Book corner: 5 contemporary romance novels that you should read before 2023 ends

There is no particular season or reason to dive into a romance novel. They are evergreen, just like the emotion. Clean and wholesome, new adult, meet-cutes — the contemporary romance genre is thriving with all its sub-genres. Little wonder, since all you need is a cosy corner and a piping hot beverage to escape into the fantasy world. 

As we are set to welcome 2024 and the host of new releases it brings, here are some swoon-worthy romance novels that you can read before the year ends.  

1) ‘The Spanish Love Deception’ by Elena Armas

A self-confessed romance lover, Elena Armas has mastered the trick with best-selling works, including the recently released The Long Game. But, it was her 2021 release The Spanish Love Deception that drew in the TikTok generation. 

The Spanish Love Deception introduces us to two main characters, Catalina Martin, the stubborn protagonist, and Aaron Blackford, her condescending colleague. Lina needs a fake date to attend her sister’s wedding in her hometown and Aaron volunteers. They do not see eye-to-eye but life has a surprise in store for Catalina.

2. ‘Twisted Series’ by Ana Huang 

The ‘Twisted’ series by Huang has the most popular trope; the billionaire boyfriend. They are dark, spicy and, importantly, steamy. No wonder Huang is the star of Bookstagram, the Instagram community of readers.All four in the series – Twisted Love; Twisted Games; Twisted Hate and Twisted Lies – follow the lives of four friends Ava, Bridget, Jules, and Stella and their love lives. They cover a lot of tropes, including possessive, jealous MC and fake dating. Her favourite trope, though, is ‘grumpy- sunshine’, so expect a lot of it in Huang’s next books.

3. ‘A Thousand Boy Kisses’ by Tillie Cole 

Tillie Cole has written over 15 novels and is a prominent name in the TikTok (read BookTok!) community, thanks to her alpha male leading man and strong female characters. A Thousand Boy Kisses follows the story Rune and Poppy, their childhood love and heartache as one of them leaves for Norway. A tear-jerker, A Thousand Boy Kisses is riddled with cliches and familiar tropes. 

Watch out: A Thousand Broken Pieces, the sequel to A Thousand Boy Kisses is coming out in June 2024

4. ‘Better Than Movies’ by Lynn Painter

A major star of Bookstagram, Lynn Painter is a huge fan of “happily ever after”. Better Than Movies is a story of 2 teenagers, Wes and Liz Buxbaum, who are neighbours with nothing in common between them. Until Liz wants Wes to help her catch the attention of her childhood crush Michael. Going by reviews, Painter’s bestseller is “sweet” (and corny at certain parts) but is breezy and full of life. She has also thrown in enough pop culture references from Taylor Swift to Harry Met Sally.

5. ‘Secretly Yours’ by Tessa Bailey 

Tessa Bailey is a New York Times bestselling author and a TikTok favourite. Secretly Yours is a funny, breezy and fast-paced rice that follows the life of Hallie Welch, a small-town gardener and her relationship with a starchy professor. While readers love Secretly Yours for its relatable characters and cheesy love-angle, a lot of fans didn’t shy away from expressing their disappointment at “problematic” steamy scenes.