My April 2024 Reading List: What to Read and What to Skip in Romance

Tune in to today’s episode of the She Reads Romance Books Podcast to hear which romance books I read this past month and what I really thought of them, or you can view the list below.

I’ll tell you which I highly recommend you read and which I think you should probably skip. I have a lot to recommend this month as I cranked through quite a few books so tune in to see what made my list.

Episode 51: My April 2024 Reading List

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Episode Notes:

Hey readers! Welcome back to the She Reads Romance Books Podcast. So happy you’re joining me today for one of my faovrite episodes to put together which is my reading list of the month to talk about the books I read and which I recommend you read and those I think you might want to pass on.

But before we get to the list – I just have to share that this past weekend I saw the Indigo Girls in concert. Now I am totally dating myself because I had first seen the indigo girls about twenty years ago and it was really cool to see them again.

And I have to say Amy and Emily were just cranking it out. These are two women in their sixties I think and still traveling the country doing what they love and what they’ve been doing since they were in grade school together. I think that’s pretty cool to still be enjoying their passion after all these years and I hope I can say the same in another twenty years myself.

That I’m doing what I love – reading romance- and sharing my passion with other readers like yourself. It would be awesome to still be getting together with other readers for the She Reads Romance Books Book Club well into my sixties. I’d love it!

I also want to remind you that we are reading Nine Month Contract as our May 2024 selection for the She Reads Romance Books Book Club. Be sure to join the Club to grab my discussion guide and later this month join me and the other members for our virtual book club meeting and again later this month for our online chat with Amy Daws. It’s going to be awesome!

OK onto the books that I read in April and I read a lot people. Ovall 14 books this month which is not too shabby. I attribute that to the 6 books I read while we were on spring break. Man, do I love just cranking through books while I’m at the pool or the beach.

It’s funny because one day while I was walking the beach I saw a woman reading Caught Up by Liz Tomforde and I of course had to interrupt her and ask her how she’s liking it and talk shop. So fun.

Since I have 14 books to talk about let’s get to it with the first book I read this month which was The Trail of Lost Hearts by Tracey Garvis Graves.

The Trail of Lost Hearts is one of the new romance book releases coming March 2024. See all that's new in romance on She Reads Romance Books.

The Trail of Lost Hearts
by Tracy Garvis Graves

This book was on my list of most anticipated new romance books for 2024 and it released at the end of March so I was happy to snag a copy at my local library before we took off on vacay. I was excited to read it because I had yet to read this author before even though On The Island has been on my TBR list forever.

I also wanted to read it because I thought it was a unique story about two characters who meet while geocaching. Here’s what it’s about:

When the world delivers two life-altering blows, Wren Waters just wants to put the whole heartbreaking mess behind her and starts disappearing into the world of geocaching. She decides that a weeklong solo quest geocaching in Oregon is exactly what she needs to take back control of her life but then she runs into fellow hiker, Marshall Hendricks, struggling with a life-altering blow of his own.

When Wren and Marshall partner up to look for additional caches, their platonic road trip gradually blossoms into something deeper.

As I said, I really enjoyed the story hook about geocaching and I liked that Wren and Marshall meet on a hiking trail as these are the best parts of this book. Their respective backstories were very interesting as well.

However, the writing felt a bit forced and the story line once they were off the trail went a bit sideways for me. I can appreciate that they formed a strong attachment and connection to one another after just a week on the trail but they didn’t really learn THAT much about each other to be able to make some serious decisions later in the book.

Wren pretty much told Marshall to make an all or nothing decision after some major changes were shared and I just didn’t think that was a realistic ask of him after they only spent a week together. I didn’t care for that OMG discovery in the second part of the book though it might not bother other readers.

If you’re a fan of this author’s work then I’d recommend it. It just didn’t quite meet my expectations.

The next book that I read by the pool, it was glorious, was The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center.

The Rom-Commers is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

The Rom-Commers
by Katherine Center

This is her upcoming office romance, forced proximity romance that will release June 11 and here’s what it’s about:

Emma Wheeler desperately longs to be a screenwriter. She’s spent her life studying, obsessing over, and writing romantic comedies—good ones! That win contests!

But she’s also been the sole caretaker for her kind-hearted dad, who needs full-time care. Now, when she gets a chance to re-write a script for famous screenwriter Charlie Yates—The Charlie Yates! Her personal writing god!—it’s a break too big to pass up.

Emma’s younger sister steps in for caretaking duties, and Emma moves to L.A. for six weeks for the writing gig of a lifetime. But what is it they say? Don’t meet your heroes? Charlie Yates doesn’t want to write with anyone—much less “a failed, nobody screenwriter.”

