Romance read recommendations from Meet Cute
Nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a steamy romance novel.
What's happening: The owner of Meet Cute, a queer-owned, feminist bookshop in North Park that's focused on the romance genre, offered some recommendations for our readers.
Of note: The shop is aptly named after the moment when two people, who later fall in love, meet for the first time.
What they're reading: Owner Becca Title's top picks:
The Art of Scandal by Regina Black
- "Come for the wealthy political dynasties and the messy family drama, stay for the stunning descriptions of rainstorms (and, of course, the angsty romance)."
- One of Title's favorites of 2023, this book "repeatedly caught me off guard with its aching beauty," she said.
Don't Want You Like a Best Friend by Emma Alban
- Two debutantes in Victorian England set out to matchmake their widowed parents, but end up falling in love with one another.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall
- Set behind the scenes of a TV baking competition, this "laugh-out-loud rom-com" follows a bisexual single mom who's been a disappointment to her posh family.
- Another favorite, this one is "warm, smart and as sweet as toffee pudding."
Mickey Chambers Shakes It Up by Charish Reid
- In this romance, a grumpy adjunct professor and a student — who's also a widower — "have some trouble keeping things strictly professional, but it's a lot of fun to watch them try."
Witchmark by C.L. Polk
- A queer fantasy romance that's "at its core a magical murder mystery" with two likable leads.
State of literature: When Meet Cute opened in fall 2022, it was only the third romance bookshop in the country, according to Title.
- Now, these specialty stores are popping up across the country in response to growing consumer desire for romance reads, Axios' Torey Van Oot writes.
- Recent data from the consumer research firm Circana shows print sales of romance novels as of last summer were up 52% year over year.
What they're saying: Thanks to social media's #BookTok and #bookstagram — which took off as people looked for community during the pandemic — the romance genre's popularity has grown, Title told Axios.
- After doing pop-ups and selling online, Title opened the brick-and-mortar shop to create a space for readers and authors to come together.
Details: Meet Cute invites customers to hang out and "get nerdy about kissing books" via hosting book clubs, author talks, mixers and other events.
- They also have a podcast.
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