the ultimate beginner’s guide to romance! (+ recommendation on what to read first)

so…you wanna get into romance, huh? well, you have come to the right place, my friend! because today i’m bringing to you…*drumroll*… THE ULTIMATE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ROMANCE!!

basically, just like my guide on korean dramas (go read that too if you’re interested hehe), i’ll be sharing everything that should be known before diving into the genre (in my opinion), and also things that i wish people told me about, and on top of that! i’ll be giving some recommendation on where to start (because i know you’ll be asking for that)!


♡ first of all, what even is romance? ♡

romance (/rə(ʊ)ˈmans,ˈrəʊmans/)

(n.): a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

(the definition is from Google. the least reliable source, i know, but let’s just go with it.)

now the romance genre is a literary genre in which the main thing is, well, romance. obviously. a lot of books have romantic stuff going on but only in the background. a romance novel has it as the main, sometimes only focus. which means when you get into romance, a lot of the times you’ll find just…that.

and this is why sometimes it can be disappointing to some people because they expect more, but yeah. i guess you should know that before starting it.

♡ what’s the difference between a YA romance and a New Adult/Adult romance? ♡

well, it’s mainly just the themes talked about, just like the difference between a YA fantasy and an Adult fantasy. an adult romance may handle explicit issues, or other issues but in an explicit way, a thing that YA does in a more subtle way, or doesn’t handle at all (but that’s a discussion for another post).

also, most adult romance have explicit sexual scenes, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, i’d recommend you start with YA romance. another thing if you’re uncomfortable with this type of content: always check in the “genres” section in goodreads. if “erotica” is included, those books have a lot (and i mean A LOT) of explicit sex scenes.

♡ what are the different sub-genres of romance? ♡

well, there are a lot:

  • historical romance
  • contemporary romance
  • paranormal romance
  • erotica
  • and so on…

there are so many that i can’t list them all. basically, you’ll find romance EVERYWHERE.

♡ is there any terminology? ♡

well, yes. i think there are two main words/expressions you need to know, because when talking about romance on blog posts or social media, they will be used a lot:

  • m/m, f/f, and m/f: it means, in respective order: male/male, female/female, and male/female. (example: a male/male romance is a romance novel between two male characters.)
  • a “trope”: it means a certain type (?) of stories. (example: a hate-to-love trope includes two people who hate each other at first but then fall in love with each other.)

♡ why read romance? ♡

other than the fact that it’s (DUH) amazing, romance is just the genre that gives me so many feels, whether it be sad or happy. it’s so simple to follow and you don’t need that much concentration, so it’s pretty efficient if you don’t want to lose the habit of reading even when you’re busy. plus, most of the time the stories are not so long (300-400 pages).

(just please read romance it’s so good just do it!)

♡ now that i know all of this, where do i start? ♡

well, now the most fun part…recommendation!

these are the books that i thought would be the most adequate to put in a beginner’s guide because they’re: 1) the books that got me into romance, or 2) the books that i believe would be good for a start.

41150487RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE, by casey mcquiston

a new adult romance, for people who are looking for:

  • contemporary m/m romance
  • cute, fluffy things
  • fuzzy, warm feelings
  • alternate reality type of books

america’s first son and the prince of wales have to build a fake friendship for the media after a truce between the two goes viral. but romance gets in the way.

this is just THE book you know? so cute and fluffy and so amazing, and you just can’t stop reading it. the characters are so relatable, funny and just real. like you can imagine people their age acting and talking like that. it’s just so good!

28245707._sy475_QUEENS OF GEEK, by jen wilde

a YA romance, for people who are looking for:

  • contemporary romance
  • books that deal with important issues (this one deals with mental health and sexuality)
  • books that make your whole body grin
  • really short books (this one is 262 pages long)

three friends go on a convention, two love stories happen (one is m/f, the other is f/f). that’s all i’m gonna say.

i read this book a long time ago (two, three years?), but i remember reading it in no time. this book is just so addictive and so good, with so many lessons, and you’re just left with your whole body grinning, wanting for more.

26626118._sy475_HOW TO MAKE A WISH, by ashley herring blake

a YA romance, if you’re looking for:

  • contemporary f/f romance
  • books that deal with social issues (complicated mother/daughter relationship, sexuality)
  • gorgeous writing

this book is just *chef’s kiss*. it’s that good. it left me speechless. the writing is gorgeous, the story is gorgeous, and i was so close to crying after finishing it. beware, this will give you all the feels.

19547856SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, by becky albertalli

a YA romance, if you’re looking for:

  • contemporary m/m romance
  • the fuzzy feelings (again)
  • coming out stories
  • characters that are adorkable

simon spier is being blackmailed: he has to play wingman for martin, otherwise his sexual identity will be known, and his emails with Blue, the boy he’s been emailing (it’s his pen name), public.

i know that this is a very popular book, especially since there’s a movie for it, but i included it in here because 1) i love it so much, and 2) it is DEFINITELY one of the books that got me into romance. not only is it an ultimate page-turner, but it’s so hopeful and fluffy.

