15 Best of the Year (So Far)

You know that feeling you get when you read a great book and there’s just a little bit of magic in the experience? Whether you’re pulled in right away or it slowly gets under your skin, an outstanding book will make you FEEL something. These are the fifteen 2020 releases that have given me that kind of reading experience; I have loved each and every one. They’re an eclectic bunch, ranging from emotional reads to romantic comedies and everything in between, but each one has truly captivated me in one way or another.

We’re officially halfway into the year, so it seemed like the perfect time to look back at my favorite reads of 2020 so far. I’ve read a ridiculous 221 books this year (rom coms are often short, okay), and these 15 books are at the very top of the pack for me.

Because ranking these books would be just about impossible, I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. Each one includes my full review as well as links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection.

A Favor for a Favor by Helena Hunting

Well that was… basically perfection. I knew I was going to enjoy this, but Helena Hunting outdid herself with this one. It’s a light and funny romance with so much depth; a slow burn that crackles with sexual tension. Bishop has got to be one of my all-time favorite romance heroes – he’s a lovable jerk with a gigantic heart who isn’t a manwhore, respects Stevie in a major way, and connects with her on a deep level before things turn physical. This enemies to lovers romance held my attention from start to finish – I loved every minute of it.

The story follows Stevie, a physiotherapist and sister of a famous hockey player, RJ. When she goes through a bad breakup, her brother lets her stay at his empty apartment for a while, but a misunderstanding leads her new neighbor to think she is RJ’s mistress. Brash and unfiltered Bishop isn’t all that fond of his teammate to begin with, but when he thinks RJ has put his mistress up in her own apartment, he takes out his irritation on Stevie. The two go through a series of misunderstandings until they somehow find themselves exchanging favors after Bishop is injured on the ice. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that they had their first impressions all wrong.

I’ve always enjoyed Hunting’s work and was definitely looking forward to this because of the premise, but it exceeded my expectations by far. It’s not a short book, but I still managed to finish it in less than a day, letting those pages fly as I got to know these two. I loved their bantering/bickering, the chemistry that was evident from the very beginning, and the slow burn that gave their relationship so much depth. We also got to know King pretty well, and I am absolutely looking forward to reading his book next. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Social Butterfly PR (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this rom com with heart.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2WlnPXP

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2xFqMIq

Audiobook: https://amzn.to/38VYW7W

Beautifully Cruel by J.T. Geissinger

Holy CHEMISTRY – this couple has it from the very first page! I still cannot believe how quickly I devoured this intense, sexy, guilty pleasure of a read – the connection between the characters was there from the very beginning, and I just settled back and enjoyed the unpredictable ride. It’s banter-filled and sexy with combustible chemistry. JT Geissinger writes in a variety of genres so I was not really sure what to expect from this until I realized who the star is (this stands completely on its own, but if you’ve read her Dangerous Beauty trilogy, you’re in for a treat – and will probably handle all of the revelations better). It kept me guessing with twists, turns, and a couple who heat up the pages. This antihero is a big bad wolf of a man; the kind of guy you know is bad but want anyway. Our heroine makes his perfect complement – strong and fiery, constantly pushing back and demanding more. It made for quite the combination and a read that I couldn’t put down.

The story follows Tru, a law student who works at a diner to pay the bills. For the last eleven months, a mysterious stranger has been frequenting the diner, and she’s not quite sure what to make of him. He’s clearly trouble, but the kind that she might be okay with. It’s not until Tru finds herself in a bad situation that the sexy stranger starts revealing more about his life – and it’s more complicated than Tru could’ve ever bargained for. But now that he has Tru in his sights, he’s not stopping until he gets what he wants.

Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took a different direction – and I loved that. I was kept in a constant state of tension, which paired perfectly with all of the sizzling chemistry these two characters have. It’s intense and engrossing with a dark humor that just really works for the story. I thought this might get too dark for me – it is a mafia romance after all – but all I felt for our hero was love. Geissinger wrote the perfect heroine for this; had Tru not been such a strong, smart woman, it could’ve easily headed in the wrong direction, but she didn’t let this alpha hero walk all over her. They have such great banter and a connection that’s so obvious that it makes the reader want to keep reading. It’s the kind of book that keeps you thinking about the characters long after you finish turning the pages, and what a steamy, wild ride it was. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Social Butterfly PR (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this sexy, suspenseful book.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zO7SA4

Boss in the Bedsheets by Kate Canterbary

I knew within the first few pages that I was going to LOVE this one, with its slightly ridiculous, playful feel and a storyline that kept me guessing. It’s my first from the author but I will definitely be going back for more, because this was so entertaining from start to finish. The storyline is nothing like I expected it to be – this is an office romance in only the vaguest sense – but there is a boss (who gets a little demanding in the bedroom) and his new assistant (who keeps him on his toes). The meet cute is utterly original, the hero’s vulnerable side is refreshingly unexpected, and the small moments make this an outstanding read.

The story follows Ash, a workaholic whose business and personal life are both suffering because he has trouble relinquishing control. While sifting through resumes on an airplane, Ash meets Zelda, a whirlwind of a woman who changes his life from the moment they cross paths. Zelda’s got what some might consider an overwhelming personality, but something about her draws Ash in right away. They have a crazy first day together, during which Zelda somehow inserts herself into every aspect of Ash’s life – and he’s 100% okay with that. She’s nothing Ash ever expected but everything he’s needed, and these two opposites attract in a big way.

My favorite part of the book? All those little stolen moments and touches. Canterbary does a great job showing how starved for affection both Ash and Zelda are; they see something in the other that calls to them and there is an immediate ease there. There’s lots of “emotionally needing cuddling” that contrasts so well with the dirty steam later on. You may need to suspend reality a few times – the story is downright zaney at the beginning – but I was completely invested the whole way through. It’s light and funny with heartfelt moments and some steamy scenes that prove the title correct. Ash is both tender and alpha in all the right ways, and while he got a little bossier than I like my heroes a few times, there was nothing that hindered my enjoyment of the story. I loved his grumpiness, his growls, and everything else that makes him a great hero. I’ll definitely be checking out more from the author in the future, because this was a very fun, sexy read. I received an ARC (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this steamy romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3815Tpi

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3iacuCH

Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Heartbreaking and romantic all at once, this book is really something special. I’ve read plenty of books by Ilsa Madden-Mills before, but this has got to be the most powerful and moving one yet. It won’t be for everyone – there are WAY too many triggers in it for that – but I absolutely loved it. It’s a story of healing, moving forward, and finding love along the way. With strong writing and characters who are multi-faceted, likable, and spark some incredible chemistry, I wholeheartedly recommend it for those looking for an emotional read.

Here’s where those triggers come into play. They’re a major part of the story so it wouldn’t be fair to leave them out of my review. The story is about Ava, a student returning to her prestigious prep school months after being raped by one of the football players. Her memories of the trauma are foggy at best, so she’s not sure which of the guys she sees every day is the one who hurt her. Attending school while not being sure who she can trust is problematic for Ava, but she finds the strength and moves forward. Crazy as it is to believe, her biggest ally is Knox, the quarterback of the football team and her ex’s best friend, which makes the attraction that sizzles between them oh so troublesome.

I loved this from the start, and it held my attention the whole way through. It’s heart-wrenching at times, light at others, and such a great story. Knox is everything you could ask for in a hero, and Ava makes for one strong, vibrant heroine. Their connection kept me reading late into the night. I’ll acknowledge that the ending will probably be polarizing, but ultimately I think Madden made the right choice for the characters. This was an easy 5-star rating for me, and I hope we get more from this group of characters. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Social Butterfly PR (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this emotional romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3d72wPR

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3aWLWAi

Fake It Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy

Whew… SO GLAD I took a chance on this new-to-me author. Loved this from start to finish. The writing draws you in and holds your attention with ease, the characters are complex and likable even when you aren’t always sure of their motives, the romance is a slow burn executed so well, and the premise is a new spin on a tried and true trope. There’s not much I didn’t like about this New Adult/Young Adult romance and you can be sure I’ll be reading more from Meagan Brandy in the future.

