Featured image by: @ThePaperbackBruncher
For many of us book-obsessed individuals, there’s nothing we love to see represented more in romance reads than a fellow book lover.
I’ve rounded up some of the best bookish contemporary romances on the market, that are sure to soothe your bookish soul. They’re full of love, both romantic and bookish.
Get ready to fall in love, again and again!
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Nina is the only child of a single mother and lives the life she loves. She has a job in a bookstore, a kick-ass trivia team, and a best friend (her cat Phil). Whenever life gets too complicated, she knows she can escape to her books. When the father she never knew suddenly dies, she finds out she has numerous family members in the area – and they can’t wait to meet her! And if this wasn’t enough emotional distress on its own, now her (very cute) trivia nemesis is interested in getting to know her. It’s time for Nina to burst out of her bubble, and try new things, but she has yet to be convinced real life is better than fiction.
Content Warnings: Panic attacks/disorders, Mental illness, Death of a parent, Alcoholism, Abandonment, Alcohol, Infidelity, Grief, Addiction
Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Baseball star Gavin Scott is realising his marriage is headed straight for the dugout. He’s recently discovered his wife, Thea, has been *ahem* faking it. After losing his cool over this revelation, it became the final straw in their already strained relationship. Thea asks Gavin for a divorce, prompting him to reach out to an unlikely support group – a secret romance book club made of up Nashville’s high profile men. They discuss romance novels, and how they can apply these fictional stories to real life, for successful, loving (and lasting!) relationships. Will Gavin be able to find the answers to saving his marriage between the pages of the steamy regency novel, Courting the Countess, and win back his wife?
Content Warnings: Sexual content, Vomit, Cursing, Bullying, Emotional abuse, Miscarriage, Pregnancy
Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
Jordan Collins doesn’t need a boyfriend, he needs his favorite author to release another sexy supernatural novel and for people to sign up for the failing romance book club, the “Meet Cute Club”. When bookseller Rex Bailey, decides to stop teasing him about his “grandma” reads and joins the book club, he’s forced to swallow his pride and welcome in the new member… even if he is as frustrating as he is handsome. Together they learn to not judge a book, or bookseller, by its cover and how to save the Meet Club Club.
Content Warnings: Sexual content, Bullying, Child abuse, Infidelity, Grief, Emotional abuse, Homophobia, Alcohol
By the Book by Amanda Sellet
Taking love advice from nineteenth-century literature might not always prove to have the best results, but Mary Porter-Malcolm will take her chances. She is thoroughly prepared for high school, thanks to classic literature and the lessons between the pages. When some of her new friends seem in danger of falling for the resident Lothario, she swoops in with a Scoundrel Survival Guide to save the day and their hearts. The only casualty is her own heart, somehow entangled with the same Lothario she warned her friends away from. Mary is forced to confront that real life follows its own rules, and if she wants her own happy ending, she is going to have to work for it.
Content Warnings: Ableism
Write Before Christmas by Julie Hammerle
A certain reclusive best-selling fantasy author turned famous through his series which was developed into a mega TV hit is behind deadline, while the whole world watches to see what he’ll write next. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and he finds himself in a small town, with no other contacts besides his assistant and personal chef. When he only finds inspiration due to the delicious chef stopping by, Dani Cooper becomes his muse. However, Dani has her own set of problems to deal with, namely a recent divorce and a lack of funding for her next move. When the Christmas deadline hits, will their relationship also end?
Content Warnings: Unknown
Much Ado About You by Samantha Young
Evangeline Starling’s life is missing that *spark*. When she is passed over for a promotion at work, she realizes that the change she seeks is up to her and spontaneously books a trip to a quaint English village. The holiday package also includes a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore below the rental apartment. Book-loving Evie is charmed by the delightful villagers and bookshop, especially one charismatic farmer, Roane Robson. A holiday romance could be just the change she needed, but she fears it can only end in heartbreak. If only Evie can step out behind her books, and capture the spark, she may find a forever kind of love.
