Fall is here, and there’s no better time to snuggle up with a romance novel! October is the month when the leaves start changing (if you live in a place that does that), the evenings get crisp, and the fireplaces start going. It’s when baseball fans get really stressed out and other people just switch to a different sport to casually enjoy. It’s when the Halloween go-hards get really excited and the giant skeletons start to go up in yards.
In Romancelandia, it’s also when the “holiday” romance novels start popping up on shelves. Most holiday romances are vaguely Christmas themed, but the last few years have seen a few more romances set around other winter holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Diwali, Solstice, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. (There are also more focused on Lunar New Year, but that’s not until January.) We’ve still got quite a ways to go before that representation is anywhere near equitable (especially since there are so many people in the U.S. and the world that don’t even celebrate Christmas!) but it’s nice to see the classic Hallmark-style Christmas romance branch out to more racial and cultural representation, and more of the cultures and traditions of the world brought to the forefront of the Holiday Time.
Regardless, there are countless new romances coming out every week, so it might be hard to decide which one to read. Do you want something shorter, or longer? Something fun, or angsty? Something that embodies the October spirit? Or maybe it’s time to get an early start on those winter holiday romances! Whatever your need, I’ve got something for you to try.
In a holiday twist on the old demon conjuring story, Bettie — alone, broke, and drunkenly sad — accidentally summons the embodiment of the Holiday Spirit when she plays “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards (through her vocoder) (not actually, I just couldn’t resist). This charming man, Hall, is a bit of a Clarence-like creature, whose whole job is to help the vain and spoiled Bettie get more into the spirit of goodwill. And Bettie kind of can’t resist him.
When Lily wakes up a vampire, she isn’t sure how to take it. For one thing, nobody asked. For another thing, while she’s all about body positivity, she still has to get used to the fact that she’s trapped in a body that will never change. And Tristan, the vampire who changed her without meaning to? He’s just along for the ride.
Matthew Prince is rude and conceited and not for anybody. He’s also incredibly spoiled. So when he gets banished to his grandparents’ for the holidays, he just wants to get out on good behavior. He sees the chance to get brownie points by stepping in as the coordinator for a charity gala, but the unimpressed Hector, who he already doesn’t get along with, is there every step of the way.
This historical romance features a marriage of convenience, a haunted Yorkshire manor, and an equestrienne who is far more comfortable with her horse than with any human person. When an heiress with severe anxiety proposes marriage, reclusive Captain Blunt takes her offer, with certain stipulations — she can ride and read to her heart’s content, but there are places she can never go and things she can never ask him about. Get ready for lots of Beauty and the Beast vibes!
When college senior Cassie escapes her school’s family weekend by hitting up a bar off campus, she doesn’t expect to hook up with a gorgeous older woman. But she does, and she doesn’t think it’ll be more than a one night stand. But when her best friend drags her to breakfast with her mom the next day…surprise, surprise.
Alba enjoys a lot of jobs, but one she absolutely cannot stand is being assistant to cold and demanding former Olympian Theo. When she decides to put herself first for once and move to Dallas, she’s surprised by the arrival of Theo, who seems to have had a complete personality transplant and an offer she can’t refuse.
Katee Robert is on a breakneck publishing schedule, including kickstarting the Peculiar Tastes collection, which includes a book set in the Deal with a Demon universe. The Kraken’s Sacrifice is the second in the series, and includes a similar setup to The Dragon’s Bride: with nowhere else to go, Catalina makes a deal with a demon, only to be auctioned off to a Kraken. He seems…nice? But he looks to be avoiding her.
When Miriam partially inherits her (Jewish) family-run Christmas tree farm, she’s not sure what to do. The last thing she wants to do is deal with her family, but when she finds that the farm is in danger of going under, she can’t help but stay — much to the dismay of the farm’s grumpy manager.
Mira is done with adventure. She just wants a boring man to spend the rest of her boring life with, so she turns to an app focused on matching Indian Americans. When she finds Naveen, he seems like the perfect partner. But when she learns that her aunt has died and ends up dragging Naveen into a whirlwind night filled with kidnappers, hackers, and other sordid folks, she’s worried that he might be turned off forever.
Opposites attract in this romance set in the world of professional musicians! R&B singer Cambria is here to work. And she’s not impressed with the reserved studio exec Miles. But their clash brings out great things — both in the work and in their extracurricular activities.
This follow-up to Donut Fall In Love drops us into a wedding party! When Vivian’s roommate and Mel’s best friend and co-star get engaged, the two are thrown together as members of the bridal party. But they’ve met before, and they don’t get along; Mel might be Vivian’s favorite actor, but he also told her to her face that she was selling out and was wasting her artistic talent as a corporate drone — which she does, you know, to make money.
I’ve never read a historical romance featuring a professional woman boxer, but this one is set to change that! Inspired by a real person, this book features Marianne, a woman who fights bouts in her uncle’s circus. She’s approached by a duke who needs her help, but she’s hesitant for many reasons.
In another romance chock-full of food and magic, Santos introduces us to Larimar, who loves baked goods and punk rock…and also turns into a mythical creature every full moon. When she meets Ray, they hit it off, but when she discovers that she’s in charge of opening a new bakery across the street from where his already stands, she’s torn between her job and a burgeoning relationship.
Maverick Outlaw (yes, that’s his real name) is happy to be friends with benefits with Sapphire, with whom he’s been friends for ages and has pretty great sex. But when she announces not only that she’s pregnant, but that her future lies with someone else, Maverick realizes he might want more than he ever thought. Brenda Jackson is scheduled to publish her 150th book in the near future!
You’ll notice this list leans heavily traditional, and that’s mostly because traditional publishers like Avon, Berkley, Sourcebooks, and the like announce books several months in advance, and while indie authors do tend to write on a schedule, their book announcements often come a little closer to release dates. So keep an eye out for your favorite indie author; they might just randomly drop some Halloween stuff in mid-October. It’s been known to happen before!
And if you’re looking for even more new romance reads, check out September’s best romance new releases.