Hosting Tips

How to Host a Romance Novel Book Swap

Yes to ruffles, corsets, velvet, and lace.

By Chanel Dror
making chocolate covered strawberries

I stand by the fact that Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday, and this year, I hosted a girls-only gathering for the books. Romance novels are such a big part of our country’s literary culture, yet I don’t know many women who regularly read the genre. So with the most romantic day of the year upon us, I thought I’d look past the goofy book covers to uncover what the fuss is all about. Better yet, I thought I’d make a party of it! The team came over and joined me for one of the most fun, laugh-filled and sweets-filled afternoons.

We slipped into a romantic state of mind by wearing oversized silk barrettes in our hair. Thinking these might become a regular part of my wardrobe…

We arranged roses in glass vases and scattered them all around my apartment. Tables and shelves, high and low, there wasn’t a spot that went unadorned.

Megan looked picture perfect in her lilac beret.

How cute are these invitations that Jenn Rose designed?

Cliché or not, nothing says seduction quite like chocolate-dipped strawberries. I’ve wanted to try making my own for ages, so we set up a table where guests could dip and decorate upon arrival.

Click here for our fool proof guide to making chocolate covered strawberries!

Camille kicked things off with a coat of classic milk chocolate, topped with pretty sugar pearls.

Jenn Rose used a paint brush to apply a layer of gold decorating dust for a lustrous look.

I covered my dining table with Trimaco Red Rosin Builders Paper to create a protected craft space. The color couldn’t have been more perfect!

I was convinced that Caroline had done this before! She drizzled icing through a piping bag across her strawberries like a pro.

The berries only took a few minutes to completely dry. Once they hardened, we set each into a mini cupcake liner and packed them into small boxes in groupings of four. How precious do these look?!

Each of us packed up our own box to gift our Valentines on the 14th. Such a sweet and simple gift idea, that’s more personal than the store-bought variety.

We then got to the good stuff. Each guest was told to bring a few romance novels to swap at the party. The classically amorous covers were entertaining in and of themselves, but it wasn’t until we cracked the books open that we really got into the spirit!

At once both hilarious and addictive, we could totally see why this literary category is the most popular genre in modern literature. According to Wikipedia, the romance novel market is impervious to economic recession!

Jenn Rose designed these amazing printable bookmarks to serve as party favors. They each display a different risqué phrase, but my favorite has to be the one that reads “How dare you, Sir?”

We piled into my living room to keep the reading party going. We each grabbed a bodice ripper** and competed to see who could find the most colorful suggestive excerpts.

**bodice ripper – a sexually explicit romantic novel or movie with a historical setting

We dressed in our most romantic attire to get into the mood. Yes to ruffles, corsets, velvet and lace.

Did you know that the Romance category breaks into subgenres like Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fi Romance and Time-Travel Romance? A little something for everybody, ha!

I think we’ve the discovered the best Galentine’s gathering ever. Officially making this an annual tradition in my house! Who’s with me?!