I’ve read some romances recently that I’ve really enjoyed and I’ve realised I do like my romances to have a realistic twist to them, which is actually unsurprising as I like to write them that way too 🙂
Dare You To – Katie McGarry
“I dare you…”
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….
I think the author writes steamy romance with a realistic twist really well. This book contains characters from her first novel Pushing The Limits, although you don’t need to have read that first but I like how she didn’t choose the obvious route for this book. Ryan and Beth are seemingly opposites – Ryan is the golden boy, a baseball star who has it all whereas Beth has had a tough start to life but underneath they are both scared and facing demons. I like that it wasn’t a typical boy saves girl story but actually Beth also pushes Ryan to be stronger and do what he wants with his life, just as he pushes her to make better choices. For me, the realistic content and tone to the book makes the romance both more intense and sweeter as a result.
Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
This is a story of first love between two teens who don’t fit in. Eleanor is not a typical leading girl in a YA book, which I liked and has a troubled home-life. Park sees her like no-one else has seen her and their romance is sweet and touching, starting with them reading comics, which was really cute. I really didn’t want to see what I knew was coming – the inevitable ripping apart of their relationship as Eleanor’s world crumbles but I was rooting for them the whole way through. I read this book in a day and fell in love with these two characters as they fell for each other. The ending didn’t quite go the way I was hoping but I have chosen to interpret it the way I want to as others will interpret it the way they want to. Which is probably the case for all first loves!
Faking It – Cora Carmack
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.
Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.
As with the author’s debut, this book was mostly a fun, easy, sexy read that I read really quickly but it did have slightly more edge to it, making it more serious than the often laugh-out-loud Losing It, and I liked that contrast – it fits the characters well. Cade is the nice guy who didn’t get the girl in the first book and Max is struggling with who she is and who her parents want her to be. Cade becomes her fake boyfriend but it quickly becomes anything but fake. I loved the tension between Max and Cade and how they both were able to be real with one another, both admitting their faults – Max likes to run and Cade lets people go. We find out more about Max’s past and how that has affected her and her family and when she finally shows them who she really is, I wanted to cheer. I loved this couple from the first page and the author rewarded me well. I can’t wait to read the next book Finding It.
Hopeless – Colleen Hoover
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…
That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.
Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
This is probably the darkest of the four books. I loved the author’s first book Slammed and I had the same emotional reaction to this book, a tear or two rolling out at one point. Sky and Holder have a connection as soon as they meet, both having reputations they don’t deserve. As their romance hots up though secrets begin to be revealed with some shocking twists and turns. I did guess a couple of the plot turns but I was still gripped as I followed Sky and Holder through them. The secrets are dark for sure but their relationships helps to pull them both through. This book is intense and how I felt at the ending makes me want to use the romance cliche of letting out the breath I didn’t know I was holding 🙂 There is definitely something I love about Ms Hoover’s writing and her books are fast becoming must-reads for me.
What romances have you enjoyed recently? Recommendations please!