SEPTEMBER 2022 WRAP-UP

I’m not ready to wrap up September, lol, I still have a ton of reading to do! Between the avalanche of new releases and a busy month at my job, I didn’t get to read many of the books I was looking forward to this month. In fact, I held off on reading most of my highly anticipated releases because I didn’t have any perfect days for bingeing. Which ended up with me doing a lot of new-to-me author exploration… and that worked out well! No, I didn’t read most of the books I was really looking forward to, but I checked out several authors I haven’t tried before. And the results speak for themselves – all three of my top picks for the month are by new-to-me authors (more on that when my Best of September list comes out). So I can’t be mad about a month of exploration, and I’m hoping that I’ll have time to get back to several September releases in the coming weeks. I may or may not still be in the middle of reading like five other new releases too… there were so many great books out this month that I just didn’t have a ton of patience.

October is looking like a fun, eclectic mix of new releases. Most of my one-click authors released new books in September, so I’ll be playing catchup with those and also checking out some more new-to-me authors. Plus, a few of the authors whose work I’m just getting to know are releasing new books, so I’ll have fun checking out those as well. It’s also starting to be holiday romance season, so I look forward to those.

If you missed my October 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.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Absolutely loved it 🎧

Carter Beckett is the NHL’s resident bad boy, top player both on the ice and in the bedroom, and quite possibly the sexiest man to ever grace my field of vision. But worst of all? He knows it.

He’s arrogant, self-centered, and the man doesn’t seem to know what a filter is, let alone how to use one. He’s had everything served to him on a silver platter, including endless strings of women, and apparently, I’m up next.
His only problem? I have no intention of falling for his shi—um, charm.

I have the solution to all my sexual frustrations in a drawer at home, and it’s far less complicated than Carter Beckett. Sure, he may be pretty, but he’s also a walking, talking reminder for you to wrap it before you tap it.

But then I start letting my guard down, and he starts showing me pieces of himself I had no intention of seeing. The bricks surrounding me may be tumbling down one by one, but I’m not sold yet, which means for the first time in his life, Carter’s the one begging.

For my time, my trust, for a single chance.

For me to just…consider him.

Consider Me is book #1 in the Playing For Keeps series, a series of interconnected standalone mature hockey romance stories that contain lots of heat, swoon, laughs, and a ride on an emotional rollercoaster!

Read the audiobook review here

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


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it

Layla Dupree has given up on love.

She’s waded through all of the fish in the sea, each one more disappointing than the last. Apparently owning the bakery at Inglewild’s most romantic destination does not help one’s love life—despite her best efforts. All she wants is a partner who gives her butterflies, not someone who ghosts her at dinner and leaves her with the check.

Good thing Caleb Alvarez has the perfect solution.

After saving Layla from another date gone bad, he has a simple proposition: One month of no-strings dating. He’ll do his best to renew her faith in men while she rates his dating game. It’s a win-win situation. All the benefits of dating, without the added pressure of feelings and unmet expectations.

But there’s one ingredient they haven’t considered. The chemistry between them is red hot and the urge to take things to the next level is more tempting than Layla’s double fudge mocha brownies.

Will the heat between them boil over? Or will it be another case of mixed signals?

Mixed Signals is a sweet and steamy small-town romance. Our story features a bashful man who can rock a Hawaiian shirt, a hopeful and dreamy bakery owner, enough sweets to give you a cavity, and your favorite Inglewild residents. Mixed Signals is a standalone romance and the third book in the Lovelight series, a collection of interconnected novels.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wVdhAq


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Steamy and tense

The secret I’m keeping from my hot boss is a ticking time bomb. And it’s about to explode… 

Running out on my wedding and throwing myself onto his car to get away from my cheating ex is not how I thought I’d see Kaplan Fritz again. 

Which is probably why I didn’t recognize him until I ran into his mother shortly after. A hell of a morning and a bottle of champagne later and I’m accepting a job I likely shouldn’t—working for his family’s foundation as their new executive assistant.

Now I’m in a new city, living a new life, determined that this will be the start of a new me, while foolishly assuming I’ll never have to see Kaplan again. Wrong. 

