What to Read & What to Skip: My August Reading List

Check out the romance books I read this month and discover which I would recommend you read and which romance novels I suggest you skip.

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Discover which romance books you should read and which books you should skip from She Reads Romance Books' August reading list.

This past month I reopened my acupuncture practice since closing it due to the pandemic so I wasn’t sure how much reading I’d fit in but I actually read quite a bit!

Every month I try to read a mixture of romance book new releases and a few that have been on my to be read pile for way too long though this month I actually read quite a few new releases.

I also read at least one book that fits the theme for my Romance Book Reading Challenge (if not more) and try to read one book from an author I’ve never read before.

There wasn’t a consistent romance book trope theme across this month’s picks. Every book was a contemporary romance but they included erotic romance, friends to lovers romance, fake relationship romance, MM romance, college romance and age gap romance.

I haven’t done a reread in a really long time but this month I reread one that I consider one of the best romance novels of all time and it just keeps getting better and better.

Check out my favorites and my not-so favorites books I read below.

My August 2020 Reading List: What to Read & What to Skip

Favorite Book of the Month:

Dance Away With Me is the new romance book release for popular romance book author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips in 2020. This must read contemporary romance novel features two people trying to get a fresh start in the mountains of Tennessee. Fans of Phillips will not be disappointed. Read the book review from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books to see if you’ll find this book worth reading too.

Dance Away With Me
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Published June 2020
A Moving Contemporary Romance
5 Stars

Tess has moved to the wild woods of Tennessee after the death of her husband where she meets a famous street artist, survivalists living in the wild and small-town folk who aren’t keen on outsiders.

I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books until I read this one.

This book just grabbed me from the start and never let go. She weaved in grief, loss, prejudice, ignorance, fear, hope, love and so many other themes and emotions into this story in such a beautiful way. [My Review]

More Books To Read and Those to Skip:

Like Lovers Do is the new romance book release for popular romance book author, Tracey Livesay in 2020. This must read contemporary romance novel features a friends to lovers, fake relationship love story. Read the book review from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books to see if you’ll find this book worth reading too.

Like Lovers Do
by Tracey Livesay

Published August 2020
A Well Written Friends to Lovers Romance
4 stars

Dr. Nicole Allen is about to start a prestigious fellowship but when she disciplines an intern—a powerful donor’s son—her job is placed in jeopardy. 

She’s always been able to depend on her friend and neighbor, Ben. So when he’s willing to have his family intervene on her behalf, Nic decides to help him in return, posing as his fake girlfriend for the week to ward off his ex-fiance.

This was my first Livesay novel and won’t be my last. It was such a well written book featuring a strong heroine and I loved that the friendship group is based off of Livesay’s own close group of girlfriends.

A wonderful friends to lovers romance when a fake relationship is started. Another great romance book of 2020. [Read more]

Related: Fake Relationship Romance Books

A Guy Walks Into  My Bar book cover.

A Guy Walks Into My Bar
by Lauren Blakely

Published August 2020
A Fantastic MM Romance
5 stars

One night a hot NHL hockey player walks into Dean’s London bar and it’s chemistry at first sight. It was only supposed to be a fling but love had other plans.

This book was exactly what I wanted – a light read that was full of steam with a happily ever after. Double bonus that it featured a sexy hockey player who was one heck of a dirty talker and one equally hot Brit who could banter with the best of them.

This was Lauren Blakely’s first MM romance and I look forward to more.

Related: Best MM Romance Books

Drive Me Wild by Melanie Harlow is her latest new romance book release for 2020 featuring a small town romance between the mechanic and the girl he rescues. Read the full book review by popular romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

Drive Me Wild
by Melanie Harlow

Published August 2020
*advanced reader copy
Small Town Romance
4 stars

Griffin’s night out with friends is interrupted when a beautiful woman wrecks her car right in front of them. Not one to leave a stranger in need, he lets her crash at his apartment for one night. Only that one night isn’t enough.

This book had me at sexy mechanic. It’s a small town romance that packs the perfect amount of heat that you can’t resist. Check it out! [Read More]

The Pool Boy book cover

The Pool Boy
by Nikki Sloane

Published August 2020
Age Gap Romance Not for Me
2 stars

Erika is ready to start her new life after catching her husband with his male boss. Who says that it can’t include the twenty-something pool boy?

I had such high expectations from the book synopsis but I now know that I really don’t enjoy age gap romances. I liked how she owned her sexuality but I didn’t care for them together and found the story lacking depth. 

The Perfect First book cover.

The Perfect First
by Maya Hughes

Published April 2019
Perfect Opposites Attract Romance
4 stars

Persephone is a 19 year old genius about to graduate college who’s ready to check off a bunch of “firsts.” Reece, the college’s star receiver, mistakenly walks in on her interviews for candidates to “be her first” and decides to help her with her list.

This is a fun, opposites attract, new adult romance with characters you can’t help but love. Seph is adorable in her quest for experience and self-discovery and Reece is the perfect friend who can’t help but fall for her and her quirks.

Lists Featuring this Book: Best Relationship Coach Romance Books & College Romance Books

Try Me Neve Wilder is a MM gay romance book that is also a friends to lovers and enemies to lovers story. Discover why this is romance novel is worth reading. Book review by romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books

Try Me
by Neve Wilder

Published August 2020
*advanced reader copy
Enemies to Lovers MM Romance
3.5 stars

Marc and Chet’s childhood friendship all but ended when their fathers had a falling.

Now at the same college, they have been able to steer clear of one another until they end up interning at the same law firm. Ever the competitors, the tension to one up each other is turned on, but the sexual tension between them is just as strong.

This is a great friends to enemies to lovers story with a great push-pull dynamic between the characters. Wilder writes great MM romance so check it out! [Read More]

Lists Featuring this Book: College Romance Books

Wicked Billionaire book cover.

Wicked Billionaire
by Sawyer Bennett

Published August 2020
Okay Office Romance
2.5 stars

Declan is a billionaire in the luxury hotel business. Bailey, his housekeeper for the day, overhears him firing his assistant and offers a suggestion, earning her the job as his new replacement – and maybe more.

Wicked Billionaire is book 8 in The Wicked Horse Las Vegas series. While I’ve enjoyed the Wicked Horse books and this spin off series this book didn’t hit the mark. The writing was solid but I didn’t find the story that engaging.

My Personal Bad Boy book cover.

My Personal Bad Boy
by Bethany James

Published September 2016
All-Time Favorite Erotic Romance
5+ stars

Nicole has had enough nights babysitting. She wants to experiment and gain experience and she’s looking for the person who can corrupt her.

I‘ve honestly lost count as to how many times I’ve read this book. It’s only 103 pages so quite the quick read and oh so worth it. The relationship between Nic and Wes is initially just physical but grows to become so much more as her exploration continues. A fabulous erotic romance.

Lists Featuring this Title: Best Romance Novels of All Time & Best Erotic Romance Books

Sinner is a contemporary romance book by popular romance book author, Sierra Simone. This thought provoking romance novel features a friends to lovers story. Read the book review from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books to see if you’ll find this book worth reading too.

by Sierra Simone

Published March 2018
Thought Provoking Yet Bizarre Romance
3 stars

Sean no longer believes in God. So it shouldn’t be a problem that his best friend’s little sister wants him to sleep with her and show her everything she’s giving up because she’s becoming a nun.

I was seriously so back and forth with this book.

I found Simone’s discussion on faith, sex, purity, virginity, religion, philosophy and God so incredibly thought provoking and yet the age gap, insta lust, dirty talk and the whole he’s sleeping with a nun thing a bit much. [Read More]

A Prince on Paper
by Alyssa Cole

Published April 2019
Fake Relationship Romance That Didn’t Grip

Nya no longer believes in Prince Charming so why is she falling for the step-prince of Liechtienbourg when their relationship is only supposed to be fake?

This romance book was my selection for the August Romance Book Reading Challenge where the challenge was to read a fake relationship romance. I was really looking forward to this one and finally reading an Alyssa Cole book but I didn’t feel compelled to finish it.

I actually like the main characters and want to see where their relationship goes but I didn’t care for the story or the writing. It’s probably a case of it’s me, not the book.

Lists Featuring this Title: 2019 Ripped Bodice Award Winners & August Romance Book Reading Challenge

Related: Fake Relationship Romance Books

What was your favorite romance book to read in August 2020? Share below!

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Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

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Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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2 thoughts on “What to Read & What to Skip: My August Reading List”

  1. Did you listen to the A Guy Walks Into My Bar audiobook? It’s such a fantastic production!

    Also, you should absolutely give Alyssa Cole another shot. She has great books 🙂 Maybe try her Historical novellas or The A.I. Who Loved Me! That one was one of my favorite audiobooks of 2019.


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