The Romance genre gets a bad rap. Some might say it’s not real literature, that it fills people’s minds with false ideas of love and romance, or that it’s basically porn for women. I don’t necessarily disagree with that last one… Truth be told, the romance genre can be so much more than just the stereotypical “romance” with a long-haired, chiseled, shirtless man on horseback and I have six romance novels to prove it. Let’s pop that smut cherry!
“The Summer Place” by Jennifer Weiner
Love and secrets make for a great summer read. Enter the world of Sarah Danhauser as her 22-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement and wants the wedding day to be in 3 months at the family beach house. As the date gets closer, Sarah gets tied up in the complicated lives of her sister, twin brother and husband. And it all comes to a head on the wedding day! If you love family and all the messy drama that comes with it, this is the read for you!
“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne
This book falls under the category of a guilty pleasure read. It follows Lucy and Joshua, two coworkers who have become entrenched in a series of childish games and one-upmanship fueled by more than just their hatred for one another. You’ll be obsessed with the writing, the humor, the lust, the sexual tension, the emotion, the slow delicious burn. This is probably the best enemies to lovers story I have ever read. Never has a romance novel made me laugh out loud from its wit, instead of cringy nature. If you’re looking for a feel good, trusted romance to keep by your bedside, this is the book.
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If you love the glitz and glam of old Hollywood and all the drama that comes with it, then you’ll love Evelyn Hugo. The characters are nuanced and painfully human. The storyline is complex and outlandish, while still completely believable. With this book, you get the dose of forbidden love, steamy affairs, and heartwarming devotion you didn’t know you needed. The title of this book is the only plot information you should receive before reading. One hint I will give you: this book is about so much more than just husbands…
“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry
Now this is how you do the friends to lovers trope. This story follows two best friends, who are complete opposites, named Poppy and Alex. Though they live separate lives, they take one glorious week-long vacation every year… until their last vacation two years ago. Why is the friends to lovers storyline so enthralling? Because it can happen in an instant or over the span of a decade. It’s about that tension that comes with not knowing the line between flirting and playful, comfortable banter that comes with friendship. This story will leave you with the warm, hazy glow usually only reserved for the best poolside vacations.
“Seven Days in June” by Tia Williams
If you’re looking to get sucked into an emotional vortex, this one’s for you. This story follows single mother and best-selling novelist Eva who runs into former teen love Shane at a literary event. They reconnect seamlessly and over the next seven days during a steamy NYC summer, they heal broken hearts and answer 20-year-old questions. If you enjoy warm, yet honest depictions of characters and second-chance, passionate love, give this book a read. If you’re looking to get into books with diverse representation, this modern-day romance is a great start.
“Verity” by Colleen Hoover
Did I read this book in three hours? Yes. Did I reread my favorite chapters directly after? Yup. This slow burn romance will have you on the edge of your seat and your jaw on the ground after reading the final chapter. It follows Lowen Ashleigh, struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin until she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen uncovers an unfinished Verity autobiography and, let’s just say, gets more than she bargained for. It’s sexy, it’s scary, and absolutely shocking. Read it.
Reading is good for your health. It improves your focus, memory, and communication skills. Ergo, smut is good for your health. I hope the novels above will spark a passion for reading like they did for me!