1. chiara says...

    Possession by A.S.Byatt is not romance. She write great literature.

  2. Liz says...

    I love romance novels!!! They gave me my sex drive back. Seriously. Sarah Mclean, Lisa Kleypas, Kerrigan Byrne – all faves

  3. Jill D says...

    I agree with Erin’s comment regarding the prejudice against romance and the work that is being done in the genre. I also love Sarah Maclean’s books. The podcast FATED MATES that is hosted by Sarah Maclean and Jen Prokop is not to be missed by romance fans! They dig into the importance of romance as a genre and their rapport is intelligent and amusing.

  4. Maria Anagnostopoulou says...

    the novels by Victoria Holt, excellent reading, I learned english from her books!

  5. Cathy says...

    The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is hands down the best romance ever! It is so very well written; you will not want it to end

  6. a says...

    It’s funny/frightening to me how much I am resisting the fact that I actually enjoy, what I’ve learned here, are Regency style romance novels. I mean, I am cringing at myself. But thanks for all the rec’s.

    • riye says...

      Me too! I still love them. :-) I’ve branched out into Regency mysteries.

    • Rachel says...

      Riye, can you recommend any regency mysteries? I’m so curious and I feel like I’m running out of regency romances.

  7. Emily says...

    The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker is my number one romance read!

  8. Jenni says...

    Definitely recommend The Wallbanger series by Alice Clayton. Just the right amount of aww and ooh!

  9. Trish O says...

    I have been a huge fan of the Romance Novel since I was in high school. I use to hide my love, then I would call it my “guilty pleasure”. As most, I have no fucks left to give about what people think about my reading habits. Plus I am 49 years old… and do not care AT ALL if there is distain. I love them and they have provided me so much joy over my life. I really only read Regency and I do have authors that I love the most. I would say my fav of all time is the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. Interesting, this has been made into a show on Netflix, so I must not be the only one. I also LOVE the book Slightly Dangerous. (the entire series is great. It is book 6 in the Bedwyn series by Mary Balogh). But the book is an old friend, a lovely story, a great escape. All that I am looking for in a book on cold night during a pandemic.

  10. Lucy Score!

  11. Renee says...

    So good! I thoroughly recommend The Rules of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend. My husband actually thought the book was about the rules of backyard croquet, ha! The Danger of Truffle Hunting by the same author is also a great read.

  12. Christie says...

    Loving all books from Sarah Morgan <3

  13. Clare says...

    Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner! Sooooo good! Slow burn

  14. Melissa says...

    Like many of you, I’ve also revisited the romance genre during quarantine. My favorites are all of the Christina Lauren books. There are a lot of stand-alone titles, and I’m almost finished with their racier Beautiful series. Loved The Idea of You and Beach Read. I’d recommend the Helen Hoang books and the Heather Cocks/Jessica Morgan books too.

  15. Rosha says...

    Last night, my friend from OC and I who live in the bay area decided to rent Paris Can Wait on Amazon and watched it at the same time! The movie was just what we needed! We texted so many funny comments back and forth and put it on pause simultaneously to go get our pilates rings to exercise while watching inspired by Diane Lane’s great shape! She hasn’t changed since when we were only 26 and watched Under the Tuscan Sun! By the end of it we had laughed so much over our silly texts about the chemistry we didn’t feel, all the wine they drank, Diane’s beautiful clothes, how the French guy had even better taste than us when it came to packing a picnic, and wondering how much Alec Baldwin had made appearing in just a couple of scenes and wishing he’d make a reappearance! I was in tears! Totally worth the $4!!!

  16. valeria says...

    I read all the innocent-looking-cover novels Grace recommends on her instagram and more (I don’t even know why, since I read them on my kindle… do I maybe need to look innocent to my own eyes?), and I recently loved You deserve each other by Sarah Hogle (one of my favourite) and Only when it’s us by Chloe Liese.

  17. Rachel F says...

    JASMINE GUILLORY. That is all.

    • Erin says...

      Yes! I discovered her during this pandemic when I needed some comfort reading and additionally found so much substance! Love EVERY SINGLE BOOK!

  18. Analiese says...

    The Idea of You by Robinne Lee, The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez, In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, and Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren.

    • Annanotherthing says...

      Desperate for a sequel to The Idea of You!!!

  19. Jennifer says...

    This is SO funny because I recently started reading romance novels again. I wanted to read something light for when I take a break from reading a book about a serious topic. Since my local library is only offering curbside pickup right now, I’ve been selecting romance novels that have “innocent” covers. Haha! I guess I feel a little bashful thinking about a librarian picking out a romance book with a racy front cover on it. LOL! :)

    • A.D. says...