Worse, the romantic comedy he’s written is so terrible it might actually bring on the apocalypse. Plus! He doesn’t even care about the script—it’s just a means to get a different one green-lit. Oh, and he thinks love is an emotional Ponzi scheme.

But Emma’s not going down without a fight. She will stand up for herself, and for rom-coms, and for love itself. She will convince him that love stories matter—even if she has to kiss him senseless to do it. But . . . what if that kiss is accidentally amazing?

What if real life turns out to be so much . . . more real than fiction? What if the love story they’re writing breaks all Emma’s rules—and comes true?

Let me just say that this is my new favorite Katherine Center book! A rom-com about rom-coms that hit with all the feels and it’s one of the best of the year. So just trust me and go on and buy it.

It’s been a no-brainer to pick up Katherine Center’s new romance each and every year but The Rom-Commers is absolutely my favorite of her work and such a love letter to readers who love romance and movie-goers who love rom-coms.

I actually got to talk to Katherine for an upcoming episode of the She Reads Romance Books Podcast which you are definitely going to want to tune into because she was just so much fun to talk to and we could have continued talking for hours I think. That will be dropping later this month AND if you are a Book Club member you’ll also get access to my extended, exclusive video interview that shares a lot more.

But in The Rom-Commers I adored Emma’s staunch love and defense of the beloved rom-com in cinema but it is truly the characters and central message that love and gratitude is what makes the world go round that made this one of the best of the year.

I am a romance book lover and rom-com lover at heart and this book felt like such a fun defense of everything that I love about reading and watching romcoms.

Too often I feel like I have to defend this love of the genre to others who feel like it’s an inferior genre so I was cheering Emma on when she was defending and schooling Charlie on the merits of rom-coms and why they are just as valid as a thriller or action movie.

And if that doesn’t convince you to read it then read it to meet Emma’s Dad. Oh man do I love this man and his attitude towards life. He’s a small, secondary character with a big impact.

I don’t want to go into it more for fear of just talking the day away but you can check out my review for more. Check out my book review of The Rom-Commers.

Next on my list was Once Persuaded, Twice Shy by Melodie Edwards – another new author to me and another book I snagged from the library.

Once Persuaded, Twice Shy is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Once Persuaded, Twice Shy
by Melodie Edwards

I love jane Austen retellings and this is a modern retelling of Persuasion which released this past February. I recently rewatched the Persuasion movie with Dakota Johsnon so the storyline was fresh and center and I really enjoyed this novel. Here’s what it is about:

When Anne Elliott broke up with Ben Wentworth, it seemed like the right thing to do . . . but now, eight years later, she’s not so sure.

In her scenic hometown of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Anne is comfortable focusing on her successful career: filling her late mother’s shoes as town councilor and executive director of her theater company. She certainly keeps busy as the all-around wrangler of eccentric locals, self-centered family members, elaborate festivals, and the occasional attacking goose. 

But the more she tries to convince herself that her life is fine as is, the more it all feels like a show—and not nearly as good as the ones put on by her theater company. She’s the always responsible Anne, always taken for granted and cleaning up after other people, and the memories of happier times with Ben Wentworth still haunt her.

So when the nearby Kellynch Winery is bought by Ben’s aunt and uncle, Anne’s world is set ablaze as her old flame crashes back into her life—and it’s clear he hasn’t forgiven her for breaking his heart.

A joint project between the winery and Anne’s theater forces both Ben and Anne to confront their complicated history, and as they spend more time together, Anne can’t help but wonder if there might be hope for their future after all.

So we have this bookshelf when you first walk into our public library that has all the new fiction titles on it. And my library has been getting more and more new romance titles so I’m always quickly scanning this bookshelf whenever I go inside and this was just one of those “I saw it at the library so grabbed it books” and I’m so glad I did.

I have not read the Jane Austen classic but have watched the movie as I said and I thought this was a fantastic modern retelling and wonderful second chance romance. If you’re a fan of the classic, I think you’ll enjoy it.

I thought the writing was fantastic and totally swept me into the story. This won’t be my last by the author. I think she has a modern retelling of Jane Eyre you can also check out but I hope she has more Austen retellings in the works.

My next book was Moon Touched by Elizabeth Briggs.

Moon Touched is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Moon Touched
by Elizabeth Briggs

I was just craving a werewolf romance and I definitely enjoyed this one which is book one in her Zodiac Wolves series. I love books that are based on the zodiac signs as that always adds a unique twist to the storyline I think. In this book the different packs are based on different zodiac signs but here’s what it’s about:

As the half-human outcast of the Cancer pack, I’ve been beaten and bullied my whole life. Gaining my wolf form and my fated mate is my only chance to change packs and hope for a better life.

