Romance Recs for Non-Romance Readers

Lydia over at SilverWolfReads wrote a post about trying out adult romances, and it set me OFF, y’all. She mentioned having The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne on her list, as well as The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, and my comments were many and long with so many recs based on what types of books she said she normally reads and things she was interested in about other books in my maybe-to-read adult romance list. Like I went a small about of cray. And it got me really fired up to rec some romances! So if you don’t read romance, think you don’t like romance (BUT HAVE YOU TRIED IT?!) or even if you’re a romance veteran and just want some recs – READ ON!

If you love fantasy

The Winter King and The Sea King by C.L. Wilson (her Tairen Soul series is also on my TBR!) I haven’t actually read many straight romantic fantasies where romance is the primary plot (though I’ve read plenty of fantasies with romantic sub-plots). This series made me want to read more, more, MORE!! Note: Book 1 (The Winter King) is available on Kindle Unlimited, but book 2 (The Sea King) is not.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is just… GUH. So good. This one might technically be YA? I’m not sure. A stronger

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – Just go read it. There are no words.

If urban fantasy is your thing

Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton – You really need to go just read the blurb for the first book or two of this series to get it… But Meredith (our heroine) is descend from fertility goddesses and basically has magical sex powers, and has to conceive an heir with one of her fae guards to inherit the throne – and save her own life. This one has a LOT of sex scenes, so if that sounds super horrible to you then maybe skip this one.

Fever series by Karen Marie Moning – I’ve only read the first four books in this series and then there was a WAIT for the next book, and I got distracted by other things. Now I think I need to go back and reread it from the beginning so I remember what’s happening. This one has a sort of thriller/mystery-ish vibe to it as well, and definitely needs to be read in order.

Fred the Mermaid series by Mary Janice Davidson –  OH MY GOSH, this series is SO FUNNY. Fred is a mermaid and she works at the aquarium. If you like your books a little sillier and light-hearted but with super sharp wit (think maybe Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman?) then you’ll like this romance series!

Women of the Otherworld series by Kelly Armstrong – I think this one is about 10 books long, and each one focuses on different people within this interconnected web of people in the supernatural community. I think this one is best if read in order, but I can’t really recall since it’s been a LONG time since I read it. Also, I think SyFy tried to start a TV series based on these books called Bitten.

If you love fairy tales

The 500 Kingdoms Series by Mercedes Lackey – This series is so beautiful, and each book has several different fairy tale elements in it. I highly recommend reading book 1 (The Fairy Godmother) first, and then the series can be read in any order. You don’t NEED to read The Fairy Godmother first, but it does the brunt of the work with world building, and Elena makes at least an appearance in most of the other novels even if she’s not a central character after the first 2 or 3.

Elemental Masters Series by Mercedes Lackey – This series is heavier on the fantasy than the romance, but there is still a very definite romance plot and HEA in each book. Phoenix & Ashes (a Cinderella retelling) is my favorite fantasy novel, and since these can be read in any order I recommend starting with that one! I LOVE the system of magic in these ones. It’s a little Wizarding World of Harry Potter-esque in that it’s set in our world but with magic users existing alongside us in secret.

The Fairy Tales series by Eloisa James – this series was my gateway drug into reading romance in general, and specifically historical romance. These are straight historical romances, the Georgian/Regency period I think, with no magical element, but they still have very strong resemblances to the fairy tales on which they’re based. The Duke Is Mine, which is a Princes and the Pea retelling, is I think my fave.

If you like reading mysteries & thrillers

Consumed by J.R. Ward – I actually picked this one up thinking it was a straight thriller/suspense novel, and was really surprised to have the romance plot be so central to the story!

Devoted to Pleasure by Shayla Black

In Death series by J.D. Robb – this series is, like, 40+ books long. I don’t even know if it needs to be read in order or not, but they do all focus around Eve Dallas. Not even sure I should include these? But there is a strong romantic element, and JD Robb is a pen name of romance novelist icon Nora Roberts.

The de Vincent series by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I haven’t read these yet because romantic suspense isn’t really my jam, but despite that they’re on my TBR and I DO plan to read them!

If you love sci-fi

The Messenger Chronicles series by Pippa daCosta – the romance takes a bit to build in this one, so you do need to read more than the first book. Also, this is one of the few series where you need to read the books in order because they’re one overarching plotline/romance! (All 4 books are available on Kindle Unlimited!)

Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre – I don’t know what it is about sci-fi, but read this series in order as well.

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer – this one actually fits under the fairy tales heading as well, but it’s so techy and set in space I wanted to include it in the sci-fi category. Also, this is I think the only YA rec I make in this entire post – it’s just that great! Also best to read this one in order, I think.

There are also a LOT of sci-fi romance that falls more into the erotica subgenre, aliens with sex hormones and whatnot. The Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon is supposed to be one of those so-bad-it’s-good series, and I totally plan to buddy read book 1 with Peekaboo. For Ice Planet Barbarians you can read any book in any order – they’re all just completely bananas.

If you’re into witty banter and snark

The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne – unlike most of the other books I listed together in this post, these two books are NOT part of a series or related to each other in any way. (Though you’d think that they WERE to look at the matching covers!) The Hating Game is my favorite romance novel (YES, I finally admitted to having a favorite!) and 99 Percent Mine is also super amazing and is definitely in my top 10. 99 Percent Mine has a bit of a gritter, darker tone than The Hating Game, if that helps you decide which one to start with!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – this book is so much everything. I almost didn’t read it because of one really bad review, and OMG I almost missed out on the amazingness that is this book!! It’s probably the best book of 2018 and is winning all the things. Helen Hoang also has another book coming out really soon called The Bride Test that I just started reading an ARC of!

The Kiss that Launched 1,000 Gifs by Sheralyn Pratt (Available on Kindle Unlimited!)

Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday and really her entire Signs of Love series, tbh (Available on Kindle Unlimited!)

If you’re all about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and those other royals across the pond

Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole – In addition to these three full length novels there are also two novellas that are also phenomenal. This entire series is FIRE and everyone needs to read it RIGHT NOW.

Prince Charming and Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins – I haven’t read these yet but I’m hearing a LOT of buzz for Her Royal Highness and am really looking forward to reading it. Plus it’s an F/F second book where book 1 was a M/F romance, so I LOVE that!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – royals aren’t really my thing and I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR and I keep hearing great things about it.

Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts – oh my!

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks (and probably the first two book in The Embraced series as well, though I haven’t read them yet) – Who doesn’t love a romance between a dragon shifter and an elf?!

The Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands – This series is LONG guys. Like, book #30 is supposed to come out this year level of long. Thankfully, they can all be read as stand alone novels, so I’ve read three just sort of randomly all throughout the series. I linked up books 1-3 here for you, though!

Not This Series by Annie Nicholas – there are a few more novellas and I think another full length book in this series. Not His Vampire was my favorite of all of them. They can be read as stand-alones, so pop into whichever one speaks to you. (Available on Kindle Unlimited!)

If you’re into sports

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – by far my favorite sports romance of all time! Yet oddly, I have no interest in reading the sequel/follow-up, Us… This a one is sort of friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers again, second chances M/M romance and I adore it.

Mister Hockey by Lia Riley – a hockey player AND a plus-sized librarian! What’s not to love?

Pucked by Helena Hunting – I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s SUPER high recommended and really highly rated, so it’s high on my TBR.

Play-By-Play series by Jaci Burton – I haven’t read this series yet, but I have DEFINITE plans to – especially Taking a Shot has really caught my eye. Also – ABS!

Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy – This is another one I haven’t read yet but comes highly recommended and is high on my TBR. NOTE: At the time of posting, The Deal is FREE ($0.00) on Amazon!

If you love Jane Austen

Engaging Mr. Darcy by Rachel John – A really literal modern-day translation of Pride & Prejudice, this book made me actually like the Darcy-type character. (I’m not actually a big P&P fan, shhhh) (Available on Kindle Unlimited)

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

If you’re just a giant nerd who loves video games, comic books, and Firefly

America’s Geekheart by Pippa Grant (Kindle Unlimited)

Fandom Hearts series by Cathy Yardley – I linked to just the first few full length novels in the series. There are also a couple of novellas and a fifth full-length novel, and they’re all AMAZING. They center around a group of friends for the most part, with some forays into the inner circles of the love interest from one of the main books for the novellas. LOVE this whole series and can’t recommend it highly enough! Video games, a sci-fi TV show that seems super reminiscent of Supernatural, cosplay, sci-fi conventions, bookstores, Dr. Who… This series really has it all.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – This one is more of a NA romance as Cathe has just left home for her freshman year of college. She writes a super popular fan-fiction with her twin sister, which is for a series of book which is basically Harry Potter but HILARIOUSLY BETTER. If you love this one, also check out Carry On, the book about Simon Snow (who is basically Rainbow Rowell’s snarky spin on the Harry Potter series). Simon + Baz 4ever

If you’re into science nerds

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan – The scientific theories are hers, but she presents them through him because she lives in a time where women aren’t appreciated for their minds. LOVE this book, LOVE this series, LOVE this author.

A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare – This entire Spindle Cove series is about a town full of spinsters and wallflowers, and all of them are FANTASTIC. All of the ladies are pretty unconventional in a whole garden bouquet of ways, and it’s just glorious. I recommend the entire series, but A Week to be Wicked is my favorite. Also, Minerva is a geologist in Regency England, and who wouldn’t want to read a book about that.

Blame It On The Duke by Lenora Bell – Alice makes her first appearance in the first book of The Disgraceful Dukes series, How the Duke Was Won, and she was SO delightfully odd that I sent messages to Lenora Bell begging for more Alice. I was SO EXCITED when she revealed this third book in the series features Alice as the heroine! There are 3 books and each can be read as a stand-alone, and they’re ALL amazing, but Alice is forever my favorite. Also, I LIVE for the little Alice in Wonderland and also Indiana Jones hidden treasures in this book.

Chemistry Lessons series by Susannah Nix – I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s super high on my TBR and I have bought them all, lol!

If you like motorcyles and Sons of Anarchy

Hell or High Water series by S.E. Jakes – This one is a rec from Peekaboo!

If westerns and cowboys are your thing

Bound for Temptation by Tess LeSue – This was my first western historical romance, and I am HOOKED. Tess LeSue is amazing, and I CANNOT WAIT for the next book in this series!!!

How about some detectives, cops, and bounty hunters

Stripped by Tara Wyatt – They’re BOTH detectives in this one, woo!

Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey (The Academy series) (Available on Kindle Unlimited!)

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Philips – I love that the heroine is the detective in this one! Also, she’s so bananas, and I love it.

So there you have it! Well, a start of it, anyway. …That’s actually a lot of books… Hopefully there’s a little something for everyone! Do you have any recs you’d include for any of these categories? Or if you’re interested in reading some romance and have some parameters you’d like to give me to get some personalized recs, let me know in the comments! And then BRACE YOURSELF for what will likely be the opening of the floodgates, haha!

10 thoughts on “Romance Recs for Non-Romance Readers

  1. OKAY FIRST OF ALL: You can’t blame me entiiiirely for this post c; I was just the oil on the fire, you have to admit you were the one desperate to talk about romance books so much!!

    SECONDLY: Holy heck, this is a long list. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO AFFORD EVEN HALF THESE BOOKS?! There’s so many that sound good and now I really want to binge read them all.

    THIRDLY: I can’t believe you just smashed out this post. IT’S SO LONG AND ONLY TOOK YOU LIKE AN HOUR OR TWO?! You are seriously skilled! And an expert! I bow to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1) I may have been a gasoline soaked pile of tinder, but you lit the match! LOL
      2) The library is your friend! Most have some sort of interlibrary loan program too, so you can request books your library may not carry. Also, most of these books have been out for a bit, so you’d likely have some luck at used bookstores. And I’ve noted which are available on Kindle Unlimited. I like to build a KU TBR and once it’s huge and unwieldy I subscribe to KU for a month and just binge-read all KU books, haha.
      3) I was motivated? LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a romance reader, but it’s mostly because I have no idea where to even start because it’s such a huge and varied genre. This is a super helpful post though, and I definitely like the sound of some of these. I may have to add some of these to my TBR list and give them a try! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *happy flail* I hope you’ll tell me if you read any of my recs (and whether or not you liked it!) My first foray into romance was a really weird older romance of my mother’s called Warrior’s Woman by Johanna Lindsey. I was 16 and am not gonna lie, I read it mostly for the sexy bits, but it’s VERY pulpy/campy/I’m not even sure what adjectives to use, haha. It definitely has Fabio on the cover. I’d also tried a couple of Harlequin serials and just hated them. :/

      I don’t think I picked up another romance for maybe 10 years, and then it was Eloisa James’s Fairy Tales series that sucked me in because I was on a MAJOR fairy tale retellings binge. After some trial and error I found that my sweet spot tends to be low-angst romances with more of a rom-com feel, but in contemporaries and historicals. There are plenty of romances that are very high angst, or fast-paced intrigue plot romantic suspense stories – and neither of those are my jam. Nor are the really serious ones, or romances where there’s somebody’s secret baby involved. I am so not here for the dramaaaaaa.

      My point is – you’re so right! Romance is SUCH a huge and varied drama. So I do hope you’ll try some of my suggestions, but also know there’s a whole other world of high drama and angst out there as well if that’s more your style, and my recs are pretty much all on the more light-hearted fluff side of the genre (not that they don’t also deal with serious issues, and/or make me sob my eyes out sometimes…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll definitely let you know if I try out any of these recommendations! There’s definitely a few on here that look interesting 🙂
        And it’s great that you found your type of romances! I think in a lot of genres there’s something for everyone, you just have to try a few different books to find it. I think I’ll probably lean more towards lighter, low angst romances too over high drama suspense stories, so there should be plenty on this list that I might like. I also am already a huge fantasy fan (and I also love fairy tale retellings!), so I might start out with those.


  3. I’m definitely not a romance reader, but I definitely read YA romance. I’ve read the Lunar Chronicles and Fangirl, and I definitely want to read Uprooted and An Enchantment of Ravens. The more “traditional” romances tend to scare me off, but I’ve read a few and liked them, so I don’t know what my hang-up is!


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