Give Yourself Some Romance

It's Valentine's Day! There's red and chocolate everywhere, and there will be a lot of dining out and champagne and general fuzziness. Oh – and some media attention toward the romance novel since it's an annual thing, asking romance authors what the best date nights are and how to woo the unwilling maiden after you've taken over her father's business in an act of cold blooded corporate revenge. 

I figure, let's give gifts! I am giving away two $50 gift cards to the bookstore of the winner's choice! All you have to do: tell me which romance novel you think would make a great gift, and for whom. Maybe it's the book that has the most wide and giddy appeal to the most readers you know. Maybe it's the book you think is one of the best kept secrets of romance publishing. Maybe it's just your favorite for a whole pile of reasons. Either way: name the book you think would make a marvelous gift in the comments, and you might receive the gift card that will enable the purchase of much of the romances! To the yay!  

I will select two winners at random, and they will receive $50 to spend at the bookstore of their choosing.

Standard disclaimers apply: I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Your mileage may vary. Turn inside out before washing. Void where prohibited. Must be wearing a cowboy hat and be 18 years of age or older to win. Stop clubbing, baby seals. 

You've got 24 hours, so let's start suggesting the perfect giftable romances! 

ETA: We have winners! Thanks to the random integer generator, our winners are #3, Anna, and #122, Kirsten. Ladies, please contact me at sarahATsmartbitchestrashybooks.com to claim your gift cards. Thank you to everyone who entered – my books to recommend list is now miles long! 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Whitney says:

    So it may not be a TRASHY (in the very best sense of the word) romance novel, but The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (2001) has everything a girl could want: burning desires that must be hidden, a truly heroic hero (who you sometimes want to smack), a strong heroine unwilling to compromise her beliefs (again with the smacking), and a truly epic love story set in World War II era Russia. I’d recommend this book to any romance reader who also wants a history lesson that you were never taught in school.

  2. 2
    ToppysMom says:

    “Stay,” by Allie Larkin. I just love this book for that proverbial “whole pile of reasons.” A heroine at a crossroads, in love with a guy who marries someone else, so what does she do but watch a “Rin Tin Tin” marathon, get drunk, and buy a puppy. Over the Interwebs. It is a sweet, sweet book, and of course she gets her happy ending, but along the way “Stay” explores all sorts of themes about life and loss, living and moving on, so I can heartily recommend it to people who aren’t romance readers and will never really get that at its heart, it’s a GREAT romance. And it has a great dog.

    For people who just want a rollicking good time with romance ranging alongside crazy, “Agnes and the Hitman,” by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. It also translates most excellently to audiobook, always a plus in my … er … book.

  3. 3
    Anna says:

    I have given out Joanna Bourne novels to many people.  Pretty well as often as I can.  I usually start them out with The Spymaster’s Lady or My Lord and Spymaster and have yet to find someone who dislikes them.  Marvelous, marvelous gifts.

  4. 4
    Lisa Pegg says:

    I can’t actually pick a favorite, but for sheer enjoyment of the WTF-ery, I’ve got to show some love to Bertrice Small and “Skye O’Malley”. That book (and woman) is epic.

  5. 5
    Carney says:

    Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison for the friend who loved Buffy. Good for a guy or a girl. No HEA yet but the author did say she was planning on one. Lots of dating throughout the series.

    For the friend who liked Buffy but wants more typical romance, go with Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Maybe my favorite alpha male ever.

  6. 6
    Gabrielle says:

    I’d give Courtney Milan’s Unveiled, especially to someone who has never read a romance novel.  She writes beautifully about two people who just… fall in love because they come to LIKE each other.  And she makes us like them too.  The most amazing part is how rare and refreshing and true that is in a genre purported to be about exactly that.

  7. 7
    Amy says:

    I gave my friend “Lord of Scoundrels” for her birthday last year, and for her introduction to romance. It is the ultimate classic romance novel for me, and impossible not to love! It has cliches, and familiar tropes, and yet ROCKS them so amazingly… it’s like Loretta Chase invented the genre! Heart ache and laughter, a great gift!

  8. 8
    Copa says:

    For a friend who moved just this month (just like me!) and has been down about having no social life, I would gift Open Season by Linda Howard as motivation to get out there and have some fun/buy some condoms.

  9. 9
    Susan F. says:

    Though it would be pretty easy to give it as a gift right now since it’s free on amazon, I LOVED Courtney Milan’s Unlocked.  I read it on a long car trip after Christmas at my parents’ house and when we stopped to eat lunch at McDonalds, I brought in my kindle to use the wifi to download the rest of her books.  It made my stomach just drop in places.  I felt every emotion that these characters did.  Would recommend it to anyone.

  10. 10
    Linkmeister says:

    Whitney prompted me to think of another book which provides a history lesson while offering up a fine romance: Helen MacInnes’s While Still We Live. A young English woman visits Poland just as WW II is about to begin. She’s trapped there by circumstance and relationships. The reader is bound to learn a bit about the invasion of Poland in 1939 and the resistance the Poles put up, which isn’t mentioned much in the history books we Americans are assigned to read.

