This week’s prompt is:
Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie
Since it’s a Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie and I’m a romance reader, it made sense to talk about my Top Ten favorite romance novels. Is it a little on the nose? Maybe, but I love gushing about these books so HERE YOU GO! Also, it was really hard narrowing this down to just 10 books, so I tried to pick a few across some different romance subgenres.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The Hating Game lives rent free inside my heart. When I think that I almost didn’t read it way back when because it was written in the first person present tense and I was like “ew, I hate this writing style.” Silly me.
M/F contemporary romance, romantic comedy, enemies to lovers, office romance
Work For It by Talia Hibbert
Work For It has some of the absolute BEST mental health rep I’ve ever read in any book, ever. This is also my go-to rec when people ask for a book that’s going to just rip their heart out. Get some tape or glue, because you’re going to have to piece that thing back together like it’s a jigsaw puzzle once this book is done shattering it.
M/M contemporary romance, angst, mental illness rep
Any Rogue Will Do by Bethany Bennett
I still can’t believe this is Bethany Bennett’s debut novel! I loved this book so much it immediately went onto my favorites list. It’s so hard to choose, there are SO MANY good historical romances, honorable mentions to basically anything by Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacLean, Lenora Bell, Vivienne Lorrett, among others… But I can’t wait for the next book in this series, so today it made my list!
M/F historical romance, Regency romance, enemies to lovers, fake relationship
Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey
I’ve reread this book at least half a dozen times. Really the entire Elemental Masters series is gold, as are most of the books in Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms series. If you love fairy tale retellings, you really can’t go wrong with any of the books in either of these series – but this is the best one.
M/F historical fantasy romance
Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
One of my favorite books (plays?) is Cyrano de Bergerac, and Love in the Afternoon has strong Cyrano vibes which I ADORE. Plus, I love a good enemies to lovers + mistaken identities mash-up! My two favorite tropes, all in one book. *dreamy sigh*
M/F historical romance, Regency romance, enemies to lovers, mistaken identities
Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid
Look, this cover is… not great. Please don’t let that stop you though, this book is SO GOOD. Heated Rivalry is what got me hooked on hockey romance, and willing to give sports romances in general a fair shake. I can’t get enough of Shane and Ilya, and the little cameos of Ilya in the other books in the series are just *chef’s kiss*.
M/M contemporary romance, enemies to lovers, sports (hockey), opposites attract, secret romance
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I adore this book. If you’ve seen the Miyazaki film adaption and haven’t read the original book, you’re sorely missing out! Howl’s Moving Castle is definitely one of my comfort reads, and I read at at least once per year.
YA Fantasy romance
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient was also really good, and I’m really looking forward to The Heart Principle, but Esme just really ran away with my heart in this book.
M/F contemporary romance, marriage of convenience, neurodivergent MC
A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole
This whole series is fire. A Prince on Paper is book 3 and yes, it’s really better if you read it in order (don’t forget the novellas, where are also amazing!) I loved the first book, and then each subsequent book somehow managed to be even better, which is just mind-blowing. This is also the book I want to force people to read when they say romance novel are “just porn.” It deals with so many really deep issues (blended families, death of a parent, emotional abuse, gender identity and coming out, toxic/abusive relationships…) And it’s all handled so delicately and deftly while also telling this explosively hot but also really soft and butterflies fluttering romance and I just… *mind blown*
M/F contemporary romance, fake relationship, this book is my everything
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
Look, these two nerds conduct an experiment to see if 1) making Sebastian over into a rake and 2) having him express interest in Grace will 3) improve her popularity and land her a husband. And they’re so smart but also so clueless, this book is amazing. And also super hot.
M/F historical romance, Regency romance, fake relationship, friends to lovers, nerds
There you have it! My Top Ten Romance Novels… as much as I can possibly narrow it down to JUST 10. There are so many more great romance novels, but these 10 I keep coming back to again and again.
Do you read romance? What would your Top Ten look like? Let me know in the comments, or link me to your post!