August was the month that I got super into reading romance for the first time. I read a total of 5 romance books, which is a lot for me considering that I was never very interested in the genre. I owe it all to reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown last month and my obsession with watching Jess at PeaceLoveBooks on YouTube talking about all of her historical romance recommendations. Used copies of historical romances are way too cheap at thrift stores…it’s dangerous for my wallet and I may or may not now own 15 of them. Whoops!
Since my feelings on the romances that I read were so varied, I decided that I wanted to rank them all. I tried not to be too harsh, but it was a little difficult for me not to for a couple of them…
5. The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
I picked up this book after perusing the online shelves at The Ripped Bodice Romance Bookstore. The plot sounded interesting, a woman who goes on a solo trip to Colorado only to find out that the place she rented is currently occupied by the owner, who of course ends up being the love interest. This book was so confusing for a number of reasons, particularly the way that it was written. The dialogue was ridiculous, the sentences had to be reread multiple times because they didn’t make sense, and it ultimately read like a bad Lifetime movie. I have nothing against Lifetime movies, but this book hit all the unnecessarily dramatic notes despite them adding nothing to the story.
The hero was also not at all romantic to me and every other word spoken to the heroine was followed by “duchess”. I cringed throughout this book and somehow still finished it despite it being more than 600 pages and the audiobook, which I switched to in order to finish, being TWENTY-FOUR HOURS LONG. A disaster that I couldn’t look away from…
4. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
I read The Kiss Quotient a couple of years ago and felt similarly to how I feel about its sequel. This story is about Khai, who is Vietnamese-American and autistic and has been set up with Esme, who comes to America from Vietnam after Khai’s mother pays for her visa in exchange for convincing Khai to marry her…basically she has been bribed to seduce him. I can understand Esme’s hustle, but my feelings about her quickly turned as I read. I really liked reading Khai’s point of view and his examination of the world as an individual on the Autism spectrum, but I didn’t like Esme and his family’s treatment of him in regard to his relationship.
No spoiler alerts, but this book seems to me to be focused on the manipulation of Khai’s emotions and actions. I felt pretty uncomfortable with the way Esme handled the situation and the manipulation/outright lying she and his family inflicted on him. I know that a lot of people enjoyed this book, but the way that Helen Hoang writes romance is probably just not for me.
3. Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
This is such a CUTE romance centering on Jordan, the creator of Meet Cute Club, and Rex, a guy at the bookshop he buys romance books from who makes fun of his romance purchases. I really loved the discussion of the romance genre and why it is so important to people and not something to be ashamed of. I haven’t sat beaming at a book for so long and I was absolutely glowing while reading this book. I truly couldn’t stop smiling because the characters were so cute and the banter was so fun. I just wish that it were a little bit longer and filled in the growth of Jordan and Rex’s relationship just a little more. I would recommend this if you are looking for something fun, short, and queer!
2. Rebel by Beverly Jenkins
Rebel tells the story of schoolteacher Valinda and architect Captain Drake LaVeq in their newly emancipated community in New Orleans. Beverly Jenkins books seem to focus a lot on the history of the time period that she is writing about, which I appreciated so much. I loved Valinda and Drake and their relationship. There weren’t a ton of issues between the two that dragged on, which was refreshing. I’m excited to read more books by Beverly Jenkins- I already have another checked out from the library!
1. Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Secrets of a Summer Night is the first book in Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflowers series following a group of women who have been deemed “undesirable” as wives in their social circle. They form a pact to find husbands, thus beginning their search for a husband for Annabelle, the eldest. It is a slowburn, hate to love romance that was perfect as my first ever historical romance read. It reminded me a bit of a gender-reversed Pride and Prejudice, except with smut and much more drama. Complex characters and witty banter made this my favorite romance read of the month!
Have you read any romance books recently or have any that you want to check out soon? I have so many piling up on my TBR, but I can always add more. Let me know in the comments!
Ashmita | thefictionaljournal says
I was thinking of reading after by Anna Todd….do you think it’s a good one?
I haven’t heard the best things about it, but there are also some people who like it. I’m not super interested in it personally, but go for it if it’s been calling to you!🙂
I love that you bought 15 of them haha That is me anytime I go bookshopping. I tell myself only one book and come out with ten!! Great wrap up. I haven’t read much romance in ages but I really need to read Get a Life Chloe Brown because it looks so cute 🙂
It’s so bad! I don’t buy books because of how expensive they are for me, but historical romance is a pretty cheap genre compared to others and the low prices ENABLE ME!! 😅 Thanks, it was super cute! I wish I read it sooner.
I love Jess!!!!! And I really need to read Beverly Jenkins!
Right?! I’m so addicted to watching her videos!