Upcoming Romance Books Getting Rave Reviews on NetGalley

A collage of the covers included in this article

It can be difficult to narrow the selection down with so many buzzy books hitting shelves every week, which is why I’ve turned to NetGalley member reviews for recommendations. Here’s a list of upcoming books from the Romance category that are already exciting me and NetGalley members alike! I predict you’ll be adding quite a few of these to your next indie bookstore order.

Desperate Acts by Alexandra Ivy

“I have been a massive fan of Alexandra Ivy, for she delivers the perfect mix of slow-burn romance and mystery,” writes Nebula C.Desperate Acts certainly did not disappoint. This book is filled with suspense and enough twists and turns that will keep you guessing till the end.” Meanwhile, reviewer Kelly W is new to the series and couldn’t agree more: “The author’s writing style is very easy to get lost in and find yourself wanting to read just one more chapter. I plan to add the rest of this series to my TBR list.”

Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall

Librarian Krista F sure knows how to hand-sell a book. This review has us hooked: “Join a fairy (who is definitely NOT invested in the well-being of these mortals) as he narrates the scandalous, exciting, sapphic tale of Miss Maelys, who is caught up in the machinations of the old gods, and Lady Georgianna who, despite her more than probable murdering of her four closest male relatives, seems intent on saving Maelys. There are impossible trials set by goddesses, consultations of various witches/priestesses, a visit to an 18th-century drag bar, and plenty of witty conversation to delight any reader.”

Jana Goes Wild by Farah Heron

“Farah Heron does it again!” writes reviewer ​​Maggie S about this romance where exes and co-parents Jana Suleiman and Anil Malek are stuck in close proximity leading up to a wedding. “The second chance romance, Tanzania setting, and deep personalities make this a fabulous book and a favorite read of 2023 for me. Even if the year has just begun, this is a special one!”

Curled Up With an Earl by Amy Rose Bennett, narrated by Sasha Higgins

In this historical romance, a spy for the Crown starts to fall for the daughter of his main suspect while undercover. “I really, really liked this, just as I loved book one! Curled Up with an Earl was cozy and soft and perfect for midnight reading,” raves reviewer Hannah B. This reviewer listened to books one and two in the series on audio and recommends them both, adding about the narrator’s voice for Curled Up with an Earl’s Scottish hero, “I do love a good brogue. It took me OUT.”

Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai

Highlighted as one of the most-anticipated books of 2023, this romantic fantasy features an immortal heroine hiding her true powers and an elf on a mission to break a curse. Educator Mikayla P called it “a fun, contemporary fantasy with a lot of heart” adding that “the world-building and magic system in Bitter Medicine is as delightful as it is intriguing, and Tsai has carefully crafted a world rich with linguistic diversity… This is a book as much about the love between these two characters as it is about finding yourself, being a little more selfish, and living your life without regrets. It is a powerful reminder that redemption is always possible and that it’s never too late to reach for what you want.”

To Swoon and to Spar by Martha Waters

The latest in the Regency Vows series follows a wife as she attempts to convince her new husband that their home is haunted to scare him off, only to realize she may actually like him. “I love Martha Water’s playful prose and snappy writing style,” book trade professional Samantha H says in a five-star review. “The book is a hilarious take on Regency Gothic romances and would even have Jane Austen chortling. You don’t need to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, but you really should because they are more fun than a minuet.”

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest

Fans of You’ve Got Mail are sure to enjoy this tale of two bookworms who connect over email before one ghosts the other, only for them to end up as neighbors. The Neighbor Favor is a warm, thoughtful portrayal of two people learning to trust in themselves enough to pursue a relationship together,” says librarian Tristan D. “[Kristina] Forest treats Lily and Nick with respect and compassionately shows how difficult it can be to pursue a relationship when also dealing with family trauma. This book will appeal to readers of bookish romances and those who value communication in their romance novels.”

Infamous by Lex Croucher

NetGalley members have high praise for Infamous, a sapphic, friends-to-lovers Regency-era romance about what happens when aspiring writer Edith “Eddie” Miller learns that her best friend Rose is contemplating marriage. Bookseller Alexia G called it “absolutely amazing,” while media/journalist Amani S wrote that it was “a fun, quirky, and hilarious book! Perfect for fans of Eloise Bridgerton.” Educator Nicholle A adds, “The author’s prose is so authentic and the characters are neatly developed… Both Reputation and Infamous, similar books by the same author, are refreshing and intriguing. I hope Lex Croucher keeps churning out books like these!”

Radiant Sin by Katee Robert, narrated by Zara Hampton-Brown and Alex Moorcock

The We Are Bookish team loves Katee Robert’s steamy and romantic take on Greek mythology, and it’s clear NetGalley members do too. “Katee Robert has another hit on her hands,” writes librarian Elizabeth W. “The Dark Olympus series feels like a case study of what happens when Gods are absolutely obsessed with the goddess in their lives and how to reconcile those feelings within a world full of societal pressures and power dynamics.” The narration is getting equal praise with reviewer Siofra saying, “Our narrators were great fits for the characters. Big shoutout to [Zara Hampton-Brown] because she also did a great job of voicing Apollo in her chapters.”

The Lady Knows Best by Susanna Craig

The Lady Knows Best unexpectedly took me on a journey of revelation and slow-burn romance,” writes reviewer Sandra W of this tale of a nobleman who demands marriage from an Irish advice columnist. “Far from the humor and high tensity passion of the prequel, this tale [featured] a deep unraveling of Daphne and Miles as individuals, that I really enjoyed. It subtly sang with witty banter and a thrumming chemistry that fed off their longing, deeply hidden cravings, and vulnerabilities, and evolved into a budding romance so much more fulfilling and rewarding than either expected.”

The House on Mulberry Street by Jeannie Chin

“This cozy romance is a cannot-put-down novel, written by a talented author. The characters are likable, the setting delightful—curl up in a comfy chair, grab a warm blanket, and become lost in the lives of these characters,” educator Brenda B says in a five-star review. “This would make a great movie.” Best friends Elizabeth Wu and Graham Lewis falling in love on screen as they work together to launch a local arts festival? Take our money now, Netflix!

The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by KJ Charles

This historical romance is one of our team’s most-anticipated books of the year and this review is solidifying why. “This book is everything all at once: a heartwarming romance, a page-turny mystery, and an atmospheric period novel,” writes bookseller Laura M in a glowing review. “I almost finished it in a single sitting and was only able to put it down because I absolutely had to. If you enjoyed the Bridgerton books but wished they had a bit more crime in them, or are looking for Red, White & Royal Blue set in Regency times, don’t hesitate for a second but pick this book up immediately. I promise you, you won’t regret it!”

What’s the last 5-star romance you read?

Stuff Your Shelves

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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