For anyone craving some love this Valentine’s Day, reading a romance novel with characters that set utterly unrealistic expectations is undeniably the way to go. This list features everything from YA to fantasy, set to satiate your thirst for swoon-worthy romance.
“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren
“I knew he was a book lover, but to be the same kind of book lover I am? It makes my insides melt.”
In “The Unhoneymooners,” Olive and the best man, aka her nemesis, Ethan, are the only two people who don’t get food poisoning at her twin’s wedding. With the bride and groom sick to their stomachs, an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii is Olive and Ethan’s for the taking. But when they run into a prospective boss and an ex-girlfriend, the two are faced with spending much more time with another than they had originally planned. Taking the trope of fake dating to the extreme, Olive and Ethan pretend to be newlyweds, which, of course, is much easier said than done.
The story is captivating, not just because of the hilarity of their situation, but also because it continues the tale when Ethan and Olive get home, giving readers a fun extended epilogue of sorts.
It wasn’t until I skimmed through the acknowledgments that I realized this book was not a one-woman job. Christina Lauren is actually a book-writing duo — something you don’t see all that often!
“10 Blind Dates” by Ashley Elston
“’Is there no privacy in this family?’ Everyone at the table answers, ‘No.’”
If you’re looking for a cutesy romance novel, “10 Blind Dates” will surely deliver.
After Sophie’s long-term boyfriend unexpectedly calls things off, she heads to her nonna’s house, only to find her massive extended family there, ready to cheer her up. Their plan involves aunts, uncles and cousins setting her up on 10 blind dates over the course of winter break. Some are wicked cool, others not so much.
Perhaps even more compelling than Sophie’s journey toward love is her reconnecting with her endearing family and friends.
“From Blood and Ash” by Jennifer L. Armentrout
“When you listen to me, I think the stars will fall.”
Poppy has been destined to be the maiden since birth. That means a life of solitary, spent preparing to be deemed worthy by the gods. But when golden-eyed Hawke, a guard honor-bound to protect her, enters the picture, her yearning for more only intensifies. He encourages her to question the role she’s been sentenced to and tempts her with the unimaginable.
“From Blood and Ash” is filled with fighting, monsters, irresistible banter and jaw-dropping plot twists — everything you could want and more.
“Love and Other Words” by Christina Lauren
“Relief and anguish pulse heavily in my blood. I’ve wanted to see him every day. But also, I never wanted to see him again.”
Of course, I had to throw another Christina Lauren novel into the mix. They are guaranteed to make you feel all the butterflies.
“Love and Other Words” is a heart-wrenching story of childhood friends turned lovers, told in alternating timelines. A perfect selection for lovers of literature, the pair’s bond grows over exchanged books and favorite words. The plot unfolds when Macy, an engaged pediatrician, runs into Elliot, the love of her life, after a decade of silence.
If you’re looking for more than just cheesy romance, this angsty tale of love and loss might be right up your alley.
“Dance of Thieves” by Mary E. Pearson
“Choose your words carefully, even the words you think, because they become seeds, and seeds become history.”
Set in the world of Pearson’s bestselling “Remnant Chronicles,” “Dance of Thieves” is full of fantasy and political intrigue. The book is the first of a duology, meaning it doesn’t require much commitment, but still manages to illustrate a complex and fantastical world.
Kazi, a former pickpocket now working for the queen, is sent to investigate the uncooperative Ballenger empire. She doesn’t want anything to do with the new successor, Jase Ballenger, and likewise, he despises Kazi and her agenda. Yet, the pair find themselves simultaneously thrust into conflict and total infatuation.
The couple’s chemistry is off-the-charts, and the beauty of “Dance of Thieves” is that several side characters also have their shot at love. Not to mention the charming family dynamic of the Ballenger clan, showcasing a different type of love.