Let’s be honest here, There’s nothing better than a good romance novel. Whether you’re on team enemies-to-lovers or friends-to-lovers or you’re just looking for something gooey and fun to read, romance books are always there to take you on the ultimate rollercoaster ride of feels. And 2022 is already proving to be a big year for love stories as some of our favorites, like Tessa Bailey, release long-awaited sequels and newcomers, like Ava Wilder, make their big debuts. Ready to fall in love with some new books?
In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
Podcast host and memoirist Kate Spencer makes her fiction debut with this sunny rom-com. When Franny Doyle and Hayes Montgomery III have a chance subway meet during what is possibly the worst day of her life, they go viral as millions on the internet completely misread their situation. Dubbed #SubwayQTs, Hayes and Franny are suddenly thrust into each other’s orbit as they try to dismiss a connection that others have manufactured. After all, she’s a bit eccentric, outgoing, and obsessed with bright colors, while he wears a designer suit every day and is painfully shy. But then they start realizing just how much they enjoy each other’s company: underneath their exterior differences, they’re both kind and comforting, an easy place for the other to rest. As Franny wrestles with starting her own business and discovering long-obscured truths about her biological father, Hayes is trying to find his footing after a painful divorce — and they soon become each other’s rock in a crisis. Spencer writes with a wry lilt and a gift for dialogue. The novel is as much a love letter to New York City as any Nora Ephron screenplay, an ode to sticky days in Central Park, bodega shopping, and the serendipity that can crash into you in a city that big and bustling. There’s not an urgency to the storytelling as much as a cozy languidness, a book made to savor rather than devour. Franny and Hayes’ connection thrives in smaller moments — a night planting a rooftop garden, an unexpected rainstorm. It celebrates the ways connections are forged not in grand gestures or viral meet-cutes, but instead in the quiet, in-between spaces where we have the grace to listen to our hearts and our most earnest needs. Spencer joins a crop of contemporary romance authors who understand the bittersweet edges of the genre, the ways that loss and hurt enrich our love stories if we can weather the storm. It’s not angst so much as melancholy — the reminder that in a New York minute, everything can change. But maybe that’s ok with the right person at your side.
Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
When Nisha Sharma first announced her intentions to write a contemporary series that she dubbed “If Shakespeare Was an Auntie,” it was hard to resist getting my hopes up. But thankfully, Sharma delivers on the concept and then some. Her first entry is inspired by The Taming of the Shrew (not the most natural rom-com fodder, but hey, if 10 Things I Hate About You can do it, why not?). Kareena Mann has always been more focused on her career than her love life, even if she does dream of one day finding her soulmate. But when her father announces plans to sell her late mother’s home, she’s determined to get engaged within four months so that he’ll gift it to her. Things get further complicated when she failed to hook up with gorgeous cardiologist Dr. Prem Varma leads to them both going viral after she confronts him about his refusal to believe in love, and lives on his TV program, The Dr. Dil Show. The two realize they could be the answer to each other’s problems — if they didn’t have totally opposing views on love and arranged marriage. But the more time they spend together, the more they fall for each other, even if Prem refuses to admit it to himself. It turns a historically problematic play into a charming rom-com dotted with the interference of Kareena’s well-meaning, overbearing aunties and her challenges to instill boundaries amidst the traditions of her South Asian family. Sharma paints a vivid world, crafting a story that both believe in happily-ever-afters without seeing the need to completely discount the value of an arranged marriage within her culture. Prem is swoony, except for his unfortunate tendency to call his genitals “Charlie.” Despite his frustrating scientific refusal to believe in love, we slowly come to understand why he’s built these walls. Kareena is a vibrant heroine, one who is unapologetically herself, whether it’s in her favorite sweater vests, her love of her career, or her refusal to accept anything but true love with a partner who respects and values her. The pop culture references and delectable banter are only rivaled by the steamy sex scenes (quite literally in the case of a shower scene so filthy it could use some Mr. Clean). Sharma knows how to craft a tale with a blend of irresistible rom-com hijinks and real-world stakes that makes it easy to get lost in her work.
Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this electrifying romance from the author of The Ex Talk.
Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.
In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.
Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?
Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
With the success of the movie The Lost City and this latest entry from inimitable writing duo Christina Lauren, adventure romance is back, baby! A decade ago Lily Wilder (yes, she’s named after the heroine of Romancing the Stone) and Leo Grady were going to be each others forever. But when tragedy and misunderstanding split them apart, Lily was left with nothing, except her famous treasure hunter father, Duke, and his reams of hand-drawn maps of Utah canyons. Lily has spun Duke’s reputation and his papers into a struggling business, leading tourists on “treasure” hunts that follow in the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and his gang. But when her latest booking thrusts Leo back into her life, the two have to risk both their lives and their hearts to uncover the truth about Duke — and each other. This is a sure-footed departure for Lauren, taking their signature brand of humor, steam, and whimsy and injecting it with a shot of pure adrenaline. As Leo and Lily race against the elements and unexpected betrayals, they face very real jeopardy at every turn. But there’s nothing quite like rekindling a romance with a good danger bang and the impending threat of death or dismemberment. They have crafted a rip-roaring adventure (complete with a superb author’s note warning readers not to try this at home). Leo and Lily burn with a yearning for each other, the hurt of their respective losses and abandonment barely superseding their want. But the brilliance of the storytelling is how essential they are to each other in completing this mission. Yes, Leo is a genius with numbers and codes, but it’s his steadiness and loyalty that help Lily heal the unresolved wounds of her past. The deep caring and tenderness between them also help root the propulsive action of the narrative in a relatable and real place. I can only hope this is the start of a trend for more adventure stories in romance. Who wouldn’t want to go on a treasure hunt — and fall in love — all from the comfort of your couch?
Twisted Hate by Ana Huang
He hates her . . . almost as much as he wants her.
Gorgeous, cocky, and fast on his way to becoming a hotshot doctor, Josh Chen has never met a woman he couldn’t charm – except for Jules f**king Ambrose.
The beautiful redhead has been a thorn in his side since they met, but she also consumes his thoughts in a way no woman ever has.
When their animosity explodes into one unforgettable night, he proposes a solution that’ll get her out of his system once and for all: an enemies with benefits arrangement with simple rules.
Outgoing and ambitious, Jules Ambrose is a former party girl who’s focused on one thing: passing the attorney’s bar exam.
The last thing she needs is to get involved with a doctor who puts the SUFFER in insufferable . . . no matter how good-looking he is.
But the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes there’s more than meets the eye to the man she’s hated for so long.
Theirs is a match made in hell, and when the demons from their past catch up with them, they’re faced with truths that could either save them . . . or destroy everything they’ve worked for.