**ALL** The Romance Books I’ve Read + My Thoughts on Them

Love is in the air….or so they say. It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day, which means all the book-ish content I’ve been seeing on my social media lately is romance related.

When it comes to this genre in particular, I’m indifferent, to be completely honest. In general, it takes a lot for me to really enjoy a romance book and I tend to rate most of them 3-stars, because although they’re fine in content, they just don’t do it for me. That being said, this is definitely a genre that has received so much (unwarranted) slack in the past and present. I have a lot of thoughts about that so be on the look out for a discussion post coming your way soon 👀


But anyways! That’s not what you’re here for today. I’ll be going through all* the romance books I’ve read thus far and rambling about my thoughts. Now, I want to be totally upfront, I’m only discussing the books here that are pure, unfiltered, without a doubt, 💖 romance 💖 . I considered including some contemporaries or fantasy that had strong romance elements, but there would just be way too many books if I did do that and there’s already enough as is. In fact, this might be my longest post in terms of the number of books I’m going to be mentioning ?? Wild.

Synopsis:

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

My thoughts:

The Off Campus Series has really taken the book corner of the internet by a storm, and I decided to see what all the hype was about by reading the first four books in the series. Okay, I actually enjoyed The Deal (book 1) a lot and rated it 4 stars. Garrett and Hannah were by far my favorite couple out of the others we meet in later books, but unfortunately the high rating of The Deal was not enough to save for how I felt about the rest of the series. Something I immediately noticed was every book and every character were basically,,, the same ?? All the men were essentially these cocky college athletes and although I understand their character portrayal is pretty accurate to real life, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have had their own depth as well. If you’re in the mood for a quick read and not much else other than steamy romance (which, hey, totally fair), then this could be for you. But if you prefer character depth, plot development, etc etc then I’d stay away.

Synopsis:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.
Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules. Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.
Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.
As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

My thoughts:

Considering this is a modern day, South-Asian retelling of Pride and Prejudice, I went into Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors with the full expectation that it would blow me away. It had all the elements I was looking for, but unfortunately did not live up to what I had in mind. To start with, what irked me the most throughout the story was just how horrible Trisha’s whole family was. The way they treated her was honestly inexcusable, in my opinion, and it went on for so long that I low-key was rooting for Trisha to just cut them out of her life or at least put some more distance instead of being the one who did all the apologizing. All in all, the romance itself was alright, nothing to write home about.

Synopsis:

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary. But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked. For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t even find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable. What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

My thoughts:

Fans of sport romances, this one’s for you. I actually liked this a lot, and it’s definitely one of my favorites from this list! Vanessa as a main character is so strong and independent, but not in the ‘quirky’ way I’ve seen a lot in this genre. She genuinely was an easy character to root for the whole time, and I truly wanted her to have a good ending. I felt very meh about Aiden, he didn’t really make an impression on me one way or the other and just very much resembled the stereotypical “manly athletic alpha male” we see a lot in romance. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me overall is a fun time and has a slow-burn relationship with cute moments!

Synopsis:

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

My thoughts:

In retrospect, 3.5 stars seems quite generous considering some of my thoughts on The Friend Zone. My main problem with this book lied with the love interest, Josh Copeland. Words cannot describe how much I despised him at times, he was definitely the type to put other women down just to praise Kristen. I can’t even think of him right now without getting mad — a lot of his words seemed ignorant and just straight-up rude for absolutely no reason. In general, there were other problematic aspects of this book, which, as I’m reflecting on now, should not have been able to fly. Realistically this is more of a 2-2.5 star rating, but I think I was just pressured by the hype to rate it a little higher.

Synopsis:

Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.
Annika Rose likes being alone.
Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all.

My thoughts:

Ahh what a refreshing book! So this is a second chance romance and we follow two timelines, the main couple when they’re in college, and then where are 10 years later. These types of stories are some of my favorites to read about, and the characters in The Girl He Used to Know felt authentic and not embellished or over the top in any way. This is a pretty simple story of Annika and Jonathon just falling back into place and discovering who they are together. Can’t recommend it enough, especially if you’re not looking for anything too crazy and just a regular, run of the mill relationship being pieced back.

