12 Romance Novels to Heat Up Your Life

Whether you're looking for a steamy beach read or something scorching to read cozied up with a cup of tea, we have the perfect books for you.

Photo: courtesy of publishers

A steamy romance novel may be synonymous with a summer beach read, but you don't have to save your favorite romance books for the summer—especially not if you're the type to get warm and fuzzy over a good love quote. (And if a summery setting helps you forget the piles of snow outside your door, even better.) They're the perfect antithesis to break-up books you read when you're nursing a broken heart.

Whether you're tossing your romance novel into your beach tote alongside your sunscreen—or you're piled under the covers of your bed with a cozy read for Valentine's Day—there's no better time to fall in love with the characters within these pages. Here are 12 romance novels that are sure to get your pulse racing, your palms sweaty, and make you wish for a romance of your own.

01 of 12

Exes and O's by Amy Lea

Exes and O's book


Romance novel fan Tara Chen looks to reconnect with her romantic past looking to rekindle the spark. But she may find love a little bit closer to home in this hot new romance.

02 of 12

Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood

Loathe to Love You book


Get three romances in one in this collection of novellas by best-selling romance author (and neuroscientist!) Ali Hazelwood, with three heroine engineers who find love in the most unexpected places (including a remote Arctic research station).

03 of 12

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges

The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone Romance Novel


Fans of romances with a magical bent will adore this story of a blogger with a mysterious dollhouse that has rooms that appear and disappear overnight—and its connection with a handsome stranger.

04 of 12

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babaloa

Honey and Spice: A Novel by Bolu Babalola


This steamy romance (and Reese's Book Club pick) finds a relationship-averse radio show host forced to carry on a faux-to-fantastic romance with the biggest player on campus.

05 of 12

The Emma Project by Sonali Dev

The Emma Project


Get a spicier take on Jane Austen's classics with this series by Sonali Dev. In the latest installment, The Emma Project, Naina Kohli finds herself intertwined with the younger brother of her ex—thanks to his misguided project that threatens to derail her own life's work.

06 of 12

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory

While We Were Dating By JASMINE GUILLORY
courtesy of publisher

Every time Guillory writes a new romance novel, I thank the romance gods for blessing us. Her characters are the kind of people you truly root for: funny, smart, sexy, and down to eat. Ben, the advertising exec who "doesn't believe" in serious relationships, and Anna, the movie actress who is set to become the leading lady in Ben's heart (yes, I just said that) will make you swoon. Set in the world of Hollywood, this romance will sizzle off the page, and leave you excited for whatever Guillory writes next.

07 of 12

Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Playing the Palace By PAUL RUDNICK
courtesy of publisher

Fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue are sure to enjoy Playing the Place, which showcases the love story of a lonely American event planner named Carter who has been recently dumped by his cheating ex, and the handsome and openly gay Prince Edgar of Wales. Faced with media scrutiny and disapproval from the Queen of England, Carter and Edgar band together to show everyone that maybe fairytales can happen in real life.

08 of 12

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle By HELEN HOANG
courtesy of publisher

I've been a fan of Hoang's since I first read—and blushed my way through—The Kiss Quotient. There's something about the way that Hoang writes her characters. They're fully fleshed, vulnerable, sexual, and full of potential, and her newest novel proves no different. After violinist Anna Sun accidentally goes viral and faces unexpected burnout, she decides to create a low-stress environment and finally start living life on her own terms. What does that actually mean, you ask? It means that Anna's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. Everything is going to plan until Quan Diep, a tattooed, motorcycle-riding, bonafide hottie comes in. Suddenly, all of Anna's plans go out the window and she's forced to decide what's really important: meeting others' expectations or standing up for her own.

09 of 12

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

ONE LAST STOP by Casey McQuiston
courtesy of publisher

Speaking of the NYT bestselling Red, White, & Royal Blue comes this sapphic rom-com about a cynical 24-year-old August, who doesn't believe in happy endings or fate. She's happy enough going through life on her own in New York City, until she meets Jane, a charming, heart-pounding, swoopy-haired passenger on August's train. All seems normal until August realizes that Jane is displaced in time from the 1970s, and she's going to need August's help getting back home. Come for sweet romance, stay for the bridge scene and the breakfast sandwich recipe.

10 of 12

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

The Road Trip by BETH O'LEARY
courtesy of publisher

One of my favorite tried-and-true romance tropes is "exes realizing that maybe, just maybe, they made a mistake." Admitting that takes a great deal of vulnerability, and I am very quick to cheer on a couple after that. Such is the case with O'Leary's novel, that brings back scorned exes Dylan and Addie, who haven't seen each other in two years. After a car accident on the way to a mutual friend's wedding leaves Dylan without a ride, Addie, her sister, Dylan, his best friend, and some random guy off of Facebook who happens to be along for the ride pile into one tiny car. It's sure to be a bumpy ride, one that asks if maybe they should revisit the past.

11 of 12

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey
courtesy of publisher

This rom-com by the author of Waiting for Tom Hanks is giving me You've Got Mail meets Mister Rogers' Neighborhood vibes, and I am here for it. After being dumped by her long time boyfriend, vintage toy store employee Teddy Phillips begins to write to Everett St. James, the host of the local children's TV show, Everett's Place. Both parties are seeking comfort as they write back and forth about their lives, and when they meet in person, it's kismet. Don't take my word for it though. You can read it for yourself!

12 of 12

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

people we meet on vacation by emily henry
courtesy of publisher

Fans of Henry's NYT bestseller Beach Read are sure to be excited about Henry's hit, about two former friends who meet up for one final summer to put all their cards on the table and to see if their friendship is worth saving. On the surface, Poppy and Alex have nothing in common. She's a wild child, and he's, well, Wonder Bread in human form. Yet, somehow, they worked well together for two years until everything changed, and they haven't spoken since. Readers of Beach Read are sure to be delighted by Henry's newest novel.

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