The story follows Demi, a high school senior who is something of a people-pleaser. When her mom does make brief appearances in her life, it’s to push Demi towards attaining a level of perfection that’s unrealistic. She’s been pining after a guy for a while now, but it isn’t until her cocky, sexy as sin neighbor, Nico, takes an interest in her love life that Demi has any shot of getting the guy. At first glance Demi and Nico seem like total opposites, but as they spend more time together, Demi gets to know a side of Nico that he hasn’t shown her in a long time – if ever.

This book is so, so good. I love a New Adult romance from time to time, and Nico is kind of the perfect book boyfriend. He’s intense, focused, has layers upon layers of depth, and though he’s been a bit of a player in the past, once he has his sights set on Demi, it’s full steam ahead. The chemistry between these two was easy to see, and though there’s an element of mystery to the whole “fake relationship” storyline, I loved how it played out. Here’s hoping we get more books featuring some of their classmates, because I loved the tone – it’s not dark, it’s not light; it has the perfect amount of intensity to keep the pages turning. I received an ARC via Wildfire Marketing Solutions (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this high school romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2TZ4c6w

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3a0Ffx5

Faked by Karla Sorensen

This was SO GOOD! It’s my first time reading something by Sorensen, and I might just need to go a little one-click crazy on her books, because it was FLAWLESS from start to finish. Twin swaps are a guilty pleasure trope of mine because they can play out in a variety of ways and there’s a level of tension that just works for me. This is the kind that’s executed just right, so it won’t hit on any of the things that might bug some readers – it’s definitely not a love triangle, there’s no question that these two are perfect for each other, and the backstory is handled with care. I was incredibly impressed by how well Sorensen structured the relationship, because a story that starts out with the “wrong” brother and the “wrong” sister can go down a questionable path quickly, but that is definitely not the case here. It’s got so much great dialogue, characters who are complex but easy to like, tension that comes from the CHEMISTRY that sparks between them, and a bad boy hero who will absolutely melt your heart. I loved every minute of it.

The story follows Claire, a 21-year-old who has been harboring a secret crush on her twin’s best friend for years. Though she was able to put it behind her for a long time, its recently resurfaced, so Claire’s more willing than she probably should be to step into her sister’s shoes for an event. Thinking she’ll spend an evening with her crush (albeit, while pretending to be her sister), Claire is shocked when her crush’s brother shows up instead. Nothing like his brother, Bauer is tattooed and temperamental, the outcast of his family. Bauer’s always been more of a good time guy, but there’s no way he’s turning down his chance to spend the evening with the kind of girl he’s only ever dreamed of ending up with. As the two navigate the complexities of the evening, there’s no denying that they’ve got the kind of chemistry you don’t see every day.

I loved the opposites attract feel, the deep conversations, and the level of depth that’s achieved over the course of such a short time. These two have never met before, so they’re starting fresh and getting to know one another in a way they wouldn’t have considered before. It plays out like it’s in real time, and the reader definitely feels like they’re falling along with these two. There’s something incredibly enticing about a bad boy being so vulnerable, opening himself up to something new and different. Bauer is definitely that guy; you will fall for him within minutes of their first meeting. This stays light and reads quickly, but absolutely touches on some subjects that aren’t easy. I devoured it at an embarrassingly quick speed, and can’t wait to check out more from the author. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this opposites attract romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3hu1ob7

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2BbI6Xv

Hard to Handle by K. Bromberg

WOW, talk about a powerful start to the series! My love for this book snuck up on me, because I wasn’t sure that I was enjoying it at the beginning, but I was also completely engrossed in the story. Sometimes I think the mark of a great book is when you want to throttle the characters; shake some sense into them because you’re so invested in the story that their stubbornness is incredibly frustrating. That’s exactly how I felt about this one in the first half; it’s deeply emotional and so well written, but this couple will really get on your nerves at times. Somewhere along the way, Bromberg’s skilled writing made their love story get under my skin, and by the end I was fighting back tears because it was so moving – and that’s very much a rarity for me.