Sitting high up on his throne, Doctor Untouchable with his boyishly handsome face, piercing green eyes, and jawline that could sharpen a knife can make a girl blush and her panties melt just by walking past her. Everyone wants a piece of Boston’s last eligible billionaire bachelor. 

I simply want to forget he ever existed to me. 

Especially when it turns out he’s nothing like the man I remember. 

Cold, aggravatingly closed off, and infuriatingly cocky, his sexy smirk grates on my every nerve. The pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon has no time or patience for me, his lowly assistant trying to help him run his family’s foundation that he’s now the CEO of. 

Every encounter we have grows more and more heated. Every fiery exchange a twisted form of foreplay. Which is why I’m determined he never discover the truth about me. 

But what happens when my cover is blown and he realizes that the curvy girl he loves to fight with is the same one from his past? 

DOCTOR UNTOUCHABLE is a 106k word INSANELY steamy, laugh out loud, full on romance with explosive chemistry. It is guaranteed to hit you straight in the feels! One-click this standalone in the bestselling series about Boston’s hottest billionaire doctors and the women they fall head over heels for!

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3QE6PFt


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Great debut

When five-year-old Evie O’Shea married her next-door neighbor in the wedding of the century, she had no idea she was swearing an oath to love the man who would grow into the bane of her existence until the end of time. Or that in ten years time, she’d start a long and winding journey to an eventual endometriosis diagnosis.

Now, aged twenty-six, Evie O’Shea lives in Paris, balancing precariously close to her Charlotte Lucas birthday. A burden to her parents, with no prospects and no money, Evie’s humdrum life needs a shake-up.

Enter Liam Kelly, the man Evie married at the age of five and promptly divorced at seven when he had the audacity to throw a muddy football at her while she was reading Eloise in Paris. Clad in a Henley and equipped with toned forearms and eye crinkles that rival Gene Kelly himself, Evie is determined to keep her ultimate temptation at a distance while she flails wildly navigating life, love, and endometriosis on the banks of the Seine.

But when a family announcement shakes up Evie’s world weeks before her brother’s wedding, Evie seeks Liam’s help to get through the wedding with some semblance of sanity intact.

Her request? Fake date.

Making a deal with the Devil always comes with a cost, though, and when Liam’s conditions which include elaborate backstories and practice dates, reignite passions her disease smothered long ago, Evie has to learn to fight for her dreams and break free from her life measured in ibuprofen pills and heating pad settings. Or else risk being alive but never truly living.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3f2cOWY


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and easy

Some fairytales may be real, but ours is strictly fiction.

I’ve been Queen Bee at our theme park for ten glorious, uncomplicated years. I’m far better at creating fictional magic than real life miracles. So when Landon Arden, my best friend’s twin brother and my old high school bully, starts to work at Honeywood, I’m wishing for some gift from above to fix this mess.

Cue a worse situation.

After Landon falls on stage during one of our shows, the guests mistake him for a character in the park: Ranger Randy.

The problem isn’t when our manager asks him to perform as the bearded, tight tush, short shorts-wearing hero. No, my fairytale comes crashing down when we’re told that Queen Bee and Ranger Randy must appear as a couple.

Fine. Whatever. Ten years ago, my teenage crush for Landon may have been real, but I can fake a happy ending with Ranger Randy. I can sign autographs with him, have his arm around my waist, hold his hand, and… kiss him on stage?

I tell myself it’s all for show. We’re just characters in a theme park. And I won’t fall for true love’s kiss, even if I do want to try it one more time…

The Fiction Between Us is a stand-alone romantic comedy. This tale features fake dating (with a twist!), a grumpy/sunshine duo with a happy-go-lucky hero, lots of laugh-out-loud theme park shenanigans, and sizzling spice!

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3QFi68w


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it 🎧

Evelyn St. James isn’t the kind of woman you forget.

Beckett Porter certainly hasn’t. One incredible weekend in Maine, and he’s officially a man distracted. He’s not unfamiliar with hot and heavy flings. He knows how it goes. But Evie wove some sort of magic over him during their tumble in the sheets. He can’t stop thinking about her laugh. Her hand pressed flat against his chest. Her smiling mouth at his neck.

