Main Street Recommends

Oblong Books Recommends These Romance Reads

By Published On: February 13th, 2024

February is the month of love. With Valentine’s Day just a day away, we reached out to the folks over at Oblong Books to give us their best romance novel recommendations so that we can all celebrate the holiday the best way possible – by reading! 

Don’t Want You Like a Best Friend (The Mischief & Matchmaking Series #1) by Emma R. Alban

Oblong describes it as “a swoon-worthy debut queer Victorian romance in which two debutantes distract themselves from having to seek husbands by setting up their widowed parents, and instead find their perfect match in each other—the lesbian Bridgerton/Parent Trap you never knew you needed!”

Ari says, “Pure fun! Beth and Gwen are DEFINITELY just fast friends, who want to spend every waking moment admiring each other’s brains and beauty — except… Oh, no. Yeah… they’re definitely more-than-friends. They must play the courtship-and-inheritance game wisely, if they want to share a life together without falling into social and financial ruin.”

To purchase, visit Oblong’s website here. 

The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella 

The description reads: 

She can do anything . . . just not everything.

Sasha has had it. She cannot bring herself to respond to another inane, “urgent” (but obviously not at all urgent) email or participate in the corporate employee joyfulness program. She hasn’t seen her friends in months. Sex? Seems like a lot of effort. Even cooking dinner takes far too much planning. Sasha has hit a wall.

Armed with good intentions to drink kale smoothies, try yoga, and find peace, she heads to the seaside resort she loved as a child. But it’s the off season, the hotel is in a dilapidated shambles, and she has to share the beach with the only other occupant: a grumpy guy named Finn, who seems as stressed as Sasha. How can she commune with nature when he’s sitting on her favorite rock, watching her? Nor can they agree on how best to alleviate their burnout (Sasha: manifesting, wild swimming; Finn: drinking whisky, getting pizza delivered to the beach).

When curious messages, seemingly addressed to Sasha and Finn, begin to appear on the beach, the two are forced to talk—about everything. How did they get so burned out? Can either of them remember something they used to love? (Answer: surfing!) And the question they try and fail to ignore: what does the energy between them—flaring even in the face of their bone-deep exhaustion—signify?

Carissa says, “Two exhausted adults meet at a resort whose heyday has long ago passed. United by shared childhood memories they go from enemies to friends, and soon enough sparks fly. This story is the perfect amount of sweet and spicy.” 

To purchase, visit Oblong’s website here

My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine 

The description reads:

True love is at stake in this charming, debut romantic comedy. 

Cassie Greenberg loves being an artist, but it’s a tough way to make a living. On the brink of eviction, she’s desperate when she finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment in a beautiful Chicago neighborhood. Cassie knows there has to be a catch—only someone with a secret to hide would rent out a room for that price.

Of course, her new roommate Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is far from normal. He sleeps all day, is out at night on business, and talks like he walked out of a regency romance novel. He also leaves Cassie heart-melting notes around the apartment, cares about her art, and asks about her day. And he doesn’t look half bad shirtless, on the rare occasions they’re both home and awake. But when Cassie finds bags of blood in the fridge that definitely weren’t there earlier, Frederick has to come clean…

Cassie’s sexy new roommate is a vampire. And he has a proposition for her.

Suzanna says, “Cassie is desperate for a new living situation, but this listing looks too good to be true. There’s just one catch about her new roommate… can you guess? Great fun!”

To purchase, visit Oblong’s site here

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna 

The description reads:

A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life.

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

Noelle says, “I’m head over heels for this absolute charmer of a novel! Orphaned witch Mika Moon spends most of her time on her own, as common witch wisdom of the day states that solitary witches are less likely to get found out. She can’t help herself but create a ‘fake’ social media account where she posts theatrical videos of her at-home spell making, sure that no one out there would ever take her seriously. But when a distant family of witches sends her a message asking for help, her safe, witchy world is turned upside down. This is by far the most fun, uplifting, magical (and spicy!) romance read of my whole summer.”

To purchase, visit Oblong’s site here

The Dead Romantics: A GMA Book Club Pick by Ashley Poston 

The description reads:

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

Nicole says, “This spectral romance is a balm to the spirit. When writer Florence Day has to return home for an unexpected funeral, she’s surprised to find herself visited by the ghost of… her stoic, too-handsome editor. Romance readers will want Ashley Poston to haunt their shelves after reading this: it’s soulful, punny, whimsical, and death defyingly romantic.”

Carissa says, “As a ghost writer for a romance novelist, Florence Day does not believe in love. When her dad dies unexpectedly she returns home to the town she fled years ago after being infamously labeled as “the girl that solved a murder case by talking to a ghost”. While visiting and struggling to meet her writing deadline she makes a ghostly connection that teaches her that love is not dead.”

Purchase on Oblong’s site here

The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter 

The description reads:

The New York Times bestselling YA author of the beloved Gallagher Girls series bursts onto the adult scene with a fast-paced, hilarious road trip rom-com about a woman with amnesia who discovers she’s the identical twin sister of a rogue spy… and must team up with a rugged, grumpy operative to stay alive.

It’s the middle of the night in the middle of Paris and a woman just woke up with no memory.

She only knows three things for certain:

1. She has a splitting headache.

2. The hottest guy she has (probably) ever seen is standing over her, telling her to run.

And oh yeah…

  1. People keep trying to kill her.

She doesn’t know who. Or why. But when she sees footage of herself fighting off a dozen men there’s only one explanation: obviously. . . she’s a spy!

Except, according to Mr. Hot Guy, she’s not. She’s a spy’s identical twin sister.

Too bad the only person who knows she’s not the woman they’re looking for is this very grouchy, very sexy, very secret agent who (reluctantly) agrees to help her disappear. Which is easier said than done when a criminal organization wants you dead and every intelligence service in the world wants you caught.

Luckily, no one is looking for a pair of lovesick newlyweds on their honeymoon. And soon they’re lying their way across Europe—dodging bullets and faking kisses as they race to unravel a deadly conspiracy and clear her sister’s name.

But with every secret they uncover, the truth shifts, until she no longer knows who to trust: the twin she can’t remember or the mysterious man she can’t let herself forget…

Suzanna says, “When a woman wakes up beneath the Eiffel Tower with no memory of who she is, the race is on to discover her identity. Luckily a sexy spy shows up to help her! This is a very fun, low-spice romance.”

To purchase, visit Oblong’s site here