In this episode of the She Reads Romance Books Podcast I’m discussing all the romance books I read in November and sharing what I really think of them – including which books I recommend you buy because they are so good and which books I suggest you just borrow. I’m discussing a lot of throwback titles and one soon-to-be-released title so come take a listen or check out the list below!
Be sure to check out all my monthly reading recommendations too!
Episode #19: November 2023 Reading List: What to Read (and What to Skip!)
Books Mentioned In this Episode:
- The Nanny
- The Fake Mate
- On the Plus Side
- The Make-Up Test
- The True Love Experiment
- Billionaire Lumberjack
- Gifting Me to His Best Friend
- One Last Rainy Day: The Legacy of a Prince
- Lovelight Farms
- Mile High
- The Right Move
- Caught Up
- Iron Flame
Episode Show Notes:
I swear I blinked ONCE and November just flew by. It didn’t even seem real that it was already time for Thanksgiving here in the States until we set off for my sister’s house to enjoy the meal with family. So you can bet I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is just twenty days away and that 2024 is coming soon after. Wow.
Over the holiday weekend we surprised my son with an early Christmas present which was a trip to Philadelphia and tickets to the Eagles vs Bills game. We had a fantastic weekend seeing the sights and the game was AMAZING if you didn’t watch it. But despite the weather being beautiful most of the time we were there it decided to rain the entire game so I have a case of the sniffles right now but hopefully you can understand me Ok despite the nasal tone. My apologies 😊.
But I hope you had a great month and read some fantastic romance books. I sure did and I’m excited to share them with you in this episode.
As always it’s my goal to help my fellow romance book lovers find the best books worth reading. I know that not everyone has the same thoughts and opinions as me about books but if you’ve checked out my lists on the blog or read any of my reviews and we seem to have similar tastes, then hopefully my thoughts and feelings on the books I read this month will help you decide what books you definitely want to check out and or buy or which books you may just want to borrow from the library to see if they meet your expectations.
And if you’re like me and read a lot of books, it can get kind of difficult to remember every book and every author. To help you keep track of your favorite and less than favorite books, consider getting your copy of the Romance Book Reading Journal to kick off 2024. It’s available in paperback or hardcover and I just recently brought back the printable version which you can print any of the pages you want at any time, as often as you want! It’s awesome with over 70 pages so check it out with the link in the show notes below.
Now onto my November reads….the first book I finished was The Nanny by Lana Ferguson.
I circled back to this title after I read an advanced reader copy of her new release that comes out today which is The Fake Mate. I loved this contemporary werewolf romance where two werewolves strike up a mutually beneficial fake relationship. And because I loved it so much I wanted to read The Nanny, her first release.
This is a nanny romance where there’s history between the hero and heroine only they don’t initially know it! Cassie is an occupational therapy student who just lost her job and is in desperate need of cash and a new place to live while she completes her degree. She ends up spotting an open, live-in nanny position for Aiden who is an executive chef at a restaurant who is struggling with his hours at the restaurant while trying to raise his daughter on her own (because Cassie’s mother passed away leaving him full custody of his daughter).
The attraction between Cassie and Aiden is pretty evident to both when they first meet despite her awkward interview but she needs the job and he needs the help so they both try and stuff it down and ignore it. Well, most of this book is their internal monologues about how much they want each other but can’t. I totally understand but it got super repetitive to the point that I almost didn’t finish the book but I ended up skimming it to finish.
I think my expectations were maybe a bit high going into this book after reading The Fake Mate. I do think the writing itself was good but the story development had its problems in my mind. I did love the OnlyFans aspect of this story.
As it turns out Cassie realizes the Aiden was her most popular client on her now closed OnlyFans account where she got pretty steamy with “A” as he called himself. So I really liked that aspect of the story which gave it a unique twist but overall I am glad I borrowed it from the library.
The next book that I read you should absolutely put on your TBR list as it doesn’t release until December 26 so it can be your present to yourself after the holiday or with any gift card money you receive, and that is On the Plus Side by Jenny L. Howe.
This is my first Howe book, but her second romance release. Last year, she released her debut novel, The Make-up Test, which is a book about two college exes battling it out for a spot in a Ph.D. program, so this book made my list of best academic rivals to lovers books and I’m absolutely circling back to it since I loved On the Plus Side so much.
On the Plus Side is for those readers who love when a reality TV show is the backdrop for a romance book – and you better believe that I’ll be coming at you with a podcast episode on reality TV show books as I already have the list made and this is on there.
Everly Winters finds out that she was been nominated as the next contestant for, On the Plus Side, a reality TV show working to change dialogue around fat representation and take back the negativity surrounding the word “fat.”
She’s the perfect candidate because she’s changed in recent years from the carefree woman who lived out loud like her plus-size grandmother but who now tries to blend into the background and wants to remain unseen at work and in her personal life. But once filming starts rolling, she finds herself drawn to and opening up to the cameraman, Logan.
