Sometimes adulthood really is the worst. But then I remember that I can pretty much do whatever I want without having to ask for permission and things seem a little better (until I get the bill for whatever it is I decided to do, anyway). So, as always, when the going gets tough and I’m relegated to staying at home doing nothing because I spent my biweekly fun money on buying more used books I don’t actually need because my kindle app is overflowing with books and also, actually so are my shelves, I sometimes ignore my problems (read: cleaning that needs to be done) by diving into romance novels. Alternatively, when I’ve had a bad day at work because I had to deal with a particularly frustrating defendant or our internet was down for ages so I didn’t get to accomplish what I wanted, I will also drown my sorrows in a romance novel when I get home. If you’ve been here a while, you probably already knew I like hiding behind books, so it may be unsurprising to you that I’ve already got ten more contemporary romance novels to share!
1. The Wedding Dateby Jasmine Guillory
This book was so delightful, in my opinion, that I think that it could come pretty close to bringing us world peace if everyone would just get lost in this book for a day. Alexa and Drew are competence porn galore, as a lawyer turned mayoral staff woman and a pediatric (surgeon? doctor? Idk, which really, but Drew is Alex Karev in my head). They meet when they get stuck in an elevator (see, the Grey’s Anatomy comparison to Alex Karev was really a natural one to make!) and Drew winds up asking Alexa to be his fake girlfriend for the wedding of his ex-girlfriend to one of his friends. Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes, but this one doesn’t draw it out overly long, and instead focuses on how two adult people living in two different cities can make things work. It was delightful. The book also tackles microaggressions and addresses Drew’s privilege in a really neat way that I appreciated. Real world issues, but with a happy ending, what more can you ask for?
These books are so incredible, I’m in love with them. I could re-read them both endlessly. Technically Rock Hard was published first, but Cherish Hard comes first chronologically. The heroes in the books are brothers and I adore their family so much. Also, just everything about Rock Hard is perfect. I cannot sing the praise highly enough of Nalini Singh for creating this beautifully perfect book. If you haven’t read Rock Hard, remedy that immediately because T-Rex and Charlotte will blow you away. But definitely read Cherish Hard first, which I swear I adored, even though Rock Hard overshadows it a bit in my mind.
Take the Lead has been (doubly) nominated for a RITA and I assure you, it is deserving. All the controversy aside (which is valid and I have my complaints about the nominees that should have been!), I genuinely hope Take the Lead wins this award because I think it’s one of the best debuts ever and more importantly, I love this book so much. I didn’t think Dance with Me could top it, and while it seems that a lot of people don’t think it did, I think those people are wildly off the mark because Dance with Me stole my heart completely. I adore Dimitri and Natasha and I want them to live happily ever after forever and open a cute dance studio and choreograph dances for small children who love Dimitri while Natasha stands there like a literal heart eye emoji. (Obviously the children love Natasha too, but that’s a given because she’s their main teacher.) Anyway, this series is epic and wonderful and you should absolutely read it.
4. The Forbidden Hearts trilogy by Alisha Rai
I already talked about Hate to Want You (a nominee that should have been!), the first book of this perfect series, in the last edition of this post, but I just want you to know that if you haven’t yet picked up Wrong to Need You and Hurts to Love You, that you are depriving yourself of excellence and should fix that immediately. It seems like a lot of people think that Wrong to Need You was even better than the first one, which I can’t agree with because Livvy is basically the other half of my soul. However, Sadia and Jackson’s love story is angsty perfection and Sadia’s sisters are gems. I can’t wait to read Jia’s story in Alisha Rai’s new spin off series (WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED, Y’ALL!). And then, Hurts to Love You gave me Eve’s story and it was SO GOOD. My precious baby turtle coming out of her shell and getting the man? Yes, please. All the deliciousness that involved was delightful and you should read it immediately. Trust me, Gabe and Eve are worth dropping everything for.
