Angela– We are halfway done with 2022 and I’ve already read some fabulous books this year. These are my favorites of 2022 so far. (I have several more but they don’t release until later in the year, but y’all should be looking out for them. Hint: Sangu Mandanna. Hint: Ilona Andrews. Hint: Kit Rocha.)
Book Lovers by Emily Henry– This author has fast become a favorite, I’ve enjoyed everything she’s published. Book Lovers featured two main characters deeply entrenched in the publishing world who get stuck in a small town and fall in love. I loved they loved and accepted who they were and their big city, fast-paced life. See my full review here.
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston– This book was a total surprise, I was intrigued with the premise of a ghostwriter, who happens to see ghosts, going back home to bury her beloved father and encountering the ghost of her new editor. This is a grief book, but it’s also quirky, and fun, has some fabulous characters, and a really great HEA. See my full review here.
Hunt the Stars (Starlight’s Shadow #1) by Jessie Mihalik– I think this is currently my very favorite science fiction romance author. I adore her voice. Hunt the Stars is a new series and introduces a huge cast of characters who start out as enemies and quickly become a found family of sorts. Everyone is so competent and I loooove that. (Book two that comes out later in the year is just as fantastic.) See my full review here.
The Devil You Know by Elizabeth O’Roark– This is a new to me author that I’ve come to love. I gobbled up the first two books in this series in the last couple of months and was thrilled to get an early copy of this one. The Devil You Know features two lawyers who hate each other (not really) but are forced to work together on a discrimination case. Ben and Gemma are OMG so good and their chemistry is sizzling. See my full review here.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree– If cozy fantasy sounds like a thing you’d love this book is for you. This story follows Viv as she retires from mercenary life and decides to settle down and start a coffee shop. But trouble does find her, but along the way she finds a found family of sorts, falls in love, and discovers that she really has found a home. See my review here.
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey– I really loved both books in this duology. This is Hannah and Fox’s story and their friends-to-lovers romance hit all my buttons. Hannah is also connected to music in a way I completely understood. See my full review here.
Melanie – As of this moment, I’ve read 74 books so far this year and have a lot of 5 stars. In narrowing those 5 stars down to ones published in 2022, I came up with these 12 books that absolutely charmed and delighted me.
Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur – adored this sapphic second chance, roommates to lovers between recently divorced Olivia and Margot, her high school best friend turned something more. You can find my review here.
The Lady Tempts an Heir by Harper St. George – I have loved every single one of the books in this Gilded Age set series and the third one, featuring a romance between prim and proper widowed Lady Helena March and the brash American businessman, Maxwell Crenshaw is full of steam and spark. You can find my review here.
In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer – super slow burn and a closed door sex scene doesn’t always mean there’s no steam, in fact, the will-they-or-won’t-they tension between Hayes and Franny is sexy and charming, as is the setting, making it feel like a Nora Ephron big screen rom com of decades past. You can read my review here.
Gouda Friends by Cathy Yardley – come for the cheese, stay for the amazing friends to lovers between long time high school besties, Tam and Josh. I adored the found family aspects of this book as well as the nurturing, care taker hero, Josh. My review can be found here.
With Love from Rose Bend by Naima Simone – if you like the small town charm frequently found in Hallmark movies but with an added dose of steam, then this is the series for you. With a bruised and battered hero licking his wounds and a heroine dealing with heavy secrets and a hurt pride, this one kept me hooked until the very last word. You can find my review here.
Tanked by Mia Hopkins – Mia Hopkins more than delivered with the long awaited final book in her Eastside Brewery series, which focuses on the youngest of the Rosas brothers, Angel. With an younger man/older woman trope, the romance is sexy and tender, set amidst a pandemic world. You can find my review here.
A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan – I don’t read a lot of YA but I will basically read anything Tashie Bhuiyan writes at this point. The romance is sweet, the characters are relatable and complicated and flawed, and watching as protagonist Mina redefines what home means to her is heartwarming. You can find my review here.
Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton – I’m always a little bummed when a long-time favorite romance author jumps genres but Chanel Cleeton has managed to pull me along with her, on this incredible series set amidst the Cuban Revolution. There is some romance but ultimately, it’s really historical fiction – the romance doesn’t drive the plot. But regardless, the Perez family continues to keep me riveted with every book. You can find my review here.
