Romance Roundup: October 2023

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

Romance Roundup: October 2023

It’s officially spooky season! (Unofficially, spooky season started as soon as Target replaced the school supplies with Halloween candy.) Though I’m starting to love spring more and more, autumn remains my favorite season. What’s not to love? Back to school, fall festivals, apple-picking, comfort food, shorter days, cooler weather, and books, oh my, the books! I read every day of the year, but fall is when I can’t get enough of witchy romcoms, small-town cozies, and a little magic on every page.

Here are a few swoony romances that have gotten my fall off to a fabulous start!


A new witch and a reclusive librarian find love and magic in Molly Harper’s Witches Get Stuff Done (Sourcebooks Casablanca).

After losing her mother, Riley Everett receives an intriguing invitation from an aunt she never knew existed. Aunt Nora wants her to visit Shaddow House, their family’s Victorian mansion on a small island off the coast of Michigan. While on the ferry to picturesque Starfall Point, a nauseated Riley meets the town’s head librarian, Edison Held, in a decidedly gross meet-cute. Edison is the expert when it comes to Starfall Point, but Shaddow House has always been an off-limits mystery.

Riley soon learns that her aunt has died, leaving her the haunted Shaddow House. Fortified with Nora’s journals and the wisdom of the house’s ghost-butler, Riley discovers her supernatural birthright. It’s not easy being a thirtysomething new witch, but she has help from new friends Alice and Caroline, along with the sexy but infuriating Edison, as she sets out to unravel the mysteries of Shaddow House and her paranormal family.

Though Edison’s initial interest was in getting past the front door of Shaddow House, his growing attraction to Riley makes him want to spend as much time as possible with her. He’s an enigmatic character with his own complicated issues, but if he can let down his guard, he and Riley might discover they’re a perfect match.

With a cast of quirky, supportive characters and a haunted house with its own personality, Harper’s new paranormal romance series is off to an enchanting start!


Jenna Levine takes the “opposites attract” trope to a new level in her charming debut, My Roommate Is a Vampire (Berkley).

Cassie Greenberg is a struggling artist facing eviction and in need of an affordable (read: cheap) place to live. She finds a brownstone to share in a beautiful Chicago suburb, but the price is so reasonable, she’s convinced something must be wrong with the place — and her new roommate. As it turns out, Frederick J. Fitzwilliams does have some quirks: He is gone every night, sleeps all day, is extremely secretive, and acts like he’s new to the 21st century.

Though their paths rarely cross due to Frederick’s unusual schedule, they communicate via notes that are funny and sometimes flirty. Frederick takes notice of Cassie’s art, asks about her well-being, and is thoughtful and supportive in a way she finds highly appealing. For all his quirks, Frederick is a great roommate and a decent guy. Plus, he’s handsome and wealthy. It’s an unusual arrangement, but Cassie likes it — until she finds out Frederick is a 300-year-old vampire who’s been in a coma for the past century.

As Cassie tutors her old-fashioned, undead roomie in the ways of modern life, she discovers that living with, and falling for, a vampire comes with its own complications. Levine clearly had fun writing this lighthearted and memorable addition to the paranormal-romance genre, and lucky us, she invites readers along for the ride.


Beth O’Leary’s The Wake-Up Call (Berkley) pits rival hotel employees against each other during the busiest time of the year.

Last Christmas, Izzy wrote a very personal note in colleague Lucas’ Christmas card, admitting she had feelings for him and asking him to meet her under the mistletoe. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way she hoped, and Izzy didn’t get the kiss she wanted. She’s spent the past year channeling her frustration into her work, determined to one-up Lucas at every turn, but this holiday season may be the last for Forest Manor Hotel. It’s on the verge of bankruptcy, and while Izzy and Lucas might not have anything else in common, they both love the place.

When they come across several wedding bands while sorting through the lost-and-found, Izzy is able to locate one of the ring’s owners, who gives her a reward for her efforts. Returning the remaining rings quickly becomes a competition between the two rivals, and all the pent-up emotions of the past year finally come to a head. They may have had a rocky past, but as they work to save Forest Manor, Izzy and Lucas discover they’re a good team.

Snarky humor balances nicely with heartfelt emotion in this effervescent grumpy/sunshine romance!

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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