Category: Romance

Heartbreak emoji, crying emoji, book emoji

Valentine’s Day Wasn’t So Sweet? 7 Books for Broken Hearts

If your Valentine’s Day was more of a Valentine’s Disaster, there are plenty of healthy ways to cope with the emotional fallout. There are also plenty of unhealthy ways, but we’re sure you already have those figured out. Whether you’re sick of being single, heartbroken over a relationship (this includes relationships that never happened), or just ruminating on your own limitless potential for destruction, why not take a break with a book? A book, at the very least, will never mooch off your rent money or lie about working late. These 7 books will help you on your journey to healing… or they’ll offer a pleasant distraction.

 

Juliet Takes a Breath

 

'Juliet Takes a Breath' by Gabby Rivera

 

The most infuriating pieces of wisdom are often the most accurate. For instance, as we get older, we’ve realized the advice to get some sleep is actually pretty valid (even if we still don’t listen). An even more annoying piece of truth is this one: before you love someone else, you have to love yourself. Does that mean you’re completely un-depressed and think your body is flawless? No. It just means understanding your own needs before adding someone else’s into the mix. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera is the perfect novel for high hopes and heartbreak, focusing on a character’s self-development and personal growth after the end of a relationship.

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

 

The Pisces

 

'The Pisces' by Melissa Broder

 

Look! It’s that Guillermo del Toro movie about the sexy fish man, now in book form. Just kidding. While this book is also extremely weird, it’s weird in a different way. Strange, smart, and erotic, Melissa Broder‘s The Pisces will offer a fun distractions—while also commenting on the nature of why we seek out such distractions (a.k.a. calling us out).

Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic dog and trying to learn to care for herself. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube atop Venice Beach, but Lucy can find no peace from her misery and anxiety—not in her love addiction group therapy meetings, not in frequent Tinder meetups, not in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection, not in ruminating on the ancient Greeks. Yet everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer one night while sitting alone on the beach rocks.

Whip-smart, neurotically funny, sexy, and above all, fearless, The Pisces is built on a premise both sirenic and incredibly real—what happens when you think love will save you but are afraid it might also kill you.

 

The Lovers’ Dictionary

 

'The Lover's Dictionary' by David Levithan

 

Told entirely through dictionary entries, this boldly creative novel tells the story of an ill-fated relationship. (That’s not a spoiler, but isn’t it more reassuring when you know something’s going to end?) Concise, blunt, and honest, David Levithan‘s The Lover’s Dictionary Since Levithan never reveals the gender of the protagonist’s partner, it’ll be even easier for you to find catharsis in seeing fragments of what might have been your own love story. Bonus: there are some particularly spicy passages condemning infidelity if that’s, uh, relevant to your current predicament.

basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it―you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

 

Tiny, Beautiful Things

 

'Tiny, Beautiful Things' by Cheryl Strayed

 

It’s hard to imagine tiny, beautiful things when you can only think of enormous, terrible ones instead. Though not explicitly about romantic love, Cheryl Strayed‘s Tiny Beautiful Things is certainly about personal growth and using your own strength to overcome whatever struggles you’re going through (in this case, heartbreak). Topics range from coming out, to sexual fetishes, to topics that have nothing to do with falling in love and everything to do with loving yourself. The two are more connected than you may think.

Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.

Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond.  Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

 

The Post-Birthday World

 

'The Post Birthday World' by Lionel Shriver

 

We’re all inclined towards our own ‘What-Ifs,’ the unanswerable questions that we stubbornly attempt to answer with a million different—and, more importantly, fictional—mental scenarios. What if I had tried harder? What if they had lived closer? What if we were both two completely different people from the people we actually are, falling head over heels into a love we never actually shared? Lionel Shriver‘s The Post-Birthday World will help you consider these questions in a healthy way or, at least, in a way that’s probably healthier than whatever you’re currently doing.

