There were some AWESOME new romances released in April! While the month was super uneven overall, the books that worked for me really worked, and I’m betting they’ll leave a lasting impression. And my favorites were all SO different that it’ll probably take a few months before I know which was my absolute top pick. There were four that jumped to the top of the pack, and then another two very solid reads that are my honorable mentions.
Going into 2022, one of my most highly anticipated reads was Brutal Vows, the latest installment in J.T. Geissinger’s intensely steamy mafia romance series. The arranged marriage romance surprised me in the best of ways, and I loved that I had no idea how the story was going to play out. It was bingeable the whole way through, and I’m still suffering from a book hangover, so it certainly left an impression. Another unpredictable romance was Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend by Penny Reid. I honestly had no expectations going in, and that made it such an immersive, devourable read. I ended up falling for the hero in a big way, and the major swoons are probably to blame for my book slump mid-month – it was an impressive book! I also loved the newest from Meghan Quinn, a best friend’s little sister/accidental pregnancy romance. I went in with low expectations because I didn’t love the first book in that particular series, but the tension-filled read became one of my new favorites from the author. My final top pick is a series starter from K. Bromberg, an author who I can depend on to deliver great reads. Considering how fast I read Last Resort, I guess this was another winner as well! It’s got me very excited for the series of interconnected standalones.
I can’t forget my two honorable mentions, which were both light and sexy reads that helped make my month. I finally got around to reading America’s Geekheart, an oldie but goodie from Pippa Grant. I loved it, and I don’t know why I left it on my TBR for so long! I also tried a new-to-me author (Jessica Prince), whose enemies to lovers/small town romance made me want to check out more of her work.
I’ve got my review for each of this month’s best books below – you can’t go wrong with any of these!
If you missed my May Release Calendar, you can find it here!
I was HOOKED from the very first page, and I devoured the whole book at an alarming rate – I loved it! There are times when you can tell that an author is having FUN with a story, and this is one of those instances. This couple is drawn together like magnets, and their chemistry lit up the pages. I loved the intensity of this sweetheart of a hero – he’s a jealous, possessive killer, but he’s also kind of a cinnamon roll who is starved for praise and affection. His fierce protectiveness and unwavering care easily melted my heart, and the steamy scenes had such great intimacy to them. The storyline is NOTHING like I expected, and I absolutely adored the unpredictable nature of it. This might be the most over the top installment of the series, but it was also the most addictive, and it had zero trouble holding my attention the whole way through. In fact, in trying to come up with one criticism for my review, I was going to say that it was too short… but it’s 400 pages, so I guess that’s just me being greedy.
If you want to go in blind, then stop here. Just know that it was excellent! This can be read as a standalone, but the series is definitely better together. Essentially, the story follows Spider, the sweet killer that we’ve come to know and love throughout the series. Still reeling from an ill-fated crush gone terribly wrong, Spider has closed off his heart. He agrees to an arranged marriage that will benefit his boss, knowing there’s no chance that he’ll fall for his 18-year-old bride. Except… Spider never factored in her stunning, viper of an aunt. What’s supposed to be an uncomplicated, unemotional transaction quickly turns into anything but, as Spider struggles with his attraction to a woman who is completely off-limits. Not only does Reyna have a reputation as a terrifying black widow, but Spider has also just agreed to a lifetime commitment to her niece.
I’m not sure how Geissinger manages to make such dark subject matter feel so light and playful, but she has mastered that skill throughout this series. There is an insane amount of chemistry sparking between Spider and Reyna, and that electric connection is the foundation of the book. I loved their forbidden interactions, I loved their intimate moments, and I loved the steam as well. It’s another HOT installment to the series, though each book has had its own vibe. Spider brings a softness that contrasts to Reyna’s rough edges, and the combination was perfection. I knew Spider was a softie, but I never expected the sweetness that he’d bring to this dark romance. He’s also super INTENSE, with an overwhelming presence that adds a special something to the story. I loved that Reyna is so resilient, strong, and such a great complement to Spider. Their instant connection turned into something deeper, and the journey was a very fun ride. I couldn’t get enough of these characters – it was deliciously addictive. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this mafia romance.
Well. Ahem. So this was nothing like I expected, but more than I could’ve hoped for – I LOVED it! If you loved the torturous slow burns of The Spanish Love Deception and Marriage for One, or the nerd-centric love story of The Love Hypothesis, then you’re gonna love the vibe of this one-of-a-kind romance. The page count is intimidating, I will openly admit that. There were one or two elements that I thought were unnecessary at the time, but everything comes full circle in such an impactful way. The nuances of this love story are what make it so engaging – it’s got a storyline that kept me on my toes, unable to guess where things would lead next. The combination of swoons, chemistry, tension, and little surprises made for such an engrossing read, and I loved how things became richer and deeper throughout. And this hero? Is the perfect kind of grump, with vulnerability that gives you butterflies.
