Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my book reviews for my absolute favorite romance novels of the year. There were so many amazing books released in 2020! It was incredibly difficult to narrow down my list to just twenty books – I reviewed over 350 new romances this year, so these are at the very top of my list.
Today brings the first round of books (in no particular order) – reviews below! Check back tomorrow for the next four books.
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.
THIS is why I read rom coms; for those books that are smile-inducing, lighthearted, and just so much fun. I laughed, I smiled, and that slow burn just about killed me (in the best way). Kiss My Putt is exactly what you’d want from a book of that title, featuring my favorite kind of enemies to lovers romance. You know that underneath all of that bickering and hurt is the kind of deep love that lasts a lifetime. These two have been a part of each other’s lives for fifteen years so one (pretty big) bump in the road isn’t going to end their relationship. Though there’s plenty of tension – mostly of the sexual variety – it’s a low angst read that will keep you turning the pages.
The story follows Palmer, a professional golfer who has always been known as a reserved and steady guy – until he has a meltdown on national television. Sidelined from the sport he’s devoted his life to, Palmer returns to the town and woman that’s always been his safe space. But that relationship fell to pieces after insecurities and misunderstandings got in the way. Now Palmer is ready to win back his best friend – any way that she will have him.
We’ve got to talk about this slow burn, because… WOW. Sivec does an incredible job building the tension until it crackles and reaches its breaking point. This is a slow burn to SCORCHING read, with the kind of payoff any reader would want after such a great emotional build. I loved that the focus is wholly on the emotional connection, and that even when these two feud, there’s so much love underneath it all. It’s just the kind of friends to lovers/enemies to lovers romance that I love to read, and I loved every minute of it. Sit back and enjoy this one – it’s guaranteed to brighten up your day. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via the author and am voluntarily leaving a review of this slow burn romance.
I am LOVING this series so far, and Luca’s book did not disappoint. Grant has such a way with humor, infusing quirky comedy and lightness into her books while still bringing the sexy and the heart. This heroine can only be described as “eccentric,” but she pairs perfectly with a guarded, serious hero who will make you swoon. The combination of the two makes for a read that will have you entranced from the very first page. It’s light one minute and heartfelt the next, never lingering on anything too heavy but still feeling like a well-developed romance. I loved every minute of it.
The story follows Luca, a baseball player who has given up on love after his failed engagement. When jilted bride, Henri, comes into his life, Luca doesn’t know what hit him. Henri loves love – that’s why she’s been engaged 5 times – but she can’t seem to make herself stop falling for the wrong guys. Who better to teach Henri how to stop falling for every guy she meets than Luca, the man who has sworn it all off? They may have the best intentions, but a fake relationship complicates the whole arrangement, especially when they begin living together and slowly merge their lives.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one – other than a great, funny read – but this was more than I could’ve anticipated. Fake relationships are always fun to read, and adding in the unexpected roommates storyline gave this one so much more depth. I loved getting to know Luca better and seeing his walls slowly start to come down. For an author who excels at comedy, Grant really knows how to write those nuanced moments that make a romance. You can feel these two fall for each other. The story flies by and just makes you want more from this group of characters. I think I had a smile on my face for at least half of the book, and I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. It’s playful, it’s sexy, and it’s an all-around fantastic read.
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.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases