Reader Recommendations – Friends to lovers romance books

by Maryse on May 13, 2018 · 13 comments

in Book Recommendations

Many requests for this list and oh boy do we have recommendations!!!

Nothing better than that slow burn. That… true-to-life angst and pining, OR surprise realization, that you have fallen deeply in love with the love of your life. And he just happens to be your very best friend.

Tracie: I just finished “Bad at Love: A Standalone Friends-to-Lovers Romance” by Karina Halle and would love to know if you have a list of other books or recommendations of books where they start as “just friends” first??

Lydia: I keep searching for THE one. The book that not only draws you in with great writing but also contains a slow burn romance. I think that’s why I prefer “friends to lovers” books. I love that moment when the hero finally realizes he’s in love and he knows he’s screwed (haha). The anticipation makes it so much sweeter. Out with the insta-love, in with the slow burn!

Jan: …friends-to-lovers. Oh that awkward but so sweet moment when they know each so well and finally both decide they will go THERE…….. Anyone got any other recs in this genre?

Leslie M: Oooh Jan, me too! Friends to lovers is awesome.

R.: …one of the reasons I love friends to lovers, the chemistry goes deeper than the current MC’s actions.

Anne: I love friends to lovers stories :)

Maryse: My ultimate favorite??? Well… LOL! There are a quite a few. But I will go with two right off the bat, and add more as they come to me. Undecided (Burnham College Book 1) <— HOLY. MOLY!!!! She was so into HIS best friend (and his roommate) and yet… there he was for her. Every time she was let down. This is one of my ultimate romance stories. Just enough angst to make me feel it hard, and yet so SO delightful. P.S. Here’s my Book Review

My ULTIMATE favorite of all-time? Beautiful Disaster: A Novel by Jamie McGuire. NOW THAT is the ultimate friends-to-lovers I have EVER experienced. She knew to stay away from him and his bad-boy player-ness… and so they settled in to that sweet friendship. She didn’t  get all done up for him, they studied together, they even slept in the same bed together with absolutely NOTHING going on. Not even a kiss. They were the best of friends, and ALWAYS together… until… ;) OH. EM. GEE. There is no resisting this. P.S. Here’s my Book Review

MichelleS: Truly, Madly, Whiskey – friends to lovers! Love that

Charity: I just finished Until Harry by L.A. Casey, love it!!! Unrequited love and friends to lovers is always good and it was released today too.

D.G.: Just finished reading Until Harry by L.A. Casey…and I LOVED it! Definite 4.5 stars for me…some parts were a little watery, emotional but sooo worth the ride. I normally don’t read a lot of second chance romance but yeah, this one I really, REALLY loved! Lots of alpha males in this one…overprotective uncle, father, brothers…and best friend. Sometimes a girl just needs protecting…even if she doesn’t want it. ****a DG recommended gotta read****

Leslie M: Maryse – some friends to lovers books:

Yvette: My favorite book would have to be Frigid by J.Lynn. I stayed up all night to read it as soon as I saw it had been delivered to my Kindle. It’s soooo good!

Julie O: Be sure and read Frigid, enjoyed it.

Lisa: Blurred Lines, friends to lovers perfection. I had it on my favorites list…just floved it. …Ben and Parker stuck with me. …Lauren’s character development puts her books above others. I found myself really emotionally invested…..5 stars for me.

Cheryl: Blurred Lines is a standalone- Lighthearted, friends to lovers romance, with some angst, but not drawn out.

marina: Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne (but it’s best friends who live together and he brings a girls over)

Lauren: I was JUST about to recommend Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne when I saw it on the list. I started it this morning & finished it just now in the carpool line. So freakin good!!!!

Jean: …Blurred Lines (Lauren Layne)!!! I read it in one sitting on Saturday….could not put it down…best friends to lovers and so damn great! All my friends are reading it now because I was adamant!!!! You guys, it was sooooo good!!!

Jacqueline: I’ve got all of my reader friends to buy The Pact by Karina Halle. Some have moved on to her other books, some have only stuck with the contemporary stuff. Either way, her books are awesome.

