Hi friends! Today is love day, and I hope we take some time to celebrate love in whatever form it comes in, platonic or romantic.
This is my last post in the series of romance-themed posts leading up to Valentine’s Day (which is today!). I hope you’ve enjoyed them. If you want to read the other posts, they are linked below.
Thank you for stopping by! I just wanted to reiterate how much I appreciate you all, the community of bloggers and book lovers I’ve found here. I wouldn’t still be doing this without you.
Now onto the list!
If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.
Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.
I’m such a sucker for CInderella based stories, but Julie Murphy’s take seems to include body positivity and a plus sized woman that just makes it different among the others I’ve read. It’s definitely got me intrigued at least, enough to put it on this list!
How Not To Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins
A hardened cynic and a hopeless romantic teach each other about love in this swoony and heartfelt contemporary romance that’s perfect for fans of Tweet Cute and The Upside of Falling.
Harper works in her mom’s wedding shop, altering dresses for petulant and picky brides who are more focused on hemlines than love. After years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Nothing more. Her best friend Theo is her opposite. One date and he’s already dreaming of happily ever afters. He also plays the accordion, makes chain mail for Ren Festers, hangs out in a windmill-shaped tree house, cries over rom-coms, and takes his word-of-the-day calendar very seriously.
When Theo’s shocked to find himself nursing his umpteenth heartbreak, Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love. Theo agrees to the lessons, as long as Harper proves she can date without falling in love. As the lessons progress and Theo takes them to heart, Harper has a harder time upholding her end of the bargain. She’s also checking out her window to see if Theo’s home from his latest date yet. She’s even watching rom-coms. If she confesses her feelings, she’ll undermine everything she’s taught him. Or was he the one teaching her?
I love it when there’s chemistry between best friends, especially ones that are very unwilling to acknowledge that there might be anything more between them. This seems like the perfect read.
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
A wedding. A trip to Spain. The most infuriating man. And three days of pretending. Or in other words, a plan that will never work.
Catalina Martín, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year.
That would certainly be tomorrow’s headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call.
Four weeks wasn’t a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic–from NYC and all the way to Spain–for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along my charade. But that didn’t mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6’4 blue eyed pain in my ass standing before me.
Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date. Right after inserting his nose in my business, calling me delusional, and calling himself my best option. See? Outrageous. Aggravating. Blood boiling. And much to my total despair, also right. Which left me with a surly and extra large dilemma in my hands. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister’s wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences of my panic induced lie?
Like my abuela would say, que dios nos pille confesados.
The Spanish Love Deception is an enemies-to-lovers, fake-dating romantic comedy. Perfect for those looking for a steamy slow-burn romance with the sweetest Happily Ever After.
The hype was so big for this one last year and I’m excited to see where this fake dating romances goes. Plus, there’s the bonus of some travelling to Spain here and I adore travel sights in my stories (a la Love & Gelato).
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
Naomi and Ethan will test the boundaries of love in this provocative romance from the author of the ground-breaking debut, The Roommate.
Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.
Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.
Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.
The premise seems super different with a sex-positive woman and a rabbi as our leads. Call me intrigued indeed! I also love the idea of an experiment (it’s the scientist in me) but we shall see how that actually unfolds.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.
But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.
What could go wrong?
With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.
And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?
Friends to enemies to lovers with a dash of forbidden love thrown into the mix? Yes please! Where can I sign up? I also love that they were previously best friends ‘cause that just adds something to their chemistry dynamic.
You, Me, and Our Heartstrings by Melissa See
A fresh and fun teen romance starring a girl with cerebral palsy, and a boy with severe anxiety.
Daisy and Noah have the same plan: use the holiday concert to land a Julliard audition. But when they’re chosen to play a duet for the concert, they worry that their differences will sink their chances.
Noah, a cello prodigy from a long line of musicians, wants to stick to tradition. Daisy, a fiercely independent disabled violinist, is used to fighting for what she wants and likes to take risks. But the two surprise each other when they play. They fall perfectly in tune.
After their performance goes viral, the rest of the country falls for them just as surely as they’re falling for each other. But viral fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No one seems to care about their talent or their music at all. People have rewritten their love story into one where Daisy is an inspiration for overcoming her cerebral palsy and Noah is a saint for seeing past it.
Daisy is tired of her disability being the only thing people see about her, and all of the attention sends Noah’s anxiety disorder into high speed. They can see their dream coming closer than it’s ever been before. But is the cost suddenly too high?
I don’t see protagonists, especially in YA, with disabilities much. The only example I can think of is from A Curse So Dark and Lonely where the girl has cerebral palsy also. I am glad to see more diversity in this area coming through, and this romance sounds like it can be both fun and eye-opening.
The Rebound by Catherine Walsh
A newly single girl. A tall dark handsome stranger. What could go wrong?
It’s 7 a.m. on a Monday morning and Abby Reynolds isn’t where she wants to be. She wants to be in her beautiful loft apartment in Manhattan, drinking a coffee with her fiancé.
Instead, she’s heading back to the childhood home in rural Ireland she swore she’d never return to, with some big old secrets. Namely that she’s suddenly found herself unemployed, homeless, and absolutely 100% single.
She’s feeling all out of luck. Until the first person she meets after she touches down is an absurdly hot guy called Luke, who offers her a lift home. Gazing deep into his sparkling emerald-green eyes, Abby knows instantly that he’s exactly what she needs to take her mind off everything. The perfect rebound.