Also, her eyes. And her legs.

So when she suddenly appears on his farm as part of a social media contest, he is … confused. He had no idea that the sweet and sexy woman he met at a bar is actually a global phenomenon: social media influencer Evelyn St. James. When she disappears again, Beckett resolves to finally forget her and move on.

But Evelyn St. James has a problem.

Feeling disconnected from her work and increasingly unhappy, she’s trying to find her way back to something real. She returns to the last place she was happy, Lovelight Farms and the tiny town of Inglewild.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the hot farmer she spent two incredible nights with.

Nothing at all.

In The Weeds is a sweet and steamy second-chance romance about finding your happiness. It features a grumpy farmer, a no-nonsense social media influencer, a small town of busybodies, and four very cute kittens. This is the second book in a series of interconnected standalones following the three Lovelight owners.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3KsSYQi


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Great hero

They’ve both got good reasons to fight falling in love, but they can’t resist the overpowering attraction pulling them together… 

MAGGIE

Wicked Witch. Ballbuster. The Terminator. Those are just a few of the nicknames I’ve earned in my professional life. As the executive consultant King’s Creamery has brought in to save them from financial ruin, I have to decide which employees get the ax. I can’t afford to make friends or get chummy with my new neighbors.

Try telling that to the enormous, hunky fireman next door who’s annoyingly determined to make friends with me. It’s not enough that the guy saves kittens from trees, tosses tree trunks around while wearing a kilt, and has a body that makes Thor look puny. He also works out shirtless in full view of my kitchen window. I might be secretly obsessed.

When a newspaper exposé turns the whole town against me, my hot fireman neighbor steps up to act as my protector, and my secret obsession threatens to turn into a case of serious feelings. But I can’t allow that to happen when I’m only here temporarily. I’ve got to keep my walls up to protect the heart everyone thinks I don’t have.

RYAN

My new neighbor might act like she wants nothing to do with me, but I’ve seen her watching me from her window. I can tell she likes what she sees, and I love pushing her buttons—a little too much. I’ve got no restraint when it comes to this woman.

Now I’m screwed because I can’t get her out of my head. The more time I spend with Maggie, the more I suspect she might be the soul mate I’ve been waiting for all my life.

Of course I’d find her now when I can’t risk letting her get too close. If she does, she might discover the secret I’ve been keeping from everyone.

Soul mate or not, I’ve got to let her go. Even if it kills me.

PINT OF CONTENTION is book #3 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/3RgZ6Od


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Super cute

IT STARTED WITH A CUP…

Isabella Shay is usually a very honest person. But when she’s running late for her first day at a dream job and the barista yells for “Amy” 3x with no answer, she does the unthinkable.

Izzy takes that PSL.

It’s the exact drink she ordered and paid for, only waaaay further ahead in the line, so she mutters “I’m Amy” and grabs the cup. But when she turns around and runs directly into the most attractive man she’s ever seen, spilling the drink all over his GQ shirt and tie, she ends up having the ultimate meet-cute. Sparks fly and things feel beyond promising until he says the words, “See you tomorrow, Amy.”

Uh, oh – she’ll definitely have to straighten him out the following day.

Only when she gets to her new office and meets the VP of her department, it is none other than Blake Phillips – the hottie from Starbucks. And the man might’ve been charming to “Amy,” but he is an arrogant grump to Izzy, an arrogant grump who dos not find her explanation funny at all.

MEET CUTE + GRUMPY/SUNSHINE + FRIENDS-TO-LOVERS = ACCIDENTALLY AMY

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ScoJ2r


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Complicated feelings

Of all the things that could have landed in her yard… it had to be him.

For most people, finding a half-naked superbeing in their yard might be a dream come true.

Unfortunately for Gracie Castro, it’s the exact opposite.

Especially when he’s grouchy, rude, and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon. 

But when a hero of mankind needs you, you do what you have to.

Even if it compromises everything you know.

