15 Romance Novels To Read RN If You Wanna Feel Like The Heart-Eye Emoji

Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?

by Mackenzie Newcomb
Originally Published: 
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My appetite for a happily-ever-after is insatiable. Of the 153 books I read in 2021, 78 were romance novels. I’m not alone. In 2021, romance was the second most popular and profitable genre, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Why? The impact of romance goes far beyond entertainment. A novel can serve as inspiration for how we want to communicate with our partners. They permit us to live out our fantasies from the comfort of our couches. They provide us with the language to ask for what we want in our own lives. Romance novels have the ability to help us find the best in ourselves and others, and that is a beautiful thing.

Below, I rounded up the most exciting romance novels you can read in 2022, spanning sub-genres and steam scales. I hope you find yourself delighted with one of these recommendations, whether you are here to validate your own taste as a connoisseur or looking to dip into romance for the first time.

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Reel follows Neevah, a talented actress who is quietly dealing with Lupus behind the scenes. When she catches her lucky break on Broadway, forbidden sparks fly with famous director Cannon. The two of them attempt to balance professionalism on the set of a movie they both strongly believe in, with their intense attraction threatening to ruin everything.

This cooking show romance introduces us to two fan favorites who you will root for immediately: London, the show’s first non-binary contestant and everybody’s crush, and Dahlia, who’s in the midst of finding herself post-divorce. Everyone is talking about this one and you won’t want to miss out.

Russell and Ari are lucky enough to have their dream jobs — her as a meteorologist and him as a sports reporter at a local news network in Seattle. But recently, their dream jobs have been a bit of a nightmare. Their divorced bosses make their estranged relationship everyone’s problem. Ari and Russell band together for a Parent Trap-style mission. Chaos and kissing ensue.

After a lifetime of family drama, Esmeralda Sambrano-Peña is shocked to find out she inherited her father’s media company. Unfortunately, there was a catch. She is forced to go up against the board of the company to prove that she’s more capable to take on the job than her father’s protégé — who happens to be her ex lover. This book is super short and very steamy!

This is a childhood friends-to-lovers romance with two British characters of Chinese descent. After three years away, Jeremy, a sweet and slightly goofy man, comes back to town to win Chloe back... all while hiding the fact that he actually owns her entire town.

Looking for the perfect queer historical romance? Look no further. Kit quit their life of crime after an accident that left them walking with a cane. That is, until a sexy man with an irresistible draw pulls them back in for one last rush. This one takes “partner in crime” to a whole new level.

Sometimes, when reading romance, you find yourself screaming, “Just make out already!” to the characters. This is definitely not that book. Instead, it’s a super steamy romance between two childhood sweethearts-turned-enemies. If you like your romance with a side of major family drama, this is for you.

Britta is a journalist tasked with reviewing a new body-positive fitness app. Wes is the CEO of that app, but what he really loves is coaching. In order to spark a little joy in his life, he decides to take on a coaching client for the first time in years — Britta. The two of them find themselves lost in their banter online and breaking all of the boundaries set in place by the company.

What happens when Cade’s eccentric aunt passes away and she inherits half of her sex toy shop in Portand? She’s tasked with saving the business with her roommate, who happens to be a hot young artist named Selena. This book is sapphic, it slaps, and it’s singlehandedly giving sex toy rep in romance. More of that please!

This is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series and by far the most emotional. Anna Sun accidentally goes viral for her talent with the violin, which leaves her creativity stunted. At the same time, her long-term boyfriend wants to open up their relationship. Anna embarks on a string of one-night stands, but just as she begins to realize casual sex might not be for her, Quan, the sexy sweetheart covered in tattoos, walks into the bar.

If the key to your heart is laughter, you’ll absolutely adore this romance. The only thing that infuriates Reena more than her parent’s attempts at an arranged marriage is that the suitor in question is a total catch. The two get to know each other in the kitchen and may or may not accidentally end up on a cooking up real chemistry.

This novel takes place in a Bachelor-esque universe in which the lead of the show falls in love with his (male) producer. There are no words to describe the pleasure I experienced reading this book. It has phenomenal demi-sexuality rep and generalized anxiety disorder rep, plus a storyline that will make even the coldest hearts melt.

Jia Amhed is a beloved and successful fashion and beauty influencer with very little time to date. But when an international superstar, the son of a powerful Bollywood family, slides into her DMs, she simply cannot resist. The only problem? She isn’t talking to Dev Dixit, but rather a relative who has betrayed his trust.

Look, you’re going to have to read the first two books in the Bergman Brothers series to get here, but I promise it’ll be worth it. This is a super sexy marriage-in-trouble romance with fabulous disability rep and plenty of adventures.

This is the first of the Disney Publishing Meant to Be series, which retells classic fairytales in contemporary romance fashion. This is a modern take on Cinderella set against the background of a Bachelor-esque TV show. It’s also a magical body-positive love story that will make the toughest critic swoon. I loved this one on audio.

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