By Alyssa Cole
The last few months (years?) have, in general, been a fiery hellscape that have made the simple things like not howling ceaselessly into the void more difficult than usual.
Enter: the restorative power of romance! When the world is bleak, romance reminds you that no matter how unlikely it seems, there’s always an HEA lurking after the moment when all appears to be lost. Here are a few books that will brighten your day by giving you your daily dose of love, laughter, tears, and hope when you need it the most:
If you need a bear hug, this is the read for you: the hero is literally a big cuddly alpha bear shifter (unless you mess with his people, in which case he is decidedly not cuddly). This book is the first in Singh’s Psy-Changeling Trinity series, and a great entry point for new readers. Silver Mercant (aka Silver F*cking Mercant) is the calm, cool, and controlled director of a worldwide emergency response network that is part of the new and yet untested Trinity: peace between psy, humans, and changelings. Silver is “silent”—stripped of emotion—until Valentin Nikolaev, a big, brash, persistent bear shifter, bursts into her world. Silver Silence’s strength is that it’s driven by emotion, and explores the ways it can change us, for better and for worse. This book is literally about feels, and will also give you way too many of them. There is a terroristic scheme to undermine the nascent peace between psy, human, and changeling, but all of it is tied up in Silver’s ability to feel, and Valentin’s resolution to stay with her no matter what. Valentin’s absolute awe of Silver’s intelligence and ability, and their mutual respect, add to this a great restorative read. Plus, there’s lots of banter! And hot sex! And—if you listen to the audiobook—amazing Russian accents! Bonus: cute baby bear cubs!
Reading Rafe is like curling up in a soothing blanket fort made of hot bearded ginger hero—okay that sounds macabre, but you get what I’m going for! Weatherspoon has crafted the ultimate comfort read: our heroine Sloane is a brilliant young heart surgeon and the divorced mom of six-year-old twins. Our hero, Rafe, is a professional nanny who happens to be smoking hot, covered in tattoos, and rides a motorcycle. When Sloane’s nanny runs off, she needs a new one stat, and Rafe is called in to help solve one problem, which creates another: they very much want to bang from the moment they meet. Sloane is inexperienced, having married young and spent so much of her time on her studies. Rafe is trying to get out of the nanny game and focus on building his own life, but when he and Sloane fall for one another things get complicated. Rafe is such a caretaking hero! He knows how to bake, braid hair, and—when he and Sloane are alone—how to get down and dirty; the reader can’t help but swoon. The book has Weatherspoon’s signature blend of sweet and filthy, as well as fun friendships and strong family relationships. Definitely what the doctor ordered for these trying times!
What’s better than a scientist heroine? Almost nothing, except a scientist heroine and a scientist hero! STEM romance lovers will particularly enjoy this latest from de los Reyes, featuring Lise, a “math girl” who’s switching her field of study to Physical Oceanography, and trying to overcome her fear of drowning and the ocean. That’s all well and good, but Lise’s new life plan is a problem for “ocean boy” Noah, who’s already spent five years on his master’s in Chemical Oceanography and needs to finally finish his thesis. When they strike up a mutually beneficial arrangement…well, you know what happens! If you love science jokes, banter, academic frenemies to lovers, smoking hot sex scenes, and more science jokes, this is the perfect prescription to lift your mood and leave you feeling good.
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About the Author
Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and SFF romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union is the winner of the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can often be found watching anime with her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.
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