My Five Favorite Contemporary Romance Novels for a Hopeless Romantic

As a hopeless romantic, I have always been a sucker for a happily ever after. Ever since I was young, I’ve adored movies like The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and A Cinderella Story, and my love for rom-coms grew overtime. Last year, I decided to take a deep dive into the world of contemporary romance novels and dive deep did I ever! I read just under 100 romance books (86 to be exact, but who’s counting?) and discovered a wide range of stories that spoke to me on different levels. Of course, there were novels that I adored and others that I would never pick up again, so I’ve created a list of my top five contemporary romance novels that any 21st century hopeless romantic should devour!

Specific details for each book come from Goodreads but in my own words (my memory is good but not that good).

  1. 1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

    This is your classic, enemies-to-lovers tale between two colleagues, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, who work far too close together and hate everything about one another. Lucy is the nice girl in the office who has an odd obsession with the Smurfs and a love for flamethrower red lipstick. Joshua is much too cold and physically intimidating for Lucy’s liking. Their days consist of many games: The Mirror Game, The HR Game and The Staring Game, and Lucy is determined to not allow Joshua to affect her. When the two are pinned against each other for a promotion and they both promise to resign if the other receives the job, their relationship takes a turn toward jealousy, heated elevator encounters and a paintball game to end all paintball games. Lucy and Joshua come face-to-face with the fact that the games they’ve been playing shouldn’t have been against each other, but on the same team.

    Buy here! Find more from Sally here!

  2. 2. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

    Lily had a hard childhood watching her father treat her mother horribly and vowed to never feel the way her mother had for all those years. After moving to Boston, she finds a spark with neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid. He’s assertive and sometimes arrogant, but has a total soft spot for Lily. However, he doesn’t do relationships! Lily finds herself to be the exception to his “no dating” rule, but begins to wonder if that rule was put in place for a reason. With the highs and lows of the relationship consuming her, she thinks back to her first love, Atlas Corrigan, and the life that she lost with him. When he unexpectedly reappears in her life, Lily’s relationship with Ryle is threatened and her troubling past is brought back to the present.

    I’ve read all of Colleen’s books, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart. I have read this book more times than I can remember and I know for a fact that I’ll revisit it in years to come.  Allow yourself a good chunk of time to read this because I wasn’t able to put this down!

    Buy here! Find more from Colleen here!

  3. 3. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

    Entrepreneur Kristen Petersen is hiding a secret: she needs to receive a procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. So when she meets the best man at her best friend’s wedding, Josh Copeland, Kristen is in trouble. He seems perfect ⁠— except for the fact that he wants a large family and Kristen can’t give him that. With their bond growing as the wedding date looms closer, Kristen is struggling to keep her distance from Josh and finding it harder and harder not to fall in love. The Friend Zone was a stunning read. Jimenez tells the story of a very real health condition and the trials and tribulations of finding love. She beautifully writes the story of love, loss and the ability to acknowledge your worth and find your own happily ever after. I laughed, I cried and I fell in love with troubled characters who found strength and happiness in one another.

    Buy here! Find more from Abby here!

  4. 4. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

    Stella Lane loves numbers, so much so that her job is to come up with the algorithms to predict customer purchases. It’s a job that gives her so much money that she doesn’t know what to do with it, but that isn’t Stella’s main problem. She has even less of a clue about dating; her experiences are non-existent for an average 30 year old. Stella has Asperger’s and the idea of French kissing gives her chills up her spine. She believes that she needs practice — with a professional, and with her extra spending money, she’s willing to put in the work. Escort Michael Phan can’t afford to turn down her idea and teaches Stella everything she needs to know from foreplay to all the sexual positions. Before long, Stella is not only expecting their lessons but craving how Michael makes her feel. However, Stella struggles to accept that there isn’t always logic when it comes to falling in love. This one is adorable! The quirky growth of Stella and Michael’s relationship was heartwarming to read and it showed the true imperfections of falling in love.

    Buy here! Find more from Helen here!

  5. 5. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

    I compare this one to the Fifty Shades trilogy, only hotter and with a WAY better storyline. If you enjoyed that read then you’ll love this book!

    Jocelyn Butler has experienced so much loss in the US that she decided to move to Scotland to get away from the reminders, memories and anything related to her past. Four years later, her plan has worked perfectly until she decides to move into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who makes it his mission to break her walls down. Braden Carmichael is used to getting everything he wants, so when Jocelyn refuses to give him what he wants, he’s more determined to get her in his bed. Braden then proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their strong physical attraction with no strings attached. But when Jocelyn realizes that Braden isn’t just in it for the sex, will she be able to open up to him and show him all of her scars?

    Buy here! Find more from Samantha here!

I hope you love these five books as much as I do and they make your personal library all the more beautiful. Happy reading!