Looking for clean romance novels? Check out these two new releases! #cleanromance #sweetromance #hockeyromcom #hopeharbor #amreading #summerreads #romcom #inspirational

Looking for clean romance novels? Check out these two new releases!

Looking for clean romance novels? Check out these two new releases! #cleanromance #sweetromance #hockeyromcom #hopeharbor #amreading #summerreads #romcom #inspirational

Clean Romance? What’s That?!

If you’ve never heard of clean romance before, let me explain it to you. With the advent of indie authors self-publishing on Amazon, I’ve noticed a trend of including qualifiers in the book’s title. For example, A Groom of One’s Own has the subtitle of ‘A Sweet Hockey RomCom.’ This alerts readers ahead of time as to what to expect: a clean romance with a romantic comedy.

Clean and sweet can mean the same thing, but everyone has different definitions of clean, sweet, or steamy. I’ll share my definitions as a reader. Clean romance means the characters don’t engage in sex either in or out of the bedroom. While they may have had sex in the past, they have decided to remain celibate (until they marry). Characters still experience all the feels for their romantic interest, though. Authors make it clear characters desire each other, but they keep their desires very PG. Clean romances usually don’t have swearing, alcohol consumption, or violence, either.

Sweet romances still keep the bedroom door closed, but characters might not be as squeaky clean in their actions as characters in a clean romance. For example, they may go to a bar for a drink (but not get drunk), or the heat in the scenes may move from ketchup to salsa.

Steamy romances usually announce themselves with provocative covers (think 80s-style bodice rippers). A friend of mine calls them soft porn. One of my creative writing professors, who sold dozens of bodice-ripper titles for men (aka romance westerns), explained how publishers of that genre expected a steamy sex scene every X number of pages.

Romances remind us of our universal need to give and receive love. They also instill us with hope that our current situation can change for the better and even the unlikeliest people can fall and stay in love.

A Groom of One’s Own: A Sweet Hockey RomCom

By Emma St. Clair, Appies Hockey Romance Series, Create If Writing, LLC, March 2024, 368 pages.

Eli Hopkins has finally found his groove. Good friends and supportive teammates, a town that shares his love for hockey, and most importantly, a place where his mom can find the kinds of treatments she needs for her autoimmune problems. But when his team manager calls him in and informs Eli he’s missing just one little thing—correctly filed visa paperwork—his life threatens to crash around him.

When his lawyer offers a way out—marriage to a U.S. Citizen—Eli laughs. Despite all the women in Harvest Hallow who throw themselves at him, he can’t think of anyone he’d want to marry. For fake, or for real. Until he remembers the quiet friend he’s made at the local animal shelter.

Bailey McKinney struggles to keep her life together. Her parents died right before she finished college, and she’s the only one left to support her aging grandmother—a woman who forgets who she is most days. If Bailey can save up enough money, she can start veterinarian school one of these days. But most days, her goals seem distant and unattainable. Without fail, though, a cute guy comes to the shelter each week to play with the animals. He always brings lightness to Bailey’s days.

When a night out celebrating her birthday with friends turns into the most romantic and quirky birthday of her life, Bailey agrees to marry Eli. For legal reasons. So he can stay in Harvest Hollow. Mostly.

As Bailey and Cole plan a wedding and a future together, they have all sorts of things to negotiate in their fake marriage. From making it look natural to rules of engagement—can they kiss? Hold hands? And the more they get to know each other, the more they secretly wish the marriage was anything but fake.

Why I Loved this Book

Emma St. Clair rules the clean, closed-door romcom genre. I always laugh out loud at least once, giggle a few times, and have warm, fuzzy feelings throughout the book. She incorporates something serious or thought-provoking in each romance, so I feel like I learn something about human nature while enjoying quality entertainment. St. Clair’s newer books always have warnings at the beginning. She kindly alerts readers to triggers, reminders she writes CLEAN romance, and an assurance that things will turn out in the end.

If you’re looking for sweet, clean, inspiring romance with perfect-pitch comedy, you’ll love A Groom of One’s Own. While readers can enjoy the title as a standalone romcom, why not enjoy the entire Sweater Weather and Appies series? Fans of Pepper Basham and Melissa Ferguson will love this book.

If you love clean romance novels and hockey, you'll love #AGroomOfOnesOwn by @kikimojo Emma St. Clair! #romcom #hockeyromance Click To Tweet

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

Sandcastle Inn

By Irene Hannon, Revell, April 2, 2024, 352 pages.

When Vienna Price arrives in Hope Harbor, she wonders if the town will offer the same healing atmosphere she and her mom enjoyed during her childhood. Vienna has clashed with her mom for most of her life, so Vienna’s expectations remain low. She needs a refuge after losing her high-powered job in a company reorganization.

Maybe Hope Harbor will provide a refuge and a way to reframe her often contentious relationship with her mom. She doesn’t expect to find an intriguing project that will keep her in the area for a while or a man who makes her heart question her career choices.

Matt Quinn ends up in Hope Harbor looking for R&R. Instead, he finds his older sister, Kay, has taken on a project for which she has no heart. Out of love for his sister, he agrees to help her renovate the B&B she purchased when her husband died. If he can find a contractor and a plan, his sister will at least have the option to sell when she returns after helping their friend Cora recover from surgery.

Hope Harbor grows on a guy, though, especially the residents, such as Charley, the artist/taco stand owner and a fellow temporary visitor who sparks his interest for the first time since his beloved wife died. Maybe Hope Harbor will offer rebuilding in his personal life and not just a renovation project at the B&B.

What I Loved About This Book

Vienna and Matt’s story marks the tenth book in Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor series. Readers looking for a clean, sweet romance filled with hope and second chances will love Sandcastle Inn. Those who have experienced traumatic loss (either personal or professional) will relate to both Matt and Vienna. Readers who struggle in an adult relationship with a parent will relate to Vienna.

Although part of a series, readers can enjoy Sandcastle Inn as a standalone novel. But why not read them all?

You'll love the newest installment in @IreneHannon 's Hope Harbor series! Find inspiration within the pages of #SandcastleInn. #motherdaughterrelationships #cleanromance #inspy #amreading Click To Tweet
Looking for clean romance novels? Check out these two new releases! #cleanromance #sweetromance #hockeyromcom #hopeharbor #amreading #summerreads #romcom #inspirational

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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