I’d call February a disappointing release month overall, but there were still some great new books! This month, my favorites were immediately obvious to me, so I’ve separated these into two groups – Top Picks and Honorable Mentions. My two favorite new releases were EASILY Lease on Love and A Ticking Time Boss. Lease on Love was such a unique blend of romance and women’s fiction, with a great slow burn romance at the heart of it. I loved the little unexpected moments, and it felt so fresh. A Ticking Time Boss also had an unexpected storyline, and I loved the twist on an office romance. The light, low angst vibes made it a very bingeable read. The other clear winner this month was NOT a new release – I finally read Just My Type by Tara Sivec, and it was a stellar, banter-filled read. Certainly worth a mention here.
For my Honorable Mentions, the other three books were also 5-star reads, they’re just a little less memorable than the others. I really enjoyed the fake relationship/widower romance, Wilder With You. It was another solid addition to an easygoing series. I also liked Cruel, the newest from Deborah Bladon. It felt different than the traditional billionaire romance, and the story just flew by. Rounding out the list is A Chance For Us, a rare non-second chance romance from Corinne Michaels. I’ve always liked Michaels’ writing style, but I’m not a big second chance fan, so it was refreshing to read a fake relationship romance from her.
March is looking like an EXCELLENT release month, so I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out throughout the month! If you missed my March Release Calendar, you can find it here!
I’ve got my review for each of this month’s best books below – you can’t go wrong with any of these!
It took all of five minutes for me to realize that I was going to love this debut author’s work, and love it I did. This was excellent – light, swoony, and slow-burning, with depth that sneaks up on you and a focus on mental health. I adored the roommates to lovers dynamic, and this hero is fantastic, the perfect book boyfriend. The funny thing is that I was worried this was going to be too women’s fiction-y for me, but that concern was quickly put to rest when the f-bombs started flying in the first chapter, lol. It felt fresh, modern, and yeah, everything millennial dreams are made of… because I’ll be the first to admit that the storyline is pure fantasy in some ways. The sense of found family and community was really heartwarming, and the book just felt so unique.
The story follows Sadie, a woman who has been working herself to the bone, assuming that her efforts will pay off somewhere down the line. But when she’s passed over for a promotion, Sadie has an outburst that leaves her jobless and reeling. Drowning her sorrows in alcohol, Sadie matches with a guy on what she believes to be a dating app… but is actually a roommate-finder app. Jack is definitely not the type of guy that Sadie would date – he’s nerdy, broody, and nice – but he’s seeking a roommate to live in his luxurious brownstone for next to nothing, and he doesn’t seem like a serial killer. As the two strangers become roommates, their new friendship blossoms into more.
Something about the blurb and cover had me thinking this was going to have a more serious feel, but that assumption went out the window within the first chapter. Our heroine is bold and bright, the splash of color that livened up this NYC romance. Paired with a quiet, loving, and genuine hero, the combination had me glued to the pages. The slow burn love story built in such a fulfilling way, with a growth in intimacy that kept me swooning. And it’s sexy! Slow burn lovers will appreciate the quiet moments, but there’s plenty of steam later on. It’s not an overly long book, but the story felt rich and deep in a way that I don’t always find in romance. The tone remains light for much of the story, but there are some emotional moments that give this weight. I loved the focus on mental health and how these two “broken” people come back to life as they grow and heal together. The transformation from start to finish was fantastic, and the heavier moments just gave this more depth. If this is the author’s debut, then I am absolutely looking forward to more. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy, and am voluntarily leaving a review of this roommates to lovers romance.
This was GREAT, the kind of easy, sexy romance that I love to binge in one sitting. I’m new to the series, and the first thing I did when I finished this was add the other interconnected standalones to my TBR – which tells you how much I enjoyed this. It was lighter and less angsty than anticipated, with likable characters and TONS of chemistry. I loved the playfulness and all of the banter, and there is certainly a bit of heat. The sexual tension and forbidden aspect kept me hooked, and there was just enough friction between these two to keep things interesting. I love a good strangers to lovers romance, and the memorable meet cute combined with the office romance vibes made this a distinct read. Sure, it plays up the tropes and doesn’t delve too deep, but it felt fresh and interesting – and you definitely don’t need to read the series in order.
