Six of My Favorite Lighter Fiction Reads from the Past Year
Six Favorite Lighter Fiction Reads
I'm having so much fun spending Fridays highlighting books I've loved. And see, my heart is not made of ice--I do love rom-com books! I just need to buy into the small moments they're built upon. And these six did the trick for me.
I've also been posting about favorite reads from lots of genres that I've loved reading in the past year:
You can check out My Very Favorite Bossy 2022 Reads for my absolute most favorite reads from last year.
If you've read any of the books mentioned here, I'd love to hear what you think!
What are some of your favorite lighter fiction reads, from the past year or from this one so far?
01 Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
In this satisfying story by the author of Evvie Drake Starts Over, Linda Holmes offers sweet, funny dialogue; a complicated reunion between old flames; and a hometown return that's both heartwarming and fraught.
In Flying Solo, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown, stinging from her recently canceled wedding, facing being on the cusp of forty, and ready to dive into the massive job of dismantling her beloved, recently deceased, never married great aunt Dot's collectible- and memento-filled house.
Then an unusual antique she finds in Dot's attic and an old love letter send her on a wild caper through her own past, back to her first love and her oldest friend, as well as into the hands of con artists and antique dealers eager for what she's got.
I adore Holmes's excellent ability to set up and develop a rom-com with depth. Her wonderful dialogue, appropriate and satisfying sentimentality, and the thrill of connection--I love all of it.
I appreciated that Laurie's desire for independence and solitude weren't swept away in a convenient, abrupt sea change. Holmes digs into a complicated, messy situation that's far more interesting than that. I loved this.
Click here for my full review of Flying Solo.
02 Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
Jimenez offers humor, spicy moments, and romance while incorporating weighty issues into her light fiction opposites-attract story Part of Your World.
In Part of Your World, Abby Jimenez takes on a meet-cute between a rural renaissance man (he's the small-town mayor, a graceful bed and breakfast host, and part of a close-knit network of community members) and a successful city doctor with expensive taste and very little practical knowledge outside of an emergency room.
Jimenez incorporates weighty issues here, such as access to health care, domestic abuse, and emotional abuse, as well as a personal reckoning in which the warring powers of privilege and responsibility are faced.
Told in alternating points of view from Daniel and Alexis, Part of Your World is romantic, often funny, sometimes sexy, poignant, and it includes touches of magical realism. I felt confident that I knew where this was going, but I was in for all of it.
For my full review, check out Part of Your World.
03 One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
McQuiston's love letter to New York offers charming song references, LGBTQ love, steamy scenes, character growth--and an irresistible playing-with-time element.
In One Last Stop, twenty-three-year-old August keeps to herself--she's kind of cynical, she doesn't have a lot of friends, and she's holding true to form after her recent move to New York.
August needs to put some distance between her mother and herself, and if her mom has taught her anything, it's the pain of experiencing loss after loving and being vulnerable. To say that August isn't particularly inclined to let anyone into her own emotional life is a serious understatement.
But August's adorably quirky roommates and a mystery woman she keeps running into on the Q train might just bring her out of her shell and make her want to risk opening up her heart.
One Last Stop plays with time in a really fun, interesting way, and through the time-jump premise McQuiston's characters explore loyalty, love, connection, and heartbreak in poignant, funny, irresistible ways.
Click here for my full review of One Last Stop.
04 Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Sink into this light-fiction escapism; Nora Goes Off Script is romantic and satisfying in its outlandishly satisfying resolutions, convenient events, and happy endings.
Nora Hamilton is a scriptwriter for a Hallmark-style romance channel--and an expert in crafting the perfect romantic storylines and happy endings, according to her tried-and-true formula.
Meanwhile, her own love life is a mess and she's reluctant to be vulnerable again (her ex was a selfish, immature, entitled jerk who isn't involved in the kids' lives anymore).
Nora's focused on her work, her small-town life, her kids' sports and their school play, and her longtime friends.
But when the movie of her latest script is filmed at her house (side note: I'm not clear on how that sequence of events was meant to make sense), handsome and insufferable movie star Leo Vance shows up--and upends everything Nora thought she knew about love.
For my full review, check out Nora Goes Off Script.
05 Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
Carley Fortune offers a satisfying story of coming home, young love, mistakes and redemption, romance, lake life, and some past and present steamy scenes.
In Carley Fortune's debut Every Summer After, Persephone Fraser knows all too well the saying "you can't go home again." It's been ten years since she made the biggest mistake of her life in the wondrous place where she spent her youthful summers, Barry's Bay.
Now Percy is making her way in the city, trying (and failing) to avoid thinking about how she's disconnected from the place and the people who helped shape her into who she is.
But when she returns to the lake for Sam Florek's mother's funeral, she's swept back into the connection she and Sam once had, and her determination to keep her heart closed might be shaken--along with everything else around which she's built her young adult life.
I love stories about returning home, reconnecting with old flames, and chances for redemption, and Every Summer After has all of these elements, plus lots of reminiscing, cute banter, poignant moments, and a few steamy scenes. I read this satisfying, romantic read in a day.
For my full review, check out Every Summer After.
06 The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
Katherine Center's newest light fiction offers an irresistible premise--a female bodyguard poses as the girlfriend of a heartthrob actor--and delightful, if sometimes predictable, developments that lead to a satisfying ending.
Hannah Brooks looks like the young woman next door--but she's actually a highly skilled Executive Protection Agent--a bodyguard. And her newest client is the Jack Stapleton, action star, household name--and, in recent years, recluse.
Someone is stalking Jack, and Hannah is bound to protect him. But Jack's mother is sick, he wants to return home to Texas, and he doesn't want his family to know he's got a stalker and be worried while they're focused on his mother's health. So against her better judgment, Hannah agrees to pose as Jack's girlfriend. Only...the longer she pretends, the more their fake relationship seems like it might have promise.
The Bodyguard is fun, often charming--and the premise is absolutely irresistible. Jack's family is lovely, and there's a subplot in which Jack and his brother Hank are furious with each other after the loss of their brother, for which Jack has been blamed. This--along with a late-stage, dangerous, dramatic situation requiring Hannah's smarts and strength--adds tension and conflict to the story.
Even if some of the resolutions here are predictable, it's satisfying to know that in Center's hands, her characters are relatively safe, and that she'll deliver an ending that makes a reader happy. The journey to the conclusion is joy-filled and entertaining.
For my full review, check out The Bodyguard.