Synopsis:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

My thoughts:

I almost considered not including this one on the list since I wouldn’t consider romance to really be the main plot of the story, it’s definitely more a coming of age story. That being said, The Way You Make Me Feel does have some romantic elements to it, and I like how Clara was coming to terms with that aspect of her life. More than that, though, it touches on friendships and is a fun coming of age story. I think this has the perfect amount of romance for a younger audience and is a cute book in general :))

Synopsis:

Arriving in another new town, Amelia Collins vows to fit in and finish her senior year drama free. There can’t be any mistakes. Staying under the radar is what keeps Amelia one step ahead of the man who is trying to find and destroy her.
But when she’s befriended by a group of students who make her feel safe and loved, Amelia struggles to maintain her distance, especially when faced with her feelings for Aiden Parker, whose piercing gray eyes and strength weaken her resolve.
When Aiden’s ex-girlfriend threatens Amelia in ways that make her easy to find, she has to act quickly. Feeling crushed by her desire for a normal life and not wanting to leave her friends behind, Amelia has an impossible choice to make between survival or the chance at real love.

My thoughts:

She’s With Me was published through Wattpad Books and I actually read the whole trilogy the first time years ago, when chapters were still being released on Wattpad 😳 I’d consider this to be like a comfort book for me, just because I know all the characters it’s very familiar. I think you can kind of gather everything you need to know about this story from the synopsis and, warning: it’s very cheesy and you really have to hold a suspense of disbelief because basically everything that happens is pretty unrealistic. Amelia and Aiden are the first couple I remember reading about in terms of romance so of course this will always hold a special place in my heart, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others.

Synopsis:

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.

My thoughts:

I’ve talked about The Tourist Attraction on this blog before, it’s a hard pass from me.

Synopsis:

When a Nigerian woman falls for a man she knows will break her mother’s heart, she must choose between love and her family.
At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.
When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.
Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

My thoughts:

I was really excited to read this, not only because of the stunning cover, but also for the overall themes and discussions that Ties That Tether would make about being in a relationship with someone from a different race and how cultures may clash. Azere, the main character, really had to fight for and defend her relationship with Rafael to her family, and while I can’t comment on how realistic those discussions were, I’m glad they were touched on with this book. That being said, I really did not like any of the characters. None of them could communicate well and 90% of their conflicts would have been resolved if they just! talked! to! each! other! Aside from character drama, I also was not a fan of the “plot twists”, which were just tropes I generally do not enjoy reading about. I really wanted to love this more, but unfortunately just was not for me.

Synopsis:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

My thoughts:

You already know, I’m basically a Tweet Cute fan account now.

Synopsis:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

My thoughts:

This is one of the first booktok romance books I got peer pressured into reading, and I actually thought it was fun! Probably not anything to write home about, but The Unhoneymooners is perfect if you want a quick, beach-side read while on vacation. It’s also set in Hawaii, so the atmospheric vibes were definitely there.

Synopsis:

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.
After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.
But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.
Including Ivan Lukov.

My thoughts:

From Lukov With Love is a sweet book that deserves all the hype! Although it wasn’t my personal favorite, I still appreciate all the banter between our two love interests and how their relationship grows into something more. Their competitiveness and bond through ice skating was also really interesting to read about and I totally understand why so many people adore this one and call it their favorite. Realistically, I’d change my rating of this to be more like 3.5 stars or 4.

Synopsis:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

My thoughts:

I have a full review right here, you can read about all my thoughts on this one!

Synopsis:

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

My thoughts:

ULTIMATE COMFORT BOOK !!! 😭 I want to start off by saying that I 100% acknowledge all the flaws with this story and plotline, and if I read This Is What Happy Looks Like now, I’d be rolling my eyes and giving it a 2 star. That being said, I read this one way back when I was in 7th grade, and it just made me so happy. Now, whenever I’m stressed or need a quick escape, I turn to this book and it just brings back nostalgic memories and makes me feel better. Graham and Ellie are the sweetest and this takes place in a small town in Maine, so the summer vibes and small-town feeling are cute to read about.

Synopsis:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

My thoughts:

Again, this is an objectively meh book, probably nothing too special to most people who read it. BUT! For me it’s a comfort book and there are some really cute moments that I love going back to and re-reading passages of. On the Fence is one of those stories where you need to go into expecting just a small romance that’s super cheesy but has a happy ending.