The story follows Winnie, a science teacher who is hoping to grow her social media following in order to obtain the side hustle that will make her life easier. Winnie’s friend encourages her to bring as many eyes to her posts as possible by creating videos based on trending topics – like challenges that showcase best friends crossing the line to lovers. Sure, the videos might be a little disingenuous, but they’ll get Winnie’s follower count where it needs to be. The only problem? Winnie’s plans of making the videos with the guy she’s been crushing on get derailed when a practice video with the man who infuriates her gets posted instead. Byron has always made Winnie uncomfortable, and spending time with him is sure to be torture. Except… it’s not. As the two spend one-on-one time together, Winnie soon sees Byron in a completely different light.
While I loved Winnie, it’s Byron who steals the show here. We only get a few chapters from his perspective, but they were essential to the story. I loved the softness that lies beneath his bristly exterior, and getting to know the complexities of his personality added an extra layer of depth. The guy is the kind of loyal, committed hero that can make a girl swoon. He’s the grumpy to Winnie’s sunshine, and the opposites attract dynamic definitely worked. It was so fascinating to watch them slowly learn how to communicate better. At the start, it’s like they’re speaking two completely different languages (with tons of miscommunication), and it takes awhile before they’re on the same page. That’s where that torturous slow burn kicks in. I loved the quieter moments in the story, so the page count worked for me – that slow build in intimacy gives this a unique feel that distinguishes it from other books. Plus, I was never really sure where the story would go next, and that’s the kind of romance that I love to read. The kind of romance that stays with you. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this friction-filled romance.
WOW! I wasn’t sure that I was going to like this smooth-talking player at the start, but I was feeling the swoons in such a MAJOR way by the end. This book is a JOURNEY; a slow tearing down of walls and insecurities. MQ carefully navigates the complexities of a hero who honestly doesn’t know what love feels like. I really, really LOVED Eli by the end of this book, and he undergoes an incredible transformation along the way. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, with tense and steamy moments paired with humor and tons of forced proximity. I adored the awkward roommates/parents-to-be dynamic, and this felt so very unique. I’ve never read a romance quite like it, and that is always a win for me. The more I read, the more I loved it, and I was caught up in my swoony feelings by the end.
The story follows Eli, a pro hockey player who has earned his reputation as a one night stand kind of guy. The thought of commitment and relationships terrifies him, so Eli does everything he can to avoid them. Except… there’s one girl he could see himself wanting for more than a night. Unfortunately, she’s his best friend/teammate’s very off-limits sister, Penny. When Eli and Penny run into each other at a bar on his birthday, Eli decides to be impulsive and give in to the feeling. No one was ever supposed to know that they shared one steamy night together, but when Penny announces that she’s pregnant, it’s a game-changer. Strong-armed into moving in with Penny and taking care of every pregnant craving, Eli’s life undergoes a major overhaul. And… he doesn’t hate it.
This easily has more steamy scenes than any book I’ve read this year, but it’s a slow burn at the heart of it – certainly a slow emotional burn. The sexual tension is ratcheted up to new heights, and I loved seeing Eli change and grow throughout the course of the book. He fights his feelings the whole way through, and it should’ve been too much. But I just loved him. Give the man a hug, he is starving for affection – playboys always seem to fall the hardest, and that is definitely the case here. The situation perfectly suited his backstory, and I loved how the forced proximity required these two to fight through so many situations where they would’ve otherwise given up. It actually felt like one of MQ’s least angsty books as I was reading it, but looking back, the angst is just scattered in a different way. It’s one of those books that takes a little while to settle into, but it gets deeper and richer as the story progresses. One of my new favorites from MQ, and that’s saying a lot.
“Oh fu…” (and a little gasp) was my reaction to the first chapter, and I immediately knew that I was going to be in for a devourable read, the kind where you sit back and enjoy the show. And this is definitely that. I binged this in one sitting with zero regrets – the story is tense, chemistry-filled, and like a sexy cat and mouse chase. It’s a SIZZLE to slow burn, in that this couple starts with a HOT one night stand before discovering that they’ll be working together. I loved that the emotional connection built slow and steady throughout the story, with our playboy hero off-balance the entire time. He’s never had to work hard for a girl, but he finds himself drawn to the heroine in a way that’s undeniable. It reads quickly, easily held my attention the whole way through, and has me very very excited for future interconnected standalones in the series.
The story follows Sutton, a woman who realizes that she’s been putting her own needs after her boyfriend’s. When she finally does one thing for herself – accept a promotion – it’s the end of that relationship. On the rebound, Sutton meets a sexy stranger at a bar and soon finds herself going up to his room. They both know they’ll have one night only, no names are exchanged, and the night makes Sutton feel empowered… until she walks into a meeting the next day and sees the man she just spent the night with. Well… three of him. Turns out, that sexy stranger is a triplet who runs a business with his brothers, and Sutton has just been tasked with consulting on a project. As the chemistry continues to spark between Sutton and her one night stand, she realizes that the dynamic needs to change. There’s no way she’ll be respected professionally if she knowingly sleeps with the boss, but denying the chemistry is impossible.
