What to Read & What to Skip: My October 2021 Romance Book Reading List

Here at She Reads Romance Books, I take it as my personal mission to help my fellow romance book readers find the best books worth reading.

Check out my October 2021 reading list below to see which books I loved (and recommend you read!) and which books I didn’t enjoy and suggest you skip.

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Check out which romance books to read and which to skip from her October 2021 reading list.

Every month I’m always pretty shocked by how many books I fit into my busy life.

Maybe to some readers, my list isn’t that long but I’m happy when I can fit in over 10 books a month!

This month’s reading list was pretty split between books I absolutely LOVED and books I really didn’t.

I totally fell for a new fantasy romance, an MM romance and a geeky romance that you’re going to want to add to your to read list.

My monthly reading lists provide a brief synopsis of each book that I read and a mini review giving my overall thoughts on it.

Sharing honest reviews is extremely important to me so that’s what you’ll find since I’m all about helping you find the best books worth reading.

New This Month: The Romance Book Reading Journal!

Discover the ultimate reading journal for romance book readers from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books. It's the perfect reading planner, reading tracker and reading journal in one.

This month I also launched my new Romance Book Reading Journal!

Every romance book lover is going to want to get their hands on this baby to track the books you read each month.

Not only can you track your reading activity with various pages, it also has pages to remember your favorite book boyfriends, your favorite quotes, your favorite series and so much more with over 75 pages to customize!

You can bet that I added a few of the books below to my 5 star books page.

Want to check out the Journal?

Click here to grab my Reading Log and Favorite Book Boyfriends tracker– two of my favorite pages, for free!

A Shadow in the Ember book cover

A Shadow in the Ember
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A Fantasy Romance That Totally Delivered
Published October 2021
4.5 stars
*ARC received

Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.   

However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot. 

Never before would I have thought that I’d fall in love with Death, but Armentrout made me do it by giving me Ash!

Just when I think there couldn’t possibly be more to the Blood and Ash series that I’ve fallen in love with, Armentrout goes and creates this amazing spin-off Flesh and Fire series you don’t want to miss.

While I think it is a wonderful slow burn romance, you also get a LOT of details about the worlds these characters live in.

And since this is what I imagine will be a long-running series, you have to be OK with the story not being complete though it doesn’t end on any major cliffhanger.

It’s a definite must-read for fans of the Blood and Ash series but can also be read as a standalone.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

The Charm Offensive is a new romance book release coming September 2021.

The Charm Offensive
by Allison Cochrun

A MM Rom Com That I Highly Recommend
Published September 2021
5 stars

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales, which is why he loves working on the reality dating show Ever After. But this season may be his toughest yet, when disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw is cast as its star.

Charlie doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

The Charm Offensive was just that – so completely charming and definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2021!

A book that weaves a sweet, slow burn romance with beautiful writing and exquisite character development with a much needed look at mental health.

Even if you aren’t a fan of MM romance, I highly recommend reading this as it is what all romance books should be – an absolute delight!

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

The Love Hypothesis book cover

The Love Hypothesis
by Ali Hazelwood

A Lovely Fake Romance That I Couldn’t Put Down
Published September 2021
5 stars

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Trying to convince Anh that she is indeed dating, Olive kisses the first man she sees – Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass.

Adam surprisingly agrees to keep her dating charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Let me just say that this book lived up to the hype of its popularity. If you’re a fan of smart romance with adorkable characters who make your heart swell and have you rooting for their happily ever after then this is the book for you.

This book had just enough run-ins forcing these two together for feelings to develop and blur the lines between fake and real. I enjoyed the look into academia but didn’t find it too heady or overwhelming.

Adam is the type of book boyfriend I adore. Plus, OMG their first time together was just so perfect. I loved it! Definitely one of the best books of 2021 that I highly recommend.

Amazon | Goodreads

Boyfriend is a new romance book release coming October 2021.

by Sarina Bowen

A Fake Relationship Romance I’d Pass On
Published October 2021
2.5 stars
*ARC received

Abbi is in need of a date for Thanksgiving though she’s not divulging why. That’s the only reason why she’s taking up the dreamiest hockey player of Moo U’s offer for a fake date, even though he’s her long-time crush.

