The past two years have been anything but calming, so set the tone for a more whimsical 2022. Mix a little romance with a little comedy, and let yourself be tempted by the ideal wellness reading: rom-com. Perfect for book clubs or for indulging in solo fun with a cup of hot chocolate, the increasingly popular literary genre is hitting just in the right place.
In this month’s roundup, USA TODAY staff revisit books that include a modern version of “My Fair Lady”, a lasting memory of a journey in the form of a brand new husband and a highly educated and successful professional wife in her thirties whose mother and aunts just want to save her from celibacy.
Here are January’s most exciting romantic comedy reads:
“Love at first sight”
By Anna E. Collins. â â â Â½ (out of four). Released on January 4th.
Have you always dreamed of getting revenge on an ex? You’ll enjoy âLove at First Spite,â a fun read that indulges this deep desire for revenge – and also asks how much needed it really is. Collins’ debut novel follows Dani as she implements a comprehensive (and costly) ploy against her ex-fiancÃ© Sam, who seemed to care more about her dream home – and her real estate agent – than the desires of Dani. Along with her scene-stealing owner Iris and cousin Mia, Dani plans to buy the land next to Sam’s house and build a showy Spite House, a vacation rental where despised partners can celebrate their new single life. But there’s one more thing Dani needs to make his plan work: Wyatt, a mysterious and muscular architect who deals his own damage. âLove at First Spiteâ is a fun read that turns the pages. Its twists and turns are predictable, and its convoluted revenge plot only pushes the boundaries of credibility, but it’s heartwarming and engaging conduct nonetheless. – Kate ellsworth
By Rachel Lynn Salomon. (out of four). Released on January 11.
This humorous, captivating and delightful romantic comedy tells the story of television meteorologist Ari Abrams and sports journalist Russell Barringer, who attempt to reunite their divorced bosses in the hopes of making their work lives easier. The personalities of the characters make the novel intriguing, and I especially felt a connection with Abrams, a dedicated and ambitious journalist who is keen to climb the career ladder. What sets this romantic comedy apart is the unexpected turn of events in each chapter, combined with the backstory that Solomon provides for each character. It was like I already knew the characters from the minute I picked up the book. The novel highlights how romance can flourish in spontaneous situations and, more importantly, how being with the right person means being with someone who treats you and others with kindness and respect. – Sudiksha Kochi
‘Yinka, where is your husband?‘
By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn. â â â Â½ (out of four). Released January 18.
Blackburn’s debut novel is a perfect description of how a black woman’s search for love can lead to disastrous results if not rooted in self-acceptance. What starts off as a blueprint for securing a date for a cousin’s wedding turns into an uplifting tale of the pernicious effects of sexism, racism and colorism on women in the African diaspora. Add to that religion and some extremely curious female family members and it just gets complicated. You’ll cringe at the desperate behaviors of 31-year-old dark-skinned British Nigerian Yinka Oladeji (mean words are exchanged with a cousin after a failed romance; she plans to use skin lightening creams to be more attractive). But you’ll also love how Yinka finds her way back to herself (with the help of very patient friends and family). Ultimately, what matters most about âYinkaâ is not your marital status but self-esteem, love of family, and a broader sense of bond. And maybe you will find something better than a happy fairy tale forever. – Mabinty quarshie
By Ann Marie Walker. (out of four). Released January 18.
Talk about a whirlwind. If you love romantic comedies on the big screen, then this book is for you (and definitely was for me). Cara Kennedy, a newbie screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles, takes a trip to Dublin on the Leap Day weekend she originally planned to spend with her ugly ex Kyle. As soon as she exits the plane, covered in a puddle of water, she meets Finn Maguire, local guide, musician and Uber driver. After a few sightseeing and a whiskey-filled leap day at the local pub, she comes home with not only a Claddagh ring as a memento, but a whole husband. Back in Los Angeles, Cara prepares to face a career change interview as she and Finn get to know each other and consider a divorce while living together. What could go wrong … or else? – Morgan hines
‘Love and other disasters‘
By Anita Kelly. â â â Â½ (out of four). Released January 18.
