I think some of you may welcome the chance to add more books to your TBR lists while we are quarantined. I know I love all the recommendations and free ebooks being shared around, even if my Kindle has 100 unread ebooks! For those of you who are new here, I’ve already shared three lists with book recommendations: from my first year as a Romance reader, the second year, and the third. Each post has a list with 12 books or series that became my favourite ones that year, so feel free to check them out as well. Some of them are free while we are quarantined.
And now, here are the best books/series I discovered during my fourth year as a Romance reader:
- Seven Summer Nights: This was the year I found out Harper Fox is a must-have in every Best of Romance list, and this is my favourite Harper Fox novel. It’s set after the Second World War, and it’s a hopeful, wonderful read. There’s an archaeologist with a rescue dog, a biker vicar, amnesia, PTSD, magic, legends… If you like books where the town is more than just a setting, you are going to love this one.
- The Remaking of Corbin Wale: One of those books that help restore your faith in humanity. Reading this novel will make you feel cozy and warm inside, because it’s like slowly kneading and baking a bread you know will taste delicious. A taste of what can be found in this novel: sweet MCs, a bakery, Chanukah, mental health issues and possibly even a bit of magic.
- Seducing the Sedgwicks: As I mentioned, Cat Sebastian had already become one of my favourite writers, so I knew I’d also love this soon-to-be trilogy. In it, there’s another family of siblings who find love in the place they least expected. The cover I chose for the image above belongs to the first novel, which is an amazing m/m retelling of The Sound of Music. If that doesn’t make you want to read the book immediately, I don’t know what to tell you.
- On a Lee Shore: After reading (and loving) another book by Elin Gregory the previous year, I decided to try the rest of them. My favourite one was this pirate slow-burn m/m Historical Romance novel with very charming characters and a very interesting setting. Believe me! You’ll enjoy seeing how the relationship changes and evolves over time, and learn a lot about naval battles on the way.
- Love Lessons: Another series by an author I’d discovered the previous year. It’s the first Contemporary Romance on the list, as the action takes place in a USA university campus. The series explores the different relationships sprouting among students. There are lots of LGBTQ+ characters, some opposites-attract relationships, disabled characters with good representation, and one of my beloved favourite-character-that-I-used-to-hate sequels.
- Aubrey & Lindsey: Another Historical Romance. This one can also be read as a wonderful m/m retelling of North & South (and not George Bernard Shaw’s play). The main characters are sweet and lovable, and the relationship works perfectly, even when the class difference is one of the most important issues the main couple has to face. Fortunately, they’re both very aware of where they stand, and the admiration and love they feel for each other might not be everything they need, but it’s a good first step in the right direction.
- SPECTR: Another great series by Jordan L. Hawk. This one is formed by action-packed Urban Fantasy novels that read a bit like a TV series: there are seasons, and each novel would be a new episode, with some unbelievable cliffhangers between episodes, and some plot twists in the final book of each season. The second season is as good as the first one, if not better, and you still have time to join the third season.
- The Doctor’s Discretion: An amazing m/m Historical Romance. The main characters, one of the first black doctors in the USA and a disabled army surgeon, have to learn to work together if they want to finish the job. Soon, they learn they have more in common than they thought, and they understand each other so well that, when the surgeon meets a patient who is going to be experimented on before being confined to an asylum, they will have to prove the depth of their trust while they try to save the patient.
- Family of Lies: I loved the first novel and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. This Fantasy Romance made me laugh almost non-stop. The level of banter is off the charts, and all the characters are very complex and interesting, especially Sebastian’s family. Just a warning: this book doesn’t give you anything for free; you have to work for it, but every time you discover something new is so satisfying… you will be glad you did your work.
- The Dark Collector: Another Contemporary Romance, this time a short one with a bit of BDSM. There are some difficult topics in this one, and I’m not talking about the BDSM, but about the death of a loved one, the relationship between the model and the artist when it’s not just a job, the objectification of the muse through the eyes of the viewer… and of the muse himself. It can get a bit dark at times, but it’s a very enjoyable novella.
- Mended with Gold: Another warm and cozy Contemporary Romance. This one is set in New Zealand and feels like a breeze of fresh air that smells of the sea. A professional photographer with PTSD buys a house after finding a mysterious man sleeping inside. The man turns out to be a comic book artist who makes him feel, thanks to his unique view of the world, that maybe it’s fine if he isn’t the man he used to be.
- Band Sinister: A very fun Historical Romance full of wonderful characters that learn to live under the enormous weight of expectations in different ways. One of the MCs has anxiety, and his sister has written a Gothic novel based on their neighbour, who belongs to a hellfire club called The Murder. Worrying about them finding out becomes secondary when his sister breaks a leg while trespassing. Now the two of them must spend several weeks with The Murder, and he doesn’t quite know if he wants to find out which rumours are true.
That was a very good year, as you can see. For some reason, I get the feeling the books I enjoyed most were less dark and more hopeful in general. Might be because my anxiety was very bad at that moment.
And we’re getting closer to the present day. Only one of these left now, so I’ll come back to it in another moment. As always, let me know if you need to know about CWs, or if you want more personalized recommendations.