Best of April 2023

I had a particularly great reading month filled with stellar rom coms, and I can’t seem to narrow down my favorites – so I’m not going to! Each book on this list delivered a 100% unique, 5-star reading experience, and they each have very different vibes and personalities.

The most emotionally devastating of the bunch is Happy Place, which features a storyline so heavy that our heroine has to literally go to her mental happy place to deal with her present day situation. It was tense and majorly engrossing, with a second chance romance that had me completely hooked. Definitely not what I was expecting from the title or cover, but a very powerful read.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rook to King was pure fun. An adventure rom com, I fell for the sexy con man at the heart of it, while being kept on my toes with the one-of-a-kind, playful and suspenseful storyline. With tons of humor and heart, it was incredibly bingeable.

Another unique rom com, Juniper Bean Resorts to Murder is part murder mystery and part swoony, small town romance. It reminded me of Lucy Score’s Riley Thorn series without the heat – and that’s a compliment. I loved the slow burn, roommates to lovers situation (with a twist!), and it was an adorable, feel good read.

Classic Pippa Grant, The Worst Wedding Date brought back memories of some of my favorite quirky rom coms from the author – the books that made me fall for her writing way back when. This brother’s best friend/opposites attract romance is light and bubbly with undertones of depth that make the story feel richer, and it was fantastic on audio.

Next up is Unexpectedly Mine, which features a chemistry-filled, Vegas wedding romance between two strangers. I could feel the connection between this couple right away, and the unique premise (he’s a dancer in a male revue who is also the sweetest, swooniest man!) was a definite win. Low angst, devourable, and super spicy, it delivered everything I wanted.

The Plus One surprised me in the best of ways. It’s heavier and more emotional than Eddings’ other work, relying more on the history between this couple. A brother’s best friend romance, these two have been frenemies for much of their lives – and it’s that connection that allows them to support each other as they both struggle. It was raw and unexpected, which made it a very solid read.

Finally, I can’t forget Letizia Lorini’s excellent debut – one of the messiest (in a good way!) romances I’ve read in quite awhile. The storyline kept me on my toes, waiting to see how things would play out. And I loved the soapy, dramatic feel paired with the sweet and swoony rom com vibes. It was executed very well, and makes for such an immersive experience.

So I had a fantastic reading month, and it was surprising to see which books ended up being the biggest wins for me! I’m still making my way through all of the April releases, and I’m not complaining one bit.

If you missed my May 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!


With angst so heavy that it’s physically painful, this second chance romance is not an easy read – but it’s certainly an impactful one. I loved it. It’s very rare that I’m so engrossed in a book that I ache right along with the characters; that I cry when a broken hero utters a single sentence. But that’s exactly what happened with this one. The more I read, the more I was caught up in the story. And the more I hurt for this (former) couple. There is so much love between them that it jumps off the page, and I was anxious and impatient for them to find their way back together. Alternating between past and present, Henry masterfully weaves the story of this couple – punctuating the angst with callbacks that make an impact. I was entirely consumed with the story, and I couldn’t devour it fast enough.

The story follows Harriet, a woman who is joining her oldest friends on a vacation. Harriet knows that the trip is going to be an awkward one, because she still hasn’t worked up the courage to tell her friends that her fiancé ended their relationship months ago. So the last person Harriet expects to see when she arrives is Wyn, former college sweetheart and the man who still holds her heart. Turns out, the trip is more important to their friends than Harriet realized, and there’s no way that she can break the news now. Forced to play the role of happy couple, Harriet and Wyn face each other for the first time since their breakup… and they’re not sure what to think. Though Harriet and Wyn once felt like they knew everything about each other, it’s clear that some things have been left unsaid between them.

Harriet’s reality feels so bleak and desolate that she literally needs to go to her mental happy place to escape it – the moments where she’s felt loved and at peace. Many of which were spent with Wyn. Shifting between past and present, we see the moments where their relationship shone brightest, juxtaposed with the overwhelming weight of their current situation. So it’s light, banter-filled, and brimming with chemistry one moment and exceedingly angsty the next. It’s designed for maximum emotional impact, and it does the job well. There is SO MUCH tension between these two, so many things that they’ve failed to share with each other. We only get Harriet’s perspective, so I analyzed every interaction with Wyn to see the missing pieces to the puzzle. There’s definitely some miscommunication between them, and finding their way back together is anything but easy. I became more invested in the relationship with every page, and the excruciatingly slow burn was nothing short of torturous. So it’s definitely not an easy breezy vacation read, and there’s so much bubbling between the surface. I binged it in one sitting, and it’s easily my favorite from Henry so far.


