15 Books to Read If The Soulmate Equation Is Your Favorite Book of 2021
Modern romance novels are my weakness — seriously, I'm addicted to the drama, anticipation, flirting, sex, and happily ever afters — and Christina Lauren's novels never fail to delight. Made up of writer duo/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, Christina Lauren are bestselling authors of 27 books and recently released the uplifting The Soulmate Equation, which stayed in my head days after reading it.
Despite what every love story would have you believe, Jessica Davis and Dr. River Pena's meeting in a coffee shop is not a meet cute. She works freelance statistics (and gossips with best friend Fizzy), and River comes in every day at 8:24 a.m. to order an Americano, grumble at everyone, and leave. So when Jess submits her DNA to matchmaking company GeneticAlly and is matched with one of its founders, she is definitely not happy it turns out to be grumpy coffee-shop guy. Surely, he can't be her soulmate, right?
After falling in love with these characters, I understand if you need a moment before you're ready to dive back in to another book. When you are, check out these 15 amazing contemporary romance books to read next.
Even if you've already read Christina Lauren's 2019 book The Unhoneymooners, it's worth it to read it again! This enemies-to-lovers romance is full of zingy one-liners in a beautiful Hawaiian landscape. Olive is the unlucky twin, always living life in her sister Ami's shadow. So after Ami's entire wedding party gets food poisoning except Olive and her nemesis Ethan Thomas, she gets the chance to go on the trip of a lifetime — as long as she can put up with the annoying best man in the process. A romantic island honeymoon with two enemies pretending to be newlyweds . . . what could go wrong?
Kiss My Cupcake
Everything is going great for Blaire Calloway, who is about to open her picture-perfect cupcake shop, until her new neighbor Ronan Knight throws the first weapon — literally. He adds an axe-throwing wall to his next-door bar, shattering Blaire's unicorn martini glass and her dreams of a stress-free grand opening in the process. The two enter an intense battle to one-up each other for the most customers, ultimately deciding to work together to cohost events to defeat an even bigger threat in town. When she finally lets her guard down to get to know the real Ronan, she just may realize he is sweeter than anything in her shop. Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting is a deliciously charming read you will love.
Not the Girl You Marry
A fake relationship has never felt more real than in Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher. Jack Nolan is tired of his buzzy journalist career and agrees on one last assignment: How to Lose a Girl. Hannah Mayfield is a successful event planner and wants to show her boss she can plan romantic weddings (even if she secretly dreads it), so she decides to date Jack for a few weeks to prove she isn't afraid of feelings. It's not long before their fake relationship threatens to become something more, despite Jack and Hannah's best intentions.
Just Last Night
Everyone knows friendships are just as important in rom-coms as romantic relationships — it's just so beautiful to see people being there for each other through thick and thin in a platonic way! That's one reason Mhairi McFarlane's Just Last Night is so great. Eve has been friends with Justin, Susie, and Ed since they were teenagers (and secretly in love with Ed for practically as long). But when something happens to change their lives forever, revealing secrets, changing relationships, and bringing someone from the past back into Eve's life, she wonders about what her future holds for the first time.
The Dating Plan
Logic is the only thing that makes sense to software engineer Daisy Patel in Sara Desai's book The Dating Plan. When she can't get her family to leave her alone, she convinces her childhood crush to be her fake fiancé. Liam Murphy, venture capitalist, needs to get married in order to access his inheritance, making the match perfect . . . until they realize their undeniable chemistry makes it impossible to keep their feelings in check.
Love Songs for Skeptics
Love Songs for Skeptics is Christina Pishiris's debut romance novel about Zoë Frixos, an editor at a major music magazine in London who loves music but isn't so great at love after losing her chance to tell her childhood best friend, Simon, how she felt. Fast forward 20 years, and newly single Simon is returning to London, giving Zoë a second chance at love! Zoë is also working to save her magazine from closure by trying to score an interview with a famous rock musician — if she can just get past arrogant publicist Nick, who is out to ruin her life! With her brother's Greek wedding coming up, she has to figure out if she still wants to pursue her first love or if she is finally ready to move on.
