Ready Set Go: Romance Double Feature!

The Rec League - heart shaped chocolate resting on the edge of a very old bookTime again for our most eeeeevil recommendation feature we have: READY, SET, GO!

Here are the rules:

We pick a specific sub-genre, trope, or type of romance, and we have to make ONE recommendation for that type.

And no more than two sentences as to why.

Except this month, we’re giving you a break – you get two!

We’re looking for books that you’d pair together as a book version of a double feature. What two books (not in a sequential series) would go really well together as a literary double feature?

What romance double feature pairing would you recommend? 

Any genre, but just one rec two recs!

Ready, set, GO!

Act Like It
A | BN | K | AB
The Flatshare
A | BN | K | AB
Sarah: Act Like It by Lucy Parker with The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.

Both are funny and charming but also deal with similar and unfortunate past relationships, one more than the other. And they both have the “getting to know one another secretly/under strange pretenses” thing which I LOVE.

And in Hecking Obvious picks, I’d also recommend Jennifer Ashley’s Death Below Stairs, book 1 in the Kat Holloway series, and Sherry Thomas’ A Study in Scarlet Women, book 1 in the Charlotte Holmes series, but that double feature might be too obvious.

Catherine: Ok, this one is a bit obscure but bear with me.

Mr. Impossible
A | BN | K | AB
Hearts on Hold
A | BN | K | AB
How about Mr Impossible by Loretta Chase, and Hearts on Hold by Charish Reid.

Two very smart, academically inclined heroines.

Two heroes who are sweet and sexy and completely bowled over by their brilliance.

Two completely different settings, but both books make me smile in the same way.

Sarah: Brilliant!

Catherine: Of course, now I’m slightly regretting not going for a Food Porn Double Feature with one of Laura Florand’s Amour et Chocolat books and one of Jackie Lau’s Baldwin Village ones.

Can we do more double features in future? Because this is such a fun idea…

Sarha: Definitely. Double doubles!!

Catherine: Toils and troubles!

And, oh noes, must I reread all or both series to find the best match? However shall I cope?

Man vs. Durian
A | BN | K | AB
The Chocolate Touch
A | BN | K | AB
Catherine:
Ok, so after much thought my Food Porn / Comfort Reading double feature is Man vs Durian by Jacki Lau and The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand.

Very different heroes, but two heroines who are finding themselves again after going through some rough times, and the food descriptions are so good you can nearly taste them.

Also, two books that I just read again and again when I want to feel better.

Sarah: Yup. And now I’m hungry. Excellent picks!

 

Amanda: I also have double doubles!!

Girl Gone Viral
A | BN | K | AB
The Rakess
A | BN | K | AB
For a bonkers sexy opposites attract new adult smorgasbord, I would pair The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan with The Studying Hours by Sara Ney.

Cocky athlete heroes and the nerdy heroines who knock them on their ass.

My second double feature would be Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai and The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham.

Both are an ode to resilient heroines who have been dealt a shitty hand in life but learn to thrive on their own terms.

EllenM: Assuming I’m not too late!!

Bitter Spirits
A | K | AB
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
A | BN | K | AB
I would double feature Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett with The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick.

Glamorous-yet-seedy California historical romantic suspense!

Sarah: Excellent pairings, those!

OK, your turn! What about you?

Give us your recommendations for a Romance Double Feature? What two books would pair perfectly for you? 

Ready, Set, Go!

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Katie says:

    Oooh, I like the Quick/Bennett double feature. Might have to do that. I think I would substitute Close Up as the Burning Cove book, though, because it matches Bitter Spirits on the psychic characters aspect as well as the period/romance/suspense.

    Will have to think about books to pair up now, this is a fun exercise.

  2. 2
    Antipodean Shenanigans says:

    Oooh fun challenge!

    Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning and Rise by Karina Bliss
    Mega hot rockstar heroes go ga-ga for their mid-thirties academic heroines amid colourful casts of characters.

  3. 3
    DiscoDollyDeb says:

    Juliana Stone’s THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER paired with Melanie Harlow’s FROM THIS MOMENT: both of them are about a man falling for his late twin brother’s widow, but the way the trope is executed is completely different in each book. Stone concentrates more on the complicated past and the changing emotional climate between the hero & heroine; Harlow’s take is more outwardly focused: the disapproval of the hero’s mother, the cattiness of some of the heroine’s (so-called) friends. I give the edge to Stone, but both books are worth a look.

  4. 4
    FashionablyEvil says:

    Evie Dumore’s BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE and Deanna Raybourn’s A CURIOUS BEGINNING. Unconventional heroines, prickly heroes, and brisk plotting.

  5. 5
    Jill Q. says:

    Ooh, soo many choices! I’m going to go with “Hold Me” by Courtney Milan and “Earth Bound” by Genevieve Turner and Emma Barry for intense workaholic math/science heroes who pine a lot for their love interests. Also just really smart, lovely heroines who I adore.

  6. 6
    Carrie G says:

    Two books by Carla Kelly set during the Napoleonic Wars: The Wedding Journey, and Marrying the Royal Marine. One deals with a marriage of convenience,and the other with fake relationship. Both deal with gentle complex people and the realities of war. These are beautifully written and very satisfying.

    If you want to pair one of these with a work by a different author,I would suggest Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer. It’s another beautifully written book about people who feel unworthy of love finding just that.

  7. 7
    omphale says:

    “Think of England” by KJ Charles and “Sword Dance” by AJ Demas (this might be a bit of a cheat because I suspect that Demas’s story was inspired by Charles’s). Injured veteran hero gets swept up in house-party intrigue and falls for slippery character.

  8. 8
    Katie F says:

    I’m going with “Beauty Conquers the Beast” (short story) by Jenny Schwartz as a PG-13 warm-up for “Mid-Winter Mail Order Bride” by Kati Wilde.
    These are two independent women, who decide to marry for Important Reasons. They feature a hero and heroine respectively who need to find their purpose/place as the major driver of the plot.
    These books are two of my go-to rereads and every time I read them I am struck by how the authors made a tired old idea like solving a curse and magic systesm feel new and important.

  9. 9
    Julie says:

    Oh I love Mr. Impossible, I’m one-clicking on the Charish Reid rec right now! Super fun challenge. I love Lady Sherlock too so need to bump the Kristin Ashley series to the top of my list.

    I would suggest Kennedy Ryan’s contemporary Grip (with its prequel Flow) paired with Sarah MacLean’s new historical Daring and the Duke which I’m reading right now… Both feature a youthful love, a (perceived) betrayal, and estrangement followed by an adversarial relationship yielding slowly to renewed trust and love.

  10. 10
    Kate K.F. says:

    Summer Campaign by Carla Kelly and the Arrangement by Mary Balogh for a double feature of quiet women finding their voices and romances built around competency and love.

  11. 11
    Teev says:

    It’s not a romance, but I’m pairing Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman) with How to Be A Normal Person (TJ Klune). Both stories of someone locked in an extremely rigid holding pattern, grousing hilariously about any and every human they’re forced to interact with, and, finally, letting people in.

  12. 12
    Qualisign says:

    I typically have several reads on the go at any given time which makes for some weird memories about the contents of any given book. But, exactly a year ago I read ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER (Hazel Prior) and EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER (Linda Holmes) at the same time due to the serendipity of library holds and found the two to be an outstanding pairing.

  13. 13
    Molly says:

    Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters and Souless by Gail Carriger. Both are set in Victorian English culture, albeit one is a Steampunk/Paranormal version. But Amelia Peabody and Alexia Tarabotti are two woman cut from the same formidable cloth. Not to mention, their heroes are both loud, manly, and utterly without reference for the women they eventually fall for. And while there are lots of alarums and excursions, at core the stories are about intelligent strong women, dismissed by society as too old and not pretty and docile enough to have worth. who kick society and everything else in the keister. And who understand that a good sturdy parasol is an essential to any sensible woman who wishes to make her way in the world.

  14. 14
    Vivi12 says:

    Donna Thorland’s The Turncoat, and The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne are set during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars respectively, with spy heroines and heroes in plot heavy books with well developed worlds.
    Also Sex Straight Up by Kathleen O’Reilly and Love Lettering by Kate Claiborne are both novels set in NYC with protagonists steeped in loneliness in spite of being in a huge city. The isolation in the midst of a crowd was so notable.

  15. 15
    Katie says:

    OK, I thought about it: Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda and A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn. Both are historical fiction/mysteries set in post-WWI Africa with independent, unconventional heroines. It’s been years since I read either. I remember enjoying both of them, although I liked the Raybourn better. The Arruda book is the first in a series, but the love interest in the romantic subplot doesn’t show up in the first book. The Raybourn does have a romance and is a stand alone.

  16. 16
    Nina says:

    The Hatung Game by Sally Thorn ans Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. Both feature wonderful set downs of toxic parents while correctly pointing out their partner ‘s fabulous points. And both are set at sibling weddings.

  17. 17
    Blackjack says:

    _I would pair Sally Thorne’s _The Hating Game_ with Loretta Chase’s Dukes Prefer Blondes_ for readers who enjoy men nurturing and taking care of the heroine through illness. There is just something about caretaking men that always wins me over. And in both books, the heroine’s unexpected illness transitions the story from an enemies’ to a lovers’ story.