Children’s book illustrator Irina McGovern enjoys a quiet and settled life in London with her partner, fellow American expatriate Lawrence Trainer, a smart, loyal, disciplined intellectual at a prestigious think tank. To their small circle of friends, their relationship is rock solid. Until the night Irina unaccountably finds herself dying to kiss another man: their old friend from South London, the stylish, extravagant, passionate top-ranking snooker player Ramsey Acton. The decision to give in to temptation will have consequences for her career, her relationships with family and friends, and perhaps most importantly the texture of her daily life.

Hinging on a single kiss, this enchanting work of fiction depicts Irina’s alternating futures with two men temperamentally worlds apart yet equally honorable. With which true love Irina is better off is neither obvious nor easy to determine, but Shriver’s exploration of the two destinies is memorable and gripping. Poignant and deeply honest, written with the subtlety and wit that are the hallmarks of Shriver’s work, The Post-Birthday World appeals to the what-if in us all.

 

Unwifeable

 

'Unwifeable: a Memoir' by Mandy Stadtmiller

 

Listen, we know that your breakup was all your ex’s fault—but on the off chance that you had anything to do with it, maybe it’s time to consider the reason why. Mandy Stadtmiller‘s Unwifeable is an unflinchingly honest memoir of self-destruction that will encourage you to really look at yourself (or possibly your messed-up hungover reflection) and face the truths you might want to deny.

Provocative, fearless, and dizzyingly uncensored, Mandy spills every secret she knows about dating, networking, comedy, celebrity, media, psychology, relationships, addiction, and the quest to find one’s true nature. She takes readers behind the scenes (and name names) as she relays her utterly addictive journey.

Starting in 2005, Mandy picks up everything to move across the country to Manhattan, looking for a fresh start. She is newly divorced, thirty-years-old, with a dream job at the New York Post. She is ready to conquer the city, the industry, the world. But underneath the glitz and glamour, there is a darker side threatening to surface. The drug-fueled, never-ending party starts off as thrilling…but grows ever-terrifying. Too many blackout nights and scary decisions begin to add up. As she searches for the truth behind the façade, Mandy realizes that falling in love won’t fix her—until she learns to accept herself first.

 

I am not myself these days

 

'I Am Not Myself These Days' by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

 

Some relationships are toxic from the start. (Of course, we mean all relationships are toxic, and love is a lie, and Valentine’s Day is a sham. Whatever consolation your broken heart needs.) But, to quote Bojack Horseman, “when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.” I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir chronicles Kilmer-Purcell‘s time in a relationship that should have come with a warning label… though it basically already did. Perhaps this read will help you take a look at your relationships with a more critical, discerning eye.

The New York Times bestselling, darkly funny memoir of a young New Yorker’s daring dual life—advertising art director by day, glitter-dripping drag queen and nightclub beauty-pageant hopeful by night—was a smash literary debut for Josh Kilmer-Purcell, now known for his popular Planet Green television series The Fabulous Beekman Boys. His story begins here—before the homemade goat milk soaps and hand-gathered honeys, before his memoir of the city mouse’s move to the country, The Bucolic Plague—in I Am Not Myself These Days,  with “plenty of dishy anecdotes and moments of tragi-camp delight” (WashingtonPost).

 

Featured Image Via Extraordinary Routines

Bookstr's Three to Read

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 2/14/19

It’s Valentine’s Day—now more than ever, we need a book to fall madly in love with. This week, we’ve got three reads that are sure to show you a good time. (If you’re in the middle of a less satisfying novel, consider a dalliance with one of these. We won’t tell.) Our picks this week are fun yet honest, ideal qualities for any date! While some of these are romance-oriented, let’s not forget that self-love and personal development counts for more than we sometimes remember. So, honestly, love yourself and give one of these a read. Without further ado, here are Bookstr’s Three to Read: the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week. Time to find your perfect match!

 

OUR HOT PICK

 

Angie Thomas' hot new release 'On the Come Up'

 

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

Why?

Bookstr’s valentine is On the Come Up because we’ve fallen in love with #1 New York Times bestselling Angie Thomas, one of the most powerful voices in YA fiction today. Thomas expertly follows her breakout hit The Hate U Give with this novel, a raw, insightful, and often funny depiction of coexisting ambition and poverty. Thomas strikes a masterful balance when discussing issues of racism and structural inequality, using her light and playful voice to approach topics few other YA authors have addressed in such detail. Her careful examination of social issues and deeply nuanced characters will appeal to old fans and snag new ones. Warm, earnest, and honest, On the Come Up is your perfect book date this V-day, and it’s sure to be a match.

