While pursuing a rather tedious subject called law, Priya Barua still tries to find time to follow her passion for blogging.
As a romance junkie, I always prefer a standalone as opposed to a standard trilogy. I like a book that captures everything—right from the moment the heroes meet to the sweet romantic finish. While there are plenty of contemporary romance novels, I have often found it difficult to find a good book, the kind that just makes me smile and giggle and swoon. So after a few years since I forayed into the romance genre, I have a list of 18 Standalone Romance Novels for you in no particular order.
1. Welcome To Temptation
Did you know this book was a New York Times Best Seller? I had accidentally stumbled upon this book and boy am I glad I did. It’s a terrific novel—it’s funny, witty and refreshing. I love how the author paired up two seemingly normal people and turned the book into a can’t-put-down story. I stayed up all night reading it. Sophie Demsey and Phin Tucker decide to hook up to satiate their mutual attraction and eventually (read: in three weeks) fall in love with each other. And I actually bought it! That’s how well it's written! This is where you start when you’re looking for a romance novel.
2. Law Of Attraction
The novel follows two lawyers—on two different sides of the courts—who decide to get to know each other, start dating, meet each other’s parents and just have a fun life. In terms of plot, from a critical point of view, there wasn’t conflict involved. It’s a no-drama, no fuss and no-nonsense type of love story. It may sound very unrealistic, to begin with, however, angst, plot-driven drama has become a cliché in the romance genre and that’s what keeps this book sweet and refreshing
3. Most Valuable Player
I really liked this book because it was narrated solely from the point-of-view of the male protagonist as opposed to the usual ridiculously silly and infatuated female protagonist. Not to say that Cooper Armstrong wasn’t ridiculously silly and infatuated. It’s a classic trope of a football player who falls in love with his hometown girl. Cooper kisses Violet in front of the cameras, and though she is his best friend’s sister and totally can’t-even-say-whether-she’s hot category, he starts falling for her. I liked the narration, liked the trope and liked the writing. I found Cooper to be sensible, focused young man, a good son and a good friend and still every bit as hot as a classic romance hero novel.
4. The Hating Game
I forayed into the love/hate trope with this book. It was such a delightful read with real, relatable characters with flaws and everything. What started out as a hating game between two colleagues sharing the same space gave away to sweet romance. The author did an excellent job of bringing out a sharp contrast between Joshua and Lucy. It was also hilarious with laugh-out-loud moments. I read it on a flight and I could barely hold on the giggles in the otherwise quiet plane. There are really rare good romantic-comedy books out there and this one definitely makes it in the list. I really hope Netflix makes a movie out of it. It would be so good.
5. Made For You
Made For You is another one of my favorite love-hate books. This book follows Miss Perfect Brynn Dalton who becomes unhinged when her childhood enemy William Thatcher moves into the house next door. But William had come back from the East Coast with a sweet motive. Not to make her life miserable as she thought, but really, to win her forever. It’s a cliché trope with a predictable ending but everything between was beautifully put together.
6. Beautiful Stranger
Christina Lauren—these two women just know how to spin a swoon-worthy story with sizzling hot protagonists and a lot of banter and fun. I especially enjoyed Sara’s character; she was refreshingly headstrong and wonderful. Max and Sara become acquainted in a bar—a few instances later, they are in a no-strings-attached relationship but in good romance novel everything falls into place and they start developing serious feelings for each other. I preferred it over their first book, which was equally good, but I felt this one had a nicer setting because the guy was a smokin’ hot British venture capitalist and every romance junkie has a thing for a smokin’ hot British anything.
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7. The Kiss Thief
This one is one of my all-time favorite books! It follows the love-hate trope and has the most ridiculously sweet storyline. It was unexpectedly lovely. Senator Keaton forcefully marries nineteen-year-old Francesca (such an M&B theme) much against her wishes but both naturally start falling in love with each other. I loved how Senator Keaton or Francesca wasn’t obsessively described but their dialogues, body language and other non-verbal cues all played up to frame their characters. I found LJ Shen to have a remarkably non-obtrusive style of writing, quite a gem in the romance genre. You don’t even realize that you’re actually reading it – it’s like a wonderful story playing in front of your eyes; a perfect execution of showing, not telling.
8. Indigo Nights
This one is a quick, easy read. It’s about a chance meeting between Dylan and Beth, a one-day no-strings-attached relationship when their flight gets canceled. It’s the kind of luck that only happens in cheesy fiction BUT I’m not complaining. The writing was without fault, the steamy moments and witty banter kept me hooked, and I absolutely loved that it had no zero extra drama. What annoys me most in a romance novel is unnecessary drama, and this book without any of it is one of my favorites.
In this book, Callan Carmichael promises his friend to take on his sister as an intern in his company. It’s a variation of forbidden romance. There was nothing really special about this book, in the sense; it’s a common romance dish. But oddly enough, I probably enjoyed it more than I should have. It’s the kind of book you read just to pass the evening, you know, while you eat cake and contemplate how a silly young girl chanced upon a really hot guy.
