Book List, Holiday, Seasonal Picks

Jólabókaflóð: Romance

The last few holiday seasons at the store, we’ve really embraced the idea of celebrating Jólabókaflóð, an Icelandic tradition of giving your loved ones a book and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. It just feels like a tradition that fits an indie bookstore so perfectly. This afternoon we’re sharing the romance novels we have on display!

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

I could not put this lighthearted, romantic, holiday book down. Imagine living the same day of your life repeatedly, until you figure out what caused the time loop and how to correct it, so your future can begin.

Pam

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

This was such a fun and light-hearted romance! I loved getting to know the characters, and the many wacky situations that they got themselves into. I enjoyed watching them going from unlikely friend, to even more unlikely coworkers, to much more than that. This was a super cute, feel good book!

Anna

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online
The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too tempting to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.
After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…
Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

I finished this book in the late hours of the night because I could not stop reading it! On her last day in Los Angeles, Fallon meets Ben and they have an instant connection. But because she is moving, the two decide to catch up on the same day every year. This book is full of shocking twists and turns that I never saw coming – you’ll have to read to find out for yourself!

Elise

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Set in London, this heartwarming story brings out every emotion and is the epitome of a winter read. Imagine: you feel love at first sight with a stranger in a bus window, but the moment passes and he is gone. Until a year later when your best friend introduces her new boyfriend…and it’s him. Be prepared to become fully attached to these characters and the relationships that develop along the way.

Elise

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

For a debut novel and my first historical romance, I enjoyed this very much. It certainly was a good diversion from this pandemic, and I was able to get caught up in the story of Annabelle and the Duke quite easily. While the book relied on several common tropes of romance books (historical or otherwise), the writing was compelling and entertaining.

Sarah

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford suffragists in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a powerful duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.
England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

A cute and delightful fresh take on Austen and her life, as well as her books. I really enjoyed reading and seeing Jane react to the modern world!

Sarah

A charming, romantic debut novel in which Jane Austen, heralded author, ends up time-traveling almost 200 years in the future. There she finds the love she’s written about and the destiny she’s dreamed of…but is it worth her legacy?
Bath, England, 1803. At 28, Jane Austen prefers walking and reading to balls and assemblies; she dreams of someday publishing her carefully crafted stories. Already on the shelf and in grave danger of becoming a spinster, Jane goes searching for a radical solution—and as a result, seemingly by accident, time-travels. She lands in…
Bath, England, present day. The film set of Northanger Abbey. Sofia Wentworth is a Hollywood actress starring in a new period film, an attempt to reinvent her flagging career and, secretly, an attempt to reinvent her failing marriage. When Sofia meets Jane, she marvels at the young actress who can’t seem to “break character,” even off set. And Jane—acquainting herself with the horseless steel carriages and seriously shocking fashion of the twenty-first century— meets Sofia, a woman unlike anyone she’s ever met before. Then she meets Fred, Sofia’s brother, who has the audacity to be handsome, clever, and kind-hearted.
What happens when Jane, against her better judgement, falls in love with Fred? And when Sofia learns the truth about her new friend Jane? And worst of all, if Jane stays with Fred, will she ever achieve her dream, the one she’s now seen come true?

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

A smart, well-written rom com, written by a man – so exciting! It reminds me of all my favorite movies (doubly fun as I don’t think I missed more than a reference or two), particularly (500) Days of Summer. It’s going to be a great late winter read, perfect for curling up with a mug of hot chocolate.

Sarah

A film-obsessed romantic rewrites the script to understand why his “picture-perfect” love story crashed and burned in this wonderfully clever debut.
Ellie had the quizzical eyebrows of Broadcast News–era Holly Hunter and the neon-red hair of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. At least that’s what caught Nick’s attention when he met her on the night of 2008’s historic presidential election. A cinema buff and devotee of great love stories, Nick always fancied himself the Tom Hanks of his own romantic comedy, and when sparks flew with Ellie that night, he swiftly cast her as the Meg Ryan of his story. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie just as he loved his job as a film projectionist: wholly, earnestly, cinematically.
But now Ellie has moved out, convinced that “the fire’s gone,” and Nick is forced to sift through his memories to figure out where it all went wrong. That night was a perfect meet-cute, yes, but was their romance as destined for a “happily ever after” as he’d thought? Was he really the rom-com hero he believes he’d been? Or did this Harry let his Sally down? Peppered with references to beloved movies, Love, Unscripted explores how even a hopeless romantic can learn that in real life, love isn’t—shouldn’t be—like what we see in the movies.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Here at Towne we love a good bit of royalist fan fiction. Sarah & Pam, both avid Anglophiles, love this book for the thinly veiled rehash of Wills and Kate that it is. If you love a fun love story with some family drama, The Royal We is for you!

Sarah & Pam

An American girl finds her prince in this “fun and dishy” (People) royal romance inspired by Prince William and Kate Middleton.
American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall – and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne.
Nick is wonderful, but he comes with unimaginable baggage: a complicated family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a Brit. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex looks back on how much she’s had to give up for true love… and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

I did not think I was going to get so sucked into the story and characters of this book, but I was incredibly surprised and delighted by how much I love it. It’s smartly written and cleverly crafted – each character feels like they’re fully realized and could lead their own story. I’m also very excited to see Liv and Mack take center stage in the next one!

Sarah (also enjoyed by Pam)

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

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