August was such a BUSY month for new releases, with so many great books to choose from. I enjoyed plenty of romances this month, but these six stand at the top of the pack for me. In a month where there was so much drama going on in real life, I definitely gravitated towards lighter books. Yet my top pick this month (Heart Bones) is actually a book that leans into the angst without feeling weighed down. All six of these books effortlessly weave in emotion, keeping somewhat light yet still having plenty of weight to the romance.
September brings a wide variety of new releases, with romances from some of my favorites as well as plenty of new-to-me authors whose work I’m just getting acquainted with. If you missed my September Release Calendar, you can find it here – there are a LOT of exciting books to look forward to!
I’ve got the my review for each of this month’s top picks below – you can’t go wrong with any of these!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Absolutely LOVED this
Stunning. Seriously, just a really beautiful, powerful romance. I had no idea what to expect going into this – and that’s how I’d recommend everyone go into it – so the story unraveled in such an organic, mesmerizing way. From page one, you can tell that there’s an intensity about the book that sets it apart from the rest; a heaviness that gives this love story such WEIGHT. And it truly is a love story. Our heroine goes on her own journey throughout the course of the book, but through it all, there’s that one guy who makes an impact. It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year, hands down, and the kind of story that you’ll want to reread with fresh eyes as soon as you turn the last page.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the plot on this one, because I think you should discover it as you read. I will say that I don’t love summer fling romances, so the appeal here was Hoover’s writing – and I’m happy to report that it’s so much more than that. There’s an incredible build in intimacy, a slow burn romance that feels DEEP, and a mysterious quality to both our hero and the story as a whole. The book kicks off on a somber note and does have a heavy feel to much of it, but there is also so much wonder and that feeling you only get with young love. It’s new adult romance with a 19-year-old heroine who is just starting to really live. She comes from a troubled background, with many, many triggers in her history, and they appear right away.
My favorite part about the book? It is so THOUGHT-PROVOKING. Told exclusively from the heroine’s perspective, there are little breadcrumbs along the way that tell us more about the hero. These two seem so different on the surface, but the more they wade into the depths, the more commonalities they discover. At one point, I was so convinced that I knew where the story was heading… but I was completely wrong. And I love that. It kept me engrossed from start to finish, and I ended up devouring it in one sitting. I may have even shooed my husband away a time or two when he tried to interrupt my reading. So, the book is bad for your marriage, good for your heart, and that title will make complete sense once you finish reading. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this heart-bone-breaking romance.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SO GOOD
A banter-filled DELIGHT, that’s what this was! It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed one of Ney’s books this much. I always look forward to her work but this was just pure sunshiney goodness. Trace/Buzz makes for a better, more awkward, and NORMAL hero than I could’ve anticipated, and our heroine matches him perfectly. It’s filled will light, playful dialogue and is just so easy to devour in one sitting. With zero angst and 100% fun, this absolutely flies by and makes me want more from the series.
The story follows Trace – “Buzz,” if you’ve read the first book in the series (definitely not required reading, but it’s a great introduction to his character). When the smooth-talking baseball player meets general manager’s daughter Hollis, it’s awkward at first sight. Trace is immediately smitten; Hollis is the type of girl he can’t get to go out with him because good girls don’t take him seriously. Hollis isn’t as sold on Trace, but he cons his way into her heart, one day at a time.
We saw one side of Trace’s personality in Hard Pass but this dives a lot deeper, letting the reader get to know the loving, compassionate family man underneath the charm. I knew he was going to make a fun hero, but this definitely exceeded my expectations in that regard. He’s determined, loyal, and maybe a touch crazy but only in the best way. Hollis and Trace together have all kinds of chemistry, and I loved all of the banter that made the pages fly by. Ney knows how to write a relationship that feels honest and real, not afraid to show the awkward side of love. The growth of their relationship is a lot of fun, and while these two fall at warp speed, it’s only because the biggest hearts have the hardest fall. I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via Wildfire Marketing and am voluntarily leaving a review of this light, fun romance.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SO GOOD
Without a doubt, this is my favorite in the series – even if I wanted to smack Brig upside the head repeatedly. Quinn makes his personality shine in this funny, swoony romance; it’s lighter than the other books in the series because that’s just the kind of guy Brig is. He’s been my favorite Knightly brother since the first book, so I am very happy to report that I had a smile on my face the whole way through. The slow build from acquaintances to friends to lovers made for a light read with hints of tension, and I loved that the characters are just so LOVABLE. This book will make you laugh, smile, roll your eyes at our clueless hero, and ultimately get that swoony feeling.
The story follows Brig, the youngest Knightly brother. He loves love and just wants a real relationship, but doesn’t seem to be having any luck in the process. When Brig finds out about a local pen pal program, he thinks this may be his real shot at love. But just as he starts exchanging letters with his mystery girl, Brig starts to spend more time with the woman who has served him coffee for years. Unbeknownst to Brig, Ruth has had a crush on him for a long, long time. Now that’s she’s finally trying to overcome her shyness around him and let her true personality come through, Brig notices Ruth in a whole new way. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late, as Ruth finally starts to get frustrated with Brig’s complete and utter cluelessness about her feelings.
