Meet Today's Rising Stars of Romance

Posted by Cybil on February 4, 2020
Romance Week 2020
 
Have you picked up a good romance lately? If it's been a couple of years since you've explored the genre, you have some serious catching up to do!

Not to worry. February is the perfect time for a Happily Ever After (or two, or seven). And to get you started, we've rounded up the rising stars of romance. These authors are only a few years into their writing careers but are already capturing the hearts of romance readers.

Here you'll find the hottest names in the genre, Goodreads Choice Award nominees and winners, and bestsellers. We're linking to each author's first published book to get you quickly falling in love with these writers. 


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Hoang burst onto the romance scene with The Kiss Quotient in 2018, about an introverted woman who hires an escort-turned-teacher to learn the ways of modern romance. That book won the year's Goodreads Choice Award for Romance, and Hoang followed up that success with The Bride Test last year. Up next for her? The Heart Principle, expected to be published in 2021.


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Guillory's first novel, The Wedding Date, is a rollicking tale of an interracial couple. None other than beloved writer Roxane Gay called it "a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel." Since the 2018 publication of that book, Guillory has published three more romances (and counting!) and is quickly gaining a fan base.


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Readers loved Silver's first book, One Day in December, about a woman who briefly locks eyes with a man she knows is the "one" and then her bus pulls away from him. After a year of searching for him, she finally finds him in a star-crossed way. Her upcoming book, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, will also take readers on a whirlwind journey toward destiny. 
 


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McQuiston’s much-loved queer rom-com, Red, White & Royal Blue, was a double winner in last year’s Goodreads Choice Awards, dominating both the Romance and Debut Novel categories. She's working on her sophomore novel now! Also be sure to check out our interview with McQuiston. 


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A professional baker who has competed on The Food Network, Jimenez cooked up a hot debut last year with The Friend Zone, about a woman planning her friend's wedding when she falls for the groom's best man. She's following up the success of that book with The Happily Ever After Playlist, out this April.


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Martin's first book, the 2018 Intercepted, was inspired by her time as a self-described "NFL wife" when her now-retired husband played for the Baltimore Ravens. Since her debut, Martin has made a name for herself with two more football-themed romances in her Playbook series. 


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Jalaluddin's debut, a revamped Pride and Prejudice set in a close-knit Toronto Muslim community, was named a best summer romance read by The TODAY Show, earned a Goodreads Choice Award nomination, and was named one of Publishers Weekly's best romances of 2019.


Which rising star of romance would you recommend to your fellow readers? Let's talk romance in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Romance Week, including:
32 Swoonworthy Young Adult Books of the Last Decade
A Starter Kit of Reads for Romance Newbies
Lisa Kleypas Talks Changing Trends in Romance

Comments Showing 1-37 of 37 (37 new)

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message 1: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik is another REALLY good retelling of Pride and Prejudice that features a Muslim woman as Elizabeth Bennet. It's set in London and Mr. Darcy turns out to be someone you didn't expect


message 2: by Annette (new)

Annette I've been a huge fan of Alyssa Cole ever since A Princess in Theory - I'd highly recommend her!


message 3: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Halvorson Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal is another good P&P retelling set in modern day India. Highly recommend.


message 4: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda All of K. Bromberg's books are excellent. Start with "Driven" and go from there.


message 5: by Kitty (new)

Kitty Sally Thorne! The Hating Game and 99% Mine are both books that are full of smart language, little quirks and just really beautiful little moments. 10/10.


message 6: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Robertson Moutis Kitty wrote: "Sally Thorne! The Hating Game and 99% Mine are both books that are full of smart language, little quirks and just really beautiful little moments. 10/10."

100% agree. She just gets right to the heart!


message 7: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Garcia These little covers with this painted cartoon theme I see over the past 2 years are so cute. From the Proposal to White & Royal Blue, it just is so different with the contrast and makes the book so eye-catching.

That is if you want to judge a book by its cover....


