Editorial Articles, Writing/Articles


Valentine’s Day is soon upon us—at least as I create this article—and that means romance is in the freezing winter air and couples of all shapes and sizes are going all out in order to feel the love on that special night!

For those like me who love a good book with a bunch of heartfelt romance, I decided to help my fellow booklovers out and create a list of some of my more memorable titles over the years and (hopefully) help someone find a new story to get their hands on and swoon over all the passionate confessions, the scorching love scenes, and enjoy it all as much as I have!

As you read the titles below, are there any on here that you agree with? Are there other books/series you recommend? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on one of the many social media platforms I’m on! To find those, simply scroll back up to the top and find the “Contact Info” page on the main menu; I love to hear recommendations and just talk about books with people in general.

Enjoy the list I created below, it is in no particular order!


What If It’s Us: by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

This was such a sweet, adorable contemporary LGBT+ title that was co-written by two of the most prolific authors in YA fiction. Two young guys meet during summer break in New York City, and of course EVERYTHING that goes wrong actually happens before these guys can possibly have a happily ever after! I’ve been meaning to reread to be able to give a better book review on here, especially with the more recent news that there’s going to be sequel!


From Blood And Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Also known as the best series of 2020 for me, these books have just taken me in mind, body, and soul! A Fantasy-Romance series that is oh-so bingeable, I can’t recommend these books enough, and with the third book coming out in April, those who’d just be starting these books wouldn’t have to wait as long as other members of the fandom for it to release already!


Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber

These books have been such a more lighthearted, fun, and enchanting series to read. You’ve got dangerous scavenger hunts, mysterious figures, handsome men with plenty of secrets, great romance, and plenty more where that came from. I’m going to start the third and final book soon and can’t wait to also post my Fancast soon too!


It Ends With Us: by Colleen Hoover

This book has a more serious tone than most of the others on this list, and has subject matter that may not be suitable for more sensitive readers, but the love story that is interwoven into the darker moments of this story will utterly take your breath away; I can’t recommend this book enough!


The Off-Campus Series by Elle Kennedy

One of my favorite romance series ever, it’s a hilarious and sexy college romance series that I think anyone who’s a fan of the genre will enjoy. Elle Kennedy certainly knows how to write stories that are equally part sweet and scorching moments with all her couples in these gems; anyone who enjoys snark, smut, and smoking hot hockey players will really enjoy these!


Him duology by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Another LGBT+ romance title, these books were amazing to find when I enjoyed Elle Kennedy’s other stories like the Off-Campus books. I absolutely had to read these when I learned she wrote about more hockey players, but this time it was M/M. A great second-chance romance when two former best friends return to the summer camp of their younger years and new passions are soon discovered!


Serpent & Dove series by Shelby Mahurin

A surprisingly great debut, I loved the first book of this YA Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series when it was released. It has so many great romance tropes like “Enemies-to-Lovers,” “There’s Only One Bed,” “Marriage by Convenience,” and plenty more! I’m a little hesitant to start the next book because it’s gotten really mixed reviews (seems to have suffered from “second book syndrome”), but the third and final book’s cover was just revealed, so I’ll have to get to it soon by the time “Gods and Monsters” releases in August!


Red, White, & Royal Blue: by Casey McQuiston

A M/M LGBT+ romance genre MUST READ! It was my favorite book of 2018 and was the kind of book I wish I had growing up back when queer titles weren’t as mainstream as they are now. I adored the love story that developed between the (fictional) first son of the president of the United States with the Prince of Wales! Ugh….PLEASE just read it.


The Song of Achilles: by Madeline Miller

Totally expect waterworks with this book! It’s a beautifully written take on a classic greek tale that we’ve all heard before, but with a completely new take on it while being told from the perspective of a character who never really got the spotlight in “The Iliad” until now. Even though you know the eventual fate of the hero of this tale, the love that blossoms between Achilles and Patroclus makes you yearn for a possible chance that they’ll overcome all that comes between them!


