Bookstore Romance Day is Saturday, August 21. What does that mean? It’s a day designated to strengthen the ties between independent bookstores and the romance reading and writing community. While we don’t have any special events this Saturday, we hope you’ll stop by and browse the romance shelves, revisit our virtual event with Abby Jimenez and Casey McQuiston, peruse the official Bookstore Romance Day site for stuff going on at bookstores across the country, or check out the sexy staff picks below!
You may know that Magers & Quinn is a large bookstore, but did you know we have a romance section? We do, and it’s pretty great if we do say so ourselves! Here are some of our favorite romance novels you’ll find there:
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
August Landry doesn’t connect to people very well, preferring instead to keep moving around and keeping her distance…that is, until she gets to New York City, moves in with a bunch of adorable weirdos who live above a Popeye’s, starts working at an iconic diner, and meets a very hot girl on the Q train. Fantastically queer and unabashedly pro-New York Subway system! An achingly sweet, but very sexy, love story with a somewhat supernatural/sci fi twist.
Well Met by Jen Deluca
Emily moves to a small town to care for her sister and niece, who’ve just been in a bad car accident. Normally she would hate this kind of thing, but her life is falling apart, and volunteering at the town’s famous Renaissance Faire is a decent distraction. If only the crabby stickler of a Faire director weren’t so aggravating! Though this book is set in Maryland, Renaissance Faires and bookstores are also things that Minnesota excels at, so this delightful book felt very close to my nerdy heart. An enemies to lovers plot, a spicy first kiss, and realistic emotional barriers keep this fun romance chugging along nicely. Also look out for the next in the series, Well Played (out now) and Well Matched (coming this fall).
Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters series) by Talia Hibbert
Precise, organized, careful Chloe has a near-death experience, and determines to spice up her life. Of course, she has a checklist of things to accomplish, such as “do something bad,” “go camping,” and “have meaningless sex.” But she doesn’t anticipate her first step–moving into a new apartment–to come complete with a rude, judgemental, unbelievably gorgeous building manager. British rom-com charm and sexiness, with some well-done themes of class, disability, and race. Try listening to the audibook version from Libro.fm – it’ll put you in a great mood!
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
Jimenez is beloved (and, jokingly, hated) by her fans for her ability to combine swoony, sexy, made-for-each-other couples with the sadder, darker realities of life in her novels. Sloan’s fiance died unexpectedly two years ago, but she is still experiencing debilitating grief that’s prevented her from getting her life back on track. When she takes in a charming lost dog, things are looking up–until she connects with the owner, who wants it back. But as they exchange flirty texts and more, could it be more than the dog that’s bringing Sloan back into the light? Maybe this is a cliche, but this book WILL make you laugh, cry, and believe in happy ever after.
Highlander Untamed by Monica McCarty
Sure, the contemporary rom-com style of romance is in right now, but don’t sleep on historical romance, a staple of the genre! In this installment of McCarty’s MacLeods of Skye series, Rory MacLeod hates the MacDonald clan due to a past injustice, and Isobel MacDonald feels the same towards Rory. But they honor their arranged marriage, Rory out of a sense of duty and Isobel in hopes of seducing her way into accessing MacLeod family secrets. I wonder if they’ll fall in love? This was the first romance book I ever read. Sexy Scotsmen! Arranged marriage! Hate-to-love with a dash of rival families! Undeniably sexy and fun.
Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James
An underappreciated trope, in my opinion? The “friendly” wager! Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed–but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure. No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan–but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a bet: if she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches. If he wins…she is his, for one wild night. But will one night be enough for either of them? If you want to read Bridgerton-esque character and settings, but don’t want to spoil the plot by reading ahead of the TV series, this is a great fit! Fun fact: Eloisa James is a pen name for the author Mary Bly, who is from Minnesota and is the daugther of Robert Bly!
Rebel by Beverly Jenkins
Valinda Lacy heads south in the aftermath of the Civil War, hoping to make a difference. Her mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life–and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq, a handsome architect from a large and respected New Orleans family. Valinda, who is already engaged to a family friend, is at peace with her future: a life of companionship and friendship, but not passion. But after meeting Drake and his unforgettable family, is that enough? Reconstruction era New Orleans makes a compelling setting for this slow burn “I shouldn’t want you so badly, but I do” romance, with real stakes that are both personal and societal.
We love our romance section, but romance is a genre that often has multiple books in a series, with multiple series by each author – so it’s impossible to carry everything! Remember: you can always ask a bookseller for comparable recommendations if we’re out of what you’re looking for, plus we can special order just about any book as long as it’s currently in print!
We hope you enjoy these recommendations, and that you find your happy ever after in a book this weekend!