People We Meet on Vacation
Nothing is more romantic than a vacation, right? Poppy and Alex are best friends and complete opposites — she's wild, he wears khakis, she loves traveling, he prefers a good book at home — but somehow, they work. Despite living far apart, they have been taking a vacation together every summer for the last 10 years. But something ruined their friendship two years ago, leaving Poppy in a rut ever since. So when she convinces Alex to go on one more vacation together, Poppy does everything she can to use their week together to fix things between them, no matter what uncomfortable truths it brings up. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry is a feel-good romance that is impossible to put down.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake
After Rosaline Palmer lands a spot on one of the most popular baking shows in the country, she sets her heart on winning the prize money and giving her daughter, Amelie, the life she deserves. But with sticky baking situations, charming men, and the shy Harry Dobson making her question long-held beliefs, Rosaline has to decide if she can overcome her fears to find true happiness and success in Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall.
Heart & Seoul
Her whole life, Hara Wilson has felt different. Her white parents adopted her from Korea, and although her mother, Ellen, is loving, her father is a jerk who got remarried and has a new son. When something shocking happens, Hara has an identity crisis — and decides to go to Seoul to learn more about where she came from. Her time there is a wild ride, filled with mysterious strangers, spontaneous adventures, messy family, and a red string of destiny that brings Hara to a forbidden love that is irresistible. Heart & Seoul by Jen Frederick is a novel that touches you deep in your soul and is sure to stay with you long after finishing it.
Life's Too Short
Vanessa Price is living the dream — millions of YouTube followers cheer her on as she travels the globe, appreciating each day in honor of her mom and sister, who never made it to the age of 30. But everything changes when her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, leaving Vanessa completely out of her depth. Luckily, her hot next-door neighbor Adrian Copeland is great with babies . . . Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez is sweet and funny! If you love it, check out the other two books in her Friend Zone series.
Cade is a professional (some would say "dull"), which is why she's totally out of her comfort zone when she inherits a sex-toy store. The only thing worse is her annoying (and sexy) co-owner, Selena Mathis, who has recently taken an oath of celibacy and is focused on making Satisfaction Guaranteed a success. But can they keep the store successful and set aside their attraction to work together? Karelia Stetz-Waters's Satisfaction Guaranteed is a deliciously, buzzy romance, no batteries required.
Where the Rhythm Takes You
If you are a fan of Jane Austen's Persuasion, then you will love Sarah Dass's Where the Rhythm Takes You, inspired by the classic book. Reyna has spent most of her 17 years at the Plumeria, her family's gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago. But now this paradise seems more like purgatory, especially since it's been two years since her mother passed away and two years since her childhood best friend and first love left the island. When her dad leaves to pursue other things, Reyna is left in charge of the resort — and has to serve Aiden as a VIP guest who is now part of the hot music group DJ Bacchanal.
The Road Trip
Beth O'Leary's latest release, The Road Trip, is your perfect summer reading indulgence. Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love while he was staying at his friend Cherry's huge French villa and she was working as the on-site caretaker. But when their relationship ended two years ago, they haven't spoken again until one day their lives collide — literally. The day before Cherry's wedding, Addie and Dylan crash cars on the start of their journey, so they decide to ride together along with Dylan's best friend, Addie's sister, and a random guy who needs a ride to make it to rural Scotland in time. Will these close quarters be awkward, or will it make them rethink why they broke up in the first place?
Hana Khan Carries On
Hana Khan works part time at her parents' halal restaurant in the Golden Crescent neighborhood of Toronto while pursuing her radio dream job through podcasting on the side. Things quickly spiral out of control when a new upscale halal place threatens her mother's restaurant, her mysterious aunt and cousin give her a surprise visit from India, a hate-motivated attack on their neighborhood surfaces, and Hana realizes she has a growing attraction to Aydin — who just so happens to own the rival restaurant. Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin is a must read for rom-com fans.
Hang the Moon
Alexandria Bellefleur's Hang the Moon is an #OwnVoices queer romance about Brendon Lowell, who is in love with love. He created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing. When his sister's best friend unexpectedly turns up in Seattle, Brendon believes it's a sign. After all, he's been in love with Annie since they were kids. However, Annie isn't looking for love, especially from her friend's dorky brother. When Brendon decides to prove to Annie that romance is real, wooing her with his favorite rom-coms before she leaves town, they both figure out that love isn't always as perfect as the movies.