Hopeless Romantic? Here Are 9 Books You Definitely Need: Black Girl Edition

If you're looking for a some representation in your romance book collection, these books should get added to your list.

As a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, I spend a lot of time binge-reading all types of romance novels. Some good, some bad, some...never to be mentioned or read again. Representation is incredibly important in all mediums and I love that the number of novels with BIPOC leads (romance and other genres) is increasing. Young BIPOC folx deserve to see themselves in these characters and these stories. 

I understand how hard it can be to fully immerse in a story where you can’t truly connect with the main character, especially when the author’s physical description of the character does not match any aspect about you, the reader. So, for my fellow hopeless romantics out there, I have put together a list of 9 romance books you should definitely check out.

Here are the 9 must-reads for the hopeless romantic:

1. The Boyfriend Project - Farrah Rochon

The Boyfriend Project – Farrah Rochon
Image from Goodreads

Samiah Brooks is a thirty-year-old computer engineer who is thriving in a male-dominated industry. As smart as she is, Samiah is unable to make sense of how she, and two other beautiful and brilliant ladies, ended updating the same jerk. But, that jerk (and a viral video) winds up being the catalyst of the blooming friendship between the girls, and a pact is made: 6-months of not worrying about dating, men, or relationships—just focusing on bettering themselves and working towards accomplishing their goals.

Samiah is all for it. Until she runs into Daniel Collins, the new guy at her job. Daniel is the perfect guy on paper and, seemingly, in real life. Samiah struggles with her attraction to Daniel and staying true to the pact versus pursuing a new world-wind romance. But, is Daniel really the perfect guy? Or is it all smoke and mirrors?

The Boyfriend Project is a story about true friendship, what it means to follow your dreams, and finding love. Readers on Amazon give the story a 4.4 out of 5 stars, calling it a “smart, sexy, modern romance” that “lives up to the hype”.

2. I Think I Might Love You - Christina C. Jones

I Think I Might Love You – Christina C. Jones
Image from Goodreads

If you love an enemies-to-lovers vibe with a dash of fake dating and a lot of funny moments, this one may be for you! I Think I Might Love You is the first of the Love Sisters series from Christina C. Jones. Jaclyn Love attracts trouble like honey to bees and Kadan Davenport does his best to not be swept up Jaclyn’s orbit. As attracted as trouble is to Jaclyn, so is Kadan; however, he refuses to keep up his pattern of falling for women like Jaclyn. As the old saying goes: easier said than done.

Less than 200 pages, this novella scored 4.4 out of 5 on Goodreads and I was gushing over the banter and growing relationship between Jaclyn and Kadan and Jones’s ability to skillfully mix humor and seriousness. Although short, the novella packs a lot in a few pages and I enjoyed the light, easy read Jones provides. 

3. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy - Alyssa Cole

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy – Alyssa Cole
Image from Amazon.com

Another novella for those who enjoy the light and easy reads: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is part of Cole’s Reluctant Royals series and tells the story of Likotsi and Fabiola. Likotsi first captured the hearts of readers in the series’ first book, A Princess in Theory, and while she’s helping her boss fall in love, Likotsi also manages to fall in love herself and gets her heart broken by a mystery date.

This novella depicts Likotsi’s story as she comes back to New York City and, of course, runs into the woman who broke her heart—Fabiola. A stalled subway train and a tea date lead the two women on a trip down memory lane as they explore New York City together—potentially opening the door to love, once again.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy scored a 3.81 of out 5 on Goodreads and a 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon. I immediately fell in love with Likotsi and Fabiola and totally wanted to stay longer in their world. Although fast-paced, this novella manages to give a great backstory and build likable characters that stay in my heart even after the story was finished.

4. A Taste of Her Own Medicine – Tasha L. Harrison

A Taste of Her Own Medicine – Tasha L. Harrison
Image from Goodreads

Meet Sonja Watts: a forty-year-old divorcée ready to build a new business and a new life for her and her children. Sonja signs up to take a course for budding entrepreneurs, on the advice of her sister and best friend. Enter: Atlas James, her instructor.

Despite their own internal battles, the attraction between the two is instant. However, since Sonja is fresh off a divorce (and several years older than Atlas), she decides that focusing on getting her business off the ground to secure a solid future for her family and just remaining friends is the best course of action for the two. 

Readers on Goodreads love Harrison’s descriptions and fully developed characters; A Taste of Her Own Medicine scored a 4 out of 5 on Goodreads and I love that it shows that you’re never too old to chase after, and achieve, your goals. The steamy romance between Atlas and Sonja kept me turning the page. Other readers from Goodreads agreed with me saying that Tasha L. Harrison knows how to write a small-town romance. 

