By Tina Lu
I have a confession to make. I’m a romantic—and just like every other romantic, I’m a sucker for unrealistic, heart-clenchingly sweet books that make you content and unbearably envious at the same time. So if you’re in the market for a feel-good read to add that extra sprig in your step, give these books a whirl—I swear you won’t be disappointed.
1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Synopsis: Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
My Take: Let me just say: AHHHHHHH. This book is SO good, and packs so many feels in such a high density. Lucy and her parents are downright adorable, and Josh is so sweet after you get past his prickly, ice-cold exterior. I’m not the biggest fan of the beginning, but the tension-filled mood is definitely deliberate. And even though the story line is pretty common—who hasn’t read an enemies-to-lovers trashy romance?—it’s definitely one of the better works I’ve read in this trope. Warning: this is definitely a stay-up-until-3-am read.
2. After The Kiss by Lauren Layne
Synopsis: Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.
Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.
My Take: Picking this book was a huge struggle. Really. Because I love so many of Lauren Layne’s books, and this one isn’t my most favorite, though it’s certainly up there. This book is, however, the first one in her Sex, Love, & Stiletto series, which I think is pretty damn killer—The Trouble With Love is my favorite. You can definitely read the books out of sequence (which is what I did), but I think it’s cuter if you start from the beginning. Don’t you ever wish there are more happily-ever-after scenes after you finish a cute feel-good read? I do. All the time. And Lauren Layne definitely gives you that satisfaction with her sequels; though they’re focused on different relationships, you still get to witness Julie and Mitchell’s wedding in The Trouble With Love. P.S.: It’s super unrealistic and almost tacky in its dramatics, but Mitchell and Julie are so cute.
3. Wrong by Jana Aston
Synopsis: I have a history of picking the wrong guy. Gay? Player? Momma’s boy? Check, check and check.
Now I can’t stop fantasizing about one of the customers at the coffee shop I work at between classes. It’s just a harmless crush, right? It’s not like I ever see this guy outside of the coffee shop. It’s not like I’m going to see him while attempting to get birth control at the student clinic. While wearing a paper gown. While sitting on an exam table. Because he’s the doctor. Shoot. Me.
But what if, for once, the man I’ve had the dirtiest, most scandalous fantasies about turned out to be everything but wrong?
My Take: HAHAHAHAHA This is going to make going to the gynecologist like 10 times more awkward. But it’s worth every second of awkwardness. The storyline is definitely forbidden, and Wrong is a bit dirtier than the other selections, but Jana Aston’s humor makes sure the darker scenes aren’t too heavy. 100% chick-lit and feel-good material, Wrong can be read as a standalone, but like After The Kiss, it’s also the beginning to a larger series of addicting romance books. (I still think Wrong is my favorite, though.) Warning: The novella, Fling, is the really trashy, but it is a novella. Also, the guys are all 30-somethings trying to get with college girls, which is kinda weird, but easily overlooked for the amount of laughter and smiles this book will bring you. 🙂
I hope you guys give these books a try! As always, feel free to comment below your opinion on my selections, and any recommendations you may have for more feel-good romances.