A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña – this has some of my favorite tropes: a friends to enemies to fake engagement to lovers, long simmering secret mutual pining, nosy meddling families, and a cast of characters who will charm the reader as much as they annoy them. You can find my review here.
How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder – the book that made me revisit my stance on angst in romance. It’s still not my favorite but this book definitely is. The book makes Ethan and Grey work for their HEA and the pain and heartache they endure culminates in the sweetest of HEAs. My review is here.
She Said Yes by Tasha L. Harrison – first of all, it’s imperative you read book 1 of this duet, If She Says Yes before you read this one. It’s younger man/older woman, with Tomás, who has been pining for his best friend’s mom, Darcy for most of his life. It’s sexy and tender and I love a hero who is all about just pleasing his lady. My review is here.
Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh – no best of list would be complete for me without at least one Nalini Singh title and here we have the 4th book in the Hard Play series, focusing on the youngest of the rugby playing Bishop-Esera brothers. Having met both of the MCs in previous books in the series, it’s lovely watching them work through their respective issues to get to their long-awaited HEA. You can find my review here.
Iby – It’s been a pretty stellar reading year so far, and I have some new favorites.
Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik – Like Angela, I am blown away by Jessie Mihalik’s world-building. Her second book in this series does not disappoint – I highly recommend it to anyone loving space operas.
Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne – The perfect rom-com with some heart, set in NYC. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a gender reversed My Fair Lady retelling. Bonus: It’s available on Kindle Unlimited.
A Deal with the Devil by Elizabeth O’Roark – I loved this so much I created a Scenic Sunday out of one of my favorite scenes. So much great banter, such a great enemies-to-lovers, boss-employee romance. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.
My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey – I recently reviewed this one here and absolutely loved the two characters. The mystery wasn’t perfect (but, who is reading Tessa Bailey for the mystery?!), but the steam was excellent.
Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews – Is this cheating to list this in the beginning of 2022? I know this book doesn’t release until August, but this might be my hands-down favorite read of 2022 so far. I finished this book on my birthday, and it was the absolute perfect present. Thanks to Angela for responding to my constant texts about this. It wraps up the storyline of this trilogy (the second trilogy in a connected 6-book series about the Baylor family), and although I didn’t love the two MCs as much as the original two (Nevada and Rogan forever), I was super thrilled with how the mysteries were revealed. Ilona Andrews is one of my favorite authors – the husband-and-wife pair have the best world-building, action scenes, and most complex main characters. I have fingers and toes crossed for more from this world – I would love to read a series about Arabella, as I have a sneaking suspicion that she would be my favorite sister.
A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger – This book utterly charmed me. This is a historical romance featuring the heroine’s dog as a central character (with a hilarious voice!) as one of the narrators. I absolutely loved it. It’s very much a closed-door romance, but if you love Georgette Heyer, you’ll love this one.
Kate H. – I thought we were supposed to pick one! No problem, I can scale up. My top choice was going to be Season’s Change by Cait Nary, but I have several other favorites.
Season’s Change by Cait Nary – I think, in retrospect, what did it for me was Cait Nary’s ability to portray the development of an intimate relationship between two hockey players in an environment replete with guy-ness, both in positive and negative ways. The hurt/comfort trope is strong in this one!
Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma – Not quite enemies to lovers, but deeply resistant to one another’s beliefs about love, Kareena and Prem benefit from a fake engagement to each other. Come for the love story, leave with a greater understanding of the lives of Desi women in the United States!
Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky – This book keeps growing on me. It’s not my usual fare – people have described it as sweet, cute, and cozy. But for me, two things really worked. First, the setting at a historic drive-in and the main character’s interest in a reclusive director and her “lost” movie were great backdrops to this slow burn romance. But secondly, this was a good exploration of demisexuality, by a young man who had thought that coming out as gay was the end of his self-revelation.
Eight Weeks in Paris by S.R. Lane – Not quite grumpy/sunshine, I breezed through this because the writing was just so good and the slow burn heats to a crackling fire, despite all the Parisian rain in the book. Ignore the cover.