Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! While you celebrate all the different loves in your life with chocolates, flowers, wine, gifts, and more, it’s also the perfect time to curl up with a good romance novel. Especially because the romance genre and the publishing industry as a whole are incredibly whitewashed, it’s always a good opportunity to read and support Latina authors who are uplifting our cultures through stories that are lighthearted, humorous, and maybe a little bit steamy. This is by no means an exhaustive list but is a good starting place to curate your go-to romance books to read again and again. Read on to learn more about 14 of the best romance books by Latina authors to read this Valentine’s Day.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
The Worst Best Man by Puerto Rican and Brazilian author Mia Sosatells the story of Carolina Santos, a wedding planner that was left at the altar of her own wedding. When she gets the opportunity to turn her life around, she is overjoyed until she realizes the catch—she’ll have to work with Max Hartley, the brother and best man of Lina’s ex-fiancé who encouraged the separation. They still decide to work together, only to realize that loathing and anger might not be the only thing causing sparks between them, if only they could manage to get over the past.
Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
Island Affair by Mexican and Puerto Rican author Priscilla Oliveras follows Sara Vance, a popular social media influencer slowly recovering from her eating disorder and re-adjusting to her career that may hold a promotion in the near future. But she can’t help but feel like the odd one out in a family of successful siblings and their partners. Desperate to prove herself after her boyfriend flakes out on the Florida family vacation, she recruits Luis Navarro, a firefighter paramedic and dive captain, to pretend to be her fiancé. It’s all fun and games—fake stories, dinners, bike tours, snorkeling trips, sunsets etc.— until they both realize the lie might be more reality than fantasy.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Juliet Takes a Breath by Puerto Rican author Gabby Rivera is a heartwarming queer love story for all ages. It follows Juliet Palante, who experiences a whirlwind summer as she begins an internship with her favorite author. Between worrying if her Puerto Rican family will still love her when she comes out and wondering why her girlfriend won’t return her calls, she doesn’t think she has time for much else. It’s not until the queer dance parties, sexy flings with a motorcycling librarian, and scary but rewarding moments that she really discovers who she is, what she wants, and what it means to come out.
Mistletoe and Mofongo by Lyra Blake
Mistletoe and Mofongo by Lyra Blake tells the story of Matteo Gonzalez, a celebrity chef who inherited his abuelita’s love of food, and Macy Heart, whose life is hanging on a thread thanks to a husband that left her a year ago. When they meet at a coffee shop, things take a turn for the unexpected and despite the good time, Macy hopes to never see him again. Only to realize that he happens to be the owner and head chef at El Corazón Borikén, the very same place where she hopes to land a job as sous chef. The surprises keep coming when he hires her and later, when Macy’s ex shows up uninvited with apologies and promises, thwarting what could be a meaningful romance yet again.
You Never Forget Your First by Millie Perez
You Never Forget Your First by Dominican American author Millie Perez follows Amelia Nuñez, a first-gen Dominican American daughter of immigrant parents who moves out of her Upper East Side apartment after losing her mother and an engagement. When winter comes around, however, she finds she’s not ready yet to face the judgment of her family or the loneliness of the holiday season as a single 30-year-old woman. And she’s definitely not prepared for the arrival of Evan Cooper, her brother’s best friend, tech mogul, and Amelia’s first crush. As the holidays kick into overdrive, both Amelia and Evan find their relationship just got a little more complicated by long-held secrets, a hushed past, and a person who may be watching their every move.
Because of Us by Nina Arada
Because of Us by Cuban American author Nina Arada is the story of Josie and Wes Miller, who shared a beachside love affair that only lasted one summer, leaving Josie with a broken heart. Seven years later, Josie returns stronger and healed until she bumps into Wes, who awakens old feelings and desires she thought she had put away forever. Still, she’s on the fence about forgiving him and trusting him once more. Only time will tell if Wes is still worth loving through a second chance, or if Josie will choose herself and the work she’s done to grow.
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria
If you loved You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria, you’ll love her most recent novel, Take the Lead! This book follows Gina Morales, a hopeful for the reality dance show The Dance Off, though she’s never made it to the finals. When she ropes in Stone Nielson, the star of an Alaskan wilderness show and reluctant dance partner, she’s determined that this will be her year—until she realizes they’re being set up to fake date on the show for ratings. And even worse, the pair might be falling for each other for real, even as the tabloids threaten to tear them apart on the dance floor and in real life.
