Sometimes, we just need a good cry. I am not talking about a few quiet tears gently rolling down your cheeks but rather gut-busting, heart-hurting, box-of-tissues-required ugly crying. There is just something about this type of emotional release that helps us to reset, and there is no better place to have a sob session than within the safety of a romance novel, knowing there is a guaranteed happily ever after just around the corner.
Since we are knee deep in the frantic and stressful holiday season, now is the perfect time to take a break and get your cry on, and these are some of my favorite, recent ugly-cry romances. Read assured knowing that these are not tragedies. They are beautiful and satisfying love stories that make you feel everything and will have you laughing, smiling, hurting, sighing, blushing and crying.
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan is one of the most deeply affecting and inspirational books that I’ve ever read, and it is no exaggeration to say that it moved me beyond words, left me breathless and, at times, made me a sobbing mess. The story’s couple meet at the wrong time in their lives, and although they quickly forge a powerful connection, they are not meant to be… at that moment. Their lives take them in different – and sometimes heartbreaking – directions, but they are always in each other’s orbit. Long Shot takes the reader on a journey that is gritty, real and impactful, and I am still thinking about it months after reading it.
Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann
Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann is a fun and sexy enemies-to-lovers story, but nestled amongst the humor and romance is a profound message of redemption. The hero, Flint, is a single father, who has spent the last ten years mired in painful, unimaginable guilt for an indefensible choice that he made. He doesn’t believe he deserves to ever feel happy again, but when the vivacious, compassionate and kindhearted heroine, Ellen, blows into his life, she ultimately shows him that he is loveable, even after making mistakes. She becomes his friend, champion and lover, and he begins to heal and live again. Look the Part is a romance that will squeeze your heart until it is near bursting.
Beautiful Hearts duet by Emma Scott
The Beautiful Hearts duet by Emma Scott, which includes Bring Down the Stars and Long Live the Beautiful Hearts, is a profoundly moving tale of steadfast friendship and unconditional love. The three main characters are on a journey that takes them through college, war and home again, and they experience joy, love, heartbreak, despair, recovery and hope along the way. Emma Scott’s commanding, evocative storytelling ensures the reader feels every moment, and I was spellbound from beginning to end.
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward is a highly entertaining and drop-dead sexy enemies-to-lovers romance that packs an emotional punch. Reed and Charlotte meet under kismet-worthy circumstances, and they immediately clash and butt heads. They bicker, flirt and push each other’s buttons, and they forge a strong connection that takes both of them by surprise. As they tussle their way into love, they discover things about one another that have the potential to end their romance before it begins, and this is when my tears fell. Keeland and Ward infuse a dose of reality into Hate Notes that hits you right in the chest because this story could be anyone’s story, and this makes its happy-ever-after truly impactful and downright beautiful.
When Ashes Fall by Marni Mann
When Ashes Fall by Marni Mann isn’t releasing until January 2019, but I want to mention it now, so it will be on your radar. It is a truly unique and unforgettable romance that will break your heart and then piece it back together stronger than it was before. I do not want to spoil it, so I will just say that you will walk away from When Ashes Fall believing in the strength of the human spirit and reassured that there is always sunlight after the darkest of storms.
Fall by Kristen Callihan
Fall by Kristen Callihan is a swoon-worthy, enemies-to-lovers rock star romance with a relevant, and, for many readers, relatable storyline. The hero, Jax, suffers with sometimes-debilitating anxiety and depression, and although he is a wealthy and famous musician, he tried to commit suicide two years ago. He knows he will always struggle to manage his illness and practice good self-care, and he fears he may never be able to be in a relationship. He meets Stella, and they clash in the best ways possible. As they slowly transition from enemies to friends to lovers, she accepts him in every way and proves to him that depression and anxiety does not define him. In a time when suicide has shortened our average life expectancy, Fall is an important and emotional story, and Kristen Callihan does an exceptional job of presenting mental illness compassionately and with the candor and seriousness it deserves.
Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely
Lauren Blakely is known for her entertaining and lighthearted romantic comedies, and Unbreak My Heart definitely fits this description, but it is also a truly moving human story. The hero, Andrew, is grieving the loss of his brother, and he fears he will never feel happy or hopeful again. He begins a journey to try and heal and understand, and he reconnects with one of his closest friends and former lovers, who walks with him hand-in-hand along the way. They traverse the globe searching for answers, and they forge a deep connection and fall in love. Andrew might not find everything that he is looking for, but he does find everything he needs. I am tearing up as I write this, because Unbreak My Heart truly resonates.