Try a Little Romance for Romance Awareness Month: August 2021

August 16, 2021 | M. Elwood

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Romance Awareness Month was created to remind people to inject a little romance into their relationships throughout the year. 

Anyone working in a library can tell you that romance books are one of the most popular genres any time. During the pandemic a lot of people looking for comfort reads with happy endings have turned to romance.  

If it has been a while since you've read a romance novel, you may be surprised at changes in the genre. Just as real life romance is not limited to rich white men and women, romance novels now reflect that people of diverse abilities, ethnicities, body types, sexual orientations and gender identities fall in love.

Better than people

Better Than People by Roan Parrish

This romance features a gay protagonist with severe anxiety. Graphic artist Simon finds it challenging to interact with people but he loves animals. When his plans to adopt a dog fall through, he turns to a pet share app and connects with Jack. Jack is an illustrator who needs someone to walk his dogs while he recovers from a broken leg. Soon they realize that they may have more than just a love of animals in common and a romance is sparked.  

 
Bromance book club

Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams 

This book is about a group of high powered men who read romance novels to help them be better partners to the women in their lives. Although this premise could end up being manipulative, it actually comes across as genuine. There are some nice scenes about the guys encouraging each other to express emotions. In the first book, baseball player Gavin Scott discovers his wife is less happy than he had believed and decides to save his marriage. The first in the series has a main character with a stutter. 

 

Can't escape love

Can't Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

This novella is part of the Reluctant Royals series but can be read as a standalone. Wheelchair user Regina Hobbs is a brilliant business woman but stress over expansion is causing insomnia. The only cure is listening to Gus Ngyuen's live streams. Gus has been asked to design an escape room with a romance anime theme and since Reggie is an expert on anime, she may be able to help him. The book also features neurodiverse main characters and a biracial romance. 

 

Get a life chloe brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Chloe Brown has let her chronic fibromyalgia keep her from living the life she wants. But after a near death experience, she decides to make some changes. First she moves out of her parents' house and into an apartment. She initially clashes with the building superintendent but a friendship grows. Could a romance follow? Author Talia Hibbert is on autism spectrum and says "[s]he writes steamy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation". 

 

Girl gone virul

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Ex-model Katrina King has an anxiety disorder. Since her wealthy husband died, she's kept herself largely isolated from the world. When she does venture out to a local coffee shop, a casual conversation turns into a viral video. Suddenly the whole Internet is trying to find her and Katrina needs to escape. Fortunately her bodyguard and friend Jas Singh offers to take her to his secluded peach farm where a romance grows. Both of the main characters are living with a mental illness. 

 

Honey girl

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

This novel features a Black lesbian protagonist in a biracial relationship. Grace Porter has always been a planner. But now that she has a PhD in Astronomy, she isn't sure what to do next. No one, not even Grace, could have predicted her next step would be a trip to Las Vegas where a night of drunken fun turns into a wedding. Frustrated with her family and job search in Portland, Oregon, Grace decides to spend some time in New York and get to know Yuki Yamamoto, her new wife. 

 

Spoiler alert

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

April Whittier, plus size scientist, spends her spare time writing fanfiction and discussing the TV show Gods of the Gate on online forums. April is unaware that one of her closest online friends is actually Marcus Castor-Rupp, star of the show. After a photo of April cosplaying his character's love interest goes viral and attracts trolls, Marcus asks her out on a date. Although their initial meeting is something of a publicity stunt, April and Marcus make a genuine romantic connection. The character of Marcus is dyslexic. 

 

You had me at hola

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

This contemporary romance features Latinx actors working on a telenovela. After her last romance put her on tabloid covers, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez has decided to concentrate on her career. Her costar, Ashton Suárez would love to be offered bigger parts in mainstream productions but he's getting older and is afraid this telenovela may be his last chance to make an impression. Their initial interaction is awkward but eventually a relationship grows. 

 

For more suggestions, you can also read this recent post from Denise on Rainbow Romances: Love Stories in the LGBTQ2S+ Community. We also have a romance genre reading list on our Books webpage.

This is a very small sample of the books that are available. If you have other favourite romances to recommend, please share them below in the comments!

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