A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera
If you love historical fiction, be sure to pick up A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Caribbean author Adriana Herrera, following Luz Alana-Heigh Benzan, heiress to the Caña Brava rum empire in 1889. Before she sets sail from Santo Domingo and heads to Paris with hundreds of rum casks under her belt, she promises herself and her friends that she won’t, under any circumstances, fall in love. Between expanding her family-owned rum business and being denied her inheritance until marriage, she doesn’t have a lot of room in her life for much else besides her future. Until she meets James Evanston Sinclair, Earl of Darnick, owner of a whiskey brand who thinks he’s got it all together, only to be challenged by Luz’s fierceness and passion for life. Falling in love isn’t what either of them expected but it might be the only thing to bring them together and save them both.
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Best known for her best-selling novel Mexican Gothic, Mexican Canadian novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s novel The Beautiful Ones is a swoon-worthy read for the romance enthusiasts in all of us. Set in the fictional world of Loisail, the story follows Nina and her hopes to join the coveted ranks of The Beautiful Ones, the country’s most notable socialites, and her affair with entertainer Hector Auvray. They grow close when they discover each other’s telekinetic abilities but just as love seems to be in their future, Hector reveals a secret that may threaten her reputation and their courtship.
Amor Actually by Adriana Herrera
Amor Actually is a Christmas-themed anthology edited by Adriana Herrera that features seven best-selling Latina authors with a specialty in romance—Zoey Castile, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Priscilla Oliveras, Sabrina Sol, and Mia Sosa. In these nine heartwarming stories that all take place on Christmas Eve in New York City, couples are faced with second chances, big choices, and connections, from getting the courage to invite that special someone to Nochebuena dinner, to being snowed in with a potential new love interest. Get the tissues!
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Like Water for Chocolate by Mexican author Laura Esquivel is a work of classic Mexican literature that follows Tita, a girl growing up on the De la Garza ranch with her family, including her tyrannical mother Mama Elena, whom she endures through her love for cooking. As the youngest of her sisters, Tita is expected to follow the tradition of forgoing marriage in order to take care of her mother until she dies. Against her family’s wishes, however, Tita falls in love with a local boy named Pedro but everything takes a turn when he marries her sister instead. A story of loss, love, and passion, this has defined Latin American literature since its original publication in 1992.
A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña
A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Puerto Rican-Dominican author Natalie Caña is the first in an upcoming trilogy of Latinx romance novels centering on a Puerto Rican family in Humboldt Park, Chicago. In Caña’s debut, chef Kamilah Vega is determined to update her family’s Puerto Rican restaurant, even if that means surrendering to their neighborhood’s gentrification. Meanwhile, Liam Kane, an Irish-American whiskey distiller, hopes to enter his family’s distillery into a national competition. The problem? They will each only get what they want if they obey their respective grandfathers and marry each other. The idea is ludicrous, absurd even, so Kamilah and Liam decide to fake the engagement to get what they want and their grandfathers off their backs—only to realize that maybe what they also want is each other.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Puerto Rican author Crystal Maldonado is a YA novel that follows Charlie, a high schooler who would have a better relationship with her body if it weren’t for her mom’s harsh criticism. The only person she feels like she can count on is her best friend Amelia who, thanks to her slimmer shape, athleticism, and popular status, might not always understand but is always there for Charlie. When Charlie’s relationship with her classmate Brian goes from a shy friendship to a loving romance, she is more than happy—until she finds out that he asked Amelia out first. Suddenly, all her insecurities and fears come barreling back, and Charlie doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to face them this time. Maldonado wrote this story to center a fat brown girl in a love story because she never saw that in literature.
After Hours on Milagro Street by Angelina M. Lopez
After Hours on Milagro Street by Mexican American author Angelina M. Lopez is an enemies-to-lover romance story to remember. The story follows Alejandra “Alex” Torres, a bartender who’s frequently at odds with Professor Jeremiah Post, a tenant in the building. He’s earned the respect and admiration of Alex’s family and wants to protect them, their home, their community, and their matriarch’s bar. But in Alex’s eyes, he just stands in the way of her turning it into a successful business. When an old enemy returns to town and puts the bar in danger, Alex and Jeremiah are forced to work together to save everything they hold dear, and may finally act on the lust they have for each that they’ve denied for so long.