The Edge of Never duology by J.A. Redmerski

These books made me believe in soul mates…I’m totally serious! The story of Camryn and Andrew as they meet on a cross country bus ride is a story that I can’t believe isn’t more popular with other readers. They’re literally perfect for each other, and both discover new passions for life and each other along the way; this is such an underrated duology in my opinion!


Again, But Better: by Christine Riccio

A lighthearted, beachy read about second chances with a shy, introverted girl moving abroad in order to find herself; this was a great book to lift my spirits! It was a little cheesy, not gonna lie, but I say it’s definitely worth a look at if you’re looking for an incredibly sweet romance adventure!


River’s End: by Nora Roberts

I remember snagging my mom’s copy of this off the shelf back when I was in 7th grade and fell in love with this story. It has literally everything: Hollywood, Murder, Family, Mystery, Suspense, and a magnificent romantic journey over the course of many years for both Noah and Olivia. I was obsessed with this book as I grew up, and the copy was ragged over the many times I reread it, I definitely had to buy a new copy in order to keep it on my shelf!


Chasing Red duology by Isabelle Ronin

I’m always a little skeptical of anything that gets published off Wattpad, but this New Adult romance duology was actually pretty decent! Caleb was at first a total player, but once it was obvious how smitten he was with Veronica, aka “Red,” he became a total book boyfriend to add to the list!


From Ashes: by Molly McAdams

An utterly addicting book, I loved this book for the romantic storyline about Gage and Cassidy. The female main character definitely had a “Mary Sue” kind of vibe a couple times and has WAY too many guys that are so obsessed with her, but I had to keep reading every time until they got together! Lots of frustration over all that happens that possibly keeps them apart, but what a great romance title!


The Hookup: by Kristen Ashley

This was an alright title, there wasn’t as much angst and drama to really keep my eyes glued to the pages, but the relationship that develops between Johnny and Izzy was certainly enjoyable nonetheless! An easy, beach read of a romantic story set in a small town was worth mentioning on here.


The Hook Up: by Kristen Callihan

I know…it may be confusing to list two books with really similar titles and both authors are named Kristen, but this one is also such an amazing romantic story! It’s another college romance that New Adult fans will enjoy, Anna and Drew are another amazing couple that I discovered and think a lot of other romance fans will also enjoy!


A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Of course I had to recommend something from my favorite author! This Fantasy series is such an immersive and addicting story to get into, and the romance is considered top tier amongst many other fans. As I type this, I cannot wait for the fifth book to be released on February 16th; you know I had a copy pre-ordered way in advance!


Fangirl: by Rainbow Rowell

For anyone who’s been a part of a fandom of any kind, you will for sure relate to the main character, Cath, in this YA/New Adult romance standalone. She’s starting her freshman year of college, and she must learn to live outside of her dorm room and in the pages of her fanfiction WIP’s of Simon Snow!

The Roommate: by Rosie Danan

An impressive debut novel, this book has hilarious sitcom written all over it with an uptight, east-coast WASP living under one roof with a male porn star! The banter is hilarious and sexy, and both characters are a ton of fun to read as they learn valuable lessons in sex positivity and where they belong in the world.

The Bargainer series by Laura Thalassa

A Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series that’s highly recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Richelle Mead, these books have a love story that is worth checking out! Many years ago, Callie made a deal with a mysterious winged being known as “The Bargainer” and now he’s come to collect! The romantic relationship was the major highlight of these books.

Caroline and West duology by Robin York

This duology was a surprise for me at how much I actually really got into the story! With titles like these, I thought they were going to be pretty trashy smut, but the storyline is actually incredibly solid and both main characters really develop as they get closer and reveal their unrequited feelings for each other! Caroline deals with a vicious act from her ex, who posts explicit photos and videos of her all over the internet, and she finds herself running into West and finding comfort with him at his early morning shifts at a local bakery.

