JANUARY WRAP-UP

January was a crazy busy release month, and I ended up reading like half of the new releases that I wanted to – but the books were great! My ratio of 5-star romances to less successful reads was higher than ever, and that’s because there were so many exciting new releases to choose from. And a few of my most anticipated reads were actually disappointing, so that ratio could’ve been higher! Many/most of my favorite authors released new books this month, so that should make for some interesting reading in February… that’s often how I discover fantastic new-to-me authors.

If you missed my February Release Calendar, you can find it here!

If you missed any of this month’s reviews, I’ve got the blurb and rating for each below. There’s also a link to all of this month’s recommendation lists and the new release list.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it

You don’t really know a guy until you’ve vacationed with him…

When Drew Wilson’s ex-boyfriend Joel “Six” Bailey asks her to go on his family trip to Hawaii with him just as her life is falling apart, she decides it’s the perfect time to give him another chance.

The hitch? The Bailey family includes Six’s rude older brother, Joshua–a hot-nerd doctor who has hated Drew since the moment they met and once suggested she’d steal the family silver.

Drew is determined to win the Baileys over and give this thing with Six a fair shot…but Joshua is making that difficult. Not simply because he is in her way at every turn, but because–as one tropical adventure leads to the next–she’s beginning to wonder if obnoxious, odious Joshua might be the brother she actually belongs with. 

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3HANt07


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So good

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon.

Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.

Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way…with fists and beer. Usually in that order.

Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.

There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.

At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3A537gI


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sexy series starter 

#12 Johnny Decker. Star quarterback for the Boston Tomcats. Two-time Super Bowl MVP…a decade ago. Nickname: Decker the Panty Wrecker.

I get tackled for a living by men who are built like rhinos. I could take the wings off a fly with a football from 30 yards away. (I wouldn’t, but I could.) Being a veteran quarterback means I’m a mentally alert, fine-tuned athletic machine who can make split-second decisions.

It’s my job to anticipate what’s going to happen next and adapt. But I couldn’t have anticipated the death of our beloved team owner. 

His estranged daughter Hannah Strong is a finance nerd from New York. She knows less than nothing about football. Know what she didn’t anticipate? Inheriting the Boston Tomcats.

She’s stubborn, uptight, infuriating, and wrong about absolutely everything—from pizza to how to run my team. And I don’t want to talk about how good she looks in a skirt. Or daydream about how good she’d look out of it.

Really, I don’t. 

I’m not Decker the Panty Wrecker anymore—I’ve changed.

I can’t stop arguing with her. 

Or thinking about her.

I thought I had a winning play.

But Hannah Strong changed everything.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3HJpnPK


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So good

A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this electrifying romance from the author of The Ex Talk.

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34gOM56


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it

From the moment Danny Black met Rose Cassidy, he knew she’d be the death of him. But their electric connection and twisted love gave him a purpose beyond ruling Miami with his iron fist. Faking his own death and disappearing to St. Lucia was the only way he could escape the deadly underworld that brought them together. But his seclusion was sabotaged when a notorious assassin lured him out and made him an offer he couldn’t ignore. 

So Danny was forced to decide whether to remain concealed and pray his enemies didn’t find him, or re-emerge and take back control of his town. His future.

James Kelly’s sole purpose was to find and kill the man who ordered the death of his family. Peace would never be his until then. Beau Hayley, a scarred former cop, was the key to his mission. He was supposed to kill her. Instead, he fell in love with her. Forced to accept that he could no longer fight his war and keep Beau safe from their enemies, he sought out the only man who could help him.

But by resurrecting the infamous Brit, James unwittingly started an even bigger war.

Two lethal men. One shared goal. 

Keep their women safe. 

And survive.

But only one of them can come out the other side alive.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/31RC9Mq


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So good

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there.

I would know. I’m coming home with a brand-new ring on my finger.

My wife? Ryan Bell.
We’re polar opposites.
She’s sunshine and happiness.
I’m grumpy and scarred—literally.

We could get it annulled and no one would be the wiser.
Only problem? We posted about it online, and it’s already making headlines.

I can’t afford to get that kind of attention and tank my career, and Ryan needs my help too.

We make a plan: stay married for one year, play our roles, and divorce amicably at the end. No harm, no foul.

Besides, there’s no way the beauty is going to fall for the beast…

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3GU1lkZ


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and sexy

The Billionaire Bachelors are BACK! Fall for a new trope-tactic, fake dating rom-com series from USA Today bestselling author, Lila Monroe! 

Playboy bachelor Charlie Fox is handsome, charming — and looking for a date to the TWELVE weddings he’s attending this month. He’s topping the city’s ‘Most Eligible’ lists, but he needs a woman who won’t swoon at his feet — or go diving to catch that bouquet. A fake girlfriend is the perfect solution, he’s just not expecting a very familiar face to show up as his plus-one…

Me.

The last time I saw Charlie, he was playing Mr Popular at our high-school… while I was stuck being Miss Invisible. Now — thanks to a rogue Chihuahua, my frat-bro boss, and a gallon of gluten-free frosting — he’s making me an offer I really should refuse. Play his fake girlfriend for a summer of wild weddings?

It’ll be worth it, as long as we can keep our hands to ourselves.
And our mouths.
And… other parts, too.

As the wedding marathon gets underway, the sparks between us are anything but fake – and breaking the rules has never been so fun. Can ‘just for now’ turn into ‘forever’? Find out in the sizzling, hilarious new romance from “the reigning queen of romantic comedy” Lila Monroe!

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Hj5WxN


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Steamy and tense

Eight weeks of forced proximity is a long time to hate someone you’re trying not to love.

Sebastian Stremmel doesn’t need another headache. He has enough of his own without Sara Shapiro, the noisy new reconstructive surgeon, stomping all around his surgical wing with her chippy, chirpy cheerfulness.

But Sebastian doesn’t usually get what he wants.

No one gets under his skin like Sara – so much so a heated “debate” and an exam room left in shambles later, they land themselves in eight weeks of hospital-mandated conflict resolution counseling. Now they’re forced to fight fair…which quickly leads them to playing dirty when no one’s looking. 

They know it’s a mistake.

They promise themselves it will never happen again.

They swear they got it out of their systems.

They didn’t.


Author’s Note: Grumpy/recovering people-pleaser sunshine. Introverts attract. Enemies-to-lovers in the workplace. Banter, bicker, and button-pushing foreplay. Don’t tell the friend group, get jealous when the friend group tries to fix her up.

Heat: rip her clothes off before you get the front door open. 
CW/TW: chronic illness, absent/negligent parents, history of disordered eating.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3z1vhZw


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sexy but slow

“You got married on your divorce-cation?”

That would unfortunately be correct. 

I was hanging with the girls, celebrating my divorce when I saw him, my crush, sitting in the corner of the bar all alone. Being single and looking for a wild night, I asked him if he wanted to join me. To my delight, he said yes. 

Drinks were consumed, fun was had and then . . . one drunken conversation with a cranky gondolier in Las Vegas led to an Uber lift through a drive-thru wedding chapel with the incredibly hot, British bad boy, Pike Greyson. 

On paper, it seemed like I hit the jackpot. And if I wasn’t fresh from a toxic marriage, I would have absolutely noticed the finer things about him. 

But I wanted nothing to do with being married, so when I arrived back home from my eventful weekend in Vegas, the last thing I expected to see was a new doting husband already moved in. 

I asked for an annulment, he pulled a Ross Geller and said no. 

That’s right, he said NO! Instead, he asked for three months to prove we could be good together. 

Insanity clearly knocked him in the head and the only way I could convince him to give up on our sham of a marriage was to show him just how wrong we were for each other. Only problem with that was, he saw right through my every prank, every trick, and every yearning emotion I attempted to mask.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wJ1pjx


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Super cute

She’s not just my ex-girlfriend. She’s my new coworker. 

I knew Lucy Dillard was The One the first time I met her. Yes, I’m enough of a sap to believe in love at first sight. When I fell for Lucy, I fell hard. Everything was great between us—until the moment she dumped me.

Now I just want to forget about her. Instead, I’m stuck staring at her face all day. But I need this job, so I’ll find a way to be civil and professional.

There’s just one small problem: I’m nowhere close to being over her.

First, we were lovers. Then enemies. Now we’re trying to work together. 

I didn’t set out to break Tanner King’s heart, but you know what they say about the road to hell.

