1. The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley, 2. Shipped by Angie Hockman, 3. Reel by Kennedy Ryan, 4. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun, 5. Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron, 6. Saint by Sierra Simone, 7. To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters, 8. For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes, 9. Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne, 10. One Week to Claim It All by Adriana Herrera. In the midst of global setbacks, we often seek solace and inspiration in romance novels. These stories offer us moments of joy, tenderness, and renewed hope. Here are our top ten picks for romance novels that nourish, delight, and remind us of the eternal promise of love and happiness.
- The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley
- Shipped by Angie Hockman
- Reel by Kennedy Ryan
- The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
- Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
- Saint by Sierra Simone
- To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters
- For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes
- Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
- One Week to Claim It All by Adriana Herrera
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley
Historical fiction is one of the most popular subgenres of romance, yet it may feel a little suffocated at times. Erica Ridley’s refreshing and progressive Sapphic romance about a non-binary con artist and the lovely bluestocking she pines for is not one of them.
Tommy Wynchester and Phillipa York are drawn together by an adventure centered on gaining credit for women’s accomplishments, and that portion of the novel is an absorbing frolic. The novel’s deeper themes of identity and being able to live (and be loved) completely as oneself, however, set it apart.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Perks-Loving-Wallflower-Wild-Wynchesters-ebook/dp/B08W523BG4
Photo: GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING
Video: Always Doing
Shipped by Angie Hockman
Angie Hockman made her debut in early 2021 with this workplace-travelogue romance with a tropical location that is unexpectedly emotive.
Workaholic Henley Evans is preoccupied with gaining a promotion, but things get tricky when it asks her to join her work enemy, Graeme Crawford-Collins, on a Galapagos trip. The two have instant chemistry and banter worthy of a first-rate screwball comedy, but the film also deals with themes of mourning, work-life balance, and the dangers of falling in love.
With all of the pizzazz of her profoundly resonant storytelling, Hockman provides readers with a literary vacation of the greatest order.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Shipped-Angie-Hockman-ebook/dp/B08BZWHPRV
Photo: SIMON AND SCHUSTER
Video: Caroline Johnson
Reel by Kennedy Ryan
Ryan weaves the needle through a tangled web of storylines, including on-set life, Neevah and Canon’s prior pain and current electric chemistry, and Dessi Blue’s background. But it’s her sharp depiction of chronic sickness — Neevah has lupus that makes Reel so moving. There’s a harrowing realization of the cost and fragility of living life with an open heart and the tremendous pleasures of doing so, nevertheless.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Reel-Forbidden-Hollywood-Kennedy-Ryan-ebook/dp/B091G3LF8S
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
In 2021, we had more episodes of The Bachelor franchise than we knew what to do with, but this book is the only version of the reality TV fairy-tale you’ll ever need. The Charm Offensive follows hopeless romantic producer Dev Desphande and human disaster (at least on screen) Charlie Winshaw, the franchise’s hapless new face, behind the scenes of Ever After, a fictionalized smash reality dating show.
As Dev helps Charlie overcome his anxieties and mental health issues, the two fall in love in the most swooningly beautiful of ways. It’s a sly salute to folks who adore (or despise) The Bachelor. But it’s not just the novel’s delectably clever twist on that cliche that makes us want to give it our rose; it’s also the novel’s devotion to advocating treatment, empathy, and the very real issues of mental health that makes us want to give it our rose.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Charm-Offensive-Novel-Alison-Cochrun/dp/1982170719
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Farah Heron offered romance enthusiasts the most delightful read of the year with her phony courting escapade. And we mean that in the literal sense.
Reena Manji is determined not to fall for her parents’ next matchmaking target, Nadim, who agrees to fake an engagement to help her win a couples’ cooking contest. But romance fans understand what a ridiculous objective that is. Instead, as they deconstruct their tangled connections with their families, cuisine, and love for their culture, they discover a road to a new level of openness that might make them the ideal couple.
Accidentally Engaged was as warm and welcoming as a delicious loaf of bread, and it made our mouths swim, and our hearts sing.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Accidentally-Engaged-Farah-Heron/dp/1538734982
Saint by Sierra Simone
Sierra Simone is consistently one of today’s most daring and provocative romance authors. She refuses to hold back, blazing past taboos without looking back, using the genre to examine core topics of religion, healing, and spirituality.
Saint joins that canon with the story of monk Aiden Bell and his struggle to decide which is a holy choice: his life as an austere monk or his love for Elijah Iverson. They journey together, delving into things of the heart and distinguishing the holy from the mundane. Aiden must understand the sacredness of love — both for Elijah and for himself — in order to discover his own sense of grace. And it’s a lesson that will live on in our hearts as well.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Saint-Priest-Book-Sierra-Simone-ebook/dp/B0957W54WJ
Photo: NO BIRD PRESS
Video: Novel Life
To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters
This year’s most entertaining romance novel was this incredibly funny enemies-with-benefits confection. Diana, Lady Templeton, and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, enjoy arguing with one another more than anything else. But they’re oblivious to the true cause for their witty banter — deep-seated affections for one other that bubble to the surface when they settle on a mutually advantageous relationship.
It shines with wit and paints a tongue-in-cheek image of two self-deprecating, ferociously bright people who need to improve their emotional intelligence. Reading To Love and To Loathe is like cracking a bottle of pink champagne and delving into a box of pastel bon-bons, and what more could you want?
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Martha-Waters-ebook/dp/B08BZWDPY2/ref=sr_1_1?
Video: Amanda’s Book Corner
For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes
It’s a new and relevant look at a group underserved by romance (and, more broadly, traditionally published literature), with lots of accessibility for those who are unfamiliar. But primarily, it’s an unflinching and sincere depiction of the difficulties and pleasures of allowing someone to see you, all of you and love you for it.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Love-April-French-LGBTQ-Romance-ebook/dp/B08R682XWN
Video: Always Doing
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Second First Impressions is the most understated and understated entry on this list, and that is what makes it so divine.
When Ruthie Midona is mistaken for an elderly lady by hunky-tattooed Teddy Prescott, she begins to wonder if she has become too set in her ways. Thorne is a charmingly unusual story of a lady who finds comfort in protecting herself from the outside world. There’s a sad terror here, a deep grasp of how tragedy can isolate us not just from life’s lows but also from its highs.
Thorne revels in the minutiae, the need to savor every passing moment, and in doing so provides readers with both a magnificent love tale and a manual for living life to the fullest.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/Second-First-Impressions-Sally-Thorne-ebook/dp/B07WSDRP31
Video: Kirsten’s Korner
One Week to Claim It All by Adriana Herrera
With this witty and sensual novella set in the milieu of telenovelas, Herrera reminded readers (and, most specifically, critics) to stop dismissing category romance.
Esmeralda Sambrano-Pea, an illegitimate love child, is desperate to prove herself when she unexpectedly inherits her father’s media empire. However, significant obstacles arise in the shape of her father’s protégé, Rodrigo Almanzar.
As Esme struggles with issues of trust, atonement, and devotion, the novel also addresses wider issues of colorism in the Latinx community, demonstrating that Herrera can always provide her readers with a vital mix of social commentary and hot romance.
Check Price: https://www.amazon.com/One-Week-Claim-All-Sambrano/dp/1335232958