Turns out Weston’s family is even nuttier than hers and he needs a date, too, for the most uncomfortable holiday engagement party ever thrown.

Unfortunately this book fell flat for me. It has great writing but I just didn’t feel anything for these characters or enjoy the story.

I love a good fake relationship story but this one was just….boring.  Bowen’s past romances make me feel so much because the characters have great chemistry but I don’t feel like Abbi and Weston even spent a lot of time together to establish a good connection so their “I love you” moment felt really off.

I recommend passing on this one and picking one of her other new adult romance books instead.

Amazon | Goodreads

Bared to You is an erotic romance book.

Bared to You
by Sylvia Day

A Popular Erotic Romance That Crashed and Burned
Published February 2014
2 stars

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness. He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily.

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart.

Well, this started off great but then kept going downhill, ultimately not meeting my expectations at all. I cannot even change the book blurb to give you some semblance of what this book is about because I’ve forgotten already.

I thought their chemistry at the beginning was hot but Eva just kept getting more and more annoying and immature and Gideon no longer appeared the alpha I thought he was constantly chasing after her.

I get that this is the first in an ongoing series but give me SOME plot. I honestly didn’t even care for the bedroom scenes because I just didn’t like these characters. Well, I could get on board with Gideon but Eva just kept grating. I’d honestly skip it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Isn’t It Bromantic is one of the best summer reads of 2021. Check out all of the best books to read this summer in this book list.

Isn’t It Bromantic
by Lyssa Kay Adams

A Friends to Lovers Romance I Enjoyed
Published July 2021
4 stars

Having a Russian journalist as a father who mysteriously disappeared after speaking against the government, Elena Konnikova escaped her country the only way she knew how – by marrying her childhood friend, Vladimir, and moving to the United States.

Vlad is a professional hockey player in Nashville who’s been living with a marriage of convenience and wife he’s determined to make love him. He joined the Bromance Book Club to pick up some pointers and is now ready to create his own epic romance.

With the help of his Bros, Vlad’s senior citizen neighbors and a group of meddling widows will Vlad and Elena be able to find their own happy ever after?

This was my first dive into this series and I found it to be a great, friends to lovers romance.

Vlad’s sensitive heart was very endearing in this story. Just when you’re about to get frustrated that these two just have to share their feelings they finally do, but I felt like the moment could have been more.

I did like the whole bromance angle between the male characters and found that it could easily be read as a standalone.  This book made my list of best summer reads for 2021 and it met those expectations!

Amazon | Goodreads

The Winter We Collided is a new romance book release coming September 2021.

The Winter We Collided
by Victoria Denault

A Single Dad Romance That Underwhelmed
Published September 2021
3 stars

I had one rule when I decided to rent out the ground level of my house – keep it professional. So I have no idea why I told the hospital to call my new tenant, Logan Hawkins, when I ended up unconscious in the snow. It was impossible to keep my distance from the brooding single dad after he came to my rescue.

My past is tragic but I want his touch, his love, but he’s been keeping secrets of his own. They say the truth will set you free, but in this case, it might shatter what’s left of my fragile heart.

This was just OK. It could just be me but it just didn’t click for me. Nothing wrong with it but nothing that made it stand out either. It has good writing and a decent but predictable story.

I guess it comes down to not being invested in these characters and not really seeing any chemistry. I found them underwhelming. I’d skip this one and read her book, Blindsided, instead!

Amazon | Goodreads

A Ruin of Roses is a romance book read by romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

A Ruin of Roses
by K.F. Breene

A Fantasy Romance That Was Lackluster
2 stars

Our land has a curse put upon us by the mad king. The only one keeping this kingdom alive is Nyfain, the golden prince to a stolen throne. The last dragon shifter.

When he catches me trespassing in the forbidden wood, he doesn’t punish me, he takes me as his prisoner.  Apparently, I can save him. I can save the whole forgotten kingdom. But it would mean taming the monster beneath his skin. It would mean giving myself to him. It would mean my ruin.

