Today I’ve got some book recs, but instead of telling you about books that have just come out or books that I’ve recently read, I’m going to tell you about my romance comfort reads. These will run the gamut from mild to hella spicy, and some will be decades old while others are much newer on the scene. We’ll begin with the oldest and slide on into the future. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
This one is an old school favourite of mine and was first published in 1999. I related hardcore to the main character Jude, who is a psychologist, a nervous wreck, and runs away to Ireland where she finds the brooding and charming Aiden Gallagher to sweep her off her feet. When I first read this book I was studying psychology in University and I also had wild fantasies of moving to Ireland. This is both a contemporary and paranormal romance, in that the main pair are perfectly normal people without a drop of magic, but their love aids in the first step to breaking a centuries old curse between a fairy prince and the lovely ghost that lives in Jude’s cottage. Jewels of the Sun is the first book in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy, and while I enjoy the other two in the series, neither captures my heart the way that the first one does. This book is not particularly spicy, at least not in comparison to the stuff I read and write today, but the tension is delightful, and if you’re into hot Irishmen, pristine American women learning to embrace joy in life, and a magical storyline then you might enjoy it. Honestly, just thinking about it now makes me want to book a flight to Ireland. Maybe I’ll go reread Jewels of the Sun as an acceptable substitute for planning an international move for funsies.
Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, immersing herself in the study of Irish Folk and discovers hope for the future of the magical past.
Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his stormy eyes—and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her—while they create a passionate history of their own…
Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
This is the only YA book on my list and it’s one of those books that you’ve either never heard of or you love it with every fiber of your being. Obviously, since it’s on this list, I fall into the second camp. It came out in 2003 and is the first in the Kiesha’ra series. It’s a paranormal enemies to lovers romance where the hawk shifter queen is wed to the cobra shifter king in an attempt to end a millenia long war between their people. The vibes are impeccable and their commitment to peace really helps push along the romance as they both flat out refuse to let their people suspect that they’re not really in love. Someday I’m going to write epic fantasy shifters with adult characters and make it hellaciously spicy, and I hope it captures even a fraction of the tension in this story.
Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk’s form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long, no one can remember how the fighting began. As heir to the avian throne, she’ll do anything in her power to stop this war—even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind’s greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.
Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica—and all they ask of their people—but it may be more than she can give.
Goddess of Spring by PC Cast
I’ve always had a soft spot for Hades and Persephone stories and Goddess of Spring is no exception. It came out in 2004, and is technically a Hades and original character romance who only inhabits the body of Persephone. This story involves a sweet bakery owner accidentally summoning Demeter who offers her the chance to switch lives with Persephone. So Lina goes to the Underworld in Persephone’s body, and Persephone hops into Lina’s body to reinvigorate this woman’s life. Of course Lina falls for Hades, because let’s be real, who wouldn’t? The resolution of the story fits really well with the original myth and I just love that both of the women get to find a life that fulfills them. Plus there is just so much beautiful imagery in this book, and it makes me crave cream cheese and fresh bread every time I read.
Lina’s trendy bakery in Tulsa is proving to be less than lucrative, and she must come up with a plan. When she stumbles upon an Italian Goddess cookbook, Lina can’t help but think she’s found the answer to her problem—even if it means invoking a goddess to save her business.
Soon enough, Lina finds herself face-to-face with Demeter, who has a plan of her own. She proposes that Lina exchange souls with Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, who will breathe new life into the bakery. In return, Lina must set order to the Underworld.
Before all this, Lina’s problems mostly involved sourdough and second dates. Now that she embodies the enchanting Persephone, Lina has weightier things on her mind—like the formidable task of bringing Spring to a world of spirits. But when the handsome, brooding Hades kindles a spark in her heart, Lina wonders if this Lord of the Underworld might be the man of her dreams.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
There are a few Sophie Kinsella stories that give me the warm fuzzies, but my fave has to be The Undomestic Goddess that came out in 2005. You know that meme with the dog sitting in the fire telling itself this is fine? That’s what Samantha’s life is. She’s a London attorney absolutely killing herself for her career, and when she has a huge fuck up at work she literally just gets onto the train, rides out into the countryside and assumes a new life after the place she stops to use the phone mistakes her for their housekeeper applicant. Except, that while Samantha is an amazing lawyer, she has zero domestic skills, so there’s a pile of shenanigans as she figures out how to hide this fact from her new employers. Enter the very crankypuss groundskeeper Nathaniel who begrudgingly offers to teach her some of the skills and introduce her to his mom that handles the bulk of Samantha’s domestic education. It’s just so flipping cute and charming, and my one complaint is that it could have been absolute fire if we’d gotten a great sex scene. The leads had amazeballs chemistry, and they do have sex, but it feels very glossed over, and I’ve gotten rather attached to spice over the years. But regardless, it’s a lovely, fun book.
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.
But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?
Vision in White by Nora Roberts
There’s a great many Nora Roberts books I’ve enjoyed over the years, this is only the second of them to make its way onto my comfort reads list. It came out in 2009 and is the first in the Bride Quartet. This story features workaholic photographer Mackensie and the shy teacher Carter that had a massive crush on her back in high school. If you’re a fan of the quiet in the streets and wild in the sheets kind of love interest then you’ll probably love Carter too. This book has a lot of found family love and some bio family drama that I feel like a lot of people can relate to. There’s def a bit of miscommunication with the ex-girlfriend storyline that feels kinda banal, but everything else is pretty fab and I love it. I did enjoy the rest of the quartet, but like with Jewels of the Sun, it was the first in the series that really stuck with me.
