Today we’re tackling my updated recommendation list of romance novels written by AAPI authors. Romance is hands down, my favourite genre of all the genres. Not only is it the one I read the most, but it’s also the one I recommend the most.
Here’s the link to my original 2018 romance recommendation post [link].
Again, these are my recommendations for books that I’ve read and/or books that I want to read and are in no way a comprehensive list of the number of English-language novels written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry.
Some websites and posts that I recommend checking out if you are looking for even more recommendations for books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and/or prominently feature characters of Asian and Pacific Islander descent are:
- Lit CelebrAsian
- The Quiet Pond
- PEN America
- Ruru Read [currently under construction]
- Book Riot
- “19 Books to Read for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month” from Bustle
- “12 Summer Reads by Asian Authors to Put on Your TBR” from DailyWaffle
So let’s get to my recommendations:
Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee
Temporary Wife Temptation is a fake, marriage-of-convenience story that centres on Garrett Song and Natalie Sobol. On the cusp of taking over as the leader of his family’s fashion business empire, Garrett is met with an unexpected ultimatum from the Song family’s matriarch – get married or lose the position as the head of the family business entirely. So what does Garrett do? He asks Natalie to be his “wife”. When very real feelings and emotions come into play between these two goal-oriented individuals, sparks begin to flame and trouble appears on the horizon.
This is not only a book that executes the fake relationship trope perfectly, it does so with smart leads, sexy times, and a romance that makes you smile in delight. This is the first book in Lee’s Heirs of Hansol trilogy. The second stand-alone novel in the series, Secret Crush Seduction, is due out later this year.
Natalie Tan’s Book of Good Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim
Natalie Tan never thought she’d return to San Francisco but when the news of her estranged mother’s death reaches her, she has no choice but to return to the city she left behind seven years earlier. The neighbourhood that she grew up in is like nothing she remembers, the once vibrant colours, delicious smells, and raucous noise of San Francisco’s Chinatown has all but faded away. With the help of a new friend, a new romance, and an army of neighbours, Natalie discovers the fortune she’s been looking for all along in this story of self-discovery, love, delicious Chinese food, and a little touch of magic.
Natalie Tan’s Book of Good Luck & Fortune is Roselle Lim’s debut novel and contains all the things she loves writing about – love, food, and magic. If you know anything about Chinese families, you will know how important the role of food plays in almost every aspect of life and Lim perfectly encapsulates that in this novel, even sprinkling recipes throughout the story. Lim’s next novel, Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop, is due out later this year.
Thirsty by Mia Hopkins
Thirsty is a unique romance – told in entirely first person and from the hero’s perspective only. This is a novel that takes on the trope of the redemptive power of love – not only romantic love but love, in all its varying forms, but delves much deeper into it and flips it on its head. In it, reformed ex-con Salvador Rosas is trying to turn his life and start a whole new career path as craft beer brewmaster. When romance starts to blossom with Vanessa Valesco, a woman from Sal’s past, lines become blurred and their future is put in jeopardy when Sal’s former gang comes calling.
This story is character-driven and a slow-burn romance, where we get to see how the hero comes to terms with his past and how hard he works to forge a future with someone who he never thought he would be with. It’s not your usual take on the redemptive power of love trope, which makes the story all that more powerful. This is the first book in Hopkins’ Eastside Brewery series.
The Chai Factor by Farah Heron
All Amira Khan needs is some peace and quiet to finish her grad school thesis and get the promotion she’s always dreamed of. When she returns to her family’s home in an idyllic smalltown to find some of that peace and quiet, she’s utterly dismayed to find a barbershop quartet in the basement where she wanted to find some of that solitude. Duncan is the barbershop’s baritone who has a penchant for wearing flannel who also happens to twist Amira into knots she’s never felt before. He’s not the complication Amira needs right now, but he may be the only one who can help when everything goes wrong. The Chai Factor is a romantic comedy, one that brings to life stories that focus on South Asian families. This is Heron’s debut novel, she’s currently working on her second novel, The Right Spice.
Uptown Collection by Ruby Lang
Ruby Lang’s latest novella collection, the Uptown Collection, brings together three novellas set in the historic neighbourhood of Harlem. These three delightfully charming and romantic novellas open a window into the lives of three very different couples and their path to finding their happily ever afters.
In Playing House, city planners Oliver and Fay accidentally end up posing as newlyweds when they end up at the same open house and discovering that home really is where the heart resides. Tyson and Magda get all fired up in Open House, when the two of them battle it out over a beloved, albeit illegal, community garden, and start seeding a romance of their own. When Lana and Simon divorced seventeen years ago neither of them thought they would be sharing a roof ever again – but in House Rules, the third and final novella in this collection, this divorced couple discovers that the love that they once shared might not be gone after all.
Some extra recommendations (because I can’t help myself when it comes to romance and because of all these series listed below are all amazing and you should read them too!):
Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series
Helen Hoang’s Kiss Quotient series
Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series
Nalini Singh’s Hard Play series
Sonali Dev’s The Rajes series
Nisha Sharma’s The Singh Family series
Sherry Thomas’ The London Trilogy series
Jackie Lau’s Kwan Sisters series
I hope these recommendations help you find your next book written by an AAPI author. Look out for the next post on young adult novels written by AAPI authors in this series.
Thanks for reading!