I was in the mood for a new fantasy romance and loved the set up as a Beauty and the Beast retelling but a snarky heroine with some great one liners cannot make up for a story that seemed a bit all over the place.

It finally seemed to get some traction at 70% buy I was skimming by that point and then it just veered off again. I won’t be reading the next book.

Amazon | Goodreads

Out of the Blue is a new romance book release for October 2021.

Out of the Blue
by P. Dangelico

A Romance That Lacked Depth
Published October 2021
2.5 stars
*ARC received

Blue Baldwin takes no horse crap from anybody. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. She does take horse crap. Piles of it. The real kind that is––not the metaphorical one. It kind of goes with the job description when you run a large animal rescue. What she does not take, however, is crap from an entitled movie star who needs to reform his rotten image.

Unfortunately, the farm she manages is in trouble and if she doesn’t raise the cash to save it she’ll be homeless along with the precious animals who depend on her. So she’ll grin and bear the King of Hollywood Screw Ups, and the assistant, and the overprotective brother he brings along. I mean, she takes care of large animals for a living. Isn’t that basically the same thing?

All the bones to a great romance are here but just weren’t fleshed out fully to pull me into this story. The romance didn’t really develop until about halfway in but it wasn’t that spectacular to me and their moment of conflict just fell flat.

Dangelico’s writing itself is always stellar, but I found myself just reflecting on what the book was missing when I finished reading it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Hate Me Under the Mistletoe is a new romance book release coming October 2021.

Hate Me Under the Mistletoe
by Kelly Jamieson

A Forced Proximity, Holiday Romance that was Just OK
Published October 2021
3 stars
*ARC received

When Amy’s life implodes, she takes off to a friend’s secluded mountain cabin to spend Christmas alone. Only her holiday for one is interrupted by the appearance of Ryder,
the man she’s hated since she was sixteen.

Unfortunately, a blizzard forces her to be stuck with her unwanted house guest, but maybe he can help her find some Christmas spirit along with a bit of love and forgiveness.

While I do love a good forced proximity romance, the heroine kept me from liking this one. There’s nothing wrong with this book per say but there’s nothing that really sets this book a part from any other romance and that’s what I’m looking for these days.

Amy acted a bit immature for my tastes in holding Ryder’s (smart) actions against him for when he was 16 and she was 14. Ryder seemed like a nice guy but neither character really grabbed me.

If you’re looking for a quick, sweet romance with very little drama but with a holiday feel then sure give this a go. I unfortunately found myself wanting to skim to the end.

Amazon | Goodreads

Before and After You is an upcoming, new romance book release for October 2021.

Before and After You
by Hope Ellis

An Enemies to Lovers Romance With a Good Side Story
Published October 2021
4 stars

Leigh D’Alessandro fought to escape her dysfunctional family and now she’s fighting to keep the community hospital she works for afloat. What she’s tired of fighting is her attraction to her best friend’s playboy brother with the notorious reputation.

Walker Leffersbee knows he has a reputation in his small town for being a ladies’ man. He’s also a confirmed bachelor so the last thing he plans on doing is giving in to his long-standing craving for his sister’s headstrong and hot-tempered best friend. Especially because she’s the only one who knows the secret that threatens to upend his life.

This is another great book by Ellis who has to keep writing romance in my opinion!

I liked Walter and Leigh but Nick and Zora are still my favorites. This will appeal to those who love the best friend’s older brother trope but not in a young adult kind of way.

I wish we got more to Walter’s change of heart about relationships, but I liked the aspect of Leigh fighting for the community hospital which was a good side story. I’d give it a go!

Amazon | Goodreads

Looking for More Recommendations?

Check out all of my What to Read book lists to see which romance books I recommend you read and which I suggest you skip.

Don’t forget to join my email list so that you never miss a post or a book recommendation.

Here’s to finding your next book boyfriend!

What book did you love (or dislike) this month? Share in the comments below.

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.