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Cover love: romance books with illustrated covers!

Welcome to Romanceopoly, the yearly reading challenge . You’ve landed on Amour Avenue where your challenge is to read a contemporary romance with an illustrated book cover. Alternatively, if you want to take it easy, read any contemporary romance book of your choosing.



I don’t know about you, but I am easily seduced by a beautiful cover. I’ve bought so many book based on the cover alone. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. That means when illustrated book covers for romance started becoming popular my wallet was not happy. They’re so pretty!

Another reason I love an illustrated book cover is because they are much better at showing what the characters look like. Don’t get me wrong, there are some lovely covers with models, but…not everyone looks like a cover model. Illustrated book covers seem to have assisted in showing some diversity in the shape and ethnicity of our hero and heroines and I am here for it.

In our recommendations, we are going to give you some contemporary romances we have enjoyed which have a gorgeous illustrated cover!

Genre only challenge

If you’re doing the genre only version of the challenge, pick any contemporary romance book of your choosing! For more contemporary romance book recommendations take a look at our Contemporary romance page on Under the Covers book blog.

The recommendations


Love in the Time of Serial Killers
by Alicia Thompson

Publisher’s synopsis

Turns out that reading nothing but true crime isn’t exactly conducive to modern dating—and one woman is going to have to learn how to give love a chance when she’s used to suspecting the worst.
PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime. She’s even analyzing the genre in her dissertation—if she can manage to finish writing it. It’s hard to find the time while she spends the summer in Florida, cleaning out her childhood home, dealing with her obnoxiously good-natured younger brother, and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn’t had a relationship with for years.
It doesn’t help that she’s low-key convinced that her new neighbor, Sam Dennings, is a serial killer (he may dress business casual by day, but at night he’s clearly up to something). It’s not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who can pierce her armor to reach her vulnerable heart.


If I Never Met You
by Mhairi McFarlane

Brief synopsis

When Laurie’s boyfriend of almost two decades ends their relationship, she’s left adrift. Being dumped after 18 years is bad enough, but as they also work in the same law firm they also have to see each other everyday. So, when her ex gets his new girlfriend of only three months pregnant she is left reeling. But, a plan is formed when she gets stuck in a lift with the office playboy; a fake relationship between them, to include splashing of photos on social media and fake dates. In return, she will stop being an object of pity in the office gossip and show her ex exactly what he’s missing. And the playboy gets a veneer of respectability to help him in an upcoming promotion. But, soon it becomes hard to distinguish where the “fake” in the relationship ends and the real feelings begin.


Partners in Crime
by Alisha Rai

Publisher’s synopsis

Indian Matchmaking meets Date Night in this fun, romantic adventure in which a match-made couple about to be engaged gets caught up in a caper that puts their future—and lives—in danger.

At thirty-five, with a stable job as an accountant, Mira Chaudhary wants nothing more than to find a boring man to spend the rest of her life with. Having had enough excitement in her younger days and desperately trying to escape her dysfunctional past, she turns to a matching app specializing in Indian American singles to help her find someone to settle down with.

Enter Naveen Desai. An English professor with an uneventful, normal, and—dare she say it, boring—life, Naveen is perfect.

But just when things are going well, Mira receives news that her aunt has died. Suddenly a trip to Las Vegas to settle her aunt’s affairs turns into a mad dash to escape kidnappers, evade art thieves, and consorting with hackers who can decipher just what it was Mira’s aunt was involved with. Mira just hopes that Naveen isn’t chased away by the very same life of “excitement” that she’s been trying to get away from. But maybe, over the course of one wild night, Mira and Naveen will find the love connection that neither expected.


The Stand-Up Groomsman
by Jackie Lau

Publisher’s synopsis

A bridesmaid and groomsman put their differences aside to get their friends down the aisle in this opposites-attract steamy romantic comedy.

They say to never meet your heroes, but when Vivian Liao’s roommate gets engaged to her favorite actor’s costar, she has no choice but to come face-to-face with Melvin Lee again. He’s just as funny and handsome as he is on-screen…but thinks she is a snob and a sellout. It’s none of his business how she chooses to live her life, no matter how charismatic he is.

Mel is used to charming audiences as an actor and stand-up comedian but can’t connect to Vivian. She’s a smart, talented artist–which is why he thinks she’s wasting her life as a corporate finance drone. The only thing uniting them is their goal for the wedding to go off without a hitch.

As they collaborate on wedding cake and karaoke parties, Mel realizes he might have seriously misjudged this bridesmaid, while Vivian discovers the best man might just be as dazzling off-screen as he is on. With the wedding underway, maybe more than one happily ever after is in the future. 


No Offense
by Meg Cabot

Brief synopsis

Molly has found her dream job in Little Bridge Island as the of head of children’s services in the local library. But, her dream soon gets disrupted when a newborn baby is found in the library bathroom. Not only is it distressing to find the poor baby abandoned, it also brings Sheriff John Hartwell to her door. Not only is he infuriating…he’s infuriatingly attractive as well. No man should look that good in a uniform. Especially when he’s being stubborn and unwilling to listen to her advice.


Better Than Fiction
by Alexa Martin

Publisher’s synopsis

As a self-proclaimed book hater and a firm believer that the movie is always better, Drew Young didn’t anticipate inheriting her grandma’s bookstore, the Book Nook. She’s in way over her head even before the shop’s resident book club, comprising seven of the naughtiest old ladies ever, begin to do what they do best–meddle.

Bestselling author Jasper Williams is a hopeless romantic. When he meets Drew at his Book Nook signing event, he becomes determined to show her the beauty of reading. He curates a book bucket list in exchange for her help exploring the local Denver scene for his current manuscript. From river rafting to local restaurants, Drew begins to connect with Jasper in a way she only thought happened in fiction.

When messy family ties jeopardize the future of the Book Nook, Drew is caught between a bookshelf and a hard place. She’s reminded that real life isn’t always big dreams and sweeping romance. But Jasper is the plot twist she never saw coming and he’s writing a happily ever after just for them.

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