10. Mistress Of The Groom
It’s a romance novel that is well-written with a lovely storyline and characters that are tough and hot. There is sexual tension and there is one really hot sex scene which makes it worthwhile the read. I loved the way the story started and how it unfolded and concluded in a sweet, romantic way. There are few romance novels that are well crafted and well-written and this is obviously one of them.
11. All The Possibilities
You’ve probably heard of Nora Roberts, possibly even read some of her books. I don’t know why, but from all the books that I read by this author, this one definitely stands apart. It’s a romance novel just like a million others, but this one was…sweet. The story follows a US senator trying to woo the daughter of a former president. I loved the protagonist, Allan McGregor - he stood separately from the usual romance heroes. For a change, he was a calm, level-headed and poised gentleman.
12. Call Me Irresistible
Susan Elizabeth Philip
I love this book. It starts as a love-hate equation because Meg ruined Ted’s wedding to her best friend but things take a different turn when Meg decides to live in the town to prove her worth. Theodore goes out of his way to make her life miserable. That’s when things start heating up. It is delightfully funny and sassy and a definite element for a cozy winter evening.
13. On Dublin Street
I quite liked the protagonist, Jocelyn Butler, an American girl who moves to Edinburgh after her family’s death. A multi-dimensional character, the author has carefully crafted her existence. There are reasons for how she behaves in every situation, reasons behind her insecurities, her aloofness and ultimately her slow progression into accepting her mistakes, her past and letting herself heal. As opposed to this, the hero was like any other erotic-romance novel hero – wealthy, good looking, talks smooth – all the basic check-boxes ticked. But that didn’t stop me from swooning every time he calls her babe. It’s a wonderful read, one of the better romance novels I’ve read. I also believe that this is one of Samantha Young’s best books.
I had discovered this book quite recently. I loved it, loved it so much. Romance novels dance with age-old tropes. Fifty books down the line and it becomes difficult to recall what happened in which book. Hence, protagonists are all the more important. Chase Parker—loved the guy—was a complete departure from the usual domineering, alpha-male millionaire kinds of heroes that grace romance novels. He was kind, witty, down-to-earth and with the right amount of arrogance. Even Reese was a lovely heroine—strong, smart and beautiful but more importantly, flawed. It’s rare to like both protagonists in a romance novel. Most first-person narration turns the character into a whiny, annoying and complaining idiot. Vi Keeland wrote the book from both perspectives and did an excellent job at it.
15. That Guy
It’s supposedly a romantic comedy. Laced with humor, sometimes, it's downright funny. It feels like this romance novel is mocking all the romance novels that have ever existed. Penelope is whiny, petulant and frankly, pathetic. The only reason this book is on this list is because of that guy. Again, Jake could be any other romance novel hero – with multiple romantic partners, multiple income sources (just guessed that) and multiple personality problems. But I still loved him! Despite Penelope’s stupidity, I still found the book to be well written. It can definitely sit on your reading list.
16. Hate to Want You
Alisha Rai is a beautiful writer. She knows how to paint pictures, capture moments and evoke emotions through words. The story revolved around two childhood sweethearts who separated due to filial pressure but met once every year on Livy’s birthday. (Another Livy on the list!!) There were a lot of guilt-tripping and pity parties. Unresolved issues and sweet moments. Drama and chaos. The protagonists received a closure which meant that readers received a closure. That sets for a satisfying end. The writing was without fault. The fault was in the pacing, it was slow. The scenes had more padding than necessary. The book could’ve been shorter by about 50 pages, yet, I quite liked it and you too can give it a try.
Click to learn about Romance Novel Clichés
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17. Anything You Can Do
R. S Grey
Two childhood enemies come back to their tiny hometown of Hamilton after successfully completing their medical degrees. But there is only one clinic and they both fight for a permanent position in that place. But things have changed now that Lucas is less arrogant and less annoying of the teenager that Daisy remembered him to be. This is a refreshing twist to an old trope with two sexy protagonists and a hell lot of sexual tension.
18. The Sexiest Man Alive
It is such a cliché novel – everything about it, every situation and turn of event is so so cliché and it should’ve made me cringe. But surprise, surprise—it didn’t. In fact, I liked this book so much that I’m still not sure why. Maybe I was on a romance drought and Julie James came along and boy did I have such a good time. You should pick up this book when you’re bored because it just about serves as a quick read. Nothing more, nothing less.
Comment For Me
Thanks for reading the list. Do leave a comment and mention your favourite contemporary standalone romance novel(s) so that I can read them!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Priya Barua
Priya Barua (author) on February 20, 2020:
@Umesh, Thanks. I’ll try to get my hands on that book.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 20, 2020:
This is a fabulous collection and compilation. I have yet to read these books. Your article made me remember the book 'Gunahon ka Devta' written by Dharmveer Bharti. It was the most subtle relationship story I ever read.