Sometimes, we all just need to read something light, fun, with a happy ending, and maybe a little spice for good measure, especially during times of turmoil and stress. Enter- the romance genre! Whether you want your literary escape to be sexy and scandalous or wholesome and heartwarming (or something in-between!) romance has got your back.
Check out some new and upcoming romance titles that are sure to give you some much deserved reprieve or serve as your next beach read.
What are some of your favorite romance novels or beach reads of the summer? Share in the comments! Happy reading!
In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, fantasy, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!
The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards – A celebrated singer in World War II occupied France joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison. By the award-winning author of The Fifth Doctrine. A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Twenty-five years after her father published a wildly popular non-fiction book based on her family’s rushed exit from a haunted Victorian estate, naysayer Maggie inherits the house and begins renovations only to make a number of disturbing discoveries. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound and dangerous secrets hidden within its walls?
Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams – The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty – Investigating the fate of a forgotten aviation pioneer, a 1947 war correspondent tracks down the pilot’s former student before learning the remarkable story of their complicated and passionate relationship. By the best-selling author of The Golden Hour.
All the Broken People by Leah Konen – Moving to rustic Woodstock to escape an unhappy past, Lucy bonds with an alluring couple, Vera and John, who embroil her in a plot to fake John’s death, before Lucy finds herself framed for the man’s actual murder. She bargained for in this twisty and addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door.
The Dilemma by B. A. Paris – Organizing a lavish birthday party after decades of hardship, a woman hiding a secret about a daughter who cannot attend is forced to confront a devastating truth when her husband arranges a surprise. NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back.
Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean – New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with the much-anticipated final book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series, featuring a scoundrel duke and the powerful woman who brings him to his knees.
Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey – A demure kindergarten teacher with dreams of Nashville stardom makes a difficult choice when she reunites with a smitten and wildly attractive rancher during an annual western-themed Christmas ball that launches a holiday season of romance and promise.
Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay – It’s no-holds-barred murder. Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams but it’s not all roses for Briar Creek’s beloved library director, as town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term “book lover” a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey’s house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey’s fiancé, Sully, on edge.
The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty – In this final installment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, Nahri and Ali are determined to save both their city and their loved ones, but when Ali seeks support in his mother’s homeland, he makes a discovery that threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.
The Chicken Sisters by K. J. Dell’Antonia – Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster. The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight. When family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?
One Last Lie by Paul Doiron – When his beloved mentor disappears amid the discovery of an antique badge,Mike Bowditch investigates the presumed death of an undercover warden before the cold case is upended by dangerous secrets and a daughter’s return.
Firestick by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone – In this exciting new series, bestselling authors pay homage to America’s trail – hardened backwoodsmen who, like a fine grain whisky, only get better with age. Firestick is the town marshal. Beartooth and Moosejaw are his deputies. And when a hired gunman shows up with bullets blazing, these three hard-cases are ready to prove they aren’t getting older.
Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day – While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery; but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .
Selfcare by Leigh Stein – Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.
Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
An introspective murder mystery set at a school for magic, where non-magical private investigator Ivy must find the killer while trying to ignore years of built-up resentment for her magical prodigy of a sister. Shannon
Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal
I chose this book from a recommendation of a podcast I listen to and it did not disappoint. An exploration of how technology has historically been used to explore and interact with the supernatural, this book covers a wide range of time periods and topics. The author’s addition of a personal narrative of his own efforts to make and use the discussed technology helps to structure the text. The author is thorough in his research and presents the information in a clear and concise tone. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Real Magic by Dean Radin, Occult American by Mitch Horowitz, or Netflix’s new show Midnight Gospel. Greg
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham is the Hillary Clinton fan fiction you didn’t know you wanted. Hillary and Bill meet at Yale law school and share a strong intellectual, emotional, and physical connection. Well, we know that story of what happened, but Sittenfeld chooses her own adventure in Rodham. Hillary decides against marrying Bill, instead going on to blaze a different trail. Beth
In Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America journalist Kyle Swenson weaves the personal stories of three young men who were sentenced to grow up in prison with detailed accounts of corruption and injustice that plagued the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police department. Swenson’s narrative is a scathing indictment of systematic discrimination that continues to this day.
