Romance Roundup: January 2024

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

Romance Roundup: January 2024

New year, new me. Scratch that. New year, new books! While I’m busily spending my bookstore gift cards (thanks, family) and pre-ordering some of my instant-buy favorite authors, here are the books that wrapped up my reading list for 2023 and helped me ring in the new year.

Wishing you all a very happy 2024 filled with peace, joy, and plenty of romance!


Fans of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones will fall in love with Jo Segura’s Raiders of the Lost Heart (Berkley)!

Archeologist Socorro “Corrie” Mejía is invited to join a dig in Mexico to locate the remains of Aztec warrior Chimalli. It’s the opportunity of Corrie’s career, the kind of find that will elevate her name in a male-dominated field. She also believes Chimalli might be her ancestor, which makes this dig all the more important to her. There’s only one problem: She’ll have to work with her former grad-school nemesis and rival archeologist, Ford Matthews.

Corrie and Ford have an antagonistic relationship thanks to some unresolved history, but Ford needs Corrie’s help if this dig is going to be a success. They agree to put their personal feelings aside in their quest for professional glory, but that’s easier said than done as Corrie tries to keep her eyes on the prize, and Ford focuses on keeping his eyes off Corrie. The close quarters and remote location make it all but impossible for them to ignore their attraction, but while they’re brilliant in their work, learning to be vulnerable and trust each other is a hard lesson for them both.

Segura gives traditional romance tropes a fun new spin in her rollicking debut, packing plenty of action, danger, humor, and steam into a page-turning read. Raiders of the Lost Heart is the adventure romance I’ve been waiting for!


Denise Williams delivers an exceptional second-chance romance with Technically Yours (Berkley).

As a Black woman in the tech field, Pearl Harris believes putting her career first is the only way to succeed. It seems like her hard work is coming to fruition when she’s appointed acting director of OurCode, a nonprofit committed to helping high-schoolers gain experience in STEM fields. It’s a job that could change her life — and then her boss is caught in a scandal that rocks the company and threatens its future. Now it’s up to Pearl to correct course, but her own life is about to be rocked when she learns the new member of her board of directors is someone from her past.

It’s been eight years, but programmer Cord Matthews has never forgotten Pearl, or how she broke his heart. Despite her own lingering feelings for him, Pearl can’t risk a workplace romance — it would jeopardize her career. But love doesn’t care much about logic, and it isn’t long before Pearl and Cord are trying to figure out how to make things work. But if they have any hope for a future together, they’ll have to examine what went wrong in the past.

Pearl’s professional goals and determination not to be derailed by a relationship reflect the challenges of women, particularly women of color, in the tech field. Williams uses dual points of view and flashbacks to develop the relationship between Pearl and Cord as they resolve their insecurities and fall in love all over again.


Melissa Wiesner’s The Second Chance Year (Forever) is the perfect romantic read to start the new year.

Sadie Thatcher has had the worst year ever. She’s been fired from her job as a pastry chef, her boyfriend dumped her, and she lost her apartment. When a fortune-teller offers her one wish on New Year’s Eve, Sadie knows it’s only pretend but can’t help wishing for a do-over of her horrible year. Nothing changes after she makes her wish — until she wakes up the next morning and discovers the year has done a rewind and it’s last January 1st again. She has her job, her boyfriend, and her apartment back, and now she can do things right this time — which means keeping her mouth shut in the face of other people’s horrible behavior.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course. Speaking up for herself is a part of who Sadie is, and changing that isn’t going to make her life better. Still, it takes some time to figure that out as her new attitude gives her a different perspective on everything that went wrong up until the clock reset. As she navigates her second-chance year, she keeps running into Jacob, her brother’s best friend and the man she kissed on New Year’s Eve before her year started over. It’s a memory Sadie can’t forget, and one Jacob can’t remember. Yet he’s always there whenever she needs him. Could it be that her very bad year was clearing the path for a happy new beginning?

Infused with a touch of magic, interesting secondary characters, a lovely little coffeeshop, and plenty of self-reflection, The Second Chance Year takes a look at how bad experiences can often be openings for opportunities, if we just get out of our own way. 

Kristina Wright lives in Virginia with her husband, their two sons, two Goldendoodles, a ginger cat, and a green parrot. She’s a regular contributor at BookBub and a lifelong fan of romance fiction. Find her on Twitter at @kristinawright or on Bookshop, where she features her book recommendations.

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