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When I was a teenager I fell in love with romance novels.
I read whatever I could get my hands on. Growing up, and especially in high school, I always had a novel with me. Usually it was a romance or had a strong romantic thread.
And then…I went to university and became a book snob.
Seriously. It’s true. After I graduated uni, I started this little blog (it’s original name was “An Excellent Library” which was based on a quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice). On that blog, I wrote about my thoughts while reading a variety of classic novels. Because for a while, that’s nearly all I read. I thought it made me a true book nerd. I’m embarrassed now by how pretentious I was for a while there. Most of those old blog posts were unpublished ages ago.
But, my past as a book snob is not why you’re here.
Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game was the book that really brought me back to romance, especially to contemporary romance. I’ve written about that book a few times — my most popular post being Books to Read if You Loved The Hating Game.
It’s not a perfect book, no book is. But it made me fall in love with the genre again. And I know it’s done that for a quite a few other readers.
You’re Here for Hate to Love Romances
If the hate to love or enemies to lovers trope is what you adored about The Hating Game, here are some recently published options. Some of these books are quite steamy, some are quite tame in the bedroom department, but all of them have a pretty solid hate-to-love arc.
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Rhiannon is a powerful woman who has only a handful of dating rules, one which is that ghosters get immediately blocked. But when the new spokesperson for her rival dating-app (that she wants to buy) is the gorgeous guy who stood her up after one amazing night a few months ago, she has to figure out if she’s willing to give him a second chance. And Samson, he really wants that second chance. (I’ve read this one twice in the last year.)
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Calla, a fashion instagrammer from the big city, heads to the wilds of Alaska to spend time with her father who she barely knows. Adjusting the rugged lifestyle isn’t made any easier by Jonah, the burly, obnoxious pilot who practically runs her dad’s charter company. She sets out to prove his assumptions about her wrong, and learns she might not dislike him quite so much as she thought. (*Bonus: K.A. is a Canadian author!)
Pride, Prejudice, and other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Dr. Trisha Raje has broken every rule her wealthy Indian American family has, but now, as her brother’s political career is taking off, she has the opportunity to make it up to them. DJ Caine is a chef who comes from a rough past, but he’s determined to pursue his career and save his sister. He’s known wealthy, judgmental people like Trisha before and wants nothing to with her except for the paycheque he needs for catering for them…until he learns she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life. And…then he’s forced to spend time with her…and maybe see a side of her didn’t know was there. (Gender-swapped Pride and Prejudice? Yes, please!)
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon (YA)
In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, an Indian princess and a British nobleman clash at a prestigious boarding school. Jaya Rao knows her duty to her family comes first, and part of that is dealing with stuck up colonizers like the Emersons. She’s got a plan to break Grey Emerson’s heart to get back at his family for how they’ve hurt her sister. But Grey isn’t easy to hurt. He already knows his life will be forfeit because of an ancient curse from a Rao matriarch. (Beauty and the Beast was my favourite Disney movie growing up and I adore retellings! See my review of this one here.)
The Chai Factor by Farrah Heron
Amira Khan is about to finish her master’s degree in engineering. She’s heading back home to her cozy basement apartment to finish up her thesis. The problem: her grandmother has rented out the basement to a barbershop quartet to practice for an upcoming competition. Even worse: one of the men is the Duncan, a bearded, flannel-shirt-wearing lumberjack small-town guy she cannot stand. But as her feelings below the surface simmer, she has to figure out how to balance the jerk she thinks he is with the kind man she keeps seeing hints of.
*Bonus: Farrah is a Canadian author!
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Emily doesn’t love small town life, but she’s moved to care for her sister after a car accident. She never expected to get roped into volunteering at aRenaissance Faire, but for her teenaged niece, she’d do just about anything. But Simon, the guy who heads the faire will not stop getting on her nerves. Simon sees the faire as his brother’s legacy and he is determined to keep it going strong. And that new girl, Emily, is doing everything she can to make changes to his beloved faire. (I reeeaaallly want to check out a Ren Faire one day.)
10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon (YA)
Pinky’s corporate parents are not impressed with her affinity for protesting and fighting for social justice causes, or her multi-coloured hair. When she’s blamed for something she didn’t do, she concocts a plan to get Samir, her sort-of friend, to pose as her perfect khaki-wearing boyfriend for the summer. But Samir likes things perfectly in order and Pinky doesn’t fit into the neat box he’s built for his life after taking care of his mum when she was sick. Slowly, they realize they might actually like each other. (Fake relationship AND hate to love? Yes, please!)
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
When Olive and Ethan are the only two people at their siblings’ wedding to avoid a nasty foodborne illness, they pretend to be married so they can take the all-expenses paid honeymoon that Olive’s twin sister won. Not only does Olive have to pretend to be her sister, but she has to pretend to be in love with a man she despises. To top it all off, she runs into her brand new boss there and the faking it gets a little out of control. (Fake marriage AND enemies to lovers? Yes, please!)
Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen (YA)
Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives and can’t stand each other. Their mothers, who are best friends, are determined to make their kids the perfect couple. But Mia and Jake have a plan, to fake a relationship, and the most epic of breakups, to get their moms off their backs. It turns out though…they might not really hate each other anymore… (Fake relationship AND hate to love? Yes, please!)
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Carolina Santos is a wedding planner who was left at the altar…and now she has to work with her ex’s infuriating brother. Max is the one she blames for encouraging her ex-fiance to leave her, and now that she has the chance, she’s looking for payback. The sparks fly, and they might not be just anger… (This one is on my library holds and I can’t wait to get it.)
The Trouble with Hating You by Sajini Patel
Liya Thakkar is a biochemical engineer and loves her single life. But her parents want her to get married. They even ambush her with a set up. The dinner is a disaster and when the man, Jay Shah, shows up at her office the next day as the lawyer in charge of saving the company everyone is uncomfortable. She can’t stand his arrogance…but after working together she starts to wonder if he’s the guy she can trust. (I’ve got this on hold at my library too!)