Content Warnings: Alcoholism, Child abuse, Emotional abuse, Racism, Sexual content, Death of a parent, Addiction, Car accident
The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak
A bookstore on the beach in her hometown becomes a place of comfort and peace for Autumn Divac. Her husband has been missing for the past eighteen months, and she has no idea what happened to him, or if he will ever return. With two teenage children to care for, she seeks stability and familiarity and sets out to work alongside her mother and aunt in the bookshop. When an old flame from high school turns up, her feelings rush back, but with her heart torn between her husband and a past love, all she can do is trust her heart.
Content Warnings: Homophobia, Sexual assault, Terminal illness, Rape
Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey
In this young adult contemporary romance, Madeline Moore loves working at her family’s bookstore, Books & Moore. She can’t wait to return to the bookstore post-college and takeover, it’s all she can think of. When a chain bookstore called Prologue opens across the street, the family business is in jeopardy. Madeline vows to destroy her competition, no matter how cute their staff is. Game on, booksellers.
Content Warnings: Car accident, Fatphobia, Abandonment, Sexual content, Cursing, Body shaming, Violence, Alcohol
Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley
Kara Sullivan is a best-selling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, who knows her happily ever after is right where it belongs— on the page. With the deadline of her next novel looming and her best friend’s wedding the following week, the stress of her infuriating first love showing up in the wedding party is too much to bear. However, his arrival is sparking her creativity to write the steamy historical romance she has longed to write. Can she push past the button-pushing ex, and muse, and save the wedding, her career, and maybe even her own love life?
Content Warnings: Infidelity, Sexual content, Grief, Death of parent, Fatphobia, Pregnancy
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
A Reese’s Book Club pick, best-selling authors Eva Mercy and Shane Hall once spent an intense week together, in a whirlwind romance neither of them will ever forget. When reunited a decade later at an event, they discover they have been covertly writing about one another in their books and that the spark is still there. Over the span of seven days, they explore their connection as Eva seeks answers from the man who broke her heart.
Content Warnings: Self-harm, Drug abuse, Alcoholism, Drug use
Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach
Eliza Quan is in the running for her school’s editor-in-chief position, against ex-jock Len DiMartile. Even though she may be qualified on paper, she is having a hard time matching up to his leader persona – aka a tall, handsome, and male. When her frustration comes through in an essay that goes viral, she finds herself leading an accidental feminist movement about gender equality. To soothe the situation, the school as Eliza and Len to work side by side. As they get to know each other better, Eliza begins to worry she may be falling for the face of the patriarchy himself.
Content Warnings: Sexism, Misogyny, Bullying, Vomit, Alcohol, Sexual assault, Sexual harassment
Read Between the Lines by Rachel Lacey
Books are Rosie Taft’s life, home, and profession. After taking over her mother’s Manhattan bookstore, she finds the only thing missing is a real-life romance to rival the ones she loves to read about. She strikes up a flirty online relationship with lesbian romance author Brie, because falling in love with your favorite author is the perfect happy ending. Jane Breslin, or Brie by trade, enjoys keeping her private and professional lives separate. When sparking a connection with a loyal reader, she must examine that boundary and decide if some rules are worth breaking. When Rosie discovers Jane’s family business has terminated the bookstore’s lease, the tension is at an all-time high, but when their online identities are revealed – will Jane and Rosie find their happy ending, or is the book permanently closed?
Content Warnings: Sexual content, Death of a parent, Misogyny, Cancer, Alcohol, Sexism, Lesbophobia, Homophobia
Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
Fans of Younger will love this one! When Nora landed a job as an editorial assistant at a small press five years ago, she was thrilled to have her “dream job”. Now? Not so much. When the publishing house cuts her already low pay, she is forced to get a second job, shaking up her comfortable life. Through the change, she is forced to make some hard decisions, including ones about the much sought-after author Andrew Santos.
