My Romance Reads of 2020

I have been in the mood for light romances for the past few months and I’ve been trying to pick the best ones available on Kindle Unlimited. While some of these are full on, steamy romances, some lean a bit towards drama and thriller. Read on to find out which of these need to be on your to-read list.



Verity by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeremy, the husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford hires a struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen moves into their family mansion briefly so she could dig through the bed-ridden, barely conscious author’s notes on the series.

But in the process, she comes across Verity’s unfinished autobiography where she’d admitted to committing heinous crimes against her own family. All the while, disturbing occurrences keep happening in the house and Lowen starts to lose herself in the family mystery. Given that she also develops feelings for Jeremy who seems to be holding back only because he can’t cheat on his bed-ridden wife, after a certain point we start wondering which author is the liar in this story.

Verity was a near-perfect romantic thriller. It really had me at the edge of the seat breaking out in sweat several times. But the rushed and open-to-interpretation sort of an ending did not really work for me. I highly recommend this if you are into Gone Girl type thrillers.


The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs, #1)

The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this chill college romance, Theo, a band geek who is constantly overshadowed by his ‘hot’ roommate Troy, lands the girl of his dreams. But misunderstandings happen as they only do in romance novels, and he ends up having to prove his love to her and win her back.

This is one of the few romances I’ve read told from a guy’s POV that did not make me cringe. The main characters had off-the-charts chemistry and their banter was genuine and loveable.

But this book suffers from something that I see happening whenever the author wants to turn the book into a series – the overdevelopment of side characters in a way that is unrelated to the plot. This blatant business mindedness in giving up precious real estate in the current book to set up the next book not only pulls me away from the plot but also makes the main characters feel less special.

If it weren’t for that, I would have given this book a perfect 5.


The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In a nutshell, this book is about an overworked mom getting the chance of a lifetime to take a break from all her responsibilities and spend her summer in New York. It had a promising start. It was funny and the writing was really engaging. The mom, Amy Byler, is a librarian and her ideas on how to get teenagers to read more were very interesting.

But the plot was non-existent and the primary conflict came from her own worry that she was a bad mother despite everyone around her saying otherwise. Her holiday romance was so perfect that it was boring, and her journey towards finding herself was filled with too many materialistic pleasures for my taste. The ending was truly terrible.


Regretting You

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, can never see eye to eye on anything. Clara relies on her father and her aunt to navigate through her adolescence and to manage her relationship with her mother. Morgan, on the other hand, has prioritised her family over herself for so many years that she’s forgotten who she is. When a tragedy upturns the family leaving Morgan and Clara with only each other for support, their already rocky relationships starts to disintegrate.

I picked this book because Colleen Hoover had done such a great job with Verity. While I really liked the premise of the book, the execution was a big let down. The death of their family members raises a lot of questions and revelations that weren’t really resolved well. I get that the focus is the relationship between the mother and the daughter and not the revelations. But using them as a hook initially and abandoning them later just didn’t feel right.

The main conflicts arose from miscommunication and misunderstandings. As readers, we see the story from both Morgan and Clara’s point of view and it was incredibly frustrating to know that all their conflicts could be resolved if they just spoke to each other.

I really liked the romantic relationships in this book. Especially the teenage romance between Clara and Miller. It was complex and well thought out. But I think the author’s desire to have a happy ending took away the complexity entirely and we end up with a nice little bow of a conclusion that no one ever wanted.


By a Thread

By a Thread by Lucy Score
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A hot arrogant boss with the heart (and pockets full) of gold falls for a poor, plucky, girl next door. He wants to go after her but can’t because she is his subordinate and that’s a no-no in the post #MeToo era workplace.

I picked up this book because the premise reminded me of The Hating Game which I adored. But a few chapters in, I was annoyed by the author’s constant reminder that her heroine was a self-sacrificing, job-juggling, quick-witted, kickass person who is good at everything she does and is completely immune to the draws of money and power. Her vulnerable moments were so few and far between. But I liked her more when she was struggling to make ends meet than when she was schooling rich guys in how to treat fellow human beings.

The bigger problem with this book though was the hero. I don’t know how the author thought that having the hero be a controlling jerk with only sex on his mind was a good idea for a book that explores workplace romance after #MeToo. I had whiplash every time he went from having dirty dreams about his coworker to refusing to have an adult relationship with her because “he was not a pervert like his father”.

I get that she was trying to say that it all came down to consent. But the message wouldn’t have been so out of place if her main characters, who are middle-aged for crying out loud, had been a little less horny.


When We Believed in Mermaids

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some books are plot-driven and some are character-driven. I’d say ‘When we believed in mermaids’ is both and neither. This book is a mood. It’s a story of sisters torn apart by terrible childhoods but brought together by the sea and the memories they share. It’s not about what happened or why it happened. It’s about how they dealt with it and rose above it.

The only reason I picked this book was that I wanted to read a sad book and this was available on Kindle Unlimited. I didn’t have much hope. At first, the narrative style – flashbacks, running sentences, poetic descriptions, and ‘Roshomon’ type retellings of the same memory – felt aggravating to me. This, on top of the unrelatable characters, had me considering abandoning the book.

But once I realised that this book is not about finding the sister that everyone thought was dead but being on this journey of closure with them, each and every page captured me completely. Then, their hobbies and obsessions that I couldn’t relate to like surfing, hiking, being a doctor or an architecture junkie, became windows through which I could understand the characters and their growth better. They rely on these obsessions, almost like a drug, to help them through difficult times.

The way they are always drawn towards the sea was the most realistic portrayal of people’s love for a place. The places we visit leave a great impression on us. The places we suffer in never leave us.

I was reading the last few chapters through my tears. This book rips your heart out and pushes you off the ledge into a vast ocean of sadness, then jumps in at the right time like an ER doctor turned lifeguard to save you (you’ll get this reference if you read the book).


The Worst Best Man

The Worst Best Man by Lucy Score
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Since I saw glimpses of good writing in Lucy Score’s By a Thread, I decided to give her another chance. TWBM was her highly rated, most popular book. Little did I know that By a Thread was an improved version of TWBM.

I rarely give a book a one star rating. Such books usually never pass the vetting process and even if they do, I abandon them in the first few pages. But I ended up completing this book because some Goodreads reviews convinced me that the book gets better after around 30%.

At first, I thought that the main characters are the exact replica of those in By a Thread. The hero is an arrogant rich guy who falls for the sassy, quick-witted heroine in the first few pages. But the similarities ended after a point. By a Thread had some depth to the main characters, a few good side characters, and believable conflicts. TWBM, on the other hand, had no depth, no real conflict and almost all side characters enjoyed either women-bashing or rich-bashing, or both.

There you have it. Did you find anything interesting? What books should I pick up next? Let me know!

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