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Shay Recommends Nine Heartwarming Romance Novels to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

By 10/02/2022February 12th, 2022Featured, guest post
romance novels gifts for valentines day
Valentine’s day is upon us, and while I’ve never been a fan of celebrating love on certain days, this long year of 2020-22 has made me find any excuse to look for heartwarming  things to talk about, and what’s more heartwarming than love?
Valentine’s day gifts are flowers and soft toys, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love books best of all. For Valentine’s day I wanted to speak about books that are apropos, but soon discovered I have more crime novels and literary fiction on my bookshelves than anything else. Which is when I realized I needed an expert like my friend Shay who lives breathes adores romance novels.
I’ve often featured publishing professionals on this site, but after Lynne LeGrow‘s post on book blogging earlier this week, I’ve also been thinking of regular book features via book bloggers, bookstagrammers and booktok denizens.
Without further ado, here’s Shay with the romance novels you need to buy, gift, pre-order this Valentine’s day:
I’ve been a voracious reader since childhood, but at the beginning of the pandemic a friend asked me if I’d found bookstagram & I was instantly obsessed, it’s everything I love! Books, gorgeous aesthetics on every feed, full of bookish news, updates, and a community feel that I just love being a part of, I can’t imagine life without the friendships and connections made in this space!
As a bookstagrammer I’m all about the buddy reads, and most months I read between 15-20 titles a month. I adore being a part of this community of readers, supporting authors, and escaping with a great book at every chance possible. I host a virtual book club @loveARCtually that focuses on reading advance reader copies, and while I do a lot of pre-publication day reading, I love recommending familiar favorites and picking up backlist titles I missed.
Below are ten romance novel titles I find myself recommending over and over again, as a reader who typically goes for contemporary romance novels, and loves a bit of variety in my reading that doesn’t go full steam but doesn’t shy away from it either.
I hope for this Valentine’s Day, you’ll consider buying YOUR Valentine a romance novel, or at least treating yourself to one!1 ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED by Farrah Herron
Book description : A delectable romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement to the boy next door to enter a couples cooking contest–named one of the best romances of the year by NPR, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly
Farah Herron has a forever fan in me after creating this book. With a great love story, I adored this own voices cultural tale that taught me plenty of new things about Reena’s Muslim culture and wanted me to try ALL of the incredible food they cooked up in this book. Love knows no color or sex and I am here to cheer on ALL the romances…. even if it might be a pretend engagement to the man your parents want to arrange you to marry. 2 LEASE ON LOVE by Falon Ballard
Book description : Beach Read meets The Flatshare in this warmly funny and delightfully sharp debut rom-com about a down-on-her-luck young woman who turns an innocent mix-up between a dating app and a roommate app into a new chance at love.
This was one of the first romances I read this year, and I was blown away by this debut novel by Falon Ballard. Two incredible main characters with forced proximity and lots of baggage in their pasts, you’ll instantly fall for Sadie and Jack with their incredible banter, a great group of friends, and a story that leaves you inspired and full of hope. 3 MEET ME IN PARADISE by Libby Hubscher
Book description : Marin Cole has never: seen the ocean, climbed a mountain, taken a risk on love….but if her sister’s plan works, she just might do all three.
Maybe I’m the only one who loves a cathartic cry with my reads, but this gorgeous book will wreck you in the best way. From fun shenanigans to tears, Hubscher will take your breath away with how beautifully each of her scenes is written and the emotion her characters convey. 4 BETTER THAN THE MOVIES by Lynn Painter
Book description : In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.
For me, YA romance is its own special blend to read, full of nostalgia and warm fuzzy feelings. What’s NOT to love about books that leave you feeling like love conquers all? Lynn Painter’s writing style makes me swoon in the best way. This book will give you a fantastic playlist, a nod to all the rom coms you know and love, and the best banter you could ever ask for as these neighbors make you laugh out loud LOVE them. 5 THE CHARM OFFENSIVE by Alison Cochrun
Book Description : In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.
In The Charm Offensive, Cochrun not only gives us the diverse cast that truly deserves and needs to be SEEN, but serves up the perfect amount of drama, love, self-discovery, and page-turning romance that we cannot wait to have more of as readers. Dev and Charlie are unlike any other main characters I’ve read in a contemporary romance, and I could NOT have loved them more. Each of them not realizing how incredible they are on their own, each with their own struggles in finding love, wrapped up in a beautiful story that touches on mental health and depression.6 IF THE SHOE FITS by Julie Murphy
Book description: Best-selling author Julie Murphy’s reimagining of a beloved fairy tale is an enchanting story of self-love and believing in the happy ending each and every one of us deserves.
Now, I know right before this I recommended a book based on a reality show, but I just had to include both on my list. They’re both such great titles, and each done so differently. As a Disney fan, I HAD to include the plus-size Cinderella retelling by none other than the amazing Julie Murphy. It was truly a dream come true to get this combination of fierce female characters that takes those retelling stereotypes and makes the story their own. I absolutely cannot wait to see where Hyperion takes this series next with BY THE BOOK by Jasmine Guillory. I just can’t imagine making a romance list and NOT including a book that nails so many of my favorite things all at once! 7 RAMON AND JULIETA by Alana Albertson
Book description: When fate and tacos bring Ramón and Julieta together on the Day of the Dead, the star-crossed pair must make a choice: accept the bitter food rivalry that drives them apart or surrender to a love that consumes them.
The way Albertson wrote her culture and traditions into this romance was just what I hope for when reading a retelling, and this may be one of my favorites ever. I HAD to include it on this roundup! Any book that makes me want to eat with vivid descriptions and delicious banter is a must-read for me, and Albertson does not disappoint with this enemies-to-lovers romance that embraces the character’s culture that will draw you right in. 8 TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Book description :The Hating Game meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by way of Morgan Matson in this unforgettable romantic comedy about two rival overachievers whose relationship completely transforms over the course of twenty-four hours.
Am I a Rachel fan? YES, yes I am. Rachel Lynn Solomon is a must-read author for me, and I have fallen hard for each and every one of her books but for me, T3 lives on its very own pedestal. With the sequel, SEE YOU YESTERDAY releasing later this year, I am beyond excited to have an excuse to do a reread, something few books on my shelves get the opportunity for. Solomon writes such richly detailed characters that instantly feel real and relatable, soon becoming less like words on a page and instead friends who live in my heart long after I’m finished reading. This young adult enemies-to-lovers will have you in all the feels, leaving you with a book that feels like the hug you didn’t know you needed. 9 THE DATING PLAYBOOK by Farah Rochon
Book description : When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this “fun, heartfelt, and totally relatable” romantic comedy named one of the best of the year by USA Today, NPR, and Entertainment Weekly.
I always feel like the second book in a series is full of pressure for an author. There has to be that perfect balance of a writing style you love and feel familiar with, while giving a completely different story than the first in the series, but still relates, and that is something Farah Rochon just nails with this book! If you’re a fan of the fake dating trope, this one’s definitely for you & with the Superbowl right around the corner, it’s a perfect read! For me, there’s just something about the titles I get early access to and getting to be a part of the publication day buzz, so in addition to the titles you can snag in time for Valentine’s Day, I also wanted to give you a couple of titles I’ve been lucky enough to read early that should DEFINITELY be on your list to pre-order:Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead Luck & Last Resorts by Sarah Grunder Ruiz I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson
Damyanti’s recommendation for romance novel pre-order :
DIVINE VINTAGE by Sandra L Young : the slow-burn relationships will make you swoon as Tess Burton discovers finding love in 1913 was as complicated as modern-day. Visions linked to an Edwardian bride’s trousseau drive Tess to untangle the truth behind a century-old crime of passion. The handsome descendant of the accused husband is drawn to her, but he isn’t as thrilled at plunging into mind-blowing visions.
Shay is a bookstagrammer from Dayton, Ohio. As a 35 year old millennial and a momma to 2 munchkins, most days you can find her escaping into the pages of a book. With a passion for community, and the need to share about the books she loves you can find recommendations, author LIVES & plenty of book club chats to join in over on her Instagram page @booksaremagictoo .
You can also find her on her website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Tiktok.
Are you a fan of romance novels? Are you a book lover or an author, or both?

