Recently, Goodreads posted a list of Readers’ Top 100 Romances of the Last Three Years (found here), so I thought it’d be fun to go through the list and talk about which I’ve read, which I’m interested in, and which aren’t for me. As a lover of contemporary romance, I was not surprised to see many of the entries on the list, though I WAS taken aback by how many I’ve read, own, or lost interest in. So, let’s discuss!
First, a little insight into how Goodreads determined which books made the list. According to them, “We wanted to see what romance has been looking like lately during our particular slice of history, so we’ve collected below the 100 most popular romances of the past three years, as determined by Goodreads regulars. Specifically, we looked for individual romance novels that Goodreaders have rabidly shelved and recommended—each title listed here has an overall rating of 3.5 stars or higher.” So these are romance books released in the last three years that are popular AND well liked by readers.
Twenty four of the books are historical romances, so I’m not going to talk about those – I haven’t read any historical in the last few years, and this is a contemporary romance blog, lol. The rest of the list is focused on contemporary, which works just fine for me. Interesting to see that they have excluded some of the other major romance categories, but perhaps they simply don’t sell as well as contemporary? That’s entirely possible, though there are some that I’d be very surprised to see omitted from a top 100 list. But I digress.
The list also notes that Booktok has been extremely influential in the last few years, which will come as a surprise to no one. I dipped my toes in the TikTok waters last year, but it’s really not my happy place (I’m not active there anymore). However, I do have a lot of success reading the indie romances that have become popular largely because of Booktok, It’s done a lot of good for the book community, which (kind of/sort of) negates some of the negative aspects. Am I digressing again?
Let’s dig in! Below is the list of contemporary romance novels that made Goodreads’ list, with comments from me, links to my book reviews where applicable, and clickable links to Amazon for easy addition to your kindle. Enjoy!
PLEASE NOTE: This is a BEEFY list, so it’s set up similar to my deals lists – each image is a link to the Amazon listing, so just give it a click if you want more info!
Now the first-timers (welcome!) are wondering, Jeeves, what’s a deals list? The newest version can always be found here.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Starting off strong! I, ah, DNFed this one, lol. It was my first experience with Henry’s writing, and friends to lovers tends to drive me crazy, so it quickly became apparent that I should start with one of her other books. I had a LOT more luck with Book Lovers, so entirely possible that I’ll go back to this another time… though there IS a whole lot of drama and miscommunication between these two, so maybe not.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
I loved it! This debut made my Top 20 of 2021 list, and I continue to adore her style. Details and audiobook review found here.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
I own it! I have the ebook and I’ve borrowed the audiobook from the library like three times. Which, yes, I know makes me a bad, bad reader. I will move it to the top of my TBR at some point, but the library loans never seem to line up with quiet release weeks. This is the book that put Emily Henry on everyone’s radar, so I assume it’s fantastic.
Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
I haven’t read it! I am neither a CoHo lover nor hater, and the premise doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m still not sure if this is actually a romance or full-on women’s fiction? There seems to be some debate on that. Either way, it’s been at the top of Amazon’s lists for what seems like forever, so there are certainly readers who love it.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
I really enjoyed it! This was my first successful experience with Henry’s work, and it made me want to revisit her first two books. It made my Best of the Year (So Far) list back in June, but didn’t quite make the cut for the Top 20 list at the end of the year. Details and audiobook review here.
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
I absolutely loved it! This debut worked for me in a big way, and it easily made my Top 20 of 2021 list. Details and review here.
It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Sorry, didn’t read it! Everyone else has though, lol, so I can see why it made the list. I have not read It Ends With Us either, and have no desire to do so.
Things We Got Over by Lucy Score
I was an ARC reader for this one, so it was really cool to see Score’s popularity skyrocket throughout the year! I’ve been a longtime, casual reader of Score’s work, and it makes me happy that so many new readers are discovering her. I also really enjoyed the book! It made my Best of the Year (So Far) list in June, but didn’t quite make my Top 20 – details and review here. I liked the sequel even more, and you can find my review of that here.
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
I loved it! This is the book that moved Tessa Bailey to my one-click list, and it easily made my Top 20 of 2021. Details and review here.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
I was not a fan, unfortunately. The third person POV combined with a large cast of characters kept me from becoming emotionally invested, and I set it down repeatedly. Details and review here.
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
I have not read it, but I spoiled the ending for myself, so I have an idea of how it all plays out. I’d consider reading this, but I’m sure it would push all of my friends to lovers buttons. I’m planning on starting with Fortune’s next book and seeing how that goes.
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
I loved it! Like The Love Hypothesis, this also made my Top 20 list. You can read my review here. I also loved Hazelwood’s upcoming release, and my sneak peek review is here. Wouldn’t be surprised if that made my Top 20 list this year!
Twisted Love by Ana Huang
Huang didn’t land on my radar until this series was partway through, so I decided to wait until her new series started – and I enjoyed King of Wrath a lot! So I do have plans to go back and check out the Twisted series at some point. I even have this audiobook in my library. It seems to be sexy, soapy, and tropey.
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey
Also made my Top 20 of 2022 list! It’s interesting to see how many of these did. I loved this playboy tamed romance – details and review here.
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
I really enjoyed it! I haven’t read a whole lot of Christina Lauren, but I loved this one and am eagerly awaiting the followup. Details and audiobook review here.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
I’ve heard so many good things, but this second chance romance hater has been hesitant to dive in. I will at some point!
Neon Gods by Katee Robert
This series is very popular, but I just don’t think it’s for me!
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
I overindulged in True Blood, Twilight, and Harry Potter back in the day, so I steer clear of paranormal these days! I’ll probably get back to the genre at some point, who knows.
The Fine Print by Lauren Asher
This is a great series! I enjoyed this one, though I think Terms & Conditions is the strongest of the series. Details and review here.
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I enjoyed it! This is a fun play on Groundhog’s Day, and a quick, cute book for the holiday season. Details and review here.
Twisted Games by Ana Huang
I haven’t started the series yet, but I plan to!
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
I was an ARC reader for this, so I had no idea that the book was going to be so good when I started reading! It’s Hogle’s debut, and the distinct, off-kilter vibe had my full attention. The book easily made my Top 20 of 2020 list (review here). Fun fact: Hogle thanked me for my early support in the acknowledgements of her sophomore effort, Twice Shy. Which was also really good, by the way, and made my Top 20 list in 2021 (review here).
The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams
I do plan to get around to reading this, sooner or later. It’s another friends to lovers, which is why I’ve waited this long! I enjoy Adams’ writing style.
Twisted Hate by Ana Huang
I mean, good for Ana Huang! The whole series seems to be towards the top of this list… which is why I have plans to read it at some point.
The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas
Did I love it as much as The Spanish Love Deception? No, but second books are always tough, and it got better and better as the story progressed. I also partially blame the narration. Details and audiobook review here. Can’t wait for her third book!
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
I haven’t read it, but I hear it’s pretty heavy!
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
I don’t read a lot of M/M romance, but I’m not ruling this one out. It’s a wildly popular book for a reason!
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
I DNFed it! I liked The Flatshare quite a bit, and was excited to check out more from Beth O’Leary, but this was pretty boring.
Icebreaker by Hannah Grace
I don’t want to say I DNFed it, it’s more like… I put it on pause, lol! Grace’s writing style is immensely bingeable, and I found it easy to get drawn in, but the plot was not 100% for me. However, I set it aside a few months ago, and there’s definitely a part of me that’s been itching to go back to it ever since.
Terms and Conditions by Lauren Asher
I loved it! While the whole series is great, this one was my favorite. It easily made my Top 20 of 2022 list – details and review here.
All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata
This was my first experience with Zapata’s writing and there wasn’t enough romance to hold my interest (I DNFed early), but I’ve since read and loved a few of her others, so I’ll probably go back to it at some point!
Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
Another Top 20 selection! This debut even managed to sell me on a second chance romance, and that’s saying something. Looking forward to the followup! Details and audiobook review here.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Tali Hibbert
I liked it! This was my first experience with Hibbert’s work, and there’s a lot to like about it. Details and review here.
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
Eh… it’s no Flatshare. I think this is the book where we all decided whether or not we’re fans of O’Leary’s style. For me, it’s not really a yes. Details and review here.
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Pretty sure I own it, but I haven’t read it yet! This was super buzzy for awhile, and I had every intention of reading it, but it’s just gotten buried on my TBR. I do know it’s spicy and sex positive, with great roommates vibes.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Another one that’s just gotten buried on my TBR. Take a Hint, Dani Brown wasn’t strong enough for me to rush out and read the followup, but it was good enough that this has been quietly on my radar.
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
I liked it! The premise is great, but the characters took awhile to win me over. I ended up really enjoying it, and I liked Solomon’s next book (Weather Girl) even more. Details and audiobook review here.
Twisted Lies by Ana Huang
Again, good for Ana Huang!
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
I really enjoyed it! This was a great mix of romance and women’s fiction, with a quieter vibe that’s similar to Emily Henry. Details and audiobook review here.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
Not my favorite from Jimenez, but it was good! Her writing style is so bingeable, it’s no wonder that this made the list. Details and audiobook review here.
Hooked by Emily McIntire
I haven’t tried the series yet, but I see it everywhere, so I’ll probably give it a go at some point! Darkish fairytale reimaginings, to my knowledge.
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
I swooned over The Hating Game like everyone else, but Thorne’s followups have failed to win me over (so far).
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
It was a very quick DNF for me! I really did not like the way this plus size heroine was presented, or some of the things she does. It was super popular for awhile though, so maybe it gets better?
