This past summer, I re-discovered the glory that is a moderately trashy (but compelling!) romance novel. Between July and December I whipped through five romance novels, all of which were frivolous and fun and just what the doctor ordered. Here are my rankings!
5. Accidental Tryst by Natasha Boyd: This is about a free-spirited lady named Emmy who lives in Charleston. On her way to New York City to deal with a family situation, she accidentally switches phones with a brooding, handsome business man named Trystan. They begin interacting and growing closer and before they even meet in person sparks are flying left and right. This book’s cover is literally labelled “NSFW,” which I did not notice going in; I just bought it to read on a plane because it had a pink cover and was like, $1.99. It was fun enough for a plane ride, but Trystan is a little too much like Christian Grey and Emmy and her backstory felt suuuuuper fake at times.
4. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: This romance novel was a HUGE step up from the one above, and honestly I’d recommend this and all the others on this list. The main character, Alexa, is a hard-working politician and woman of color. She meets Drew on an elevator and he invites her to go to a wedding with him as an emergency date. They end up in an oddly intense long-distance relationship, which neither really knows how to navigate. Both have personal and career challenges they’re working through, and I liked how this book went into how challenges in your family and work life can impact your romantic relationships.
That said, HOW DO THESE PEOPLE EAT SO MANY DOUGHNUTS? Like, perpetual doughnut eating. And pizza. And tacos. You expect me to believe fit people in their 30s can eat like that on a daily basis? Like, where’s the kale salad and grilled chicken? Where is the quinoa?
Also there were moments when this book was kind of slow and that’s why it’s not further up on my list.
3. Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix: This author caught my eye because she writes romance novels with female protagonists who have careers in STEM. In this, the first of three romance novels that take place in the same fictional universe. The main character, Melody, is a new college grade who moves to LA for a job as a computer engineer at an aerospace company owned by the family of a one-time-hookup of hers, Jeremy. Jeremy and Melody are clearly into each other from the start, but Jeremy has a girlfriend and Melody is still hung up on an ex (whose whole story feels a little contrived.) Eventually they start kind of moving towards each other and there are a lot of cute scenes that were super prefect to read while sipping a spiked seltzer on the beach this past summer.
2. Intermediate Thermodynamics by Susannah Nix: This novel revolves around Esther, a guarded rocket scientist, and Jonathan, a sweet wannabe screen writer. I liked Esther’s backstory a lot; she was really a well-rounded character and TBH I related to a lot of her internal monologues and struggles. Jonathan would normally be the kind of character who annoys me, but he was so sweet and patient that I didn’t mind him at all. This story took on the complications that arise when friends are involved as a couple begins dating, and what feelings can pop up due to this. I was actually touched by the ending of this novel, which I once again completed while sipping a spiked seltzer on the beach.
1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: This was so fun to read. The main character, Lucy, is a publishing assistant who has been in an ongoing rivalry with her co-worker, Joshua, for several years. Things get a little crazier when the two begin competing for a promotion, and at the same time begin admitting that they’re attracted to one another. There are some superfluous and problematic scenes, like when Lucy gets food poisoning and Joshua takes care of her. (I’m sorry, what grown-ass person needs THAT much care when they’re sick? Just call her an Uber, Josh, and text her in the morning. No need for all this knight in shining armor BS. I for one can puke just as well by myself as I can with a hot guy watching me, thanks.) But for the most part this book is a real page-turner. The slow build of the main character’s chemistry and the draw of wondering how their professional rivalry might turn out is pretty exciting.
The last few chapters, when they attend a wedding together with Josh’s family, introduce some kind of interesting pressures I thought added some much-needed depth to the story. I really appreciated that Josh has body image issues, as these internal struggles and the external forces that feed into them (IE: parental expectations and sibling rivalry) often aren’t discussed in novels.
Every time I picked this book up, it was a little harder to put down. I whipped through it in about three days while I was traveling to and around Peru. It was a smart, fun, somewhat steamy (but not embarrassingly so) read that I think everyone should pick up for their next vacation:)
I had a lot of fun whipping through these beach reads throughout 2018! If you have any fun, romancy recommendations for 2019, please let me know int he comments!