Reader Favorites – Leslie’s Favorite Low Angst Romance Books

by Maryse on October 22, 2016 · 53 comments

in Book Recommendations

YAY!! This is Leslie’s first “Reader Favorites” list submission. She’s been here since 2011, but has just started chatting regularly with us. (YAY Leslie!!! :D ).

In fact, she officially joined us when she was asking for book recommendations just like what were finding on THESE “low-angst” lists!

“Ok, coming out of lurking as I need your help. WHAT TO READ?!?! Looking for something swoony & fun.

Doesn’t have to be comedy, just nothing depressing or overly emotional (Def NO death books/tearjerkers like some of you like. Hee hee).”

Here’s a bit about Leslie and her book love (and yes… you’ll see that some of her favorites are super-angsty, but this list won’t reflect that, so much, since it’s her “low-angst” recommendations on this one):

She says:

“I’m petrified of the heartbreaking reads but I actually like cheating *gasp* books! I’m totally weird as I know most of you loathe the cheating books to the fiery pits of hell.”

“I LOVE love triangles!!”

“I absolutely adore audiobooks but of course my enjoyment is contingent on the narrator voice. I find I get annoyed when male narrator tries to do female voice. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Seems like most female narrators can get the male voice ok though. Weird! I do love it when male voice is sexy and good accent! *Swoon*”

Sometimes she will… “Only read first book in series cause I hear I won’t like ending in others). This way I can make up my own ending that I am happy with!! Hee hee

She’s a HUGE Twilight fan!!! :D !!! She says: “NOONE on entire planet is bigger Twilight fan than me…

GASP!!! Sometimes she’s a spoiler-seeker!

“…sometimes my book disappointment is more about my mood when reading it, rather than actual book. I do much better when I know what to expect. (Which is why I read spoilers sometimes)…”

One of her ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BOOKS (and book boyfriends):

“I FREAKING LOVE KELLAN KYLE!!!!! Sorry…just having a little Thoughtless nostalgia.


…let’s just get one thing straight…there is NOT and will NEVER be anything written now or until the end of the time as good Thoughtless. *winks*” and then… “I’m not sure I could take Thoughtless again. I’m so lame that I started crying other day when I accidentally clicked on “my quotes” on GR. I can’t even read QUOTES from Thoughtless without crying!!!!”

And now she has tons of recommendations for us! ;)

Fabi: Leslie, oh Leslie *calling out happily* where’s your list?

Leslie: Of course I can make a list. I only like books with a HEA and I don’t like death of main character.  *scurries off to start list making*

Leslie: Ok, so this list is going to take longer than I thought. I went through all my shelves and have written 3 pages of notes!! Got to get it all organized & typed up. :) Maryse, my list is coming. It’s very long…not sure if there is character limit on this. If I blow up your blog, I’m apologizing in advance. ;)


“Ok, so I have been an avid contemporary romance reader for last 6 years. Here are some faves of mine…they vary in angst level but they will not rip your heart out and HEA is guaranteed!!

…my list isn’t all low angst. It’s just not rip your heart out, people dying, kind of reads…”

Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1) by Tara Sivec <— (funniest thing I have ever read)
RoomHate by Penelope Ward
Wrong by Jana Aston
Bad Romeo (The Starcrossed Series Book 1)/Broken Juliet (The Starcrossed Series) by Leisa Rayven <— (major swoon)
Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland <— “I LOVED Cocky Bastard”
The Fall Up by Aly Martinez
Good (Too Good series Book 1)/Better (Too Good series Book 2) by S. Walden <— (hot for teacher)
Racing the Sun: A Novel by Karina Halle

“LOVED IT! 4.5**** It was perfect slow burn, low angst (which usually bore me) story with hot, broody & grumpy Italian H. Even his name made me swoon. Signor Desiderio Larossa aka Derio.”

Tapping the Billionaire (Bad Boy Billionaires Book 1) by Max Monroe

“…loved it. Great funny story and highly recommend for a laugh. … Funny & swoony.”

