Look, I'm not a huge fan of Hallmark Channel movies. BUT...I totally get the appeal. There's a wholesome sweetness to them that's super comforting. I also understand the appeal of the from-the-female-gaze, incredibly intimate sex scenes in Outlander. So, when I saw a tweet last month from an ingenious person who said romance readers want Hallmark Channel movie vibes but with Outlander sex, I thought, "That's a Friday book recommendations list!" That said, here are my picks for reads that give off sweet, warm, comforting Hallmark vibes (low-angst, light-hearted, pure sunshine books) but that include the kind of steam you usually have to turn the channel to get. You're welcome:
Disclaimer: Despite the mention of romcoms in the tweet image above, not all of the books on this list are romcoms. If you have any questions, email me. Also note: I said "Hallmark vibes" in the intro. If what you love about Hallmark movies is that there isn't any sex and cussing, well...this isn't your list. Sorry. This list is for everyone who watched a couple fall in love at Christmas time on Hallmark and thought, "I wish they'd bang now." THOSE are the people this list is for. MY people. Come, gather 'round friends, and behold the list:
Billionaires of Manhattan Series by Annika Martin
I feel like I don't see this series nearly enough on "best of" lists (other than mine, of course). It has all the sweet, wacky, plot antics that you find in Hallmark movies, but absolutely zero unresolved sexual tension. (This authors resolves the HELL out of that sexual tension, thank you very much) Highly recommend, and frankly, I'm not sure why everyone isn't reading it.
You Complicate Me series by Isabel Jordan
Laughs, snark, witty banter, wacky shenanigans, and even some surprisingly tender, heartfelt moments--this series has it all. AND it's available in 1 brand new, handy box set that's also in Kindle Unlimited. How's THAT for perfect?
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
You won't ever leave a Tessa Bailey book without a warm, cozy feeling. This book was MADE to be turned into an R-rated rom com by one of the big studios. (Please???)
Damaged Goods by Talia Hibbert
I just recently read this one, and the friends-to-lovers romance here was one of the cutest--and hottest--things I've ever read. And the way she stands up for herself in the end is... *chef's kiss* You'll definitely get warm, cozy Hallmark vibes while reading this one. (Until the banging starts...then it's all Outlander-style intimacy. And it's AWESOME.) And don't let the serious subject matter fool you. This one is still fairly low angst and SUPER well done. It's a feel good read, for sure.
Hearts of Stone series by Eden Webber
The Stone brothers are definitely the type of perfect romantic heroes you find in Hallmark movies. They're supportive, respectful, not afraid to show their feelings AND discuss them, and they go after what--and who--they want without a moment's hesitation. Then come the sex scenes and all of a sudden, it's Outlander-style intimacy. Perfection!! And, they're quick reads that are in Kindle Unlimited, so do with that info what you will. (Full review of these to come next week, so stay tuned!)
That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon
I know it seems weird to have this on the list, because the Hallmark Channel does NOT delve into the paranormal. But this book was so warm and adorable and sun-shiney that it definitely gives off Hallmark vibes. And the sexy times are super sexy, so it meets the criteria for inclusion on this list. Plus it's my list and no one is the boss of me, so there's that.
The Has-Been and the Hot Mess by Isabel Jordan
If spicy sweet was a category on Amazon, this book (and author) would come up first in searches. This book in particular is super low angst, funny, has a former, non-manwhore rockstar who now runs a dog rescue, and a snarky heroine who a heart of gold, but no filter between her brain and mouth. I'd LOVE to see this one made into a Netflix original. (Because, you know, Hallmark wouldn't accept all the cussing and banging. Their loss, frankly.)
Morning Glory Milking Farm by CM Nascosta
Now, hear me out on this one. Yes, I know this is a "monster romance," which Hallmark doesn't do. It's also about a woman who gets a job "milking" minotaur for their ejaculate, and Candace Cameron Bure WOULD NEVER. But trust me, I was as shocked as everyone else when this turned out to be a surprisingly sweet romance. It definitely gives off the slow burn, warm and cozy Hallmark vibes. Just trust me, OK? It's NOT what you think it is. Go into this one with an open mind and I think you'll be super pleased. I know I was.
The Bluewater Billionaires series (multiple authors)
This is the epitome of a feel good series. Cute and sweet, yet hot and steamy and hilarious. Can't recommend it highly enough. I even did a whole separate post one time about why all romance readers should check out this series. If you haven't checked it out yet, what's stopping you???
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
This book just celebrated it's 10th anniversary, and there's a reason it still gets recommended so often. Jennifer Crusie is truly gifted in the art of crafting female-gaze intimate scenes in the middle of cute, sweet, adorable romances with so much witty banter you can barely keep up with it all. This is an enduring classic, and I think all romance fans should give it a read.
Then, of course there's the author of the tweet that inspired this whole list and her book that is now up for pre-order: