This list of romances you may have missed was originally published in Kissing Books, our romance newsletter. Sign up for it here to receive news, book recommendations, and more for residents of Romancelandia.
We are in “Best Of” season and everyone is putting their two shiny pennies into what they felt was the best romance of the year. Which got my brain to pondering: what were some of the romances that I really enjoyed this year that I felt went just under the radar? While they were announced and acknowledged, they didn’t get as much publicity as some others. My hope is that this will draw more eyes to them so that they can be picked up and enjoyed.
Without further delay, here are some of the best underrated romances that I read this year.
Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley
I’m starting with the one that I most recently read. Lily and Tobin were childhood and school age frenemies, part of a group fondly called ‘The Nerd Herd’. As children they butted heads, but as adults both settled into the role of being an influence, albeit for different things. When waning subscribers and virtual videos present the opportunity to collaborate, both are hesitant to do so because their channels are so different. However, the chemistry they have (which we all know is really attraction) is undeniable so they go forward with the plan and of course romance ensues. The banter here is hilarious and I love the way their relationship develops from frenemies to friends to lovers. An enjoyable read all around.
For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes
April is a trans woman who is well known in the kink community of Austin, helping folks to move into that world and on to their own happily ever after. She has gotten use to being just a stopover; that is, until she meets Dennis, a recent transplant from Seattle. What starts as an arrangement for ‘just one night’ moves into more and over the coming months we see Dennis and April learn more about each other and themselves to find their own happily ever after. I really enjoyed this book and, as someone with almost no experience in that community I also felt it was a good introduction to the world without being too overwhelming. This book didn’t get nearly as much love as it should have when it was released.
How Sweet It Is by Dylan Newton
Kate is an event planner tasked with planning an event for horror writer Drake’s upcoming book launch. While she has focused on weddings in the past, she knows that she is up for the task. And even if Drake takes some convincing initially, he eventually comes on board. As they work together to plan the best event, they get to know a little more about one another and realize that maybe they want to change the rules and roles that have been assigned to them and throw more than a few plot twists into the mix. This book combined love of romance and horror, with Drake being a horror writer, and had me laughing out loud more than once. A really sweet romance that is sure to delight.