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16 Romantic Reads: My Favorite Love Stories

It’s no secret that I totally love a good romance book.

The term “romance novel” has a lot of baggage (anyone else imagine hot pink books or covers with shirtless men on them?), but I’m not looking for true romance novels – I just want a good book that includes a love story.

(Side note: one of the classes I took in graduate school was about genre reading, so the professor – a small, quiet man in his 60s with a big bushy mustache – brought in a huge box of Harlequin romances and had us each choose one to read. It was such an amusing surprise to realize he owned literally 50 of them for this class).

Anyway, over the past decade or so, I’ve amassed a list of favorite romantic reads (many of them in the young adult category). If you’re looking for a list of the best romance books with a good love story, try one of these out and let me know what you think!

best romance books

16 of the best romance books I’ve read

ive got your number bookI’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella – I have got to reread this book because I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so much during a book. That Sophie Kinsella, she usually hits all my funny bones (except for Wedding Night which was so ridiculously bad I wanted to cry instead of laugh). This one is about a woman who loses her engagement ring and will do almost anything, including take over someone else’s phone, to get it back. (Full review here)

 

 

to all the boys i've loved before bookTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – This is probably the series I’ve talked about more than any other book in the history of my blog. I think this YA trilogy is just so sweet and charming and the movie coming out last year on Netflix just made me love it MORE. (Full review here).

 

 

 

what alice forgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – I’ve read this once twice and I loved it possibly even more the second time. I mean, what’s not to like about a story that follows a woman who hits her head and when she wakes up, instead of the first pregnancy and happy marriage she remembers, finds that ten years she doesn’t remember have passed and her marriage is on the brink of collapse. (Full review here)

 

 

GracelingGraceling by Kristin Cashore – I didn’t think I could really fall in love with a guy named Po. I was so wrong. And I’m usually not even super into fantasy, but this one was REALLY fun, where certain people, called Gracelings, have a specific special power. (Full review here)

 

 

 

my double life bookMy Double Life by Janette Rallison – I went on a Rallison binge when Ella was nursing about a hundred hours a day, and they are all just the perfect fun YA books. This one is about a girl who has been told her whole life that she looks just like a famous pop star and then gets the opportunity to work as that celebrity’s double. And, of course, discover that fame isn’t all its cracked up to be.

 

 

City of BonesCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare – Bart and I watched the movie a few years after it came out and it was surprisingly good, but just nowhere near as good as the book which had me laughing aloud while I drove back and forth to school in 2009. (Full review here)

 

 

 

something borrowed bookSomething Borrowed by Emily Giffin – I don’t recommend her books often because they are at the edge of what I’m comfortable suggesting to other people, but. . . .I totally love this one. (I haven’t seen the movie. Was it terrible? It kind of looked terrible).

 

 

 

notes from the midnight driver bookNotes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick – I love all of his books, but this one hasn’t been as widely popular as some of his others. I love a romance from a teen boy’s perspective. You know, just to change things up a bit.

 

 

 

Dairy Queen bookDairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock – I read the whole trilogy a couple of years ago and then re-listened to it all in December. I love D.J. for being an out-of-the-ordinary main character (she works on her family’s cow farm and also ends up going out for her football team. Which might get in the way of her possible romance with the quarterback of the rival football team).

 

 

this lullaby bookThis Lullaby by Sarah Dessen – Long-time readers know I love Sarah Dessen. The year I discovered her, I read all her books. This one, I’ve read twice.

 

 

 

 

edenbrookeEdenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson – I’ll be the first to admit that regency romances aren’t my usual genre (like . . . at all), but when Ralphie tells you to read a book, you do what she says. And then you send her texts saying, “You were so right. I owe you my first born child for this recommendation.” (Full review here).

 

 

 

one true lovesOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Imagine if the love of your life died in a plane crash and then, when you’d finally moved on, it turned out he wasn’t dead at all. I stayed up WAYYYYY too late reading this one. (Full review here).

 

 

 

if i stayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman – This is my most often recommended YA book. It’s just. . . . so good. Prepare to do some sobbing, if you have any sort of heart at all. (Full review here)

 

 

 

 

saving francesca bookSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta – I read books by Melina Marchetta and think, “90% of the other people writing YA should just give up immediately.” (She also wrote the insanely good Jellicoe Road).