Leslie M: I just finished The Pact by Karina Halle which is a friends to lovers story I enjoyed.

Michelle F: Loving the Pact so far. I’m almost 50% and I’m completely sucked in. Linden is f*** hot and funny too. And Steph’s character feels like someone you want to kick back and hang out with. I always love the friends to lovers genre and I like that these two characters are a little older (not NA) because their actions and reactions feel real and believable. This book feels very different from Karina Halle’s usual gritty and edgy voice but I’m loving it! Reaffirming exactly why she is one of my favorites. :D

Lisa: Roomhate had a touch of bully about it at the beginning.

Anne: Finished RoomHate and really liked it! It was sweet and a little angsty.

Ashley: I also just read Gentleman Nine and loved that one.

Sabrina: Friend-Zoned series by Belle Aurora. This series is awesome. Very much like the Rock Chick series. Its very funny

Michele: I loved Friend-zoned as well. Would recommend it.

Lisa: Flat-Out Love is a must read, very sweet and funny.

Jess: I adore Flat-Out Love!! I just finished rereading it last night because I just can’t seem to get it out of my head.

Nicole: Flat-out Love had me doing a serious ugly cry!

Drea: Maryse, you absolutely must continue the Addicted to You series!! The first one was good, but the following books were incredible. Honestly, the supporting characters books are the best. All of the characters are brilliant and full of depth! Rose/Connor and Daisy/Ryke are amazing!

Kim: I think you should read the addicted series. It has addiction, angst, first loves, hot dominate males, soul deep love, funny lines and wonderful secondary characters which have their own books.

Jackie: I read Addicted To You this week and immediately bought the next in the series. It’s still very angsty, the dynamics between the characters really make your heart twist.

  • Him by Sarina Bowen (m/m)

Kathy P: I just read Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. M/M Hockey romance that was so good so if you haven’t read that one yet I would highly recommend it. Feel in love with both male characters!

Teri: You guys! Him is such a fabulously romantic friends to lovers M/M novel. Love, love, love it. Can’t wait for the sequel. WooHoo!

DOnYa: LOVED Next to You: Friends with Benefits!!!! Model hot Rugby player with an accent…loads of witty banter…awesome friends to lovers read!

Cheryl: Just finished Never Stop Falling and I loved it. Needed Manny and some wine at times. A friends to lovers angst-filled ride. Amazing, debut novel. :)

R: The h in Never Stop Falling is flawed and screwed up due to something that knocks her off kilter when she’s 18. I wanted to strangle her too, but I “got” her. And Nick…le sigh. …That was the first book that turned me into a bona fide stalker!

Jan: Beautiful Player (The Beautiful Series Book 5) – Christina Lauren. Hanna and Will’s story. OMG. Friends to lovers, sweet geeky heroine tames the bad boy player..

Melinda: Ahhhhhh Will Sumner. Just finished Beautiful Player and it was awesome. Massive massive book hangover. So good. 10 stars But i’ve had to wrestle Jan and Grey for him. He’s so so popular. …my book boyfriend is Will from Beautiful Player so he’s taken.

Jan: My fav book husband is Will Sumner from Beautiful Player. So sorry, he’s taken

Grey: One I’d buy for a friend… Beautiful Player. (Book 4 of the Beautiful Bastard Series) The combo writing team of Christina Lauren hit another grand slam out of the park with the novel dedicated to master player Will Sumner. When mostly innocent and awkward Hanna Bergstrom, (little sister to one of his best friends growing up) asks him to teach her how to be more like him… my heart ached right along with theirs as I read some of this book peeking out from between my fingers and my stomach clenched from giggling…or angst, I’m not sure which!

Nay: My favorite was Beautiful Player. I’m so glad I finally listened to Grey and Jan to find out what all the Will fuss was about!

Jan: *hugs Grey and Nay for our mutual love of Beautiful Player and Will Sumner* Ladies, perhaps we can share Will?

marina: I loved Beautiful Player too. It was my favorite of the Beautiful Bastard Series. The dichotomy of the quirky, smart but inexperienced girl with the experienced, big brother’s friend… Loved that one! I think I even reread it…

Cheryl: Just finished reading French Kissing - cute, lighthearted, well-written, friends to lovers, fast read!!

Jean: Just wanted to give a shout out to Niki for recommending Forever Red (Bama Boys Book 1)!! I love it! It has everything I need…. friends to lovers, drama, separation, hot country rock star…. what’s not to love?!?

Julie: Another good one is Forever Red by Carina Adams. I gave it 4.5 stars but it is a solid 5 in parts. He’s a famous country singer and she’s the girl that got away. And, let’s not forget Carnage! Childhood friends and he turns into a famous singer. The series is one I will never forget.

Deborah: I’m in complete book hangover land after reading Forever red by Carina Adams….just a Beautiful second chance love story!!!!! I don’t have a clue of what to read after this either……

Cheryl: Deborah, I LOVED Forever Red and Neil/Nate too!!!

Shirley: I just finished Forever Red and absolutely LOVED it!! I also have one heck of a book hangover!! Hands down one of the BEST books I have read this year 5++++++ stars!! LOVED NEIL/NATE! Oh, what to read next??

bev: Emi Lost & Found Series I probably read it at the very worst time. I was still in the early stages of grieving. And I pick up this book and has friends to lovers and slow burn♥. I knew it was a first book so when almost done I grabbed the other two so I could stay in this world. I started the second, hopefully, and pretty soon I’m sobbing so so hard. Can’t see the book cause of the tears hard. Then I got angry when realized where it was going….so angry. If not on my nook, one of my comforts, it would of gone flying and probably still be sitting where it would of landed. That’s been a couple years now but still haven’t been able to open that book.

Kristen: It’s not really a twisty-turny type book, but there is a huge shocker in the Emi Lost and Found series by Lori Otto! SO GOOD! …my first ugly cry in a long time!

Jean: Oh bev, someone just recommended the Emi lost and found series to me. Sounds like a tearjerker!

Amy: Emi Lost and Found series (I swear I had red, puffy eyes throughout most of book 2 from snot-crying)

Jen C: I read Lingus back in early 2014 and LOVED it! Maryse, you need to read it! Absolutely hilarious from start to finish and nice slow build friends-to-lovers storyline.

Bella: Went ahead and read her other books- Under Locke and Lingus. The author is a genious!!!!! Love all her books, 5 star rating

Ashley recommends all of these:

Lori: I really enjoyed Before Jamaica Lane, best friends to secret lovers, very emotional, sweet and sexy.

Jacee: Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. Somewhat unrequited love. She likes him, but he’s not willing to admit it. And their best friends so that’s a plus. <3

Rebecca: I adored Before Jamaica Lane recent release, which was such a Smile On Your Face, Hot read

  • The Deal (Off-Campus Book 1) by Elle Kennedy <— HECK YES!! One of my all time favorites and has the most PERFECT (and believable) friends-to-lovers theme. In fact, here’s my review! (my Book Review)

Sharon: LOVED IT a lot. Solid 4.5 stars

Anne: …The Deal by Elle Kennedy! It has the same feel that beautiful disaster had to it!!! <3 SO IN LOVE!

Tammy: Sincerely Carter by Whitney G. Love this friends to lovers book!!!

Tessa: It’s all that I love a fun, light angst book. I was smiling HUGE throughout it.

Deborah: You all are gonna love “To love Jason Thorne” it’s such a fun book….. great for after all this angst and heartache!!! It’s one of those books that kept me grinning the whole way through…..just love those!!!!

Leslie M: I finished Love, in English this weekend and of course it was awesome-sauce. Yup! Everything is big fat swoonfest when it comes to Love, in English.

Maryse: Ahhhhh yes Love, In English. OMG that bus scene and the Lana Del Rey song KILLED ME. LOVED IT SO HAAAAARD!!!

Amy: Holy freaking moly, I absolutely LOVED that one. SO much emotion and turmoil and swooniness, and I don’t think I had even one single complaint. And the cover…ohhhh the beautiful cover. Everything about it was just… *dreamy sigh*

D.G.: Amour Amour is soo good! It’s my fav “circus” read. Still looking for my next “circus” read that matches it….so wish Krista Becca Ritchie would make this into a series.

Anne: DG I love Amour Amour too! I need to find another romance around the circus.

Ashley: I just finished listening to Amour Amour by Becca and Krista Ritchie for the third time

Jean: you should definitely read The Year We Fell Down!!!! I loved it and I think you will too! …Slow build up, great characters, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a girl in a wheelchair. What a great book! Highly recommend it!

Cheryl: I thought The Year We Fell Down was a sweet story too. Great book! I specifically read it because the heroine was in a wheelchair, because my daughter is special needs too and I wanted to read a positive story about the heroine having a “normal” life in college despite her “disability.” Heartwarming!! ;)

Ashley: I read My Best Friend’s Ex and I loved it! It was hilarious and sweet. It was more of a slow burn book and the sexual tension in it was great! The banter between the leads was so funny. There’s also a rant in the book that had me laughing so hard that I think my next door neighbors may have heard me.

Amy: My Best Friend’s Ex…now THAT is a new storyline, at least to me. Click!

Ashley: Maybe Someday is one of my go-to reads! I’ve read/listened to it at least 6 times.

Jennifer M: I finished Maybe Someday last night and I have to say, I loved it. It was so powerful and full of emotions. There were parts where my jaw literally hit the floor. I swooned so much and I couldn’t tell you how many times I laughed, tears rolling down my face hysterical, Mt husband kept looking over me and asking if I was ok. Lol. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, so ladies if you’re looking for a heartbreak, hilarious and with an amazing ending, please read this one

Tessa: I just finished Co-Ed by Rachael Van Dyken and that was definitely a friends to lovers book. Also, Supernatural Prison series by Jaymin Eve. They start off as friends, and have been since they were babies.

Nay: I have some to add:

Jen: I finished the Smallest Part already and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! You get to see Moses again! Amy Harmon has an amazing way of sucking in so bad you get no sleep because you have to know what happened and go to work like a zombie the next day. Today I’m a zombie. I loved the book! Totally worth it

Lisa: I am loving The Smallest Part so far. It is a touch of paranormal I guess you’d say (although I don’t really think of it that way), a harkening to The Law of Moses (which I haven’t read), and it’s just so perfectly Amy Harmon all the way!!!

Jean: The Hot Shot which had just the right amount of sweetness and angst.

Ashley: I finished The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan last night and I loved it as well! It was a fun read!

Teri: I just finished The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan and it is FANTASTIC! Whoop whoop

Dana: Punk 57 was one of my top reads but I’ve come to the conclusion that Penelope Douglas could write menus or phone books and make them best-sellers.

Jean: I’m at 80% and ready to have my heart ripped out….Grey, you’ll need to share Manny and the Godiva….. think I might need something stronger then Moscato….. I’m thinking whiskey! Lol!

Nay: I LOVED A Love Letter to Whiskey! The kind of angst I’m crazy about!

Now I need to add some of these to my GR shelf! Thanks for doing this, Maryse!

Jan: Another one is Nia Forrester’s Afterwards. I love that book. Although they’re both attracted, Chris wants to keep things in the friend zone cos he’s worried about ‘afterwards’ when they inevitably will split up and they have lots of mutual friends. Messy and awkward. But after a while, they just can’t deny it, and friends become lovers. :D

Heather: Love this new list! Here’s a few of my favs

Bonnie: My book fog was because of the Needing Moore series by Julie Richman. Could not put it down and recommended it to everyone I know that likes to read.

Michelle: I’m so happy “Searching for Moore” by Julie Richman was recommended to you. Readers have loved this book, first in Julie’s “Needing Moore” series. It follows college sweethearts, Schooner Moore and Mia Silver, as they are reunited, after 24 years.