The story follows Dekker and Hunter, two people who shared a sex “only” relationship for several months, until feelings became involved. They never spoke the words out loud, but something in their relationship shifted, and that sent these two commitment-phobic individuals running in the other direction. Three years later, they come face-to-face again because Dekker has been tasked with signing pro hockey player Hunter to her family’s sports management agency. Dekker is conflicted about the task, because mixing business with pleasure is never a good idea – and she’s not so sure that their relationship was ever fully resolved. If there was ever a woman to make Hunter question his feelings about relationships, it’s Dekker, but he’s already got the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he’s not sure he can take any more before he breaks.

Second chance romances are sometimes difficult for me to get into, and I think that’s why this one didn’t grip me right away – because the quality is definitely there from the start. VOLATILE describes Hunter and Dekker’s relationship perfectly; they clash every time they start to get closer, and combust during the steamy scenes. It’s a slow burn romance that focuses on the emotional connection, because these two already know they have zero problems in the bedroom. I loved how Bromberg was able to showcase the growth in intimacy, build up the tension until it was at its boiling point, and then let all of the pieces fall into place. Once you get to know these characters better, it’s much easier to feel for all they’ve been through and understand the reasons why they never just sat down and TALKED to one another. The evolution of the relationship is a thing of beauty, and I loved getting lost in the story. If this is how Bromberg writes sports romance, then bring on the rest of the series, because this was fantastic. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this steamy slow burn romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/31sFj7b

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2YHV6gA

Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2VwDnH8

Hate You (Not) by Ella James

This was SO good! It didn’t hook me in immediately, but somehow slowly got under my skin until l was loving every minute of it. It’s real, raw, and understated with dialogue that feels natural and characters who are flawed but realistic. Though it begins with a distinctly enemies to lovers vibe, it slowly transitions into a heartfelt and emotional read. The writing is excellent, pulling you in and leaving you thinking about this love story long after you turn the final page.

The story follows Burke, the wealthy uncle of two children who just lost their parents. Burke works himself past the point of exhaustion and lives a very California lifestyle, but when he discovers that his niece and nephew were left under the guardianship of their aunt, he resolves to bring the kids home with him. After learning that the children’s aunt lives in the country, struggles to pay the bills, and didn’t finish high school, Burke thinks he knows exactly the kind of woman she is – despite the fact that they’ve never met. As these two meet and clash, they go from adversaries to friends to something completely different altogether.

This is my first time reading something by Ella James but I love enemies to lovers romances so I had to give this a shot – and boy am I glad that I did. It’s kinda heartbreaking, steamy in the most sensual way, and gives the reader a sense of what life in the south is truly like. It’s not all pulse-pounding action or intense moments, but instead finds the beauty in two humans getting to know one another. The slow burn works perfectly here, and though I found our hero frustrating more times than I can count, I loved the characters and the chemistry between them. There’s so much dialogue that helps the reader feel like a part of the story, and it’s just a great, engrossing read. I received an ARC via Give Me Books and am voluntarily leaving a review of this heartwarming romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2WkI2gw
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3daPIYw

Jock Blocked by Pippa Grant

What a bright ray of sunshiney happiness this was! I always love Pippa Grant’s quirky rom coms, so I knew I was in for a good read, but this has got to be one of my absolute FAVORITES from her. It’s light and funny and oh so sweet with a couple that you will be rooting for from start to finish. I loved this hero once I got to know him a little better – Brooks is kinda broken at the beginning of this book, and it takes some TLC from our heroine before he finds his happy again. It’s refreshingly delightful from beginning to end, and the perfect book to kick off this new series (though there are plenty of appearances from old favorites)!

