This is a funny year to break out the Valentine hearts and chocolates. Couples who have been quarantined together could probably use a little distance. On the other hand, it’s been near impossible to date if your face is covered with a mask. A book boyfriend and a little romantic comedy may be just the answer.

The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Shay Goldstein has been in love with public radio her entire life and has worked at a Seattle station for the past decade. With a voice she presumed was annoying, Shay remained behind the scenes, producing shows and orchestrating their success. When the station runs into tough times they are searching for something new and hip to increase their ratings. Shay randomly pitches her boss an idea where the co-hosts who have recently split could coach their audience with relationship and romance advice. Much to her surprise she is placed on the air with her handsome work nemesis, who insists he knows absolutely everything. Terrified of going live and convincing everyone she secretly dated Dominic is no easy task. No sooner is the show aired than it becomes a sensation. Climbing the radio and podcast charts — a dream come true — becomes an issue when the duo quietly and completely fall head over heels in love. As their relationship gets harder to camouflage, this laugh-out-loud rom-com will lift your spirits and melt your heart.

2021 isn’t that sweet
Sweethearts are small sugar candies only sold for Valentine’s Day. Originally made by Necco since 1901, the hearts were famous for their messages — “Be Mine,” “Kiss Me,” “Call Me,” etc. Necco manufactured nearly 8 billion Sweethearts every year, but in 2018 Necco declared bankruptcy and the right to manufacture Sweethearts was bought by the Spangler Candy Company. With the purchase, Sweethearts were unavailable for Valentine’s Day 2019 as production was reorganized and semi-returned in 2020. The company says they are fully back but if you have scanned the empty shelves at the grocery store and wondered where all the Sweethearts have gone, now you know the history. Who would’ve thought these chalky little sweets would cause so much drama?

The Love Proof
by Madeleine Henry

Sophie Jones has been a prodigy her entire life. Different from the other children, her parents were determined to make sure she felt surrounded by love and kindness. When she begins studying at Yale, Sophie is determined to change the world. Her theories and mathematical skills precede her arrival as it is decided which professor will be her mentor. A week into the semester, sweet Sophie meets Jake and her life is changed forever. Mesmerized by this new and physical intimacy she has never experienced, Sophie is slowly drained of her aspirations, intent on spending as much time with Jake as possible. But Jake has his own journey to travel. After a difficult and stormy childhood, Jake is resolved to make large amounts of money, take care of his mother and have the things that were always out of reach. Respecting her gift, Jake is devastated that he inadvertently led Sophie astray from her study of time theory and must get her back on track. After years of painful separation and near misses, the two cannot fight their deep connection. An eccentric and memorable love story, this is not your average romance.

Love in Lockdown
by Chloe James

One night while Sophia quietly cries on her balcony, a mysterious voice calls down to her. Sophia’s neighbor above, whom she has never met, offers conversation that makes her feel remarkably better. England is on lockdown and as everyone adjusts to weeks upon weeks of life in isolation, fear of catching the virus and pure loneliness, Sophia realizes her purpose may be to help those in her community who cannot manage on their own. As upstairs neighbor Jack becomes her confidante and she assists him getting much needed groceries, they form a bond unlike any she has ever experienced. Without ever having met face to face, this young couple become dependent on the strength and encouragement provided each and every night on the balcony. This well-timed pandemic love story reminds us that giving to others can make people feel less alone in a world that continues to challenge us every day. Spreading kindness and falling in love go hand in hand in this adorable, inspiring Valentine’s treat.


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