TOP 20 OF 2022: Funny Feelings by Tarah DeWitt

As 2022 comes to a close, I’m celebrating my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and that list includes Funny Feelings, a humorous and heartfelt friends to lovers romance by new-to-me author Tarah DeWitt. I knew very little about the plot when I decided to sample Funny Feelings, but it took only a few minutes for me to become completely hooked. It’s got such a unique feel, and I loved the layered storyline. There are funny moments paired with shots of angst, and the strong bond between the characters was a major win.

In the months since reading Funny Feelings, I’ve also binged DeWitt’s other two books, and they were both fantastic. The tense and emotional The Co-op would’ve made this list if Funny Feelings hadn’t, so I’ve got to give it a shoutout as an honorable mention. It’s rare that a second chance romance wins me over, and The Co-op had me glued to the pages. I also sincerely enjoyed DeWitt’s debut, Rootbound, which was quieter and softer. It’s a pre-2022 release (so ineligible for this list), but I very much enjoyed the reading experience. Details on both books below. Here’s hoping that we get more great books from DeWitt in 2023 and beyond!

You’ll find my original review for Funny Feelings and some quotes from the book below!

I love it when I try a new-to-me author and I know immediately that I’m in for an excellent read. My love for this heartfelt, swoony read began right away, and it just got stronger and stronger as the book progressed. I loved the pining, the completely unique feel, and I loved the cinnamon roll hero who is kind, compassionate, and understanding. Told in a combination of flashbacks and present day, we get a feel for this couple’s relationship as it evolves from strangers to friends to comedienne/manager to lovers – with all of the longing and missed opportunities along the way. It’s not a particularly long book, but I felt like I got to know these characters so well, and it was easy to feel the love and support in every scene. They truly do want what’s best for each other, so it made sense that they’ve never crossed the line. And for a book about comedy, it’s actually much more emotional and bittersweet than anticipated. The combination made for an authentic, memorable read.

The story follows Farley (25), a standup comedian on the rise. She’s just getting her big break, and Farley believes a lot of her success can be attributed to her manager, Meyer (35). Surely she’s too much of a hot mess to have made it this far by herself. A former comic, Meyer disappeared from the spotlight years ago and has been mastering the role of single father to an adorable, deaf daughter ever since. Farley and Meyer became friends a few years ago, and Meyer has now become Farley’s rock when her insecurities take over. Their relationship has evolved into something truly special, and neither one is willing to rock the boat by admitting that their feelings are not entirely platonic. But when Meyer and Farley agree to fake date in order to shine the spotlight on Farley, it becomes more difficult than ever to avoid the feelings they’ve tried to bury.

I expected this to feel more like a fake relationship romance, but it never really felt like one – and I’m completely okay with that. The focus is much more on Meyer and Farley’s relationship and how it has changed and strengthened over time. I loved that we got to see how Farley hides behind her humor, and there was a great focus on mental health and an openness about therapy. It could’ve maybe delved into that a bit deeper, but it probably would’ve changed the tone of the story and I sincerely enjoyed the vibe. Farley and Meyer are front and center, and I appreciated that they had such good reasons not to cross any lines – until now. It’s a slow burn romance with swoony feelings throughout, and these two characters complement each other perfectly. Where Farley is chaotic and loud, Meyer is solid and steady. He makes a fantastic book boyfriend, and their connection is the major win here. I loved it the whole way through.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PPco40


Blurb:

When falling in love is the punchline…

Farley Jones is being forced to date Meyer Harrigan, the man she has come to love, in order to make all of her stand-up dreams come true.

It’s agony— a tragedy, even. In lieu of flowers, please send cash…

Meyer and his daughter Hazel have been everything to her since they came into her life three years ago. So, all joking aside, the stakes are especially high when it’s not only her career, but both of those relationships on the line.

A former stand-up star himself, Meyer has been vital to the trajectory of her career since he began managing her… Since he became her closest and most treasured friend, in the process.

