June 18, 2013

Sizzle & Swoon: Our Favorite Contemporary Romances

As part of Sizzle & Swoon, Racquel, Sharon & I wanted to spotlight some of our all-time favorites in the romance genre. You can expect more lists and suggestions from us as the event runs its course. Today's focus on the blog? Contemporary romances

Now, if I'm being honest, I rarely ever read contemporary romances. That's something I clearly need to remedy, as Racquel and Sharon have reviewed some really cool-sounding ones on their blog! For today however, check out our book recommendations below. (In case you were wondering, if there's a +A/+S/+R, it means that another person recommends that book too!)


Sea Swept - Nora Roberts
Sea Swept by Nora Roberts - I read this novel a long, long time ago, but I do remember how much I loved it. (Perhaps a re-read is in my future?) First of all, it's the beginning of a series about brothers (!). Second, there's sailing and boats involved (!). Third, there's a complicated family saga (!). Plus, it does help that I really enjoyed the romance that develops.

The Blessing by Jude Deveraux - This novel is really, really sweet. While reading this one for the first time, I was completely emotional. It has a lot to do with the fact that family dynamics are once again heavily involved. I was crying and smiling and yelling and basically feeling the entire tale. It's a simple story, but enjoyable. 

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks - Technically, this novel is considered a sequel to The Notebook. I vastly prefer this book over the other one though! I've re-read this book so very many times. I love that it's about how to celebrate love, no matter what the circumstances, or time, or conditions that surround it. It was a completely surprising book, both in terms of the story and how much I loved it.


Blue-Eyed Devil - Lisa Kleypas
Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas - Do I even need to write this down? As all of creation knows, I love this book & it's my favorite ever. Lisa Kleypas just writes this really beautiful story that tackles a tough issue. She manages to make me laugh, make me cry, make me swoon and everything in between! She also wrote the greatest hero ever, Hardy Cates. (+A) (+S)

Making It Last by Ruthie Knox - This one comes out July 15, but I just read it and I HAD to add it. It's only a novella, but it's so powerful and will stick with me for a long, long time. Making It Last revists Amber & Tony ten years into their marriage after they fell in love, had the crazy passionate sex and the dream house and kids. There is so much heart in this story. It's exactly what romance is.

A Lot Like Love by Julie James - ALL of Julie James' novels are my favorite, but after a lot of deliberation, I went with A Lot Like Love because it made me fall in love with Julie James. Her characters are smart, successful and confident people and I just love that.


Head Over Heels - Jill Shalvis
Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis - I love the entire Lucky Harbor series. I was looking forward to this one for a long time. Chloe and Sawyer had spectacular chemistry and a beautiful story. And since it's Jill Shalvis, there are plenty of laughs as well. (+R)

Within Reach by Sarah Mayberry - This story has so many of my favorite things! Intense, angsty emotions; the forbidden aspect; friends-to-lovers; great chemistry. How could I NOT love this book?

Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey - Oh, the fake fiancĂ© plot. So much love! This book had a thousand swoons, laughs and one-liners. Plus, I LOVE the Kowalski family; the scenes with them make the book even better. I actually tried the audiobook first, hated the narrator, and promptly forgot about it. I picked up the book months later and promptly fell in love.

There you have it folks, our top contemporary romance reads! There's quite the variety, and I spy a few titles on there that I need to check out. For more Sizzle & Swoon, hop on over and check out what The Book Barbies have to offer!

YOUR TURN - Have you read any of the titles we picked out for our top contemporary romances? Who are YOUR favorite contemporary romance authors? What are YOUR favorite contemporary romances?


  1. So many good choices, ladies! I love Sea Swept and the whole Chesapeake Bay trilogy. All the Julie James are great bets for contemporary. And, Sharon, fake fiance plots forever and ever, amen--Yours To Keep is one of my favorites. My absolute favorite contemporary romances are Molly O'Keefe's Crooked Creek Ranch series--those just killed me in the best of ways.

    1. I now think of you any time I see a book with a fake fiance plot!

      Ooh, really?! I actually have Can't Buy Me Love out from the library right now! I'll have to make sure I read it soon.

  2. I just finished my re-read of Head Over Heels this weekend and loved it and Shannon Stacey's books are all wonderful and super fun. I devoured them. My favorite contemporary romances are Sophie Kinsella's stand-alone novels. They are hilarious and super sweet. I regularly laughed out loud while reading them. I can also recommend Ali McNamara's books. Her writing is amazing too.

  3. these are great. I LOVE Head Over Heels, my favorite Jill Shalvis. sa-woon. the shower scene...OMG. For the Kowalskis, I liked the first one best. Though, the second set was pretty good, too, & I'm very much looking forward to Liz's story. Have you guys read the Bridal Series by Nora Roberts? or her Inn Boonesboro? loved both of them, too. I also really liked the Destiny series by Toni Blake. my all-time fave romance, though, is Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. SO MUCH LOVE. the last two chapters will kill you. ~daphne

  4. I love love love contemporary adult romance, but I have actually not read any of these. Ah well.

    My absolute favorite is Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, I could definitely re-read that one, and it's a book that was recommended to me by Allison at The Allure Of Books and thank goodness she did recommend it, because ugh, SOOOOOO good. Like there's parts that I can still think of quite vividly. Usually, I read and end up kind of forgetting until something jogs my memory, not so with Bet Me.


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