Bookstores Pandemic Life

Pandemic Reading–Surprise Boxes from Love’s Sweet Arrow

Ever since the pandemic hit back in March, I’ve been looking for ways to support indie bookstores, and sometime in May, I discovered surprise boxes from Love’s Sweet Arrow. If you’re an active member of Romancelandia, then you’ve heard of Love’s Sweet Arrow, but for those who haven’t heard of it before, it is a romance only bookstore in Illinois–only the second of its kind (the first being The Ripped Bodice in Culver City).

One of the things that I like about Love’s Sweet Arrow is that they do something called a Surprise Box for $50. I know that sounds like a lot and if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, I probably wouldn’t spend that much money on a few paperbacks, but it is worth it. Not only do you get several books, but they also include other self-care items like the bath bomb I received in my most recent order.

After waiting two weeks for my box to arrive (because some orange asshole decided to fuck with the postal service in order to rig the 2020 election), it finally came today.

My box contained five books as well as the bath bomb I mentioned above and a shower sponge, which ironically was something I was looking to order to replace my current one, so perfect timing.

The books are a mix of older publications and books that have come out within the last several months, and they’re all by fairly well-known authors. The first book out of the box is Feels Like Family by Sheryl Woods. This is part of her Sweet Magnolias series, which is currently a Netflix show that everyone I know seems to really like. I haven’t watched it yet, but it is on my queue.

Next up, Impetuous by Lori Foster, including The Proposal by Brenda Jackson as a bonus. According to the back copy, Impetuous involves a white woman dressing like a harem girl, so I’m not real excited about that, but the copywrite date is 1995, so I will have to remember that things were a bit different back then if I do decide to give that one a try. I may just read the Brenda Jackson title as it was published more recently.

The third book is Deadly Rumors by Cheris Hodges. This is my third Surprise Box and the third Cheris Hodge book that I’ve received. Thankfully, it isn’t the same book. This one absolutely looks to be right up my alley, so yay! The first romancesI ever read were romantic suspense and I’ve been really into them again recently.

Love Is Blind by Lynsay Sands is the fourth book in the box. I was genuinely surprised that this wasn’t a vampire book because that’s all I thought Lynsay Sands wrote. I am a little nervous that the heroine wears glasses. As we all know those stories, especially historical romances tend to involve a makeover scene where the heroine removes her glasses, miraculously can see without them, and becomes beautiful. Glasses do not equal ugly. Ugh.

The final book in the box is the one I am most excited about–The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon. I’ve never read anything by her before, but I follow her on Twitter and she seems really awesome. I also really like the idea of three women screwed over by the same man coming together and becoming friends. The only thing better would be if two of the woman became more than friends–like that Am I the Asshole post from a couple of months ago where two women who’d been knocked up by the same guy ended up falling for each other.

I am going to go put these books on my new bookcase (and order some food for dinner), but if you’re looking to find some new books and want to help an Indie bookstore, check out The Surprise or Mini-Surprise Box ($25) from Love’s Sweet Arrow.


Romance novels have been a part of my life since I was 14 years old and one of my neighbors dropped off a laundry basket full of Harlequins. From that day on, my nose was always in a book. I started my first review site in 2013, but took some time off for personal issues in 2018.