Now I am someone who does not like watching reality TV AT ALL – sue me, but I really cannot stand the drama and fakeness of it all but books about reality TV are another story.
Everly is such a wonderful heroine – someone who’s so down to earth and definitely someone you’d just love to hang out with or have design your own tattoo 😊.
I loved how Howe weaves in her backstory about her close relationship with her grandmother and her strained relationship with her mother without making it all about them. You can absolutely see that there is this beautiful, creative, fun woman who’s hiding herself and therefore depriving the world and herself of all the gifts that she possesses.
While Everly was clearly the star of the show (and book!) Logan is another character that absolutely made this story.
Despite being more behind the scenes, literally behind the camera following Everly, his presence and support of Everly was EVERYTHING.
If you’re looking for a fun, enjoyable romance with characters you’ll completely fall for a super cute storyline, then you’ll definitely going to want to read On the Plus Side.
It’s right up there with The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren as my favorite romance books featuring reality TV shows. You can check out more of what I love about this book in my review on the blog.
The next book that I read is Billionaire Lumberjack by Gwyn McNamee.
I actually talked about this book in last week’s episode on the best snowed in romance books, so if you missed that episode, be sure to check it out as well because I just love forced proximity books where the hero and heroine are snowed in together and that’s what drew me to this title.
This isn’t an only one bed situation but they are deep in the woods in a blizzard with nowhere to go so they are all up in each other’s business.
As a quick recap, Brooke is a woman fleeing Seattle and hoping to spend a few days at her friend’s remote cabin but she takes a wrong turn in her beat-up truck and basically stalls out in the middle of a huge snowstorm. Lucky for her she ventures into the woods and finds Beau chopping wood and he brings in her and warms her up since she basically collapsed with mild hyperthermia on his doorstep.
So most of this book is the two of them trying not to step on each other’s toes while they are in this small cabin with both of them having these mysterious pasts and traumas that are only eluded to but never shared.
This is one of those books that is a quick read, doesn’t have a lot of depth but meets my needs for picking it up. I wanted a fun, slightly steamy snowed in romance and that’s what I got, so if that’s something you’re looking for, you can check out Billionaire Lumberjack.
The next book I listened to as an audiobook, which can always be very hit or miss for me but this one was quite a hit and it’s Gifting Me to His Best Friend by Katee Robert.
It is so good that I mentioned it in last week’s episode on grumpy sunshine holiday romance books because I couldn’t not talk about it while I was listening to it.
At the risk of repeating myself, there is a reason this made my list of best spicy Christmas romance books because it is definitely SPICY. If you don’t like erotic romance books, then don’t read or listen to this novella. If you do, this is a fantastic novella to read this holiday season to get you all hot and bothered.
It is about a married couple, Emma and Grayson, who are spending the Christmas holiday with Grayson’s best friend Derek in a cabin in Colorado. Grayson and Derek have been best friends for years and Emma has fit right in. There has always been this hint of attraction between Emma and Derek but it wasn’t until this Christmas in the book that she and Grayson acknowledge it and Grayson decides to gift her to his best friend.
It’s basically a novella about all three of them exploring their attraction and love for each other. It’s taboo, it’s hot and really good. Check out Gifting Me to His Best Friend by Katee Robert.
The next book that I finally finished was One Last Rainy Day: The Legacy of a Prince by Kate Stewart.
Now this is the much-anticipated spin-off book to the Ravenhood series that gives Dom’s point of view of the events in Flock and Exodus. I think she originally planned for it to be a novella but it eventually became a 400-page novel.
Now I love Kate Stewart, who is one of my favorite romance authors and the Ravenhood series is just amazing and one of the best series I’ve ever written.
I am grateful that Kate was willing to dive back into this world and give us Dom’s perspective because to me he was this enigma. But I also think I went into this book with expectations that it was going to be like The Finish Line.
In that book Stewart really dove into Tobias, gave us a rich backstory and it added so much to the series. I really wanted to get just as deep of a backstory to Dom and to see all the key events from Flock and Exodus from his eyes but they were kind of glossed over.
I’m super glad I read it and if anything it made me super excited for Tyler’s book which is going to be next so yay to that!
The next book that I read, well listened to, was Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison.
This book and series is super popular and I’m so glad that I finally dived in because I LOVED it and gave it 5 stars. And that is super suprising because I listened to the audiobook and with audiobooks I often find it hard to get invested in the story but this one was so different. I loved how the narrator, whose name I’m totally blanking on, really brought Stella and Luka to life.
Stella bought Lovelight Farms Christmas tree farm a year ago but now all the problems that she’s faced since buying it are catching up to her and it and she’s facing some serious financial straights. Desperate for some good PR to help get people to visit but also to potentially earn some much-needed prize money, she enters into a contest hosted by a social influencer, Evelyn St. James who likes to spotlight small businesses.