Synopsis:

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

My thoughts:

I read The Summer I Turned Pretty over 5 years ago, so at this point I don’t remember too much. Honestly, the message this book spreads is not one I really agree with, and Belly (still can’t past her nickname either) as a character is super naive. The two brothers who she has a love triangle between are also not that great, and the way this ends is just … weird. All in all, I would not recommend this to anyone and I never continued with the series, so realistically it’s maybe more of a 2 star rating from me. I must’ve been feeling generous when giving it a 3 star 🥲

And that’s a wrap! I 100% forgot to mention a couple books here and there, but in general I just have not read as many romance books as I have other genres. In fact, a lot of these are quite old reads, and I’ve been wanting to pick up more. I especially want to read more diverse romance books this year and dive into the genre a little more.

Have you read any of these? What romance books would you recommend to me?

Author: Aarushi @ aarushireads

Hi friends! My name is Aarushi (she/her) and welcome to my blog 💖 I’m a 19 year old reader and decided to start this so I’d have a place where I could write down all my bookish rambles and thoughts! In addition to reading, I love to write in my free time and am currently working on my YA Fantasy WIP. Found family, rivals to lovers, and a historical backdrop are just a few tropes I've added in. I love interacting with other readers and writers so be sure to leave your comments so we can chat! Thanks for being here <33 All my socials are aarushireads :) *profile pic created by prequel

12 thoughts on “**ALL** The Romance Books I’ve Read + My Thoughts on Them”

  1. oh my god I’ve been seeing so many romance books everywhere and like I haven’t read ANY OF THEM AHH 😭😭😭 this is the universe’s sign to make me read them 🤭
    but I think I’ve only read one of the books from your list and that was – the way you make me feel! I found it to be really cute!!nothing extraordinary but a fun read nevertheless!
    ADDING ALL OF THESE TO MY TBR NOW AHHSJAJSIDE
    loved this post💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ooooh I loved reading this post. I’m not the biggest fan of romance novels either, so it’s great to see another person who feels the same way. The only one from your list I’ve read is Tweet Cute and I adored that. The Girl He Used to Know looks like such an interesting one though so I might check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you, saima! Tweet Cute is for sure one i know so many people loved, i literally can’t stop talking about it lol. i look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Girl He Used to Know if you end up getting to it- i think it’s either a hit or miss because of the writing style but i personally was a fan 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is SUCH an interesting post!!! Romance is one of my favourite genres and I take it very seriously haha so it was very interesting to read your opinions on so many of these!! Some of your reviews hurt my soul but it’s so refreshing to see your take, and so many of your points are valid! I sometimes get blinded by my love for the genre so it’s nice to see things I wouldn’t have picked up myself. But the guaranteed HEA and the fluff moments make me feel so good and happy! I hope you’ll find what works for you in the future 💕🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for the lovely comment, karla!! i actually really enjoy romance as a genre and totally agree with your points about the HEA and fluff moments, it’s the perfect escapism 🥰 i do tend to be a little more critical i think just because i go into them expecting a lot more, but i’m sure i’ll find what works for me within the genre the more i read it!! i’m just beginning to explore romance books so if you have any recommendations i’d love to hear them 💖

      Like

  4. ahh i’ve only read like ONE book from your list, which was on the fence, and… i was bored by it? i liked the other two books i’ve read from the same author, but i really didn’t like this one for some reason? BUT I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH AND HEARING YOUR THOUGHTS WAS AMAZING!! I also need to add so many of these to my TBR now (ESPECIALLY TWEET CUTE!!) ahahah, SO THANK YOU FOR THAT! ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s okay!! romance is such a subjective genre and i think it tends to be one with the most diverse opinions from what i’ve seen. i loved on the fence for what it was but subjectively, probably not the best hahah 😁 omg tweet cute is CUTE and i’ll be surprised if you don’t enjoy it 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  5. i’m a simple girl, i see romance and i click 💭😂 i loved this post! a few of these are not yet in my tbr but watch me go add them after reading this (tweet cute, i’m looking at you) 👀 romance is my favourite genre so it was nice getting a different perspective! 🤍✨

    Like

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