Hollywood & Vine by Olivia Evans <— (celeb)
Strings (Hard Rock Harlots Book 1) by Kendall Grey
Seducing Cinderella (A Fighting for Love Novel Book 1) by Gina L. Maxwell <— (MMA fighter)
The Troublemaker Next Door (The McCauley Brothers Book 1) by Marie Harte
How to Handle a Heartbreaker (The McCauley Brothers Book 2) by Marie Harte
To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise <— (celeb)

Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

“Ok, those who haven’t read Stepbrother Dearest…READ IT NOW PEOPLE!!! I almost never 5* anything and I loved this one. It wasn’t what I was expecting in a good way. I don’t want to say too much & spoil….but it’s not a cheesey, trashy, clichéd stepbro story (I think cover & blurb are misleading). It’s a swoony, emotional, grown up romance. Only the beginning of story is when they are teens. This is my kind of love story!!!”

What I Did for Love: A Novel (Wynette, Texas Book 5) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover <— (love triangle)
Back to You by Priscilla Glenn
Worth the Fall (The McKinney Brothers, Book 1) by Claudia Connor
My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron
Bender (The Core Four Book 1) by Stacy Borel
True Love Story by Willow Aster (rock star) <— sidenote from Maryse (I LOVED this one, but I found it pretty angsty…)
Bad Rep by A. Meredith Walters
Escorted by Claire Kent <— (male escort)
Love Left Behind by S.H. Kolee

San Francisco Sullivans series by Bella Andre

I have a thing with “sib” books and this is huge family with each sib getting their own romance story.

Chase Brothers Series by Lauren Dane <— (sib series set in small town w/a nosey but adorable mom)
Brown Family Series by Lauren Dane <— (hot sib series)

Julie James:

Victoria Dahl:

Toni Blake:

“One of my fave CRs (One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake) the H calls the H “pussycat” (stop rolling your eyes everyone!!) but it works in the context. … it all depends on the H. If he’s likeable and super swoony he can get away with pretty much anything”

Jill Shalvis:

Robyn Carr: Virgin River Series

“I have read up to #15 and loved them all. This is small town series with each book highlighting different couple. However, old couples make reappearances and I highly recommend to read in order.”

Susan Mallery: Buchanan Family Series <— Sib series with 2nd chance romance, hot marine, hot baseball player and lots of family drama.

Susan Donovan:

Susan Andersen:

Rachel Gibson: Chinooks Hockey Series <— (hot hockey players)


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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

bev October 22, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Leslie, im curious about your angst threshold, lol. Most I’d agree but a couple I’d think of as angsty.
Fun list though.

Maryse October 22, 2016 at 6:43 PM

Like “True Love Story.”.. Yikes!!! That one is on her list here, and it made me cry and tore my heart out… mind you I loved it, but that’s more of a Marmy book. ;)

Fabi October 22, 2016 at 7:05 PM

I’ve only read a handful of the books on this list but I loved every one of them.

Now I have a go to list when I want that CR fix. Thank you Leslie and Maryse.

Jan October 22, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Great list. Thanks Leslie and Maryse :)

Kim Box Person October 22, 2016 at 8:01 PM

Great list! I’m the opposite I love when a book is so angsty that I actually feel my stomach drop at certain parts. Oh, and if there’s a death that shocks me oh I cry. I absolutely adore books that put me through the ringer. There’s something wrong with me lol

Maryse October 22, 2016 at 8:27 PM

Right there with you Kim. :)

That would make you an honorary member of the “Marmy” club (Maryse & Amy super-angst, shocking twist type books)

Leslie M October 22, 2016 at 9:52 PM

Ok, let me clarify…this is a list of NON-Marmy books. Hee hee

Meaning…they ALL have a happy ending and no death of main characters. :)

Leslie M October 22, 2016 at 9:59 PM

Kim, I think the highest angst I have ever read that twisted my tummy, shocked me and made me cry were:

Consequences Series – Aleatha Tonight

Breathing Series – Rebecca Donovan

Dark Duet – C.J. Roberts

I don’t often read books like these as they tore my heart out. But when I have the guts, WOW, they are brilliant.

Leslie M October 22, 2016 at 10:05 PM

Wth??? Why did autocorrect change Aleatha Romig to Aleatha Tonight??? Grrrr

Jan October 22, 2016 at 10:30 PM

Oh Yeh. Althea Tonight. I love her books. (My autocorrect covered the first name to its own preference as well. Dang machines!)

Jan October 22, 2016 at 10:31 PM

* covered?? WTH? That’s meant to be ‘converted’. Ghost in the machine. Creepeeeeee…… (Halloween’s nearly here mwahahah……)

Pia October 23, 2016 at 3:29 AM

Great list Leslie :-) I have read several from your list so I guess my book taste is very similar to yours.
Since you love love-triangles have you read Bait by M. Mabie? I read it a few days ago and I am halfway into Sail (book 2). So much angst and really really good. It doesn’t reach Thoughtless, but we all know that no book will ever do that. But I highly recommend this one – couldn’t put it down and sat up half of friday night to finish Bait.

Lisa October 23, 2016 at 4:34 AM

Great list Leslie. Its huge. I need a minute to absorb it. :)

Julie o October 23, 2016 at 5:06 AM

Worth The Fall is one of my all time favorites. I love how he fits right in with the kids. And Rachel Gibson hockey series is another. Nothing But Trouble is in my top 10 and I love how he thinks. Thanks for the list. Going to start working on it. Though it may take a few years considering the size of my already TBR list.

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 8:56 AM

Pia, I LOVED Bait!!! I also loved Kathleen Turner series by Tiffany Snow. Stupid covers, but great love triangle. Of course Thoughtless is best triangle ever!!!

Julie, I am a sucker for the H falls for the h’s kids. Worth the Fall was sooooo swoony. Have you read Room for You (Cranberry Inn series) by Beth Ehemann? That has hot hockey player AND kids. I can’t believe you mentioned Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson! That is one of my all time faves too!! I’ve re-read several times as I can’t get enough of Mark and his sexy grumpiness. It’s always a fun story when MCs hate each other at first.

Amy October 23, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet are low angst??? Er, yeah, okay…I’ll go along with that if it gets more people to read them. :P

And True Love Story…I clicked that one and REALLY wanted to read it, but then I found out there is something in it that will NOT go over well with me so I never did read it. But Maryse says it’s a Marmy book, and I’ve been pushing my reading boundaries a little more lately so…guess I’ll be diving into it after all.

And by the way…Marmy books can have a happy ending where no one dies!! You’ll just have to work for the HEA and be wrung out by the time you get there. ;)

bev October 23, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Amy, True Love Story is one I started then got distracted by something new.
LeslieM, us doing a slight of hand here as this list has definite Marmy type books on it. Lol.

Fabi October 23, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Again, I say you can’t have a romance novel without some level of angst. If we call the levels 1-10, then I prefer to stay under 5. But that doesn’t mean that my preferred romance reads do not have any angst.

Although, there isn’t really a genre that I don’t like, Women’s Lit is not among my favorites. I think it’s because in these books, death and the destruction of a life is more common than in the romance genre.

bev October 23, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Amy & Maryse did I ever mention that Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda is a Marmy book? Does Simon make it out alive? I’m not saying.

bev October 23, 2016 at 3:45 PM

So, curious.
Maybe Someday on your angst-o-meter.
For me, maybe a five-ish.
Love Left Behind

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 4:21 PM

I’m actually doing a MAJOR slight of hand….there is NO Leslie M….I’m Amy in disguise!!

Bwwwwaaaa haaaa haaaa

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 4:22 PM

Seriously….how do you know? Maybe I’m some pervy old man who just wants to talk to ladies who read dirty books??

Ha ha ha

A Twilight loving, pervy old man!!

bev October 23, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Well, Amy is really a teen boy named Andy. And Jean is Judi Dench. Maryse is a space cowboy.