This quirky novel takes you straight into America’s favorite cooking contest. If you’ve ever wondered what this looks like for contestants on shows like âMasterChef,â âLove & Other Disastersâ does a pretty good job of recreating it – until it turns into the sizzling romantic comedy you hoped. From the moment Dahlia, a clumsy and savage divorcee, and London, a mysterious non-binary boss, meet, there is so much tension that one wonders how these two will end up. While the dialogue can be a bit cranky at times, there are many important topics covered due to London’s queer relationship and non-binary gender identity that makes this book essential reading. –Melissa Rorech
‘Made in Manhattan‘
By Lauren Layne. â â â Â½ (out of four). Released January 18.
Set on the busy streets of Manhattan, this playful read follows an Upper East Side heroine as she steps out of her comfort zone to help her dear friend’s long lost grandson immerse himself in society. in a version of “My Fair Lady”. Violet and Cain couldn’t be more different, but despite their flaws and tumultuous pasts, they learn to respect and understand each other. It’s not your typical romance that draws opposites: it’s watching Violet and Cain go beyond their comfort zones and protect the legacy of someone they both love. There are all the tropes you would expect from a Layne novel, including witty banter, “whew, that’s hot” romance, and the author’s skillful ability to bring out his characters and theirs. page and experiences in your life. New York has never felt more real than in Layne’s âMade in Manhattanâ. – Nishka Dhawan
‘How to love your neighbor‘
By Sophie Sullivan. (out of four). Released January 18.
âHow to Love Your Neighborâ is a clever and hilarious whirlwind romance between two neighbors who seem to be totally opposites: Grace is a non-traditional student finishing her final semester of design school; Noah Jansen is a wealthy real estate developer who wants to buy his house. Grace won’t sell, and Noah can’t take no for an answer, but as their tug-of-war game continues, they realize that they actually have things in common – enough to permanently change their perception of each other. . Sullivan masterfully weaves Grace and Noah’s past lives into the present by exploring how family relationships and personal blockages collide and prevent us from opening our hearts to the possibility of love – but once our hearts are open, we are forever changed. It’s a novel you’ll want to read over and over again. – Joanna nelius
‘The coarsest draft‘
By Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka. (out of four). Released January 25.
So that is enough to slow down burn, the culmination of Katrina, a self-proclaimed “retired” novelist, and her “ex” writing partner, Nathan’s relationship is real, raw, and heartfelt. In the middle of the book, you already want them to be together. With the book’s lifelike speech and dialogue, even the supporting characters – both best friend and literary agent-turned-fiancÃ© – feel thoughtful and tangible. The combination of a narrator and a change of timeline really emphasizes the importance of the little details of human nature that some romance novels miss, but this one emphasizes the front of the story. scene. – Jillian lucas
Also released this month:
‘Unearthing love’ by Chandra Blumberg. Outside now. Alisha Blake creates desserts at Chef Alisha Blake’s grandfather’s restaurant in rural Illinois, but dreams of opening her own boutique in Chicago. Will his dreams take a turn when a dinosaur bone is discovered and paleontologist Quentin Harris shows up in his grandparents’ garden?
“When you have the opportunity”, by Emma Lord. Released on January 4th. Millie Price has her heart on Broadway. But when she discovers her father’s desperate diary from 2003, she decides to go in search of her mother.
“Seoulmates”, by Jen FrÃ©dÃ©ric. Released January 25. In this sequel to “Heart and Seoul,” Korean-born adoptee Hara Wilson finds herself torn between her new identity as the biological daughter of a conglomerate CEO and her love for dashing Choi Yujun.
“Get your game back” by Gia de Cadenet. Released January 25. Khalil Sarda is getting his life back on track when multimillionaire tech entrepreneur Vanessa Noble steps into his life. But will their differences separate them?