I am not ashamed to say that the Valentine season is not the only time of year that I love a good romance book. The past few years have been stellar for the Romance genre, not only for incredible new releases, but undiscovered gems getting a new lease on life.
While having a romantic dinner or getting flowers for Valentine’s Day is wonderful, to me nothing beats curling up with a book and immersing myself in the fictional world of fantastic romance authors. So to spice up your bookshelves this season, here are my recommendations for romance novels – from romantic comedy to heartbreak, these have been some of my favourite contemporary romance reads this year.
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
This romance took me by surprise with how much I actually loved the main character. It is a fantastic romance/ romantic comedy to enjoy for an easy read. It Happed One Summer features Hollywood “It Girl” Piper Bellinger who gets cut off from her family wealth and sent away to learn the value of money and responsibility in a small Pacific Northwest Beach town.
There she bumps into the local gruff fisherman: a big, bearded sea captain named Brendan. They are opposites and in classic small town romance fashion they keep running into each other around every turn. Despite their differences there is an undeniable attraction between them. As Piper begins to connect with her past and feel more at home away from the glamourous life she always thought she wanted, she begins to think that maybe this town and Brendan may have already caught her heart.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex have nothing in common, she’s a wild child and he prefers to stay home with a book, however, after a fateful car share home from college years before they are the best of friends.
Most of the year they live apart but every summer for a decade they have gone on a weeklong vacation together — that is until two years ago when they ruined everything and stopped speaking to one another.
This is one of my favourite romance reads as it takes you back and forth between Poppy and Alex’s past and present as Poppy decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together and set things right. What could go wrong?
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This one is truly a love triangle story where you don’t know who to root for and will make you question ‘what would I do’ at every turn. In her twenties the main character Emma Blair marries the love of her life- her high school sweetheart Jessie. Their lives are full of adventure and love until Jesse tragically goes missing in a helicopter accident on their first wedding anniversary.
Emma finds herself moving back to her hometown to try and put herself back together after the loss of Jesse. Years later in her thirties Emma has finally come to terms with her grief and built a new life for herself that she never expected, including running into an old friend, Sam, and falling in love again. When Emma and Sam gets engaged she feels like it is her second chance at happiness.
But her second chance becomes a whole lot more complicated when all of a sudden Jesse returns. He has been found and is alive and has spent years trying to come home to her. Emma now faces choosing between her husband and fiancé and has to evaluate who she is now and how they both fit into her world.
This book was full of twists and turns – I smiled, I cried, and I loved every second of it.
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
I adored this book- and was surprised to find just how deeply it got to me. Told in alternating timelines this novel tells the love story of Macy and Elliot. From spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house a kids then teens sharing their favourite books, words and talking about their lives, to adults where they have a chance encounter again after a decade of being estranged. This novel takes you through the building of their deep love for one another and leaves you trying to figure out what could have possibly caused 10 years of silence and separation.
This is definitely a read for anybody who roots for true love that conquers all.
Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
I will warn you- this romance is so much more than just a romance. It is a story of grief, of love, of forgiveness and of persistence. When I finished reading this book for the first time, which I did in one day because I could not put it down, I had to start a blank wall for a while and process because this book put my emotions through the wringer. If you are willing to risk a little heartbreak with your love story then this is a phenomenal one to pick up.
The story picks up with Kenna Rowan leaving prison after serving five years for a tragic mistake. She returns to the town where it all went wrong with plans to reunite with her four-year-old daughter but everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out — regardless of how hard she works to prove herself.
The only person who hasn’t shut her out completely is the local bar owner, Ledger Ward, who also happens to be connected to Kenna’s daughter. However, if anyone were to find out how close he is becoming with Kenna both might risk losing everything that is important to them.
As their romance grows can they heal the hurts of their pasts together, or is hope just another thing that will break their hearts?