Can I be honest with you for a second? Because I have a confession to make and I’d love it if I could get it off my chest without being judged…
I LOVE ROMANCE BOOKS!!
There! I said it!!
I’m a total sucker when it comes to a good romantic book filled with angst, suspense, and electrifying character chemistry. There’s just something beautiful about a blossoming love story and the journey of two strangers becoming so much more than that. It’s magical and makes me feel all gooey because dammit, the world is crazy out there and I want people to love each other!!
Since we’re headed for cold winter days here in Cape Town – and there’s nothing I love more on a rainy day than to snuggle in bed with a gripping love story – I felt like sharing some of my absolute favourite romance books. Maybe there are a few people out there who enjoy the occasional love story (binge) as much as I do, and if you haven’t read any of these titles yet then I highly recommend that you give them a try. Believe me, I’ve been through so many love stories they’ve all begun to blur together, but these ones have never faded from my heart.
*Full disclosure: these books are strictly YA/Adult contemporary romance, and exclude all my favourites from other genres.*
CHARADE BY NYRAE DAWN
I love a no-nonsense romance. A story that explores the challenges we all face on a daily basis and offer some hope at the end of it all. This is exactly what Charade is. Even though the book is about pretence and games, the overall vibe is that life can brutal, but what you choose to make of the hand you’ve been dealt is totally up to you. This book is sort of like that TV series you love being played in the background – even though you’re not watching, it still comforts you in a way. Am I the only one who does this…?
THE AIR HE BREATHES BY BRITTAINY C. CHERRY
I remember picking this book up at a time when I was more than ready to walk away from the entire genre. When you read enough romance books, you are bound to find some really awful stories; bound to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Thankfully my hope in the contemporary romance genre was restored after reading The Air He Breathes. With strong characters that I could instantly form a connection with and heartache to spare me a lifetime it seemed like perfection after the slew of terrible books, I’d gone through. Even with the totally obvious and predictable “twist” I still enjoyed this book, and the angst more than made up for it.
FALLING INTO YOU BY JASINDA WILDER
Gosh, where to begin with this one… I think out of all the romance books I read over the years, Falling into You was the one that made me feel the most. It’s a book that left me raw with pain and anguish. I know that isn’t the best way to describe a book I’m trying to get you to read, but it’s the only way I can explain it. Falling into You is a book laced with heartache and darkness, but it also teaches healing and finding your place in the world. It speaks of facing your demons and learning to be okay with not being okay. It’s beautiful and melancholy and I haven’t been able to shake it since I read it for the very first time in 2011.
MAKING FACES BY AMY HARMON
Most romance books I read highlights beauty. The author always makes a point of informing the reader in excruciating, unnecessary, detail that the characters are the epitome of exquisiteness. It’s as if the romance world is only created around pretty people. Making Faces is different though because it focuses on what happens when physical “beauty” is taken away. This is not a fluffy, superficial romance book that you should be grabbing if you are looking for something light because it is none of those things. It is painful and ugly, and your heart will want to kill itself, but it is a book that reminds me of the reasons I love this genre so much.
EASY BY TAMMARA WEBBER
Easy is another book that I loved because of the tone. It was such a peaceful read for me even though, as one would come to expect from a book set in college, there was some serious drama. Writing that I found this book to be peaceful is quite confusing to me since it wasn’t what I’d call light and, well, easy! Yet it maintained that calmness, along with a whole lot of chemistry – yes!!
FOREPLAY BY SOPHIE JORDAN
Okay so this one sounds like a very adult, erotica but trust me it isn’t – I don’t read erotica. Foreplay is actually a YA book and in a word, it is ADORABLE. I actually hate that they decided to name it Foreplay because I know a lot of people will put off reading it because of the title. It’s a sweet story with lovable characters that I simply cannot get enough of – another book that I’ve been reading over and over since the first time I stumbled upon it on Goodreads. If ever there’s a saying “don’t judge a book by its title” then it would apply to Foreplay.
THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY BY KATJA MILLAY
This is one of my favourite books in the romance genre for a whole list of different reasons. And it is also one of the most intense, “angsty” romances I have ever read. The Sea of Tranquillity is a book about loss – loss through death, loss of power, loss of freedom and control – and how people deal with the ripple effects caused by the grief left behind. Because the book was written from both characters’ perspectives, it was easier to understand their situations and I felt connected to them emotionally; making it an even more intense reading experience. I enjoyed the plot immensely, but I have to say that what MADE this book for me was the ending. It was a perfect, beautifully unexpected ending that tied the book together in the best possible way.
HOPELESS BY COLLEEN HOOVER
You know that out of body experience you get when you receive life-changing news? It’s as if the world literally spins out of control and you need to grab hold of something to keep you grounded. That is exactly what I felt when I read this book. The rug was pulled out from under me and I felt so completely overwhelmed with emotion. Hopeless was a gut wrenching book for me to read because it dealt with deep and difficult issues. Definitely an unforgettable read.
Are you a fan of contemporary romance books? What are some of your favourite titles? Let me know in the comments below!