My September 2021 Reading List: What to Read & What to Skip

Every month I share my romance book reading list which includes mini reviews that tell you what I honestly think about each book. My goal is always to help my fellow romance book readers find the best romance books worth reading.

Check out my September 2021 reading list below so that you know which books I recommend you read and which books I recommend you skip!

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

Discover what romance books to read and which to skip from She Reads Romance Books' September 2021 Reading list.

This month was a crazy one for reading. It kind of felt like a bit of a slump because there were a number of books that were a disappointment. I’m not sure that I’ve DNF’d so many books in one month before!

I think it’s normal to go through slumps every now and then though I feel like I’ve had more recently than not. I’m blaming the Ravenhood series by Kate Stewart that completed in January which set the bar HIGH for any romance book to come after!

Not all was lost however as I did read a few romance books that brought a big smile to my face. They were just fun, enjoyable reads which I needed this month as we finalize all the details for our upcoming move!

My highs for the month are due to Meghan Quinn who came in big for me with two hits. One even earned five stars! That’s why she’s one of my favorite authors!

This Month’s Reading Themes

I took a dive into some edgier erotic romance novels this month. Some hit while others missed.

I also checked out a few popular titles that have been on my TBR list for awhile and they were surprisingly all misses.

It feels so unnatural for me to not finish a book but I DNF’d quite a few this month and it was the best, right decision to make.

I’m here to remind you that’s it’s OK to stop reading something that doesn’t give you joy. There are so many other books out there to try instead so go ahead and DNF that next book if that’s what’s needed. I have your back!

Mini Reviews to Save You From Mediocre Books

If you’re new here, every month I share mini reviews of the books I read to help my fellow romance book lovers find the best romance books worth reading.

I don’t want you to waste your time (and money) reading a mediocre book, so I help you find the best books to add to your must read pile while making sure you skip the rest.

Check out which books I loved and which I didn’t below.

My September 2021 Romance Book Reading List

My Favorite Romance Books of the Month:

Kiss and Don't Tell is a new romance book release coming September 2021.

Kiss and Don’t Tell
by Meghan Quinn

Published September 2021
A Forced Proximity Romance With the Best Hockey Book Boyfriend
5 stars
*ARC received

Winnie Berlin is in need of a break but her road trip to Banff veers off course. Thanks to a rain storm landing her car in a ditch, she’s forced to hike to the closest cabin where she surprisingly meets five professional hockey players.

The surprises keep coming when she finds herself falling for the Vancouver Agitators’ goalie, Pacey Lawes. What she didn’t see coming was that Pacey is her ex-boyfriend’s half-brother. But maybe as long as they kiss and don’t tell, everything will be okay.

Just when I think Meghan Quinn couldn’t possibly give me another book boyfriend to love, she gives me Pacey! This book has everything I love about Quinn’s books – fantastic characters, amazing and laugh out loud banter and a book boyfriend who gives all the feels.

I don’t know how she keeps writing such fresh, amazing stories but she does and I love it. I can’t wait for her to write stories for the rest of the hockey boys. I highly recommend this one!

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

The Highland Fling is one of the best summer reads of 2021. Check out all of the best books to read this summer in this book list.

The Highland Fling
by Meghan Quinn

Published August 2021
An Enjoyable, Opposites Attract Romance Set in Scotland
4 stars

Bonnie St. James has lost her way. In the hopes of finding some direction, she decides to answer a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands. There she finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman, but sparks soon begin to fly.

This was such a fun read that definitely deserved its spot on my best summer reads list. While it did take me a second to love Bonnie, I feel like many people can relate to her struggles and those of the other main characters: not knowing your purpose, not meeting parental expectations, losing self esteem after a breakup.

I LOVED Rowan’s grumpiness and the sparks between him and Bonnie with their sarcastic banter. I highly recommend this book and will be adding it to my book list of Scottish romance novels!

Amazon | Goodreads

More Romance Books I Read in September

War of Hearts is a romance book on my September 2021 reading list.

War of Hearts
by S. Young

Published October 2019
A Contemporary Werewolf Romance With Suspense and Heat
4 stars

Thea Quinn has no idea what she is. All she knows is that her abilities have been a plague upon her life since she was a child. After years of suffering at the hands of a megalomaniac, Thea escaped and has been on the run ever since.

Conall MacLennan, Alpha and Chief of Clan MacLennan, the last werewolf pack in Scotland, can’t just sit around while his sister is dying. When he’s offered a chance to save her, Conall agrees to use his rare tracking ability to find Thea – the only one who can provide a cure. 

But Conall is not the only one searching for Thea and he never imagined having to make the choice between saving his sister or Thea.

I loved this werewolf romance book which is why I included it on my best werewolf romance books list.  I’m honestly partial to any romance book set in Scotland but I also love Young’s writing which is why she’s one of my favorite authors.

Even if you don’t like paranormal romance, I think you’d enjoy it for its bit of suspense and the love story. Collan is a great alpha and Thea is one strong heroine and I found her backstory to be really interesting. I enjoyed it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Captive Prince is a romance book on my September 2021 reading list.

Captive Prince
by C.S. Pacat

Published May 2012
A MM, Enemies to Lovers Romance I Couldn’t Get Into

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. He has reason to hate the Prince of Akielos but finds himself working with Damen against a common enemy.

I was intrigued by the book blurb and its popularity but I called it at 50%. The lack of plot and all the exploitation and slave nonsense is so NOT my thing for a romance. Despite some people obviously really like it, I just didn’t see it getting ANY better so it’s a DNF for me.