The story follows Audrey, a journalist who gets nervous whenever she goes on dates. She hasn’t done a lot of dating, so it always makes her anxious. While waiting for a late blind date, Audrey meets handsome businessman in a bar. He’s SO not her type, but Carter is kind and easy to talk to. So when Audrey’s date finally arrives and things don’t go well, Carter comes to her rescue. Afterwards, the two strike up a text-based friendship, and all seems to being going well… until Audrey discovers that Carter is the heartless suit who just bought the newspaper she works for and fired a bunch of her coworkers. That’s not what she expected of her new friend, and it throws off their personal and professional dynamic. But Carter has enjoyed getting to know Audrey, and he won’t let her abandon their budding friendship so easily.
From the very first scene, these two have some serious CHEMISTRY. I loved the meet cute, and I was all smiles as they got to know each other. It was interesting that Audrey thought they had friend chemistry, and she certainly works off of that assumption throughout the first half – getting Carter’s advice as she goes on a few disappointing first dates, navigating their new working relationship, and appreciating his friendship. There’s just enough drama to spark some jealousy without being over the top, and I really liked Carter as a character. We get to know him better in the second half, and there are some great intimate moments along the way, both in and out of the bedroom. Hayle writes excellent steam, and the few scenes we got in this were certainly fan-worthy. All in all, the kind of light and sexy romance that’s perfect for bingeing.
This was straight up DELIGHTFUL; a banter-filled, smile-inducing treat. It’s been far too long since I’ve read anything by Sivec, so I thought I’d jump back into this series of interconnected standalones – and I’m so glad that I did. I love a unique meet cute, and these two had chemistry even when they were just exchanging messages. And when they met in person? Whoa boy, there was no holding back that spark of attraction. I also absolutely ADORED this hero, who didn’t let anything stop him from getting his girl. He fell seamlessly into the role of boyfriend without this single mom even realizing it, and the scenes with her son were SUPER swoony. I loved every bit of it. This slow burn was just the right kind of torturous, and when these two finally crossed that final line, it was HOT. Loved it. The first thing I did when I finished this was buy the next book in the series, and that’s always a very, very good sign.
The story follows Ember, a recently divorced single mom who has let herself fall apart in the last year. She may stink a little bit, her hair may be unwashed, there might be some mysterious stains on her clothes… she’s just sunken into Mom mode. So when there’s a mixup at her transcription job, and the very private – VERY inappropriate – notes she left in the draft of her most recent project accidentally get sent to the client as is, Ember panics. But the client writes back, and he seems to find the mixup funny. He seems to find HER funny. As the two continue exchanging messages, they finally meet up in person under the guise of a professional project, but Baker knows better. Ember makes him feel alive, and he’ll do everything he can to make sure this single mom gives him a chance.
There is just something so SEXY about a determined, loyal, sweetheart of a man – and that’s Baker. He’s a wounded veteran who does good during the day, and he continues to be a good, good man at night. I loved everything about him. Ember and her son are exactly what he needed in his life, and I loved how perfectly they all fit together. The entire book is low angst, light, and laughter-filled. Sure, there’s some great sexual tension and a touch of hesitation, but the overall tone is so playful. Ember is a bit of a spitfire, and I watching her get her fire back with Baker was so fun. The entire book absolutely flew by, with no dull moments or wasted scenes. It was so, so good. I’ll definitely be diving into the next book right away – and you can easily read these out of order.
I’ve been waiting for Michaels to change up her formula of endless second chance romances (with gorgeous brown-haired clones on the covers), so this was a breath of fresh air. This fake relationship/marriage of convenience romance was just what I was looking for from the author – still an angst fest, but with an element of surprise – and it had a twist I didn’t even see coming. The fast-paced, sexy, and emotional story held my interest the whole way through, and the great audio performances certainly made this bingeable. I read it in one sitting, and it has renewed my interest in the veteran author’s work.
The story follows Maren, a woman whose father is dying. He’s been battling cancer for years, and it’s now time to accept that the end is near. So when he mentions how much he’s looking forward to Maren’s wedding, she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that it’s been called off. Her boyfriend rushed a proposal before they’d even exchanged those three little words, and Maren soon realizes that she’s more disappointed that her father won’t be around for her big day than she is that the relationship is over. In an act of desperation, Maren finds a replacement who has the same first name as her disappearing groom – her best friend’s ex, an old college friend she hasn’t seen in years. They agree to have a wedding ceremony without actually making things official, but things quickly spiral out of control. Now the replacement groom seems like the perfect guy, but he’s not willing to be a woman’s second choice ever again.
