a second chance romance from Sarina Bowen and holiday romance from Jenny Holiday

Posted October 2, 2022 by Nix in Top Picks / 1 Comment

Welcome to Top Picks. This is a weekly post which features books out this week which have caught my eye.

I have decided to split the list into three; On my List, On my Radar and Caught My eye. The first is those I have every intention of reading. On my Radar feautures books that I have marked on a wishlist, possibly as I am awaiting a price drop or am not up to that book in the series. The last are more one’s I know next to nothing about but have caught my eye for some reason. All books are one’s which I would potentially read.

As always, I do my due diligence on all books I put on here. I don’t recommend books from authors who I know have engaged in awful behaviour or have bigotted views – I chose not to give them my money so you won’t find them on here. If I make a mistake and feature an author who has engaged in bad behaviour, tell me in the comments and the book will be removed.

I don’t read NA. I do not read reverse harem. I also do not read Pandemic romance. Those books will not feature here.

Due to issues with prices, I will no longer be posting RRP’s of these books – the prices I post seem to be accurate for a day so I feel it is completely pointless.

Also, CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER TO GO TO AMAZON PAGE

I really enjoy Sarina Bowen and this one just looks amazing – second chance romances are cat-nip for me.

New from twenty-time USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen!

How to behave when the guy who broke your heart two thousand miles away turns up in your office:

One: Don’t drop your lucky coffee cup in shock, even though it’s been ten years.

Two: Don’t get defensive when he asks how you ended up working his family’s ski mountain… and why you kept it a secret.

Three: Give him the worst room in the resort. He deserves it for suddenly waltzing back in like he owns the place. (Which he kind of does.)

Four, five, six, seven, eight and nine: Do not kiss him in the hot tub.

Ten: Try to keep your heart intact after you break all of your rules.

Because Reed is leaving again. Hate can’t turn back into love. And it’s a little too late

I adore this series – it is holiday happiness in a book. Pre-ordered BUT I probably won’t ready it until after Halloween.

USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday concludes her beloved royal Christmas series with an unforgettable romance about a confident American woman and the strait-laced royal advisor who falls hopelessly in love with her.

Matteo Benz has spent his life serving at the pleasure of the Eldovian crown. His work is his life and his life, well…he doesn’t have much of one. When he is tasked to aid a management consultant who has been flown in to help straighten out the king’s affairs, he is instantly disturbed by her brash American manner—as well by an inconvenient attraction to the brainy beauty.

Cara Delaney is in Eldovia to help clean up the king’s financial affairs, but soon finds herself at odds with the very proper Mr. Benz. As intrigued by his good looks as she is annoyed by his dedication to tradition for its own sake, she slowly begins to see the real man behind the royal throne.

As they work together to return Eldovia to its former glory during the country’s magical Christmas season, Matteo discovers he is falling hopelessly in love with the unconventional American. But a man who has devoted his life to tradition doesn’t change easily. Can he become the man Cara needs, or will their love be another sacrifice to the crown?

I really like Sarah Hogle. This book has gotten a lot of mixed reviews but these books always work for me so I will get it.

From the author of TikTok favourite, You Deserve Each Other, comes a charmingly festive romcom!

Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury . . . before she lost all her money. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media but in reality she’s broke and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with all its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when Bettie plays a vinyl record of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ backward and accidentally conjures up Hall, the Holiday Spirit, in the form of a charming and handsome man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as some of Bettie’s wishes lose their charm, she finds herself thrown off-kilter by Hall’s sweet nature. Suddenly, grumpy Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways return as soon as the holidays are over?

I do like this series but I am not up to date. I will get this book when I catch up.

The third in an adorable witchy rom-com series by New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre, perfect for fans of:

  • The bonds of sisterhood
  • A career-driven heroine who thinks she isn’t marriage material
  • A pan hero who struggles with depression
  • And a shocking family secret

After two failed marriages, Leanne Vanderpol is here for a good time, not for a long time. She only loves the witches in her coven, and she cares more about her career than happily ever after. A difficult past makes her skittish, and she doesn’t trust relationships to stick. But when she decides to run for city council instead of wasting her talents cleaning up messes for the mayor’s office, she fears her past could be used against her. 

Unless she can find the right husband to shore up her political career…

Trevor Montgomery might have peaked in high school. He was popular then, and in college as well, but he partied away his future, met the wrong person, and everything fell apart. Now he’s jobless, dateless, and hopeless, at least according to his toxic family. Then a chance meeting with the redhead of his dreams offers an unexpected ray of light just when he needs it most.

Can a woman who doesn’t believe in forever find true love with a man who’s stopped believing in anything at all?

I love Katee Robert’s writing; I just struggle sometimes with the subject material. After reading the reviews though, I am SURE I will be picking this up.

Lenora made a mistake. She trusted the wrong man, and in a moment of weakness, he stole a family heirloom from her. Her only chance to get it back will be during Samhain, when the Shadow Market opens and magical folk gather for three days to celebrate, and unfortunately she can’t do it alone. She needs a demon.

Ramanu’s entire existence is making bargains. They’re a bargainer demon, after all. They’ve had their eye on Lenora for some time now, so they’re pleased when she summons them to help with her little thief problem…especially because it means spending time in close proximity with her.

Lenora thought she could get away with a bargain that didn’t require seven years of service, but when Ramanu informs her those are the terms, she decides to go it alone…even though the demon wants to tag along to the market. But as the clock ticks down and all Lenora’s attempts to reclaim her amulet fail, making a deal with Ramanu might be the only option she has…

And they might take her heart right along with her soul.

Author’s note: For all tropes, tags, and CWs, please check the author website.

I like Susannah Nix’s STEM romances but haven’t tried much else. I haven’t heard anything about this book but I think I may enjoy it.

Tess McGregor doesn’t need anyone.

So what if she doesn’t have any close friends or family anymore? Her successful consulting business keeps her so busy she barely has time to be lonely. She’s got her life organized exactly the way she wants it.

Until the daughter she gave up for adoption 30 years ago tracks her down.

Tess doesn’t know anything about being a mother, but now that she’s met Erin, she’ll do anything to stay in her life.

Even if it means facing the life-ruining jerk who got Tess pregnant in high school and broke her heart.

Donal Larkin would do anything for a second chance.

He’s divorced, his kids hardly talk to him, and he works so much he barely has time to eat. But when he’s united with the daughter he never had a chance to know, he vows to make up for past mistakes.

Step one is proving to Tess he’s not the same unreliable kid she knew 30 years ago.

And maybe if he’s lucky he can win back the heart of the girl he never got over…

Not Since Ewe is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #4 in the Common Threads series, Seduction in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

I do like Elle Kennedy – she writes fun. light books. I will read this.

Return to Avalon Bay in this sexy second chance story about two exes who can’t stay away from each other . . .

When former bad girl Genevieve West returns home for her mother’s funeral, she’s prepared to keep her distance from her ex-boyfriend, Evan Hartley. Their history is rife with turbulence. And passion. A heck of a lot of passion . . . which she’s trying desperately to forget.

But it’s impossible not to run into Evan in the small coastal town where they once ran wild. And the moment she sees her gorgeous ex again, it’s clear to Gen that Evan is still as unruly, sexy and irresistible as ever. This time around, however, she’s resolved to walk a new path. No more partying. No more foolish mistakes. Her plan is to temporarily remain in town to help her father run his business, but the second he finds somebody else, she’s out of there.

Evan has other ideas. He knows they can be good together, but he just has to convince Genevieve of that, even if it means turning over a new leaf himself. But can a bad reputation ever truly be shed? Do second chances really work? Genevieve and Evan are about to find out.

I really like the sound of this book and the reviews are positive. On the list to watch for reviews from trusted reviewers

Landon Trask is the biggest movie star in the world.
Everyone knows who he is.
Everyone wants a piece of him.
Everyone wants to either be him or be with him.
Any detail or aspect of his private life is voraciously gobbled up by the masses.
Just standing next to him at a red-carpet event is Hollywood Goals.
He’s that kind of famous.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s drop-dead gorgeous, ridiculously talented or that since the death of his wife six years ago, he’s all but turned his back on the very entity that made him famous in the first place.
So, when Landon Trask finds you half-naked in his very private bathroom, snooping through his medicine cabinet, he has every right in the world to assume you’re a stalker and when he shows up on your doorstep the very next day and asks you to dinner, you say, yes.
Imagine my surprise, and monumental disappointment, when Hollywood’s favorite leading man turns out to be a cold, ruthless bastard who all but blackmails me into accepting the indecent proposal of the century—play the role of his girlfriend and shoot to the top of A-lister royalty.
If I accept, he’ll see to it that I’m given the lead role in his latest blockbuster.
And if I refuse, he’s made it clear he’ll use his status as a Hollywood god to see that I never land so much as a laxative commercial again.
When I accept his proposal and agree to his terms, he seems angry.
When he kisses me in public it seems like a fairytale.
When he touches me in private it feels like something else altogether.
It feels dangerous.
Because this business arrangement isn’t just business anymore.
At least not for me.
It’s something else.
Something real.
Something right.
Something that could destroy me if I forget that this is all pretend and let myself fall.

I have always enjoyed Nicole Falls books – this is on the list to read.

Ciji Sinclair’s star is on the rise. As a celebrated interior designer, she’s recently wrapped her first show on CanDo Network. She’s excited to show the world her unique point of view in the world of design, but there’s only one problem…

William Preston is one of CanDo Network’s golden children since the show he co-hosts with his twin brother is a linchpin of the network’s success. He’s rattled by the mere presence of new kid on the block, Ciji, and what her show means for the network.

Two people who start as antagonists unexpectedly end up finding common ground. Once they get past the initial friction, what blossoms between them is simply beautiful.

I have mixed experiences with this author but this one has caught my attention (the cover is part of that) – I shall be checking out the reviews.

From USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a passion- and angst-charged story about a woman caught between a secure relationship and a once-in-a-lifetime spark with her muse.

They say first loves are oftentimes the end of one’s innocence.

Those words couldn’t ring truer for Everlynne Lawson, whose first brush with romance came with a heartbreak…and the thing that seems to follow her everywhere she goes. Death.

After a great tragedy, Everlynne loses all she cares about—her dreams, her family, and her soulmate, Joe.

Guilt-ridden, Everlynne decides to isolate herself in Salem, Massachusetts. A shell of the woman she once was, she takes her days one at a time, careful not to allow herself the joy she believes others in her life were robbed of. But when the mysterious, handsome Dominic storms into her life, it becomes more difficult to stay in solitude. Dominic is different: adventurous, joyous, with lust for life and a passion to make her his.

Everlynne is on the cusp of reinventing herself once again when the old wounds of her past are resurrected, rawer than ever. There is nothing worse than being in love with two men.

Especially when one of them hates you.

Small town romance is another of my cat-nip tropes… definitely one that I will keep my eye on.

It all started with one little dare…
With her older brother’s best friend.
A small town, second-chance romance from NY Times Best Selling Author Samantha Chase


One year ago, Arianna Donovan and Will Jameson met on a dare and spent a perfect 24 together before going their separate ways. She thought they would stay in touch, but he disappeared without a word.

Arianna thought she’d moved on. But when Will shows up at a family dinner with her older—and very protective—brother, she’s angry and confused. How could he possibly forget to mention that he was friends with her brother? No one knows about their past and Arianna wants to keep things that way. No matter how tempting Will is.

When he walked away a year ago, Will thought it was for the best. Staying away from Arianna was the smart thing to do, especially with how protective her older brother—his friend and fellow soldier—can be. Time and distance will work wonders when you’re trying to stay away from someone. Now that he’s seen her again, he forgets all about doing the smart thing. He’ll just have to first convince her to let go of her anger and give him another chance.

Will isn’t above playing the nostalgia card, and when he challenges Arianna to a sexy game of truth or dare, she can’t resist. Neither one is ready to tell the world what they’re doing, but how long can they possibly keep things a secret when there are Donovans ready to meddle around every corner?

*Each book in the Donovans series can be read as a standalone*

I am so behind on this series but I do find it completely enticing … I will catch up at some point.

Discover an all-new adventure in USA Today Bestselling author Amanda Bouchet’s thrilling, white-hot fantasy series featuring the king’s younger sister and his best friend, the man she’s loved in secret for years.

THE WAR OF GODS IS JUST BEGINNING

After centuries of conflict, the three kingdoms of Thalyria have finally been reunited. But now the queen has been cursed, the royal lineage has been broken, and no one knows who’s behind the plot to threaten the once-fractured realm’s fragile new peace.

Desperate to help, Jocasta—the king’s younger sister and a gifted healer—hatches a daring plan to find Circe’s Garden, a fabled island where she hopes to discover an antidote. But she can’t do it alone. She needs the strong arm and unflinching bravery of the warrior she’s loved since childhood—her brother’s right-hand-man and captain of the guard, Flynn of Sinta.

Flynn has spent years fighting to deny the desperate longing burning between them, but he cannot allow Jocasta to face this danger alone. He swears he will be her shield, and together they will do the impossible. Yet with old feelings blazing bright and treachery brewing on Mount Olympus, one thing is clear: Thalyria and its new royals are still pawns in an epic game of power—one that might end in a War of Gods.

The Kingmaker Chronicles:

A Promise of Fire (Book 1)

Breath of Fire (Book 2)

Heart on Fire (Book 3)

A Curse of Queens (A Kingmaker Chronicles novel, Book 1)

Readers are raving about the Kingmaker Chronicles:

I am so behind on this series – on the list.

In Thorne Manor there is one locked door. Behind it lies a portal to the twenty-first century, and nothing is going to stop Miranda Hastings from stepping through. After all, she is a Victorian writer of risqué pirate adventures—traveling to the future would be the greatest adventure of them all.

When Miranda goes through, though, she lands in Georgian England…and in the path of Nicolas Dupuis, a privateer accused of piracy. Sheltered by locals, Nico is repaying their kindness by being their “pirate Robin Hood,” stealing from a corrupt lord and fencing smuggled goods on the village’s behalf.

Miranda embraces Nico’s cause, only to discover there’s more to it than he realizes. Miranda has the second sight, and there are ghosts at play here. The recently deceased former lord is desperate to stop his son from destroying his beloved village. Then there’s the ghost of Nico’s cabin boy, who he thought safe in a neighboring city. Miranda and Nico must solve the mystery of the boy’s death while keeping one step ahead of the hangman.

It may not be the escapade Miranda imagined, but it is about to be the adventure of a lifetime.

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