A Beginner's Guide to Romance
I don’t know what it is about 2019, but I am in a major reading slump. Nothing appeals to me right now. And when I do want to read, I automatically gravitate towards romance books. It could be because it’s cold outside and I just want to cuddle up with a good love story, or it could be because I just want to read about happy endings. I have so many books on my unread shelf that I want to read and get through, but for whatever reason, I am just not interested at this moment in time. So instead of doing a book review or a reading recap on what I’ve read recently (which like I said, is not much), I thought I would recommend some great gateway romance novels. I’ve talked a lot about these novels, but if you are looking to try more romance or romantic comedies, any of these would be a fantastic start.
Act Like It by Lucy Parker
I know I’ve talked about Act Like It probably 7,358 times on the blog, but Lucy Parker is a master at witty banter and delightful sexual tension. Lainie and Richard have zero interest in each other, but when their theater company throws them together in a fake dating situation for the sake of Richard’s reputation and Lainie’s charity, sparks end up flying. Seriously, I love this book so much and cannot recommend it enough.
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
This was my first Tessa Dare book, and I am slowly making my way through her backlist. Tessa Dare writes historical romance, but they always feel modern and like a classic romantic comedy. When the Duke of Ashbury needs a wife and an heir, he picks seamstress Emma Gladstone for his marriage of convenience. I came for the marriage of convenience trope (which is one of my favorites), but stayed for the excellent banter between Emma and Ash. Emma calling Ash every pet name under the sun is hysterical, plus The Duchess Deal starts a delightful series.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The Hating Game was the first contemporary romance I read, and it still stands out as one of my all-time favorites. Lucy and Josh are both assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing house. They despise each other, but when they are pitted against each other for the same role, their hatred turns into so much more. Josh Templeman is a dreamboat, and I want to be best friends with Lucy. Seriously, these two are just the best.
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
This was my first Penny Reid book, and now I have read everything she’s written. Her books are delightful because of her smart heroines and snappy dialogue. Janie and Quinn’s story is wonderful, plus if you start with this book, you have the whole Knitting in the City series and the Winston Brothers series to binge on, not too mention all of Penny’s other works. Pick this one up, I know you’ll love it.
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
This was my first historical romance novel and it still remains my favorite historical. Callie and Ralston are two of my favorite characters. Callie is an aging spinster despite having a sizable dowry; she always does what she’s supposed to, but when her younger sister gets engaged, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Enter Ralston. The two of them together make me so happy. If you’re interested in trying historical romances, I cannot recommend Sarah MacLean enough. Her stories have so much depth and love. Plus all of her heroines are fantastic feminists and have no interest in taking a backseat to the men in their lives.
Something About You by Julie James
Julie James is well-known around Romancelandia for writing competence porn. Her heroines are generally lawyers or other professionals, and the men always love the strong women. Something About You is no different. FBI Special Agent Jack Pallas and Assistant US Attorney Cameron Lynde have a tumultous history, but when Cameron ends up being the key witness to a murder, their relationship takes a romantic turn. I absolutely adore these two and love how they pop up in Julie James’ other books.
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
One of my favorite YA romantic comedies. Tell Me Three Things is about Jessie, a high school student who has moved with her dad to California after her mother died. She is navigating a new school and her grief, when she starts getting emails from someone at the school. As the year goes on, she thinks she knows who is sending her the message, but she also has made a new friend and really wants to be with him. It’s kind of like You’ve Got Mail, which is high praise indeed.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
One of my favorite stories from last year. Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are #goals. I absolutely adored the series and have seen the Netflix movie probably 5 times. If you haven’t read the book yet, please pick it up. Also Netflix announced they are making PS I Still Love You into a movie, so pick up the next book in Jenny Han’s fantastic trilogy.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
You have probably seen Jasmine Guillory’s debut novel around a lot, and for good reason. Alexa and Drew have the most adorable meet cute in an elevator and end up going to a wedding together for Drew’s ex-girlfriend. What began as a fling turns into more when they both realize they actually really like each other. But will they continue to do long-distance? Or will one of them make the big leap? I absolutely adored this book and think it’s a delightful gateway into romance.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Another fantastic YA novel. Dimple and Rishi’s parents have actually arranged their marriage, but Dimple doesn’t know that. So when she meets Rishi at a coffee shop and he claims to be her future husband, she is understandably freaked out. I loved these two and how passionate Dimple was about her coding future and her future career. This is such a fun, cute romantic comedy and opened up my eyes to the dynamics of Indian-American families.
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Another wonderful YA romantic comedy. Alice and Teddy have been best friends for years, and Alice has always had a bit of a crush on Teddy. But when she gives him a winning lottery ticket and changes his life forever, is she ready for Teddy to change along with the money? I loved this story line, because haven’t we all thought about what we would do if we won the lottery? Alice and Teddy are very real, and I liked how they had to navigate their friendship
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
And how could we forget one of the original romances, Pride and Prejudice? If you haven’t read Jane Austen’s classic, what are you waiting for? Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are the original enemies to lovers story, but there is so much more to this book. There is a reason that there are countless adaptations and so many people claim it as one of their favorites. If you have read Pride and Prejudice but haven’t read any other Jane Austen books, read Persuasion. It’s my favorite after P&P.
Hopefully I will get out of my reading slump soon, but until then, I’ll stick to my happy endings and love stories!
Let me know what you think about these gateways into the romance genre and if you have any suggestions for books to get me out of my book slump.