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Tuesday, April 16
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COLUMN: Romance books to read in time for Valentine’s Day

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it is the perfect time to pick up a great romance novel. There is nothing I love more than reading a cheesy little romance with all of my favorite tropes. This is a list of three of my most favorite romance books of all time. 

“Better than the Movies” by Lynn Painter (2021) 

“Better than the Movies” is for the people with their heads in the clouds dreaming about life and who love to watch their favorite rom-coms during the month of February. Hopeless romantic, Liz Buxbaum, has had a crush on Michael since she was young, but when he moved away all hope was lost. Now, he is back in town and Buxbaum will do anything to be with him. She goes as far as gaining help from her annoying next-door neighbor, Wes Bennet. 

I read this book last year for Valentine’s Day, and it is easy to say this is my favorite romance of all time. It had everything I could ever ask for in a rom-com: the enemies-to-lovers trope and silly banter between the two love interests. One of my favorite elements is where the beginning of each chapter starts with a quote from a different rom-com, such as “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Notting Hill” and “When Harry Met Sally.” This book is the perfect, heartwarming romance if you need to escape from reality for a little bit. 

“The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood (2021) 

If you were to bring the elements of a romance and a strong female scientist lead character together, you would get this book. “The Love Hypothesis” follows Olive Smith: a third-year Ph.D. candidate at Stanford who is trying to convince her best friend that she is currently dating someone. So, in a moment of panic, she kisses the first man she sees, who just so happens to be the young and brutal professor from their department, Adam Carlsen. After this, Carlsen agrees to keep her secret and be her fake boyfriend. 

Even though I haven’t read this book for a couple of years, this one stuck with me. Not only is there an amazing romance, but it also portrays an accomplished female character who works in STEM, which made seeing the life of a female scientist more meaningful. If you want a fast-paced romance to read in time for Valentine’s Day, this is one of the best options. The quick and easy writing will have you finishing this in at least one day. 

“Divine Rivals” by Rebecca Ross (2023) 

I can’t talk about books without recommending at least one romantic fantasy, specifically this one. In a fantasy world where the gods are warring, “Divine Rivals” follows Iris Winnow, a journalist who is trying to win the columnist position at the Oath Gazette, despite her rival, Roman Kitt, also gunning for the position. When Winnow’s brother goes missing on the front lines, she starts writing letters with the intention of giving them to him. However, when she slips them under her wardrobe door, they vanish right into the hands of her rival. 

The reason I decided to recommend this book for Valentine’s Day is because of the magical romance between the two main characters who are brought together through their love of writing and determination to tell the truth. Though there are other great elements, such as the war and their job as writers, the beautifully heartwarming romance really ties it all together. With the amazing story line and use of one of my favorite book tropes: enemies-to-lovers, “Divine Rivals” was by far the best book I read last year. Being a part of a duology, the first book ends in a crazy cliffhanger where you will want to immediately jump into the second book in the series, “Ruthless Vows.” 

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