TOP 20 of 2020: Round Three

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 third round of books (in no particular order) – reviews below! Check back tomorrow for the next four books.

View Round One here

View Round Two here

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.


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.

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.

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.‬


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