Brig is such a great guy, so bubbly and kind and caring. I loved seeing him finally get his happily ever after, and I appreciated how light the book is. After a few heavy stories in a row, it was nice to just have a playful, adorable kind of read from this series. The build in intimacy is fantastic, with a slow burn that works for the story. And when we finally get the steamy scenes, you can feel the connection there. I will say that I think the pen pal storyline went on too long – Brig essentially has feelings for “two” women until very late in the story, and I wished it had played out differently, but that’s really my only complaint. I’ve loved getting to know this group of brothers and hope it’s not the last we see of them (Oliver needs love too). This series has been incredibly heartwarming with characters who are such a breath of fresh air, and I’m glad that Brig’s love story was worth the wait. 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 small town romance.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2DGRvaQ
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ LOVED it
Such a light, low angst delight! I’ve been loving playful, easy rom coms more and more recently, so this hit the spot in a big way. It’s sweet and sassy with just a touch of sexy; the kind of book you can devour in one sitting with a smile on your face the whole time. The characters are both likable, the chemistry is there, and the bickering/bantering makes it such a fun read. This is lighter and more of a straight-up rom com than I’m used to by Hunting, but it really worked for me.
The story follows Blaire, a woman finally achieving her dream of opening up a cupcake shop. Everything seems to be going according to plan until she meets Ronan, her lumberjerk of a new business neighbor. He runs the bar next door and the two seem to trade jabs every time they cross paths. They’re total opposites who seem to get along like oil and water… until they need to pair up to help their businesses. As rivals become allies, it changes the dynamic and these two see each other in a whole new light.
This is very much Blaire’s story, with just hints of how Ronan is feeling along the way. She’s a sassy heroine who can hold her own, so that wasn’t an issue for me. Sure, I would’ve loved more Ronan – who wouldn’t – but it keeps the story light. It’s an “enemies” to lovers romance where our couple may bicker but there’s more underneath it all. There’s some humor and playfulness with just a little bit of steam, choosing instead to focus on the lighter elements. While this doesn’t have the grit or sexuality of some of Hunting’s other books, the tone works perfectly for the story. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a book with the title – lots of foodie goodness, banter, and an uncomplicated story, executed with the skill of a seasoned author. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review of this rom com.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2XS1OzW
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Opposites attract goodness
This is probably the lightest book I’ve read by this author – and I hope she sticks to this vibe in the future! It’s not what I would call a traditional “rom com” – there’s nothing overtly funny about the book and there’s still some weight to the story – but it doesn’t get bogged down by extended angst or unnecessary drama. It’s just a sexy, VERY steamy read, featuring a couple whose lives are turned upside down by an unexpected meeting. Our hero is closed off and intimidating, so it takes one vivacious heroine to open him up to love.
The story follows Griffin, a mechanic who is (mostly) happy with his life. He’s got a great group of friends, a job he loves, and while he does miss female companionship sometimes, he’s just fine with the occasional one night stand. When Blair comes crashing into his life, that all changes. She’s stranded in town while Griffin makes repairs on her car, and the sexy mechanic finds himself breaking all of his carefully-crafted rules with her. Attraction sizzles between them and it seems safe to give in because Blair’s only in town for a little while… but neither one anticipates the consequences.
I love a good opposites attract romance, and it works very well here. These two have completely different backgrounds, personalities, and goals for life, so their attraction seems like the kind that should burn out quickly. But there’s more to the story, and the author does a great job showcasing all of the ways these two work well together – especially in the bedroom. This is a very steamy book, and while those scenes were a little over the top for me, they also worked well given the “temporary” nature of their relationship. I maybe would’ve liked a little more focus on the emotional connection, but I enjoyed the book from start to finish and read it in one sitting. We also got to know some characters whose stories I’d love to read, so there’s great potential for more from the series. I received an ARC via Social Butterfly PR and am voluntarily leaving a review of this steamy romance.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SO GOOD
Kayley Loring’s books have such PERSONALITY; a completely distinctive writing style that just makes me smile. I always know I’m in for light, playful, sexy reads with her and that’s exactly what this is. A touch of the forbidden adds the only angst to this otherwise smile-inducing read; it’s the kind of light romance that you can devour in one sitting – and I did. The only problem? Well, now I have to wait until she releases her next book.
The story follows Alex, a single dad raising his son in L.A. Alex isn’t completely jaded by his failed marriage, but it’s taken him awhile to get back into a place where he’s ready for a relationship. Upon meeting the sweet yet sexy Emilia, Alex feels a spark that’s been missing for a long time. There’s instalust between them and the hint of something more, but Alex and Emilia are clearly not meant to be together – yet. Not only is Emilia just starting out fresh in a new city, but her vivacious new student is also Alex’s son. As the lust between them builds into something deeper, it gets more and more difficult to keep things platonic.
It’s a sexy, banter-filled slow burn with characters who are easy to like. I loved the texting and email exchanges, the tension, and the overall playfulness of the read. It’s SUPER low angst, with a teacher/student’s dad relationship that’s a catalyst for this relationship developing into more. And despite this being a slow burn, it’s one of the sexier reads from Loring. These two just have so much chemistry between them. There is one decision towards the end that had me scratching my head, but no major roadblocks to enjoying this light, sexy read. Can’t wait to see what the author writes next, because I’ll definitely be reading it! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this light romance.
Amazon US ➜ https://amzn.to/2E2NRI8