Traci: I would have to say Thoughtless is still my favorite. And Kellen Kyle is still my favorite book boyfriend

Leslie M: My all time fave – (duh!) is Thoughtless…..’cause (double duh) Kellan.

Jean: THAT BOOK GAVE ME SERIOUS STOMACH ISSUES (AND I LOVED IT)! Haven’t found a book that comes close to it yet!

Amy: One of my favorite series of ALL TIME!!! I swear I swooned like I was high right before my stomach ate itself and my heart crumbled then imploded. And the cherry on top was sobbing happy tears while my heart still had a residual ache at the end of book three. SOBBING. HAPPY. TEARS.

Tessa: Tristan and Danika. No words needed for that one. Just… no words. I went to re-read it and my stomach knotted in a HELL NO way. I loved the story, but the journey to get to the end hurts.

Leslie M: Tristan & Danika. The angst & swoony-ness reminded me of Thoughtless & Driven series (two of my faves).

Nay: Tristan’s a rock star and it’s SUPER duper angsty. It just really guts you as everyone says. And the swoon factor you want is DEFINITELY there! hubba hubba!!

Any more?


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

bev May 13, 2018 at 7:13 PM

Multi or Deeper, maybe?

bev May 13, 2018 at 7:14 PM


Ashley May 13, 2018 at 7:44 PM

Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young is one of my top favorite friends to lovers book! Also…
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.
To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise
Love, In English by Karina Halle
Noah by Justine Elvira
One Wrong Choice by A.M. Hargrove and Terri E. Laine
Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Love In Lingerie by Alessandra Torre
As Long as You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

Tessa May 13, 2018 at 7:48 PM

I just finished Co-Ed by Rachael Van Dyken and that was definitely a friends to lovers book. Also, Supernatural Prison series by Jaymin Eve. They start off as friends, and have been since they were babies.

R. Renee May 13, 2018 at 8:01 PM

Never Stop Falling! That was the first book that turned me into a bona fide stalker!

Ashley May 13, 2018 at 8:44 PM

I second Kulti.

Tammy May 13, 2018 at 10:42 PM

Sincerely Carter by Whitney G. Love this friends to lovers book!!!

Nay May 14, 2018 at 9:28 AM

I have some to add:

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon
The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
Lucas by Jay McLean
Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner (my favorite!)

Now I need to add some of these to my GR shelf! Thanks for doing this, Maryse!

Maryse May 14, 2018 at 11:07 AM

YAY!!!! I’ll be updating this page with all these new recs. VERY FUN!!! I love building lists. LOL! :P

Jan May 14, 2018 at 7:10 PM

I like this trope. That awkward but so sweet moment when the friends realise it’s more than that. And what are they gonna do about it? That first kiss….. *sigh*

Ha ha. Autocorrect tried to change that first kiss to that first KID!!! Whoah! That would be quick work LOL.

I also second (third?) Kulti. Fantastic read.

Another one is Nia Forrester’s Afterwards. I love that book. Although they’re both attracted, Chris wants to keep things in the friend zone cos he’s worried about ‘afterwards’ when they inevitably will split up and they have lots of mutual friends. Messy and awkward. But after a while, they just can’t deny it, and friends become lovers. :D

Heather May 15, 2018 at 2:30 AM

Love this new list! Here’s a few of my favs
So Good by Nicola Rendell
Searching for Moore Series by Julie Richman
Thoughtless Series
Happy Hour – Racing on the Edge Series by Shey Stahl
Bad Things by RK Lilley

Mary May 16, 2018 at 10:02 AM

Hi – love your blog. Have you read the Jodi Taylor Time Travel series “The Chronicles of St. Mary’s “? It’s hysterical.
P.S. – Zadist is my favorite too.

Maryse May 16, 2018 at 11:42 AM

I have not, Mary, but I will look it up right now!! :D

*hug* to you and thank you for the recommendation and the sweet comment. I’m so glad you’ve joined us!!

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