TOP 20 of 2020: Round Five

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 final round of books (in no particular order) – reviews below!

View Round One here

View Round Two here

View Round Three here

View Round Four here

Hands down, no question, the most powerful thing I’ve read this year. You’ll get chest pains from the angst, but the journey is worth it because of the warm glow of HOPE, and love, and all the good things in life that you’ll feel by the end. This is a treacherous road to happily ever after, detailing the end and beginning of love – in that order – as our heroine goes on one INTENSE emotional journey. It’s raw, real, and will wreck your emotions. This love story is not for everyone, with plenty of triggers and darkness before the light at the end of the tunnel – but it is SUPERB. Grab a blanket and a box of tissues, because you’re going to need them.

Am I going to offer up storyline details on this one? Not a chance. Go into it blind, that’s all I can say. It’s deeply romantic without actually feeling like a romance most of the time, but I can assure you that this love story does have a happy ending. That blurb is just the tip of the iceberg, and the writing will draw you in from the start. I’m not even the kind of reader who loves an angsty story, so I can tell you that the heartache is worth it with this one. It’s about the feeling behind it, the emotion. Even on the darkest of days, when there seems like no reason to move forward, do. Because there can be beauty on the other side. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this heart-wrenching romance.


Just rip my heart out already, why don’t you? If you’d asked me early on in the Wild Minds duet, I would’ve told you that I didn’t want Gus’ story. I don’t like cheaters, I don’t want to read about cheaters, and his actions were the catalyst for that whole story. But there’s so much more to it than that. Gus has had time to process his actions, realize exactly what he missed out on, and now knows with certainty that he never wants to feel that way again. So now that Gus is finally ready to move on from that relationship and open his heart up again, it makes him a completely different man.

This story is the kind that will have you immersed from the first page, caught up in the serious chemistry between these characters and wanting to peel back the layers some more. Both our hero and heroine have gone through so much to make them the people they are today (definitely some triggers in their history). This love story is all about finding the right person at the right time in your life. Gus and Naomi connect because their jagged edges fit together, and the story is emotional, intense, sexy, engrossing – while still having plenty of lightness in between. Saman seamlessly transitioned this antihero into a hero in his own right, and he’s actually one of the best I’ve read in a long, long time.

Essentially, the story follows Gus as he gets over the former love of his life. She’s found happiness and now it’s his turn to move on. While reading the Wild Minds duet prior to this is in no way necessary, it will greatly enhance the reading experience. There, we’re introduced to Gus and the complexities of his character, which gives this book so much more depth. Add in a beautifully broken heroine, and these two musicians make for an incredible pairing. As they work on a duet that begins the healing process for them both, Gus and Naomi fight their attraction while falling deeper each day.

It’s devourable, engaging, and the perfect followup to one of the best love stories I’ve read all year. I had incredibly high expectations for this and it did not disappoint – Saman never does. Those who have come to know Gus throughout the series will love to see his redemption, and it makes this romance that much more fulfilling. This author has such a way with building intimacy, and that’s the focus here, showcasing the connection between these two. In case you couldn’t tell, I loved it. I cannot wait to read more from the series and see what trouble Gus’ bandmates get into when they fall themselves.


I love a swoony hero, and single dad Jake might just be the swooniest I’ve read in a long time. This is low angst delight, with a slow burn romance that will have you wrapped up in the story. I loved the connection between these two, and the light, fun tone of the book makes it easy to devour. If you’re worried about the dating contest storyline, don’t be – think of it instead as a unique meet cute that gives this romance a fresh feel. It’s not bogged down by OW drama or love triangles or anything along those lines; these authors succeeded in navigating a complex situation with a deft hand. Our hero might be a little oblivious at times, but there’s no question who is going to win his heart. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, and that just made the journey all the more interesting.

The story follows Holley, a journalist who is assigned the task of overseeing a dating contest. After sifting through applications, she’s found the best bachelor in the community and the most tolerable bachelorettes to date him. The only problem? This bachelor doesn’t even know he’s signed up to compete. Jake’s teenage daughter submitted the application on his behalf, and while he’s been focused on being a single dad since her birth, she thinks it’s time for him to have something else in his life too. And as Holley and Jake spend time together while they work on prepping dates, he soon realizes that he might just have found it.

I always enjoy this writing duo’s light, sexy rom coms and this was definitely no exception. It’s one of my favorites from them, featuring two characters who are incredibly easy to like and chemistry that makes this complicated story work. I love these dating contest romances, though they can be difficult to pull off successfully. This one is handled well, focusing instead on the connection between Holley and Jake with the show as *almost* an afterthought. They make the transition from strangers to friends to lovers, and while this one has a very low steam factor, there’s still plenty of great sexual tension. It also introduces another hero whose story I’d love to read, so I’m looking forward to more. I was lucky enough to receive a free copy via Social Butterfly PR and am voluntarily leaving a review of this slow burn romance.


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:

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