I really loved Oliver, he’s a relationship guy who has put his heart on the line one too many times. He doesn’t want to get hurt again, and he knows that he’s quite literally Maren’s second choice groom, so even the sparks that fly between them aren’t enough to give him hope. I loved how easy and right things were between them, even as everything else was spiraling. It’s an angst-heavy romance that focuses as much on the drama as it does on the budding relationship, and there are some heartfelt family moments. If the loss of a loved one or cancer are triggers for you, then you might want to sit this one out – there’s a strong focus on Maren’s father and her grief. Yeah, there are some lighthearted and sexy moments between Maren and Oliver, but the story itself is pretty emotional. I loved the twists and turns, and how it felt fresh even while playing up the tropes. I’ve always been a fan of Michaels’ writing skill – even if I was burned out by the many second chance romances – so it was no surprise that the story kept me hooked. If you’re in the mood for something that’ll break your heart a little bit while also mending it together, then this is a very solid read.
I don’t know why widowers are so sexy, but they really are. There’s something about a man who has loved and lost that gets me every time, and I loved this sweetheart of a mountain man. This fake relationship romance is light and STEAMY, with plenty of heat to keep things interesting. It builds on the series while still feeling like a standalone, and I had no trouble bingeing it in one sitting. The story flew by, and the chemistry between these two kept me turning the pages late into the night.
The story follows Clark and Jessa, two people who really shouldn’t get together. Clark’s wife passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, and Jessa was one of her friends. Though Clark and Jessa were never close, he feels guilty every time a spark of attraction ignites in her presence. So when Jessa’s ex shows up on the wilderness retreat Clark and Jessa are a part of, no one is more surprised than Clark when he comes to her rescue. Pretending to be in a relationship with the woman he shouldn’t be attracted to is sure to be trouble, but Clark goes for it anyway. And as the two spend time together, they discover that those sparks have the potential to turn into something more… even if neither one is ready for something real.
This manages to remain light and sexy, even while handling heavy topics. Clark is a widower and Jessa is divorced, so the ghosts of relationships past haunt them both. They’re both hesitant to move forward with a real relationship, but the chemistry between them is impossible to ignore. I loved how likable these characters were, and I felt for them both. I typically don’t love books that feature “just” sex, but it was understandable that these characters would resist giving in. The story is fast-paced and steamy, with plenty of sexual tension and just enough heartache. I also loved getting to know Clark’s family better, and this remained a standalone while also advancing the series. I’m not a big fan of either of the tropes that are up next in the series, but I’m definitely looking forward to more from the author. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this fake relationship romance.
Low angst and bingeable in the best of ways, this billionaire romance is the kind of quick and sexy read that I love from Bladon. While the blurb had me thinking this was going to be a tense, darker read, it’s definitely not that. The vibe is a little mysterious and a whole lot lighthearted, with an affection-starved antihero whose reputation precedes him. It reminded me of Beauty and the Beast, with a gruff, misunderstood hero, a vibrant and charming heroine, plenty of time spent in his home, and a staff that feels like family. This antihero also comes to our heroine’s rescue, and it’s the start of an unexpected and interesting relationship. The story probably could’ve delved a bit deeper and it’s definitely shorter than I would’ve liked, but I devoured it in one sitting and enjoyed it the whole way through.
The story follows Juliet, a journalist who is just starting out her career. When she’s mugged in an alley, a mysterious stranger comes to her rescue. He’s gone before she can thank him, but that event changes the course of her life. Shortly after the incident, Juliet’s boss says she’s been requested for a special assignment – interview a reclusive billionaire, a man who is feared by most. That billionaire turns out to be none other than her rescuer, but Kavan is not the good guy she thought. Most people believe that he killed his father, and he’s never given them a reason to believe otherwise. Kavan’s reasons for choosing Juliet as the journalist to tell his story might be a bit cruel, but the more Juliet gets to know the mysterious stranger, the more she realizes that he’s not a bad guy at all.
If you’re new to the Buck Boys series, no worries – the connection to the first interconnected standalone is minimal at best. The marketing for the whole series is kinda weird to me, but that’s a separate issue, lol. No, this isn’t a western. And, no, there are no cruel games. It’s a light and steamy billionaire romance with a little bit of a twist, and this unique storyline kept me turning the pages. Bladon excels at writing businessmen who fall hard for the right girl, and that’s what we’re dealing with here. I loved how Juliet turns Kavan’s world upside down, and I loved the lightness that she brings to his life. The romance itself moves pretty quickly once it gets going, and I certainly wouldn’t have complained about another 50 pages of story, but this did a great job of keeping me hooked. It’s the kind of vibe that I expect from Bladon, and Kavan’s background made it an interesting read. Digging deeper would’ve made this more powerful, but it easily satisfied my light and steamy craving.
Did you see my March Release Calendar?
It includes the 40+ March releases I’m excited about AND 200+ upcoming books that are available for preorder! Check it out here.
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