As you might know I go on a lot of dates. Usually during the weekend, but sometimes I like to spice things up on a lonely Wednesday evening. And yes, I’m talking about romance books. Those of you who have peeked at my book shelf page probably know my book rating system. It goes as follows:
I ran out as fast as I could when I saw it sitting at the table. Shouldn’t have worn heels. Dammit.
I finished the date, but paid for my own food and didn’t text back the next day #awkward
I liked it, but I probably wouldn’t go on a second date. Unless it’s Disneyland. Then I’d consider.
I loved this book and want to hold hands in public and share ice cream and talk about our future.
I want to marry this book and have its babies. Lots and lots of babies. And probably a dog. Or two.
Now, I must tell you I have never rated a book with only one star. It’s not really my style. And there are also very few books I’ve rated with two stars. I don’t know if that means I’m a better judge of character – or cover – than I thought, or that there are not as many crappy books out there as I anticipated. Anyways, it’s safe to say I pull off the whole book dating thing a lot better than the actual dating thing. Man, did I rate a lot of those with two stars #bummer
So, if you, just like me, prefer to spend your Saturday night with a fictional date that won’t let you down, the following five romance books that I rated with five stars are bursting with boyfriend material potential. Happy dating…eh…reading! 💙
The Silent Waters – Brittainy C Cherry
Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.
I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.
I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.
This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.
When I first read The Air He Breathes by Ms. Cherry I thought it couldn’t get any better. But then I read The Silent Waters and almost drowned at least three times during this read. I’m assuming Brittainy C Cherry is an indie author (self-published) by choice because any publisher should smack themselves in the head for not signing her. How this woman is not (as far as I know) a New York Times Bestselling Author yet remains a mystery. Also, you’re probably going to want to name your future son Brooks after reading The Silent Waters.
“Someday you’re going to wake up and leave your house, Magnet, and you’re going to discover the world. Someday you’re going to see the whole wide world, Maggie May, and on that day, when you step outside and breathe in your first breath, I want you to find me. No matter what, find me, because I’m going to be the one to show it to you. I’m going to help you cross things off your to-do list. I’m gonna show you the whole wide world.”
The story of Maggie and Brooks is unique and I love how we follow them into this book starting as little kids and watching them grow up to adults. People who had to endure a lot of tragedy and trauma, but were also blessed to be protected by a blanket of love. I’m not going to tell you much about the story because I think it’s often better to go in blind, but I will tell you that the first and last paragraph will forever be etched into your soul after you finish the book.
“Not all broken things need to be fixed. Sometimes they just need to be loved. It would be a shame if only people who were whole were deserving of love.”
It’s a beautiful, tragic story about overcoming your fears and the knowledge that no one deserves to go through it alone.
Making Faces – Amy Harmon
”Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.”
I think the synopsis accurately describes what to expect of this book. But you will discover it’s so much more than a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast as you flip the pages. And that’s saying something, because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney story and the only one I have on DVD. But Making Faces is at least ten times better. This book is not only a recent favorite, but also an all-time favorite.
“If God made all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head ’til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of a deaf man to make him more reliant?
Is the way I look a coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,For the ugliness I see in me, for the loathing and the fear.
Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?”
The characters are so well-developed in this book and I absolutely loved the heroine, Fern. I do not often identify myself with a book character, but throughout this whole story I felt like I was Fern. Fern is fragile, honest, strong, and oh so beautiful.
This book is written differently than I was used to because it’s written in a narrative perspective, but I think it was exactly what this story needed and just made it all the better. Making Faces is a book I will probably reread a couple of times the coming years. Yes, it’s that good.
Ugly Love – Colleen Hoover
”When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.
Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.
They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.”
No list of mine would be complete without a Colleen Hoover book. We call her the Queen for a reason. Although this is a book about tragedy, it’s also filled with steaming hot romance.
“His lips against mine feel like everything. Like living and dying and being reborn, all at the same time.”