Except when my fated mate is revealed, he’s the future alpha of the Leo pack—our worst enemies. He rejects me in front of everyone, just before the Leos slaughter my entire pack and murder my family.

I manage to escape, but then I’m kidnapped by a far greater threat: the alpha of the mysterious lost pack. The 13th sign was banished from the Zodiac Wolves years ago, and I thought they were just a myth.

They’re real. They’re holding me captive. And the dark, dangerous alpha is offering me something I can’t refuse—revenge.

This book follows a popular formula for some werewolf romances that includes a girl bullied by her pack and then rejected by her fated mate but of course there’s more to the girl than meets the eye.

I thought this was a good first book to a series that builds up the world of the various packs, and what Ayla was living through. As I said, it totally fits a formula but has it’s uniqueness and I think it would hook you to continue on with the series so worth checking out if you like werewolf romances – especially since it’s available to read on Kindle Unlimited which is why I decided to give it a go since Briggs was a new author to me.

My next book had some steam to it and that was The Anti-Hero by Sara Cate.

The Anti-Hero is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

The Anti-Hero
by Sara Cate

I decided to read this one since it’s the first book in her Good Brothers series. I was thinking I’d read book two which came out this month, The Home-Wrecker, but I think I have to be in the right mood and frame of mind to read that one which is about a married couple and has some cheating etc or what I think may be cheating and so I decided to stick with just this one for now.

It’s a fake relationship romance available to read in Kindle Unlimited and it’s  about Adam Goode, the oldest son of a local preacher of a mega church in Austin Texas. He’s lived his entire live with the goal of taking over his father’s church so he’s lived a life on the straight and narrow. But his father is a total douchebag and narcissist.

The type of person I really cannot stand in how they wield their power. He was the type of guy who would shame people and talk about the wicked ways of people who attend sex clubs on the pulpit and yet he was the person cheating on his wife and attending the club every night.

One day Adam meets this tattoo covered, pink-haired, nose ring and lip ring-wearing woman at his favorite diner and gets to talking with her. She gives him a card to her club Pink and he decides to try and find her there one night only realizing it’s a sex club and seeing his father there with another woman which flips his world upside down.

Sage also realizes that her boyfriend, the owner of the club is a complete douchebag who she works for but who never takes her seriously. So she dumps his ass. And what better way than to get back at her ex and for Adam to get back at his father and ruin his reputation than to pretend to date each other and create adult tapes that they post online.

Honestly, I really didn’t understand Adam’s logic that by becoming this online porn star he’ll ruin his dad’s reputation but whatever they went with it and I went with it.

Their scenes were pretty hot and it became obvious that despite being so different on the outside, they really fit and started falling for each other. They also explored this idea of degredation kink which Sage loved and really pushed Adam’s boundaries.

I liked the book and am glad I read it but something kept me from really sinking into these characters. It felt like I was reading something taboo for taboo sake but maybe felt a bit forced but overall it was well-written and had an interesting hook. Check it out if it interests you.

The next book I listened to on audiobook while we were driving to our vacation and again back home. I had to be SUPER careful my car’s Bluetooth didn’t pick up the book because it has some steamy scenes. I’m talking about Good Girl Fail by Roni Loren which was actually on my list of most anticipated new romance books of 2023 and I finally got to read/listen to it.

Good Girl Fail is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Good Girl Fail
by Roni Loren

I’m such a fan of Roni Loren’s books and before her recent contemporary reads she wrote more erotic romance and this book was a return to those roots a bit. It’s a new adult romance set in college where O’Neal enrolls as a freshman, cut off from her grandparents who raised her since her mother was killed when she was in Kindergarten.

They raised her under the strictest household, not wanting her to grown up like her “party girl mother” which was not true and they swung the pendulum in the complete oppositie direction – having her attend a Catholic school, never letting her date, not even letting her use tampons. Crazy train.

But when she applies for a public college and gets a full ride, she bucks their orders to attend the local all girls college hence she’s cut off. So there’s O’Neal, this innocent girl who’s thrown into taking care of herself and navigating the world of dating and going to class by herself until her best friend’s older brother Auden is told by his mother to check on O’Neal and make sure she’s OK.

Auden and his roommate and best friend Lennox help O’Neal move in and tell her to contact them if she ever needs them or gets into trouble. Auden definitely takes the big brother approach even though he and O’Neal kissed once in the past and she’s not having it. But when she gets drunk at a club and they boys come to rescue her she asks Auden to be her teacher and help her navigate what it means to be with a guy and to take her virginity.