 

OUR Coffee Shop Read

 

L.C. Rosen's 'Jack of Hearts and Other Parts'

 

Synopsis:

Meet Jack Rothman. He’s seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys – sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, ‘it could be worse’.

He doesn’t actually expect that to come true.

But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he’s been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack’s secret admirer knows everything: where he’s hanging out, who he’s sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they’ll force him.

As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous…

 

Why?

Jack of Hearts and Other Parts is as unabashedly queer as its protagonist, including surprisingly frank and open discussions of sex. We’re talking better than sex-ed, complete with descriptions of different types of sex; advice on coming out; and even discussions of asexuality, an often misunderstood sexual orientation. L.C. Rosen is—excuse the pun—ballsy in his open portrayal of sex, drinking, smoking, and partying, boldly addressing facets of some teenagers’ lives that few authors cover in such detail. Readers will love this proud and confident gay protagonist, whose story is refreshingly fun and upbeat. Open, honest, and incredibly fun, this one’s hot enough to be your Valentine’s book date. Don’t drink too much coffee—you’ll want to bring this book to bed.

 

Our Dark Horse

 

Soniah Kamal's 'Unmarriageable'

 

Synopsis:

In this one-of-a-kind retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry—until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.

Why?

Readers will fall madly in love with this modern update on a timeless classic. While Unmarriageable is delightful and romantic, it also doesn’t hesitate to address the double standards that women face in regards to romance, sex, and courtship. A rich depiction of Muslim culture, Soniah Kamal‘s novel glitters with beautiful language and imagery that would enchant any potential reader. It’s as fun as it is aware, expertly examining social stratification as it takes its readers on an entertaining, colorful romp. Kirkus Reviews called this release “a charming update to the original,” perfect for Austen fans and any reader looking for a perfect match.

 

So, is it a date?

 

In-text Images Via Goodreads

‘The Shell Seekers’ Author Rosamund Pilcher Dies Aged 94

Author of hit family saga The Shell Seekers, Rosamund Pilcher, has passed away aged ninety-four.

Her son, author Robin Pilcher confirmed her passing as a result of a stroke on Sunday night.

Rosamund Pilcher was best know for The Shell Seekers, which was her fourteenth novel, written when she was sixty-three, spent no less than forty-nine weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list, and sold over ten million copies. A television adaptation starring Vanessa Redgrave was made, and in 2003, the BBC’s Big Read voted it one of Britain’s favorite novels. Author Katie Fforde, President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, notes that The Shell Seekers “changed the face of romantic fiction,” saying “Rosamunde Pilcher was groundbreaking as she was the first to bring family sagas to the wider public. Houses full of secrets, families full of lies, beautiful settings, page-turning plots.”

Image Via BBC

And not just a trailblazing author, she was also a beloved mother and grandmother. Her son Robin shared a sweet family anecdote regarding Pilcher’s family nickname with The Guardian:

“When my eldest son was young, my wife would always drop in on my mother on her way to Dundee. He thought that when she said ‘going to Dundee’, it meant seeing his grandmother, so he called her Dondie. She was called that by grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all their friends. She was Universal Dondie.”

The Guardian also notes that Pilcher has a huge following in Germany, and  according to her literary agent, the German culture minister pointed to Pilcher as “the person who has managed to do more than any to mend the relationships between the German and British peoples”.

 

Featured Image Via YouTube

Bookstr's Three to Read

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 1/31/2019

It’s the last day of January, and that means we’re all finishing up our free trial month of 2019! Hopefully, it’s been a good year so far—and if it hasn’t, there’s no reason we can’t make it a better one. Start off February in a positive way with some powerful, engaging reads that’ll help you meet those reading goals. We recommend you bundle up, settle in, and hunker down with these incredible stories. Without further ado, here are Bookstr’s Three to Read: the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

Our Hot Pick

 

'The World According to Fannie Davis' by Bridgett M. Davis

 

Synopsis:

Set against the backdrop of Detroit in the 1960s and 1970s, the story of the life of a one-of-a-kind matriarch whose business in the Numbers made her daughter’s dreams come true.

