Favorite Books of 2020: Contemporary Romance Edition

I hope everyone has been enjoying time off over the holiday season. I mentioned last week in my favorite adult fiction and non-fiction books of 2020 post that I should’ve had a review posted on this past Saturday … but I’ll be totally honest & admit that I unexpectedly took a laptop break from Tuesday into Sunday afternoon. I’ve been off from school and work for the past 2 weeks, but it wasn’t until Christmas Eve Eve (yes, it’s absolutely a thing) that I really minimized my time on my laptop and ended up not turning it back on for nearly five days. If you’re someone like me who has been glued to her laptop screen between school and work this year, I highly recommend taking a break from the screen this week. I also completely admit I got distracted by a few books AND Bridgerton on Netflix! 

Anyway, today I’ll be sharing my final favorites post of 2020 with my favorite contemporary romances of the year! I shared my favorite young adult books of 2020 last Wednesday. I decided to save my contemporary romance favorites for my final favorites wrap up because contemporary romance was my absolute favorite genre in 2020. So many of the books below had the perfect blend of fluff and distraction I craved, while also often having depth and really unique premises. Out of my three favorites post this year, I had the most difficult time narrowing down my favorite contemporary romances between absolute favs and honorable mentions. 

Favorite Contemporary Romances of 2020 

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

If there was only one book on this list I could put in every reader’s hands, it would be Hannah Orenstein’s Head Over Heels. Following a former elite gymnast who’s tasked with coaching an Olympic hopeful, this book was so strong as a contemporary itself because of its plot, setting, and character dynamics, but was so enriched because of the relationship between the female and male leads. Head Over Heels 110% solidified Hannah Orenstein as one of my all-time favorite authors. 

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle 

I chose one book as my ultimate #1 favorite in my 2020 YA favorites list, but my favorite romance of the year is seriously a toss up between Head Over Heels and Sarah Hogle’s debut, You Deserve Each Other.  I often say that some of my contemporary romances have funny moments, but You Deserve Each Other is seriously the funniest and most sarcastic contemporary romance I’ve ever read. If only one book could have the ‘rom-com’ label, it’s this one. You Deserve Each Other follows two fiancés on the brink of separation – something I haven’t read in a book before- and I absolutely loved following this dynamic. 

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Emily Henry’s Beach Read rightfully took the contemporary romance world by storm this summer and honestly throughout 2020! This summer romance between two writers might become my new annual kick off to summer reading & beach reading season. 

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren 

I’ve mentioned before on the blog that while Christina Lauren’s newer releases tend to get mixed reviews (especially from early CLo fans), but I’ve been such a fan of their newer books, including The Honey Don’t List. This Fixer Upper inspired romance following a fictional home renovation show’s two personal assistants totally met its synopsis – how can I a bookworm not love a book about a book tour?? – and introduced me to my new favorite CLo protagonist. 

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

I really haven’t read too many holiday-inspired reads I wouldn’t recommend, but In a Holidaze is my new #1 holiday book recommendation because it combines its plot and holiday atmosphere so well. I really do need to read CLo’s backlist so I can ‘officially’ rank their books, but I really think In a Holidaze might be among my top five favorite books of theirs. 

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

I’m actually surprised that Undercover Bromance made the favorites vs. honorable mentions category instead of the third Bromance Book Club series book that came out in 2020, Crazy Stupid Bromance, but there was something about Undercover Bromance that completely sucked me in. This was another read that really nailed serious conversations (warning for sexual assault) while also exploring romance and having some funny moments. 

Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein

I picked up Hannah Orenstein’s Playing with Matches on a whim this summer when I was in a fluffy reading mood and I absolutely LOVED it. The match-making was so much fun, and I felt like I was instantly transported to summertime in NYC. 

Well Met by Jen DeLuca 

I ultimately read Jen DeLuca’s Well Met at the right time, but I am so mad at my past self for not reading this 2019 debut earlier because it was just such a perfect read. You don’t need to have any personal interest or experience in renaissance fairs, the book’s main setting, because Jen DeLuca paints & develops this world so well. Everyone knows I love a good enemies-to-lovers romance, and Well Met is definitely in my top 5 best books with this trope. 

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

If you’re a romance reader in any shape or form, you absolutely need to read Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You. This book following a woman who develops a relationship with the lead singer of her daughter’s favorite boy band is the perfect guilty pleasure or way to get yourself out of a reading slump. 

One to Watch by Kate Stacey-London

I feel like One to Watch could be categorized as a plain contemporary, but it does approach and ultimately belong to contemporary romance because of its Bachelor-inspired synopsis. This was genuinely such a fun read and gave me everything I crave in reality TV, but I thought the author well-executed conversations surrounding people who are plus-size, dating, influencers, and reality TVV. 

Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting 

Helena Hunting’s Kiss My Cupcake was another read I was just expecting to be some fun and fluff, but completely blew me away because I was absolutely obsessed with it. We definitely see baking/bakery-inspired premises more & more in contemporary romance, but Kiss My Cupcake completely blew its cupcakery vs. the bar next door rivalry premise out of the park.  

Party of Two (The Wedding Date #5) by Jasmine Guillory 

You probably know that I read Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date companion series completely out of order, but I can totally say that the latest and fifth book in the series is the best and so, so worth the read. I loved the setting and romance between a lawyer and a politician. 

Honorable Mentions 

Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca 

Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin 

Snapped (Playbook #4) by Alexa Martin

Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

The Roommate by Rosie Danan 

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams 

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai 

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Simmer Down by Sarah Smith 

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

What were some of your favorite contemporary romance books this year? Have you read any of my favorites? Any recommendations for me? Share in the comments! 

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