Reading Romance: Did These 4 Novels Turn Me into a Romantic?

Posted on March 13, 2024 at 6:00 am

By Savannah Stewart

After a rough year, full of anxiety and panic attacks, I decided that I would branch out and stretch my preferred reading tastes. Normally, I stick with thrillers and horror. Shockingly (okay, not so shockingly), this doesn’t help my existing anxiety problems.

But which genre would I dive into, which felt the scariest? The answer for me was… romance (cue the Twilight Zone theme song).

I understand why people love romance novels. Really, I do. In fact, I love a good rom-com movie every now and then, but usually I like my love stories to be interwoven into other genres. The love part is still there, but it’s part of a bigger story and not the entire thing.

And now, I am diving into stories with romance at the center. To get started, I checked Goodreads for some popular new romance novels and started putting some on hold.

Here are four that I’ve read so far (spoiler alert: they weren’t scary… or overwhelming… or even too spicy)!

First up was You, Again, by Kate Goldbeck. This is a modern gender-swap of the film When Harry Met Sally. This seemed a safe story to start with. I love When Harry Met Sally, and I was interested in how the author would approach it as a modern retelling. Ari (our modern-day Harry) and Josh (our modern-day Sally) live in NYC, and when they first meet, they hate each other. Over the course of many years, these two keep being thrown together until they become friends. And then maybe more than friends?

Next up was The Emma Project, by Sonali Dev. Another modern retelling! This time after the style of Emma, by Jane Austen. Another safe bet, I thought. Vansh (our modern-day Emma) and Knightlina (our modern-day Knightly) have known each other forever. Vansh is spoiled and trying to make a name for himself. Knightlina already knows what she wants and is on her way to achieving it. They are thrown together and hijinks ensue. Spicy hijinks.

After that, I read You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, by Akwaeke Emezi. This one was spicy at the start and at the end. The middle was about grief and healing from the loss of the love of your life, which is what Feyi does with the help of an unlikely person. I don’t want to give too much away. Just know that this was sweet… and spicy!

Last up was The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang. Stella has very little experience when it comes to dating and as someone who loves data and works with algorithms all day, she decides the best way to get better at it is to hire someone who can teach her everything she needs to know. That’s where Michael comes in. What starts off as a job quickly turns into something more. This one was in turns adorable and spicy.

Overall, I really enjoyed these books. I’m not sure if I’d call myself a romantic, but I will definitely add the genre to my regular reading rotation.

I do have one question that’s been on my mind since reading them: Is it a requirement that romance novels have amazing food in them? Or did I just pick four that made food a huge part of the story?

Either way, be warned that along with getting a serving of spicy romance, you will also crave some delicious cuisine after you read the novels on this list!

Savannah Stewart is the Communication Associate with Spokane County Library District. She enjoys spending her time reading, hiking, traveling, and eating delicious food, including the homemade pizza her partner makes. To relax, she meditates, practices yoga, and snuggles with her kitty Zelda.

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