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle In the historical romance genre, newer author Mimi Matthews is doing excellent work.


message 9: by Wynnde (new)

Wynnde Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing romance authors. Please don't limit yourself to mainstream authors - especially when it comes to marginalized subjects. These women write beautiful romances and I'd love to see them get more visibility. Have a lovely day, y'all!


message 10: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve If you like M/M romance, then I insist on you reading Red, White & Royal Blueby Casey McQuiston
It is amazing and good, and marvelous and amazing and I love it!!
The back of the book makes it look like its really political and everything but its not really that political. It is my favorite romance (so far) I've ever read.


message 11: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Stella Lane in The Kiss Quotient isn't simply introverted, she has Asperger's. I'm not sure why it was re-framed in the blurb for this list, but it's something that is significant to the plot, and should not be erased, especially considering the book was inspired by Helen Hoang's own diagnosis.


message 12: by Jen (new)

Jen Josie Silver's debut novel One Day in December is my absolute favorite romance novel. It was such a cozy read, but kept me on my toes. The characters are all charismatic and likable, and the ending will literally make you want to jump for joy.


message 13: by Nora (new)

Nora Melanie wrote: "Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal is another good P&P retelling set in modern day India. Highly recommend."

It is actually in Pakistan but I agree it is great!


message 14: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Adrienne wrote: "Stella Lane in The Kiss Quotient isn't simply introverted, she has Asperger's. I'm not sure why it was re-framed in the blurb for this list, but it's something that is significant t..."
Thank you! I noticed that glaring omission in the blurb as well. The last thing the neuro-divergent community needs is more erasure. And Stella's identity as autistic is central to the story.

I would also recommend Talia Hibbert, Alyssa Cole, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Ruby Lang, Jayci Lee, Alisha Rai, Therese Beharrie, and Mhairi McFarlane, Suleihka Snyder, and would second the recommendation above for Soniah Kamal's Unmarriageable.


message 15: by Amber J (new)

Amber J I added most of these to my to-read list. But Red, White, and Royal Blue I have already read, and I HIGHLY recommend it.


message 16: by Treece (new)

Treece Melanie wrote: "Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal is another good P&P retelling set in modern day India. Highly recommend."

I am so glad you mentioned this one. I LOVED this book. One of my favorites. I need to reread it!


message 17: by Shelby (last edited Feb 11, 2020 08:55AM) (new)

Shelby Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing romance authors. Pl..."

THANK YOU. I was thinking the same thing. Cara Malone, Tamsen Parker, Michelle Osgood, and Olivia Waithe are other great WLW options across subgenres. Alyssa Cole has also written an excellent WLW novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, that I'd highly recommend to anybody to liked A Princess in Theory.

I like to use LGBTQReads to find WLW, MLM, and other LGBTQ options for romance - that page organizes romances by age group, tropes, and subgenres.


message 18: by Treece (new)

Treece Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing romance authors. Pl..."

Hi Wynnde-

What does WLW stand for? I somehow missed this one, darling. Heh! Please share for those like me and anyone to scared to ask.


message 19: by Treece (new)

Treece Adrienne wrote: "Stella Lane in The Kiss Quotient isn't simply introverted, she has Asperger's. I'm not sure why it was re-framed in the blurb for this list, but it's something that is significant t..."

Well said.


message 20: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Stremmel Kitty wrote: "Sally Thorne! The Hating Game and 99% Mine are both books that are full of smart language, little quirks and just really beautiful little moments. 10/10."

Here here! I fully agree. I have loved both of these books.


message 21: by Treece (new)

Treece Kitty wrote: "Sally Thorne! The Hating Game and 99% Mine are both books that are full of smart language, little quirks and just really beautiful little moments. 10/10."

Loved this book! Great choice.


message 22: by Shelby (new)

Shelby Treece wrote: "Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing roma..."