I’ve got too many responsibilities and no room in my life for love. I can deal with Tanner’s resentment until he starts working at the desk directly across from mine. Obviously, a truce of some kind is required. We’re both grownups. We can handle this situation like professionals.

There’s only one thing threatening this fragile peace we’ve negotiated: all these inconvenient feelings I apparently still have for him.

Cream and Punishment is book #2 in the King Family series set in the small town of Crowder, Texas, home of the King’s Creamery ice cream company. Each book is a standalone, full-length contemporary romance that follows one of the six King siblings as they find and fight for love.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3quNsEN


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Hot hot hot

A sexy, billionaire, Hollywood, stand-alone romance from USA Today best-selling author Marni Mann …

I’m not the type of girl who picks up a man on a rooftop bar.
Not the kind of girl who lets a man’s hands roam my body, discovering I have no panties on.
Never the girl who has hours’ worth of o’s from a smoking-hot one-night stand.

But Dominick makes it so easy to say yes.
His body, his moves, and his oh-so-wicked tongue have me saying it over and over again.
Yes, please.
Yes, more.
Yes, right there. 

He worships every inch of my body, and I’m still sore the next morning when I meet him again.

This time, he’s Mr. Dalton, my sister’s cutthroat entertainment lawyer.
And he has a proposition for me.

He wants to make me famous.

Of course, that means sharing a screen with my wildly jealous sister.
It means giving up my career.
It means the whole world will suddenly know everything about me.

Which presents one catastrophic problem—Dominick doesn’t date famous people.

So, do I take a chance at becoming a Hollywood star, or do I pass up the opportunity to be with the man who gave me a taste of forever?

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3EgMorr


The Hating Game Movie Review

Resolving to achieve professional success without compromising her ethics, Lucy embarks on a ruthless game of one-upmanship against cold and efficient nemesis Joshua, a rivalry that is complicated by her growing attraction to him.

As assistants to the co-CEOs of a publishing company, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman sit across from each other every day – and they hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. H-A-T-E. Lucy can’t understand Josh’s joyless, uptight approach to his job and refusal to smile, which is in stark contrast to her bright clothes, quirkiness, and effusive people-pleasing. Trapped in a shared office 5 days a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. Lucy can’t let Josh beat her at anything – especially when a huge new promotion to be Managing Director is up for grabs. They strike a deal that whoever does not get the promotion must quit. It’s game-on – But as tensions reach boiling point and an innocent elevator ride turns into a steamy kiss, Lucy begins to realize just how fine a line there is between love and hate.

Based on the best-selling book by Sally Thorne, THE HATING GAME tells the story of ambitious good girl Lucy Hutton (Lucy Hale) pitted against her cold, efficient work nemesis, Joshua Templeton (Austin Stowell), for a huge promotion at publishing company Bexley&Gamin. Trapped in a shared office, Lucy embarks on a ruthless game of one-upmanship against Josh, a rivalry that turns increasingly complicated by her mounting attraction to him after an innocent elevator ride turns NSFW. Is it love or just another game in their never-ending pursuit for the top job?

Read the review here

You can rent the movie at: https://amzn.to/32NMABQ or preorder the Bluray/DVD at: https://amzn.to/3t26qnB. The rental is available now, the physical copy releases on February 8th.


⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mixed feelings

She’s living next door to a superstar… and doesn’t even know it.

Enemies to lovers tale with an earth-shaking twist!

International pop star RJ Contreras finds himself at a crossroads when his mega famous boy band, AnyDayNow, breaks up. After his solo career fails to take off, RJ (a.k.a. Chad Woodcock) retreats to a no-frills apartment where he can hide out from the world and lick his festering wounds.

But when the girl next door starts slipping ‘good neighbor’ contracts under his door and complaining about his behavior through strategically placed Post-it-Notes, RJ snaps out of his self-absorbed melancholy to wage war.