 

 

 

attachments rainbow rowellAttachments by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve read this book multiple times and I just love it every time, about a computer guy who falls in love with a woman he’s never met when their office system flags her emails and they show up for him to review. (Full review here).

 

 

 

these is my wordsThese is My Words by Nancy E. Turner – Gotta finish off with this ridiculously fantastic book. I hate westerns and I hate diary-style books. But I still loved this book more than I ought to admit. (Full review here).

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

And of course if you have a favorite romance book with a wonderful love story, you KNOW I want you to tell about it. I have about 10 open spots on my library holds that obviously need to be filled immediately.

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51 Comments

  1. I love that you have these is my words on this list. Probably my favorite book of all time. I also really loved what Alice forgot. Thanks for the recommendations! I will definitely be checking out the rest of these books.

  2. I have read and loved most of the books on your list, but I adore Graceling. It's queued up on my ipad from the library to reread. I love the whole trilogy, but the first was the absolute best.

  3. The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay was wonderfully romantic. It's historical fiction.

    I've also enjoyed How to Bake a Perfect Life and The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal….both romantic reads (and they have food themes…how could you go wrong?!).

  4. I have to confess – I have never read a Sarah Dessen book, even though I've only heard good things. I guess, in general, I prefer my books to be either fantasy or historical fiction or SOMETHING along with my romance. But! I put a hole on This Lullaby because it is February after all.

  5. The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite love stories. Have you read it? This is a great list; I'm adding a lot of these to my own reading list now!

  6. I just read What Alice Forgot and loved loved loved it, I am kicking myself for not picking it up sooner! My friend just gave me Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson and it has been a fun romantic read for February.

    1. Love These is my Words!! I rarely re-read books but have read it twice and definitely will again. Sarah and Jack – sigh!

  7. Something Borrowed (the movie) wasn't too bad. I loved John Krasinski, he was the best part of the movie. Have you read the second book? I got two chapters in and put it down. Too far out there for me.

  8. First, I heart Po. Swoon! Second, I feel the same way you do about Melina Marchetta. I told someone once that her books are like a punch to the gut, but in the best way possible.

  9. I love (!!!!) Saving Francesca so much. Melina Marchetta is my favorite. I don't really consider myself a romance reader, but I have read quite a few of these (also really love What Alice Forgot and Graceling).

    Have you read Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen? It is probably more upper mg than YA, but it is possibly my favorite romance ever.

  10. No suggestions, but a question. About how long does it take you to read a book? Half an hour here and there, or in a couple of sittings?

    1. If I'm into a book, it usually only takes me a couple of sittings – I'm a fast reader and if I like a book, nothing seems more appealing!

  11. Want to fall for another Poe? The Poe in Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl series is swoon worthy. Angie will back me up on this one. 🙂

  12. I can't wait to read some of these. I love ya fiction the most too. I liked Somethjng Borrowed the movie more than the book, but I liked Something Blue and hope the movie version is as good.

  13. I can't wait to read some of these. I love ya fiction the most too. I liked Somethjng Borrowed the movie more than the book, but I liked Something Blue and hope the movie version is as good.

  14. Have you ever read any of the Zion Covenant books? I've only really read the first one, but oh, I love it. I randomly picked it up on a library shelf when I was 10 because it was about a violinist, and I've loved it ever since.

  15. I also love a good romance! Here are a few I have loved, The Course of Honor, a story about Vespasian the Roman emperor and the slave he loves, my mother a historian made me read and it is one of my favorites. I also love the classic a Town Like Alice about an English girl and Australian soldier captured in Malaysia during world war II. I liked Emily Giffin's Where We Belong, although I liked the story more than the romance factor as is about a woman and the child she gave up for adoption coming to meet her as a teen. The magic of ordinary days is another sweet WWII era story set in my Colorado and I usually read Christian fiction by Francine River's trilogy Mark of the Lion is an amazing historical saga with plenty of romance. 🙂

  16. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (who also wrote 101 Dalmatians!) is my favorite romantic read (although I don't know that it's specifically classified as romance). It's set in 1930's England and is just delightful all the way through. It's written diary-style, which I usually hate, but this one I loved and have read over and over and over. Basically a coming-of-age story for a girl in a rather eccentric family. I've heard there's a movie out but haven't seen it because the step mom has some hilarious nudist tendencies that I think are better off read than seen. 😉 *sigh* Now I have to go read it again (luckily it's one of the books I hauled over in my suitcase to China – THAT's how good it is. I knew I couldn't live without it).