But one slight hiccup – to make the farm stand out as even more magical than it already is, she lies that she owns it with her boyfriend, a boyfriend she doesn’t have. So now that she’s been accepted and faced with Evelyn coming to town she has to find a fake boyfriend, and her only and the obvious choice is her best friend of 10 years, Luka.
So let me just say that this is just super adorable. Stella, or Lala as Luka calls her, is such a fun heroine who is so scared to change the status of her friendship with Luka for fear that she will lose him like everyone else in her life. But she really does love him.
While this is only told from her POV, you can already tell that Luka is THE best friend anyone could ask for and is so completely perfect for Stella.
The best part of this book for me is the way that Luka can totally read Stella and he doesn’t let her hide anything. They both call each other out if something looks like it’s bothering them so things do fester and they are just honest with one another (other than the fact that they both love each other and want to be more than friends) so there’s that.
I loved how Luka easily jumped on board with the fake relationship and how he calmed her fears at every turn. He understood her hang ups and yet was there for her at every turn and no matter what. Even when the point of conflict arose. Gosh he is such a good man.
And the steaminess- it was perfect. Not overly so but just perfect.
This is book one in what is to be a four book series. Borison sets up the next few books perfectly with characters I cannot wait to learn more about so you better believe I’m continuing with the series. I’m so excited.
The next book I read this month was Mile High by Liz Tomforde.
This is book one in her Windy City series. I was actually really excited to read books 2 and three in the series, book two being The Right Move which I’ll talk about in a minute and which earned a nomination for Best Romance in the 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards and book 3, Caught Up, which is really highly rated on Goodreads. But I wanted to start at the beginning, hence reading Miles High, which is an enemies to lovers book which I’m always up for as it’s one of my favorite romance book tropes.
This is a story about Zanders, a NHL enforcer and manwhore with a reputation of having a different lady every night and Stevie, the curvaceous flight attendant who Zander likes to egg on on their flights to away games.
Their attraction is evident but Stevie’s been burned by an athlete in the past who never put her first and Zanders reputation doesn’t bode well for succumbing to their attraction. But Zanders pursues and attempts to show Stevie that there’s perhaps more to the man than what you see in the media.
If you love egotistical heroes who can back it up and who give the best banter then you’ll love Zee. It was actually the moments when he went soft and spoke quietly and with such vulnerability that got to me.
Vee was a dog-loving, thrift clothes wearing heroine that seems so cool.
From their amazing back and forth, the vulnerability they share and the way they slowly open up to one another, this was a book I couldn’t put down. I highly recommend it and love how Liz pulled from her own experience as a flight attendant for a pro sports team to write this romance. Super cool.
After reading Mile High I went right into book 2, The Right Move, which is a roommates to lovers romance.
This book also ended up being my pick for the November Romance Book Reading Challenge which was to read one award nominee or winner and this book is up for Best Romance in the 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards and as of this recording, made it into the second round!
If you read Mile High you already met the hero and heroine of this story, but if you wanted to dive right into this one I think you can read it as a standalone no problem. But this is Vee’s twin brother Ryan’s story with her best friend and fellow flight attendant, Indy.
It’s also a basketball, sports romance because Ryan is a hot shot NBA player who was just voted captain of his team. He’s super focused on his sport and is super private which is why he is not happy with his sister begging him to let her friend move into his spare bedroom. But he’d do anything for his sister so he agrees to let Indy move in setting up a great forced promixity love story.
Indy needs a place to stay because she walked in on her boyfriend of six years in bed with another woman. So she’s reeling from this heartbreak while trying not to step on Ryan’s toes while also in desperate need to save some cash for reasons I won’t share for fear of giving away spoilers.
I loved how these two bantered at the beginning because Ryan was thrust out of his comfort zone and Indy was just at her wit’s end with life. Their relationship shows how opposites attract and can make it work despite those differences and actually be good for one another.
If you love a good wounded hero and a sweet love story with adorable nicknames, then don’t pass up The Right Move.
You’re probably wondering, where is Iron Flame since it was probably the most anticipated new romance book release for November. Well, don’t fret, I have the book and I’m about to crack it open so stay tuned for my review on the blog and my thoughts to share on it in my upcoming podcast episode on my December reading list. I’m ready to dive into this 600+ page book!
And that wraps up my book list for November. I go super busy getting ready for the launch of my A Year of Reading Romance Card Deck and other projects behind the scenes so I feel like I read less overall this month and was a bit ADD with starting and stopping books, but it was still a great month of reading.
I recap my reading list every month on the She Reads Romance Books Podcast and on the blog so be sure to follow the podcast so you can catch these episodes for more great recommendations.
Until next time. Happy reading!
- October 2023 Reading List: What to Read & What to Skip
- November 2023 New Romance Book Releases
- Monthly What to Read & Skip Hub
- My Entire 2023 Reading List
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