Nothing short of an act of nature could repair the relationship between these two strong-willed enemies. But guess what Fate has in store?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/32U1JRA


⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mixed feelings

He’s my best friend’s older brother. My boss. And now my new roommate…

In the hospital, death always comes in threes. Apparently, so do mistakes.
Mistake number one? My fiancé, who I just learned is cheating on me. So much for being the strong, in control doctor who’s always on top of her game…
Mistake number two? Knocking on the wrong door.
The door I thought still belonged to my best friend now belongs to his older brother, my obnoxious, overly cocky, gorgeous-as-sin attending physician, Carter Fritz.
The billionaire playboy gives me a place to stay, and a shoulder to cry on. But when he makes me feel seen for the first time in I don’t even know how long, I tell myself I don’t regret what was easily the hottest, most earth-shattering night of my life.
That is until mistake number three comes along… and I’m staring down at a stick with two pink lines.
Having a baby at this stage of my residency could cost me everything I’ve worked so hard to build.
But Carter? He’s undeterred. He doesn’t just want more; he wants it ALL.
Including me.
But what happens if following my heart turns out to be my biggest mistake of all?

DOCTOR MISTAKE is a 105k word super STEAMY, deliciously angsty forbidden romance that will hit you straight in the feels! It is a standalone in the bestselling Boston’s Billionaire Bachelors series featuring Boston’s hottest billionaire doctors and the women they fall head over heels for!

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3pwg6mQ


⭐️⭐️⭐️ Cute but not compelling

Enemies-to-lovers meets HGTV in this frothy, effervescent romantic comedy from Sophie Sullivan, author of Ten Rules for Faking It.

Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3IagVt9


⭐️⭐️ Didn’t love it

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Central Park Pact comes a reverse My Fair Lady for the modern era about a pampered and privileged Manhattan socialite who must teach an unpolished and denim-loving nobody from the Louisiana Bayou how to fit in with the upper crust of New York City. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.

Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement.

Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman. 

But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34pDIm6


⭐️⭐️ Didn’t love it

Falling in love is the ultimate payback in this delightful, breezy romcom about an interior designer who teams up with an enigmatic architect at her firm to get revenge on her ex the only way she knows how: by building a spite house next door

“Filled with sizzling chemistry and delicious revenge, Love at First Spite had me smiling from start to finish. This is one debut you don’t want to miss!” —Kate Bromley, author of Talk Bookish to Me

They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3qI1LUX


⭐️⭐️ A miss for me 🎧

Molly Graham doesn’t believe in love at first sight or fairy tales. She’s been burned too many times before. When her best friend, Brianna Cho, challenges her to aim high and go for men who are out of her league, Molly can’t imagine a worse way to spend Valentine’s Day. When she stumbles across a very handsome British professor, Albert George, seeking refuge in her office during the Museum of Literature’s Valentine’s Day gala for the opening of their Austen exhibit, Molly can’t help but be drawn to the fellow introverted academic. Together they ghost out of the event and embark upon a month long love affair. Molly is rethinking her stance on happily ever afters and plans to tell Al how she feels, but he disappears. Afraid something bad has happened, Molly searches for him only to discover there is no Albert George affiliated with the university. She’s been played for a fool!

Molly is devastated. As registrar for the Museum of Literature, she is tasked with a trip to England to return the Jane Austen exhibition materials on loan from the Whitmore Estate in Bath. It’s the only thing she has to look forward to and even this dream trip is a struggle. When she and Brianna arrive at Whitmore Manor, they are introduced to Earl Whitmore and his grandson Lord Insley, or as Molly knows him Albert George. She is shocked and dismayed to discover she has fallen in love with a viscount in line to be an earl. James Albert George Insley Whitmore, called Jamie by his friends and family, arranged for Molly to bring the materials back. He had to leave her unexpectedly, but he hasn’t been able to forget her and he wants to win her back. Molly isn’t having it. She refuses to be taken in twice. Jamie will have to channel his inner Fitzwilliam Darcy to prove to her that love conquers all and win her heart for good. 

Read the review here

Kindle version available now / audio coming February 1st
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3r6apOC


DNF: Not for me

I’ve been meaning to check out Alexis Hall’s work, but the vibe of this M/M historical romance was sooooo not for me. It’s super ridiculous and over the top, and I abandoned ship quickly.

———-

From the acclaimed author of Boyfriend Material comes a delightfully witty romance featuring a reserved duke who’s betrothed to one twin and hopelessly enamoured of the other.

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.

Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

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


THIS MONTH’S RECOMMENDATION LISTS

15 (More) Bad Boys Who Fall Hard in Romance Novels

15 HOT & Steamy Fling to More Romance Books

What’s on My TBR? 25 ARCs on My Kindle

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: February Releases

Best of January 2022


Check out this week’s new releases here.


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