As the librarian of the Big Verde Public Library (and the leader of a romance-themed book club), nothing makes me happier than suggesting book club titles. And since the romance genre has an endless variety of tropes and themes, there is literally something for everyone!
Here are five books—both indie and traditionally published—that will surely give you and your friends something to talk about.
My friend, Maggie Blake, begged us to read this super sexy paranormal romance because she has a thing for wolves (don’t ask, it’s a story in and of itself). In Big Bad Wolf, the wolf shifter hero is in trouble for taking justice into his own hands. Sparks (and fur?) fly between him and the lawyer who’s agreed to defend him. The world-building is fantastic, and after swooning over the hero, your book club can dig into topics like justice, redemption, and what makes a hero “alpha.”
*Miss Mills had all kinds of complaints about this book, so I’d give it five jalapenos for steam. Also, Miss Mills read the steamy parts twice in order to be properly outraged.
A. J. Pine
We freaking love cowboys here in Big Verde, and there is so much to cheer for in this book! The heroine has just turned forty (yay!), and “doesn’t date younger guys.” The hero is younger, so this is a case of a fling turning into something more, which is always fun. But the story also provides a good jumping off point for discussing how age gaps affect relationships and sexuality, and how those gaps are typically portrayed in literature and entertainment.
Although this story gives meaningful commentary about the impact of social media and influencer culture, it also provides a laugh a minute when the heroine wakes up with amnesia and tries to use her Instagram account to piece her life back together. Personally, I’m not great at humor. Like, I don’t always get it (I laugh when I see other people laughing). But even I had wine coming out of my nose with this one.
I adore everything in the Pippaverse, but I admit to being a little hesitant with this title, because the virgin trope is my least favorite trope. Virginity is a social construct, and yet it is often used to judge a woman’s virtue (pardon me while I scream into my pillow.) But Pippa turned all of that on its head in this fun and sexy rom com. Firstly, the virgin is the hero (finally!), and secondly, he’s celibate because he thinks it protects his winning streak in professional baseball. There’s a punchline per paragraph, but after the laughter dies down, your book club can dig its teeth into whether virginity even exists (hello—it doesn’t!) and why we’re all surprised and amused when the virgin turns out to be the hero (hello—double standards and patriarchal nonsense!).
This book involves matchmaking, awkward hilarity, and a bit of culture clash/shock. The hero is autistic and believes he can’t feel big emotions like grief or love (he’s wrong!). Our club’s discussion on neurodiversity lasted through an entire box of wine and two pots of coffee. We also read the first book in the series, The Kiss Quotient, and are eagerly awaiting the third, The Heart Principle.
I had a blast coming up with these suggestions, and I hope at least one of them piqued your interest. Now I can cross this assignment off my to-do list (woot!) and move on to the next item, which is finding a date (no idea who to ask) for an upcoming wedding (ugh/blerg/meh).