This was so much FUN! Taylor calls it an “adventure romcom,” and I wasn’t exactly sure what that would entail, but it quickly became apparent that it was right up my alley. She’s a new-to-me author who I’ve been meaning to try, and the striking cover paired with the intriguing blurb had me feeling like this was the right place to start. A fun (and funny!) cat-and-mouse game the whole way through, this has BANTER for days, and so much chemistry. It’s incredibly playful and lighthearted, and I loved putting all of the pieces together. Sure, the romance does come together pretty quickly, but it was immensely entertaining to watch these two figure each other out. Our hero is a con man and semi-reformed bad boy, and our heroine is not as innocent as she seems. Watching them fall for each other while going on an adventure made this absolutely fly by. I loved it!

The story follows Bodie, a con man on a mission. He’s attempting to put together an antique chess set that is said to double as a treasure map, and he needs some assistance. When Bodie meets Gracen, he realizes that her skills in assessing antiques will be invaluable to him. Though Bodie’s reputation precedes him and he’s never claimed to be good, he still doesn’t love the idea of getting someone as innocent and normal as Gracen tangled up in his problems. That doesn’t stop him from borrowing her brain for a little while – via some light kidnapping. But the more Bodie gets to know Gracen, the more he realizes that he may have misjudged her. And the more he realizes that she might be the missing piece in his life after all.

I went into this with zero expectations, in the mood for something light and fun. And that is exactly what I got! Sparks fly between these two from the moment they meet, and I loved watching their bickering turn into banter. It was easy to fall for Bodie, who is a con man with a good side buried underneath the surface. Gracen makes his perfect partner, and that became more and more apparent as the story progressed. The mystery and adventure is a big part of the story, but Gracen and Bodie are in nearly every scene together, so it didn’t feel like the romantic element was forgotten at all. Maybe things moved a little faster because of the short timeline, but I could see why they fell so quickly. It’s also a closed door/no spice romance, so that made it feel like a slower burn. I certainly wouldn’t have minded some heat, which would’ve dialed up the sexual tension more, but I also don’t feel like it was necessary for the story. This was just exceedingly light, funny, and devourable in the best of ways. I binged it in one sitting and was smiling the whole time.


With a stunning cover like that, how could I resist checking this out? I openly admit that it was the cover that drew me in, and I was intrigued once I read the blurb. But it only took a few pages before I was hooked – the premise is unique, the characters are compelling, and the humor had me smiling right away. It’s an interesting mix of romance and cozy murder mystery, pairing up a pink-haired firecracker of a heroine and a sweet, sexy professor-esque hero. I love a good roommates to lovers romance, and adding in the unexpected history between this couple made the story even richer. I loved how vibrant our heroine is, and I also loved the one-of-a-kind hero. He’s a genuinely kind and compassionate man, one who falls for a woman’s personality before her body, and he’s got just enough grumpiness to him to spark plenty of banter. Add in the murder mystery, and this was such a fresh and enjoyable read.

The story follows Aiden (35), a teacher who devotes much of his time to helping others. He volunteers at the local food bank, and inevitably ends up donating goods each month. That’s part of the reason why he still lives with a roommate, and he’s about to get a new one. Except Aiden’s new roommate is sure to be trouble – Juniper (30) is one of the students Aiden tutored when he was in college. At the time, Juniper admitted that she had a huge crush on Aiden, but he made it clear that was not okay. So living together – and seeing what a beautiful, interesting woman Juniper has become – is sure to be trouble. And when the two find a dead body together, well, things get even more complicated. Teaming up to solve the mystery, Juniper and Aiden realize they’ve got all kinds of trouble on their hands.

I went into this without knowing much about the story or the vibe, and I quickly discovered that it was all working for me. It’s equalparts romance and murder mystery, with soft, small town vibes and a slow-burning love story. The lighthearted romance, humor, and playful bickering balance out the heaviness of the murder mystery and Juniper’s backstory. I really enjoyed both pieces. It was easy to get drawn in, because both Aiden and Juniper make great characters, and I loved learning more about their pasts. The romance definitely has a soft, sweet feel to it – it’s very much a slow burn, and there are only a few kisses. I personally think a little bit of spice would’ve upped the intensity in a good way, but I also enjoyed the cozy murder mystery vibes. It’s a layered story with a nice amount of depth, and I loved that it remained so easygoing while still delving into heavier topics. All in all, this was a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways, and I had a great time with the experience.


Classic Pippa is back, and I am all for it! Quirky, funny, playful, and swoony, this best friend’s brother, good girl/bad boy romance felt like the rom coms that made Grant a one-click author for me. I loved that it felt like the start of something new too, so there weren’t a million characters to try to keep up with from previous books. It also plays up familiar tropes while incorporating a fresh and interesting storyline – that I absolutely was not expecting – and our (semi-reformed) bad boy of a hero is the kind who will steal your heart with ease. Bad boy/good girl is a classic pairing for a reason, and watching these two realize how much they can empathize with each other was really great. They’ve got enough history to build a solid foundation (even in such a short timeline), while still having plenty of new things to discover along the way. It was lighthearted and smile-inducing in a big way, and I had a lot of fun while reading.