  11. 11
    Jo Gunn says:

    I would give Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me to my best friend. She used to be a huge romance reader (who started much earlier than I did) but right now she is just emerging out of several years of studying and child-rearing during which she has hardly had time to to read for fun.
    Why this book? It’s funny and sweet (but not too sweet) and will make a perfect re-entry book for her into the world of romance novels.

  12. 12
    Auctoria says:

    Susannah Kearsley’s SHADOWY HORSES for anyone who loves the Scotsmen, Ghosts, and Archeology trifecta! Get some Shortbread and a hot Cuppa tea and enjoy! Lemon please, thanks!

  13. 13
    library addict says:

    I like to give Naked in Death by JD Robb and have hooked numerous co-workers and friends on this series. If they do not like futuristic settings, then I tend to give Northern Lights by Nora Roberts. Or if they aren’t mystery fans, Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey.

    Those are the 3 books I have gifted most often. I do try to cater towards the person in question’s reading taste.

  14. 14
    Rebeca says:

    Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas. It makes me believe that HEA’s exist right alongside suffering. The character’s growth and redemption inspire.

  15. 15
    Carol says:

    Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. Its my number one favorite romance novel! It would be a great gift for anyone. I love Min and Cal together, so perfect!

  16. 16
    Mandy says:

    Oh my, If I had to choose I would give Nalini Singh’s Archangels Series, and I would give it to anyone who loves Paranormal Romances! It is one of my favorite series!

  17. 17
    Sycorax says:

    I’d give Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series to any fantasy reader who scoffs at paranormal romance.

  18. 18
    galathea says:

    I’d gift Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold to my boyfriend because I think he might like it.
    It’s fantasy with strong romantic plot, so I hope it counts ;)

  19. 19
    Sabbyc72 says:

    This is really, really, really hard. I would recommend anything by Sabrina Jeffries, Gaelen Foley, Stephanie Laurens and most importantly – Lisa Kleypas.

    If I have to recommend individual books I would pick the following three as they were the ones that got me started on my love of romance – The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer, The Captive by Victoria Holt and Moonfire by Linda Lael Miller (read that so many times, it’s falling apart!).

    Though I have to say that Lisa Kleypas is my favorite romance author of all time – The Hathaway series and The Wallflower series are all excellent.

    Plus, a quick shout out to The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen – I like re-reading this one a lot!

  20. 20
    susib200768 says:

    I’d gift either Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie (my favorite contemporary ever) or The Suitor by Sandy Hingston as a contemporary. It has the best heroine and I love the dialogues.

  21. 21
    Vi says:

    I’m recommending The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley to my friend. She used to read so much back in school – we both were reading buddies in school. She’s now married and getting back into the reading grove. I got her a Kindle and loaded up some books from different genres for her to try. The Winter Sea for pure romance – you get two stories in two different times – what more could you want?

  22. 22
    Katie says:

    I would give Lord of Scoundrels, Dreaming of You, or Unveiled, as I think they elude the expectations I had of the genre and are so fun (and of course hot!) at the same time.

  23. 23
    Lisa J says:

    Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh because it’s the beginning of a great series.  My sister and I don’t always have the same taste in books, but I’m working on her.  She’s wearing down.and I know she’ll love the whole lot.

  24. 24
    Ginny says:

    Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath for my grandmother because she loves her some westerns and a good romance. :)

  25. 25
    Tina says:

    Just finished Black Hawk, by Joanna Bourne and it was WONDERFUL.  Bourne has such a way with a turn of phrase that she’s a joy a to read.  I just love what she does with language.  As for the story, there’s a “who’s doin’ it”, but the most important part of the book is the years long love story between the hero and the heroine.  There’s so many reasons why they should be enemies and shouldn’t have anything to do with each other, yet they are love of each other’s lives since they were both very young.  As for who I’d give it to – anyone that loves language, history, and/or deep and abiding love.

  26. 26
    Karen says:

    Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James would make a good gift for someone new to romance. The writing is well-crafted, humorous and emotional, the characters are realistic, and while sexual tension is present, there are no in-your-face smexy scenes that could shock the newbie romance reader.

  27. 27
    Deborah says:

    The Very Virile Viking! The name makes people smile and it turns out to be a fun book to read.

  28. 28
    Ashley Leann says:

    Because You’re Mine by Lisa Kleypas is old school in a good way, lots of angst and misunderstandings and I love it!

  29. 29
    Cheryl Mcinnis says:

    When a library patron asks me to suggest a good book, I almost always tell them to pick up “Mr. Perfect” by Linda Howard. It’s witty, sexy, funny and well, perfect ;-)

  30. 30
    cup cake says:

    I dig Kristan Higgans, so I’m going to go with My One and Only, because I heart that book so much.

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