New December Romances for Gift Season

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Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

Everyone loves new books (even if you’re one of those people *cough*me*cough* who loves the idea of new books but doesn’t read them for nine years)! Romance readers are always voracious for new materials, and though December is a relatively light month for new romance releases, the ones that are coming out are going to be bangers. Go on adventures! Laugh at fake dating werewolves! Celebrate Christmas at the beach! Or read about people doing lots of other kinds of things in the past, the present, and in worlds far away.

A good romance novel is honestly the best thing to pick up in December—they can be soothing and enrapturing, or they can be fun and funny. They can cathartically help you deal with Big Emotions while you also get a guaranteed Happily Ever After. It’s cold and dark (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere), and friends and families alike are very complicated. So, finding a new romance novel to cry happy tears into while sitting under three blankets in the dark is a great way to spend your time this month. 

Of course, they’re also great gifts! Introduce someone to a new author, or make someone’s day with a book they didn’t know was coming out. Match it with a movie or a good wine. Maybe some cozy socks or yummy snacks. (And, of course, you don’t need to have Winter Holiday Reasons to give a gift to someone; start now!) 

Either way, get the right romance to help you escape the bustle of the Western holidays or to give to a friend or family member who is either a romance lover or who you’re trying to bring over to the dark side. (We have cookies and swoons!) Whichever way you flip it, December isn’t a bad month when it comes to good romance releases.

cover of Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura

Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura

Archaeologist Corrie Mejía has dreamed of searching the Mexican jungle for an Aztec warrior ancestor for as long as she can remember. So when she’s invited on an all-expenses-paid research expedition, she signs on immediately. But if she thought it was too good to be true, she was right—instead of leading the trip, she has to play second fiddle to her grad school nemesis. Because of course she does.

On the Plus Side by Jenny L. Howe book cover

On the Plus Side by Jenny L. Howe

Everly is a receptionist who is happy to lurk—in corners, on the sideline, and on the online forums for her favorite plus-size makeover show. But when someone nominates her for that same show, she ends up in far more of the spotlight than she ever expected or wanted. The overwhelming spotlight leads her to find companionship in one of the show’s cameramen, which leads to all kinds of other issues. 

cover of A River of Golden Bones by A.K. Mulford

A River of Golden Bones by A.K. Mulford

The first book in a new romantasy series, A River of Golden Bones introduces us to a world where wolf shifters rule the land. Twins Calla and Briar have been hidden away for most of their lives, but now it’s Briar’s turn to return as the lost princess a la Sleeping Beauty, with Calla waiting in the shadows as their sister’s backup. Briar is supposed to marry a prince from an ally pack, but when the sorceress who destroyed Briar and Calla’s kingdom suddenly returns, sleeping curse in hand, Calla has to step out of the shadows and into her own story.

cover of The Gentleman's Gambit by Evie Dunmore

The Gentleman’s Gambit by Evie Dunmore

Catriona Campbell is happy with her life at Oxford, doing her own work and helping out her professor father. But when he foists a new colleague on her, she isn’t sure what to think about the handsome Mr. Khoury. And what she doesn’t know is that he’s not there to study; he’s there to liberate some items to take back to his Middle Eastern homeland—because that will end well. 

cover of The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson

The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson

You might not know it from the cover, but this is a werewolf book! A werewolf fake relationship book! I know, right? Wolf shifter Mackenzie is tired of being set up on dates by her well-meaning mother. But the last thing she intends to do is tell her family she’s seeing the grumpy cardiologist at her hospital. Somehow, she gets him to agree to fake dating, but as usual…things might become a little too real for either of them. 

cover of Caught in a Bad Fauxmance

Caught in a Bad Fauxmance by Elle Gonzalez Rose

This debut young adult rom-com has all the things you want: a family rivalry, winter games, and fake dating your family rival to find out secrets about said winter games. When Devin’s family offers up a beloved cabin in a bet with the Seo-Cookes, Devin knows he has to figure out how to win. So when Julian Seo-Cooke needs a fake boyfriend, Devin sees an opportunity to get behind enemy lines. But as one thing leads to another… Yeah, you know how this goes by now. 

cover of Second Chances in New Port Stephen

Second Chances in New Port Stephen by TJ Alexander

Travel to the Florida town of New Port Stephen, where Eli has gone for the first time since…well, a long time. When his work in television could be affected by a scandal, he heads home for Christmas. Back for the first time post-transition, he’s not sure he’s ready for his boisterous family and New Port Stephen’s weirdness, but he’s willing to give it a try. And when he runs into Nick, his high school ex, he might even have a chance at friendship and something more. 

cover of Game On by Seressia Glass

Game On by Seressia Glass

Samara, a popular gamer using a pseudonym, tries to use her power for good. So when a viral critique of a new game leads to a job offer from the game company’s CEO, she isn’t sure what to think. He’s ready to make his company better and thinks Samara is just the person to get it done. Their work together leads to a friendship and then something more romantic. But the circumstances of their meeting (and the fact that she works for him) might lead to trouble in the spotlight. 

cover of Housebroke by Jaci Burton

Housebroke by Jaci Burton

What happens when a newly broke, newly single foster dog mom takes a friend up on an offer to stay in the house that she’s put on the market…and then that friend neglects to tell her she’s sold the house? Shenanigans, that’s what. When the new owner lets her stay there while he renovates it, they start to learn more about each other. Well, except for the fact that Linc hasn’t told Hazel that he’s not actually a house flipper. Or more, that he is, but he’s also a millionaire. 

cover of Technically Yours by Denise Williams

Technically Yours by Denise Williams

This is one of my most anticipated books of the season! I’ve loved Pearl and Cord since their appearance in The Fastest Way to Fall (read that one, too!) and am excited to finally get their story. The pair practically fell in love at first sight but were never meant to be…or so they thought. After five years of no contact, Pearl and Cord are working together on a project that needs both of their insight, and the chemistry is all back and all smoking. But will the circumstances that brought them together also be the ones to tear them apart?

December is a great month for new romances, even if it’s not very heavy on the new releases. You can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date. And if you’re looking for more recent romance, check out what has come out in past months!

November’s New Romance Releases

October’s New Romance Releases

September’s New Romance Releases