Thursday, June 9, 2016

Recommendations: Nerdy Academic Love Interests

So, say you've read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and you realized, hey, you like the romance, you like the sex, you want more of this in YA but there aren't too many novels for you to read. Maybe you want to move up, find other romance novels.

Or maybe you, like me, like romance novels and just want recommendations. Heh, well, I'm about to have a couple of recommendation posts specific to that. Today is about the nerdy love interests and heroes & heroines!

Already people have tried answering this-- there's a Goodreads list of Guys with Glasses in Romance Novels and one of Girls who are smart, funny, and proactive and another of Nerdgasms. I haven't looked at those lists in full but I personally don't tend to use those lists, and so will be recommending some of my favorites.



Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton (contemporary romance)

When a friend recently asked me for recommendations for "romance novels with nerdy guys," this was the first one I thought of. If you're looking for a romance novel involving a cranky librarian and a confident woman (who amusingly thinks that she's living her own romance novel), this is a surefire bet-- plenty of hot times and humor to go around.

Earth Bound by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner (historical romance - a couple of decades back instead of Regency, Georgian, etc.)

Space exploration, the sexism that comes with history and being a brilliant woman in STEM, and the tense, hot dynamics between a socially awkward, fastidious, demanding supervisor and his employee (technically she has another boss, but he's someone she sort of reports to). Loooved the characterization in this one. If you like the dynamic in Screwdrivered, you'll probably like it here too (though the backdrops mean that this one has less humor than Screwdrivered).

Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran & That Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran (historical romance)

Meredith Duran is one of my favorite romance novel authors. Seriously read any book by her (I might actually write a post to that effect). But if I go with my theme of nerdy love interests & heroes/heroines, then these two sort of fit the bill on her part. Bound by Your Touch involves a socialite falling in love with a spinster scholar who lives with her father. A Scandalous Summer involves another socialite who unexpectedly meets a doctor by fainting in his bushes. Can't recommend Meredith Duran enough (though I actually some of her other books better than these--still great though!). Her characterization and writing are amazing, and everything is rendered so much more tense, steamy, etc through her great character dynamics.


Courtney Milan is yet another favorite whose books I'd highly recommend. These three, in particular, involve somewhat nerdy (somewhat bc does "nerd" still apply when you're thinking in historical constructs?) love interests and heroes/heroines. The Duchess War follows an idealist Duke looking to help the people and a girl who wants to avoid the public eye because of her past (involving chess). The Countess Conspiracy is about a woman who does brilliant science but cannot take credit for it in her time and asks her best friend to present it for her-- only people call him unnatural because of the nature of the science, and tensions erupt between the two. Unraveled is about a magistrate who has risen to his rank through hard work and dedication--he's not about to let some girl distract him. This isn't like with the first two recommendations--Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, and Meredith Duran are amazing, and I can't recommend their books more.

Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren (contemporary romance)

Christina Lauren started off with Beautiful Bastard, which was an erotica spin-off of Twilight, but have since continued writing, and this is my favorite of her (their) books. Beautiful Player is about a graduate student who overworks herself but also wants more of a sex life and turns to her brother's friend for some help with her social life. Lots of great, hilarious situations and lots of steamy interactions, and I might be a fan because I'm probably that graduate student too but ssshhhh and just enjoy the book!


As I mentioned above, Sherry Thomas is another go-to romance author of mine. Meredith Duran is my favorite for characterization-- her characters toe the line between villain & hero frequently, and their dynamics are just always so fantastic to read. Courtney Milan is great for historical characters who confront the issues of their time and are defined by their time (social justice somewhat melded into historical romance to really define the characters so that you know these characters are specific to that book instead of a cliche). Meanwhile Sherry Thomas excels at romantic angst-- the unspoken words and longing between couples and not-yet-formed couples who just need a little push to find their HEA. His at Night is about a girl who desperately needs to escape (here: through marriage) and entrap a man who is playing dumb to investigate someone else. The Luckiest Lady in London is about The Ideal Gentleman, a man who "all men want to be and all women want to possess," and whose curiosity is aroused when the heroine doesn't react to his presence. How do these fit into the "nerdy" category? Well, I admit, it's a stretch, but in particular for The Luckiest, there's a scene where husband and wife are having an astronomy and math lesson that turns interesting.

Losing It by Cora Carmack (contemporary romance) (likewise: Unteachable by Leah Raeder).

If you want a book about an academic falling in love with his student, here ya are! In Losing It, it's a theatre/drama professor, and in Unteachable, it's a high school film teacher. Losing It is a lot more light-hearted, some of its humor coming from the heroine being clumsy and awkward. Unteachable is incredibly intense because of the beautiful, poetic writing style. 


This is not actually a romance! It's a romantic contemporary. Romantic, because it's a side plot. But this series looks at a girl who joins a previously all-male secret society at an alternate version of Yale, and the hijinks and politics that follow. The romance is kind of Pride and Prejudice like and develops over the series -- it's a slow burn. The heroine has to realize that she doesn't hate the guy, that he's actually a good guy, etc. Lots of fun and lots of great dynamics between the two, esp if you're interested in romance but maybe don't want to go the whole way and read a romance novel.

The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley (historical romance) & A Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell (historical romance) were some other potential recommendations, but I'm really stretching the definition of "nerdy" here. Oh well.

So those were my romance novel with nerdy love interests and heroes/heroines. Do you think you'll ever read these novels? Do you also think that there's a huge overlap in romance novel readers and YA (I wonder if it's because both are maligned by the general public and some authors do write both?)?

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