When I find myself getting too lost in complex fantastical fictional worlds or twisted dark thrillers, I always read a romance novel right after to bring me back to reality. Romance books are arguably the easiest genre to get through, but with so many out there, it’s just as easy to get lost in the possibilities, not to mention the stigma or side-eye glance some people will give you if you’re reading a book with a shirtless man and helpless maiden on the cover.
We’re here to take the stigma away from romance books. It’s OK to read romance! Embrace the cheesiness, settle in, and take a break from reality with two characters who definitely totally met like that and of course have a perfect job and apartment. We’re kidding—the great thing about modern romance books is how much more realistic they’re getting, allowing the story to pull you in while the passion keeps you wanting to turn the pages. Whether you’re looking to pursue the genre seriously or just as a simple hobby, we promise you the romance books below are sure to captivate you. And if our stamp of approval isn’t enough, you can rest easy knowing every single book on this list came highly recommended by millions of readers on Goodreads.
20 Romance Books That Will Make You Believe in Love Again
From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes another romantic comedy about Chloe Green—a girl set out for valedictorian before someone gets in her way. After Shara Wheeler, the principal's perfect progeny, kisses Chloe, Shara vanishes. But Chloe wants to win fair and square, so she sets out untangle Shara's trail of clues and find her. But will she find something else she didn't even know she was looking for?
I strongly believe in reading seasonally, so that means darker books in the winter/fall and lighthearted stories in the spring/ summer. Books by Emily Henry are an exception. No matter what time of year it is, they are sure to make you feel good. Nora Stephens, a literary agent, is spending her summer away in Sunshine Falls, but she keeps running into Charlie Lastra, a brooding editor from back in the city. When they are thrown together time and time again throughout the summer, they discover that the stories they have written about themselves (and about each other) are quickly unraveling.
After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out except for Ledger Ward, a local bar owner. The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk.
Both Skye and Maya got their heart broken by now-famous Jordy. When they are invited (along with four more of his ex girlfriends) onto a reality show called Second-Chance Romance, Skye hopes to rekindle her romance and Maya hopes to get revenge on Jordy. But what Skye and Maya navigate through during the competition is nothing close to what they set out for.
Indigo Clark is an accomplished, independent woman—all she needs is a partner to share her life with. Feeling the pressure to get into a long-term relationship, she books her calendar full of dates with potential suitors that can handle her busy schedule and get along with her friends (especially her best friend, Nate). When none of them are as good in real life as they are on paper, Indigo must finally admit that what's meant for her might have been in front of her all along.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes another rom-com. This time, scientists Bee and Levi are forced to work on a project together, and only time will tell if this will warrant explosive results or be the best thing thats happened to Bee's love life and career in a long time.
These days, there's nothing between Brad and Celine other than petty insults and academic rivalry. That's until they are forced to work together as a team for a survival course in the woods. In this story, Brad and Celine trudge through their messy past (and the mud) to remember the good parts of their history.
Told in alternating timelines between then and now, this story follows Macy and Elliot. As teenagers, they were each other's entire world, but it's been 10 years since then. As total strangers with unanswered questions and broken hearts, they reunite to finally understand what happened to their all-consuming love.
Bea Schumacher is a plus-sized fashion blogger whose guilty pleasure is a cheesy dating reality show called Main Squeeze. When she gets the opportunity to be the star, she vows to not catch feelings at all. Turns out, the show was a lot more serious than television depicted it to be.
Knox prefers to live his life alone and without drama. But when Naomi, a runaway bride, arrives to Knox's rough-around-the-edges town to rescue her estranged twin, Knox gets tangled up in her problems. He sets out to quickly help her get out of trouble so he can go back to his own quiet life, but as all good rom-coms go, that plan doesn't go the way either of them expected.
Nine years ago, Vivi Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, sad music, bubble baths, and a curse on her horrible ex. The curse should have been harmless. After all, it wasn’t real. However, when the aforementioned ex (who’s still just as annoyingly gorgeous as he was a decade ago) finally returns to Graves Glen, things start to go off the rails almost immediately.
Sam Brandis was Tate Jones' first love and first heartbreak. When they met on vacation abroad, Tate trusted Sam with her biggest secret, but after vacation ended, Sam revealed it to the world. Fourteen years later, Tate only thinks about Sam once in a blue moon—until she is set to star in the movie he wrote. Forced to confront him, Tate realizes that he might have done the wrong thing for the right reason and that "once in a lifetime" might just happen twice for them.
In Swear on This Life, a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, and struggling writer, Emiline, is reluctant to read it. Yet from the moment she reads the first page, she is entranced by the story. As it turns out, J. Colby is Jase, the best friend and first love she hasn't seen in over a decade, and he wrote about their childhood together from her perspective. Emiline is set out to confront him, but is she ready to learn the truth about what happened to them all those years ago?
Ana Huang, TikTok sensation and USA Today bestselling author, has delivered the series of the century. And no, we're not being dramatic. Twisted Love is the first of four books, and it starts as a steamy romance between Alex Volkov and his best friends sister, Ava Chen. They are total opposites, but for some reason, they can't resist their steamy attraction to one another even if it means they risk everything they hold dear to them.
Lydia loses the love of her life in a tragic accident, and as she attempts to reenter the world, she’s given a chance to be reunited with her lost love. But what happens when her two lives are within two completely different worlds? This romance story is sure to have you turning page after page.
This novel tells an unforgettable coming-of-age story about female friendship and queer love in a Muslim-American community in the 1980s. It follows Razia as she confronts stereotypes, struggles to balance her culture, practice her faith, and realize her desire to be her true self.
It's your classic enemies-to-lovers, fake-wedding-date story—but with a few twists and turns. Catalina Martín is bringing her coworker Aaron—whom she hates—to her sister’s wedding in her Spanish hometown. If you’re into a slow-burning romance, this one is definitely for you.
The attraction between Dominic and Sloane is... undeniably sexy. But it's also off-limits—at least that was their intention. Dominic Alexander is Sloane Kent's late husband's best friend, and for the last 12 years, he has annoyed her beyond belief. But why does that make Sloane feel all the things she swore to never feel for another man? Trust us, this story about forbidden love and love after loss is one you're not going to be able to put down.
If you loved The Time Traveler's Wife and Oona Out of Order, you're going to love Twice in a Lifetime. The last thing Isla expects is to meet an actual romantic prospect, but when she receives a text from a man who claims to be her husband from the future, she can hardly fathom what's happening. Ewan reveals that they are no longer together and that he is trying to save their future, but all Isla wants to do is learn to be happy with her life right now. The only problem is that the steps she's taking now might be leading her further away from what could be a happier future with Ewan.
After a close encounter with death, Chloe Brown vows to live her life to the fullest extent possible, mistakes and all. With a list full of adventures, she enlists major hottie Redford ‘Red’ Morgan to assist her. This modern-classic romance novel has it all, from killer chemistry to steamy passion.