TOP 20 of 2020: Round Four

Over the past few days, I’ve 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 fourth round of books (in no particular order) – reviews below! Check back tomorrow for the last four books.

View Round One here

View Round Two here

View Round Three here


Beautiful. This was just a stunningly beautiful, intensely deep love story. I loved the raw honesty that poured out of every scene. And I ADORED this hero. He’s the kind of steadfast, loving, supportive man that everyone needs in their life, and I wish there were more book boyfriends like him. Paired with a compelling, 100% original heroine, this couple is one of my favorites – ever. It’s an opposites attract romance that showcases the kind of deep love that can come from truly accepting yourself for who you are, and I can say without a doubt that I’ve never read anything quite like it. While the journey is emotional throughout, it’s also got touches of humor and lightness that brighten things up. I loved the connection between these two, the slow burn romance, the originality, and I was left wanting more.

This love story follows Ren, a guy who fell for a girl that he can’t have quite yet – and he’s willing to wait however long it takes to get her. Growing up as a nerd and Shakespeare lover shaped Ren into the man he is today, so becoming a star hockey player and undeniably sexy man hasn’t changed who he is at his core. While Ren fell for his coworker, Frankie, right away, she doesn’t seem to feel the same. Frankie’s used to people disappointing or misunderstanding her – as a woman who deals with autism and arthritis on a daily basis, it comes with the territory. But Ren is like a ray of sunshine on her otherwise cold life, and once these two let each other in a little deeper, Frankie realizes that she’d love to soak up some of his warmth.

I’ve been reading this series in reverse, and you won’t get an ounce of disappointment from me about that. The heartbreaking yet uplifting Ever After Always sunk into my soul a little bit, and after that, there was no stopping me from reading more from this author. The books are so vastly different that I couldn’t even begin to tell you which one I liked better, but I can tell you that they’re both excellent. This was just so DIFFERENT, standing out in a sea of romances that can sometimes blend together. It feels authentic, like it actually features people that you’d come across in everyday life – they’re not perfect, and they don’t pretend to be. Though… Ren might be as close to perfect as I’ve seen in a romance hero, because I LOVED him so, so much. He’s gentle, kind, and strong without being toxic. Husband material. If you’re up for a complex love story that will tug on your heartstrings in a big way, then I can’t recommend this book enough.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3pAlsMk


I am all SMILES after reading this; just so, so delightfully charmed by this holiday romance. It was everything I was hoping it was going to be and then some – and I always anticipate that I’m going to love this author’s books. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, sexy, and snort-laugh-inducing, crackling with sexual tension one minute and then making you swoon with a tender moment the next. The first half? Sharp, intense, and simmering with heat. And then the back half burrows into your heart a little deeper, leaning into the holiday aspect while showcasing the growth in intimacy. It’s the kind of book that I’d read every Christmas, or Christmas in July, or… anytime. Because this couple is GREAT together, from the first page to the last.

The story follows Declan, a lawyer who is aware that he can give people the impression that he’s a bit of a grouch. He’s got his reasons for being moody, and the only thing that seems to put a smile on his face recently is spending time with his new executive assistant, Maddie. As in, driving her crazy with texts and demands to work all hours of the day. With the holidays approaching, Declan hopes to make it another work-filled week, until family commitments require that he come for a visit… with a date who will act as a buffer for all of the drama. Somehow, Maddie finds herself spending even more time with Declan, but in a way that brings all of the tension between them to the surface in an entirely different way.

I loved all of the BANTER and the chemistry that just leaps off the page. These two have the kind of connection that sizzles, and the steamy scenes reveal more about their relationship than a hundred conversations. The word “baby” has never been sexier than when it’s groaned by this grumpalicious hero, and I loved his vulnerability. Loring executed some holiday magic with this one, because this couple was truly entertaining from start to finish. I devoured it in one sitting, loving the low angst journey as it progressed from bickering to bantering to blush-inducing and beyond. If you’re looking for a light and steamy romance that will make you smile, fill you with holiday cheer, and make you love it more with every scene, this is the one for you. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this office romance.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/35ARDmb


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.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MQVdzT


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.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3d72wPR


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