Most Anticipated April 2024 Romance New Releases

Discover April Romance Books that Blew Us Away!

Wow–April 2024 did not disappoint! We mixed it up with new releases, making dents in our TBRs, and trying new authors. So many good ones!

So what were our favorites? Well, once again Abby Jimenez struck gold with Just for the Summer, Jess K. Hardy brought GenX some love with Lips Like Sugar, Max Monroe turned us into emotional basket cases with What I Should’ve Said, and Alina Khawaja enthralled us with her debut novel, Maya’s Laws of Love. Not to mention the start of a new series from Elsie Silver and the latest from one of our favorites, Camilla Isley with The Love Algorithm. We could go on forever!

What were your favorite April reads? 

Our first Sarah Adams book! We know! We’ve read so many great reviews of her books so we finally devoured one!

Nora’s a killer sports agent but still trying to prove herself in a ol’ boys’ club. She’s assigned to Derek, who’s the NFL’s hottest tight end until a potentially career-ending injury sidelines him. Who also happens to be her college ex-boyfriend. Who she coldly dumped out of nowhere with no explanation. Who’s never gotten over her. And who she’s never gotten over.

Let the petty hazing begin. Nora needs this job and Derek knows it. And he’s still really hurt, even eight years later. Enough is enough, so they come up with some rules. But they end up in Vegas for an event and shatter them….

After a rough beginning, I ended up loving both characters so much! Nora was so tough, going toe to toe with all the jerks in the sports agent world, yet also being endearing and quirky and funny. And Derek is an absolute sweetheart under the big tough guy exterior, remembers so much about her, and gets on board with winning her back.

Whether subconsciously or secretly, some part of them knows they want to be together, knows this is it for them. You see glimpses of their past selves (but thankfully, no dual timeline) and how they’ve grown; how now is the right time for them to be together and make it happen. Each harbors so many feelings and slowly trusts the other with them, and it all comes out beautifully.

The Rule Book is for you if you like:
• Second chances
• Hilarious banter
• Accidental Vegas weddings
• Fake(ish) marriages
• Sports (football/agents)
• Cutesy nicknames in jest
• Endearing male friend groups (though I’ve NEVER met a group of guys who are this sensitive)
• Chemistry
• Beach honeymoons
• No super-annoying third-act breakup

Rating: 4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Second Chance, Agent and Athlete, Vegas, Fake Marriage
Pair With: Wines from Southern California. Best known is the Temecula Valley

I’m torn on Just for the Summer–mostly loved but had some moments of annoyance too. First, why isn’t this book included in the Part of Your World series? Or did I miss it? I really would liked to have known it was a continuation of that series. I saw some hints throughout the book and remembered some of the characters, but it’s been a while since I read the first two books and I would have re-read them before reading this if I’d had time, and then really enjoyed the book more.

I loved the instant connection Emma and Justin had, how they could talk so easily and naturally gravitated towards each other. Their journey had its ups and downs, and there was humor, warmth, sadness, trauma, everything. Justin fits the mold of an Abby Jimenez MMC, just a loving, giving, caring person who will do anything for his people. But Emma’s BFF and foster sister Maddy really stole the show–such a real, honest, refreshing character .

Loved how everything came together. Loved that the story got into mental health and different reactions to trauma and upheaval. I loved the surveys and checklists so much! I could definitely use those in my own life, lol!

Now Emma, I struggled with, even though that’s probably not fair, given her background. When you have to ask AITA multiple times, as she does, then the answer is yes. But she’s been through the unimaginable trauma of being completely abandoned by her mother as a child, then went through the horror of the foster care system.

Emma’s mother is a blatantly despicable, disgusting person. She ruins every life she touches, and calls Emma only to ask for money, among other obvious red flags. Emma knows this, yet continues to seek out a relationship with her while running away from anyone else. And I’m sure there are extremely valid reasons for this that I don’t have the training or knowledge to understand, but it was annoying. Why the hard and fast rule of never dating anyone with kids (ok, I know her reason, but the closed-mindedness was frustrating). 

Rating: 4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Don’t Let Anyone Close, Summer, Family Trauma, Instant Attraction
Pair With: Your favorite Minnesota drink

We were beyond excited for Only and Forever after absolutely adoring Ziggy and Sebastian’s story. And this one was good, but not quite up there with some of the others in the Bergman Brother series.

Viggo is my favorite Bergman brother and possibly the most unrealistic of them all (maybe that’s why I love him so much). He’s a die-hard romantic, loves romance books and is chasing his dream of opening his own romance bookstore, bakery, and coffee shop. He’s 100% ready to give his heart to the right woman, only he hasn’t found her yet. He’s watched all his siblings find love and wonders if it’s just not in the cards for him.

And then there’s Tallulah. Prickly, dark, and carrying baggage from childhood and family dysfunction. She has deep feelings for Viggo and no idea how to express them, so she closes up shop and runs away. But she needs Viggo’s help to write some romance into her latest book, and he needs help with his store, so they agree to help each other.

Only and Forever had its ups and downs (more ups than downs). The characters’ honesty with each other as they grew closer, the way they tried to share with each other and understand each other, was so sweet. When they finally come together, the moment was absolutely beautiful and perfect. And no third-act breakup, thank goodness!!!

Rating: 4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Grumpy Sunshine, Opposites Attract, Bookshop, Roommates, Friends to Lovers
Pair With: California white

I’m wavering between a 4 and 5, so going with 4.5 rounded up. It was so good, and so much fun to read! Does it get better than Ford? He is so loving, thoughtful, kind, protective, smart, passionate–there aren’t enough good adjectives to describe him! When he learns he has a 12-year-old daughter, he embraces her, loves her, and wants to give her his best and truly connect with her. He’s always loved Rosie, always looked out for her, always given her his all even if he thinks he can never have her.

And Rosie is wonderful too! She left their small town, got the corporate job she thought she should, found a perfectly decent guy and thinks she’s on her way to a perfectly nice life. When things happen and she takes some time to head home, she immediately feels like she’s in the right place and maybe the city isn’t for her. She and Ford have been frenemies since they were kids, but she sees there’s so much more to him now (and maybe she’s always loved him too). She’s also so kind and hard-working, loving and dedicated to her family.

The only thing holding me back from 5 stars is that it dragged a little bit here and there, especially as they are spending way too much time creating and maintaining artificial barriers that should never stand in the way of two people who are truly in love. Fighting those feelings gets a little ridiculous, but if that’s my biggest complaint, it’ll be ok. 🙂

Loved the other characters! Cora, Ford’s daughter, is an absolute gem. His sister Willa is a bit prickly but so on-point. Rosie’s brother West is adorable in a sweet puppy dog kind of way.

And the emails? Hilarious. I’ll leave it at that.

Rating: 4.5 stars
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Childhood frenemies, Brother’s best friend, Workplace, Small town

The fourth in the Bellamy Sisters series did not disappoint! Aurelia is the eldest Bellamy sibling and determined to take care of her four sisters and brother since their parents are completely awful and useless. And she’s going to find a way other than through marriage. She’s a gifted artist and lands a lucrative position working for a naturalist and highborn lord (and notorious rake) on a remote island, so off she goes.

Lord Roland Crewe has been burned by marriage and has no interest in it or hurting anyone else with his god-awful husband skills. Only he can’t stay away from her and feels something completely new. And she was dead-set against love, marriage, or anything to do with a man, but she can’t resist Roland either…

Steamy and sensual, plus lurking danger, crazy family dynamics and secrets, and a unique setting make Aurelia so much fun to read.

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Age Gap, Proximity, Family Dynamics, Mystery
Pair With: Champagne

April 26, 2024

At 28, with a Ph.D under her belt and a meteoric rise to head of Research and Development at Mercer Robotics, Reese feels her decision to put her career first has worked out pretty well for her. Sure, she doesn’t have many personal relationships to speak of, but she does love her team and they like her too.

So when she’s called to the Big Boss’s office and told she will be looking after his son while he does a rotation in her lab, she’s not thrilled that her hard work and achievements have boiled down to being a glorified babysitter – especially to a billionaire playboy with zero experience of mechanical engineering.

But then tall, blond Thomas walks into her office, and Reese realizes this assignment is going to be even harder than she thought. Because the CEO’s son is not only extraordinarily gorgeous, chiseled, and charming… he’s also on course to become her new boss one day, and so extraordinarily out of bounds. As the pair get to know each other, can Reese hold her nerve and her beliefs, or will she fall victim to the billionaire charm?

Wow. This book hit me hard in all the good ways. I love Max Monroe’s writing style, characters, storytelling–everything. This book is different from the couple of hers I’ve already read–deep and absolutely heart-wrenching. I almost never cry in books but boy did this one get me.

Norah’s been raised by a psychotic mother in NYC wealth and privilege, has her life pre-arranged, and is all set to marry old money and power at St. Patrick’s when she receives a life-changing letter exposing some dangerous truths. So, with basically nothing but her wedding dress, she high-tails it to the small Vermont town where she was born and her older sister lives.

Bennett’s a NY transplant too, a renowned artist and resident grump, living in the same small town. He’s raising his absolute ray of sunshine daughter, who suffers from a serious genetic disease and brings all the emotions.

Norah and Bennett’s chemistry is instant, even if manifests in hatred, anger, and judgment for a while. But they turn so many corners together, support each other, and find the beauty in their lives. While romance is the central plot and theme, there is so much more to this story–the fragility of life, self-discovery, karma, family. It’ll be sticking with me for a while.

Rating: 5
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Small Town, Enemies to Lovers, Runaway Bride, Artist, Family, Self-Discovery, Grief
Pair With: You might want bourbon

Loved it! It was so nice seeing characters in their 40s and 50s finding love–people aren’t completely washed up and devoid of feelings and heat at that age. Other than a few moments, the characters were really likeable and super relatable. Mira has a lot on her plate with owning a bakery that’s just scarping by, parenting her moody 14-year-old son, and worrying about her mom, who’s in the early stages of dementia.

Drummer and famous rocker Cole comes to town for his friend’s (Book 1’s Madigan) wedding and ends up as Mira’s fake date to show her ex she’s happily coupled up. But the feelings are real and they have a blast. Only there’s no way she’s ever leaving the small town and her family, and his whole life–including his daughter and granddaughter and career–is in Seattle.

The moments between them are touching, lovely, and real. You can feel the chemistry and love between them from the beginning; how they’re different and drawn to each other. Cole’s a romantic and emotional soul, and knows right away he’s falling for Mira. Even though he’s been hurt before, he goes for it. Mira has more walls up and decides in advance that it could never work, and that everyone always leaves her so she doesn’t allow them to get close. But despite that, closer they get.

The side characters and issues they’re dealing with are real and relatable–parents who need care and help, loved ones slipping away, recovery from addiction, being a bi teenager in a small town.

I would give this a 5 if not for the annoying third-act breakup.

Rating: 4.5
Steam: Low to Medium
Themes and Tropes: Gen X, Opposites Attract, Small Town, Addiction/Recovery, Long Distance
Pair With: something non-alcoholic

LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking and so many other things all at the same time.

Ever since Albert was ripped away from his boyfriend, George, 50 years ago and endured unbearable cruelty at the hands of his parents, Albert Entwistle buried himself in his work as an English mail carrier and shut out the rest of the world. He avoids his co-workers and really any human interaction, and accepts the deep loneliness he’s feeling. But when he learns he’ll be forced to retire soon on his sixty-fifth birthday, he takes stock of his life, makes up his mind to get out of his comfort zone, and tries to find George.

Now, finding George requires talking to other people—Albert has no idea how to use social media, Google, or other modern ways of finding people. But he talks himself up and vows that he’ll see it through. Along the way, he learns to make connections with other people and becomes a thoughtful and caring friend, and also gains many caring friends himself. He also gains strength, little by little, to push himself and to finally come out to his co-workers and friends, who celebrate him and show him love.

This was possibly the sweetest and most endearing book I’ve ever read. Albert is just such a kind and gentle soul with the best heart. Yes, he’s frustrating at times, as we go through moments where he should speak up but doesn’t, and we’re reminded how difficult it can be to stand up for what’s right in the face of bullies and seemingly insurmountable power. Albert’s always been scared, but he’s determined not to be anymore.

You get a sense of the heartbreak and danger that went along with being a gay man in the 1960s-1980s (and beyond), and watch Albert grow stronger as he lets people into his life and grows even more determined to find George and have the love they should have had all along.

There’s also a sweet story of a 19-year-old single mom and aspiring beautician, Nicole, who befriends Albert and helps him, while he helps her nurture her relationship with a more affluent college student with disapproving parents. A truly lovely story all the way around.

Rating: 5
Steam: None
Themes and Tropes: LGBTQ+, Second Chance, Character Growth, Friendship
Pair With: English Wine

Another great Kate Clayborn book, this one a little more serious than the others I’ve read.

Jess and Tegan’s mom abandoned them TWICE as kids, and left for good when Jess was 21 and Tegan only 8. Jess knows what a despicable person their mother is, and has no interest in ever finding her. But Tegan, newly 18, discovers some secrets and wants to know more. When she figures out mommy dearest ran off with a famous con man who’s the subject of a podcast, she plans to take off with the podcaster to find her. By the time Jess finds out what’s going on, she can either watch Tegan leave or go along and try to protect her.

Jess didn’t expect podcast producer Adam or the feelings she has for him. After all the hurt from her mom, she doesn’t do feelings, doesn’t let anyone close, doesn’t even try to make friends. It’s easier that way. But Adam starts to break down her walls, which of course terrifies her. I love them together, how they slowly find the cracks in each other’s exteriors and Jess starts to learn maybe she wants more out of life.

Rating: 4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Road Trip, Family Dysfunction, Self-discovery, Proximity
Pair With: Road trip drinks

Maya's Laws of Love has it all: travel mishaps, forced proximity, family, culture, and love!

I loved Maya’s Laws of Love so much! I wasn’t sure if I’d love it when I started–sounded like I might get annoyed with all the mishaps–but it sucked me in immediately and I do love a good road trip/forced proximity trope.

I listened to the audio version (great narrator), so please forgive any misspellings!

Maya thinks she’s cursed with terrible luck, especially in love, so she agrees to an arranged marriage with a perfectly kind man, Imtiaz, who will give her stability and security and who she hopes she can fall in love with once they’re married.

On her way to Pakistan for the wedding, she’s stuck seated next to Sarfaraz, apparently the grumpiest man alive yet handsome and alluring. When the trip goes haywire, they decide it makes sense for them to stick together and find themselves in all kinds of funny, awkward, dangerous, and romantic(ish) situations.

Loved the two of them together, the chemistry (no spice, but you can feel the tension), how they get to know each other, how much they are willing to sacrifice for their families and the people they love. The curse was a little ridiculous and annoying, but I get where it’s coming from. The conversations also have some depth, both with each other and with their families, women’s places in Pakistani culture, arranged marriages, traditional versus modern, etc.

I highly recommend Maya’s Laws of Love! And it’s a debut novel, so I can’t wait to see what Alina Khawaja writes next!

Rating: 4.8
Steam: None
Themes and Tropes: Road Trip, Forced Proximity, Enemies(ish) to Lovers, Arranged Marriage
Pair With: Wines that put you in a traveling mood. 

For more reviews, please check out our Reviews page!

Loved it! Luz Alana was smart, witty, driven, and devoted to her family and the people she cares about. She leaves Hispaniola for Europe to grow her family’s rum business after her father dies. Her father–a Scot–left her a trust in Scotland, but she can’t access it without the slimy trustee’s permission or if she marries. 

Evan is gorgeous, sharp, and also devoted to his family and the people who matter to him. He’s built a profitable whiskey business but his dirtbag father, a duke who’s in debt up to his eyeballs, holds the deed and won’t give it up. Evan discovers a way to force the duke’s hand, but he has to marry for it to work. When he hears that the alluring Luz Alana needs a husband…

Overall–loved it! The best thing–chemistry was off the chart from the beginning. They instantly bewitch each other, though neither will admit it. Which leads to my one complaint that comes up a lot in marriage of convenience tropes: neither will admit their feelings even a little bit. Like, I get that you don’t immediately profess your love here, but maybe a “hey, we might enjoy being married to each other” instead of talking about divorce would go well somewhere. That part of the story dragged a bit. It took a little too long to move forward. Love how they stood together against his father, loved how loyal and devoted they are to each other and their families.

Rating: 4.3
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Marriage of Convenience, Entrepreneurial FMC, Revenge, Secrets
Pair With: Caribbean rum

Still going strong on our mission to read every K.A. Tucker book! There’s always some grit and edge, always depth, always interesting characters and more to the plot than just the romance.

Charlie’s a beautiful 18-year-old girl with a psychopathic stepdad who groomed her for a life of drug-dealing and making him a ton of money. When he sends her away to Miami to help with his drug runs, she sees an escape: make some money fast and disappear, away from his control. What better place than a strip club?

When club owner Cain sees Charlie walk in, he’s instantly captivated, which hasn’t happened in a LONG time. He’s always stayed away from the dancers, but there’s something about Charlie. They are the best kind of characters–good people at heart with some serious flaws and horrific luck in the families they got.

The pull and chemistry between them is hot, but there’s so much more to the story than their relationship. Charlie is truly stuck in a terrible situation with her stepdad and no real way out. As the story goes along, you can see how things will resolve, but we still wanted to see how they got there. And there were some surprises too!

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Secrets, Instant Attraction, Age Gap, Crime
Pair With: Miami drinks

Loved it! The two main characters are both adorable and kindhearted souls who just come across so differently. Mary is outgoing, friendly, beautiful, and successful, but she deals with her own insecurities. Chief among them is her age (37), mainly because of her horrific and snotty mother constantly berating her for not being married with children. So when younger-man John makes a comment about her age at their blind date, she’s having none of it and walks out of the restaurant.

Aside from putting his foot in his mouth, John is the sweetest guy who comes across as an absolute d*** (his word) sometimes due to some social awkwardness and his own insecurity around not making much money as a public defender and being left by his dad at a young age.

Mary and John keep getting thrown together and their friendship blooms, with each wanting more but each thinking the other doesn’t. They both keep getting in their own way until something has to give. And it’s so sweet but also sexy, and felt so real between them. Cara Bastone really makes you feel their warmth and how real they are (though maybe they are a little too perfect to be real?), how much you are rooting for them. I felt so warm and happy reading this book, and still smile when I picture Mary and John together.

The only reason it’s not a 5 is that it dragged a bit at the beginning and I wondered if I’d be able to get into it. Clearly, I did, so if it starts off slow, for you, I hope you stick with it and enjoy!

Rating: 4.4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Blind Date, Second Chance, Friends to Lovers, Meddling Mother, New York
Pair With: Cheap beer and lemonade

Really enjoyed it, mainly for the setting and Claudio. Tortured author Grace is mourning her writing partner and trying to write her first book solo. She’s feeling some insecurities and writer’s block, so her agent sends her off to her supposedly empty Tuscan villa for some inspiration. And she finds it in the NOT empty villa, where her agent’s ex-husband, Claudio, and son are living. And she stays…

Hot artist Claudio is drawn to Grace, and she to him, but they decide they shouldn’t do anything about it, at least not right away…the tension is hot and simmering, and there are some GREAT scenes. Claudio and Grace were a little bit of a mismatch, though, like he’s the sophisticated adult and she’s a naive child. He knows who he is and is comfortable with himself, she’s trying to figure out who she is and is almost childlike, then turns into someone who can’t get enough of Claudio.

Rating: 3.8
Steam: Slowish burn, then HIGH
Themes and Tropes: Single dad, writer’s block, Tuscany, slowish burn, opposites attract, family issues
Pair With: Italian wine