Being a writer means being a reader. So I can say (without stretching the truth too much) that reading romance novels is research for me. Okay, fine, so I mostly read romances for pure pleasure but I've come to appreciate good craft. I'm becoming increasingly irritated with some romance tropes (slut shaming in particular), so these picks are what made it past some serious filters. These are all contemporaries - I've been on a contemporary binge lately, though I usually read a lot of historicals. If you're looking for feel-good reads, you're all set. Links lead to Goodreads.
- It Happened One Wedding by Julie James - this is the fifth book in the series but I didn't read any of the others and it wasn't confusing or anything. I liked that the protagonists weren't all that young and the banter was fantastic.
- Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie - hilarious. If you've read the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich or if you just like some mafia (or flamingos) with your romance, this is the book for you. I loved Agnes and laughed out loud with this one.
- Someone Like You by Lauren Layne - this series should be read from the beginning, I think. Lauren Layne can do no wrong in my books and the Oxford series is fantastic!
- How Not to Fall and How Not to Let Go by Emily Foster - these two should be read back-to-back. The story of Annie and Charles doesn't end after book 1, so be warned. This easily made my top ten romances of all time, people.
- The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen - this is a New Adult series and it's one of the best I've read. I hate NA books with too much artificial angst but Bowen really knows her stuff. I binged these and I'm definitely re-reading them soon.
- Act Like It by Lucy Parker - ohhh this one was great. It has a bad boy who isn't obnoxious and an enemies-to-lovers plot that I just love. I've already re-read it once and it's still just as good. I can't wait for Pretty Face, which comes out soon!
Have you read any of these? What romances have you enjoyed recently? Anything I should add to my TBR list? I'd love to hear from you!