I hope you’ve all been doing okay! This year has started weird, and once again we’re in lockdown, with things getting worse and worse. I can only hope there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.
Contemporary romances, or romances in general, aren’t my usual genre of choice – I tend to read fantasy most often than not – but I have read some good ones in recent times, and I think we all could use some cheering up and a happy ending! So I’m sharing here my favourite contemporary romances.
As it turned out, I enjoyed quite a few more than I initially thought, I will do the second instalment of Favourite Contemporary Romances list in the future.
(All blurbs have been taken from Amazon.)
My Favourite Contemporary Romances (Part 1)
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
“What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colours shine through?”
Red, White and Royal Blue is probably my favourite contemporary romance that I’ve already reread once and intend to do it again sometime this year. It has a great dynamic relationship between Alex and Henry at its heart, and despite being intense at moments, it remains hopeful throughout the whole narrative. Something that I’m sure we all need right now.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
“Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan and a list. After almost – but not quite – dying, she’s come up with a list of directives to help her ‘Get a Life’. But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written out step-by-step guidelines. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job: Redford ‘Red’ Morgan. With tattoos and a motorbike, Red is the perfect helper in her mission to rebel, but as they spend more time together, Chloe realises there’s much more to him than his tough exterior implies. Soon she’s left wanting more from him than she ever expected… maybe there’s more to life than her list ever imagined?”
Get a Life, Chloe Brown is one of those books that I was afraid wasn’t going to live to its hype, but then I was positively surprised. While I admit, I think I’ve enjoyed the second instalment of The Brown Sisters series more, this one was a pretty good read too. What I like the most about Talia Hibbert’s writing is dealing with important issues – here, with chronic disease and in Take a Hint, Dani Brown, with an anxiety disorder. There are not enough contemporary romances that touch upon those topics, so it’s always great to see one. Talia Hibbert also includes trigger warnings at the beginning of her books!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
“Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better.
Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for.
But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated.
Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal …
It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.”
I enjoyed both Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and its film adaptation, which I actually saw before reading Becky Albertalli’s book. The book has a great narrator and the voice throughout the story. As far as YA romances go, this one is definitely one of my favourites.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
“What if you could live your great love story again?
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and are just about to get married. But then, on Lydia’s 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.
Then something unbelievable happens. Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie.
But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?”
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird though technically a contemporary romance, is in many ways a story about grief and moving on without forgetting. It’s a story of moving forward and finding another chance at happiness. I liked how the book was both heartbreaking, but also ultimately hopeful. I also enjoyed the interchange between chapters in the real life and dream-like state, which give a greater insight into Lydia’s character.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
“It’s high time for Stella Lane to settle down and find a husband – or so her mother tells her. This is no easy task for a wealthy, successful woman like Stella, who also happens to have Asperger’s. Analyzing data is easy; handling the awkwardness of one-on-one dates is hard. To overcome her lack of dating experience, Stella decides to hire a male escort to teach her how to be a good girlfriend.
Faced with mounting bills, Michael decides to use his good looks and charm to make extra cash on the side. He has a very firm no repeat customer policy, but he’s tempted to bend that rule when Stella approaches him with an unconventional proposal.
The more time they spend together, the harder Michael falls for this disarming woman with a beautiful mind, and Stella discovers that love defies logic.”
The Kiss Quotient is another book I heard a lot about before I finally read it. I found the narrative fast-paced and characters very well-written. It’s own voices book, with the main character, Stella, having high functioning autism. I absolutely loved her portrayal and enjoyed the book a lot. I think we need more books like that. Social disorders and disabilities don’t appear as often in books as they should – after all, a huge part of the population is struggling with many – and they should be normalised. The Kiss Quotient does a great job of that, all while remaining a great, steamy romance.
Let me know if there are any you would like to add to the list!