Cathy’s Picks for Bookstore Romance Day

Everybody needs a little love in their lives these days, right? Good news on that front: This Saturday is Bookstore Romance Day, a special bookish holiday designed to celebrate readers and writers of romance fiction. The romance genre is responsible for some of the funniest, most diverse, and empowering books out there. To mark the holiday, store events coordinator and champion of the happy-ever-after Cathy Berner shares how reading romance has shaped her life and made her a better reader below. She also runs through a few of her recent favorites, which are all but guaranteed to make you smile. So make some space on your TBR pile for romance and read on. (If you’re new to the genre or catching up on this year’s releases, our three-book romance bundle is a great place to start!)


When I was a teen, the variety of young adult books we enjoy today did not exist. Once I got through the available options, I started reading romance books that I found on the spinner racks at the Wayzata branch of the Hennepin County Library, west of Minneapolis. I’ve been reading them ever since.

Why do I read romance books? I’m asked this question from time to time, but I don’t think it’s any mystery. Yes, romance novels typically end with Happy Ever After (or Happy For Now), but in the hands of a gifted writer, that doesn’t matter—the tension is in how the relationship resolves and in how characters develop. The best romance novels today also address important social issues or provide a glimpse into the life experiences of characters from every background imaginable.

I read romance novels for all those reasons. But I also read them for escape, for laughter, and for joy. And who among us couldn’t use some of that these days?

Maybe you’re still on the fence about romance fiction. Maybe you’re even used to people turning their noses up at the entire genre. Trust me: You—and they—just haven’t met the right one yet.

Here’s a brief list of some of my recent favorites, two of which you can find in our Staff Fave Romance Bundle. If you’ve read all of these or are looking for more, just call the store and let me know—I’m always happy to make a recommendation!

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory


Olivia Monroe has moved home to Los Angeles to start her own law firm. When she meets a gorgeous guy at a hotel bar and has an amazing time, she's stunned to learn that he's Max Powell, the junior senator from California. Olivia has absolutely no interest in dating someone with that high of a profile, but Max is sweet and funny and has chocolate cake delivered to her office... What's a girl to do? Jasmine Guillory combines swoony romance and real world issues to deliver a very satisfying read.


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Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams


When pastry chef Liv catches her boss harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and he fires her, blackballing her from the Nashville restaurant scene. Liv vows revenge and, unfortunately, must turn to charismatic night club owner Braden Mack and the Bromance Book Club. Well-drawn characters, hilarious situations, and snappy dialogue abound.


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Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert


Retired rugby player Zafir and doctoral student Dani work at the same university—he's the security guard for her building. When a safety drill traps Dani in an elevator, Zafir's rescue goes viral and the two decide to fake a relationship to promote the charity he's founded. Soon the line between fake and real begins to blur, forcing Zafir and Dani to confront their true feelings. This steamy romance that candidly discusses mental and emotional health is a welcome addition to any romance fan's TBR pile!


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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall


Luc O'Donnell needs a fake perfect boyfriend to repair his reputation in the tabloids and at the office. His best friend sets him up with Oliver, a handsome barrister who agrees to the ruse. It's a romcom, so of course everything resolves after much hilarity. The secondary characters are charming and quirky. I had the best time reading this.


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One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London


Bea Schumacher is an up-and-coming plus-size fashion blogger who becomes the next star of The Main Squeeze (a Bachelorette-like reality show) after blasting the show for its lack of racial and body type diversity. Hung up on her forever crush, Ray, and rightfully skeptical of the contestants’ motives, Bea navigates the filming as she decides whether or not she can, and should, fall in love. Thoroughly charming! 


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You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria


Soap opera star Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds out through a tabloid article that her rock star boyfriend has dumped her, just as she's headed to New York to being filming a bilingual rom-com for the top streaming service in the country. She's determined to put that behind her and focus on her Leading Lady Plan, but once she meets her co-star Ashton Suarez, all bets are off. A very fun, soapy rom-com—you'll read it in one sitting.


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Attend our virtual event with the author—plus fellow romance writers Sarah MacLean and Sophie Jordan—on August 13!