The best romance books that will both shatter and stitch your heart

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up watching soap operas and swapping novels with my grandma and mom. Romantic stories have been a part of who I am ever since I was old enough to get my hands on Nora Roberts! Now, thanks to my love for the books that inspire love, I’m a romance novelist myself, having penned the Trading Heartbeats trilogy. Each novel is a recipient of a first place BookFest award and has been traditionally published by Inkspell Publishing. I write with raw emotion and work to really shatter hearts of readers—only to repair them on the final pages. I have dual master’s degrees in organizational communication and English studies from Illinois State University. 


I wrote...

I Loved You Yesterday: Book One in the Trading Heartbeats Trilogy

By Julie Navickas,

Book cover of I Loved You Yesterday: Book One in the Trading Heartbeats Trilogy

What is my book about?

Mavis Benson made a huge mistake. Scratch that—colossal mistake. Twice. Sleeping with her high school sweetheart’s twin brother definitely wasn’t part of the plan… nor was falling in love with him. 

When an unplanned pregnancy upends her life at seventeen, Mavis skips town to spare her boyfriend, Josh Templeton, from the fallout. With only a letter of apology, she disappears, but not before confiding her secret to Josh’s brother, Austin. When Austin resurfaces in her life years later, he brings the past to Mavis’s doorstep. Josh wants her back, Austin isn’t willing to surrender, and the path to happiness isn’t clear. Caught between both men, Mavis must choose between the brother for whom she broke her own heart, and the brother who picked up the pieces.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Mr. Wrong Number

Julie Navickas Why did I love this book?

Mr. Wrong Number is simply charming!

From the first page, Olivia and Colin had me in a fit of giggles, fully enamored with their witty banter and incredible push-pull chemistry. If you’re looking for a light-hearted read with a relatable, sloppy heroine and a powerful, smitten hero, you need Lynn Painter’s Mr. Wrong Number in your hands.

It’s a swoon-worthy romance that promises all the feels! 

By Lynn Painter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Wrong Number as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Things get textual when a steamy message from a random wrong number turns into an anonymous relationship in this hilarious rom-com by Lynn Painter.

Bad luck has always followed Olivia Marshall...or maybe she's just the screw-up her family thinks she is. But when a "What are you wearing?" text from a random wrong number turns into the hottest, most entertaining—albeit anonymous—relationship of her life, she thinks things might be on the upswing....

Colin Beck has always considered Olivia his best friend's annoying little sister, but when she moves in with them after one of her worst runs of luck, he…


Book cover of The Art of Murder

Julie Navickas Why did I love this book?

I’m usually one for a light and easy romance, but The Art of Murder really had me second-guessing my preferences!

Fast-paced, heart-stopping, and fabulous, Claire Ripley gives you everything you want in a romantic suspense novel. The author knows how to artfully weave together external conflict with a roller coaster of emotions. The characters are well-written, and the plot really kept me turning pages.

This is a quick, fun read that’ll leave you guessing and cheering for a (spoiler alert!) happily-ever-after. 

By Claire Ripley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From a small town in Alabama to Charleston, South Carolina, witnessing a murder is not part of the plan.

Emma is relieved to have left her small town behind and make a fresh start in Charleston to make her living as an artist. What she doesn’t expect is witnessing a murder puts her life in danger and the alluring FBI agent demanding answers from her.

As Emma and Connor are thrust together more and more, she discovers everything is not as it seems.

Although Emma is determined to keep working, she can’t ignore the danger that lurks in the city…


Book cover of 9 Days and 9 Nights

Julie Navickas Why did I love this book?

I was a huge fan of 99 Days by Katie Cotugno, so I knew I had to pick up this sequel.

Main character Molly is flawed, to the point where I wanted to throw the book across the room. But there’s no denying her pull toward the forbidden love interest, Gabe. What I admired most about this story is how author Katie Cotugno brought a series of unlikely events into the realm of plausibility.

If you’re into forbidden love, romance abroad, and a story you can’t put down, grab this one now!  

By Katie Cotugno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 9 Days and 9 Nights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

In this sequel to the New York Times bestseller 99 Days, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, Molly Barlow finds herself in Europe on her summer vacation, desperately trying to forget everything that happened a year ago. But over the course of nine days and nine nights, her whole life will be turned upside down once more. . . .

Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago… After all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart.…


Book cover of Blame It on Paris

Julie Navickas Why did I love this book?

I’m a sucker for Paris. Having studied abroad in the city of love, I’m drawn to the romance behind the Parisian way of life.

So, when I picked up a copy of Blame It on Paris, I knew from page one that I’d be a fan of main character Laura and her carefree travels abroad. Enter Sebastien – and the story deepens beyond a romantic fling. I couldn’t put this story down and have returned for many rereads since I first bought the book on a whim in a Paris bookshop in 2007! 

By Laura Florand,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blame It on Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can an insecure American woman find happiness with a sexy Parisian waiter---
even if she doesn't like the French?

Laura has spent most of her adult life avoiding serious relationships, flitting around the world, and keeping her romantic expectations comfortably low. The last thing she wants is to have her globe-trotting ways curtailed by a messy emotional entanglement. As far as she's concerned, chocolate is just as satisfying as true love--and a lot less complicated.
So how, in the name of all that is romantic, has she managed to get involved with a dangerously charming Frenchman named Sébastien? And only…


Book cover of It Happened One Summer

Julie Navickas Why did I love this book?

Sometimes you just need an unsuspecting steamy read!

It Happened One Summer was one of the hottest books on #BookTok in 2022 and let me tell you… the hype is worth it! Main character Piper is as flawed as they come, but that leaves room for one of the most beautiful characters arcs I’ve ever read.

And honestly, just take my money because any character Tessa Bailey writes is one I want to read. Brendan is book-boyfriend-worthy! 

By Tessa Bailey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It Happened One Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first in a spicy and unforgettable rom-com duology from #1 New York Times bestseller and tik tok favorite Tessa Bailey, in which a Hollywood "It Girl" is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town... where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn't belong.

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts…


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Book cover of This Animal Body

Meredith Walters

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Neuroscience PhD student Frankie Conner has finally gotten her life together—she’s determined to discover the cause of her depression and find a cure for herself and everyone like her. But the first day of her program, she meets a group of talking animals who have an urgent message they refuse to share. And while the animals may not have Frankie’s exalted human brain, they know things she doesn’t, like what happened before she was adopted.

To prove she’s sane, Frankie investigates her forgotten past and conducts clandestine experiments. But just when she uncovers the truth, she has to make an impossible choice: betray the animals she’s fallen in love with—or give up her last chance at success and everything she thought she knew.

By Meredith Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Animal Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Frankie Conner, first-year graduate student at UC Berkeley, is finally getting her life together. After multiple failures and several false starts, she's found her calling: become a neuroscientist, discover the cause of her depression and anxiety, and hopefully find a cure for herself and everyone like her.

But her first day of the program, Frankie meets a mysterious group of talking animals who claim to have an urgent message for her. The problem is, they're not willing to share it. Not yet. Not until she's ready.

While Frankie's new friends may not have her highly evolved, state-of-the-art, exalted human brain,…


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