5. Take a Hint, Dani Brown - Talia Hibbert

Take a Hint, Dani Brown -- Talia Hibbert
Image from Goodreads

If you're a sucker for the fake-dating-to-lovers trope, Talia Hibbert embodies it perfectly with this novel. Danika Brown is a bisexual Ph.D. student and totally allergic to the whole "commitment" thing. Zafir Ansari is a former Rugby player turned security guard, with a love for romance novels.

A video of Zafir saving Dani takes over the Internet and Zafi could use the publicity for his charity--insert fake relationship. Dani's down with that plan, thinking she can actually seduce the pants of Zafir in the meantime. 

Goodreads rates this novel 4.10/5 stars and reads are raving over Talia Hibbert's ability to mix romance, humor, and hot chemistry into a real page-turner. I personally loved the banter between Zaf and Dani throughout this book and how Talia balances creating and dissolving tension between her characters. Also, both characters are British--so envisioning their accents in my mind was so fun. 

6. A Princess in Theory - Alyssa Cole

A Princess in Theory -- Alyssa Cole
Image from Goodreads

A Princess in Theory is the first book of the Reluctant Royals series, where readers meet Naledi Smith--an overworked grad student with no time to sit and breathe. Certainly, she has no time to be harassed by emails claiming she's to be betrothed to some African prince, which is obviously some scammer playing in her inbox. However, Prince Thabiso is definitely real and the sole heir to the throne of The solo. Marriage is the number one priority given to the young Prince, so he sets off on a mission to find his missing betrothed. 

It's the age-old story of the Prince and the Pauper, except they're the same person. While the chemistry between Naledi and Thabiso is instant and intense, there are a lot of secrets to be uncovered and told. 

Goodreads gives the novel 3.81/5 stars and I love every minute of Ledi and Thabiso's journey. Alyssa Cole does an amazing job of incorporating racism and sexism in reference to Ledi's daily experiences working in the STEM field. Ledi is such a strong main character and she accepts nothing but the best--in terms of she should be treated, which is inspiring and amazing. 

7. While We Were Dating - Jasmine Guillory

While We Were Dating - Jasmine Guillory
Image from Goodreads

While We Were Dating is the final book of The Wedding Date series. Ben Stephens is too busy with family drama and his advertising job to focus on a serious relationship. Anna Gardiner is looking to make herself a household name in the movie industry. Ben and Anna cross paths when Anna is featured in Ben's next ad project. 

Keeping the relationship on a professional level is the main goal, but a little flirting never hurt anybody. But when Anna's manager peeps at the chemistry between the two, it's suggested that Ben should be Anna's pretend-boyfriend to boost her publicity and increase her chances of being cast in a new movie. 

Goodreads rates this novel with 4.03/5 stars. Readers are raving about Jasmine Guillory's ability to develop her characters, the banter, and the steamy chemistry between Anna and Ben. This book also dives into mental health a bit, which readers also loved. 

8. Queen Move - Kennedy Ryan

Queen Move - Kennedy Ryan
Image from Goodreads

Queen Move is a childhood friends-to-lovers and second chance novel depicting Kimba and Ezra: two friends from families that are incredibly close, yet ripped from each other at 13 years now and spend the next twenty years apart. 

Kennedy Ryan splits this novel into two parts: the first tells the story of young Kimba and young Ezra and the second jump twenty years into the future and starts the emotional rollercoaster that is Kimba and Ezra's love story. Ezra has a family and Kimba is a successful career woman. Complicated and messy are the two biggest keywords when describing Ezra and Kimba's story.

Goodreads rates this novel 4.21/5 stars. Readers are gushing over Kennedy's writing style and her ability to incorporate hard-hitting social topics within her novels. I was moved by Kimba and Ezra's story (because I am a complete sucker for childhood friends to lovers) and I love a story full of angst and a badass female lead--which is exactly what Queen Move gave me. 

9. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry - Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry - Joya Goffney
Image from Goodreads

Have you ever had a diary or a journal? I think most of us have. A place to write down any and every thought you ever had without fear of judgment. But, what if those thoughts were posted all over social media one day--without your consent. This is Quinn's dilemma. She keeps lists and writing everything down in her journal, but when her journal goes missing and one of her lists ends up on Instagram: Quinn's life may as well be over.

It gets worse. Whoever posted Quinn's list starts blackmailing her and threatens to leak her whole journal unless she faces seven of her greatest fears. With no one else to turn to, puts her trust in the last known person to have her journal: Carter Bennett to help her identify the blackmailer.

Goodreads rates the novel 4.14/5 stars. Personally, I loved Quinn as the main character. Although I never journaled as much as she did, I kept a diary or two during my middle school and early high school years. Quinn and Carter's dynamic is... chef's kiss.

A young writer on the journey to finding her voice and her purpose.

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