Check, Please! duology by Ngozi Ukazu

A hilarious and absolutely adorable LGBT+ sports graphic novel revolving around Eric Bittle, a figure skater who loves to bake and vlog, gets a scholarship to an Ivy League college, but has to join the Varsity hockey team! Crisp & clean artwork, and an engaging and relatable coming of age storyline, Bittle learns a lot about himself from his new circle of teammates, and tries to ignore the fact that he has a huge crush on his captain!

Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas

Another addicting book from my favorite author, this first part of her newest series has just about everything: murder, suspense, plenty of twists and turns, heartbreak, and some serious slow burning sexual tension between the two main characters of Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Alathar as they hunt down the demon who murdered her best friends. What they discover is another perfect example of how deep something like this plot can truly go!

The Kiss Quotient: by Helen Hoang

A scorching romance between a product trend forecaster and a male prostitute, what truly is noteworthy is how the female main character is actually Autistic! Having her have Aspergers made this romance title feel fresh within a genre that has a surplus of overly familiar tropes and clichés!

Anna and the French Kiss: by Stephanie Perkins

It’s a coming-of-age story about Anna, who moves to Paris for a year to study abroad, and finds herself falling in love with Etienne St. Clair. Yeah, his name sounds pretentious, but he is actually a total sweetheart who’ll have anyone swooning after him like our main character, but of course he has a girlfriend already!

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han

A widely popular trilogy in the YA reading age group, the themes of family, first love, and dealing with change are incredibly relatable, and the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky is super sweet; Peter is a total sweetheart when it’s obvious he is crazy about her and will do just about anything for her in a moment’s notice. Sure you can just watch the Netflix movies, but seriously…the books are a whole lot better. Definitely give them all a read if you can!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Another popular book title that has also won quite a few awards, any book lists with notable LGBT+ titles more than likely includes this book because of the story between Dante and Aristotle and the summer they meet that changes both their lives. The prose feel so rhythmic together and makes you think it’s one gigantic poem, the ending will melt your heart and make you believe in happily ever afters for sure!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: by Becky Albertalli

This was such an adorable book to read! If you’ve seen Love, Simon you’ve got the whole jist of the book, but of course the book is always better, so why not look even further into the storyline of Simon and his secret messages with Blue?


Perfect Chemistry trilogy by Simone Elkeles

These were a total guilty pleasure when I was younger, and they are also kind of a more modern take on the Grease-like setup of the blond popular girl falling for the bad boy from the wrong side of town. I know it sounds super cheesy, but the banter that usually goes with each of these storylines was well worth it! Those Fuentes boys have quite the colorful vocabulary!


Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

New Adult, New Adult Romance, Romance

My Review: The Roommate: by Rosie Danan

Publish Date: September 15th, 2020
Number of Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkeley
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Romance

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

Once I read the blurb for this contemporary romance title, I was immediately into the idea of a story of an uptight upper east sider inadvertently becoming roommates with a laid back, Californian porn star; think of the sitcom-like humor you’d get when two people who are two total opposites are forced to live under one roof! You can’t write this stuff…. oh wait.

While reading, this book was definitely a fun debut that I had a fun time reading; I liked both main characters more and more as the story developed, and really saw them grow throughout, especially the female main character: Clara Wheaton. She really learned to let a lot of things go and to not put so much on her shoulders, especially things that she couldn’t control. She definitely had a lot more growth than the other main character and her love interest: Josh Darling (porn name). It’s not that he didn’t have some growth of his own, but it felt like it didn’t really come until much later in the story and the rest of it was all about him trying to figure out his attraction to her in the first place while also figuring out his tricky job situation.

The sitcom-like setup was a definite part of the whole book that I liked; the more the two characters interacted and flirted, bantered, and had hot little scenes between the two of them, I truly did believe the growing chemistry more and more. I really thought they were cute together! I was also a huge fan of how one of the themes of this book was about being so sex positive, and how the author totally flipped what may seem like pretty cliché side characters. I go into more details about these further down in my review!