That romance novels list looks so delicious, I have added some of them to my cart. What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Are you an author, a reader, or both? Do you like romance novels? Do you gift books?

I’m hoping to feature more book bloggers and bookstagrammers in the the coming weeks, so feel free to toss me topics you’d like to see!

If you enjoyed the post,  you can click below to stay updated on my blog and writing:



Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Jayanthy G says:

    I’ve been eyeing a couple of them in the store, but did not pick any yet. I must be reading one from your recommendations soon! 🙂 Romance is quite a read that I stay away from, but I think it will be good to try that genre soon.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – great to have Shay’s list of recommendations – which we can explore. Shay is obviously a voracious reader of romantic stories – great to take her mind away from the kids – i.e. give her some space to be herself. I do read them occasionally – now is just not the time … enjoy today … cheers Hilary

  • DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing (I am unable to post a comment on your website)!… I will check out the books you have mentioned… I already have some romance on the Kindle for reading…… 🙂

    Have a wonderful Valentines day, and every day, filled with love and happiness and until we meet again…
    May the love that you give
    Always return to you,
    That family and friends are many
    And always remain true,
    May your mind only know peace
    No suffering or strife,
    May your heart only know love and happiness
    On your journey through life.
    (Larry “Dutch” Woller)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Larry, and sending the best wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Moon says:

    Such a beautifully-curated recommendation list. Shall gift myself ‘Meet me in Paradise’ and ‘If the shoe fits’ for V’Day. Thank you so much, Shay. Also, I am wow-ed by the number of books that you read per month and how you help authors at every given chance.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Glad you liked the list, Moonmoon.

      Shay is a prolific reader, and I’m so pleased some of your recommendations will make it to your TBR!

  • Shalini says:

    Awesome. Thanks for this exhaustive list. I love romance reads

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Glad you found the list useful–Shay is a devoted reader of romances!

  • vishalbheeroo says:

    Thanks for sharing this exhaustive list of rom com and sounds really cool to read. I am a die hard romance reader and my favorite genre to write. Cool list and may be I should jot in my TBR. Happy Valentine Day in advance:)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I had no idea you were a romance fan, Vishal.

      So cool that you like this list–and sending wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Shay says:

    Thank you for having me Damyanti! Loved picking some of my favorites for Valentine’s Day!

  • Great list for romance readers. I don’t read the genre, but watching When Harry Met Sally will work. (Although I have read the IWSG’s upcoming anthology, First Love.)

    • Shay says:

      If you love romcom movies there are some AMAZING nods to those classics you watch over and over — I love those reads the most! Give me cheesy romance movie nostalgic vibes any day!

  • A month ago, I would have said I wasn’t into romance novels, and then I discovered one author I loved. There’s a lot to recommend this genre, including that they always have a happy ending (a necessity for me!). Thanks for this list.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Yep. I’m all about happy endings these days! I’m adding a few from this list to my TBR–Shay knows her stuff.

    • Shay says:

      I would LOVE to hear what author convinced you to pick one up!