The best fantasy romance books to stay up until 3 a.m. reading

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I've always been attracted to the fantasy genre; I've been obsessed ever since my teacher introduced me to it in the first grade. What started as innocent fairy books evolved to dark, spicy fantasy romance/romantasy. Now, in addition to staying up way past my bedtime reading, I'm a teenage author of my own YA fantasy romance book, Masks of Faded Dreams. This genre has truly changed my life. As cliche as that sounds, it's true; it's both my form of escapism and an eye-opening experience into worlds I'd never known existed. 

I wrote...

Masks of Faded Dreams

By Marcelina LoBue,

Book cover of Masks of Faded Dreams

What is my book about?

When sixteen-year-old Maia Urtisti gets sucked into her high school's masquerade ball, she crosses paths with the ally of her long-time enemy. She swears not to trust him...until he recruits her as a spy to his own group of other Elementals–people with elemental magic woven into their blood. She then gets thrust into her birth realm and is forced to deal with the inner demons that have haunted her since childhood. 

When the revolution threatens to take away everything she holds dear, she's forced to put her lingering trust issues aside and become a double agent for them. However, in the midst of her plan, unexpected betrayals lurk from every possible corner...putting Maia against the fate of her heart. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Court of Mist and Fury

Marcelina LoBue Why did I love this book?

Do you ever have those books that, no matter how late it is or how tired you are, you just can’t stop reading? That was me with this book. 

This is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and since the first book was extremely boring, I was hesitant to start this one. I'm so glad I did, however, because it quite literally changed my life.

The characters feel like family and fill a growing hole in my heart to replace what I've lost. The main character, Feyre, is so resilient with her past trauma, and it helps me conquer mine. I also adored the romance between Feyre and Rhys–I will forever ship them. 

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked A Court of Mist and Fury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'With bits of Buffy, Game Of Thrones and Outlander, this is a glorious series of total joy' - STYLIST
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court - but at a steep cost. Though she now possesses the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, the mesmerising High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates his dark web of political games and tantalising promises,…

Book cover of Legendborn

Marcelina LoBue Why did I love this book?

I was just texting my friend, wishing for a solid YA fantasy romance that truly delivered on all the vibes...and I finally got it. And may I add that the cover for this novel is STUNNING! 🤩

I'm obsessed with this book. The lore, the secret societies, the historical fantasy/King Arther and the knights, the romance (Selwyn ~ aw, my heart), the page-turning mystery...I adore this series, and it will forever hold a dear place in my heart. It was the book that had me staying up until 3 am, sobbing, laughing–it broke me into a million pieces and then put me back together once more. 5/5 stars for sure.

By Tracy Deonn,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Legendborn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Instant New York Times Bestseller!
Winner of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy reinvents the King Arthur legend and “braids together Southern folk traditions and Black Girl Magic into a searing modern tale of grief, power, and self-discovery” (Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles).

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill…

Book cover of Powerless

Marcelina LoBue Why did I love this book?

One day, I was simply scrolling on TikTok…though my life was changed when I stumbled across one of Lauren’s TikToks. She shared her writing journey, and I was immediately hooked.

This book is everything I could’ve wished for in a fantasy romance and so much more. I’ll admit my expectations weren’t that high, but wow, was I blown away. The writing was easy to get into and flowed nicely, the characters were the type to stick with you long after you finished, and it included some of my favorite tropes: "Who did this to you?", royalty, forbidden love, and a fierce assassin who stops at nothing to avenge her family.

Overall, it was such an inspiring and addicting read. 

By Lauren Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Powerless as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?


'Nothing short of epic' Rosie Talbot, bestselling author of Sixteen Souls
'A thrilling fantasy with the most delicious slow-burn romance' M.A. Kuzniar, bestselling author of Midnight in Everwood
'[A] titillating debut' Publishers Weekly
'A masterpiece' Goodreads Reader Review
'Everyone needs to read it' TikTok Review
'The BEST book I've read' NetGalley Reader Review
'A sizzling slice of fantasy romance' Booksellers Review

Fourth Wing meets The Hunger Games in this epic and sizzling fantasy romance not to be missed.

Only the extraordinary belong in the kingdom of Ilya . . . The exceptional. The Elites.…

Book cover of Dance of Thieves

Marcelina LoBue Why did I love this book?

Dance of Thieves...more like Thieves of My Heart. Seriously, this book stole my heart.

From the first few pages, I knew there was something incredibly special about this story. Kazi and Jase embody that rich x poor dynamic and warmed my heart instantly. They both deal with so many personal issues that they handle in different ways; I love how it shows how there are many ways to grieve, and seeing as I was going through a difficult time while reading, it was a part of my healing journey.

The angst was on a whole other level. Although it was a bit political intrigue-heavy, the romance DID NOT disappoint. It left me staying up well past midnight to finish their story. 

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dance of Thieves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'Mary E. Pearson is a fearless storyteller' Stephanie Garber

A reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives, and their hearts, in a new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes…

Book cover of The Marionettes

Marcelina LoBue Why did I love this book?

Combining vampires, witches, royalty, dark academia, and spice into one book? Sign me up!

I found this book through Katie Wismer's YouTube channel, and it's a relief that I did. The writing style is like none other and sometimes even feels purple prose-y. Another thing I enjoyed was the characters; Valerie stands out in every way and proves it's okay to be different. I found I was rooting for her and her eventual friendships/relationships with the other individuals.

The plot kept me on the edge of my seat while other certain scenes had been gripping my blanket for dear life. I don't think I'll forget this book for a long time...especially not after that ending. 

By Katie Wismer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Marionettes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vampire Academy meets True Blood in this dark and spicy New Adult Fantasy Romance series.

A betrayal. A deadly secret. An unlikely ally.

Valerie Darkmore’s entire life has been building up to this moment—her initiation into the Marionettes, the prestigious league of witches sworn to serve the vampires. As one of the last remaining blood witches, her spot is almost guaranteed. At least, so she’d thought.

The academy is full of sabotage and secrets as the tasks begin, and Valerie quickly realizes she has more than her spot on the line. Her survival seems just as uncertain.

The closer she…

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The Sailor Without a Sweetheart

By Katherine Grant,

Book cover of The Sailor Without a Sweetheart

Katherine Grant Author Of The Viscount Without Virtue

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist History nerd Amateur dancer Reader New Yorker

Katherine's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Enjoy this Persuasion-inspired historical romance!

Six years ago, Amy decided *not* to elope with Captain Nate Preston. Now, he is back in the neighborhood, and he is shocked to discover that Amy is unmarried. Even more surprising, she is clearly battling some unnamed illness. Thrown together by circumstances outside their control, Nate and Amy try to be friends. Soon, it becomes clear that their feelings for each other never died. Has anything changed, or are they destined for heartbreak once more?

The Sailor Without a Sweetheart

By Katherine Grant,

What is this book about?

Is love worth giving a second chance?

Six years ago, Amy Lamplugh decided not to elope with Nate Preston. Ever since, she has been working hard to convince herself she was right to choose her family over Nate.

Now, Nate is back. After an illustrious career as a naval captain, he faces a court martial for disobeying orders while fighting the slave trade. He accepts an invitation to await the trial at a country estate outside of Portsmouth - and discovers he is suddenly neighbors with Amy.

Nate is shocked to find that Amy didn’t end up marrying someone rich…

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