By a Thread by Lucy Score
I loved it! I heard so many conflicting things about this when it first came out that I delayed reading it for awhile, and that was my bad. It was excellent – details and audiobook review here.
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
Three years later, this still evokes a strong reaction in me. I adored the first half and abhorred the second half, which I guess tells you that Jimenez’s writing is effective, lol! Details and review here.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I haven’t read it! My only other experience with Silver’s writing didn’t go great. I assume this also leans towards women’s fiction.
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
I really enjoyed it! This is sort of a women’s fiction/romance crossover, with such an interesting premise. It ended up working for me in a big way – audiobook review here.
Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
I was excited to read this, but once the early reviews started coming out, my interest dwindled.
My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey
I liked it! Definitely higher heat and a little more ludicrous than her traditional releases, but I still ended up devouring it. Details and review here.
This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens
It’s, you know, somewhere on my TBR. Cousens has a style that veers towards women’s fiction, so I’ve got to be in just the right mood for that.
A Not So Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn
I loved it! I was happy to see Quinn really skyrocket in popularity over the past year, and this is probably the book that cemented that. It was very close to making my Top 20 of 2021 list, and the only reason it didn’t is because I liked another one of Quinn’s books (The Perfect Catch) even more. Details and review here.
A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair
I see this series all over the place, but I honestly know nothing about it! This cover style feels like fantasy to me, which holds zero appeal to this reader. Just not my style!
Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy
Yeah, I didn’t like it. Some of the tropes Kennedy uses have not aged well, and the focus on cheating of all kinds did not work for me. Details and audiobook review here.
Shipped by Angie Hockman
I really enjoyed it! Office rivals is one of my favorite tropes, and I loved the vacation setting and forced proximity. Details and review here.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
I just think Sosa’s writing style isn’t a good fit for me, this and her most recent release were both 3-star reads. But it’s been super popular, so that’s definitely a “me” thing. If you want to laugh at my early review style on the blog, check it out here.
If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
I was late to the McFarlane train and I’ve had some mixed results, so let’s say this is low on my TBR. Don’t know much about it.
King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair
Again, looks like fantasy to me, and that simply doesn’t interest me.
Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez
I’m a Jimenez fan, even if she does make me want to throw my kindle occasionally! This one felt a little tamer than the others, and secured a 5-star rating from me. Details and review here.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
I don’t know anything about the book, other than the fact that the cover is gorgeous and I’ve seen it everywhere! I don’t gravitate towards F/F romances, so it hasn’t been on my radar.
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
I could say the exact same thing about this one – I’ve seen the cover everywhere, but F/F doesn’t usually draw me in.
Electric Idol by Katee Robert
Another book from this series! I’m just not interested.
The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
Pretty sure I’ve gotten this out of the library a few times and let the loan lapse. It’s on my TBR somewhere.
The Takeover by TL Swan
I loved The Stopover, but several of Swan’s others have felt increasingly toxic to me. I’ll probably give her another go at some point, because she’s a talented author and the series is spicy and compelling.
Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
I liked it! Not an immediate win for me, but the characters won me over by the end. I’d definitely check out more from the author. Details and review here.
The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
I like Christina Lauren, but this has mixed reviews, so I still haven’t moved it to the top of my TBR. The premise sounds right up my alley though.
A Touch of Malice by Scarlett St. Clair
Another Scarlett St. Clair!
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
I’m not drawn to F/F romance, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about this author!
Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
I haven’t started this series from Bailey yet, but I plan to read it in order at some point.
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
It was pretty good! I liked how unique it felt, and the fat rep is great. This is my favorite of Dade’s trio – audiobook review here.
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one, enough for me to give it a try at some point!
Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter
I ended up DNFing this, mostly because my library loan was due, and I never felt like going back to it. However, I do like Painter’s style, and I could see myself giving it another go if her upcoming release goes better for me.
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
I’m kinda surprised this isn’t higher on the list, it feels like I saw it everywhere for awhile! I knew that the trope would be tricky for me, so I decided to read this married writing team’s second book first. And that was pretty great, so I may give this a try sometime.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
I actually didn’t realize this was a romance book, the cover doesn’t give those vibes. But I do remember seeing it everywhere for awhile, so it’s probably good!
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
The books I’ve read by Guillory have been middle of the road, so I haven’t been keeping up with the series. It sounds good though.
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
I liked this a lot better than The Worst Best Man, there was just too much time spent on outlandish situations and not enough on the relationship. Details and review here.
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
I own it and I’ve heard good things, but I have not read it yet.
And that completes the list! I’m surprised by some of the picks, but I’m also familiar with the vast majority of them, so I suppose it can’t be that surprising. Definitely a lean towards traditionally published books, though there are several indie successes here as well, particularly series. It could certainly be a more diverse group, that’s for sure. And the covers are mostly illustrated, which is no surprise.
Check out this week’s new releases here.
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