8 Romance Books to Heat Up Your Summer

Even before quarantine, summer was the time of reading. You sit at the pool or the beach and you pull out your worn paperbacks or you kindle full of books for sitting in the sun. To me, it always seems that summer is the best time for reading romance specifically. Summertime feels full of possibility. This summer feels different than most and you might have a lot more time on your hands this year than usual. In an effort to assist you in meeting your reading goal, maybe for the first time ever, here are some of our favorite romance reads for your summer. Some of these are recently released and some are coming soon, so snag them ASAP to fill up your TBR for the summer. 

TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW

By Rachel Lynn Solomon

Today, Tonight, Tomorrow is so many more things than just a romance novel. It’s a sendoff for every high school senior, a scavenger hunt, an enemies-to-lovers romance, and an ode to all books, but especially romance novels. This book threads the needle between feminist and preachy, and the main characters Rowan and Neil deal with more than just a scavenger hunt as they team up for the last time to win their school’s traditional scavenger hunt for seniors. 

Rowan and Neil are so well thought out as characters, with wants, failings, desires, and insecurities. Rowan is our protagonist and as we follow her through the novel we learn more about her life. As an aspiring valedictorian, friend, and daughter who struggles to balance all the parts of her life and she plans to head to the East Coast for college. This book was a breath of fresh air, both for fans of romance and YA. It was honest and full of struggles that it was a joy to read, and I want more of Neil and Rowan immediately. This book comes out on July 14th, 2020

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

By Christina Lauren

This has been one of my all-time faves since I read it last year. Christina Lauren is the writing duo behind a ton of romances, and personally, this is my number one of theirs. The characters are more than the typical romance caricatures you often see in romance. I loved the combination of tropes this book uses and uses well. Olive is the unlucky sister and just when she thinks her luck has turned around as she takes her sister’s place on her very expensive honeymoon –  enter her new brother-in-law Ethan. 

He’s been the bane of her existence since they met and now she’s on the trip of a lifetime with him–all expenses paid including the honeymoon suite. Ethan does not understand Olive and as they are forced together for a week, and to pretend to be the happy couple, they get to see another side of each other. This book is also handy if you want to plan a trip to Hawaii or for travel inspiration for when you can go places again. 

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID

By Cindi Madsen

This one came out this week! This is actually book two in a series, but I haven’t read book one and I never felt lost throughout the book. Violet Abrams has been a bridesmaid seven times. Since her wedding to her ex is never going to happen she visits her half-sister for the summer. Enter Ford. He’s the local firefighter, EMT, search dog trainer, and now a “man of honor” for one of his best friends. He and Violet keep getting thrown together first when she sets a small fire accidentally and then more and more they seek each other out. Ford isn’t a forever guy, but he sure tries his hardest to win Violet over. In this book are interesting firefighters, German shepherd puppies, cupcakes, and lots of wedding stuff. This book was such a fun read and the perfect antidote to how 2020 has been going so far. 

BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE

By Evie Dunsmore

Historical romances can sometimes leave me feeling very confused. Everyone has approximately twelve names and the locations and places are often the touchpoint for weird traditions and manners. Every once in a while a historical romance comes along that leaves you feeling completely part of the world. Evie Dunsmore accomplishes this in this book. In England in 1879 Annabelle Archer is finally living the life she wants. 

She’s gained admittance to Oxford and is out from under her cousin’s thumb. To maintain her scholarship she has to act the part of a suffragette which is how she meets Sebastian Montgomery who stands against everything she is fighting for, but whom she cannot seem to get over her attraction to. He cannot marry her and she will not be his mistress so where does that leave them? The banter in this book is 9/10 for wit, intelligence, and spice. This is book one in this series and the sequel comes out later this year. 

BEACH READ

By Emily Henry

I want to wrap myself in the warmth of the scenery in this book and bask in it forever. It is cute and funny and real life and moving. It fully captures pain and grief and love. I related so hard to January, who walked through loss and struggled to write again. I really felt those parts deep in my bones. I also loved every character in this book. Gus, January, Pete and Maggie, Shadi…⁣

This book was a surprising and fun romance. Perfectly paced. Just predictable enough without being too predictable. It swept me in and I could barely put it down once I started reading. It’s one I will definitely turn to again and again.⁣ And, I would definitely recommend to any and all romance/ contemporary fans.⁣

THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU

By Sajni Patel

The Trouble with Hating You is a deep dive into a strange cross-roads of Indian culture in the American South. Liya is a strong, stubborn feminist and she doesn’t need or want to adhere to her family’s plan to find the perfect husband for her. Jay is a little bit tortured and wants to do the right thing, and let his mom find him a wife, but he’s not really interested in marriage until Liya literally runs away from him. 

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Because of her father and her church leadership, Liya has been told all her life that the role of a wife and woman is an antiquated idea of a meek, subservient woman, so Liya is brutally honest. This book has a difficult family dynamic. It is steeped in history and tradition not only of religion but in the history of pushing women aside and trying to quiet them. I loved watching Liya and their friends, who are so different and unique, find out what they want and fight for their chances to get it.

It would be incredibly easy to compare this book to Pride and Prejudice, and there are a lot of examples that support that idea, but in a big way, I think this story is unique and deserves to stand on its own. Jay is definitely a new standard of book boyfriend who respects women, but fights for a chance at what he wants and to be happy. He is arrogant and stubborn, but he is also kind and believes Liya when she lays her past at his feet. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

RED WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE

By Casey McQuiston

This is one of those books I cannot stop recommending to people. When the quarantine happened it was the first book that sprung to mind for starting a book club. It is the debut book from McQuiston and at first glance I thought it was like Chasing Liberty, but this featured the First Son and a Prince of England. There were some fun comparisons to the current royals, but I loved the rewriting of the family in the White House and it is the perfect antidote to the current administration. Alex and Henry are well written and their friendship and eventual relationship feels natural and light-hearted even when the things they are dealing with become bigger than their feelings. 

THE EARL NOT TAKEN

By As Fenichel

I enjoyed this story, and the Wallflowers of West Lane even more so. I want to be friends with them and have them on my team as support through difficult times. Rhys and Poppy’s “potential” relationship is obviously a huge part of the story, but every time the girls interacted I wanted to learn more about them and their time at the Switzerland finishing school. It was such a nice feeling to see real flaws and watch them try to navigate their plans for their lives being questioned. I thought the men in this book to be remarkably well rounded, at least the ones who are not obviously villains.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Lindsey
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