Act Like It by Lucy Parker: The first in Parker’s “London Celebrities” series, Act Like It features a delightful, and banter-filled enemies to lovers romance between West End darling Lainie and the notoriously difficult Richard. The entire series is excellent but Lainie and Richard’s sizzling chemistry and emotional depth makes this entry the stand out.
Beach Read by Emily Henry: January is a best-selling romance writer who no longer believes in true love. During a summer getaway she makes a deal with literary author and nemesis Augustus, January will try her hand at literary fiction but Augustus must write something with a happy ending. A charming and thought-provoking contemporary romance.
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall: If I had to name the best romance I read in 2020, Boyfriend Material would probably get the title. The son of a rock star, Luc is reluctantly in the public eye and needs to try to improve his bad-boy image, and pretending to date uptight barrister Oliver seems like the perfect solution. Fake relationships are often-used premises in romance but Hall’s witty dialogue, engaging writing, character development, and the heartwarming relationship between Luc and Oliver mean Boyfriend Material will make you laugh-out-loud and maybe shed a tear or two.
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren: The authors of many outstanding rom-coms, it seems hard to believe this is Christina Lauren’s first holiday-themed novel, but it did not disappoint. After asking the universe to show her what will make her happy, Maelyn ends up caught in a Groundhog Day like time loop and keeps reliving her family’s annual Christmas trip to stay with friends at a cabin. Mae has to figure out how to set things right and maybe find true love along the way.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: When Addie LaRue makes a deal with the Devil, she gains immortality but is destined to never be remembered by anyone she meets. Addie slips through life like a ghost until she meets Henry, the first person to remember her name in almost 300 years. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a haunting, suspenseful, and romantic novel.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner: In the aftermath of World War II, a diverse group of Jane Austen lovers, from a farmer to a Hollywood star, come together to save Austen’s historic cottage in the village of Chawton, England. This cozy novel is perfect for lovers of Austen and historical fiction. I also highly recommend the audiobook narrated by the talented Richard Armitage.
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn: Read on the final day of 2019 Love Lettering just missed being included on my list last year. Do not miss this beautifully written slow burn romance which is also a love letter to the city of New York and the art of calligraphy.
Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten: I have been a fan of Garten’s for a long time and read all her cookbooks. Her collection of comfort food recipes is perfect reading for the end of the year. As always, her recipes look delicious and approachable and I was ready for Garten to come over to my house and make me the grilled cheese and tomato soup pictured on the cover.
Not Like Movies by Kerry Winfrey: Waiting for Tom Hanks was one of my favorite books of 2019 and this follow up featuring what happens to optimistic Chloe and gruff coffee house owner Nick after their relationship is turned into a movie was even better. It has all the charm and rom-com fun of the first book but even more depth and better-developed characters.
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler: During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, The Tourist Attraction gave me much needed laughs and a free trip to Alaska. When Zoe takes a bucket list trip to the quaint town of Moose Springs, Alaska she encounters a chainsaw-wielding mad man, a moose, and numerous other misadventures, but she also finds romance with grumpy diner owner Graham. Morgenthaler also returns to Moose Springs in the excellent holiday-themed follow up, Mistletoe and Mr. Right.