After years of throwing make-believe weddings in the backyard, flowers, photography, desserts, and details are what these women do best: a guaranteed perfect, beautiful day full of memories to last the rest of your life.
With bridal magazine covers to her credit, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera—ready to capture the happy moments she never experienced while growing up. Her father replaced his first family with a second, and now her mother, moving on to yet another man, begs Mac for attention and money. Mac’s foundation is jostled again moments before an important wedding planning meeting when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.
Carter Maguire is definitely not her type: he’s stable, and he’s safe. He’s even an English teacher at their high school alma mater. There’s something about him that makes Mac think a casual fling is just what she needs to take her mind off dealing with bridezillas and screening her mother’s phone calls. But a casual fling can turn into something more when you least expect it. And with the help of her three best friends—and business partners—Mac must learn how to make her own happy memories.
Now we leap forward by a decade, at least in terms of publication year. I didn’t read all of the books before this in their year of publication. A lot of books I read in general came from a second hand shop near my house and the library until I eventually acquired Kindle Unlimited and discovered a brand new world of spice.
The Dare by Harley Laroux
This book isn’t exactly comfort, but rather an awakening that I am very attached to. This dark contemporary bully romance novella came out in 2019 and has since spawned a duet that follows the characters to their happy ending. This story features queen bee Jessica attending a party where her former bullying victims are also enjoying themselves, and ends up caught in a dare with Manson, whom she’s both very hot for but also very mad at herself for wanting. It’s one awakening after another for her as she uses the conditions of the dare to reach for all the things she’s always been afraid to want. It’s just so flipping good. Harley is a genius. I’m going to include the Losers duet with this because while I haven’t yet had time to read those again, they’re already burned into my brain for eternity. The Dare is extremely spicy and has a very extensive content warning list, so please check that out before reading it for yourself.
Jessica Martin is not a nice girl.
As Prom Queen and Captain of the cheer squad, she’d ruled her school mercilessly, looking down her nose at everyone she deemed unworthy. The most unworthy of them all? The “freak,” Manson Reed: her favorite victim.
But a lot changes after high school.
A freak like him never should have ended up at the same Halloween party as her. He never should have been able to beat her at a game of Drink or Dare. He never should have been able to humiliate her in front of everyone. Losing the game means taking the dare: a dare to serve Manson for the entire night as his slave. It’s a dare that Jessica’s pride—and curiosity—won’t allow her to refuse. What ensues is a dark game of pleasure and pain, fear and desire.
Is it only a game?
Only a dare?
Or is it something more?
Carnal Cryptids: East Coast by Vera Valentine
Carnal Cryptids sank straight into my soul the second I read it, and it just lives there forever now. It came out in 2021 and is a why choose monster romance featuring our spunky human leading lady Desi, along with Mothman, the Jersey Devil, and the Lake Champlain monster Champ. It’s super hot, super clever, and honestly Vera has a gift for setting the scene. The vibes are amazing and I’d read about these characters forever.
Desiderata needed a drink. After a long day of dodging darts and heckling tourists from her balloon game booth on the Wildwood boardwalk, she just wanted to forget her looming housing angst for an hour. When heavy flirtation and a cocktail from a suave substitute bartender shakes up her evening, things are looking up.
Until, of course, she catches him making out with a hot college guy not five minutes later.
In an attempt to forget the sinfully sexy stranger from the night before, Desi agrees to a dinner date with the eyeful of tall, dark and handsome that shows up at her job the next day. There’s just one little catch: he’s apparently already dating the two guys from the bar.
For JD, a shift behind a Jersey shore dive bar was always the same: predictable, boring, a little bit sticky. So what was it about this gorgeous brunette that instantly had him on the rocks? One look at her brought out the beast in him—and a desperate hope that she might be what he and Penn need to save Will for good. After over a century of struggle, they were due for a win—and someone who really believed in them.
That’s all they’ll need to get Desi to agree to.
But it’s going to be one hell of a night.
I hope you enjoyed my list of comfort romance reads and that you might check some of them out for yourself.
That’s all for now. You can find all of my books and platforms in the description below, as well as links to all of the books talked about in this video. If you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, please do let me know. And if you’d like early access to these you can join my Patreon where I share them with people as soon as they’re ready to roll. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you soon for another episode!
Jewels of the Sun: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59810.Jewels_of_the_Sun
Goddess of Spring: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30194.Goddess_of_Spring
The Undomestic Goddess: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33722.The_Undomestic_Goddess
Vision in White: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5598113-vision-in-white
The Dare: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56635834-the-dare
Carnal Cryptids: East Coast: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59417471-east-coast
First Heat Series – m/f, 3rd person POV
First Heat: https://books2read.com/FirstHeat
First Heat: Second Chances: https://books2read.com/FHSC
First Heat: Tying The Knot: https://books2read.com/FirstHeatTTK
Heat Play Love – m/m/m, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/HeatPlayLove
Conference Confidential – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/ConferenceConfidential
2021 Omegaverse Collection – contains First Heat, First Heat: Second Chances, Heat Play Love, Conference Confidential, and 2 bonus shorts https://books2read.com/OV2021
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part One – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part Two – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls2
Salacious Salvation – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/SalaciousSalvation
Playtime with Professor – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/PlaytimeWithProfessor
PARANORMAL Into The Depths – f/nb, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/intothedepths
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