18667779EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU, by nina lacour

a YA romance, if you’re looking for:

  • contemporary f/f romance
  • slow books that aren’t action-packed
  • gorgeous writing
  • books that make you feel like you’re on the set of a movie

this book is just so beautiful. so beautiful. like that’s the only description i found for it. just read it guys, it’s so good.

42201431THE UNHONEYMOONERS, by christina lauren

an adult romance, if you’re looking for:

  • contemporary romance
  • an ultimate page-turner
  • the cuteness
  • adult romance with no explicit sex scenes (fade to black)
  • the hate-to-love trope

olive, the unlucky twin, and maid of honor to her sister’s wedding, gets to go on a all-free unrefundable honeymoon with the best man, ethan, whom she hates, after everyone in the wedding party gets food poisoning except for them two.

i have said it before on this blog, and i’ll say it again: this is one of the cutest books i have ever read. not only did i read it in one sitting, but i loved it to pieces. i loved it so much.

29422692HATE TO WANT YOU, by alisha rai

an adult romance, if you’re looking for:

  • contemporary romance
  • second chance, ennemies-to-lovers, AND childhood trope
  • erotica
  • books dealing with important issues (depression, anxiety, panic attack, suicidal thoughts, emotional and psychological abuse)

two people decide to meet one night each year for sexy times after breaking up until the time one of them doesn’t show up, but comes back to town, and things get more complicated.

let me tell you something: i am extremely biased when it comes to alisha rai’s books. i will read anything this woman writes. she’s one of my favorite authors ever. but this book is what got me into her, and into adult romance in general. not only does it deal with important things, but it gives you pain AND happiness at the same time. how can someone do that? only alisha rai knows.

25760151FORBIDDEN, by beverly jenkins

an adult romance, if you’re looking for:

  • historical romance
  • books that deal with racism and race
  • the fuzzy feels
  • something to read to get out of a reading slump

rhine fontaine, passing as white, saves eddy’s life. eddy has to stay in denver in order to save money for her dream, which is to build her own restaurant. the two find themselves drawn to each other, but issues get in the way of that.

THIS BOOK. left me completely speechless. it’s just so great and amazing, and i felt so so happy after finishing it because it’s so cute and fluffy, the characters so lovable and mature. plus it deals with racism in a wonderful way.


boi this was a long ass post. i just got so carried away with the recommendation…

do you enjoy romance? what are your favorite romance novels? are there any romance books you want to read?

13 Replies to “the ultimate beginner’s guide to romance! (+ recommendation on what to read first)”

  1. I love reading romance, and I think this is an excellent starter pack for the genre. 😀 I really loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Forbidden, and Queens of Geek, plus I *need to* read Everything Leads to You and How To Make a Wish. I ended up DNF-ing Hate to Want You *hides* IT WAS GOOD, but the angst was stressing me out so bad… yeah, I don’t deal well with angsty reads.

    I really love Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling for adult paranormal, and then Helen Hoang is incredible for contemporary, so is Lucy Parker. Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas and Tessa Dare are three historical romance authors I really love – though Milan’s contemporary, Cyclone, is also amazing. And for YA I really loved Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali this year. 🙂

    Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, my fav romance are fun romances! The Queen & the Homo Jock King by T.J. Klune [Adult, m/m, Explicit, Drag Queens] is so hilarious and it has enemies to friends to lovers and such great chemistry!

    Also, I recently started Sunstone series by Stjepan Šejić [Adult, f/f, Explicit, BDSM] and I think it will be friends-with-benefits to lovers. It’s erotica but it’s also super funny and the BDSM part is all safe and nothing like 50 shades mess.

    I really liked Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy [Adult, m/m, Explicit, friends to lovers], How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis [YA, m/m, mentions of sex but nothing explicit, friends to lovers, ComicCon, hate the sin love the sinner kind of homophobia & religion talk], Like Jazz by Heather Blackmore [half book in HS half Adult, second chances, f/f, cute], Yagate Kimi Ni Naru by Nio Nakatani [YA, f/f, aro-spec, some deeper topics but also cute scenes].

    Ok, I talked enough here! I’m adding Here To Want You to my TBR! Great post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My little hopeless romantic heart absolutely LOVES romance!! It serves as the perfect escape for me while giving me all of the feels haha. Hate to Love is def one of my all-time fave tropes so I guess I should check out Hate to Want You👀👀 I highly recommend The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (which also is part of a series!) as well as Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating in case you haven’t read it yet! 😊💜

    Liked by 1 person

      and i really want to read your recommendations! guess i’ll put them on top of my to-buy list!


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