The story follows Brooks, a baseball player who seems to have a curse. Every time he gets past second base with a woman, his game falls apart. For that reason… he’s never gotten any further than that with a woman. When Brooks was playing for a winning team, the sacrifice to his love life seemed worth it, but now that’s he’s been traded to the worst team in the league, well… he’s ready to make a few changes. Desperate to lose his v-card to any woman who will have him, Brooks turns into a bit of a horndog. The only problem? Super fan Mackenzie knows about the curse, and she is determined to stop him before he crosses that line. While Brooks might think Mackenzie is a special kind of crazy, it’s not long before the two shift from strangers with conflicting goals to something much deeper.

This might just be my favorite read from Grant, and that’s saying a lot. It’s quirky and kinda ridiculous but so, so funny. I loved both of these characters and their strange journey to happy ever after, which is actually surprising given how much OW drama there is at the start of this. Naturally, Brooks is trying to lose his v-card, so it’s not without its drama, but Grant handles everything so well that it was never really a problem for me. And the payoff… so, so worth it. I loved the buildup of intimacy and the changes we see in both characters throughout the course of the book. It’s light and funny from start to finish, but there’s that underlying layer of depth that I love about Pippa’s books. All in all, a really great, fun read, and I cannot wait for more from this series. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Give Me Books (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this quirky romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2WMPVuW

Royal Games by T.K. Leigh

Hold on a second, I might still be having chest pains from all of the ANGST in that ending. Man, this was good. It sort of snuck up on me – this is not my first time reading one of Leigh’s emotional reads, so I knew I was in for something good, but the beginning had such a somber tone that I thought it might be too much for me. I was so, so wrong. Once these two familiar strangers get to know each other a little better, it’s chemistry-filled and addictive, with a really great road trip vibe that makes you feel like you’re part of the experience. Then those emotions sneak up on you, and before you know it… well, you’re in for a bumpy ride.

The story follows Nora, a woman we’ve met in previous books in the series – though this absolutely reads as a standalone. Her marriage ended when she discovered her husband in bed with another man, but it took that experience for Nora to open her eyes to the fact that she’s never truly gotten over her first love. Deciding that it’s time, she takes the road trip along Route 66 that they planned together – spreading his ashes in all of the place he would’ve loved. Along the way, Nora meets a sexy stranger who also has grief in his eyes. Anderson’s got his own secrets, but the two form a bond and soon find themselves taking the adventure together. They’re in a beautiful little bubble, but… bubbles are bound to burst.

I really, really loved the road trip and how much time is spent on getting to know these two. Leigh is a skilled writer, unraveling the mystery of their lives one piece at a time so that the reader gets to know more as the story goes on (and, yeah, there are many different triggers in their histories). There’s great conversation, sexual tension that’s bound to snap, a slow burn that will make you just the right kind of impatient, and emotion that will hit you with full force. Don’t let the slow burn fool you; this is a slow burn to SIZZLE with some fantastic intimate moments and a few that will make you blush. I found the story to be completely captivating once I settled into it; there was no stopping me from reading this in one sitting, no matter how late I needed to stay up. It’s just an outstanding, mesmerizing kind of read. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Social Butterfly PR (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this road trip romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/30shE6m

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

I was prepared for this to be a fun, light rom com, but… it was SO MUCH better than I anticipated! This is my first time reading one of Annika Martin’s books, and that cover and title give the impression that this is going to be a surface-level rom com – which, don’t get me wrong, is something I love to read – but Martin managed to build incredible depth to the relationship, pairing angsty moments with some fantastic, playful banter. I loved the grumpy the hero with a heart of gold – Captain Sternpants might not be great with emotions, but Martin is excellent at writing those quiet moments where you can tell the hero has feelings he’s unaware of. It was an outstanding read from start to finish, and now I’m going to have to check out more of this author’s books.

