I Was Made For Loving You, Baby
“The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
2020 has been the year of COVID-19, quarantine, masks, online school, and distance. While holidays, special moments, and class were shared via video, your time alone was still spent working or worrying. So, now, it is finally time to relax and recharge over the holidays! Here are 10 romance novels to get you in the mood for a little self-care.
1. A Little Something Different: Fourteen Viewpoints, One Love Story by Sandy Hall
“Lea and Gabe are in a creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is a little aloof, Gabe is shy, and it looks like they are never going to work things out.
But something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The barista at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV series. The bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes Lea and Gabe were meant to be together.
Fall in love with falling in love in this irresistibly romantic, completely original novel!”
I absolutely fell in love with how this novel was written. Instead of just the point-of-views of the main characters, we get to see their love bloom from the eyes of outsiders. It really is a fun little read that you will breeze right through over the holidays.
2. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
“The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams – she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Baily ‘Mink’ Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faces with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life – or worst?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth – a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than in the movies, especially when Baily discovers those tricky fine lines diving hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex… approximately.”
I was so wrapped up in the dynamic story, the complex characters, and the over-all good time of this novel that it was not until I was done that I realized it is a modern-day You’ve Got Mail! Just as enthralling as that 90’s classic, this romance is not to miss over the holidays.
3. The Best Kind Of Magic by Crystal Cestari
“I mean, c’mon… a matchmaker without a match? Take about irony.
Amber Sand wants you to know she is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent; she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday-party magicians rank higher than her), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.
Amber works at her mother’s magic shop – Windy City Magic – in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is, except for one; her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and the most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his – and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t meant for her?
With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and rooting for Amber to find her happy ending.”
I cannot rave enough about this novel and the whole trilogy! Crystal Cestari gives Amber such a fun and unique voice you will instantly feel like she is your best friend. Amber’s life consists of her witch mom, vision-having best friend, werewolf co-worker, vampire boss, and a siren enemy. The magical world that is so perfectly folded-in with the human Chicago makes you want to jump into the pages. And The Fates that Amber dislikes so much? Well, they have something rather fitting up their sleeve. Reading this trilogy is the perfect way to spend the holidays.
4. Chateau Of Flowers: The Romantic Story Of Lily Of The Valley by Margaret Rome
“Alain Treville is a French Count and perfume maker. He gets acid into his eyes one day and as a result, is blind. At first he is very hopeful in regaining his sight back, but after two years of painful surgery, he loses hope and becomes very, very bitter.
Fleur Maynard is the Reverend’s daughter. She is pressured to go see Alain to try to calm him for his next surgery, but in their first meeting, she snaps at him for his childish behavior, and Alain surprises her by apologizing. Fleur is the only person who tells him the truth, he says, instead of giving him pity.
So he hangs out with Fleur all the time now, having her describe scenery and such. His behavior has become a lot better, except sometimes he lashes out his frustrations at Fleur when they are alone, and that causes Fleur great distress. Yet, somehow, that doesn’t stop her from falling in love with him.”
I read this novel around the same time I watched Perfume: Story Of A Murder, so I was actually quite familiar with the inner-workings of making perfume and how perfume interacts with the person’s body. (The latter turns out to be a very key part of the story, even a blind man able to tell the difference between people because of their scent.) There is a little bit of a Beauty And The Beast undertone and I am absolutely here for it. It is an old’y but a good’y and a nice little read for over the holidays.
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Named one of the New York Public Library’s Books Of The Century and one of Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at the time when The New York Times noted ‘gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession’, it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920’s. The Great Gatsby is a true classic of twentieth-century literature.”
How can you not love such a classic? There are still people, even in this day and age, that feel they have to prove themselves to be worthy of love from another. There are still people, today, that know what it feels like to have unrequited love but also to love someone who very well may belong with someone else. This is the only story on the list that does not end happy, but the journey along the way is outstanding. Even if you have read it before, the holidays is a great time for another read through.
6. If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Seigemund-Broka
“Cameron Bright has a lot to say – and even more to learn – about love.
Turns out, being gorgeous and popular doesn’t get you off the hook for being a total bitch. Guess Cameron didn’t get the memo. So when her crush, Andrew, balks at her nasty ways, she’ll do anything to get back in her favor. Anything takes the form of a ‘self-taming’ project a la Shakespeare’s famous shrew, Katherine. If Cameron can prove to Andrew she’s changed for the better, he’ll have to give her another chance. But facing her flaws head-on is no easy task. Especially when making amends with a certain guy leads to complicated feelings….”
The novel was oddly motivating and reminiscent of The Princess Diaries. Cameron Bright has does everything right up to this point, or so she thinks, and intends to continue down the path of success. Her self-taming process is less about making herself more PC, rather, understanding the effects of her actions. And the “certain guy” and his sister are very Michael and Lily, including being a computer genius and a don’t-care-what-others-think alternative chick. It is a little more dynamic than a straight romance but is totally worth the read over the holidays.
7. Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward
“In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, the most voracious lover – for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by his dark side, Rhage fears times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threating curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves….”
Literally my favorite book. I cannot rave about The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward enough. (Each book is its own romance between the two leading characters, but all of their stories further the grander tale of The Blind King, the vampire race, the Scribe Virgin and the Omega, and the Lessing Society.) When it comes to Rhage and Mary in particular, I am slightly biased because I love almost all tellings of Beauty And The Beast. What makes this particular version so unique though, is that it is not so much about eliminating the beast but taming it. From beginning to end, Rhage worships Mary the way every woman deserves, and Mary helps Rhage understand what truly matters in all of existence. Over the holidays is the perfect time to start on the amazing journey that is The Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
8. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
“As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devasted by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini – the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik – the gentle giant; Inigo – the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen – the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.”
A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beats – The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic. This is a great novel to cozy up to the fire with and read over the holidays.
9. The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts
“Romance book blogger Vivian Galdi is a girl on a mission: the Replacement Crush Mission. After Jake the Snake pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crush targets, determined to avoid anyone who pings her zing meter.
But nerd-hot Dallas, the new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter mission, analyzing his target and taking advantage of the tactical errors in her strategy.
Does Dallas just like a good game of Replacement Crush Battlefield, or is he on his own mission to prove to Vivian that true love can’t be strategized?”
I adore this story for its realistic nature. From having Jake the Snake act like their Summer rendezvous never happened when school starts in the fall, to Vivian pulling from her favorite TV show – Star Trek – to help her in the Replacement Crush Mission, there are so many things that remind the reader of their own life. It is a cute little rom-com that I would suggest to anyone and a story you will eat right over the holidays.
10. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
“Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raises yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks.)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?”
This novel made me fall in love with Morgan Matson. Morgan Matson’s voice, realistic but interesting story world (which umbrellas all her books), and her dynamic characters make this novel a total win. Regardless of being a politician’s daughter, the scandal, and all that, there is a very common reality Andie must face: something she plans falls apart. Anyone and everyone, from things small to big, have had plans fall apart. But, as Andie proves, it is how we deal with the aftermath that matters. Not only is this a romantic love story for Andie and Clark, she learns the unconditional love of her true friends, and finally understands the conditional love of her father. The holidays are a great time to read this and reflect about the people in your life.
Love Is All You Need
Once you have burned through these books, go ahead and get the rest by each author! There is plenty of time over the holidays to light a nice candle, get a bowl of snacks, and nest into the couch. For other romance fans out there, comment your favorite below!
Author | English Major | #RealLifeBelle | Academic Romance | "This was no accident, this was a therapeutic chain of events." | www.TheMousyGirl.com