Thursday, April 5, 2018

Most Anticipated Romances - - Second Quarter 2018


My book calendar is filled with not-to-be-missed books for April, May, and June. April opens with a winner, In A Heartbeat, Janice Kay Johnson’s final Harlequin Superromance. (Harlequin is phasing out the imprint.) Johnson is a superb writer, one who crafts richly emotional stories with characters in whom a reader can believe. 

I’m also looking forward to Jodi Thomas’s standalone, Mornings on Main, an April 10 release. This author is a nonpareil when it comes to misfit protagonists, and the heroine of Mornings on Main, a drifter who may have found a home, is the sort of character she does best. 

Mid-month (April 17), Sheila Roberts introduces a new series with Welcome to Moonlight Harbor. This one has Roberts’s trademark humor and a heroine with some mileage--an irresistible combination IMO. 

In historical romance, I am eager to read the second in Cathy Maxwell’s Scandalous Spinsters series, A Match Made in Bed (April 17), with a bluestocking heroine and an opposites-attract trope, and the second in Joanna Shupe’s Four Hundred series, A Scandalous Deal (April 24), which features an architect heroine. I’m also excited about Lady Rogue (April 24), the first of Theresa Romain’s duo with Bow Street runner heroes.

May promises a profusion of books worth celebrating, beginning on May 1 with Mary Balogh’s Someone to Care, with an older heroine, Viola Kingsley, once a countess, now a scandal, and Jill Shalvis’s The Good Luck Sister, a Wildstone novella featuring Tilly Adams, the quirky teenage sister in Lost and Found Sisters, now some ten years older. Mid-month the second installment of Mariah Stewart’s Hudson Sisters, Playing at the Sugarhouse, will be released. The bonds of sisterhood will gain strength despite the snags the Hudson sisters hit with the restoration of the old theater. 

The month ends with a trio of extraordinary novels, two historical, one contemporary, that I have already read and added to my Best of 2017 list. I already have plans to reread Katharine Ashe’s The Prince, Eloisa James’s Too Wilde to Wed, and Julie Anne Long’s The First Time at Firelight Falls. These are very different books, but they have in common compelling stories, unforgettable characters, and wonderful prose. I must also mention a book that I have been longing to read for more than a year, Resurrection, the fourth story in Karina Bliss’s marvelous Rock Solid series. Goodreads has an April 3 pub date, but the author’s most recent newsletter said “last week of May or first week of June.” Whenever it is released, I plan to download and read Moss and Lily’s book ASAP!

Spring heats up and morphs into summer in June with a colorful mix of historicals and contemporaries that I am impatient to read. This year seems to be the year of bastard heroes, but I’m confident the hero of Sarah MacLean’s Wicked and the Wallflower (June 19), which introduces her Bareknuckle Bastards series, will be original and memorable. Manda Collins gives her readers another blend of romance and mystery in One for the Rogue (June 26), the story of geologist Gemma Hastings, the fourth bluestocking in her Studies in Scandal series. I’m happy that she pairs her with another Lisle brother (Cameron), all of whom I adore. 

Rachel Hauck’s The Love Letter (June 12) links the historical (Revolutionary War era) with the contemporary in this story about a love letter whose power is undimmed after more than two centuries. Four of my favorite contemporary authors have books releasing in June. RaeAnne Thayne’s The Cottages on Silver Beach, her eighth Haven Point book, includes a touch of suspense. Donna Kauffman pairs loner Seth Brogan with an Irish folk singer in her second Blue Hollow Falls novel, Blue Stone & Vine (June 26). 

Also on June 26, Debbie Mason takes her readers back to Harmony Harbor for book # 6, Sandpiper Shore, the story of Logan Gallagher who is a groom in love with someone other than his bride. Finally, another June 26 release, Susan Wiggs’s Between You and Me, a story about the clash of cultures that is billed as “an emotionally complex story of love and loss, family and friendship, and the arduous road to discovering the heart’s true path.”  That’s enough to know I have to read this book.

I’m looking forward to a splendid spring reading all these books and many others.