The chapters of a younger Miles were the most intriguing for me, because it is written in a poetry-like style and is raw with emotion. Honestly, this whole book is a bundle of raw emotion. You will be hurt a lot during this story, but I promise it’s worth all the heartbreak in the end. Colleen is known for making the unlovable lovable and that’s exactly what she did with Miles. You hate him, but you also kinda like him. And eventually, you wish people like Miles actually exist. Please be real and come date me, Miles.
Most of All You – Mia Sheridan
Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior and carries within her a deep mistrust of men, who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.
Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness in him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.
Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world, which had stolen everything from them, would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far, and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.
I figured Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan was the cherry on top of the Lemon Meringue…eh pie…of tragic romance books. So Most of All You could never live up to what I’d read so far, right? WRONG. I’ll admit it, I ugly cried throughout this book. The main characters of this story felt so real, especially Ellie.
“I’m still not the right girl.”
“I still don’t agree.”
That girl had been eating shit all her life and couldn’t accept anything better even when it was right in front of her. And I totally understood why. But Gabriel, who has his own tragic past, is persistent and determined to show Ellie that there are not only bad guys in this world and that even she should get the love she deserves. This story is the emotional journey of a girl only familiar with loss, abuse and twirling around a stripper pole who tries to find her place in the world. A world where she can actually love herself.
“The sun continued to rise, casting its light over the earth, brightening the darkness and chasing away the shadows of what had been. And every single day, it reminded me that though life could be lonely and painful, it was also filled with rainbows on water, with fields of daffodils, and angels that emerged from rock. It was filled with delicate flowers that, against all odds, found the strength to turn their faces to the sunshine and thrive. It was filled with miracles that arrived when you least expected them and the hard-won knowledge that healing, like stone, is just sand and pressure and time.”
How to Date a Douchebag, The Studying Hours – Sara Ney
”CRUDE. ARROGANT. A**HOLE.
No doubt about it, Sebastian ‘Oz’ Osborne is the university’s most celebrated student athlete—and possibly the biggest douchebag. A walking, talking cliché, he has a filthy mouth, a fantastic body, and doesn’t give a sh*t about what you or anyone else thinks.
SMART. CLASSY. CONSERVATIVE.
Make no mistake, Jameson Clarke may be the university’s most diligent student—but she is no prude. Spending most of her time in the hallowed halls of the library, James is wary of pervs, jocks, and douchebags—and Oz Osborne is all three.
She’s smart, sarcastic—and not what he expected.
…EVERY DOUCHBAG HAS HIS WEAKNESS.
He wants to be friends.
He wants to spend time with her.
He wants to drive her crazy.
So, by now you know that pretty much all of my five star romance books are filled with tragic and tears. I can’t help it. I guess I’m just drawn to other people’s troubles. However, this last book from the How to Date a Douchebag series is not a tragedy at all. This book is fun and sexy and OH MY GOD I can’t count the times I blushed. The Studying hours is the perfect book for recovering from the ones mentioned above.
“I know you love me.” Wistful and filled with wonder. “I love you, too.”
Somehow, it’s not enough. “For real though, babe. The only person I love more than you is myself.”
A loud laugh fills the otherwise darkened room. “Oh my god, tell me you did not just say that.”
Am I missing something here? “What’s so damn funny? I’m being serious.”
“The only person you love more than me is you?”
“But you love me?”
The Studying Hours is almost entirely based on the conversations between the two main characters and you need to be an expert at writing dialogues if you want to keep it interesting. I can tell you Sara Ney most definitely mastered that aspect of the book. I kept turning the pages and couldn’t put it away. Also, did I mention how damn sexy this book is?
“My depraved eyes travel wantonly from his defined collarbone down to his hard-as-rock pecs and flat, toned abs, every inch of his long, thick dick visible under his thin, tight singlet. Lord bless the designer of that horrible outfit.”
I hope you found some new gems to read among these recommendations of mine! I only read English books, but for my Dutch friends: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover is available in Dutch and Most of All You by Mia Sheridan will be released in Dutch on August 14th. But in the meantime you can start with Archer’s Voice because although it’s not on this list, it’s kind of against the rules to skip this book 😉