Prepare yourselves – today you’re getting your very first book list! I’ve prepped a list of some of my very favorite contemporary romances, for those of you just falling in love with the genre (pun intended) or those looking to reread some of the best. Without further ado, the best of the best!
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I’m sure it’s a surprise to absolutely no one that I’m putting The Hating Game first on my list. Despite never writing a full review of this incredible romance, I reference it regularly when I’m trying to judge books critically…because it’s just the best. This is the book I recommend to friends when I want them to get hooked on the genre. I love the tropes of an office romance and an enemies-to-lovers, and you literally can’t top the wit, warmth, and humor of Sally Thorne. Also, OMG THEY’RE MAKING A MOVIE??
You can order a copy of this masterpiece from a local indie bookstore here (Jeff Bezos doesn’t need your money friends. If you don’t want to buy from my local indie bookstore, buy from yours! <3).
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
I remember picking up Fix Her Up at Barnes & Noble and thinking, “I’m probably not even going to like this.” I think we all know I hate a silly heroine, and Georgie being a *literal* clown didn’t exactly entice me to pick it up. But, I liked every other book on the romance display, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I might love this one too. So I took it home, and literally devoured it in a few hours.
Tessa Bailey is one of those rare, consistent winners. The first one on this list, in fact: every book I’ve read of hers has been amazing and held that same humor and feel from the previous book. They’re just wonderful, enjoyable reads, and Fix Her Up is the one that got me absolutely hooked.
Grab a copy here.
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Noticing now that the trend for this list is “consumed all the words in less than eight hours”…”shirked all worldly responsibilities in order to read”…”the book that helped me see the sunrise for once”.
And of course, The Friend Zone is no different. Literally couldn’t stop myself from consuming Kristen and Josh’s story at record pace. Abby Jimenez has put out tons of more awesome books since, so don’t miss those either, but start with The Friend Zone if you want to absolutely fall in love. I should mention, most of her books should have a trigger warning for some sad content. Read the description to see what I mean, and buy a copy of your own, right here.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Oh my god, the first book on this list I actually have a full review for! It’s a miracle!! And surprising, too, as The Bromance Book Club is actually a little older than some of the reads on this list. However, I actually got hooked on Lyssa Kay Adams a bit late in the game. I grabbed this gem, and within 24 hours I was driving my ass back to Target to pick up Undercover Bromance, desperate for my next fix of Lyssa.
This series is a rare thing: not only feminist romance, but feminist romance almost entirely from the male perspective! The premise is a bunch of celebrities, sports players, and other powerful Nashville men start a romance book club so that they can better understand the women in their lives. Do I really need to say anything more??
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
You Deserve Each Other was my very first review on this blog!! Way back in August of 2019 this book kept me up until the sunrise, laughing and crying. Hogle wrote with such a personal touch, it felt painfully real and emotional to read. This one hit on that same enemies-to-lovers trope, with the same humor as The Hating Game, and it felt so reminiscent of it that it took up special residence in my heart. The antics had me laughing out loud as I read, and I rarely do that!
If you’re looking to get into the genre and looking for new favorites, start with these incredible authors. One thing I absolutely adore about modern romance is the feminist angle: one thing I pick up on as I look over the list of my favorites is how badass these women are! If your leading ladies need to be as tough as you are for you to sink into a good romance, you’ve come to the right place. I love that the characters on these lists have lives *beyond* their love lives, and the glimpse we get through these novels highlights strength and a well-rounded character.
If you were writing a list of your favorite romances, where would you start? What would make it on your list? I want to hear them! (Almost certainly because they should also be on my to-read list!!). I had to seriously cut this down just to get it to five books…the first list was so much longer! Let me know if you want another one with all my honorable mentions. 😉
Have a wonderful weekend friends!