I came across Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words randomly and decided to give it a chance because I was in a good mood. The book cover gave rom-com vibes and that was enough for me. Sometimes, you just have to pick up books on a whim and see if it pays off.

This book totally paid off.

about Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words

Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words book cover

Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when I decided to entertain my drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, I never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that I admitted my huge crush on my sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s how my podcast, Heidi’s Discount Erotica, was born.

Now I, Heidi Larsen, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, I find myself embracing my new alter ego more and more. Now I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and do things I never would have dreamed of - like kissing my neighbor.

Look out, Waconia, because Heidi’s on the loose! She’s in your ears, in your hearts, and down your pants...wait, that didn’t sound as good as it did in my head. Well, you get the picture, don’tcha know!

my review

I had no idea about the book going in. If I had known that it tackles romance genre love and sexual liberty I would have picked it up much sooner. Adding on entertaining family members, relatable awkwardness around a crush, and oversharing with the internet, the book is a whole bundle.

I. Am. Stuck. I want more out of my life. I want fun and excitement and passion, and I thought I was taking the steps to getting all of that.

Heidi is a very relatable character. She is crushing on her neighbour and is not confident enough to do anything about it. So one day she gets drunk and records a podcast episode just talking about her life and it marks the start of a personal journey.

As she continues with the podcast, it basically records her growth and journey to becoming confident. She does this through reading romance novels where women take charge of their love lives and are in tune with their sexual self.

While it is marketed as a romance book, Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words is actually a book about growth and taking charge of life. There is simply a romance that happens on the sidelines but it is not the main feature.

I really liked seeing Heidi changing throughout the book and pushing herself towards becoming the person she wants to be. She has to regularly do things that she is uncomfortable with but she takes them on like a champ and comes through.

I want them to see someone who's strong, confident, sexy, bold, and fearless. And I want to feel those things within myself as well.

The major theme of the book is sexuality. Heidi's parents never gave her a proper talk about sex and she has been quite sexually repressed which influences her confidence in dating.

Discovering romance books that have explicit scenes on-page showing women who know what they want inspires Heidi to push herself out of her comfort zone. She is not even able to say explicit words so she starts with that and slowly develops confidence.

The book properly discusses why being confident about what one wants sexually is important and how it affects relationships otherwise. We also get to see how parents can do a better job at raising people who are not shy about their bodies.

While subtly discussing this, the authors also show how romance & erotica books can help people learn that there is nothing wrong with being open about personal sexuality. They can help in finding out what one wants, improving relationship with one's partner, and can be liberating.

Heidi had a bad impression of the romance and erotica genres but after reading one book, she is hooked and understands that the books are so much more than their widespread reputation. The books inspire her to be more open and try new things.

Romance books literally start her journey to becoming who she wants. And honestly? The romance genre totally deserves that reputation.

Related post: 10 Very Underrated Romance Books to Read

These books... I had no idea. I thought they were just about the dirty stuff with no storyline and no plot but they aren't. They're so much more. The women in these books, they take charge of their own lives and learn to ask for what they want. It's so empowering.

One thing that I really appreciated was how the book showed that a makeover isn't a requirement for growth and confidence. You can be yourself, however you are, and feel confident and attractive. They are not equal to wearing dresses and high heels.

Growth and confidence follow when you push out of your comfort zone and try to become who you want to be. Not who everyone says you should be. It's something internal. While a makeover works for some people, it is not a part of the process for everyone.

After reading tons of romance books where the woman breaks out of her shell after a makeover and then gets her guy, this book was refreshing.

I need to stop thinking that being called spirited and enthusiastic are insults. I like who I am for the most part. I don't want to change into a completely different person. I just need to find a way to be spirited, enthusiastic AND courageous.

The romance was very sweet. As I said earlier, it is a small part of the story and is not the main feature. But whatever we did get was adorable and heartwarming.

Brent and Heidi take time to date and bond. It is not something that happens in a short time. There is gradual growth with a lot of communication. And there are enough cutesy scenes to swoon over.

March your ass over to his house and ask him what the hell is up. Communicate. Say it with me, Heidi. Talk. To. Him.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone looking for a good book that is light on romance and focuses on personal growth.

It is a romance comedy too, by the way! I laughed out loud in multiple parts and it left me really happy at the end. It was one of my best books of 2021.

let's chat!

Have you read Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words? Or any other book that tackles similar themes?

Do you think being aware of sex (more than the basic concept) and knowing personal preferences affects confidence and relationships? Would you agree with me that romance books help us understand what to expect and what we want?

stay wordy, Sumedha
photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

Be wordy with me!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • vcreative says:

    Ahh this is what I would love to see in a book. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR ? thanks for sharing and this plot sounds like just the kinda book I was hoping to read one day.. thanks for sharing

    Reply ➔
  • Lisa's Notebook says:

    I haven't read this book or come across the author but I love it when a random, spur of the moment, impulse buy turns out to be such a good read - great that you enjoyed it and it sounds like a fab book!

    Reply ➔
  • CristinaR says:

    Love the sound of this book! I enjoy reading rom cons but sometimes you need something more and personal growth and talk about sexuality, you sold me on this! Just added it to my TBR! Thanks for sharing x

    Reply ➔
  • Nick @ The Infinite Limits of Love says:

    I love the premise of this book because I discovered everything about sex from romance novels first. I also love the idea of the podcast and how this is a story of growth for the MC without her having to undercover a makeover. I think I've seen the audiobook on either Scribd or Audible Plus. I'll check it out!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Same! I accidentally picked up an adult romance and was slightly scandalised haha. But it definitely helped because being totally naive is not good. I hope you like it!

      Reply ➔
  • Jenny in Neverland says:

    Romantic comedy, sexual liberty and personal growth? This definitely sounds like my sort of read! Thank you for sharing. I love it when you don't really have any expectations of a book you pick up and it ends up being brilliant! x

    Reply ➔
  • thecritiquesofafangirl says:

    Oooo this book sounds really interesting and like a great read! It’s definitely being added to my TBR!
    Great review ?

    Reply ➔
  • gemmaajaynee says:

    I have not heard of this book before but it does sound like it would be a read for me! I love a bit of rom com books, and this one as you have described seems great on a woman's personal journey with confidence and her own personal sexuality. I will be adding this to my list of books to buy next so thank you 🙂 xx

    Reply ➔