I'm sure it comes as no surprise that Janga and I have many of the same books on our Most Anticipated lists. I'm also eagerly anticipating Sheila Roberts' Welcome to Moonlight Harbor, Cathy Maxwell's A Match Made in Bed, Joanna Shupe's A Scandalous Deal, Theresa Romain's Lady Rogue, Katharine Ashe's The Prince, Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James, Julie Anne Long's First Time at Firelight Falls, Sarah MacLean's Wicked and the Wallflower, One for the Rogue by Manda Collins, RaeAnne Thayne's The Cottages on Silver Beach, and Debbie Mason's Sandpiper Shore.

Another title on my April Most Anticipated list is Marry in Scandal (April 3) by Anne Gracie. This second book in Gracie's Marriage of Convenience historical romance series pairs a shy, curvy heroine with low self-esteem with a well-known rake who helps rescue her from certain disaster. It's a solid romance but also a wonderful coming of age story for the heroine, Lily. I've already read this one and was thoroughly charmed.

Scandal in Spades (April 9) launches 2018 RITA® finalist Wendy LaCapra's new historical romance series with a spinster heroine tainted by past scandal and an honorable Marquess who has his world - and everything he believed true - turned upside down. Expect plenty of witty dialog, romance, and emotion.

Keep the tissues handy for Ruff Around the Edges (April 12), the sixth book in Roxanne St. Claire's heartwarming The Dogfather series. Featuring youngest Kilcannon son, Aidan, a former Army Night Stalker, Beck, the younger sister of his deceased best friend, and Ruff, a dog that will steal your heart, this emotional tale is filled with humor, heart, and, of course, a Dogfather guided happy ending.

April 24 brings another edge-of-your-seat thriller from Christina Dodd. Dead Girl Running, which launches Dodd's new Cape Charade series for Harlequin HQN is filled with all the tension, quirky characters, twists and turns, and surprises that I've come to expect from her thrillers. An early copy that I received kept me reading continuously until the very last page - at around 3:00 in the morning - when, once again, Dodd served up a shocking surprise that I did not see coming! 

I thoroughly enjoyed an ARC of A Duke Like No Other, (May 1) by Valerie Bowman, a  second-chance love story featuring spymaster Mark Grimaldi and his estranged wife, Nicole, a woman he hasn't seen in ten years. Though the book stands well on its own, fans of Bowman's Playful Brides series should especially enjoy this one. 

Janna MacGregor's The Luck of the Bride (May 1) is the third book in her Cavensham Heiresses series and one I have been eagerly anticipating. When a determined, orphaned woman, forced to embezzle from her own funds in order to feed her siblings, meets the marquess who controls those funds - the man whose signature she has been forging - you can bet sparks are going to fly. I can't wait for this one!

Julie Johnstone returns to medieval Scotland for another story of love, betrayal, and adventure in her Highlander Vows:Entangled Hearts series. I'm hooked on these books and can't wait for another emotional journey back in time with the May 2 release of When a Scot Gives His Heart

I'm excited to see what's in store for us on May 7 when Tule releases the first book in Tracy Solheim's new Men of the Secret Service series. Recipe for Disaster features a Secret Service agent on the trail of an international counterfeiter whose only clue is a towel from the White House, a White House pastry chef who desperately needs a date to her cousin's society wedding, and a mystery that embroils the two of them in a deadly game of survival.

I'm an unabashed fan of Paula Quinn's Highlanders and her May 29 release, Laird of the Black Isle featuring a laird with nothing to lose and the strong-willed daughter of one of my favorite MacGregor heroes looks to be another winning story in this long-running series. When each new book released makes you want to go back and reread all of them, you know you've found a special series. 

May 30 brings A Risk Worth Taking, the third book in 2018 RITA® Finalist Brynn Kelly's gripping The Legionnaires romantic suspense series. Kelly's debut, Deception Island hit my Best of 2016 list and both her second book as well as her RITA® nominated 2017 novella, Hidden River come with my enthusiastic recommendation. 

June kicks off with Dana Marton's Threat of Danger, (June 5) the second book in her breath-stealing, Mission Recovery romantic suspense series. This book features a Hollywood stunt woman and a former Navy SEAL turned author who shared a first love, and a traumatic event in their past, but are given a second chance when they are reunited in their small Vermont hometown. Unknown to them, a killer will also get a second chance. 

June 26 brings a book I've been anticipating since the beginning of Julia London's The Highland Grooms series. In Tempting the Laird, Catriona Mackenzie, described as "unruly, unmarried, and unapologetic" finally meets her match in the mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose. I can't wait to read this one! 