Content Warnings: Suicidal thoughts, Mental illness
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
When fiction imitates real-life, IRL couple Emily and Austin wrote this bookish romance together about Katrina and Nathan, who are also best-selling authors. At the height of their intertwined career, Katrina and Nathan have a falling out, resulting in them no longer speaking. When they are corralled into writing one last book together, while stuck in a small town, they are forced to confront their past and present feelings, failures, and what could be a passionate future.
Content Warnings: Infidelity, Sexual content, Toxic relationship, Emotional abuse, Mental illness, Death of a parent
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
Rom-com lovers unite, this sweet workplace romance is bound to be your next favorite. Savannah is penning a romance novel while working as an editor at highbrow publishing house, that would look down upon her writing endeavors. When she is forced to hide her manuscript at work, she comes back to find critical notes left for her within the margins. Her annoyance turns playful as she and the mysterious editor turn their correspondence into something a bit more – romantic.
Content Warnings: Fatphobia, Infidelity, Body shaming, Toxic relationship, Blood, Death of a parent, Panic attacks/disorders, Pregnancy
By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate
Did someone request enemies-to-lovers? Lanie is finally getting the editor promotion she’s dreamed of, and direct access to her biggest author inspiration in life – the mysterious Noa Callaway. The catch? She must cure Noa of her writer’s block, and be her only contact. No one has ever met or spoken to Noa, besides her last editor. Why? That reason shakes up Lanie’s world, threatening her career, and life as she knows it.
Content Warnings: Death of parent, Death, Dementia, Grief, Cursing, Genocide, Antisemitism
Book Boyfriend by Kris Ripper
Preston “PK” Kingsley is a writer by night, and an NYC publishing house editorial assistant by day. He’s also been in love with his best friend, Art, since they drunkenly kissed back in college. After Art moves in with PK after a bad breakup, PK hopes this will be the shift in their friendship that turns into something more romantic. After Art laughs off the notion, PK returns to writing, where he can share all of his feelings in works of fiction. At least in his books, PK can be the perfect boyfriend. Fast forward to the book’s release, the fictionalized PK becomes everyone’s favorite book boyfriend, but no one knows it’s his story.
Content Warnings: Drug abuse, Suicide attempt
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora Stephens is known for her prestigious literary agent reputation, landing enormous deals for her clients. When her little sister Libby begs her for a sister’s trip away to Sunshine Falls, Nora decides it’s her time to be the heroine in her own story, rather than championing the stories of others. Instead of the perfect meet-cute with a country doctor or muscled bartender, she repeatedly bumps into Charlie Lastra, a pesky editor from back in the city. They’ve met many times before, and it has yet to be anything close to resembling cute. After being thrown together, time and time again, they begin to unravel what stories they have crafted surrounding themselves.
Content Warnings: Death of a parent, Grief, Sexual content
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
This Beauty & the Beast retelling follows Isabelle, a twenty-something woman still living at home, and one of the only Black employees at her publishing house. Overworked and underpaid, conflicted about speaking up, she longs for something more. When she overhears her boss complaining about a “beastly” hot shot author who has yet to deliver his manuscript, she jumps at the chance to prove her worth and get some much-needed recognition. They find something sweet, and almost kind, but he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined. This tale is as old as time, proving to get to know someone you may just have to read between the lines.
Content Warnings: Emotional abuse, Grief, Death of a parent, Racism, Sexual content, Toxic relationship, Death, Infidelity, Gaslighting
Talk Flirty to Me by Livy Hart
If avoiding my brother’s best friend, firefighter Sam O’Shea, was a sport, I’d be an Olympian. When an audition of make or break proportions falls into my lap, and he’s the only one that can help me secure the gig, I am willing to make a deal with the devil to kickstart my career in narrating audiobooks. The only problem? It’s an erotic romance, which we’d have to narrate… together. When clips of the audiobook wind up on the radio, the town is scandalized. Temptation and disaster are ahead, but I can’t turn back now.