And totally changes your life.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LlIG4V


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Super cute

Opposites certainly attract for the stranded pop star and small-town baker in this charming slice of romance from the author of the TikTok sensation The Cheat Sheet.

“This modern take on the Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday is a quick, fun, slow-burn rom-com.”—Abby Jimenez, bestselling author of The Friend Zone


Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her adoring fans, is burned-out from years of maintaining her “princess of pop” image. Inspired by her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, she drives off in the middle of the night for a break in Rome . . . Rome, Kentucky, that is. 

When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn’t have the time or patience for celebrity problems. He’s too busy running the pie shop his grandmother left him and reminding his nosy but lovable neighbors to mind their own damn business. Despite his better judgment, he lets her stay in his guest room—but only until her car is fixed—then she’s on her own. 

Then Noah starts to see a different side of Rae Rose—she’s Amelia: kindhearted and goofy, yet lonely from years in the public eye. He can’t help but get close to her. Soon she’ll have to return to her glamorous life on tour, but until then, Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she’s been missing, and she’ll help him open his heart to more. 

Amelia can’t resist falling for the cozy town and her grumpy tour guide, but even Audrey had to leave Rome eventually.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Q7EruO


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Romance/women’s fiction blend

A zookeeper always on the fringe learns to go after her wildest dreams—including a certain television star—in this charming and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by Kerry Rea, author of The Wedding Ringer.

Lucy Rourke has two great loves in her life: the gorilla troop she cares for as a primatologist and the laundry list of reality TV shows she watches to escape the fact that her actual love life doesn’t exist. And like a reality contestant gunning for the final rose, Lucy’s laser-focused on one thing: getting promoted to head keeper. So when a wildlife docuseries hosted by hotshot TV personality Kai Bridges chooses her zoo as its summer filming location, she sees an opportunity to showcase her beloved gorillas to the world and land a starring role in her department.

When Kai and his film crew arrive, however, it’s obvious to Lucy that Kai cares more about sky-high ratings than the gorillas, and he considers her a camera-averse know-it-all whose wardrobe consists entirely of khaki. But she’s surprised to discover there’s more to him than his rugged good looks and cheesy catchphrases…and that maybe a promotion isn’t the only thing she wants. But when secrets from their pasts threaten to complicate everything, Lucy discovers that happiness and success aren’t the same thing—and that finding joy just might mean getting a little wild.

Read the review here

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


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Supernatural and soft

A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life.

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3CTyI8E


⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mixed feelings

Would you rather play it safe in the friend zone, or risk it all with a modern marriage of convenience?

Noah and Mia have always been best friends, and their friendship is the most important thing to them. Life is going great for Noah and he’s up for a promotion in a job he loves. But Mia’s life is on hold as she awaits a kidney transplant. She’s stuck in a dead-end job and, never wanting to be a burden, has sworn off all romance. So when the chance of a lifetime comes to go back to school and pursue her dream, it’s especially painful to pass up. She can’t quit her job or she’ll lose the medical insurance she so desperately needs.

To support her, Noah suggests they get married—in name only—so she can study full-time and still keep the insurance. It’s a risk to both of them, with jobs, health and hearts on the line, and they’ll need to convince suspicious coworkers and nosy roommates that they’re the real deal. But if they can let go of all the baggage holding them back, they might realize that they would rather be together forever.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3whkYR7


⭐️⭐️ Misleading marketing

International bestseller Mhairi McFarlane delivers a sharp, emotional new novel about a woman who calls off her engagement to “the perfect man” and moves in with a charming stranger who makes her question everything about her life, her past, and the secrets she’s kept for far too long…

Harriet Hatley is the most in-demand wedding photographer in town, but she doesn’t believe in romance, loathes the idea of marriage, and thinks chocolate fountains are an abomination. Which is why, when her long-time partner proposes, she panics. Suddenly Harriet is single… and living down the hall from her ex. She needs a new apartment, like, yesterday.