Bromberg is an easy one-click author for me, so I was excited to dig into this new series and see what it’s all about. The vibe reminded me of the Wicked Ways duet (my favorite from her), with a ZAP of connection, tons of banter, a slow build in intimacy, and heated moments in nearly every interaction. Each book will follow one of the triplets, and I can’t wait to get to know the other two better. This made quite the first impression, wasting zero time getting right into the action. I loved the intensity of that first steamy scene, and it certainly cemented the chemistry between these two. Our hero doesn’t know how to handle what he’s feeling, and watching him struggle was so much fun. He undergoes a great transformation throughout the book, making their happily ever after fulfilling. The subtle shifts in their relationship kept this feeling tense and sexy for most of the story – entirely bingeable and compelling.
Broken heroes break my heart every single time – it’s just so easy to fall for them. That’s definitely the case in this small town, enemies to lovers romance. This is my first time reading something by Prince, and it certainly won’t be the last. I dove right into the middle of this series of interconnected standalones with no trouble, and I have no regrets. I loved the enemies to lovers friction paired with the small town charm, the friend group, and the sexual tension. It’s a tense, sexy read that somehow manages to remain (mostly) light, even when tackling some difficult subjects. I swooned for this broken hero… though I also kinda wanted to shake some sense into him. It’s easy to see the connection that sparks between this couple, and they just can’t seem to stay away. This love story held my attention, and served as an excellent introduction to Prince’s work.
The story follows Callum, a man who was released from prison a year ago, and is still fighting the demons that plagued him there. His sexy, infuriating neighbor drives him crazy in the best of ways, but he knows that he’s not in the right headspace for love – nor is he worthy of someone so great. Aurora has always believed that the intense feelings between she and Callum are hate, but spending time with him makes her realize that he’s more complex than expected. Yes, he drives her crazy with his surly ways and hot-and-cold mood swings, but there just might be a decent man hidden underneath his gruff exterior. A lovable man. Forced to spend time together at wedding festivities, Callum and Aurora work out their tension.
If you love a good guy who has lost his way, then you’re gonna fall for Callum. He served his time, and it’s changed him. He’s still trying to figure out who he is now, and there are some heartbreaking elements to his past. I really felt for Callum, and it was easy to feel compassion for him… even when he was getting in his own way. There’s plenty of friction between Callum and Aurora – not so much enemies to lovers, but more two people trying to figure each other out, and getting frustrated in the process. While they fight and struggle with their feelings, there’s also something that draws them together. I liked the missteps along the way, and I always remained hopeful that they could work things out. There were one or two things that I didn’t love (that Aurora is drunk during their first hookup, that one of their fights went a little too far), but I really did enjoy the story as a whole. I read it in essentially one sitting, and I’m left with a strong desire to read more of Prince’s work – so that is a definite win.
Why did I wait so long to read this? It was SO good, and such a feel good read! I’ve been a big fan of Pippa Grant’s work for years, but I’ve also been reading every series completely out of order, so this just got lost on my TBR for a long time. It’s the kind of light and sexy read that catches your attention from the start and holds it the whole way through, and I loved the chemistry between this adorkable cinnamon roll of a hero (who just so happens to be an underwear model and former boy band member) and the woman he falls for by accident. It’s low angst, playful, and JUST quirky enough – one of my new favorites from the author, easily. The whole story put a smile on my face, and it made for a great, very bingeable read.
The story follows Sarah, a woman who has been avoiding the spotlight for years. She’s got her reasons to shy away from the camera, but one accidental social media post by a famous heartthrob makes her the center of everyone’s attention. Beck didn’t mean to insult Sarah via social media, so now he’s asking for a favor – fake it for the cameras, and he’ll both restore his reputation AND be able to do a lot of good in the world. It’s an offer Sarah can’t resist, and pretending not to hate Beck is much easier than expected. She should hate him for shoving her back into the spotlight, but the man is entirely too happy and caring to resist. The situation makes both Beck and Sarah reevaluate the way they’ve been living their lives, and their interactions feel so natural that maybe they aren’t so fake after all.
It was interesting to go back and read a book by Grant from three years ago, because it’s easy to see how her style has changed since then. This was less overtly funny and certainly less “ridiculous” than some of her more recent books, which have been trying a little too hard to make the reader laugh. I loved how effortlessly charming the story is, and – while it’s still quirky and funny – it’s less over the top. Beck made a MUCH more compelling hero than expected; he’s made appearances in other books over the years, and I guess I just pictured him differently. He’s sweet and loving, a hot guy with a nerdy side, and I LOVED how determined he was to make things work with Sarah. Their relationship was refreshing and comfortable, and there are a few heart-melting scenes in here. The slow burn really worked for me, and the swoon-factor was high with this one. I loved it!
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