having to take care of her alcoholic father and witness his suicide. Her mom put her career before Ashna, staying in India when Ashna and her dad moved to the United States. As a teen, she felt she had to hide her love for playing soccer and never wanted her sweetheart, Rico, to know the Raje part of her life. Ashna has a lot of unpacking to do, and Ms. Dev does such an amazing job sharing her story.
I absolute adored this book and the characters. There is so much going on, yet the story never overwhelms. I wanted to know more about the three main characters. I wanted to see them heal. I love the way we “know” the big picture story at the start, and how the author then fills in the pieces, allowing the healing process.