Enter Cal Clarke, a hopeless romantic who just experienced his own wedding-related disaster. Harriet and Cal are like chalk and cheese, but as they go from strangers to roommates to friends, it becomes clear they’re both running from something. When Harriet’s most heavily guarded secret comes to light, her world implodes. And Cal, with his witty humor and gentle advice, is a surprising source of calm at the center of the storm.

With her career, friendships, and reputation on the line, Harriet must finally face her past in order to take control of her future. Because if she’s willing to stop playing it safe and risk everything to share her truth, real love and happiness may be waiting on the other side…

Read the review here

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


DNF: Unlikable characters

In this smart, swoony, rom-com debut from Jenny L. Howe, two college exes find themselves battling against each other—and their unresolved feelings—for a spot in a prestigious literature Ph.D. program.

Allison Avery loves to win. After acing every academic challenge she’s come up against, she’s finally been accepted into her dream Ph.D. program at Claymore University, studying medieval literature under a professor she’s admired for years. Sure, grad school isn’t easy—the classes are intense, her best friend is drifting away, and her students would rather pull all-nighters than discuss The Knight’s Tale—but she’s got this. Until she discovers her ex-boyfriend has also been accepted. Colin Benjamin might be the only person who loves winning more than Allison does, and when they’re both assigned to TA for the same professor, the game is on.

What starts as a personal battle of wits (and lit) turns into all-out war when their professor announces a career-changing research trip opportunity—with one spot to fill. Competing with Colin is as natural as breathing, and after he shattered her heart two years ago, Allison refuses to let him come out on top. But when a family emergency and a late night road trip—plus a very sexy game of Scrabble—throw them together for a weekend, she starts to wonder if they could be stronger on the same team. And if they fall for each other all over again, Allison will have to choose between a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and what could be a twice-in-a-lifetime love.

In this charmingly bookish debut, The Make-Up Test embraces the truth that people can sometimes change and grow, even when you least expect it.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3dFNkOj


DNF: Not for me

Mazey Eddings, author of the “witty, fast-paced rom-com”* A Brush with Love, mixes passion and humor to create a luscious love story between two people stumbling through life and learning to open their hearts in Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake.

Lizzie has made endless mistakes. Kitchen fires, pyramid schemes, bangs (of the hair and human variety), you name it, she’s done it… and made a mess of it too. One mistake she’s never made is letting anyone get closer to her than a single hook-up. But after losing yet another bakery job due to her uncontrolled ADHD, she breaks her cardinal rule and has a two-night-stand that changes everything.

Once burned, twice shy, Rake has given up on relationships. And feelings. And any form of intimacy for that matter. Yet something about charming, chaotic Lizzie has him lowering his guard. For two nights, that is. Then it’s back home to Australia and far away from the pesky feelings Lizzie pulls from him. But when Lizzie tells him she’s got an unexpected bun in the oven, he’ll do whatever it takes to be a part of his child’s life… except be emotionally vulnerable, obviously. He’s never going to make that mistake again.

Through a series of mishaps, totally “platonic” single bed sharing, and an underground erotic baking scheme, Lizzie and Rake learn that even the biggest mistakes can have the most beautiful consequences.

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


DNF: Lackluster writing

June Hart is an affectionate and chatty first-grade teacher who comes from a family of money-hungry doctors. When June inherits her grandmother’s 1920’s farmhouse, she is compelled to remodel it, hoping to show her egotistical family she is capable of being more than an insubstantial teacher.

In the process, she finds herself spending a considerable amount of time with her hot and ill-tempered contractor, Grant Dawes.

Grant Dawes is a grouchy handyman who can seem to fix everything except his troubled past. His lack of family and friends leaves him to put all of his focus on restoring homes. That is until an eccentric and charismatic client pushes her way in to throw off his routines.

When he falls for his sweet-natured client, June Hart, Grant is forced to confront his complicated history to have a future with her.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3DwN9Qo


THIS MONTH’S RECOMMENDATION LISTS

15 Spicy Hookup to HEA Romance Books Released in 2022

Every 5-Star Romance Novel I’ve Read in 2022 (So Far)

20+ Romance Books with Illustrated Covers by Ink and Laurel


Check out this week’s new releases here.


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