I read a lot of romance, but these two books struck me as a little bit different than your typical romantic faire. Must Love Books and Float Plan are more journeys of self-discovery than anything else, and they were both great reads that will make you think about the things in your life that bring you joy as well as those things that challenge you.
Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
When Nora landed an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, it was her first step towards The Dream Job. Because, honestly, is there anything dreamier than making books for a living? But after five years of lunch orders, finicky authors, and per my last emails, Nora has come to one grand conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist. With her life spiraling and the Parsons staff sinking, Nora gets hit with even worse news. Parsons is cutting her already unlivable salary. Unable to afford her rent and without even the novels she once loved as a comfort, Nora decides to moonlight for a rival publisher to make ends meet…and maybe poach some Parsons’ authors along the way. But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parsons author no one can afford to lose is thrown into the mix, Nora has to decide where her loyalties lie. Her new Dream Job, ever-optimistic Andrew, or…herself and her future. Initially, I was disappointed by the ending of this book because I felt there was so much left unsaid, but sometimes life is like that, right? In the end, I’ve grown to appreciate the journey that was Must Love Books. While the book is somewhat billed as a romance, it’s really about the growth of the main character, Nora, and how she manages the ups and downs of life while forging a way forward for herself.
Since the loss of her fiancé, Anna has been shipwrecked by grief—until a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take together. Impulsively, Anna goes to sea in their sailboat, intending to complete the voyage alone. But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course. What I loved most about this book were the amazing settings! You travel along with Anna and Keane as they journey through the Caribbean, stopping at St Thomas, Puerto Rico and some lesser known islands like Montserrat and Jost Van Dyke (which I’ve never heard of), sampling locale cuisines, making friends with other travelers and island residents, and learning and growing throughout their voyage. I also appreciated how real the characters were – their struggles felt genuine, and not forced. While this is definitely a romance, the romance was kind of simmering in the background, rather than the main event.