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Top 10 Romantic Reads of 2023

Once upon a time, there was a thirty-something year old woman who claimed she hated romance ... until one day she decided to give it a try (after her best friend pestered her for years to do so).

The day she picked up her first romance, her heart grew three sizes, and she quickly became obsessed.

The end?

Never!


Below are my top ten picks of my most romantic reads of the year.


10 - (Romantic) to 1 (Head over heels in love)


10. The Summer We Fell

by Elizabeth O'Roark


Genre: Contemporary Romance

Trope: Second Chance, Best Friend's Girl

Chemistry: YES!

Banter: Great!

Sexy: Yes, and the tension adds to it.

Why: The tension in this book is insane, and the climax is not what you expect. The story is rich, and honestly, I understand how these characters get to where they are in this book. SO worth the read!









 

9. The Red Herring

by Calia Read


Genre: Historical Romance

Trope: Second Chance, Brother's Best Friend

Chemistry: So. Much. Chemistry.

Banter: Not so much banter, but their conversations are powerful.

Sexy: Yes, and again, the tension adds to it.

Why: The long awaited conclusion to Nat and Asa's story did not disappoint. The forbidden nature of their romance, and everything against them added a level of tension and emotional turmoil that Calia Read just does so well.








 

8. A Soul of Ash and Blood

by Jennifer L Armentrout


Genre: Fantasy Romance

Trope: Watching over loved one

Chemistry: Of course!

Banter: Same banter as FBAA, as it's Cas's POV, but it's there

Sexy: Yes

Why: A Soul of Ash and Blood is practically Cas telling Poppy their love story. What is not romantic about that?










 

7. A Fire in the Flesh

by Jennifer L Armentrout



Genre: Fantasy Romance

Trope: Fated Love

Chemistry: Ash and Sera's chemistry is insane.

Banter: Whenever they are together, yes. I love their banter.

Sexy: Uh, Primal Nyktos is dirty and I am here for it.

Why: While I will always love Poppy and Casteel, there is something about Ash and Sera that feels effortless. Whenever they are on page together, you almost feel the love between these characters. It doesn't need to be said, it's just known.






 

6. The True Love Experiment

by Christina Lauren



Genre: Contemporary Romance

Trope: Workplace Romance,

Chemistry: oh yeah

Banter: Delicious

Sexy: With the tension, yes it is!

Why: I loved this book. The characters are fun, and story is entertaining, and the romance is just swoony. Can't go wrong with Christina Lauren!










 

5. Scandalized

by Ivy Owens



Genre: Contemporary Romance

Trope: Childhood Crush

Chemistry: OMG it's INSTANT

Banter: Yeah, it's great!

Sexy: OMG YESSSSSSSSSSS

Why: I think everything - the chemistry, the steam, the story itself, the characters - mixed together just made this story so fucking swoonworthy. Such a great book! Not surprised at all that Ivy Owens is the pen name of Lauren Billings - ie, the Lauren of the Christina Lauren duo.







 

4. Lunamare & Cor Amare (Luna Duet)

by Pepper Winters



Genre: Dark Romance

Trope: Forbidden Romance

Chemistry: Of course

Banter: Not really. Their connection is so intense and emotional that they tend to communicate on a deeper level.

Sexy: YES

Why: This duet destroyed me. It's definitely dark. It's insanely emotional. I bawled my eyes out. It's intense and triggering. But the depth of love between these two is so intense, there was no way it wasn't ending up on the list.






 

3. Before Us

by Jewel E. Ann



Genre: Contemporary Romance

Trope: Friends to Lovers

Chemistry: Yes, but it feels like a natural, normal amount of chemistry

Banter: Yes, but also emotional

Sexy: Yes, mostly because of the tension.

Why: I have a quote for you.

"I love you this much."

You won't get the emotional punch in the guts that super simple quote gives you until you read this book.







 

2. A Duet with the Siren Duke

by Elise Kova




Genre: Fantasy Romance

Trope: Enemies to Lovers, Forbidden Love

Chemistry: Yes

Banter: Yes, but more often then not, their interactions are more emotionally charged.

Sexy: Yes!

Why: Did I think I would love this book as much as I did? No. I have never really loved books with Siren's or mermaids before - despite being obsessed with The Little Mermaid as a kid. Elise Kova wrote SUCH a beautiful story here, and the romance between these two is so beautiful and intense, it quickly skyrocketed to my favorite book of the series so far.




 

1. The Sixteenth Need

by Calia Read



Genre: Contemporary Romance

Trope: Opposites Attract, Wrong Side of the Tracks

Chemistry: Incredibly

Banter: Amazing

Sexy: Yes, but it's the tension more than the act

Why: Calia Read is one of my favorite authors, and The Sixteenth Need is another example of her incredible writing. The romance between Sam and Sable is poignant and beautiful.

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