It’s a flawless plan. Until the next day, when Abby realizes who he actually is. Not just a stranger. He is, in fact, Luke Bailey, aka the boy next door. Luke Bailey who—so help her God—she’s pretty sure she once shared baths with, back when they were kids. Not that she can allow herself to imagine him in a bath now, not without blushing from head to foot.
And judging by the smirk on his face, the same Luke Bailey who’s known exactly who she was the whole time… And who, like everyone in the village, still thinks she’s a high-flying New Yorker… who’s getting married next year.
Abby is certain getting under Luke will help her get over her ex. But the truth is stopping her. Can she admit to everyone back home that she’s single and has lost everything? Because, if she wants the boy next door, she may just have to…
The perfect feel-good romantic comedy that will make you laugh until you cry and fall completely in love. Fans of Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, and Emily Henry won’t be able to put this down!
I love a good boy-next-door story, and this one seems to have just the right amount of cringeworthy embarrassment to get a relationship going. I could see myself really liking and laughing over this when I just want a fun, relaxing read.
A Spot of Trouble by Teri Wilson
Get ready to laugh out loud with this hilarious romantic comedy featuring:
• A grumpy firefighter who thinks his way is the only way
• A bubbly yoga teacher who prefers to go with the flow
• Adorable Dalmatians who swap places—and the chaos that ensues
• An opposites-attract romance that’ll warm your heart
Violet March and Sam Nash are as different as night and day and have been enemies ever since Violet accused Sam of dognapping her beloved Dalmatian. Sam knows that’s impossible—for one thing, his dog Cinder is a well-trained fire safety dog who never steps out of line. Violet’s dog Sprinkles, on the other hand, has never met a command that she didn’t ignore completely, much like her bubbly owner. So when Sprinkles and Cinder accidentally switch places during the annual police vs. fire department softball tournament, Violet is thrilled by her dog’s sudden perfect behavior, while stubborn-yet-charming Sam is horrified to find that his dog no longer listens.
But when the dogs are eventually switched back, Sam and Violet are shocked to find that not everything is as simple as it seems. And a little puppy love might be just the thing they’ve been missing…
I mean, I’m a dog owner, and what part of this premise doesn’t make you want to laugh out loud? I’m pretty sure my dog is more like Sprinkles (heh) but what a wonderful way to bring different people together. Plus, the grumpy/sunshine trope seems to be working for a lot of great romances lately so I’m curious.
Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris
For fans of Josie Silver and Emily Henry comes a debut romcom about the life-changing magic of second chances.
Zoë Frixos gets the whole love song thing. Truly, she does. As an editor at a major music magazine in London, it’s part of her job description. But love? Let’s just say Zoë’s been a bit off-beat in that department. After falling hard for her best friend, Simon, at thirteen and missing every chance to tell him how she felt before he left town, Zoë came to one grand conclusion: Love stinks.
Twenty years later, Simon is returning to London, newly single and as charming as ever, and Zoë vows to take her second chance. But Zoë’s got other problems now: In order to save her magazine from closure, she has to land the biggest interview of her career with a notoriously elusive rock idol. There’s just one problem: Nick, the arrogant publicist who seems determined to stop the story and ruin Zoë’s life.
With her brother’s big(ish) fat(ish) Greek wedding on the horizon, Zoë begins to wonder if her first love is the right love. In the wake of a life-changing choice, Zoë must decide if she’s right to be skeptical about love, or if it’s time to change her tune…
This charming and quirky debut has it all: childhood friends, love triangles, enemies-to-lovers, and a My Big Fat Greek Wedding subplot.
I don’t normally love storylines with love triangles but there’s just something intriguing about the sound of this one. It could potentially go so well where I might actually like either love interest. Only one way to find out!
The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams
Is it ever too late to leave the friend-zone?
Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us.
Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.)
Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that!
Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me.
How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?
It has best friends to lovers with clearly an unrequited love angle going here from the sounds of Bree’s feelings? How much more perfect sounding can it be for my favourite tropes of all time? Unpopular opinion, but I’m probably most excited for this one!
Serendipity by Marissa Meyer and more
Love is in the air in this is a collection of stories inspired by romantic tropes and edited by #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer.
The secret admirer.
The fake relationship.
From stories of first love, unrequited love, love that surprises, love that’s been there all along, ten of the brightest and award-winning authors writing YA have taken on some of your favorite romantic tropes, embracing them and turning them on their heads. Readers will swoon for this collection of stories that celebrate love at its most humorous, inclusive, heart-expanding, and serendipitous.
Contributors include Elise Bryant, Elizabeth Eulberg, Leah Johnson, Anna-Marie McLemore, Marissa Meyer, Sandhya Menon, Julie Murphy, Caleb Roehrig, Sarah Winifred Searle, and Abigail Hing Wen.
But of course, when it can’t be decided which romantic trope I’m in the mood for – ’cause I’m such a mood reader, I should go with this anthology of romance stories that’s bound to have something for everyone, including me! Perhaps I will have to start here.
Are any of these on your TBR? Have you read any of these? If you have, please let me know what you think so I can prioritize which ones to read first. A girl’s only got so much time and such a longggg TBR.
2 thoughts on “New Romance Reads on my TBR (Valentine’s 2022)”
If The Shoe Fits sounds so good! Great post💜
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Thanks Kaya! I appreciate your support and enthusiasm for my posts always ❤️
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