Content Warnings: Unknown
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Available June 7, 2022
Nora Hamilton is a romance channel screenwriter, who knows exactly what love is. Or so she thinks until her too-good-to-work husband leaves her and their two kids. Spinning the story of their marriage failure into gold, she writes the best script of her career. Shocking everyone, especially Nora, the script is picked up for the big screen and requests to film at her 100-year-old-home. Former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her deadbeat husband and Nora knows her life will never be the same. After shooting wraps, Nora finds Leo on her porch, with a bottle of half-empty tequila and a proposition. He will pay Nora a thousand dollars per day, to stay for one week. Seven days and seven grand is enough of a bargain to entice Nora to say yes, but is it enough days to break her heart?
Content Warnings: Sexual content, Infidelity
Scotsman in the Stacks by Alana Oxford
Available June 14, 2022
All Paige wants is two things, to land a full-time librarian job and to find the man of her dreams. Nearing thirty, she’s single and working part-time in a Michigan library. James, in town from Scotland, stops by the reference desk sweeping Paige off her feet. With only eight weeks to get to know one another until he must return home, she vows to protect her heart, and stick to the plan of remaining friends. Will she decide to take the plunge, and give her heart to this man who lives an ocean away?
Content Warnings: Unknown
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
Available June 28, 2022
Florence Day is a millennial ghostwriter for one of the most well-known romance authors in the industry. However, after a terrible breakup, she now no longer believes in love. When her sexy new editor won’t give an extension on a book deadline, she prepares to say goodbye to her career. Florence then receives a call to return home for the first time in a decade, to bury her beloved father. She’s always felt misunderstood by the town, and even though she misses home, she can’t bring herself to stay. Until she finds a handsome ghost standing at the funeral parlor door, just as confused to why he is there, as she is. She may have believed romance to be dead, but somehow so is her new editor, and he’s got unfinished business.
Content Warnings: Unknown
Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee
Available July 26, 2022
Lizzy is an overachieving lawyer with her life planned out, goals mapped and cruising in the fast lane to success. Her last step? Make partner. What wasn’t in her plans was a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career, costing her time off to diagnose the cause of her burnout. Enter Jack Park, her childhood best friend who has crushed after her for years, and who happens to be a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery. Is there more than friendship between these dusty shelves of books?
Content Warnings: Panic attacks/disorders, Sexual content, Emotional abuse, Mental illness
You & I, Rewritten by Chip Pons
Available August 23, 2022
Will Cowen’s life is finally on the right track, he’s just accepted a dream promotion at one of New York City’s most renowned publishing houses and is moving in with one of his oldest friends. He is ready to take the literary world by storm until he bumps into Graham Austin. No matter what his intentions are, somehow he always puts his food in his mouth when around the handsome heir to the publishing empire. When a stunningly beautiful manuscript drops on his desk, Will is ready to seize the moment and secure the win. The manuscript’s writer ghosts him at an important event, and he ends up finding comfort from an unlikely source – none other than the cold, distant, Graham. As the manuscript begins to take shape, so does Will and Graham’s relationship, entangling the words that initially brought them together.
Content Warnings: Unknown
The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith
Available September 6, 2022
Max Boyson may look good with his tattooed bad boy vibe, but he is best admired from afar. When Joelle Prima first learned of massive renovation happening in the building they share for her bakery, and his neighboring bookstore, she imagined a happily ever after. Reality is anything but happy, as Max tends to snap at her in front of customers, dries his wet clothes out in her ovens, and helps himself to pastries without asking. Beneath his rough exterior, she sees a softer side yearning to break through. After they discover the real reason behind the building renovations, their business sense and feelings are put to the ultimate test.
Content Warnings: Unknown
For those of you trying to live out these scenarios IRL, may I suggest spending countless hours at your local bookstore or library? Maybe your next meet-cute moment will happen between the stacks…
Looking for more books about books? Be sure to check out “Historical Fiction Set in Bookstores and Libraries” for more fantastic “bookie books” recommendations!
If you’re still reading this, send me strength on my book buying ban. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to my library to check out as many of these titles as possible.