    Also, I would choose Ilona Andrews’s _Burn for Me_ and Elizabeth Kingston’s _The King’s Man_ for depictions of arrogant heroes who woefully underestimate the hidden talents of the heroine, much to their chagrin. Both books do a fabulous job of upending the man’s assumptions and both feature heroines who happily submerge their incredible skills until they are force to out themselves as badasses. Lots of fist pumping in these crucial scenes 🙂

  18. 18
    Julie says:

    I’ll read anything recommended alongside my beloved The Hating Game, thanks for the recs, @Nina and @Blackjack!

  19. 19
    Ellie says:

    Tessa Dare’s A Week to Be Wicked and Sarah MacLean’s The Rogue Not Taken. Both feature road trips, disguises, and witty repartee, but you won’t feel like you’re reading the same book twice. Two of my favorites!

  20. 20
    DonnaMarie says:

    @Qualisign, the exact same thing happened to me! Are librarians secretly matchmaking books?

  21. 21
    Deianira says:

    My comfort read/need a laugh pairing:

    Pippa Grant’s “Stud in the Stacks” with Avery Flynn’s “Four Day Fling”. I cannot resist a good fake relationship story, & both authors do humor SO WELL!

    Bonus points to Grant for a librarian hero, & to Flynn for the Florida setting (says this Florida native).

  22. 22
    Lisa F says:

    I had no idea about Bitter Spirits’ existence, but now I must read it.

  23. 23
    Jeannette says:

    Perhaps hurricane Laura brought these to mind:
    Agnes and the Hitman by Crusie and Mercy by Garwood. Both have strong heroines that aren’t TSTL, laugh out loud sections, awesome secondary characters, and, of course, both have alligators!

  24. 24
    Susan/DC says:

    This doesn’t quite fit the rules of the game, but I would pair “Miss Buncle’s Book” by DE Stevenson with a glass of champagne. The book sparkles and charms, great fun with not much in the way of substance, but you emerge from the book happier and a bit lighter in heart and spirit than you were before.

  25. 25
    Ulrike says:

    Oooo. I love the Lady Sherlock series, and I just got Death Below Stairs to try again (DNF’ed the first time around due to a time crunch and having to return it to the library after I’d barely started it).

    My pairing is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Both are M/M romances in a magical setting with main characters who are a little self centered. They are both teen/young adult books, and neither is a comedy per se, but both have fabulously funny moments.

  26. 26
    DiscoDollyDeb says:

    Ok, I know I’m cheating, but I thought of one more pairing: Annika Martin’s SAVAGE MAFIA PRINCE (which features a hero who was left in the wilderness as a child and literally grew up with a wolf pack), and Mia Sheridan’s SAVAGED (with a hero who was abandoned as a child in the Montana wilderness). I was surprised that (outside of shifter romances) “hero was raised by wolves and/or grew up in the wild with no adult supervision” is a bit of a thing. Both books include really bad guys who are responsible for the heroes being left alone in the wilderness, so CW/TW for harm to children. Plus, I do think in both cases you have to be willing to bring a big suspension of disbelief to the table; but if you can beyond that, both books are well-written with propulsive plots. SAVAGE MAFIA PRINCE (which includes an older heroine) works much better if you’ve read the two previous books in the series (DARK MAFIA PRINCE and WICKED MAFIA PRINCE). Of the two books, SAVAGED is the more deeply emotional: I especially liked the “found family” aspect of the book as the hero & heroine—both orphans with no siblings—acquire their own “pack” of decent, caring, and helpful friends.

  27. 27
    Hot in AZ says:

    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and The Kissing Quotient. Both have characters on the spectrum and I loved how that was dealt with in both cases.

  28. 28
    Karin says:

    I’m going to suggest two romantic comedies, “The Abduction of Julia” by Karen Hawkins and “The Accidental Abduction” by Darcie Wilde. In the first book, the hero meant to bring Julia’s cousin on an elopement to Gretna Green, but since Julia has always had a thing for him, she just plays along when he accidentally takes her instead. In the second book, the hero is the one who gets taken for a ride, when the heroine tries to stop her younger sister from eloping to Gretna Green.
    Both are very funny and delightful reads.

  29. 29
    Kareni says:

    The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne is a wonderful historical romance that has the hero and heroine encountering/loving each other over decades (they begin the story as spies on opposing sides). This might be paired with The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger though I’d be happy to consider other pairings.

  30. 30
    Kareni says:

    Another reply ~ one of my favorite books Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala could be paired with either The 5th Gender by G.L. Carriger [lighter] or with Bone Rider by J. Fally [darker]. These all fit the description of beings in a world alien to themselves.

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