As much as I struggled this month, the good books ended up being REALLY good. I’d be shocked if at least one didn’t end up on my Best of the Year list, and multiple wouldn’t be out of the question. So it was an excellent month in that regard, even if the 5-star reads were few and far between for me.
My favorite book of the month is without a doubt The Right Move. After reading and loving Mile High (which made my Best of the Year list back in December), I could not wait to get my hands on the next installment of the series. And it did not disappoint! I loved every minute of this roommates to lovers/sibling’s best friend romance, and I still get the warm and fuzzies just thinking about it. Here’s hoping we get more greatness from Liz Tomforde this year, because I devoured The Right Move, and was left in a book hangover for weeks. I might still be in one, lol.
Speaking of sequels that did not disappoint, I ended up loving Things We Hide From the Light even more than the first book – which was a lot to live up to, considering its success last year. It’s got such a compelling hero, and the heroine was his perfect complement. Together, their connection was so compelling. Add in some suspense and a great cast of characters, and it’s got me wanting more from the series.
And if we’re on the topic of great couples, then it’s time to talk about Things I Overshared. I went into it with zero expectations (it’s by a new-to-me author who I wasn’t all that familiar with), and I was drawn in almost immediately. It’s got such Spanish Love Deception/Hating Game vibes that I was instantly hooked, and the combination of the vivacious, bubbly heroine and stoic, serious hero made for an excellent read. I’m looking forward to checking out more from the author soon.
Finally, I’ve got to give an honorable mention to Strictly Pleasure, which was light, easygoing, and immensely bingeable. After enjoying Strictly Business, I wasn’t sure that I was going to love the premise of the followup, but it held a few surprises and was so easy to devour. I also loved the new spin on the trope, and it was lighthearted, laidback, and a little swoony. So no complaints here!
Looking forward to March, it’s a quieter release month overall, but a good one! I’ve already got several highly anticipated reads on my March TBR, and I’m excited to both catch up on my endless TBR and sample some more new-to-me authors.
If you missed my March Release Calendar, you can find it here – there are so many books to look forward to!
I’ve got my review for each of this month’s best books below – you can’t go wrong with any of these!
It’s always an amazing feeling when one of my highly anticipated reads meets my very high expectations, but to have it far surpass them? SPECTACULAR. After reading and loving Mile High, I was really nervous going into this, sort of a strange mix of excitement and dread that it wouldn’t be able to live up to my love of the first book in the series. And that just wasn’t the case at all – this pulled me in from the first few pages, and it EASILY held my attention for the 500 that followed. Which, yeah, is not the easiest feat. I’ve come to love (certain) beefy romances over the last year or so, because they really feel so immersive and so much deeper than the quick and sexy romances I also enjoy bingeing. This had such a slow, DELICIOUS burn, and I loved watching both of the leads work through their issues and get themselves into a place where they were able to let love into their lives again. These reluctant roommates turned lovers stole my heart in a big way – particularly the SWEETHEART of a hero, who was just absolutely swoony by the end. Like, hand pressed to my heart in giddy happiness kind of swoons. So you know I loved this so, so much.
The story follows Ryan, a basketball star who has kept up a squeaky clean image throughout his career. He’s all business on the court and off, leaving room for nothing else in his life except the game. So when his twin sister – also known as his one weakness – asks Ryan to let her best friend crash with him after a bad breakup, he begrudgingly agrees. Ryan has only met Indy twice, and both times she made memorable, terrible impressions on him as an emotional hot mess. Indy isn’t all that enthusiastic about moving in with Ryan either, but she’s trying to build up her savings and emotionally recover from the end of a relationship she thought would last forever. As the two get to know each other better, they realize that they have more in common than either would’ve expected, and Ryan is forced to acknowledge that Indy is the kind of girl he could fall for… if only he was able to fully trust her motivations.