Jan October 23, 2016 at 5:49 PM

Now I’m going to check out Worth The Fall and Room For You. Goodie!!

bev October 23, 2016 at 6:12 PM

2nd the Worth the Fall rec. Maryse has a review of it up too.

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 6:32 PM

Bev, re: Maybe Someday. Sure, it was angsty…but not terribly angsty to me. I guess because it wasn’t super depressing, stomp on my heart, bawl my eyes out, that I would recommend it. Especially compared to Slammed. I LOVED Slammed but it was major tearjerker for me. Mostly because I had recently experienced same thing as h, so I was extra weepy.

Amy, re: Bad Romeo/Broken Juliet, that def had angst but was so swoony I adored it. I guess I was thinking of books NOT like say, Fault in Your Stars, Me Before You, etc. Those stories to make my picks look like sunshine & rainbows. ;) Hee hee

The point of my list was to find books that had a happy ending, varied in angst, but would not make you do the ugly cry and didn’t have an overall depressing theme. Sorry, if I confused some of you. :(

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 6:37 PM

Btw Amy, I am only teasing you about the Marmy books! I know not all Marmy have death and several have HEA….but they def put you through the ringer. Not all of us are as tough a cookie as you, Maryse and the other brave ladies.

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 6:38 PM

Ladies….Worth the Fall was good one!!

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 6:40 PM

Bev, was that Simon book the one about gay HS boy in the closet? I actually started reading that one then accidentally read spoiler and stopped.

Lisa October 23, 2016 at 6:48 PM

Yes yes yes. Worth the Fall and the others in this series have been wonderful. Loved them.

bev October 23, 2016 at 6:51 PM

Yes. I thought you liked spoilers.

Leslie M October 23, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Bev, funny…but not this spoiler…it was who was writing the emails. Kind of ruined it. Plus, I wasn’t in a YA mood. Were you joking about that being a Marmy book? I didn’t think that was anything too heavy.

bev October 23, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Yes, I was just joking. Though I think Amy and Maryse would both like it.

Jan October 23, 2016 at 7:31 PM

Leslie if you like sib books, have you read the play-by-play series by Jaci Burton? Sports themed about an extended family of sibs and cousins who are smokin hot sports stars.

(Another) Amy October 23, 2016 at 9:17 PM

Ok so this list is right up my alley! I TOTALLY get where Leslie is coming from with the “low angst” aspect, meaning no death of the main characters and a guaranteed HEA. And, no, to us “low-angsters” it can’t be HEA if a main character dies. Nope. Nuh uh, No way. “Bittersweet” is NOT a thing. LOL. I started following (ummm, I mean lurking) in 2012(ish?) but don’t really comment. But I HAD to on this post because I thought I was the only one that is absolutely horrified when a main character dies in a romance book. For me reading is an escape and should make me happy. I have too much of the “bad stuff” to deal with already so I want the escape. I enjoy angst as long as it’s tied up with a pretty, shiny, happily-ever-after bow at the end of the book. I could add a whole second page to this list which henceforth I shall call “The List of Books Where All Characters Remain Intact and Alive Until They Ride off into the Sunset”. I guess that makes me the anti-Amy Amy…?

Lisa October 23, 2016 at 11:03 PM

Baaahaaahaaa…..this is just WONDERFUL!!
Welcome Another Amy or Anti-Amy Amy.
You have just made my day. What a delightful twist that our Amy has a doppleganger that is her opposite.
Oh….and we all lurked before commenting.
And Im totally on board with your list. Im a ‘HEA- all -characters-alive’ kind of girl too.

Jan October 24, 2016 at 1:07 AM

Hi Another Amy. Welcome. Please post your list, pretty please. Or email to Maryse so she can post it for you :D

Leslie M October 24, 2016 at 5:50 AM

Jan, I have read Jaci Burton Play by Play. I have to admit, I read them strictly because of covers! (Holy hotness!!). I could have put a bazillion in my list, but I only picked my faves as to not overwhelm Maryse. I think I have read like 800 romance novels.