The story follows Rex, a workaholic finance guy whose troubled past has shaped his personality. He’s grouchy, growly, and commit-phobic, but when a business deal hinges on him shedding his playboy image, he finds himself in need of a fake fiancée. In an effort to not get distracted from his work during a two-week business trip, Rex asks his assistant to find a fake fiancée with qualities that Rex finds distasteful. Little does he know that the woman who epitomizes that list is none other than his bubbly, soap opera-loving hairdresser, Tabitha. As Rex and Tabitha spend time together, they find themselves becoming unlikely allies and blurring the lines of their relationship.

It’s got all the tropey goodness we know and love, heightened by some tongue in cheek humor relating to soap operas and the over the top drama that come with them. Martin does a fantastic job in building the intimacy, with a relationship that starts off with sassy heroine and a growly hero before transitioning into a deeper, more heartfelt read. I really loved Rex, aka Captain Sternpants, who took a little while to work through his emotions but then embraced them in a big way. Martin did a great job showing the reader how he feels even while he was in denial – that’s one of my favorite things about the book. I even love the potential romance the author has set up for her next book – and I can’t wait to read it. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review of this opposites attract romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3f2j0tB

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2W6iQZr

The Change Up by Meghan Quinn

She’s outdone herself this time. This book is DEVASTATING in both the best and worst way. It’s got an emotional impact that will knock you out, and Quinn has the skills to put you back together again. I loved, LOVED the depth of this relationship. These two are lifelong friends who have had each other’s backs since childhood, and the connection is absolutely amazing. It’s probably the best true friends to lovers romance I have ever read; Quinn nails that dynamic perfectly. These are two people who have seen each other through all of life’s highs and lows; who now find themselves seeing their relationship from a new perspective. But this bad boy has earned his rep for a reason, and you’re going to want to brace yourself for impact.

The story follows Maddox, the so-called “bad boy of baseball.” He certainly seems to fit the title – he’s covered in tattoos, schedules his hookups, gets into fights regularly, and generally doesn’t care if he hurts your feelings. But there’s one woman in his life that turns him into a giant teddy bear, one woman who has been with him through thick and thin. Kinsley is Maddox’s bubbly, sweet, caring best friend, and he’s never really seen her as anything but that. They have the type of relationship that’s only built from years of knowing each other, with no filters, no need to hide their true selves, and no questions about the way they feel about each other… until they start sharing a home.

When’s the last time you read a romance where the couple exchange I love you’s 5% of the way in? There is deep love and respect between these two; they’ve just never been IN love with each other before. I loved how Kinsley can turn gruff, intimidating Maddox into a giant softie within seconds. The depth that Quinn managed to achieve is what makes this book; it swings for the fences with HUGE highs and lows. It’s got all of the delicious tension that I love about a friends to lovers romance, with a connection that’s obvious from the beginning. These two are possibly TOO open about their lives (especially their dating history), but that just shows their connection. It’s the steamiest book I have read by Quinn – a slow burn to scorching INFERNO, if you will. It suits the couple perfectly and showcases intimacy in a way that can only be achieved when a couple trusts each other completely. But the lows… oh man, the lows are going to get you. Quinn definitely tested my limits there, but the grovel makes the angst worth it. Buckle up your seatbelt for a wild ride of a read. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Candi Kane PR (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this friends to lovers romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2MQVdzT

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3hcsjbr

The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw

This book is…. pretty fantastic. I always enjoy Winter Renshaw’s writing but this is without a doubt the best I’ve read from her. The first half of the book is a tension-filled mix of contrasts, punctuated by the most effective use of dual perspective I can remember. ‬

‪Bennett is cold, cruel, pessimistic, engages in countless casual affairs, and has the kind of life many would envy. Astaire is warm, kind, optimistic, grieving the loss of her fiancé, and brought herself up from nothing. Together they make absolutely no sense, but a chance encounter causes their lives to intersect, entwine, and become so entangled there’s no going back. ‬