Some things I wasn’t a big fan of was how this story is set up just like any other rom com kind of story that you’ve probably read before. Not that this made me dislike the book in a big way, but part of me does wish more romance titles tried to veer away from the stereotypical setup we see in literally every book that falls within the genre and be more original. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of how the book ended…I mean, it was fine and all but it could’ve been a whole lot better too. Once again, I go into more detail about these further along in this review.

What It’s About:

The Official Blurb:

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too. 

What I Liked:

  1. Opposites Attract! It’s a sitcom-y rom com with two totally opposite people forced under one roof together! Clara is the uptight, proper, and kinda prudish Upper East Side WASP who’s never done something like moving across the country before, and Josh is the charismatic, charming, and brow raising porn star who Clara inadvertently becomes roommates with in a small house in LA. You can’t write this kind of stuff! Oh wait……….Anyways, despite coming from different backgrounds, these two were a joy to read about, and their relationship was so enjoyable to see develop as they go from just roommates, to friends, and to lovers. There was definitely some chemistry there I thought, and the buildup of sexual tension was also fun. It was obvious that Josh’s feelings for her were way stronger than hers off the bat, and I love stories where the guy gets smitten first, but they were both feeling the urge as they lived in such a small space together for a hot LA summer.
  2. Sex Positivity! This book sheds some light on sex workers and the topic of sex in general. I’m never one to slut shame anyone or judge someone as “beneath me” because they work in adult entertainment, and I like that one of the themes of this book is that there’s not “one pleasure to fit them all,” That couples need to be willing to open up to another, trust each other, listen to each other, and be willing to try new things that work specifically for them. It’s also a good message that no one should feel ashamed about pursuing their own pleasure out of something because of societal expectations and judgements; it sounds a little hedonistic, but there is some valuable life lessons that I think everyone should consider! So long as you’re not hurting yourself or others, I say go for whatever your heart desires.
  3. Trope Flipping! One small thing I really enjoyed was how the author totally flipped two types of characters we’ve seen so many times before: the boy next door and the ex. Clara has had a crush on Garrett Bloom ever since he moved next door way back when they were kids, but as you meet him and learn more about him, he’s not really as much of a golden boy as the role usually has been in the past. Then there’s Naomi Grant, who’s Josh’s ex, but instead of being a woman scorned, she actually becomes friends with Josh and Clara and even works together with them on a business venture. It was refreshing to see these tropey character arcs get a new direction given to each of them.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Same Old Setup…I suppose this is a minor thing, but the storyline is set up like any other rom com storyline, so there’s nothing new there with how it develops. There’s nothing too original about it in this sense, but then again, it’s not like most readers are really looking for something like that in this genre to begin with.
  2. Once Again, A Rushed Ending…I don’t know what it is about romance novels, but lately almost every single one of them feels so cramped and shoved together when it could’ve totally benefited to include another 25-50 pages, or maybe another chapter or two. It’s become a consistent thing with romance novels, and man oh man do I wish it’d stop!


Overall, another pretty good contemporary romance to enjoy for anyone who’s looking for something cute and lighthearted to read! It’s nothing groundbreaking or extraordinary, but it definitely fulfills the expectations you have upon starting reading it. Sure, you’d think it’d be a little steamier since the male character is a porn star—and a pretty good one at that—but there’s other books out there if you’re looking for a much steamier read. Some readers would even go as far to say this book would be so much better if it went further in either the humor or the steam. I can believe that and support that, but I still say this book is an enjoyable addition to the genre. I know I really liked this story, and it’s a keeper on my shelf for sure!

I definitely recommend this title to those who love the rom com stories with familiar tropes that are given new and thoughtful changes to them to switch things up and make them feel fresh. I’d also say fans of books by authors like Christina Lauren, Elle Kennedy, and Sarina Bowen will probably also like this book.

It’s a pretty impressive debut novel, and if this is where the author is starting at, I’d say I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for whatever she comes up with next, she has another title already hyped to release in 2021, The Intimacy Experiment, which will star one of the side characters of this book, so I will for sure check it out upon its release!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell