Books | 07.27.2023

Best Romance Reads This Summer

Woman reading a romance novel in a hammock.

By Franki Hanke

Summertime is for lounging at a poolside or curling up in a hammock with a book that’s easy to read whenever you can sun-tanning. If your summer reading list begs for a summer romance to match, then you’re in luck. Here are the best, new Romance for summer. 

Released Summer Romance Books

It’s a bit tiring always seeing young adult love stories with characters in their teens or twenties, so this list tries to stick towards adult romances which is why it’s missing otherwise popular picks like The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. 

A pink cover with figures jumping into a pool. It reads "Happy Place."

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation, Emily Henry’s summer release is another unique twist on the usual romance premise. 

“Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college… Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t. They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends… Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade…After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?”

Read Happy Place

A watercolor style landscape with a couple sitting on the end of the dock. It reads "Meet Me at the Lake."

Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune

Author of Every Summer After, Carley Fortune’s newest release is a thrilling story of coincidence. 

“Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in the city. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t. 

At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s lakeside resort—something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin. 

She needs a plan—a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips.”

Read Meet Me at the Lake. 

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren

With rave reviews already across Goodreads and Amazon both, The True Love Experiment reads like a movie, which is fitting since it’s set on a Hollywood set. 

“Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. [Enter] Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, [who] loves his work but when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element. Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution.”

Read The True Love Experiment. 

A close-up illustration of a woman on a beach. She wears a yellow dress. The cover reads "Same Time Next Summer."

Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan

If you’re a fan of the long-reliable forced proximity trope, you’ll eat up Annabel Monaghan’s newest book. 

“   Sam’s life is on track. She has the perfect doctor fiancé, Jack (his strict routines are a good thing, really), a great job in Manhattan (unless they fire her), and is about to tour a wedding venue near her family’s Long Island beach house. Everything should go to plan, yet the minute she arrives, Sam senses something is off. Wyatt is here. Her Wyatt. But there’s no reason for a thirty-year-old engaged woman to feel panicked around the guy who broke her heart when she was seventeen. Right?”

Read Same Time Next Summer. 

A blue cover with two silhouettes embracing. It reads "We Could Be So Good."

We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian

Step back in time a bit with Cat Sebastian’s new release set in the 1950s. 

“Nick Russo has worked his way from a rough Brooklyn neighborhood to a reporting job at one of the city’s biggest newspapers. But the late 1950s are a hostile time for gay men, and Nick knows that he can’t let anyone into his life. He just never counted on meeting someone as impossible to say no to as Andy…Their unlikely friendship soon sharpens into feelings they can’t deny. But what feels possible in secret—this fragile, tender thing between them—seems doomed in the light of day. Now Nick and Andy have to decide if, for the first time, they’re willing to fight.”

Read We Could Be So Good

A yellow book cover. Two figures are separated by the text "The Seven Year Slip."

The Seven-Year Slip by Ashley Poston

Author of The Dead Romantics, Ashely Poston’s newest rom-com weaves a bit of time travel into the story. 

“So Clementine forms a plan to keep her heart safe… And then she finds a strange man standing in the kitchen of her late aunt’s apartment. A man with kind eyes and a Southern drawl and a taste for lemon pies. The kind of man that, before it all, she would’ve fallen head-over-heels for. And she might again.

Except, he exists in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact. And she, quite literally, lives seven years in his future.”

Read The Seven-Year Slip. 

An orange book cover with a bookshelf in the background. In the foreground, a couple is kissing. It reads "Love, Theoretically."

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

If you read and loved The Love Hypothesis, you can’t miss the third of Ali Hazelwood’s romance books set in a STEM workplace. Add to that a combination of enemies-to-lovers romance and fake dating, and you’re sure to have a must-read. 

“The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend… Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career.” 

Read Love, Theoretically. 

A red book cover with figures oriented around the text. It reads "Yours Truly."

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

If you do love Ali Hazelwood’s writing, trust her review of Jimenez’s newest “sprinkle[s] humor and warmth all over my life.” 

“Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.”

Read Yours Truly.

A book cover with a woman in period wear faces to the right while a man leans into her. It reads "Queen Charlotte."

Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes

If you’re itching for more Bridgerton, then you’re in luck with this prequel historical romance novel. 

“In 1761, on a sunny day in September, a King and Queen met for the very first time. They were married within hours.

Born a German Princess, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was beautiful, headstrong, and fiercely intelligent… not precisely the attributes the British Court had been seeking in a spouse for the young King George III. But her fire and independence were exactly what she, and her King, needed.

Because George has secrets… secrets with the potential to shake the very foundations of the monarchy.”

Read Queen Charlotte

A blue book cover reading "Run Away Love."

Runaway Love by Melanie Harlow

With a synopsis that feels like a retelling of The Nanny television show, Runaway Love is a small-town romance with alternating points of view between both main characters. 

“Yes, I’m a single dad who needs a nanny for the summer.

But hire the stranded runaway bride who shows up on my doorstep in a wedding gown with no references, no skills, and no experience?

No one is that desperate.

Except within twenty-four hours, down-on-her-luck Veronica Sutton manages to charm my kids, my family, and half the population of Cherry Tree Harbor into believing she’s perfect for the job.

And for me.”

Read Runaway Love. 

A book cover featuring an illustrated scene. A woman lounges on the couch leaning into a mans arms. Both look content.

Role Playing by Cathy Yardley

If you’re tired of reading the same setting in your romantic comedy (or desperate for a main character over 25), then you must read the contemporary romance, Role Playing. It’s a friends-to-lovers story with a digital twist. 

“Maggie is an unapologetically grumpy forty-eight-year-old hermit. But when her college-aged son makes her a deal―he’ll be more social if she does the same―she can’t refuse. She joins a new online gaming guild led by a friendly healer named Otter. So that nobody gets the wrong idea, she calls herself Bogwitch. Bogwitch and Otter become fast virtual friends, but there’s a catch. Bogwitch thinks Otter is a college student. Otter assumes Bogwitch is an octogenarian. When they finally meet in real life―after a rocky, shocking start―the unlikely pair of sunshine and stormy personalities grow tentatively closer.”

Read Role Playing. 

An illustrated book cover with an woman walking out of a front door down her steps. It reads "Emma of 83rd Street."

Emma of 83rd Street by Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding

Discover your new favorite romance author with this debut novel by Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding. 

“Beautiful, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse has lived twenty-three years in her tight-knit Upper East Side neighborhood with very little to distress or vex her…that is, until her budding matchmaking hobby results in her sister’s marriage—and subsequent move downtown. Now, with her sister gone and all her friends traveling abroad, Emma must start her final year of grad school grappling with an entirely new emotion: boredom. So when she meets Nadine, a wide-eyed Ohio transplant with a heart of gold and drugstore blonde highlights to match, Emma not only sees a potential new friend but a new project. If only her overbearing neighbor George Knightley would get out of her way.”

Read Ema of 83rd Street.

An aged-looking book cover with a red-haired woman wearing elaborate jewelry. It reads "A Long Time Dead."

A Long Time Dead by Samara Breger

Change up your typical main characters with Samara Breger’s tale of undead lesbians. 

“Poppy had always loved the night, which is why it wasn’t too much of a bother to wake one evening in an unfamiliar home far from London, weak and confused and plagued with a terrible thirst for blood, to learn that she could no longer step out into the day. And while vampirism presented several disadvantages, it more than made up for those in its benefits. And, of course, Roisin. The mysterious woman who has lived for centuries, who held Poppy through her painful transformation, and who, for some reason, is now teaching her how to adjust to her new, endless life. A tight, lonely, buttoned-up woman, with kindness and care pressed up behind her teeth. The time they spend together is as transformative to Poppy as the changes in her body, and soon, she finds herself hopelessly, overwhelmingly attached.”

Read A Long Time Dead. 

A purple book cover with an illustrated couple. They are dressed for a wedding and looking at each other cheekily.

Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey is back with another rom-com with a marriage of convenience. 

“After losing her job and her fiancé in one fell swoop, Natalie Vos returned home to lick her wounds. A few months later, she’s sufficiently drowned her sorrows in cabernet and she’s ready to get back on her feet. She just needs her trust fund to finance her new business venture. Unfortunately, the terms require she marry before she can have the money. And well, dumped, remember?

But Natalie is desperate enough to propose to a man who makes her want to kill him—and kiss him, in equal measure.”

Read Unfortunately Yours. 

A book cover with an illustrated sunset. It reads "Something Wilder."

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

If you loved The Soulmate Equation or The Unhoneymooners, you’ll need to read Christina Lauren’s newest book released last spring. 

“Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession…or much money in the bank. But Lily is resourceful and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness and leave him there.”

Read Something Wilder

If you’re a fan of romance novels, you better get reading because there are plenty of worthy book recommendations to keep any book lover busy for the rest of the summer! In fact, I bet you can create your own happily ever after with the right book and a comfy enough spot to sit. 

Find more of the best books in our other book lists. 

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