RaveBookPageThe term \'slow burn\' doesn’t begin to capture the agonized pining of this romance, which is absolutely suffused with yearning. Hall poignantly depicts Viola’s tangled mix of relief and sadness ... Hall adds some levity with flirtatious banter between his main couple, moments when readers can see the dark cloud hovering over Gracewood become a little lighter. There’s also a robust and interesting cast of side characters, which could mean (fingers crossed) A Lady for a Duke is but the first book in a series.
PositiveBookPageHolton takes readers on a wild ride through a fun, limitless world, where frivolity and whimsy reign supreme and skilled swordwork and grand displays of magic abound. It’s all a hodgepodge of delightful silliness, with over-the-top action, exaggerated villainy and the fact that it’s possible to fall in love with your sworn enemy while recovering an ancient amulet. Think Mel Brooks meets The Princess Bride with a dash of Austen-esque comedy of manners. And then crank that all up to 11 ... readers will be completely on board for more of Holton’s imaginative, rollicking romances.
RaveBookPageHenry excels at writing introspective, heroine-focused romance, and she uses the character of Nora to dismantle the stereotypical \'career woman\' archetype ... Is it possible for Henry to write a romance that doesn’t glitter with pithy banter or that isn’t filled with characters you want to root for? So far, the answer is no. As the title suggests, readers who love meta \'books about books\' will delight in the details of Nora’s and Charlie’s occupations and their passion for reading. But Book Lovers is also a wonderful examination of work-life balance, the intricacies of family relationships and the realization that you shouldn’t have to compromise yourself for love.
RaveBookPageA dark, feminist fantasy ... While Nettle & Bone is undeniably dark and sinister at times, Kingfisher balances the horror with well-placed levity ... The more comedic characters allow readers to find comfort amid the larger, darker scope of the novel, bright spots in a world that can often feel hopeless ... Kingfisher is an inventive fantasy powerhouse, and Nettle & Bone represents the burgeoning \'hopepunk\' ethos at its finest, with its winsome characters and focus on their fight to make the world a better place.
RaveBookPage... a rompy and raunchy retelling of Pride & Prejudice—with a burlesque twist. The Jane Austen inspiration is clear, but debut novelist Vanessa King excels at infusing her own fresh voice and sparkling ideas into this contemporary romance ... Liz is a confident and saucy heroine, always ready with a sly innuendo or a sharp, witty remark. It’s a torturous delight watching her unravel the starchy Darcy ... a slow burn that keeps its momentum, even amid all the fun of King’s detailed, luxe descriptions of buzzing nightlife, sexy show performances and extravagant costumes ... Fans of the source material will have an immeasurable amount of fun identifying all the Easter eggs within, from recognizable characters to dialogue that harkens back to the original text. King captures the magical feeling of seeing New York City awash in lights, and the electric hum of a rapt crowd during a live performance. There is something both cozy and thrilling about the Meryton and its found family of performers, and readers will be sad to leave them.
RaveBookPageStarling does a magnificent, twisted job steering clear of the obvious plot beats. There are surprises galore in the secrets these characters keep and the lengths they’ll go to conceal them. Key to many a successful horror novel is having a main character to root for, one whom readers will want to see come out of everything not only alive but also stronger. Jane is absolutely that kind of character, a beacon of light in a dark world through her sheer tenacity alone, making her exploration of Lindridge Hall a white-knuckle reading experience ... For those who crave intense and detailed gothic horror, or those who just want more Guillermo del Toro a la Crimson Peak vibes in their life, The Death of Jane Lawrence is a must-read.
PositiveBookPageFans of \'The Bachelor\' franchise, especially those who cast a more critical eye on the images and storylines crafted onscreen, will really enjoy this fairy-tale romantic comedy ... If the Shoe Fits is a confident, modern and magical romance that starts the Meant to Be series on the right foot.
RaveBookPagePenny Aimes’ debut romance, For the Love of April French, is a remarkable and tender story of acceptance, an exploration of self-reflection and a tantalizing slow burn between two compelling leads ... Aimes weaves in plenty of commentary on and positive portrayal of kink communities and the purpose they serve for their members ... A nuanced depiction of kinky queer communities that is clearly written from a place of earnest love and appreciation, For the Love of April French proves that heartwarming fluff and sexy kink can go hand in hand. The only question that remains is, when can we have more from this rising star of romance?
RaveBookPageQuan will instantly win over readers with his wonderful combination of bad boy vibes on the outside and an adorably gooey center on the inside ... Reading a Hoang romance often involves tears, given her knack for homing in on uncomfortable emotions and human vulnerability. The Heart Principle is no different, and it will offer much-needed catharsis to readers who can identify with Anna’s burnout and restlessness ... Those who have been fans of Hoang’s contemporary romances since the beginning will be overjoyed to finally get Quan’s story. It does not disappoint. And new readers will most likely sprint to the nearest library or bookstore to get their hands on Hoang’s other two books. That’s how much The Heart Principle lives up to the hype: Hoang has once again displayed her mastery of both complicated emotions and naturalistic, earthy eroticism.
RaveBookPage... delightful ... If you’ve ever had the pleasure of traveling to NYC during the warmer months, you’ll recognize the particularly fervent summertime energy that One Last Stop exudes. The air is thick with humidity and endless possibilities. McQuiston infuses charm into every detail, from the creaks and hisses of a subway train pulling into a station to the shine and grandeur of the New York skyline ... This is a book of hope and love and self-discovery ... The speculative twist of a time slip adds angst to August and Jane’s seemingly meant-to-be pairing, giving One Last Stop higher stakes and making it feel more propulsive than other city-set contemporary love stories ... Bursting with heart, snappy banter and a deep respect for queer history and community, One Last Stop isn’t just another surefire hit for McQuiston. It also might be the best read of the summer.
RaveBookPageIt’s a tall order to find someone worthy of such a brilliant and earnest heroine, but Aydin is an excellent love interest. He’s genuine and charming, a perfect foil for his father’s more hostile business tactics, but the novel is more focused on Hana’s journey than his own. There is a satisfying happily ever after at the end, but Jalaluddin explores more than just romantic love in Hana Khan. It’s a story of self-love, familial love, togetherness and compassion between neighbors, and all the different ways we express love with who we allow into our lives. This modern romantic comedy is full of warmth, and complemented wonderfully by Hana’s courageous self-determination and the scene-stealing secondary members of the Khan family. If Hana Khan Carries On is a sign of things to come, whatever Jalaluddin writes next will be inventive, extraordinary and well worth a read.
RaveBookPageSusan Andersen’s latest release, The Ballad of Hattie Taylor, is a love letter to sweeping rural dramas like The Thorn Birds or Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books that straddles the line between historical romance and historical fiction ... This is a romance for the patient reader. Andersen covers a robust span of time as she explores the integral life experiences of her main characters ... Andersen’s detailed approach to crafting a sense of place shines, particularly as she depicts the passing of each season ... The Ballad of Hattie Taylor oozes nostalgia even as it vacillates from a lively, page-turning coming of age story, a tender romance that emphasizes care and patience, and a harrowing tale of one woman’s experiences on the American frontier. Hattie’s happy ending with Jake is hard won, but her infectious optimism will have readers with her every step of the way.
