Have you ever read a book that inspired you to do something that you hadn’t considered previously? Or that is out of your status quo?
It can be big or little.
GRAB THAT JERSEY
Maybe you’d never been interested in sports, but you read a bunch of Kristen Callihan or Susan Elizabeth Phillips books about football players, and now you want to go to a game, or start watching football games. Susan Elizabeth Phillips has readers who love her Chicago Stars books whether they are sports fans or not. People love (or love to hate) Nobody’s Baby But Mine, or The Heart of Mine. Match Me If You Can is football adjacent, but part of the series and another favorite. The line of how Heath chooses the engagement ring is classic.
Or you read Breathing Room and decided to take that trip you always wanted to Tuscany. (This isn’t something I’ve done, but it’s totally on my bucket list.) Not that it wouldn’t be anyone’s dream to meet an international movie star who falls madly in love with you (even though he’s a bit of an idiot about it for a while). Perhaps love convinced you to take a leap – literally – like Rome in Rome’s Chance by Joanna Wylde.
BOOKS THAT GIVE YOU THE MUNCHIES
One thing that happened to me was I binge read a lot of books by one author, who kept mentioning scrambled eggs, and mac and cheese. I don’t really eat either of those things. (I know, I know, but there you have it.) But after reading so many of them, and the characters talking about those foods all the time I was like “oh my gosh. I MUST eat scrambled eggs and mac and cheese!” … my friends were worried I was a pod person. Are there any books or series that constantly mention a food that you find yourself craving?
I will say, while I’ve read about it in many historical romances, I’ve never wanted to try blanc mange until I read Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas, and she helpfully included a recipe for it at the end of her book. I still plan on making it one day. Invalid or not.
Have you ever read something in a book that made you want to go cook or bake? Chef romances that come to mind are Hot in Here by Sophie Renwick – and I desperately wish she’d come back and write more to that series. The siblings have a story just crying out to be written! Or Lauren Blakely’s The Only One. Both of these books feature heroes who are chefs, and in part they seduce their lady loves with delectable treats from the kitchen. We often see heroines who are pastry chefs, with heroes who have a sweet tooth. Forget trying to get your man with some sugar (literally!) – have you ever read a book and thought now I must bake a chocolate cake?!
21 OR OLDER, PLEASE: BOOZE IN BOOKS
Susan Mallery had The Seductive One – the third of the (originally Marcelli Sisters now) The Marcelli Family series, where they own a vineyard. Two things – did it make you want to grab a glass of wine and settle in? Or perhaps more grandiose, dream of owning your own label?
We’ve also seen a lot of books where the hero or heroine own their own bar or pub, craft beers and microbreweries, or distilleries. What comes to mind first is Lauren Layne’s book Just One Night, the third in her Sex, Love, Stiletto series, which has the spinoff series of the Oxford novels.
MAKE THE MOVE
I also enjoy visiting landmarks mentioned in books. I love reading things in books that are well known but quirky, like the ducklings at Boston Public Garden, or the zodiac on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal’s Main Concourse. They might not be the books that come to mind first, but Harlequin category romances often have glamorous settings overseas, especially the Harlequin Presents and Desires. Books set in Europe, the Middle East, Australia or New Zealand, even in made up kingdoms. (There are a lot of royals in those lines!)
Or – perhaps the biggest adventure of all – changing your life. Have you read a book that inspired you to pick up and move? Think Egomaniac by Vi Keeland. Our heroine picks up her life and moves to Manhattan. Of course, there are twists and turns and it isn’t all roses, but as a romance we have our happily ever after.