      I am a librarian. Not only does the unofficial code of librarians strictly state that each reader should have access to exactly what they choose to read without judgment–most of us have our own questionable tastes alongside our more librarianesque choices. Never feel bashful–heck, ask for more recommendations!

  20. Margot says...

    Agree with so many of these recommendations. This genre has been such a welcome distraction in 2020. The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is fantastic (VERY steamy)!! There lots of great suggestions, including the Idea of You, via the Bad on Paper podcast :)

  21. Jenn says...

    I really like Lucy Score’s books and Meghan Quinn. Both writers have a really good sense of humor in their books. Lucy Score writes characters who are in their 30s and 40s, which is nice. And Meghan Quinn tries to vary the personality of their characters (she tends to write mini series that present all different types of the “dream guy” or the female lead), so you can usually find someone that you connect with.

  22. Mary Beth says...

    If you like theater, try Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series. They are contemporary romances and I thought they were great. Also, for medieval history lovers, Elizabeth Kington’s Welsh Blades books are great. Stella Riley writes fabulous historical romances set during the English Civil War and her Rockcliffe series is so, so good. All of these books are romances, however they are so much more – well written, engaging stories.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Yes to the London Celebrities series. I enjoyed reading about an industry that hasn’t really been written about in romance.

  23. Cassidy says...

    I loved the first two books of the Bromance Book Club series – a group of the city’s most powerful men (pro athletes, bar owner, etc.) get together and read romance novels in an attempt to better understand women and help their marriages. So clever, just steamy enough, and not a storyline I’ve ever seen before. Loved it and the next book comes out this fall!

    • valeria says...

      I loved Undercover Bromance!

  24. Alexis says...

    I’ll have to think on this. I grew up stealing my mom’s Danielle Steele and Harlequinn novels. While also devouring Dean Koontz and Stephen King.
    I think the one she tried (unsuccessfully) to hide from me was Riders.

  25. Lori says...

    Bringing Down the Duke & A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

    • Trish O says...

      Loved these two, too

  26. Kara says...

    I have found many good romance novels from Grace’s instagram stories! Just finished “You Had Me at Hola” by Alexis Daria per her recommendation, which was a fun read.

    I’ve been waiting for a COJ comments section dedicated to romance!! Can’t wait to enjoy all of the authors and books listed. If you enjoy the fantasy genre as well, you must read Sarah J.Maas. Her books sit in fantasy but romance (steamy romance at that) is weaved throughout for many of her characters.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      You Had Me at Hola is so steamy and sexy. Loved it.

    • Nicole Preston says...

      Love Sarah J. Maas! Perfect mix of fantasy and romance.

  27. Viv says...

    I agree, The Hating Game is great.

    But I must say, a different and veeery racy read that made a big impression on me was I Take You by Eliza Kennedy. In looking it up again–I read it when it was first published and there wasn’t much of a reaction yet–I can see why many romance readers (on Goodreads, for example) were APPALLED by this book: it has many elements that are problematic and doesn’t mesh with the typical things one hopes for in the genre (redemption, everlasting monogamous marriage…). YET…it is one I will not forget.

  28. Sam says...

    I just finished Courtney Milan’s The Duke Who Didn’t last week and it was great. It is set in 1800’s England with Hakka heroine who spoke Hakka and a biracial Chinese Duke. It’s funny, sweet and lots of representation across the board. I’ve always been a fan of Milan but I really liked reading a historical romance novel with POC’s that wasn’t all angsty or dark. We need light and fluffy reads too!

  29. riye says...

    I’m not a big romance novel fan but Jennifer Crusie’s older books are great! My favorite is “Bet Me”. :-)

  30. Ève says...

    Yes!! I recently read Get a Life, Chloe Brown and LOVED it. Talia Hibbert is a genius!

  31. Hadilly says...

    Oooh! So excited to see this topic. First, I would recommend the website Smart Bitches Trashy Books https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ for excellent reviews and suggestions.

    In no particular order, Georgette Heyer (best Regency writer ever), Joanna Bourne (great Napoleonic war spy romances), Courtney Milan (contemporary and historical, POC characters and same sex relationships), and Alyssa Cole.

    I will try to edit with more, but the dog desperately needs a walk.

    • Savannah says...

      Plus I love that Milan called the industry to a higher standard regarding racism in their writing! I keep repeating the mantra “Whatever you do, you can do it for justice” and I love seeing examples of that in the world.

    • Kristina says...

      I second Georgette Heyer!

  32. Cindy says...

    I am very excited about this comments section

  33. Lisa says...

    If you like Guillory’s books, try Talia Hibbert. She ups the steamy factor, but keeps strong, feminist women and characters with depth.

  34. Laura J says...

    I’m not usually a contemporary romance fan but I tried Jasmine Guillory and have been gobbling them up at a fast rate! Smart women, smart men. Loved Royal Holiday’s older characters. I only have one left to read. Ms. Guillory, please write faster! Cup of Jo, how about a visit with her?

  35. Eve says...

    Jill Shalvis for contemporary or Julia Quinn for historical

    • suki says...

      Jill Shalvis is such easy fun

  36. b says...

    I commented yesterday on a different post, but I’m all in on cowboy romance these days: AJ Pine, Carolyn Brown, Carly Bloom. I also have a hard time saying no to a regency romance – Stephanie Laurens, Sarah MacLean, Lisa Kleypas, Julia London.

  37. Meg says...

    The Kiss Quotient! Definitely racy but also heartwarming. My stepmom recommended it to me, which scandalized my slightly, but I still enjoyed it!

    • elinor says...

      omg i love that your stepmom recommended it! I loved this book too!

  38. Rachel says...

    Romance books are such a fun escape. I love them, especially in times like these! Personally I love regency romances, but there are some contemporary books that I love as well.

    Helen Huang’s book The Kiss Quotient is a really fun and steamy read. As is the second book in the series, The Bride Test.

    Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series is a personal favorite. Funny, interesting and not your typical romance characters. Also, there are eight books in the series which I think is a total plus.

    Jasmine Guillory’s books are all amazing. The first one I read was The Wedding Date, and I loved it. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Cate says...

      But which regencies???

    • Rachel says...

      So many regencies!! My favorites include:
      -The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. Each book is a different sibling in a large family (it’s also going to be a TV show on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes).
      -Anything written by Tessa Dare. Her series are great.
      -Grace Burrowes’ Windham series. Although I’ve enjoyed all her books.

    • Kait says...

      You should try Martha Waters’s To Have and to Hoax, a regency rom-com! The next book comes out next year.

    • Cate says...

      Thank you for replying Rachel! I don’t know the Windham series and am going to check it out!

    • Linda Bergin says...

      Mary Balogh is a great Regency writer. A lot of her books are within a series so you can read several and feel like you’re reading one long story. Plus, her female characters aren’t silly twits, which is gratifying. I recommend the Bedwyn, Survivor or Huxtables series to start

    • Lin says...

      Mary Balogh is a great Regency writer. A lot of her books are within a series so you can read several and feel like you’re reading one long story. Plus, her female characters aren’t silly twits, which is gratifying. I recommend the Bedwyn, Survivor or Huxtables series to start

    • Trish O says...

      I am also a Regency girl. Just sweep me away. Love them

  39. Megan says...

    Seconding Red White and Royal Blue, and along these same lines, The Royal We and The Heir Affair. All three felt like the book version of a heartfelt rom-com in the best possible way (which was exactly what I needed right now).

    • LEANN LUCAS says...

      Oh, thank you for this. I have been re-reading Red, White, and Royal Blue as my comfort read since the beginning of the pandemic and I would love something new.

    • Cassidy says...

      The Royal We and The Heir Affair were two of my favorite reads recently!! Great storylines and well-developed characters but still had the same feeling as eating a piece of pumpkin pie with lots of whipped creme while in your pjs :)

    • valeria says...

      Red White and Royal Blue is one of my favourite too!

  40. Maire says...

    I just finished a book by a new-to-me author, Cara Bastone, called Just A Heartbeat Away and it fulfilled all my trope kryptonite: single dad, age difference, and slow burn. (THE PINING! My goodness, the pining.) For readers new to romance, I always recommend Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series or Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series.

    • Kara says...

      Seconding Tessa Dare if you want some seriously steamy bodice-ripping romance. I’m actually not hugely into the historical England romance genre, of which there are A LOT in romance, but I will read anything by Tessa Dare–she knows how to do fun and sexy.

    • Kara says...

      I knew there was a name for “historical England romance”–regency! That’s what I meant :)

    • Clare says...

      If you like a slow burn, try Meryl Wilsner’s Something to Talk About!

  41. M says...

    YES! Try the Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory. It’s like feminist wish fulfillment: woman of color who works in city government meets hot pediatrician, they have passionate sex, she helps make him more woke… The author is a corporate lawyer-turned-romance novelist. I LOVE her books.

    • R says...

      I enjoyed this book too, and I love Jasmine Guillory. This comment is less about books and more about life: honestly, as a WOC dating a well-intentioned white man, I have to say that “making him more woke” does not feel sexy to me. It is exhausting, and, while I LOVE the representation, what I truly wish for is a man who already gets it. I have yet to find that.

