If October is the month for reading scary books, then February is definitely the month for reading romance books. I fell into the world of romance novels last year, and haven't looked back since. The world doesn't need another think piece about a snobby reader who discovered that romance novels are smarter, more feminist and better written than she ever expected (guilty) but suffice to say, they are. So throw away your prejudices, grab yourself a juicy romance novel and feel the love!
Rules of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean
Sarah MacLean has a stellar reputation in the world of historical romance and, whilst I haven't had a chance to read her full back catalogue, I was happy to have started with her Rules of Scoundrels series. Prepare yourself for some brooding heroes, some feisty heroines and some pretty steamy scenes... Centred around The Fallen Angel, a notorious London gaming hell run by four aristocrats, once exiled from society, who now count themselves as royalty amongst the underbelly of London, this is *not* the kind of historical romance you're imagining. There's very little that's prim and proper about these books - we're not talking courtships and balls, here. Each book centres on one of our heroes, and the love that captures their heart and changes everything. With a few pretty major twists and turns along the way, this ragtag bunch of misfits is bound to capture your heart.
The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn
Here you've got an extensive and close knit family, and a mother who's desperate to marry them all off. From Anthony all the way down to Henrietta (there are xxx of them in total), they're all looking for love in their own unique ways. This series is more of what you might expect from a historical romance series, with balls and carriages and dresses, but with a little twist... the ladies and gentlemen of the 'Ton are plagued by the straight-talking gossip paper delivered straight to their doors, written by the mysterious XXX, which reveals their secrets at the most inopportune times. There's something incredibly sweet and heart-warming about these books, and you'll find yourself wanting to be part of the Bridgerton family (or married to one, at least), as they tackle their issues and find love across the pages.
The Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan
I wrote about this in my 'best books of 2016' post a couple of months back, so I think you can tell that I have left my favourite until last. I think about the heroes and heroines of this series often - I devoured every part of this series looking for more snippets about the characters, not willing to let them go on with their lives without me. This is feminist romance at its very best, tackling the issues head on with heroines that defy expectations and heroes that love them all the more for doing so. The women are scientists, suffragettes and society outcasts, but they are also bold, brave and beautiful in their own unique ways. There are the obligatory kisses (and more) and marriage proposals, but there are also thrilling plots full of twists and turns, and I was left wanting more every single time. They were all wonderful, but I have a particular soft spot for Violet and Sebastian from The Countess Conspiracy.