We’re nearing the end of the quarter and everyone could use a good book recommendation right about now, so I thought it’d be the perfect time to look back on my favorite reads so far this year. Considering I’ve already read almost 100 (crazy, right?) books in 2020, let’s say this is the top 10% and the ones I recommend with ZERO hesitation. If you’ve been following my reviews, they’ll come as no surprise because they’ve all received glowing recommendations from me (with the exception of one that hasn’t released yet). If you haven’t, move these up to the front of your TBR because they’re all outstanding.
Looking at this batch, I clearly have a love for sexual tension and dialogue, as well as straight up CHEMISTRY (and enemies who aren’t really enemies). If that sounds good to you, then these are the perfect kind of books to devour in one sitting.
Links to my reviews and the listings on Amazon are provided for each for easy addition to your collection.
Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy
Intense • Sexy • Bad Boy • New Adult/HS • Former Friends
That’s what we are.
That’s what we agreed to be.
I thought it would be harder, convincing everyone our school’s star receiver was mine and mine alone, but we played our parts well.
So well, the lines between us began to blur until they disappeared completely.
The thing about pretending, though, someone’s always better at it, and by the time I realized my mistake, there was no going back.
I fell for our lie.
And then everything fell apart.
It turned out, he and I were never playing the same game.
He didn’t have to break me to win.
But he did it anyway.
A Favor For A Favor by Helena Hunting
Playful/Light • Great Banter • Sports Romance • Slow Burn
From the New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and A Lie for a Lie, a new stand-alone romance about trading favors, battling wills, and winning love.
When I joined Seattle’s NHL expansion team, I thought it was the start of something great. But nothing ever goes the way you expect. Take my introduction to my new neighbor. She came rolling in on the hot mess express at midnight, making a racket while she tried to get into my team captain’s apartment. Did I mention that he’s married to a woman who definitely was not her?
Imagine my surprise when I end up with an injury that has me out of the game for weeks, and she’s the one to offer to help me. I should probably add that she’s not the captain’s mistress. She’s his sexy, pastel-haired younger sister.
So we come up with an arrangement: she rehabs me so that I can get back on the ice sooner, and she can add a professional athlete that isn’t her brother to her client list. Seems simple enough. As long as I can keep my hands to myself and my hormones in check.
Hate You Not by Ella James
Opposites Attract • Distinctive Style • Small Town • Emotional
I didn’t know I was that person. You know—the one who gets the kids. But that’s what the will said. June Lawler: Legal Guardian.
My niece and nephew are 6 and 9, and all they’ve ever known is San Francisco. I arrive the day after the wreck, pack up my sister’s mansion, and fly them back to Georgia.
The small-town farm where their mom and I grew up isn’t what it once was, but it’s home. That’s all they really need.
I was courting an investor when it happened. Tromped all up and down the Himalayas, and he didn’t even buy in. It was a week before I found out what I’d lost. My little brother meant the world to me. Now even his kids are gone.
Spirited away to Heat Springs, Georgia—population 298.
They’re living on a farm that’s half a breath from bank foreclosure with a 26-year-old who didn’t finish high school. Nowhereville is not the place for little Mastersons. But I’ll get them back. It’s the money she must want, and I’ve got lots of that.
“June Bug” Lawler is poorer than that red dirt she comes from. I can make her dreams come true—and do one last thing for my brother.
I hate him.
She makes me crazy.
He thinks he can buy me off! I’ve never met a man so arrogant.
There’s no woman anywhere more stubborn.
I wish I had never met him.
But that’s not the story.
Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills
New Adult/HS • Intense/Emotional • TRIGGERS • Sexy • Complicated
The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world–until they destroyed me.
The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.
Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?
Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That’s stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It’s been ten months since you were here, but I can’t forget you.
I’ve missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I’ve missed you cheering at my football games.
I’ve missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don’t hate me because I’m a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Kinda Zany • The Hating Game on Steroids • Enemies With a Twist
Debut Novel – Releases in April
When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.
Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.
But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
Love to Hate Her & Hate to Love Him by J. Saman
Duet • Forbidden (Brother’s Ex) • Rock Star • Single Dad/Nanny
A rare moment of weakness.
A burning desire impossible to deny.
Forbidden words I should never have spoken.
Seven years ago, I confessed my darkest secret to my brother’s girlfriend. When she broke up with him and walked out of our lives, she took my secret with her.
But, with my band set to go on tour around the world, I have a problem. I need a nanny for my autistic daughter. And unfortunately, Viola Starr, my brother’s ex, is the perfect fit.
Now, there is no escaping her. Or our past.
Especially when my brother seems determined to win her back.
Five months and she’ll be out of my life again.
Five months of ignoring lingering, heated glances.
The fire she draws out of me. The way she loves my daughter.
Five months… And my world is about to come crashing down around me.
Sex and Other Shiny Objects by Lauren Blakely
Sexual Tension • Friends to Lovers • Light & Sexy • Original
The second the test-the-sexy-scenes offer landed in my lap, I said yes.
After all, I’ve been damn curious about a few things I’ve read in romance novels. Do buttons truly go flying across the floor when you rip off a guy’s shirt? Is staircase sex hella hot or does it leave you with a big old bruise mark on your back? And don’t even get me started on all that panty shredding, and whether it even works.
Time to find out as I embark on Project Sexy Scenes Research, at the request of my hotshot book editor bestie.
All I need is a willing scene partner. Enter Tristan, my best guy friend. The witty, tell-it-like-it-is, bearded hottie volunteers for the experiment.
He’s also the guy who gave me the most devastating, toe-curling kiss of my life ten years ago. But nothing has happened since then.
And nothing will come between my panties and our friendship now since we have a plan to keep it PG.
But once the buttons start flying, all bets are off…
The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw
Opposites Attract • Lovable Jerk • Unique Premise • Emotional
The first time I saw him was at a bar called Ophelia’s on a misty Thursday night. I was there to drown my sorrows after a trying day, he was there to escape the storm. After a brief yet incredibly cruel exchange, the handsome stranger bolted before I had a chance to tell him off. Incensed and two cocktails deep, I followed him out the door, determined to give the audacious Adonis a piece of my mind—and the umbrella he left behind.
Tearing after him in heels and barely able to keep up in the freezing rain, I ended my chase when I realized where he was going.
They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.
I never could have anticipated his…
And I never could have anticipated the way our paths would cross again—or that I would one day find myself falling for a man with a hollow cavity where his heart should be, a man as callous as he was beautiful, as complicated as he was mesmeric.
They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.
This one’s ours.
Taming Hollywood’s Baddest Boy by Max Monroe
Light & Funny • Forced Closeness • Great Banter • Grouchy Hero
Do people say they hate someone’s guts so that they can still fall stupidly, head-over-heels in love with the other parts?
Asking for a friend.
Okay, fine. I’m not asking for a friend.
I’m asking for me—and I’m begging you to tell me that the practice of falling in love with your should-be-enemy is common.
Please tell me that I’m not the only person to track down a guy—who used to be Hollywood’s baddest bad boy before he left LA for good—at his off-the-grid cabin in Alaska, show up unannounced, and find him gloriously naked.
This probably happens all the time…right?
Tell me I’m not alone in my stupidity—that I’m not the only woman who would fall for gorgeous blue eyes and a sexy devilish smirk, even if they belong to a broody, mysterious jerk.
Please. Please. Please. Tell me I’m not alone in this.
For the love of everything, I need all the supportive girl power I can get if I’m going to convince Luca Weaver to come back to Hollywood—otherwise known as the place he hates so much that he ghosted Oscar-level success and escaped to no-man’s-land for the last eight years just to avoid it.
Yeah, don’t worry—that smoke you’re smelling isn’t your house catching fire as you read this…it’s just my career and what was previously known as my heart going up in flames.
Gah. Is it just me, or am I totally, completely, and utterly screwed?