Controlling oldest brother, Lucian Granger finally gets his long-awaited book on June 26 in Delores Fossen's The Last Rodeo. There's a good reason Lucian's called "Lucifer" in the town of Wrangler's Creek. Nobody would ever accuse this hard-headed businessman of having a heart, though we did see a glimpse of the possibility in the last book of this series. Even so, his loyal, and good-hearted assistant Karlee O'Malley handed her heart to the man years ago, though he has no idea, but a fake engagement to save his ranch may finally open his eyes to what's been right in front of him all this time. So excited to finally find out what makes Lucian tick! 

What books are you looking forward to reading this quarter?


  1. All the contemp ones you showed. I did not realize the lastest St. Clair was coming out in a week. Am excited.

    1. I meant what I said about the tissues, Patoct. St. Claire pulled me through an emotional wringer with this upcoming book but it's so worth it! <3

  2. They all look great but you can't go wrong with Jodi Thomas. I can't wait to read it.

  3. The historicals, historicals, historicals lol.

    1. So, I'm guessing you like historicals? LOL!

  4. Wow, lots of historicals' coming out which are my absolute favorite genre to read.

    1. There are some wonderful ones on the horizon, Diane!

  5. I can't believe I left the Anne Gracie off my list. She is one of my top-ten, never-miss authors! I think it was because I had read it, and with an April 3 release date, I thought it would be out and thus fall in the already- loved rather than still-anticipated category. At any rate, I did love it and recommend that all lovers of historical romance read it. Lily especially is sure to capture readers' hearts. I don't think the St. Claire showed up in my search, or it too would certainly have been on my list. April-June is certainly going to be a romance reader's dream spring.

    1. I almost forgot to include the Gracie for the same reasons, Janga. I also loved it and Lily has secured herself a place on my list of all-time favorite heroines.

      St. Claire just announced the release date for Ruff Around the Edges and it went up for digital pre-order this morning so it wouldn't have showed up in your search. Print will be available on the April 12 release date.

  6. I am looking forward to Jodi Thomas's book. Do you know if it will be out in audio book? I looked on audible and amazon but its not listed. I also want Shelia Roberts, Debbie Mason, Roxanne St. Claire and Christina Dodd. Thanks for finding ways for me to spend

  7. great list of upcoming releases


  8. Ooh I got some good romances to look forward to!!
    I am currently reading Jodi Thomas (new to me author) and I really look forward to getting more of her books.ah there's so many great HR's here!!

  9. Shoot fire, I look forward to nearly every book mentioned. I like contemporaries, but I LOVE historicals. Thanks for the reminders of books I truly want.

  10. Wow! So many wonderful books. Debbie Mason, Christina Dodd and Roxanne St. Claire are already on pre-order.

  11. So many good books coming out. I'm definitely looking forward to St. Claire's, Sohleim and Shalvis' for sure. I love the Tule books and their wonderful authors. Two additional books I can't wait for are Book 2 in Jeannie Moon's Compass Cove series and Book 3 in Jamie Beck's Cabot series. I forget when Kristan Higgins' newest is coming out, but am looking forward to it.

  12. Love At Last by Claudia Connor on April 24
    Cashmere and Camp by Erin Nicholas on May 8
    A Glorious Christmas by Ginny Baird on May 10
    Beyond Control by Kat Martin on May 29
    Down Deep by Kimberly Kincaid on June 18
    Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey's on July 3
    Called To Protect by Lynette Eason on July 31
    Christmas On Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains on September 25
    Dear Santa by Nancy Naigle on October 16

    These are a few I jotted downl

  13. As usual, all I need to do is look at your lists and say this is whaat I want. Your lists feature favorite authors and favorite tropes. They are a nice balance of historical, contemporary, and suspense. I need to be able to read more and faster. I don't know how you manage to read so much and keep up with your posts.

  14. Historicals, historicals, historicals! Love them and I'm happy to see several are FINALLY due out. Seems like they've been on my books to buy list forever! I didn't see The Duke of Lies by Darcy Burke coming out May 29 on that list. It is book #9 in her Untouchables Series.

  15. Fabulous list! I agree on so many and find I need to expand my contemporary reading a great deal. Thanks, ladies.