Amazon | Goodreads

Beauty and the Professor is a romance book on my September 2021 reading list.

Beauty and the Professor
by Skye Warren

Published April 2019
A Teacher Student Romance That Lacked Polish

Erin cleans Mr. Morris’s house twice a week to pay her tuition. The reclusive ex-soldier intimidates her, but she can’t help but feel sympathy for him. Then she walks in on him doing a compromising act, and she has much darker, much more sensual feelings.

Blake Morris knows he’s scarred both inside and out. He’s reclusive but when he receives an offer to return to his alma mater as an associate professor, he sees it as a chance to reenter the world. He just never expected to see the woman who cleans his home, who he can’t stop thinking about, sitting in his classroom.

This was my pick for the 2021 Romance Book Reading Challenge for September but I just couldn’t finish it. I love the idea of a Beauty and the Beast retelling but the writing lacked polish as did the plot which just didn’t grab me. I didn’t care much about the characters to see where the book was taking them to want to continue.

Amazon | Goodreads

Owned by Fate is a romance book with some of the best love quotes from books.

Owned by Fate
by Tessa Bailey

Published September 2014
A BDSM-lite Romance I Enjoyed
3.5 stars

Journalist Caroline Preston can’t believe she set foot into Serve, New York City’s hottest BDSM club in the name of work. She’s determined not to like anything about this world but then she meets Jonah.

As the owner of Serve, Jonah Briggs doesn’t leave his post for just anyone. But when he sees Caroline, his only thought is that he wants her.  Caroline can’t help but fall under Jonah’s spell but she’s not about to risk her family’s reputation by extending her time with him past one night, no matter how much she craves more.

I really enjoy Tessa Bailey’s writing so I wanted to dive into some of her earlier works.

I definitely give Jonah the thumbs up as a book boyfriend. He knew who he was and despite others judging him for it, he didn’t change. He was the perfect alpha.

Caroline got on my nerves a bit with how she acted with her back and forth but it didn’t really detract from the overall story. I’d recommend it for people who want to check out a BDSM book that isn’t too hardcore.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Farthest Edge is a BDSM romance book on my September 2021 Reading List.

The Farthest Edge
by Kristen Ashley

Published June 2017
A BDSM Romance Featuring a Domme
3.5 stars

Branch doesn’t exist. Living off the grid, he’s looking for a way to forget his past and the guilt that plagues him. But no woman has ever been able to bring him to the edge he craves.

After a traumatic experience of her own, Evangeline stepped away from the decadent world of the Honey Club. But when she gets Branch’s offer—to play without boundaries or commitments—it’s too tempting for her to refuse.

As their passion ignites, Evangeline and Branch push each other to their farthest limit, fulfilling their darkest desires while falling harder and deeper than they ever imagined.

Despite learning that I really don’t care for BDSM stories featuring a Domme and her sub, I would recommend this one for the story which I do think was great. I also enjoyed Branch’s backstory which helped me to understand this man’s kink and how he craved one area in his life he could escape into and give up control.

I would have rated it higher if Evangeline hadn’t changed her tune so quickly, if it was SHORTER and if the writing didn’t have so many oddly phrased sentences.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Rivalry is a sports romance book on my September 2021 reading list.

The Rivalry
by Nikki Sloane

Published November 2017
A College Football Romance That Was Just OK
2.5 stars

Kayla is the cheer captain at Ohio State and a diehard football fan. She and her family live and breathe OSU football which is why she can’t believe the guy she fell for at a wedding is none other than the star tight end from Michigan – her rival school. As much as she can’t help coming back for more, can either of them risk a relationship or will their schools’ rivalry tear them apart?

I admit I expected more from this one. While I love the set up – two people from rival schools fall in love – the heroine took it a bit far which got really annoying. When they were together, Kayla kept whining about his school before they hopped in bed, so I really didn’t buy into their love. What was it based on really? He was too good for her.

While it was well written and would probably be enjoyable for fans of football romance books, it just didn’t live up to expectations for me.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Anti-Boyfriend is a romance book on my September 2021 reading list.

The Anti-Boyfriend
by Penelope Ward

Published August 2020
A Neighbors to Lovers Romance To Pass On

Single mom, Carys is not a fan of her neighbor Deacon whose late night “activities” keep her awake at night while he entertains his guest. Yet when her baby doesn’t stop crying, it’s Deacon who saves the day and gets her to stop.  As Carys and Deacon become friends, is there any chance they can become more when he’s not Mr. Commitment but Mr. Anti-boyfriend?

I saw this on my library app when I was reserving another book so decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, I found it so boring and the writing just blah. I also didn’t care for either main character and called it at 40%. I recommend skipping this one!

Amazon | Goodreads

The Holiday Swap is a new romance book release for october 2021.

The Holiday Swap
by Maggie Knox

To Be Published October 5
A Sweet Romance to Get You in the Holiday Spirit
4 stars
*ARC received

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses consciousness as well as also her taste and smell–both critical to her success as show judge. Desperate to keep her job, she asks her identical twin, Cass to switch places with her.

Only Cass is busy with her own problems running the family’s bakery. She’s struggling to make enough bread loaves for the Christmas Eve festival while also trying to get her ex to understand that they are indeed over.

Trading lives however proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician’s assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix.

I definitely found my favorite holiday romance of 2021 and it’s The Holiday Swap! This feel-good romance is the perfect book to snuggle up with to get you in the holiday spirit. It has just the right mix of sweet and spice that all romance fans will enjoy.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

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.

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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.