It’s one of my reading missions in life to also have a contemporary romance book ready to read! If you’re absolutely loving all the amazing contemporary romances that have come out in 2020, I have another two 2020 releases for you to read… and a 2019 much-loved release to maybe avoid….
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
On a beautiful day in August, I decided I wanted a fluffy book that would occupy my full attention while floating around the pool, which led me to pick up Mia Sosa’s The Worst Best Man. I’ll read nearly any book that has something to do with weddings. This contemporary romance follows Lina, a wedding planner who was left at the altar three years ago when her fiancé’s best man, Max, convinced Andrew to not get married the night before the wedding. Three years later, Lina is up for a wedding planning position at a luxury hotel in Washington D.C. and is forced to work with Max to prepare marketing materials for her final presentation. Although Lina finally gets the opportunity for some payback, her and Max begin to connect in ways both of them would have never expected.
The Worst Best Man is seriously one of my favorite contemporary romances of 2020! I instantly fell into this story and Lina and Max’s attraction. I thought it had the perfect balance between romance & relationship development, the setting, and the personal challenges each character faces. As I’ve said before, Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings are among my favorite reality TV shows, so I loved getting the inside look at wedding planning. I thought Lina’s job and all the details were so well-developed. As someone who has experience in marketing, it was also really fun to learn about Max’s job as a marketing executive and seeing him and Lina collaborate on their pitch. We also spend a lot of time with each character’s family, as Lina comes from a close-knit family led by women and is planning her favorite cousin’s wedding, while Max and Andrew are going head to head for the hotel pitch.
This book hit a home run when it come to one of my favorite tropes, enemies-to-lovers. Lina and Max seriously had no feelings or attraction for each other at the start and even as their feelings begin to build, Lina is still getting revenge on Max for helping ruin her big day. I loved their antics and their more emotional scenes, romance scenes of course included.
I plan on checking out more of Mia Sosa’s books, including the companion to The Worst Best Man coming out in 2021, The Wedding Crasher.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I’ve been reading a ton of contemporary romance over the past two years, which has actually made me more selective about which ones I pick up. One of my latest favorites and absolute winners is Sara Desai’s The Marriage Game! If you want Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking in book form, I can’t help but recommend this one!
After a nasty break-up and losing her job, Layla returns home to San Francisco to help her parents run their Michelin star restaurant and start her own recruitment agency. Layla’s father lets her use the office space above the restaurant to start her company, but in the midst of a family emergency, forgets to let Sam, who’s just rented the space, know. However, unknowing to Layla, Layla’s father has created an online dating profile for her and sets her up with ten ‘perfect’ matches. Sam and Layla then enter their own marriage game in which Sam accompanies Layla on all her dates, with the winner getting to keep the office space.
The Marriage Game is one of my favorite reads this fall! Everyone knows I absolutely love a rom-com with the enemies-to-lovers trope, and Sara Desai completely nailed it! This book has so much of what I love in my contemporary romance outside the romance: self-growth and discovery, family dynamics, and yes, plenty of sarcasm! What makes The Marriage Game stand out from the crowd is the Indian matchmaking premise. Despite how many couples in her family have been matched, her parents and brother included, Layla refuses to give into this cultural & family tradition. Meanwhile, after feeling that he is a responsible for a family tragedy, Sam refuses to embrace his family’s culture. Through their relationship, Sam is able to view and embrace his upbringing once again, while Layla’s dates might have led her to her true love after all. I think what ultimately prevented me from giving The Marriage Game a full five out of five stars was that I felt sort’ve distracted with Sam and his awful boss. I know Sam’s work was a big part of the storyline and his growth, but it sometimes distracted from him and Layla’ story.
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
The first book in the Hot & Hammered series, Tessa Bailey’s Fix Her Up had received so many positive reviews from my fellow romance-loving blogging friends. The book follows Georgie, a child party entertainer/literal clown, and her childhood crush, Travis, an ex-professional baseball player who finds himself back in their small Long Island town after a career-ending injury. When Travis is up for a commentator position with a major league team, Travis and Georgie fake-date to help improve his public image.
I’ll just start off my by saying that Fix Her Up is one of my least favorite romance reads of 2020, which was super disappointing! Georgie’s family owns a successful construction and renovation business, so I loved the premise’s The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren vibes. I honestly really enjoyed the first 100 pages. I liked the set-up, getting to know Travis and Georgie as individual characters and seeing their chemistry begin to formulate. I agree with other reviews saying that the brother’s best friend dynamic was really underdeveloped – Travis and Georgie’s older brother, Stephen, were best friends growing up. I never really understood Stephen’s problem with the two dating, especially since Georgie had always been attracted to Travis, and Stephen and Travis didn’t seem like actual best friends. I did like Fix her Up’s side characters- while I didn’t really love this first installment, I wanted to pick up Love Her or Lose Her because I was intrigued by Rosie and Dominic’s relationship – but they all in all needed more development. While I know Georgie’s sister Bethany is getting her own book, I wanted more resolution between Bethany and Stephen about Bethany having a bigger role in the family business. Let’s be honest, I didn’t really mind the under-development of Travis and Stephen’s dynamic too much because I could not stand Stephen.
The biggest reason why I didn’t enjoy Fix Her Up is that Travis is probably my least favorite male romance protagonist. I started not to enjoy the book as Travis and Georgie grew closer around the 100 page mark and became a (fake) couple. I’ve really grown to dislike the book’s title because honestly, Travis needs more ‘fixing up’ than Georgie does! While Georgie does come off as a little immature – and I not all mean that’s she immature because she hasn’t had a real relationship, just really some of her mannerisms and dialogue makes her feel immature- , she has her life much more put together than he does! Fix Her Up likely has the steamiest romance scenes I’ve ever read. I didn’t mind the romance at all, however, these scenes were absolutely ruined by Travis’ dialogue and his pet name for Georgie, “baby girl.” It just felt so, so cringey and by the third scene, I was just skimming through their romance scenes. I ultimately finished the book because Tessa Bailey did have me intrigued enough to find out their ending and it was a pretty quick read. Ultimately, I’ve found that readers either LOVE Fix Her Up or like me, really don’t like the book mainly because of Travis and its need for more plot development.
What contemporary romance books have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations for me? Share in the comments!