I know beefy books aren’t for everyone, but when they work, they REALLY work. And this was one of those situations. I was completely hooked on this couple, and there was never a point where the book dragged for me. I wanted every bit of it, and I savored it for days. We get the great sexual tension of them trying to live together and figure each other out, the angst of trying to stay away, the yearning of wanting to get past their fears, and finally the sweetness of getting things right. Along the way, we see Ryan grow and change (as well as Indy), and I ADORED the man he revealed himself to be. SUCH a great hero, such a sweet, devoted man – and such a possessive caveman once he acknowledges his desires. They both have emotional baggage from past experiences, and I loved how they were able to work through them together. Their quiet, steady love was just all-around fantastic, and even the conflicts ended up making them stronger. Did I mention that the book is super sexy as well? A slow burn to SIZZLE if there ever was one. So this ended up far exceeding my very high expectations, and cemented itself as one of the best romances I’ve read in quite awhile.
I love it when a great book takes me by surprise, and I unexpectedly find myself immersed in a love story that has my FULL attention. With a new-to-me author and a nearly 400-page book, I went in with low expectations – and this wasted no time in exceeding them. It’s such an engaging, smile-inducing read, with a fabulous grumpy/sunshine dynamic (think Legally Blonde’s Elle meets a broody boss with a frosty exterior). It’s also got forced proximity, TONS of banter and chemistry, and a vibe that is equal parts playful and tender. Our hero is the kind you’ll probably want to smack one minute and swoon over the next, while our heroine is a bold, bubbly ray of sunshine who is strong enough to take him on. Together, they were magic – and I was wholeheartedly, enthusiastically hooked the entire way through.
The story follows Samantha, a woman who is frequently told that she’s too much. She’s extremely extroverted, a saleswoman who sparkles and shines. After planning her boss’s month-long business trip to Europe, Samantha is told that she’ll unexpectedly have to go in his place. It’s the trip of a lifetime, and Sam is so excited to go… except for one thing. Her travel companion is none other than Mr. Freeze himself, the cold and aloof CFO of the company. While Sam and Emerson haven’t interacted all that much at work, she knows that no one seems to have cracked his stony exterior. Hoping that the trip will change that, Sam does her best to win Emerson over. Unfortunately, Sam’s charms don’t seem to work on Emerson, and she soon finds herself stuck with the one man she can’t wait to get away from. But as the two spend more time together, Sam slowly pieces together Emerson’s personality, and she realizes that she likes what she sees.
Told (almost) exclusively from Samantha’s POV, the reader is left to puzzle out Emerson’s thoughts and motivations. Think The Spanish Love Deception, The Love Hypothesis, The Hating Game – this was very reminiscent of those vibes. And that’s a compliment. The storyline felt fresh and different though, while still wholeheartedly embracing the tropes. If anything, there were probably a few too many tropes, as a few threads were left underdeveloped. I didn’t let that bug me though, because I was absolutely GREEDY for every minute spent with this couple. I loved Sam’s sunshiney personality paired with Emerson’s stoic nature, and their banter and playful chemistry was everything. The quieter moments made me swoon, and I loved how there was such a slow build to their relationship. We truly do get a little of everything from these two, and I was so, so smitten by the end. I’m going to have to go back and read the first book in the series (following Sam’s sister) now, because this was just a totally immersive, memorable read.
It was great to be back in Knockemout – this sequel did NOT disappoint! I think I liked it better than the first one, and that was very tough competition. There was just something immensely compelling about this wounded and vulnerable hero; he’s a genuinely good guy who is in a dark place, and it’s not until a fierce, fiery woman enters his life that he starts coming back into the light. I also loved the neighbors aspect, and just how much this community bonds together. It could certainly be read as a standalone if you really wanted to, but the community is integral to the story and the suspense element ties the books together. The romance is at the heart of everything though, and these two were fire together – it’s a hot slow burn, with crackling chemistry and tons of sexual tension. These opposites attract in a big way, and it was so much fun watching them fall together.
The story follows Nash, a cop who was recently shot while on the job. Nash has always been a rule-follower, a relationship guy, and a kind, loving man – but the experience has changed him, and he can feel himself getting pulled into the darkness. So when the woman his brother dated briefly twenty years ago (then befriended) moves into the apartment next door, it’s a shock to the system. Lina is only in town temporarily and she’s sure to run at the first sign of a relationship, but Nash can feel himself being drawn to her. The woman is a spitfire, and that’s exactly what Nash needs right now. Being around her sparks something inside Nash, and he can’t seem to get enough of that feeling. Even if they could stop bickering, neither one is capable of a relationship at the moment – and there are nothing but obstacles in their path.
This starts out a little darker and grittier than Things We Never Got Over, with an undercurrent of pain fueling Nash’s every action. He’s not in a good place when the book begins, and I kind of loved the added depth that gave the story. Spending time with Lina lightens up both Nash and the book, though it’s emotionally-charged the whole way through. The transformation of both characters from start to finish was truly impressive, and one of the things that makes this love story so engaging. They’re two people who shouldn’t fit together (and probably wouldn’t have at another time in their lives), but they find connection in the experiences that have lead them here. Nash makes for SUCH a great lead – he’s clearly a good guy, but his depression is erasing the personality he once had. I loved the focus on his mental health, and I wanted as much of that element as I could get. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded less suspense and more focus on Nash’s struggles, but I knew this had romantic suspense elements going in. It tells you just how much I was enjoying the relationship development that I became impatient every time the focus was on something else, lol. I loved being back in Knockemout, and this did plenty to get me excited for the next love story in the series. It was excellent.
Easy, light, and sexy – I devoured this with no trouble! While I enjoyed the first book in this series of interconnected standalones, I liked this one a whole lot more. I was intrigued by the relationship dynamics from the first few pages, and it continued to keep me on my toes the whole way through. Since this hero has been clear that he never spends more than one night with a woman, our heroine is relieved that their drunken night together is sure to keep him away – because she’s not sure she’d be able to resist falling for him otherwise. Except… that’s not quite how things go for these two, and it was fun to watch this commitment-phobic hero fall head over heels before he even knows it’s happening. Add in plenty of spice, just enough family moments to tie the series together, and a playful feel, and this was easy to binge in one sitting.
The story follows Sophie and Liam, two people who wake up together after celebrating a little too hard. While Sophie is attracted to Liam, he’s been clear that he is not a relationship guy. So Sophie is almost grateful that they spent the night together, because she doesn’t have to worry about him chasing her any longer. Liam also lives out of town, so Sophie will not have to see her best friend’s brother-in-law anytime soon. Unfortunately, that all changes when Liam relocates, and he’s suddenly back in Sophie’s life in a big way. He also doesn’t seem to be running scared, and doesn’t seem deterred that they’ve already slept together. Sophie may be off-limits in a variety of ways, but Liam can’t seem to make himself stay away. As the two spend more time together, they forge a tentative friendship with the undercurrent of more… after all, what’s a little pleasure between friends?
I was a little nervous going into this one, because no strings/friends with benefits relationships are not favorites of mine, so I was pleasantly surprised that this didn’t have that kind of vibe for the most part. Liam is the kind of sweet, smitten playboy who is easy to fall for; he’s out of his element and trying to figure out how to move forward. I also liked the surprises along the way (no surprise babies, don’t worry!), and how they changed the situation between them. This was both tropey fun and also a little unpredictable, which made it perfect for bingeing. It never delves too deep and stays light and sexy the whole way through, which was exactly what I was in the mood for. I also liked that we got some more family moments (but not an overwhelming number of them) to tie the series together and get me excited about future installments featuring Liam’s other brothers. All in all, this was just the kind of rom com I was hoping for, so I’m happy to round up to 5 stars.
Did you see my March Release Calendar?
It includes the March releases I’m excited about AND 200+ upcoming books that are available for preorder! Check it out here.
Check out this week’s new releases here.
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