The World According to Fannie Davis is Bridgett Davis’s unforgettable coming of age in a family with a secret. The upper middle class splendor in which she and her siblings so happily lived was made possible by her mother’s business in the Numbers, the informal lottery that powered African American communities across the United States. A poignant and revealing examination of how one family lifted itself out of poverty and into a completely different life, for good and bad, The World According to Fannie Davis introduces us to an unforgettable matriarch, and her daughter, whose ways of understanding still resonate today.

Offering a daughter’s perspective on her larger-than-life mother, Bridgett Davis traces her family’s story as part of the Great Migration, showing how her mother and father arrived in Detroit from Tennessee carrying with them not just their own hopes but also those of their families. A child gifted with extraordinary powers of perception and understanding, Davis breaks the code of secrecy around her mother’s business and in so doing reveals both her mothers’ extraordinary sacrifices as well as her seemingly endless generosity. We come to understand just how keenly Fannie Davis believed in the power of money, and family, to make the world right.

 

Why?

The World According to Fannie Davis was inspired by Bridgett M. Davis‘ mother, a powerful, captivating, and complex figure. Fannie Davis ran an underground lottery business in order to provide opportunities for her family, a secret her daughter would keep for decades to come. Davis considers this to be a story of the American experience, doing what you need to get what you can. Interspersed with narratives about her mother are explorations of lynching and other historic obstacles between African-Americans and socioeconomic climbing. Davis is a screenwriter, novelist, and professor at Baruch College; fans of Davis’ fiction will enjoy her foray into this new medium. Check out Bookstr Diversity’s insightful interview with Bridgett M. Davis for more insider information!

 

Our Coffee Shop Read

 

'99 Percent Mine' by Sally Thorne

 

Synopsis:

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

 

Why?

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne will warm up those cold hearts. With Valentine’s Day menacing on the horizon, this slow-burn romance will appeal to even the most jaded among us. Thorne’s witty narrator is constantly entertaining, and, as everyone knows, you’ve got to be invested in the characters before you can feel the heat! These nuanced characters will make you believe in their relationship. Sally Thorne is a USA Today bestseller whose hit debut The Hating Game has been published in twenty countries. Since the book also includes a bonus chapter featuring characters from The Hating Game, it’s sure to appeal to returning Sally Thorne fans.

 

Our Dark Horse

 

'The New Rules of War' by Sean McFate

 

 Synopsis:

 

Why?

The New Rules of War has critics calling author Sean McFate the “new Sun Tzu,” deeming this book in particular a “standout of military science.” McFate’s background as a veteran, military contractor, professor, PhD, and Harvard graduate lend his work nuance and credibility. This is our Dark Horse because, while many nonfiction works view military strategy from a more historical perspective, McFate analyzes the landscape of today’s increasingly violent world. Since McFate also writes fictional military thrillers, he’s got a voice for creative writing and the intellectual chops for academia.

 

All In-Text Images Via Amazon

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Author E.L. James to Release New Novel

Fifty Shades of Grey took the world by storm when it was first released in 2012. What began life as Twilight fan-fiction morphed into phenomenally successful book and film trilogy, as beloved for its silliness and steaminess, as it was reviled for what many deemed its sub-par prose. However, no matter what side you are on, the fact remains that author E.L. James is at it again.

 

James has confirmed that her new novel The Mister is on the way this spring. It tells the story of Maxim, a privileged British man who inherits a large fortune and falls in love with a mysterious woman named Alessia.

 

The title was revealed in an exclusive interview with Today, which included a steamy excerpt from the novel. James described the story as “a Cinderella story for the 21st century”.

 

“Maxim and Alessia have led me on a fascinating journey and I hope that my readers will be swept away by their thrilling and sensual tale, just as I was while writing, and that, like me, they fall in love with them.”

 

The book is scheduled to be released on April 16th. It is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

 

 

Featured Image Via Tint Of Ink