5. A Princess in Theoryby Alyssa Cole
If you haven’t read this book yet, rectify that immediately. First of all, the cover is beautiful. Secondly, Alyssa Cole’s ability to craft characters is just honestly so amazing to me, I can’t handle it. Naledi’s voice feels so authentic that I’m pretty convinced she’s actually walking around as a princess epidemiologist somewhere in the world right now. And my darling Thabiso is a mess, a beautiful mess. Prince Thabiso has the weight of the world on his shoulders and also he is a man prone to making stupid life decisions (like pretending to be a waiter with absolutely no idea how to serve people) who tries so hard to do what is best for his country. I love his precious soul even though I was extremely annoyed by his deception. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and absolutely cannot wait for the Hufflegruff hero in A Duke by Default coming in just a couple of months!
6. Acting on Impulseby Mia Sosa
I just read this book and enjoyed it tremendously! Mia Sosa’s writing is delightful and the characters she created feel so real. Starting with a quick trip to Aruba (what a choice!) and with some great inner monologue for both Tori and Carter, the book starts out interesting and only gets more so. Tori eventually becomes Carter’s personal trainer and I appreciated the way the book touches on ethics and professionalism, as well as the intensified scrutiny women tend to come under in that regard. Also, the food in this book! Tori’s Puerto Rican family owns a restaurant and while Tori keeps trying to make them make healthier food options, the food descriptions had me salivating. Do not read this book while hungry, in other words!
7. Grin and Beard Itby Penny Reid
Last time, I recommended Beauty and the Mustache and I definitely stand by that recommendation and perhaps should extend it to the entirety of The Winston Brothers series, but Jethro and Sienna are everything to me. Sienna is the heroine of my heart. She is a plus sized Latina comedic actress who just won an Oscar and she writes as well. When she shows up in Green Valley, Tennessee to lay low for a couple of weeks before filming of her next movie starts, she winds up hopelessly loss and rescued by Jethro. Their romance is to die for, in my honest opinion, and I want Sienna to have everything she ever wants. Fortunately, Jethro agrees. BLESSED.
8. Bad for the Bossby Talia Hibbert
I have so many Talia Hibbert books on my kindle waiting to be read because I bought them all after reading and adoring this one. Bad for the Boss gives us an ode to this beautiful, plus-sized heroine’s stretch marks and if you think that didn’t win Talia a fan for life, you are incorrect. Also, this book has all the consent markers that make a romance novel about sleeping with the boss one that works for me. Jen and Theo have a precious love story and I adore them. And also Talia. This book, y’all.
The New Camelot series by Sierra Simone is extremely NSFW and the angst (especially in book two) is off the charts. The HEA we wind up with at the end of American King though, is absolutely worth all of the pain. And if you haven’t started this series yet, you won’t have to experience the agony of waiting for the next book at the end of the first two. Trust me, it was agonizing. The books feature a m/m/f relationship or m/f/m, whichever way you’d like. It’s a true triad, is my point. Anyway, Greer is a professor who winds up reconnecting with the President of the United States, who she first met when she was like 16 and he was 20 something. Also, POTUS and his VP have a complicated relationship and whoops, Greer had sex for the first time with the VP. It is so good, so angsty, and so, so steamy.
10. Roomies by Christina Lauren
This book made me laugh so much. I spent quite a bit of my drive home with my sister reading her sentences and paragraphs aloud because I kept giggling out loud. A marriage of convenience between Holland Bakker and Calvin McLoughlin to sort out his immigration issues was delightful. (Try not to think too hard about our immigration laws, while reading it or you might wind up sad again though.) This book involves music, our heroine trying to figure out what she’s really doing in life, and Calvin trying his best to convince Holland that he really does have feelings for her.
So there you have it! Ten more contemporary romance novels that I think provide an incredible escape from reality. Please gush about any/all of the books on this list with me in the comments! And if you have any books you think I should check out, absolutely give me those recommendations!