Fairy Tale Endings
Today is Valentine’s Day! Over the past few weeks, I’ve shown you creative ways to celebrate with fresh twists on classic gifts, like flowers, candy, and jewelry (also here). While most people think Valentine’s Day is a celebration of couples, I’d like to suggest instead that today you make it about things you love – whether that’s people, places, activities, or more importantly – yourself! Be your own Valentine this year.
One sweet way to get in the Valentine’s spirit? Curl up with a romantic read or two. I’ve highlighted some of the sweetest books around this season below – stop by your local bookstore on the way home and nab your favourites (or enter to win my *sweet* giveaway below).
The Love That Split the World – $12.33
If you like your love stories with a side of mind-bending intrigue, pick up this entrancing YA read. Blending sci fi, magical realism, and yes, romance, this intriguing book is told from the perspective of Natalie, who starts experiencing strange flashes of ‘visions’ followed by a visit from a spirit that tells Natalie she has three months to save ‘him’. That him turns out to be a boy named Beau. It’s a little bit Heroes’ ‘Save the Cheerleader, Save the World’, but a whole lot trippier in this inventive, time-traveling story.
Juliet’s Answer by Glenn Dixon – $24.47
This nonfiction tale opens with a heartbreak and ends by warming your heart. After author Glenn Dixon’s heart is broken, he travels to Verona, Italy, for a summer, where he volunteers to be a member of Club di Giulietta, a group that respond to the thousands of lovelorn letters sent to Juliet’s hometown. Inspired and moved by these tales of romance, as well as exploring the inspiration for Romeo & Juliet, Glenn returns home to Canada and teaches his class Shakespeare’s most famous romance, things begin to come full circle as he realizes love, painful as it might be, is truly a worthy pursuit. A perfect book for travelers, Shakespeare fans, or those simply looking for a reminder at how wonderful love can be.
F*ck Love by Michael I. Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett – $26.66
What do you get when a psychiatrist and his comedian daughter team up to assess relationships? A surprisingly insightful road map on the real criteria you should be using when hunting for the ‘one’. The twosome analyze eight of the most common criteria (like chemistry and beauty) people assess potential mates on in terms of how well your ‘feelings’ will lead to a long-term, stable relationship, as well as some less-often considered aspects of healthy relationships you ought to put on your ‘wish list’. Filled with anecdotes and flow charts, this fun book never takes itself too seriously, but might be a contender to help you find someone serious in your romantic world.
I Like You, I Love You by Carissa Potter – $18.37
Are you in a swoony mood with someone? Celebrating a longtime anniversary? Whatever the case may be, this whimsical coffee table book charts an illustrated course from those early days of infatuation to those comforting days of deep love. For the record, Carissa Potter is part of the team behind People I’ve Loved (who I’ve featured on this blog) – don’t be surprised if you want to (delicately) rip a few pages out of this and frame them.
XO, OX – $24
When you’re little, Valentine’s Day is all about sending out those (adorable) little paper valentines and consuming copious amounts of sugar. But I love the idea of it also being about reading. Pick up a sweet read for the kiddies each year, one that teaches them values about caring and affection! This offbeat pick follows an unconventional love story of a burly Ox and a beautiful (if conceited) Gazelle. Will Ox win Gazelle over? Read to find out!
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman – $30
Whatever happened to rom coms opening up on Valentine’s Day I ask? Never mind that – this new book is just hitting the shelves today and is a perfect page turner to curl up with. Our protagonist is Faith, who has returned to her claustrophobic Desperate Housewives-ish town with a laundry list of frustrations including an absentee fiance and a philandering father. With a wild murder mystery tied to Faith’s new home and a charming coworker to keep her occupied however, Faith’s life is about to get a whole lot more interesting – and yours too, as you dive into this breezy read!
642 Things About You (That I Love) – $14.95
I know I said today is about loving yourself, but it can also be about loving those around you. This adorable journal is part of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto’s 642 Things series. Like all books in the series, each page contains one or multiple prompts to spark inspiration – and really dive deep into what it means to love someone. From sketching a ‘logo’ for your relationship to highlighting a favourite joke, this is a wildly creative way to show you care – especially when it’s all filled out and you hand it over to them next Valentine’s Day.
The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman – $20.97
Finally, a YA series read that’s a little off the beaten path when it comes to ‘romantic’ novels, but is worth falling in love with. This is actually the second book in the Dark Days Club series, which follows the adventures of Lady Helen Wrexhall in the 1800s, where she’s thrust from life in the royal court to demon hunting under the tutelage of Lord Carlston. Naturally, there’s more than just hellish demons causing things to heat up in these pages – come for the action, stay for the swoon-worthy moments between Lady Helen and Lord Carlston.
Okay my lovely readers, how’s this for a Valentine’s Day treat? I am giving away ALL eight of the titles I featured in this post to one lucky reader! Want it to be you? Here’s how to enter:
1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then leave me a comment below by March 1, 2017 telling me your top two (or more) titles from this list!
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around March 2, 2017 to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.
4) Bonus Entries: If you’re interested in staying in the loop on the publishers that worked with me on this post, all you have to do is sign up for their social media, and while you’re at it, earn bonus entries into this fun giveaway! Just be sure to leave separate comments with links back to earn your bonus entries.
Raincoast Books – Is the distributor of XO, OX, I Like You, I Love You, On Turpentine Lane, and 642 Things About You. Follow them on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway tagging me, them, and linking back to this post.
Simon & Schuster – Is the publisher of Juliet’s Answer and F*ck Love. Follow them on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway tagging me, them, and linking back to this post.
Goodreads – Special additional thank you to Penguin Random House for providing The Dark Days Pact and The Love That Split the World for this giveaway. If you add either of these titles to your ‘to-read’ list and provide a link back to your (public) list, you’ll earn an extra entry into the draw.