I love the relationship coach trope and this definitely fits but it’s also a look into how young adults discover and try to reconcile their desire for specific kink when society makes them feel shameful for those desires. That is honestly the best part about this book is the exploration and discussions between these three characters about what they like and how to they feel about it and exploring those desires with one another. And of course in doing so there are several very hot, very steamy scenes where were fantastic.

I liked O’Neal and her desire to learn and experience life without people restricting her or telling her how to feel or how to act. Auden was a great hero and I appreciated his struggle with his kink and how he didn’t want to corrupt O’Neal. I actually liked Lennox the best. He just had this calm, wise beyond his years vibe and he is really what brought everyone together. He was my favorite.

I agree with other reviewers that the storyline about O’Neal’s mother was kind of unnecessary for how long it went on considering the ending was kind of lackluster from what I was expecting and there is a bit of instalove that I didn’t quite by into.

I mean, I would have been find with them just admitting that they wanted a relationship together but I didn’t need them professing their love to one aother but regardless I still really enjoyed this book and recommend it if you’re open to a steamy, college romance that explores kink and is MMF romance.

The next book is another I read on Kindle Unlimited and that is Tempting Promises by Corrine Michaels.

Tempting Promises is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Tempting Promises
by Corrine Michaels

I think this might be my first Corinne Michaels read which is surprising to me but I think so…it’s an enemies to lovers romance which is why I picked it because one of the challenges for the April 2024 romance book reading challenge was to read a book in a favorite trope and I love enemies to lovers!!

I have to admit though that when I sat down to think about this epsidoe and this list, I couldn’t remember this book or even picture the book cover and that is not a good sign so here’s what it’s about to refresh my memory and maybe yours if you’re new to it:

What’s the worst thing you could do when you’re stranded in the woods with your rival? Sleep with him. That’s what. Not only is Rowan Whitlock my sister’s ex, but we’re both vying for the contract that would save my family farm.

So why did it have to be Rowan who came to the rescue after I fell on a remote hiking trail? When the weather turned unexpectedly, we were forced to find shelter and ride out the storm. Only that wasn’t the only thing I ended up riding.

We promise ourselves what happens at the cabin stays at the cabin, but when we get back to Sugarloaf, it’s impossible to stay away from him. Those blue eyes captivate me, his strong body comforts me, and he makes me feel beautiful. Which is crazy, right?

If only my stupid head would listen and stop this before my heart gets involved, but I keep going back because I’m already in too deep. I should’ve known that the temptation wasn’t worth the risk because when it all falls apart, our promises are broken, and I’m afraid my heart will never recover.

Overall I would say that I recommend it if you love enemies to lovers, forced proximity romances where two people are snowed in together and if you like hot cowboys.

It was no secret in their small town that Charlotte did not like Rowan Whitlock ever since her sister said that he cheated on her. Turns out that wasn’t true as they were just hooking up but Charlotte being the good sister always turned her nose up at Rowan and didn’t hold back on the hate.

She’s trying to run her family farm that she took over, that neighbors Rowan’s farm but she’s losing money and on the verge of losing the farm itself. They both are going after the same contract to sell their milk but in midst of their work they go off on a weekend with friends into the mountains only for the two of them to get stranded in a snow and ice storm.

Luckily they hold up in a remote cabin for 5 days and the only thing better to do is get it on despite their hate for one another. Once they are rescued they can’t seem to stop making excuses to continue hooking up.

This was a good read. Your typical enemies to lovers romance and I liked how they still nagged at each other after finally admitting that they fell in love with one another. I didn’t really fall for either character myself but doesn’t mean that I didn’t mind reading it. I’d recommend it if you like hot cowboys. It is Book 3 in whitlock family series but I read it as a standalone and had no problems.

Next up I got to sink my teeth into a new romantasy as I’m on the hunt for the next big romantasy book before Onyx Storm releases in January! It’s another book on my most anticipated new romance books of 2024 list which was A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jensen that I also snagged from the library. Score!

A Fate Inked in Blood is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

A Fate Inked in Blood
by Danielle L. Jensen

Here is what it’s about:

Bound in an unwanted marriage, Freya’s life is upended when her husband betrays her to the region’s jarl, landing her in a fight against his son, Bjorn. To survive, Freya must reveal her deepest secret: she is a shield maiden with magic capable of repelling any attack.

Believing he’s destined to rule Skaland as king, the fanatical jarl binds Freya with a blood oath and orders Bjorn to protect her from their enemies. Desperate to prove her strength, Freya must train to fight and learn to control her magic, but her greatest test may be resisting her forbidden attraction to Bjorn.

Danielle L. Jensen is well know for her Bridge Kingdom series so I knew going into this one that this writer had the chops for fantasy romance.

I really loved that this book which launches a brand-new series, is based on Norse mythology. I thought that was super cool and unique pulling in those gods and maybe others I’m not sure.

Right from the start Jensen wrote a really great opening. You instantly hated Freya’s husband and could sympathize with her plight. The meet cute with Bjorn was perfect and their attraction instantaneous. I guess I should have known what was coming next given the book summary but it was still unsettling and unnerving about how it would end and why it led to Bjorn being tasked with staying close to Freya.

Bjorn was the best part of this book for me. While somewhat of an enigma, he became devoted to Freya’s safety and wanted more for her than her supposed fate as told by a prophecy. I loved how his care for her was so apparent even though she was married to his father. He was never far and always the protector.

My overall opinion of Freya might be a product of listening to the audiobook. The narrator’s accent did give a Norse feel but man could Freya act like an ass and just be downright annoying though I think this was because of the narration.

I’m always a fan of fantasy romance books with strong heroines and she is definitely strong and smart. She believes in familial loyalty almost to a fault however which is why I’m glad she had Bjorn in her corner.

Sometimes the first book of a new series can just feel like a bunch of world building which this had but it also felt like a complete book which I was grateful for. It still does end on a cliffhanger and I’ll definitely be picking up book two when it releases.

I recommend this book if you love epic fantasy romance series, devoted heroes, or Norse mythology. It’s definitely worth picking up.

I was in the mood for a hockey romance because who doesn’t love a good hockey romance so I read Breakaway by Grace Reilly since it was available on Kindle Unlimited.

Breakaway is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Breakaway
by Grace Reilly

It is a spicy, coach’s daughter, college sports romance, second in the Beyond the Play series, but I have not read the first in the series and didn’t have a problem. Here’s what it is about:

Cooper: As a pro-bound college athlete with a good-time reputation, I usually have my pick of puck bunnies. But lately, I’ve been in a dry spell that feels more like a curse, and the stress is affecting my game—the one thing that can’t happen if I’m going to make team captain, and eventually the NHL.

Enter Penny Ryder. She’s my coach’s daughter, but the moment she pulls me into that ice rink closet, she’s the one thing on my mind besides hockey. She has a sex bucket list, and each item on it confirms we’re kindred spirits in the bedroom. If I say yes, I’ll be relaxed on the ice again—but if her dad finds out, I’ll be forced to say goodbye to being captain and finally earning my own father’s approval.

Penny: Thanks to the ex from hell, I’m a long way from being ready for a relationship—but it’s time to reclaim my agency, one long-sought-after experience in bed at a time.

Enter Cooper Callahan. He’s my dad’s star defenseman; an arrangement with him will mean keeping yet another major secret from my father. But the agreement we strike is simple: secret friends-with-benefits until he makes captain…and I cross off everything on my list, so I can finally move on from the incident that ruined both my life and my figure skating career.

Yet the longer our connection goes on, the more we trust each other, and the less I want to say goodbye. I know love leads to heartbreak, but what if it can also clear the ice for a breakaway?

This was my first read by Grace Reilly and I’ll definitely read more.  I liked that this book brought a hot hockey player who’s game was suffering because of his high-strung temper who was looking to get himself some to relax, with the former ice skater who was trying to gain her confidence back in the bedroom.

They were a perfect match for one another only Penny was Cooper’s hockey coach’s daughter making her a bit off-limits. That didn’t keep their hands off each other for long.

At first I was a bit caught off guard by how in your face Penny is with her bedroom desires and this book is pretty much one bedroom scene after another but I think that’s because I went into it with the expectation that this was a girl who was maybe shy or naïve and wanted someone to help her check all the boxes off of her list but that wasn’t Penny at all.

And I’m actually glad that Reilly didn’t go in that direction like so many relationship coach books. It really wasn’t about him coaching her at all. It was just him being a willing and able body to do all the things she’s always wanted to try.

Penny was a woman who embraced her sexuality and her sexual desires. She was someone who wanted to try IT ALL – but she had some PTSD that was keeping her from trying anything with someone and even preventing her from bringing on her own orgasms. So I liked that there was no shaming in what she wanted to do.

I did have a problem with Cooper announcing to several of their peers that he was her bedroom teacher. I mean, it’s none of their business and you shouldn’t be just sharing that with your roommates, siblings or teammates at random. But whatever, Penny didn’t seem to care.

She was just psyched that he was willing to do whatever was on her list and her list was comprehensive let me tell you. We even got extra kinky scenes in the epilogues maybe because Reilley was like oh I forgot to have them do this.

I can’t believe that I actually started skimming the spicy scenes because there were a lot so if you don’t like steamy books then you’ll want to skip this one.

This is probably the 10th book I’ve read in the last two weeks where the hero calls the heroine his “good girl” so there’s that too. What is it with that phrase these days??

I actually don’t mind it and if you don’t either and If you like hockey romances, new adult college romances or just want to read about someone exploring her interests in the bedroom, then check this one out.

Next up was another hockey romance and a book with all the tropes – nanny, forced proximity, age gap, and more bedroom lessons – OMG and that is Learn Your Lesson by Kandi Steiner which just released.

Learn Your Lesson is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Learn Your Lesson
by Kandi Steiner

I don’t know if you caught my podcast episode where I talked with Kandi about this new release and she gave us the inside scoop. It was so fun to talk with her and I was already chomping at the bit to read this but after that interview I was so ready and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s what it is abut if you didn’t catch that episode:

My mother only wanted me to learn one lesson growing up…Men are trash. Her father left her, and then my father left us. Being raised by her and my grandmother, I was surrounded by the reminder to be independent and guard my heart.

After my one and only experience with a boy in college fell flatter than a pancake, I realized they were right — and I was content to live the life of a twenty-six-year-old cat lady. Until Will Perry blew my quiet world to smithereens.

Starting goalie for the Tampa Bay Ospreys and the kind of hot that scrambles your brain, all I was ever supposed to be to him was his daughter’s kindergarten teacher. Then, in a twist of events, his temporary nanny. But temporary turns to permanent, and when I move into his pool house, everything changes.

He’s impossibly grumpy and focused on only two things: hockey, and taking care of his daughter. I’m only focused on using this new income to pay back my student loans. But in that house, I feel his heated gaze beneath that permanent scowl, the way it lingers and warms my skin. And though I know my mother would lose her mind if she knew, my dreams have become midnight fantasies about my long-haired, muscle-lined mystery of a boss.

When the tension becomes too much, we break, and we make a deal. He still needs a nanny. I still need a paycheck and for my matriarchy to not disown me. But Will agrees to teach me everything I’ve always wanted to learn, and I’m all too eager to be his student. I can do this.

I’m a grown woman. I can explore my curiosities with the hottest goalie on earth and still remain one-hundred percent professional. And I can definitely do it all without catching feelings.

I have to. Otherwise, I’ll end up heartbroken in my mother’s arms while she shakes her head and asks me if I’ll ever learn my lesson.

I adored Learn Your Lesson. It’s available in Kindle Unlimited so if you love hockey romances or any of the tropes I mentioned earlier, then I highly recommend it. Kandi balances the sweet with the spicy in this one.

Both Daddy P and Chloe really needed a bit of lovin in their lives but when Chloe shares that she really doesn’t have a lot of experience and he volunteers to show her anything she wants, gah!!! Man do I love teaching books.

Sometimes kids in roance books can be hit or miss for me but I adored Ava. She was the spittin image of her dad and she kindof broke my heart at the beginning but her transformation was everything. Her saying to get through life was adorable and yet heartwretchind whenever she first shared it.

This is book three in her Kings of the Ice series and can be read as a standalone. I think it’s my favorite of the series so far – highly recommend!

One Last Summer by Kate Spencer is the next book I read which is on my list of must-read summer romance books for 2024.

One Last Summer is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

One Last Summer
by Kate Spencer

I actually just spoke with Kate last week about this upcoming release that drops in June so stay tuned for that podcast episode coming very soon but here’s what the book is about:

Clara Millen’s life is spiraling out of control: her dream job is a nightmare, she’s resoundingly single, and it’s been years since she’s taken some time off. Thankfully, the last problem she can fix—this year she’ll join her friends on their annual summer vacation to their beloved childhood sleepover camp for a much-needed escape.

But when Clara arrives at Pine Lake Camp, she faces yet another unwelcome change: the owners are retiring and selling the property. The news turns her plans for revelry into a night of reminiscing . . . and prompts a surprise heart-to-heart between Clara and Mack, her old camp nemesis and constant competitor, who’s still just as annoying (and annoyingly handsome). 

Soon the campfires aren’t all that’s throwing off sparks. And when one wildly passionate night turns into two (then too many to count!), Clara begins to wonder if she and Mack could have a future together. But when Clara’s boss finally offers her everything she’s worked so hard for, Clara will need to decide if the life she’s always wanted is the life that makes her feel truly alive. 

I fell in love with Kate Spencer’s debut novel, In a New York Minute, which released in 2022 I believe so I was beyond excited to read her second book, One Last Summer and it did not disappoint.

If you’re looking for a book to make you nostalgic for youthful summers spent at summer camp or a book to inspire you to finally seize the life you’ve always wanted then this is it.

I think a lot of readers, including myself, may be able to identify with Clara. You’re almost in mid-life and realize that your life isn’t necessarily falling into the plan you had set for yourself. She however has a letter from her younger self that shows her just how off the mark her current life is and it throws her in a tailspin.

Throw in a bit of work burnout and a “forced” opportunity to spend a week with her friends and Clara finds herself trying to relive the fun of her summer camp days one last time.

While I never had the whole sleepover camp experience, this book made me nostalgic for it and jealous of something that I could have had in my life. I’d be up for a summer of sleeping in cabins, participating in relay races and competitions, swimming in the lake and exploring nature if I got to do it with a group of friends who would stick with me for years to come.

Clara is lucky to have that friend group and yet I could also understand how she let those friendships take a back seat to her job and her relationship. Only being forced to spend the week with them did she realize what she’d been doing and what she’d been missing.

So for me one of the best parts of this book, in addition to the camp nostalgia, is Clara’s awareness of how her life has gotten off the rails from overworking and living in such a sterile apartment with no joy in her life that she could identify.

Seeing her reflect on her priorities and make changes was fun though I’m not sure I’d check off that last box of hers in quite the same way she did!

Returning to her summer camp of youth put her in front of her camp crush Mack and I was all over their connection from the start. I’m glad that Spencer didn’t draw out their romance but jumped us right in so that they could work through their own issues. Both of them could really use some work on their communication skills but they seemed to thrive off the competitive nature of their relationship and the antagonism.

I liked their chemistry together even if they really needed to work on their communication which made their romance a great addition to the story and Clara’s transformation.

Another piece to this story that I loved was the setting. I lived in Boston for over twenty years so I could easily picture downtown Beantown where Emma lived and worked. You could tell that Spencer either lived or visited Boston and definitely spent some time in the Public Gardens.

The lakes in New Hampshire are so beautiful so New Hampshire was a great choice to locate the camp. I once spent a retreat weekend at a camp location in New Hampshire so it was easy to imagine Pine Lake Camp in my head.

This is definitely a great summer romance to read if you’d like to escape to New Hampshire on a staycation in a book. I highly recommend.

Check out my book review of One Last Summer.

The next book I tried to read was The Idea of You by Robinne Lee because the movie dropped just last week and I’m always up for a rock star romance.

The Idea of You is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

The Idea of You
by Robinne Lee

I love Anne Hathaway and knew that I wanted to watch it but wanted ot check out the book first because the book is always better when it comes to adaptations, right? Here’s what it’s about if you’re not familiar with it yet:

Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle.

The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami.

For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.

Ok so I’ll start by saying I haven’t finished the book. The writing is good but I just wasn’t feeling the story to be honest. It was hard to really feel for and like the characters so I put it down for now.

It’s in Kindle Unimited which is why I decided to try and quickly read it before the movie and so maybe I’ll circle back to it but eh…I’m good for now.

This next book is a young adult romance that someone said was the best book they read in 2024 so I’m like, I’m game to see if that’s the case. The book is Not Made to Last by Jay McLean which released earlier this month.

Not Made to Last is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Not Made to Last
by Jay McLean

Here’s what it is about:

Olivia: Rhys Garrett—recent high school graduate, ex-captain of the basketball team, and my brother’s rival both on and off the court. Oh, and he’s also the guy I just hit with my truck. To be fair, he had it coming. Why else was he dressed in all black, in the middle of the night, if not to hide out amongst the darkness?

Rhys: I wasn’t looking where I was going or what was around me. I didn’t even see the headlights. Just felt the impact. And I thought, as strange as it was, that getting hit by a car may be the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Until I opened my eyes…and she told me her name.

Some might call it fate, destiny, kismet…A collision of souls. One night. One chance encounter. The problem? One night wasn’t enough. But the more time we spent together, the more truths came to light. And soon, we’d discover that what we once thought was meant to be…is not made to last.

Ok well, I’ll just say that it will not make my list of best romance books of 2024. This has good writing which many Jay McLean books do, but the story just jumps around a lot and gets confusing. It starts off really interesting but then it just veers off where I’m like – what point is this book trying to make. I’m so confused.  

This is also the second Jay McLean book that has a trigger warning I ALWAYS steer clear of. It doesn’t come up until much later in the book but still.

Did I care for this found family and totally adore the little brother Max? Absolutely. Did I like the tie in with The Count of Monte Cristo? Yes I did. But as a complete story, I think it could have been a lot tighter might be the right suggestion?

I’d say if you like Jay McLean books then definitely read it. If not well, unless you want a heavy young adult romance that just jumps a bit then I say just pass.

The last book I read this month is on my list of best romance books of 2024. I loved it so much and it was one of my most anticipated of the year so totally delivered and then some and that is Savor It by Tarah Dewitt which will be releasing later this month.

Savor It is a romance book read by She Reads Romance Books.

Savor It
by Tarah Dewitt

This is a Fake Dating, Wounded Hero, Strong Heroine, Small Town, Guardian Ward Romance, with a chef who can cook! Well, he can’t initially but man his skills…and I’ll get to that but here’s what it’s about:

Sage Byrd has lived in the coastal town of Spunes, Oregon (not to be confused with Forks, Washington) her entire life. She’s learned to love her small world, with the misfit animals on her hobby farm, and her friendships with the town’s inhabitants.

But when her 5-year relationship ends and her ex, town-golden-boy Ian, suddenly gets engaged, Sage needs a win—something that will convince everyone to stop pitying her all the time, and to put Ian in his place. The Festival of Spunes, the town’s annual summer competition, would be the perfect opportunity. She just needs a partner.

Fisher Lange was a hotshot chef in New York City until the loss of his sister left him numb, grieving, and responsible for his teenage niece Indy. When Fisher loses his Michelin star along with his love of cooking, his boss sends him and Indy to Spunes on a much-needed summer sabbatical to consult on a restaurant opening.

But when clashes with the townspeople threaten his last chance to redeem himself and a kiss with his new neighbor Sage leads to dating rumors, a strategic alliance might just be the best way to turn things around.

A deal is struck. Sage will improve Fisher’s image in the eyes of the town and remove the roadblocks he is facing with the restaurant, and Fisher will be Sage’s partner for the competition. But as their pact quickly turns into steamy rendezvous, emotional wounds begin to heal, and the pair tries to savor every moment, they start to realize that summer is racing by much faster than they would like.

This was my first Dewitt romance and is truly a book to savor in 2024! One of the year’s best that will have you weeping and swooning and giving all the feels! I honestly don’t think my review on the blog or here will do it justice because it’s kindof hard to put it into words what I loved about it but Ill try…

First, I totally felt for Sage, the heroine, and her struggles in life. Her need for just a small victory and for someone to see her more than just the nice girl about town. She needed to feel like she’s worth something and to feel like she had a win in life and I was rooting for her the entire time.

Fisher’s grief and struggles were so palpable and yet he was a man trying – trying to find his way back to his passion in the kitchen, trying to find his way to being the best guardian for his niece, trying to emerge from the grief of loss, and trying to find his worth again.

I adored how Sage didn’t let him hide but slowly coaxed him out of his shell. The scene where he runs his latest cooking creations to Sage early in the morning was so incredible. I felt so much joy for this character on the page and my mouth was watering at the dish descriptions. Holy moly were they amazing.

The two of them flirting was so hot and came at these perfect moments that just hit you in all the feels. It was like the perfect slow burn that would just catch fire at the best times and I could not put the book down because I only wanted more.

The writing, story pacing, and character development were just perfection. I absolutely loved the dialogue between these characters that let them drop their walls and show their true selves, hurts, flaws and all, and it only made me (and their fellow character) love them more. So yeah, I think it’s the dialogue that I loved more about this book.

Fisher and Sage were so good together and it’s their relationship that totally drives this book. That sounds silly to say because of course the relationship drives a romance book, but I actually anticipated more scenes about Fisher working on the new restaurant.

I also thought there’d be more of them really hamming it up with fake relationship for the sake of others in the town or even more focus on Fisher’s relationship with his niece but those side stories all took a backseat as it was really Fisher and Sage’s story. You get just enough of the other elements to help propel the story but it’s truly just them that captivates about this story.

This book also totally made me ugly cry. I mean I had tears streaming and my husband’s like – is it the book or are you not OK? There were so many moments that made me tear up but then by the end I was full on sobbing. Gosh I love books that can evoke such strong feelings and this one did that throughout. This is truly a book to savor in 2024. Just go and preorder it now. You won’t regret it.

Check out my book review of Savor It.

And that is my list for April folks. So many great books to share and I hope you’ll pick some up and let me know what you think of them after reading them. Even better – join the book club and share what you think in the community forum so we can talk about them together. That would be so fun.

Thanks so much for tuning in and until next time…happy reading because life is better with a love story!

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Check out She Reads Romance Books' April 2024 reading list to see which new romance books and throw back titles she recommends you read and which to skip.
Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Why Trust She Reads Romance Books?

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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She Reads Romance Books helps romance book lovers find their next book boyfriend because life is better with a love story.