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Best Romance Novels

Updated: Jan 10

Romance Novels are gaining popularity as readers flock to the genre for a multitude of reasons. Many simply enjoy losing themselves in fiction, getting swept up in the moment, or they may use it to fill voids or learn more about what they want from a relationship.

Authors are also aware of the stigma of walking around with a book that has a cover that oozes sex appeal, so there has been quite a shift in how the books are presented. Yes, you'll still find the Fabio-like models on some, but we are seeing that many of the covers are now toned down (often using drawings or general images) in order to appeal to the reader that doesn't want to broadcast the content of what they are reading when out in public.

Several books stacked up on the arm of a red couch
Best Romance Novels

This list of Best Romance Novels offers a broad range of options - romance novels that will make you laugh, cry, and fall in love all over again. A few of them have very spicy scenes (I've indicated which ones) so be aware as you read through. Many of the authors mentioned below have multiple books under their belts and I encourage you to look at additional work beyond the ones that I've selected.

Let's start with an oldie but goodie: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. This romance novel shows how amazing young love can be by telling the story of a High School romance. It's innocent and pure with Landon falling for the minister's daughter, Jaime, after asking her out to the homecoming dance. Strong family message with a very emotional storyline. While the message was positive, I did shed tears.

If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you'll find more books books here: Best Nicholas Sparks Books

Fireproof by Eric Wilson is also an older book - one that I just discovered. It turns out that this was a movie before it was adapted into a romance novel. The storyline flowed so well with action and drama that I read this in one sitting. Catherine and Caleb (a firefighter) have been married 7 years, but the fire has gone out (see what I did there?!?! Lol). Caleb's dad encourages Caleb to commit to a 40 day "Love Dare" to try to save his marriage.

I discovered a slew of books with a firefighter focus this year - read more in Firefighter Romance Novels.

The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle is also a very wholesome love story. It features a juxtaposition of the happiness found in life long love with the harrowing emptiness of being a widow. Although there is sadness in the book, the overall theme is very positive, focusing on the family unit, friendships, falling in love again, dreaming and moving forward. I love the blend between different generations in the characters with Amanda (a young widow raising Hailey and Jesse) becoming fast friends with Maeve, who is much older.

Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by the marvelous writing duo known as Christina Lauren has a #SlowBurn (when the characters romantic interest takes days, months or years to develop). Hazel has a larger than life personality. Josh is equally fun. They knew each other in college and now 10 years later they become close friends NOT dating. Lots of laughs from me on this one!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang features a brilliant economist with Asperger's, Stella, taking charge of her life. She's got minimal experience with dating and sex so she decides to hire Michael, an escort, to teach her. It had the right amount of awkwardness mixed in with fun. Please note that this romance novel is pretty spicy.

Opps, I've Fallen by Max Monroe has an #oppositesAttract theme. After an awkward first encounter, Carly and Ryan realize they are going to be temporary neighbors as they each assist their parent at a Senior Living Community. After butting heads, they eventually align … but then find out their parents are getting married. This is another "spicy romance."

A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings is another slow burn romance. Harper is in her final year of school for oral surgery and her life is completely in order. Until she meets Dan. She's not sure how to handle her feelings with this first year dental student so she tries to push them down. Great book for laughter, strong / smart female characters, and friendships. Spice level is pretty high.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood has the classic Fake Dating trope. I love that the characters are highly intelligent and somewhat awkward. Olive and Adam (aka Dr. Carlsen by everyone else) have a fun banter between them. Their characters genuinely have good intentions and care about each other and their friends - it was refreshing. Again, another spicy novel.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover is the #NoStringsAttached scenario. Alternating between present day and six years prior, Colleen brings the reader into two blossoming relationships and the love, lust, pain, and hardships that are experienced in both. This romance novel is very spicy and one piece of it is emotional. No romance list would be complete without a CoHo Romance!

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez is the RomCom that you can't pass up. In addition to being a great romance, it also made me laugh out loud (um, hello, a pig named Kevin Bacon??). Polar opposites in every way, Alexis (ER Doctor) and Daniels world's collide. They can't bear to be apart, but they are so vastly different that it seems impossible to make this relationship work long term. This book also deals with many forms of abuse (mental and physical) in a very well done manner (not graphic). I love that through this book, Abby has let victims know that they are not alone while simultaneously showing ways for friends to help.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is also a great read. I'll admit that I judged it by its title at first and wasn't sure that I would be interested (I am not one to care about celebrities in real life, so I wasn't sure if I could get into it in fiction). But following Evelyn's life over the decades of her stardom and through her multiple love affairs was actually pretty fun! I love that she owned her actions - right or wrong - never passing blame on others. And Monique Grant interviewing her is genius! It ended up being a great book to discuss within my neighborhood book club.

I hope that this list has given you more books to add to your TBR list! If you've read a few of them, I'd love to hear from you as to which ones you liked! Hope you all find love in your life and in your books :)

Need more book recommendations? Try these blog posts:

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