10 Great Romance Reads for Valentine’s Day – No Matter Your Relationship Status

Written by Jenny Kobiela Mondor, Eckhart Public Library Assistant Director

No matter your relationship status on Valentine’s Day, romance novels are there for you – and we have some great books at Eckhart Public Library to get you in the mood for the most romantic of holidays!

Romance Novels – Defined:

Romance novels must have two things – a love story, and a happy ending. That’s it! Romances can take place in the past, the present, or the future. They can feature supernatural creatures. They can include an element of mysteries or thrillers. They can take place in outer space or a fantasy world. They can be sweet or spicy – or sometimes both at the same time! 

Ten Excellent Romances for Valentine’s Day (Or Any Day): 

“A Princess in Theory” by Alyssa Cole (Book 1 in the Reluctant Royals series)

"A Princess in Theory" by Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole’s delightful Reluctant Royals series starts out with “A Princess in Theory” – the story of a seemingly scammy email that ends in true love. NYC grad student Naledi Smith keeps getting messages that she’s betrothed to an African prince. She ignores them, like any good internet citizen, but it turns out that she really is the missing fiance to Prince Tabiso, sole heir to the throne of Thesolo. Once they meet, the sparks start to fly! Note: The Readers Delight Book Club plans to read this book for Read a Romance Month in August! Readers Delight meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Jeremiah’s in downtown Auburn, and features cozy books with happy endings. 

Audiobook available now via Hoopla!

“Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors” by Sonali Dev

"Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors" by Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev takes elements of the beloved Jane Austen classic “Pride & Prejudice,” swaps the genders of the leads, sets it in San Francisco, and mixes it up with Indian American flavors. The result is the story of a snobby neurosurgeon, an up-and-coming chef, and the way that their culture clashes turn into true love. Dev takes some of the best elements of Austen’s story and creates a delicious treat that everybody can enjoy. Just be sure to order some Indian food before you start reading, because this book will make you hungry!

“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang

"The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang

Stella Lane understands math in a way I could never hope to, but when it comes to love, she’s lost. Stella decides that what she needs is a little practice. She finds it – she thinks – in the form of escort Michael Phan. In a delightful example of a fake relationship turned very, very real, Stella and Michael navigate their relationship with humor, heart, and a lot of spice! Warning: This book is almost impossible to put down!

Audiobook available now via Hoopla!

“Forbidden” by Beverly Jenkins (Book 1 in the Old West series)

"Forbidden" by Beverly Jenkins

Ms. Bev, as she’s known in the romance community, writes romance in several subgenres, but her historical romances are chock-full of compelling characters and brimming with American stories that have been largely left out of our history books. In “Forbidden,” she tells the sizzling love story of former slave Rhine and Eddy, the beautiful woman he rescues from the desert, and teaches us a thing or two about the black and biracial people who helped settle the Old West. 

E-book and audiobook available now via Hoopla!

“Wicked and the Wallflower” by Sarah MacLean (Book 1 in the Bareknuckle Bastards series)

"Wicked and the Wallflower" by Sarah MacLean

Sarah MacLean writes steamy regency romance with exceptionally strong female characters. The first book in her Bareknuckle Bastards features wallflower Lady Felicity Faircloth, who enlists the help of Devil, the bastard son of a nobleman, to find her a husband. Felicity realizes that the man she really wants is Devil, but Devil is conflicted between his plan to use Felicity to ruin a nobleman’s life and his desire for her. The plot twists and turns as the compelling hero and heroine hurtle toward their happily-ever-after.

Audiobook available now via Hoopla!

“Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

"Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

Widely considered one of the best books of 2019 (capturing honors from Library Journal, Kirkus, NPR, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the American Library Association, among others), Casey McQuiston’s debut novel tells the heartwrenchingly sweet story of First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz and his relationship with Henry, Prince of Wales. After their mutual dislike causes problems, the fake friendship cooked up for the cameras becomes something much deeper. It is an absolute delight from cover to cover.

“Polaris Rising” by Jessie Mihalik (Book 1 in the Consortium Rebellion series)

"Polaris Rising" by Jessie Mihalik

Yes, even sci-fi can be romance. Space opera romance “Polaris Rising” tells the story of Ada von Hasenberg, a princess who takes off on a daring adventure among the stars with the dangerous – and dangerously attractive – Marcus Loch, an alleged murderer. While the story is heavy on the drama and light on the science, readers who like their adventures in outer space, or who wish that “Star Wars” had more smooching, will be thrilled by this book. 

“The Duke & I” by Julia Quinn (Book 1 in the Bridgertons series)

"The Duke and I" by Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn is the queen of historical romantic comedy, and she made a name for herself with the delightful Bridgertons series. The first book in the series finds Daphne Bridgerton in a fake engagement to Simon, Duke of Hastings. Anybody who has read a romance novel knows how fake relationships turn out, but the journey is well worth it, as you get to meet the delightful Bridgerton clan – who all get their happily-ever-afters in subsequent books! Need an extra incentive to read “The Duke & I”? It will be the basis of the first season of the Shondaland show “Bridgertons” on Netflix later this year! 

“Unmasked by the Marquess” by Cat Sebastian (Book 1 in the Regency Imposters series)

"Unmasked by the Marquess" by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian takes a particular regency trope – a boy who is secretly a woman – and turns it on its head in “Unmasked by the Marquess.” Housemaid Charity Church has enjoyed her years posing as Robert Selby in order to find Robert’s sister an advantageous match, but when she starts a relationship with a proper marquess, all bets are off. The relationship between these unconventional and stubborn people – and Cat Sebastian’s sweet, witty style – makes this a wonderfully cozy read.

Audiobook available now via Hoopla!

“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne

"The Hating Game" by Sally Thorne

Enemies to lovers is always a popular trope, and few books go from such deep distaste to such glorious attraction as “The Hating Game.” Lucy and Joshua are executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company, and while they’re both great at their jobs, they also spend a not-insignificant amount of their workdays trying to intimidate each other. When they’re both up for a promotion, their games increase in intensity – but things also start to change between them. The book is full of tension and teasing, making it an incredibly fun read. And, bonus, the book is soon being made into a movie starring Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell! 

E-book and audiobook available now via Hoopla!

About Jenny

I am the Associate Director of Eckhart Public Library. My office is in the Administrative Annex, but I can often be found roaming the Eckhart Public Library Campus, performing acts of librarianship in every department! I love to read and learn about history. I'm also a huge fan of movies, TV and pop culture in general, and I love to read books of all types. Currently, I'm working my way around the romance section, with some historical fiction and graphic novels thrown in for variety! But you never know what I'm going to pick up next.
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