Romances of the Month: March 2023

Welcome to Romances of the Month! This is a monthly blog that offers a round-up of a couple of romance books that I've read for the month, and where I will also share my reviews of each book!

Exes and O's, book cover

Exes and O's by Amy Lea

A romance novel-obsessed social media influencer revisits her exes on her hunt for true love in this romantic comedy. Romance book connoisseur Tara Chen has had her heart broken ten times by ten different men-all of whom dumped her because of her "stage-five clinger" tendencies. Nevertheless, Tara is determined to find The One. The only problem? Classic meet-cutes are dead, thanks to modern dating apps. So Tara decides to revisit her exes in hopes of securing her very own trope-worthy second-chance romance. Boston firefighter Trevor Metcalfe will be the first to rush into a burning building but the last to rush into a relationship. Love just isn't his thing. When his new roommate Tara enlists him to help her reconnect with her exes, he reluctantly agrees. But Tara's journey is leading him to discover his own new chapter. The more time they spend together, the more Tara realizes Trevor seems to be the only one who appreciates her authentic, dramatic self. To claim their happily ever after, can Tara and Trevor read between the lines of their growing connection?

I was pretty excited to read Exes and O's; the cover was very cute and I thought the premise sounded like it would be a fun romance. Sadly, I really struggled reading through this book. At first I thought Tara was a fun and sweet character as I loved that she was a romance novel reader and hopeless romantic, but as the book progressed, I noticed I actually couldn't connect with Tara and she was getting on my nerves. I think it is absolutely fine to be a hopeless romantic, but I felt that Tara had an unhealthy obsession with wanting to find her "One" and took it to an extreme level, like "planning their wedding and future kids with the person after only meeting for a second" level. There was also a sort of naivete to her as well when it came to relationships, which I thought was unbelievable for a 30 year old to have. Through reading Tara's journey, she seemed pretty desperate and clingy, and yes, Tara hated that label, but unfortunately she was! I had hoped that during this quest Tara would have grown a bit through some self-reflection and maybe learn the importance of knowing your worth, but that didn't really happen. With Trevor, he was one-dimensional, and I wished we would have gotten his POV in order to get to know him better. Also, I had a hard time believing Tara and Trevor's romance. The set up was to be a slow burn, but there were no sparks between the two. There weren't any hints of possible feelings from Trevor either before feelings were confessed, and Tara and Trevor were somehow in love, so the relationship didn't fit. In the end, I was left disappointed by Exes and O's.

My Rating: ??

Steaminess: ???

Behind the Scenes, book cover

Behind the Scenes by Karelia Stetz-Waters

Business consultant Rose Josten might not have officially reached “pug lady” middle age, but she’s already got the pugs—along with their little Gucci coats and trash-lovin’ appetites. Still, life is good, with her work, her sisters, and a secret hobby creating incredibly tactile (if surprisingly sexy) mindfulness videos. So why does it feel like it’s not quite enough? Which is exactly when former filmmaker Ash Stewart enters camera left, and Rose’s world suddenly goes full technicolor . . .Ash never looks at anyone. Not since her ex ripped her heart from her chest in Spielberg-esque style, crushing Ash’s reputation, dreams, and directorial career in one brutal blow. But Rose is altogether different. She’s curvy, beautiful, and just so damn put together. And her business expertise might be Ash’s best bet for getting her last film—and her last chance—financed. Now if they can just keep their attraction under wraps, Ash’s lost dream could finally come true. But are they creating movie magic . . . or setting the stage for disaster?