Hi Another Amy!! Thanks for checking out my list and coming out of lurking. I wonder if you feel the same as me…I am starting to have a hard time with the MCs flashbacks of their tragic pasts. This didnt use to bother me, but after years of reading romance, can I please just read a book with a main character who doesnt have dead parents, dead ex, dead sib or hasn’t been abused?!? (I don’t think these exist actually) For example, the flashbacks in CoHos Ugly Love or K. Bromberg Driven Series KILLED me.

Leslie M October 24, 2016 at 6:34 AM

Another Amy, were you lurking during the Bev mixup?? That was hysterical. So thank you for clarifying your Amy-ness. Also, are you on Goodreads?

Amy October 24, 2016 at 12:37 PM

(Another) Amy and Anti-Amy Amy…OMG I’m cracking up!!!

I feel like I’m a character in one of KA’s Fantastical books. *snort*

bev October 24, 2016 at 2:34 PM

I told you!!!

Amy October 24, 2016 at 3:27 PM

Right?!? LOL!!!

Alabama Amy (aka Anti-Amy Amy) October 24, 2016 at 8:53 PM

Thanks for the welcome y’all. Yep… I’m from Alabama! Since no one threw rotten fruit at me I will comment more frequently now :) I have a lot of stuff going on in my noggin and sometimes (ok, ok, most of the time) am very opinionated and jabber like a mockingbird. So I try to exert some self control (as my dear calm, cool, and collected husband calls it) and I let my introvert flag fly and “lurk” more than speak. With all my internal ramblings the very tired air traffic controller in my brain sometimes goes haywire, causes traffic jams, and I can’t keep up with myself; I definitely don’t subject poor innocent strangers to my thoughts LOL. But y’all seem to be a very open-minded and friendly group. So…. I warned you

Fabi October 24, 2016 at 10:00 PM

Welcome Alabama Amy. Feel free to ramble on. I do. Ha!

Jan October 24, 2016 at 11:08 PM

Opinionated is fine Alabama Amy. Plenty of us right here :) The wonderful secret of this blog is that it’s all live and let live. Feel free to express your book loves and hates, and we’ll feel free to (politely:)) agree or disagree. No one holds it against anyone if their opinion differs from others. Just a great place to share book recs. Some recs ya luvs, others ya hatz, but that’s the fun of it all.

Maryse October 24, 2016 at 11:09 PM

Jan… that was PERFECTLY said. And so funny!!! :D


Fabi October 24, 2016 at 11:33 PM

Where is that darn like button or at least a good vibe buzz. I’ll even take a two thumbs up emoji.

WTG Jan.

Amy October 25, 2016 at 12:48 AM

*reads Alabama Amy’s intro*

You sure you’re an anti-Amy? ‘Cause your description sounds a tad familiar. ;) WELCOME!!!

Amy October 25, 2016 at 1:02 AM

Wow…a hundred times LIKE for your comment, Jan!! That was awesome. :D

Lisa October 25, 2016 at 1:14 AM

Ditto Jan. Well said!

Leslie M October 25, 2016 at 7:49 AM

Whoa…whoa….Jan! HOLD THE FORT!!! All non-Twilight & non-Thoughless lovers should promptly cease & desist from associating with me immediately. *sends hairy eyeball to R*

KIDDING!!! I kid! (not really, R)

I mean, seriously….you dont actually have to love Twilight but it is mandatory that you love Kellan Kyle. Other books and heroes all are welcome to have varied opinions, but Kellan is non-negotiable. Hee hee ;)

Leslie M October 25, 2016 at 7:54 AM

In all honesty, one of my favorite things is to see when one reader totally HATES book and another LOVES it….keeps things interesting. It’s funny when someone has exact opposite feelings as you.

Jan October 25, 2016 at 5:41 PM

LOL Leslie. There needs to be a hairy eyeball emoji :)

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