Romance Roundup: January 2021

A look at what’s steaming up the shelves this month.

Romance Roundup: January 2021

I can’t think of a better way to ring in 2021 than with a few good books. (Though, really, every holiday celebration is better with a book in hand.)

Even with a bright and shiny new year to get excited about, I know that these cold winter months are going to feel longer than usual as we wait for covid-19 vaccines and the end of this pandemic. So, in the spirit of focusing on the good stuff, here are two of my favorite reads from the past few weeks.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year. Stay well and keep reading!


Charis Michaels deftly balances romance and whimsy in her Regency romance with a fairytale twist, A Duchess a Day (Avon).

Lady Helena Lark has no interest in marrying the dullard Duke of Lusk. Unfortunately, her family has other plans and can see only the financial benefits that the union will bring. Helena has spent years attempting different ploys to escape her fate, but nothing has worked — and her wedding day is fast approaching. If only she could get her boring betrothed interested in some other woman…

Known as the Huntsman, Declan Shaw is a mercenary who will do whatever it takes to keep himself out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He is hired by the duke’s uncle to watch over the reluctant bride until her wedding day — but the job turns out to be more pleasure than work when he falls for the feisty Helena. He wants to help her, but he’d also like to avoid going back to prison.

In a last-ditch effort to avert getting married, Helena plans to introduce the duke to seven different duchesses. She hopes one of them will catch his fancy and secure her freedom from matrimony. Meanwhile, Helena is just as charmed by Declan as he is by her and is grateful to have him as an ally. But what will become of the pair if Helena is successful in avoiding the altar?

A Duchess a Day is the first book in Michaels’ Awakened by a Kiss series and it’s a terrific beginning. Fans of fairytales are certain to fall in love with this clever reimagining of Snow White.


I didn’t know what to expect from Layla (Montlake), but Colleen Hoover always delivers a memorable read, so I was in good hands.

Musician Leeds Gabriel thought he’d found the woman of his dreams when he met quirky, free-spirited Layla. He believes theirs is the kind of love meant to last forever — until a brutal attack by a stalker leaves Layla damaged physically and emotionally, stealing the unique spark that makes her so special.

In an effort to bring back the woman he adores, Leeds takes her to the Kansas bed-and-breakfast where they first met. But instead of healing Layla’s spirit, the getaway brings about strange changes in her behavior — along with unexplainable, possibly supernatural, events.

Trying to sort out what is happening to them, Leeds finds himself bonding with Willow, another guest at the B&B. Willow has her own issues, and Leeds is compelled to help her find the answers she’s searching for. But soon, he begins to realize that the choice he makes will impact his relationship with Layla in profound ways.

With a tightly focused, character-driven narrative, Layla is impossible to fully describe without spoiling the plot. Suffice to say, this memorable tale is part love story, part ghost story, and wholly compelling.

Kristina Wright lives in Virginia with her husband, their two sons, two dogs, a cat, and a parrot. She’s the digital editor of Your Teen for Parents magazine and a regular contributor at BookBub. She’s also the author of The Big Book of Infectious Disease Trivia. Find her on Twitter at @kristinawright or on Bookshop, where she features other book recommendations.

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