The story follows Laney, a woman who is drowning under the weight of her parents’ high expectations. She’s always been a bit of an uptight parent pleaser, and people always expect the best from her. While in paradise for a week of wedding festivities, Laney’s best friend asks her to keep an eye on her troublemaking brother, Theo. He’s always leaned into his bad boy reputation, and the two have never seen eye-to-eye. But it’s been years since Laney has seen Theo, and it’s clear that he’s mellowed out some. He’s still an incorrigible flirt who seeks out trouble like it’s his business, but he’s also got a softer, more responsible side. People still expect the worst from him, and Laney can relate to living up (or down) to expectations, so the two find themselves bonding in a way that neither anticipated. But Theo knows that he’s got a secret that is sure to scare away a good girl like Laney, and it’s only a matter of time before all is revealed.

I’ve been a big fan of Grant’s work for years, but her newest releases haven’t quite hit the mark the way they used to. That was not the case with this one. It only took a few pages for me to realize that the vibe was right up my alley, and I’m all for an opposites attract/sibling’s best friend romance. It was also great that these two had the kind of history that makes the relationship feel richer, without any lingering resentment or unrequited love between them. Sure, there may have been crushes when they were younger, but both had written off the other as an option a long time ago. So they were almost starting fresh, and doing so while they learned about their adult selves. Theo makes a fantastic hero; he is such a sweetheart, so funny and the kind of bad boy you want to hug so he’ll feel better. Not that this wasn’t sexy – it definitely was. There’s tons of chemistry between these two, and a few super sexy moments. It also had me smiling and laughing, enjoying an easygoing time. And I was genuinely surprised by Theo’s secret, which took the story in an unexpected direction. If I have one complaint, it would be that it was slightly longer than it needed to be, but I cannot pinpoint a specific dull moment either. This was a very solid read, and gives me hope that it’s the start of great new series.


With a strong focus on mental health and a romance that feels rich in its history, this quiet, contemplative love story surprised me – and I’m okay with that. I enjoyed Eddings’ debut, A Brush With Love, and remember thinking that there was a ton of potential in her writing. While I’m not the biggest fan of third person POV, it’s easy to ignore when I’m immersed in a story. And Eddings’ books always have a distinctive feel, which adds a level of unpredictability that keeps me engaged. This plays up familiar tropes (brother’s best friend, fake relationship), while also feeling entirely like it’s own thing. I loved the foundation that these former frenemies built their relationship on – they’ve been in each other’s lives for twenty years, and that history allows them to see past the surface. While both of their lives are feeling overwhelming when they reconnect, they find comfort their connection. And that’s where this really shines.

The story follows Indira, a woman who moves in with her brother 5 weeks before his wedding. After her relationship came to an unexpected (but not overly surprising) end, Indira just wants a quiet place to stay. Unfortunately, she soon discovers that her brother’s best friend – and the bane of her childhood existence – is also staying with him. Jude has been a part of Indira’s life for over twenty years, but they have never gotten along. He’s been working in a Doctors Without Borders-like program for the last few years, and it doesn’t take long for Indira to realize that he’s come back with some emotional scars. Indira may not get along with Jude, but she doesn’t want to see him hurting. And Jude may not always agree with Indira, but her support means a lot. As the two grow closer, their tangled history proves to be a stronger foundation than either would’ve anticipated.

While A Brush With Love had a focus on mental health, this story takes it to another level. It’s the driving factor of Jude and Indira connecting in present day, and it’s as much a part of the story as the romance. Maybe more. It’s an interesting spin on the brother’s best friend trope, and one that I found I really enjoyed. Though Indira and Jude have always bickered in the past and never would’ve considered themselves friends, they know each other in a way that few others do. They recognize when the other is hurting. And I loved that. They were able to set aside their differences and simply have compassion for each other, which soon transitioned into a romantic connection. Yeah, the transitioned happened rather quickly, but it didn’t feel like too much given their past. They know each other so well. I also kinda adored that they found each other’s flaws to be endearing – not just their personalities, but Jude smiles at Indira’s “too big” feet and Indira says Jude’s limbs are “gawky” and his body is “like a rubber band.” It all just felt so down to earth and authentic, which was a major win for me. I do think that a first person POV would’ve helped me connect to the story better, but that would really be my only (personal) complaint. This was a strong 4/low 5-star read for me the whole way through, and a very memorable read.


With an adorably sexy hero and tropes that felt like they were tailor-made for me, it took no time at all for me to devour this Vegas wedding romance. I was immediately drawn in by the unique setup, and the chemistry kept me turning the pages. These two strangers have one intense moment together that sparks a night of fun in Vegas, and they come together as a team once they realize that they’ve gotten hitched. I’d consider this something of a black cat/golden retriever romance, as our hero is a total SWEETHEART who would’ve gone all-in if only that’s what our reluctant heroine wanted. I loved the combination of smart and sexy in one cinnamon roll package, and Griffin is one of the best parts of the book. It’s also pretty spicy, though I guess you could call it a hot slow burn. It’s certainly a hot, sexual tension-filled treat with plenty of tender moments to keep things interesting. I binged it in one sitting, and I’ve got no regrets.

The story follows Emma, a wedding dress designer who is just starting to get over a bad breakup when she discovers that her ex is engaged – two months after they broke up. Reeling from the information, Emma has a drunken night in Vegas. After having a moment with a sweet and sexy guy, Emma quickly learns that he is one of the dancers in the male revue show she attends that night. And Griffin definitely remembers her. The two have all kinds of drunken fun that night, and they wake up married. But Emma lives on the other side of the country, and getting married to the first guy she’s interested in after a breakup is surely a terrible idea. Unfortunately, news of their marriage is already out, and Emma really needs Griffin to put on a show until she can repair her professional image. But faking it with her husband is more complicated than Emma realized, because he’s not the kind of man you let get away.

This caught me on a day when I was in the mood for something strangers to lovers, and it did not take long at all for me to get caught up in the romance. While I liked Emma, it’s Griffin who steals the show here. He’s been raising his little sister for the last 12 years, dancing in a revue show to put both of them through school, and he’s finally ready to live life for himself. An absolute sweetheart. He’s also got a gruff and protective side that he’s been burying for the last several years, and watching Griffin find that side of himself again was really fun to watch. The chemistry between Emma and Griffin was great, particularly at the start and once they started crossing some lines. It was easy to see that they had sexual chemistry, and I’m not sure how anyone could resist falling for a great guy like Griffin. This stayed light and spicy with plenty of forced proximity (they’re married roommates!) and a side of fake relationship/marriage of convenience. It was an all-around solid read with some spectacular moments along the way, and I sincerely enjoyed the journey.


Pretty stellar for a debut, that’s for sure. With Tis the Season for Revenge, The Hating Game, and You’ve Got Mail vibes, this lighthearted romance is such an interesting mix of tropes. Our sweetheart of a heroine gets herself in quite the sticky situation, and she’s most certainly not always in the right. I’m don’t think many established authors could pull off a storyline as chaotic and messy as this one, and that’s a compliment. Our heroine weaves herself a tangled web, and it was so much fun watching it all play out. I love it when books surprise me, and I was constantly kept on my toes. It was sweet one minute, swoony the next, and deliciously soapy the rest of the time. I’m sure the complicated situation will rub some readers the wrong way, but I sincerely enjoyed this, and I’m excited to see what’s next from the author.

The story follows Heaven, a woman who has just discovered that her live-in boyfriend is cheating on her. When one of Heaven’s friends reveals her boyfriend’s profile on a hookup app, she’s understandably upset. Not so much that the relationship is over – it’s been feeling off for awhile – but that he would cheat on her, and so brazenly. As much as Heaven would love to break up with him immediately, it’s her name on the apartment’s lease, and she can’t afford to pay his half of the rent. Deciding to stick it out for a couple of months until the lease ends, Heaven makes the ill-advised decision to catfish her boyfriend on that dating app, hoping to play the long game and catch him in the act. When she kinda/sorta accidentally strikes up a conversation with one of her matches, Heaven develops a text-based friendship. And when Heaven discovers that her new online friend is the grumpy boss she’ll be working with for the next few months… well, things get a whole lot more complicated.

I’ll say right now that you have to be comfortable with some level of emotional cheating in this messy situation, or the book won’t work for you at all. While Heaven knows her boyfriend is cheating and she’s already mourned the loss of their relationship (he’s also no prize), he has no idea she feels that way. So talking to a guy on a dating app and developing feelings for her boss is not 100% okay, if you know what I mean. Not sure why I was cool with that, but I was 90% of the time. There’s no physical cheating on her end, as the romance is a slow burn that goes from strangers to online friends to grumpy boss to more. I loved the unpredictability. I also loved getting to know Shane better, and it was fun to see the very different sides to his personality – grumpy boss vs. sweets-obsessed cinnamon roll. We only get Heaven’s perspective, so I liked unraveling Shane a little bit at a time. Heaven also makes a great character, and I’m still kind of surprised that I liked her, lol. She’s not quite as innocent in everything as she might like to believe, but she’s such a nice combination of sweetheart and spitfire that I couldn’t stay mad at her. This just felt so fresh and slightly unhinged, while still giving sweet, swoony vibes. So a fantastic job from this debut author, and an entirely engaging read.


Did you see my May Release Calendar?

It includes the May 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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