  42. UL says...

    Only When It’s Us or Always Only You by Chloe Liese were great. Commander in Briefs series by Kristy Marie was fun. Mariana Zapata has some good books. Anything by Lily Morton, Jay Hogan, Parker St. John are instant download for me.

  43. Nigerian Girl says...

    The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is my favourite. Read it and swoon. Then recently, I read and enjoyed Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory.

  44. Yes!! The Hating Game is my all-time favorite romance!!

  45. Suz says...

    I love anything by Mhairi Mcfarlane – recently my book club wanted a lighter book and we read “It’s Not Me, It’s You.” But I’ve read every one of her books and enjoyed them all! Also, if you’re an Anglophile like me, Jill Mansell has some good ones. Oh! And the Flatshare.

    • Suz says...

      Can you tell from above that this is one of my favorite genres? Especially during these uncertain times, I need the lighthearted humor and/or happy endings to give me some relief from the mental toll of this chaotic world.

    • Rebecca Leamon says...

      I’m listening to Mhairi M’s . . . wait, since it’s an audio I don’t know the title as well (looks up on Audible)–If I Never Met You. The reader is terrific and I am enjoying how the book has more depth than one’s average rom com. Such a nice break from worrying about the election and being a “hybrid” English teacher!

    • Suz says...

      @Rebecca – yes! That’s why I like hers so much. There’s more character development than many other chick-lits.

  46. Erin in AZ says...

    The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I know it’s a TV series too, but the books are so much better! *wink, wink*

    • LIsa says...

      I had no idea what was in store when I picked up Outlander. So much blushing AND hurried page turning. Ha! There are parts of the story that are problematic, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed these.

  47. Lauren E. says...

    The stories are occasionally VERY angsty, with lots of complicated backstory, but my absolute favorites are by Kennedy Ryan. Especially The Kingmaker. I could not put it down. Highly highly recommend!!

  48. Mac says...

    Red, White & Royal Blue is charming. It has all the fun romance aspects, but also a really compelling and touching story about acceptance, honor and family.

    • elinor says...

      This one was so fun, I loved it too!

    • Stacey says...

      Ooh, yes, I loved that book!

    • Melodie says...

      Red, White, and Royal Blue wasn’t just my favorite romance novel I’ve also read – I think it was also just my favorite book I read last year, period. I loved it so much that I taught it to my freshman lit class and we got to Skype the author and interview them!

  49. Kari T. says...

    The Outlander series is guaranteed to make you blush, and entertain you if you are a fan of historical fiction with a dose of the fantastical :)

  50. Rebecca says...

    The Bewitched and Bewildered series by Alanea Alder is a fantastic and fun read. So much humor and message of uniting together to defeat evil–just what we need right now.

    • joanie says...

      *one clicks

  51. Mouse says...

    I’m sorry; I can’t bear them unless there’s another more complex story attached, like Possession by AS Byatt. Or any Jane Austen, although those are more like stories about money with some romance attached…….

    • b says...

      Possession! It’s so good. I found that book in the library when I was maybe 14 or 15 (late 90s – 1996/1997) and loved it. I think I might need a re-read.

    • I always find comments like these very funny. As a romance reader it is always easy to spot those who have prejudice against the genre.

      Some of the most interesting social critique is happening in romance, and always has. But, with anything that is mostly for women by women it constantly faces taunts about its frivolity. There are a ton of complex interesting stories (well certainly as complex as Austen, whose plots are fairly straight forward).

      Might I suggest: Kennedy Ryan’s Long Shot, for an exploration of the idea of a “gold digger” and the complex lives these women often lead, Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series for a look at the complexities facing women on the bring of huge social change, Sarah MacLean’s Day of The Duchess which explores tough subjects like miscarriage, as well as some truly five star groveling, and Kerrigan Byrne’s How to Love a Duke in 10 Days following a female archeologist and the Duke who falls hard and fast for her.

      I think, like any genre, romance has some gems and some duds. But I’d love more people to take a look at our gems because they are truly spectacular.

      Oh and- Ice Planet Barbarians. Blue aliens. So much absurd fun. Trust me on this.

  52. Maggie says...

    Beach Read was a good one!!

    • Karen B says...

      Agreed!

    • Traci says...

      Came here to say this! Romance is not my genre at all, but I listened on Audible for something lighter, and I loved it and was sad for it to end. It was witty, self-aware and brought up so much for me regarding old relationships that I’d buried. Plus, I mentally cast Dev Patel as the primary male character, and it was quite pleasant to picture his face so often :)