‪I won’t be sharing any details about the plot on this one, but I will say that you really shouldn’t start it before bed. I started this after dinner, found my eyes still glued to the screen at 2 in the morning, and reluctantly forced myself to finish after some sleep. I won’t say that it’s a flawless read but there was definitely VERY little that I didn’t like about the book. I basically devoured it from page one. So, well done, Winter, well done. Can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review of this engrossing, emotional read.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2U1KOG1

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2U1XJI5

Wild Minds Duet by J. Saman

Well… that was pretty awesome. The absolute perfect way to handle a duet, this has so much sexual tension, chemistry, angst without being agonizing, HEAT without taking things too far, and an ending that just leaves you wanting to start the conclusion as soon as humanly possible. I loved Jasper and Viola together – there is ZERO question in my mind that he is the guy for her, he just needs to let himself admit that. For those of you who are questioning whether this is a love triangle or not… there’s no comparison between the brothers, and I did not waiver even once in feeling that connection. J. Saman expertly navigates the complexities of a woman who spent too many years with the wrong brother, creating a compelling story that will hook you in from the very beginning.

The story follows Jasper, a rock star in need of a nanny for his special needs daughter while he goes on tour with his band. When his assistant interviews his twin brother’s ex without his knowledge, it stirs up all sorts of feelings – for all three of them. They were all friends growing up and Viola dated Jasper’s brother for four years until his cheating tore them apart. In the aftermath of the breakup, Jasper all but admitted his feelings for Viola… but said it changed nothing. Now that seven years have passed, feelings linger for all three of them – and it’s the first time that Viola and Jasper have seen each other since his bombshell of an admission.

This is the kind of book that you sit and devour in one sitting – it’s engrossing from the start and so, so compelling. l was rooting for Jasper and Viola the instant they laid eyes on each other. He’s cold and aloof most of the time, but such an amazing dad and obviously so in love with Viola. There were times when I was frustrated with both of them – Jasper for refusing to make his move, and Viola for not realizing how much she’s getting both brothers’ hopes up — but I always wanted to see them wind up together. It’s a slow burn with some downright steamy scenes (texting has never been so sexy), and I cannot wait to read the conclusion. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2TVd9hf
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/33oCTp5

Book Two
Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2TSBAvF
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2wUlzwf

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Words cannot express how FANTASTIC this book is. I read a lot – and I mean a LOT – of romance novels, and I’m having difficulty thinking of a book I enjoyed more than this one. If this is the author’s debut novel, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. The writing style is absolutely unique and dynamic, flowing easily and drawing you into the story. It took me a little bit to get in the right headspace for it, but once I got deeper into Nicholas and Naomi’s story, I could not put it down. This is like The Hating Game on steroids, with a couple who have lost sight of what they once loved about each other, with so much humor that I found myself bursting out in shocked laughter more than once.

The story follows Naomi, a woman whose engagement marked the beginning of the end for her relationship. Nicholas and Naomi both shared the best sides of themselves while they were dating, and it wasn’t until they moved in together immediately following their engagement that things started to shift. You can’t be your best self 24/7, and when you add in the stress of planning a wedding and a completely overbearing future mother-in-law, things can spiral out of control quickly. Now Naomi has to force her smiles and go over the list of why she should love her fiancé just to get through the day. When Nicholas shows signs of being unhappy too, Naomi realizes they might just be playing chicken to see who will get the other to break first and call the whole thing off.

Told completely from Naomi’s perspective, this definitely takes the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions. When you see a relationship through one person’s eyes – and that person hasn’t been happy in a long time – you can’t be 100% sure that you’re getting the whole picture. It certainly made things interesting, and made me wonder more than once if I was getting things right. Both Naomi and Nicholas have some unflattering moments, but underneath it all is undeniable love. While the first half leans into the comedy, with some truly hilarious moments, the second half is all about the love. Things get deep and so profound that it had me thinking about my own relationship. It’s not until later in the book that we see how perfect these two really are for each other, and it is quite a ride getting there. A big thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I am voluntarily leaving a review of this hysterical and heartwarming book.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/39WB7gR

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/33sT3xC

Audiobook: https://amzn.to/39wFYVO

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