Hey Treece! WLW stands for "women loving women" - i.e. lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual women in relationships with one another. You might also see this kind of romance called "f/f". MLM stands for "men loving men" (not multi-level marketing, in this context :P) in a similar way. There is one MLM title on this list, but no WLW ones.


message 23: by Thais (new)

Thais Shelby wrote: "THANK YOU. I was thinking the same thing. Cara Malone, Tamsen Parker, Michelle Osgood, and Olivia Waithe are other great WLW options across subgenres..."

I second the Olivia Waite mention. Celestial Mechanics is so lovely.


message 24: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing romance authors. Pl..."

Thanks so much for these!


message 25: by Genevieve (last edited Feb 11, 2020 06:33PM) (new)

Genevieve Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is my jam! SOOOO GOOD!


message 26: by Sonja (new)

Sonja I've read The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) by Helen Hoang and One Day in December by Josie Silver so far. Both were SO good! I've added a couple more of these to my never-ending TBR!


message 27: by Glyn (new)

Glyn Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing romance authors. Pl..."

YES thank you!!! Indigo does this too and I hate it so much... Says a lot about how wlw romance is viewed...


message 28: by Binnie (new)

Binnie  Braunstein Kelly Bowen, for intense historical romance. And Jenn McKinlay, especially for The Good Ones, where a woman inherits a house full of romance books.


message 29: by Janet (new)

Janet Rhonda wrote: "All of K. Bromberg's books are excellent. Start with "Driven" and go from there."

The Hating Game is one of my all time favorites. Can't wait for the movie...


message 30: by Kate (new)

Kate Annette wrote: "I've been a huge fan of Alyssa Cole ever since A Princess in Theory - I'd highly recommend her!"

Seconded!


message 31: by A.S. (new)

A.S. Juno Rushdan -- a terrific new author of romantic suspense


message 32: by Sumant (new)

Sumant Gupta I have written two sweet romantic stories last year. Brave readers who would like to test untested waters may pick them up.
LØVE STORY LzeroVE STORY , When LØVE is not LOVE by Sumant Gupta
The Bachelorette Bucket List Crushed & Crumpled A sweet romantic love story of 2 lovable persons, which will make you smile even with tears in your eyes. ... love with a happily ever after ending. by Sumant Gupta


message 33: by Wynnde (new)

Wynnde Treece wrote: "Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing roma..."

Oh sorry, it stands for women-loving-women. As in FF romance.


message 34: by Wynnde (new)

Wynnde Glyn wrote: "Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing roma..."

Exactly! And rarely do romance blogs/podcasts mention WLW reads, because very few are published by "mainstream" publishers. Bold Strokes Books, YLVA, Bella Books and Bywater Books are some non-mainstream publishers turning out high quality WLW romance books. I also rec checking out The Lesbian Review com for reviews of various WLW books. They even have them tagged so you can search by tropes. :)


message 35: by Wynnde (new)

Wynnde Shelby wrote: "Wynnde wrote: "Can we talk about some WLW Romance authors? Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Kris Bryant, Harper Bliss, Karin Kallmaker, Jae, Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, and Ann McMan are all amazing roma..."

Hi Shelby, thanks for the website rec. I'll check it out for sure. I read TheLesbianReview.com for WLW books. They have reviewed hundreds of FF stories and you can also search by tropes/genres, etc. Have a great day!


message 36: by Lori (new)

Lori Wilen Red, White and Royal Blue. I read this a while ago and still remember it too well to read again and boy do I ever want to read this one again. I loved it! I devoured it from the first word to the last. My favorite book of 2019 and fast going to become one of my all time favorite reads. Can't wait to see what the author has up her sleeve for her next book.


message 37: by Daryl (new)

Daryl L. This Kiss Quotient was one of my favorites last year. And of course, The Bride Test. Can't wait for the next one!

I just finished Space Junk: Houston, We Have a Hottie and I have to say-- it's going to be one hard book to beat!
If you like Rom-Coms with heat, you'll love this book about a female NASA engineer.


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