    1. The movie is wonderful! I think it captures the feel of the book (which I love) very well (though admittedly I can't remember how they handled the nudity…I think it was rated for children so don't think it would be too confronting).

      Janssen, I love Eva Ibbotson's romances, which are often set in the 1930s in Vienna or England. In particular, A Countess Below Stairs (recently republished as the Secret Countess) and Magic Flutes are lovely. More whimsical than realistic, but such a nice feel.

  17. Graceling is probably one of my favorite books of all times. I love Sarah Dessen books, too! I never get tired of them.

  18. So many great picks! I think I would add Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson as well. That one is definitely swoon-worthy.

  19. I am loving this list! I've only read TWO. Sadness. But I know I will be feeling so happy and love-y-er once I get a few more of these under my best. 🙂 I'm reading Sense and Sensibility right now for book group. Good stuff.

  20. Have read your blog for a while now but have never commented. I wanted to thank you for all of the book reviews and lists you put together- I have loved several recommendations you've made and you've rekindled my love of juvenile fiction!
    I've spent the past 4 months either on bedrest and with a frequently nursing newborn so your tutorial on downloading library books for Kindle etc and book recommendations have helped me to pass many many hours!

  21. Have read your blog for a while now but have never commented. I wanted to thank you for all of the book reviews and lists you put together- I have loved several recommendations you've made and you've rekindled my love of juvenile fiction!
    I've spent the past 4 months either on bedrest and with a frequently nursing newborn so your tutorial on downloading library books for Kindle etc and book recommendations have helped me to pass many many hours!

  22. I've been meaning to recommend my friend Kasie West's book Pivot Point. The sequel Split Second just came out this week. But I actually think her other book The Distance Between Us is the perfect fun, romantic read. I couldn't put it down and I hope she writes a bunch more just like it! I hope you get a chance to read one of your books (and I tell me honestly if you like it. I won't tell her! 🙂 )

  23. Your list inspired me so I wrote one on my blog!

    A few weeks ago I was doing research on Nancy Turner (the author of These is My Words) for a book group discussion booklet at work. The source I was using (Biography in Context, not google!) listed her, as, ummm, dead. And I was pretty sure that wasn't true. So I emailed her! And she very promptly responded, and we had a lovely little email conversation and now I will always buy every book she writes because A–I already liked her books anyway and B–she is NICE! 🙂

  24. I love your reviews, thank you so much! I have read 2 off of your summer list and loved them both! I prefer ya reads as well- though I am branching out a little now.

  25. Such great recommendations. I recently read “The Sun is Also a Star” which is a great YA romance novel that will be a movie coming out this summer.

  26. You should add “The Sea of Tranquility” by Katja Millay to your library hold list. It was such a great read: YA, romance, and depth.

  27. Thanks for the suggestions! I was never into Regency romance either, until I read Edenbrooke. And then my friend kept recommending Sarah Eden books and I resisted for a long time….and then blew through 13 of her books in a couple months, haha. I especially liked the first 2 books of Hope Springs series. They are a proper romance set in Wyoming in the earliest days of it being settled. Very sweet love stories. 🙂 I also just started listening to one called How to Find Love in a Bookshop that seems to have a lot of promise!

  28. The Bronze Horseman – Paulina Simmons hands down best romantic book i’ve ever read! Thats all i’ll say!

  29. Great list! I have lots of favorites in this category, too. Have you ever read A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan? I re-read it every year or two because it’s just so dang fun and entertaining!

  30. Can you keep a secret is an all time favorite. I also reread Beauty by Robin McKinley a lot when I need a good book. I’m retradingg some Sarah Addison Allen right now. Super good.

  31. Have you read Blackmoore by same author of Edenbrooke? I enjoyed it more than Edenbrooke and I too am not into that time period.

  32. I’m sure you’ve read “By Your Side by Kasie West, about a girl that gets locked in the library over Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Thanks for the list! Love your recommendations!

  33. I loved Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid! I’ve read most of these and also loved them! Thanks for the recommendation!

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