Valentine’s Reads: When Love Needs Help

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(PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

(PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

Finding a Valentine isn’t always easy. Keeping one can be even harder. For those who are alone, or those who just feel alone, this Valentine’s Day we’ve pulled together some of the best books to help! If you’re coupled up and need to reconnect; if you’re just not feeling your prettiest; if you’re wondering how to attract that secret crush; and if you’re looking for something…different: these books have just the love advice for you.

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

As Lener points out, every single women’s magazine in the world can give you advice on how to make your relationship better — but you don’t need any of it. The New York Times best selling author, clinical psychologist and relationship expert breaks it down into common sense. Simple rules that our emotions and bad habits sometimes get the better of us can help you with the most fundamental relationship problems. She suggests inviting what you dread, motivating yourself to be the agent of change you want to see in your relationship and even takes on the tricky problems accompanying having kids and stepkids.

Recommended if: You and your longterm partner don’t actually have Valentine’s Day plans yet. Because you’ve already got a communication problem.

The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget by Jacqui Stafford

One of the keys to getting into that intimate moment is making yourself feel hot. If you don’t think you’re smoking, who else is going to? Stylist Jacqui Stafford helps decode the body shape you have, while reveling the tricks that go on behind the scenes at fashion mags to make celebs look so good — you can use them too (or at least realize even those amazing shots aren’t real or effortless). She explores the secrets of bras and shapewear, how to fake cosmetic surgery and why you can get away with the cheap moisturizer.

Recommended if: you need a reality check on Photoshopped women’s mags, if you sometimes feel unpretty.

Swoon: Great Seducers And Why Women Love Them by Betsy Prioleau

Why do women always fall for the bad boys? In Betsy’s Prioleau’s new book she attempts to answer this age-old question by taking a closer look at the Lotharios, Casanovas and ladykillers who have dominated female fantasies throughout history. She breaks her book into two parts, focusing in on the anatomy of a seducer before revealing his many tricks. For all those looking for a little help in the love department, this book doubles as a dating manual with tips on how to protect one’s self from these nightmarish guys. If after reading this you’re inspired to give these dastardly men a taste of their own medicine you might want to check out Prioleau’s previous work, Seductress: Women Who Ravished The World.

Recommended if: you have a crush on John Mayer or Adam Levine.

The Love Lives of the Artists: Five Stories of Creative Intimacy by Daniel Bullen

Some people have unconventional relationships. They’re challenging and difficult, living outside the accepted rules of society. They look nothing like what you see in rom-coms. But they can be the most inspirational and stimulating of a person’s life. This book looks at the intimacies that sparked creative genius between Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé, Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin. All were unconventional and scandalous to the layperson — and while the book is not a how-to guide on creativity or unconventionality, it is a blueprint to how these remarkable people put aside relationship business as usual but maintained a deep trust and well of creative inspiration.

Recommended if: You’re a serial monogamist who can’t seem to find “the one.” He may not exist.

-Courtney E. Smith and Shannon Carlin, Radio.com

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