This friendship is the only reason why, when the biggest opportunity of Farley’s career includes thrusting him back into the spotlight to stir up publicity, he agrees— in spite of his grumpiness, his protectiveness over Hazel, and his disdain for public attention.

It doesn’t take long for their act to bring all those other funny feelings out into the open, and, like most matters of the heart, it quickly begins to feel like anything but a joke.

Funny Feelings is a swoony story about friendship, love, and looking for the laugh in life. It touches on the creative spirit and all that comes with sharing that gift, and how oftentimes the comedians in our lives are the most sensitive, or struggling. It features two friends, one incredible little girl, and a kaleidoscope of feelings along the way.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PPco40


HONORABLE MENTION

Blurb:

They say love and construction don’t mix. 
By that logic, hate and construction may as well be condemned.


LaRynn Lavigne and Deacon Leeds had one short and contentious summer fling when they were teens. 
Certainly nothing to build a foundation on. 
But a decade later, when their grandmothers have left them with shared ownership of their dilapidated Santa Cruz building, they’re thrust back together and have to figure out how to brace up the pieces. 
LaRynn has the money, but to access her trust, she has to be married. 
Deacon has the construction expertise, but lacks the funds. 
A deal is struck: Marry for however long it takes to fix up the property, collect a profit, and cut ties. 
Thrust into a home without walls, they quickly learn that it’s easy to hide behind emotional ones, even in a marriage. But, with all the exposure and pitfalls that come with living with the opposite sex (and none of the perks) they’ll also have to learn what it means to truly co-operate as a team.

The Co-op is a steamy story about restoration and renovation, and uncovering all the things that build character within ourselves. It’s about the never-ending construction project that partnership is, and finding enjoyment at every stage.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LLA6fV


I also loved Rootbound!

Blurb:

You really can’t go home again.

Tait Logan is proud of the life she’s built for herself. Despite her world-shattering divorce, the absence of a pet, not having any genuine connections with other humans (apart from her sister Ava), and the fact that the remainder of her family is estranged from her life, she’s happy…Happy-adjacent, at least. She’s rebuilt herself through her photography; her dream career, the one thing she does still have.

So, when that career contracts her to do an assignment on her estranged family’s home, Logan Range – a now famous ranch functioning as the setting for a popular show – she’s left with no choice but to agree.

Thus, Tait is bound, on a reluctant course back to her roots, and to the family she feels abandoned by… to the family that, seemingly, has had no interest in a relationship with her since her parents’ divorce, when she was seven.

Henry Marcum has dedicated his life to the Logan family and to their ranch. He owes them for raising him, rescuing him, and for his life’s purpose and opportunities… He also owes them for every hardship he’s inadvertently brought their way. So, when Tait Logan shows up after 20 years of near total silence, he takes it upon himself to protect the people he knows and loves.

It’s a rocky start when Tait and Henry first collide; he is naturally wary of her intentions, and she is more than perturbed by their literal collision – which results in her broken camera, during her first night on location, no less.

There’s no shortage of shaky ground here in the mountains and valleys of Idaho. They’re thrown off balance time and time again by their growing feelings for one another, and by the story of the Logan family as it becomes increasingly less clear from their perspectives. As they confront the past, theirs naturally get brought to the foray. They’ll have to weigh their feelings against their experiences of heartbreak, and decide if the potential for disaster is worth the risk that accompanies love.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rATFhA


About the Author:

Tarah DeWitt is an author, wife, and mama. When she felt like she devoured every romcom available in 2020, she indulged herself in writing bits and pieces of her own. Eventually, those ramblings from the Notes app on her phone turned into her debut novel.

Tarah loves stories centered around perfectly imperfect characters. Ones who may have just enough trauma to keep them funny, without being forcefully cavalier. She believes laughter is an essential part of romance, friendship, parenting, and life.


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