Behind the Scenes had a slow start, and it dragged at times, but once things started to pick up, I really got into the story. The book ended up being a very sweet and funny read. Enjoyed Rose and Ash, they felt like very real people with flaws and issues, so were easy to like and root for. Their romance was a real slow burn. The two were attracted to each other, but due to past bad relationships and other issues, Rose and Ash were both hesitant to take that big relationship leap with each other. So because of that there were a lot of pinning and quick glances happening between the two for the early parts of the book. But I thought that Rose and Ash's relationship was wonderfully done; these two were complete opposites in personalities, but they worked well together. I really appreciated how genuine and mature the relationship was. It was truly wonderful seeing them supporting each other. Both Ash and Rose had their own issues, and I loved seeing how both of them were patient with each other and actually talked about these issues in order to support and help the other person. Their relationship really helped both of them to heal from their previous trauma. While mostly light and fun, the book did include some serious topics of trauma and intimacy issues, which I thought were well handled. The intimacy scenes between Rose and Ash were very well-written, and sweet and spicy as well, as it showed them respecting boundaries, and how there were different ways to be connected. On a fun note, Rose's sisters were an absolutely blast, I loved whenever the sisters were all together because the scenes were so fun. I also loved Rose's pugs, they were so adorably cute; although I wanted more scenes of them! I also enjoyed reading about Ash's work as a filmmaker and seeing the behind the scenes look at how films were made. Overall, a really enjoyable read that I do recommend.

My Rating: ????

Steaminess: ???

The Bodyguard, book cover

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka "bodyguard"), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker. Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid. When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it. Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

I loved the premise of The Bodyguard; especially after reading that the roles would be reversed with the female character as the bodyguard and the male character being the the famous protectee, which I thought was a very nice change. Also throwing in some fake-dating added to the excitement of the book as well. The Bodyguard turned out to be such a cute and fun romcom! I did not expect the book to be so sweet and lighthearted, but it was the feelgood read I needed! I was smiling so much while reading; there were lots of cute and laugh-out-loud moments. The two main characters, Hannah and Jack, were so wonderful. Loved that Hannah was very witty and serious about her job. While Jack was said to be a Hollywood heartthrob, he was also charming and dorky. Hannah and Jack's first meeting was the best, as Jack was skeptic of Hannah being able to protect him that was until she showed him up. There was a bit of a sunshine/grump pairing with Hannah the grump and Jack the sunshine. Their interactions were very fun and sweet, and there was great banter between the two. Enjoyed seeing the friendship between Jack and Hannah and the connection they had felt very real and natural as it slowly grew into something romantic. While there were plenty of sweet and funny moments, the book also dealt with some serious topics of grief and insecurities. Both Hannah and Jack were dealing with difficulties from their past and it was wonderful to see how they helped the other face their trauma and heal. Overall, highly recommend checking out The Bodyguard. Also, I totally want this to be made into a movie!

My Rating: ????


In a New York Minute, book cover

In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer

Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough. Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs. Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?

In a New York Minute was an absolutely cute book! This was another sweet and feelgood book for me, and I had such a great time reading it. While the subway moment may have been embarrassing for Franny, it was a truly hilarious opening scene and set up a great meet-cute between Franny and Hayes. I really enjoyed both Franny and Hayes and thought they were wonderful characters. I liked both their personalities with Franny being a bubbly sunshine person and Hayes the quieter and bit awkward one. While total opposites, they fit together very well. This was a slow burn romance, and I thought it worked for Hayes and Franny's relationship. The two kept bumping into each other and each time some kind of accident occurred, but those moments also helped to build their relationship as Franny and Hayes were able to fix some of the misunderstandings they had and slowly become friends. The banter between them was fun, and I liked that Franny helped Hayes to be a bit more open. The friendships in here were a great part of the book as well. I loved Franny's two best friends, Cleo and Lola, the trio were lots of fun and it was wonderful seeing how supportive they were of each other. Haynes friendship with his work colleague/work wife was so super cute. My one issue was the conflict/break-up near the end, it was expected as with most romance novels, but their reason felt silly. Other than that, In a New York Minute was a really delightful read, and I hope Franny's friends get their own books as well.

My Rating: ????

Steaminess: ??

Comment down below if you have read any of these books and let me know your thoughts on them. Also, share with me some of your romance book recommendations!