PositiveBookPage... mouthwatering romantic comedy that layers on tropes like a buttery, flaky dough ... This book is for anyone who’s discovered the joy of bread-making, especially bakers who hover over their sourdough starters, waiting for them to grow and bloom and get ready to be turned into warm, delicious loaves ... Much of this wonderful slow-burn romance plays out in the kitchen, and readers will be deliciously tortured by how long it takes Reena and Nadim to realize how well they complement each other. Heron also deepens both characters by exploring their different experiences and backgrounds. While both Reena and Nadia are Muslim and of Indian descent, Reena’s experiences as a Canadian Indian and Nadim’s as a British Indian are different. Heron weaves those divergences into their developing relationship in both subtle moments and more overt discussions, perfectly depicting how a couple organically learns more about one another ... Heron hits every romantic beat with a confidence of an author who knows exactly what she’s doing. There are meddling family members, close-quarters cooking, a fake relationship and the dreamy boy next door with his beefy muscles and swoony accent. This book is undoubtedly what Heron would pull out during the Showstopper Challenge on a literary version of The Great British Bake Off.
Harper St. George
RaveBookPageWry, tenacious August isn’t exactly a friendly woman, but she is a memorable and well-crafted heroine. Prickly at best, she’s practical and often blunt with her words as she tries to get her family’s business taken more seriously. By contrast, Evan’s caring relationship with his mother is a cornerstone of his character (and provides some of the book’s best scenes). It’s lovely to see a mutually respectful and close relationship between a historical romance hero and his mother ... The Heiress Gets a Duke stands out from the crowded field of historical romance by combining old and new. St. George clearly has an appreciation for the genre, as the novel is reminiscent of historical classics that longtime romance readers have grown up with, but there are also meta moments of brilliance ... Fun, tender and definitely sexy, The Heiress Gets a Duke is already at the top of my list for the best books of the year.
RaveBookpageLoretta Chase continues to prove her reputation as a queen of Regency romances with the second title in her Difficult Dukes series, Ten Things I Hate About the Duke ... This is a rom-com lovers’ delight, complete with period clothing and sneaky flirting around the rules of propriety. Chase effortlessly weaves those allusions in without making the romance feel derivative ... Though this is the second book in a series, it stands fine on its own. If you’re new to Chase’s work, I encourage you to jump in with both feet. Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is magical, romantic and simply wonderful.
RaveBookPage... the can’t-miss fantasy of fall 2020, a brutal coming-of-power story steeped in the aesthetics of dark academia ... If you’ve been searching for the antiheroine of your dreams, El is a strong contender. There is something so cathartic about being in El’s mind, seeing the world through familiarly jaded and angry eyes. The thought of being able to wield her power even just for a second, and the confident way she nurtures and uses her abilities are the vicarious experiences many restless readers will appreciate ... Do not be fooled by the book’s high school setting and the presence of teen wizards, as this is very much an adult fantasy novel ... a wild ride that never ceases to yank the rug out from under readers. El is a heroine you want to root for over and over, while still worrying about what all this means for her future ... As a reader, nothing is more thrilling than discovering an author blessed with boundless imagination. A Deadly Education will cement Naomi Novik’s place as one of the greatest and most versatile fantasy writers of our time.
PositiveBookPageIf you expect fireworks of antagonism, you may be disappointed; this is a tender second-chance romance between two people who have known a life full of pain and abandonment. It’s emotional and heart-wrenching, as both Grace and Ewan are characters who experience their emotions strongly and earnestly. Think of this as more of a slow simmer than a rolling boil. Daring and the Duke will crush your heart and then slowly and carefully piece it back together. It’s the epitome of catharsis.
RaveBookPage... an easy contender for best book of the year ... Hibbert knows how to deepen and complicate her characters, meticulously peeling back layer upon layer as the story goes on ... What makes Take a Hint, Dani Brown a superlative example of the romance genre as a whole, and not just a gem in the contemporary category, is that Hibbert gets to the essence of what a happily-ever-after means. It’s not about love as the antidote to a couple’s problems, but love becoming a foundation on which the couple understand one another better and a soft place to land when times are tough ... Fans who loved the first book in the Brown Sisters series, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, may feel that it’s a tough act to follow. Fear not. Take a Hint, Dani Brown possesses the same amount of charm, grit and, certainly, sex appeal as its predecessor. Zaf is the emotionally competent, buff hero of our dreams. Dani is the heroine we all aspire to be: confident, feminist, sex-positive and driven. Read this romance immediately, and then read it again.
PositiveBookPageMinerva is a lively, independent heroine. Readers will fall in love with her the moment she decides to tie up and interrogate Chase for his intrusion ... Expect to have a goofy smile on your face for a bulk of the book as the two go head-to-head, while slowly learning to value the other ... feels like a mix of Knives Out (minus the hunky Chris Evans in a cable knit sweater) and Clue, with a touch of Scooby Doo. It’s an entertaining whodunnit with a slew of entertaining side characters and suspects. Thankfully, the mystery elements only enhance Minerva and Chase’s slow burn. And let’s talk about this slow burn, which is worthy of the ultimate chef’s kiss ... a gradual and wonderfully agonizing seduction that will leave readers begging for these two nerds to just kiss already ... This fantastic beginning may be Hunter\'s best series starter yet. With its memorable characters, a murder mystery and a perfectly paced romance, Hunter is at the top of her game.
PositiveBookPageThe comedic beats are sharp and always impeccably timed to temper some of the more serious moments, and feel like a well-placed reminder that everything is going to be okay. Fans of Lauren will be delighted that their writing is as rock solid as ever, and newcomers should look forward to beginning what will undoubtedly become a life-long love affair with the author duo.
RaveBookPage... a triumphant achievement for contemporary romance phenom Lucy Parker ... If you’re worried whether Nick grovels sufficiently, I will spare you the hemming and hawing and say yes, he definitely does. His redemption arc has been worth waiting for. He does a superb grovel, but it’s the acknowledgement that his actions have consequences, the introspection he does to examine why he did what he did and how it doesn’t align with the man he wants to be that exalt him to the top ranks of swoony romantic heroes ... Headliners’ wintry London setting makes this an even more magical romance, as there is something so romantic and whimsical about falling in love amidst the falling snow ... a superb contemporary romance. Parker’s readers, new and returning, are sure to find this one hard to put down.
Lyssa Kay Adams
PositiveBookPageLyssa Kay Adams hits a home run ... The setup may seem farfetched, but it’s too charming to resist ... Readers who enjoy a heartfelt second-chance romance, especially between a married couple, should get their hands on this book immediately ... Adams creates a cringe-worthy look at modern romance with Gavin being too busy and Thea being too exhausted to do more than just go through the motions. It feels a little too real in the best way possible ... truly a novel for dedicated romance fans. Readers will be delighted at all of the meta winks and nudges to the genre we love so much. I can’t wait to see what the Bromance Book Club will read next and how it’ll help shape their next happily ever after.
PositiveBookPageSci-fi romance is a relatively small subgenre and Mihalik’s imaginative series about the bonds of family amid scheming power plays feels like a refreshing sip of water after a long drought. The romance is tense, as Bianca and Ian both prefer to ignore whatever feelings they share. And with an intergalactic conspiracy as a backdrop, there is no shortage of action to rival the sizzling banter between the main couple ... a standout, memorable book that oozes crossover appeal ... Prefer action and adventure? One spaceship heist coming up! Find court intrigue and politics to be irresistible? Two ruling houses are at war, with a third desperately trying to remain neutral. Sucker for a happy ending? Well, it’s a romance, so there’s definitely that. Mihalik fills the void for every Star Wars fan who wished the franchise had more kissing.
RaveBookPageTo say both Marillier’s writing and Liobhan’s journey to becoming a warrior are magical feels too cliché—but it really is the perfect adjective ... Quite frankly, I’m envious of readers who get to experience Marillier for the first time. If you’re unsure about where to begin with her body of work, The Harp of Kings is a fantastic place to start. It has all the hallmarks of a lush and epic high fantasy tale, as well as a dynamic, ambitious heroine. Marillier\'s enchanting characters, immersive details and truly stunning prose have all helped crown her an undisputed queen of the fantasy genre. The Harp of Kings is no different; readers new and returning will be undoubtedly captivated by Marillier’s newest tale.
RaveBookPage... bursting with tension, supplemented by complicated, emotional moments. It’s a page-turner with a fantastic heroine who is tired of living her life on other people’s terms ... Their romance leans more toward a slow burn, and it’s torturous in the best way possible as they fight their attraction at every opportunity ... Shupe shines when writing complex social and political dynamics, and she adds fascinating cultural layers to an already beautiful story. And if this first book in the Uptown Girls series is any indication, that same energy is going to be continued in the next book with Florence ... Don’t miss out on this wonderfully crafted historical romance. Shupe’s sense of place is unmatched, and she does a fine job creating heroines who exude strength in all manner of ways and heroes who know how and when to grovel.
PositiveBookPageThere’s plenty of sequel bait, even if Cupids aren’t your thing ... For readers who want charming, adorable courtship, this one’s for you. It’s a friends-to-lovers romance with some extra magic ... Calling this book magical feels too on the nose, but it fits. With an enchanting premise and a romance like airy, fluffy cotton candy, Crazy Cupid Love is the perfect pick me up.
RaveBookPageThis third installment might just be Loren’s most heart-wrenching romance yet—it will undoubtedly bring you to tears ... an addicting and tense read ... It’s truly a feat to address the issue of gun violence with the delicacy, care and realism of Loren’s series, which somehow gets better with every new release. Loren does an outstanding job crafting romances that balance love, grief and a whole slew of other messy, complicated emotions. Tissues are a must for this book. At times, The One You Fight For can be painful, but the beauty of romance is that there will always be a happy ending, and its one that Taryn and Shaw definitely deserve ... Full of complex relationships and friendships forged through trauma, this is an unforgettable addition to an equally unforgettable series.
PanBookPage\"While their romance is a wonderful mix of the bitter and the sweet, The Last True Cowboy is also a journey of self-discovery, as both characters want to better themselves for the sake of a stronger relationship. Last True Cowboy focuses on the hero and heroine as individuals, and this brings a fantastic, deeper perspective to their second chance at a relationship ... For readers who love romances that pack an emotional punch, The Last True Cowboy delivers on all fronts. This is a romance with grit, heart and just the right amount of sizzle.\
RaveBookpageShupe fascinatingly explores Oliver’s life as a deaf man, showing what sorts of accessibilities and technology were available in the late-nineteenth century ... Filled with lovely, sigh-inducing scenes and tense moments of longing and vulnerability, A Notorious Vow is a romance you’ll remember for a lifetime.
RaveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksI appreciated how much care was taken in the details of Oliver’s life ... this book is a gem. It gave me those starry-eyed, book-drunk feelings that were very reminiscent of when I finished my first Lisa Kleypas historical.
PositiveBookPage...a fun and flirty romance between a fifth-grade teacher and her handsome new neighbor ... Much like Magic Mike, its celluloid inspiration, Stripped is swoony, exciting and an all-around entertaining ride ... With chemistry that’s steamy and a hero that’s dreamy, Stripped should be on everyone’s reading list this year.
RaveBookPageWith each page and each practice, Remi gets better and more confident, building herself back into the beautiful, confident dancer she once was. It’s a Cinderella story in pointe shoes. London deftly balances light-hearted, smile-inducing, shameless flirting with explorations into relatable and deep-rooted insecurities: Am I good enough or just an imposter? Am I more than just my family name or my shameful past? How far will I go to reach my dreams? What if I fail? Bad Reputation is sweet. It’s sexy. It’s full of heart. The dance nerdery is just a bonus.
RaveBookPageHoang has a fresh, contemporary voice that’s easy to fall into for hours at a time, and The Kiss Quotient will undoubtedly create a fandom of readers who will read whatever future books she writes. But be warned, this reading experience is one that requires preparation. You will smile so hard your cheeks will ache. You’ll subconsciously start to fan yourself. You’ll look at the clock and realize it’s way past your bedtime.