On May 19, 1975, Harry Franks, a white salesman, was robbed, assaulted, and murdered in broad daylight in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Three black youth were sentenced and spent a combined 106 years in prison for the crime. The murderer was never caught. The entirety of the prosecution’s case against Wiley Bridgeman, Kwame Ajamu, and Ricky Jackson was based on the eye-witness testimony of 12-year old Ed Vernon. Nearly 40 years later Vernon recanted his story, revealing that the police used fear and coercion to convince him to tell the story they wanted him to tell. Megan
Marie, a Black woman, languishes in the New York FBI counterintelligence offices during the height of the Cold War. Grieving her sister’s mysterious death and frustrated that she continuously overlooked for high profile assignments, Marie lets herself be recruited when a CIA agent approaches her to infiltrate the entourage of Thomas Sankara, the visiting Burkina Faso president. John le Carré styled spy fiction that combines intrigue and examines issues of family, loyalty, what it is to be a good American. Trent
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
This is a story of two sisters’ lives, beginning in their childhood in the 1950’s to present day. The story begins in Detroit, with Jo and Bethie Kaufman, two sisters who could not be more different from each other. Jo is a tomboy. intelligent and a rebel bent on making the world a more fair place to live in. Bethie is the feminine good girl, with dreams of a traditional life of marriage and “happily-ever-after”. From a young age, the girl’s world is shaken with surprise and tragedy, and they learn to lean on each other for support in order to navigate an ever-changing and evolving world around them. This is historical fiction, and you will experience a trip down memory lane with Weiner’s descriptive writing. I grew close to these sisters as the novel progressed, and by the end, did not want to let them go. Their life journeys were compelling & bittersweet. I strongly recommend this book to shelve on your summer reading list, trust me, you will not be disappointed. Mary
Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon
I have to admit that when I started this book, I thought it was the book with a popular miniseries based on it, but that’s Defending Jacob —oops! This book has a similar theme. Stay-at-home father, Simon, has tried to do a good job raising his two children while his wife works as a successful lawyer. He has doubts as to whether he’s done everything right even now as his kids are teenagers, and his son Jake is not as friendly and outgoing as his sister. One warm November day, Simon receives a text that there has been a shooting at the high school. As he rushes to his children, he discovers that Jake is nowhere to be found. As the story unfolds and suspicion is cast upon Jake, Simon must face his demons about what kind of father he really was, and whether or not he knew his son at all. It was a riveting read, and I enjoyed it all the way through. Sara
We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is more adventure, humor, romance and suspense for you to enjoy!
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand – The best-selling author of Summer of ’69 presents a tale inspired by the film, Same Time Next Year, that follows a man’s discovery of his mother’s long-term relationship with the husband of a Presidential frontrunner.
Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle – The sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Strange Planet, featuring more hilarious and poignant adventures from the fascinating inhabitants of Nathan W. Pyle’s colorful world. In this eagerly awaited sequel, Nathan takes us back to his charming and instantly recognizable planet colored in bright pinks, blues, greens, and purples, providing more escapades, jokes, and p h r a s e s.
American Demon by Kim Harrison – When the magical acts her friends and she committed to save the world inadvertently unleash a zombie epidemic, witch-demon Rachel Mariana Morgan considers a wrenching sacrifice in the wake of baffling murders and the arrival of a new demon. A thrilling return to the #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, continuing Rachel Morgan’s story.
Hunted Again by Heather Graham – Feel the thrills and chills of this heart-pounding romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham. A love rekindle or a deadly reunion? Even after a decade, Sarah Hampton is haunted by the night that nearly ended in a bloody massacre and destroyed her high school romance with handsome Tyler Grant. Now the horror has returned. It’s a reckoning from the events of that terrifying night and a love they never let go. Only this time Tyler must protect Sarah from the killer hiding in the darkness or lose her forever.
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.
Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks – A modern retelling of the Bigfoot legend is presented as a gripping journal by a woman from a high-tech Pacific Northwest community who becomes cut off from civilization by a volcanic eruption before witnessing the flight of starving humanoid beings. The #1 bestselling author of World War Z returns with a horror tale that blurs the lines between human and beast, and asks, What are we capable of when we’re cut off from society?
The Half Sister by Sandie Jones – Approached by a secret half-sister they never knew, two close sisters turn against the stranger before uncovering difficult truths about their beloved late father. From Sandie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes The Half Sister; a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.
Stephen King’s the Dark Tower the Drawing of the Three 4: Bitter Medicine by Stephen King/ Robin Furth/ Peter David/ Jonathan Marks/ Lee Loughridge – Enter once more the world of Roland Deschain and the world of the Dark Tower presented in this stunning fourth graphic novel of The Drawing of the Three story arc that will unlock the doorways to terrifying secrets and bold storytelling as part of the dark fantasy masterwork and magnum opus from #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King.
New world sourdough : artisan techniques for creative homemade fermented breads; with recipes for pan de coco, bagels, beignets and more by Bryan Ford – New World Sourdough is your go-to guide to baking delicious, inventive sourdough breads at home. Learn how to make a sourdough starter, basic breads, as well as other innovative baked goods from start to finish with Instagram star Bryan Ford’s (@artisanbryan) inviting, nontraditional approach to home baking.
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay , Don’t Deny Intermittent Fasting: Including the 28-Day Fast Start by Gin Stephens – Diets don’t work. You know you know that, and yet you continue to try them, because what else can you do? You can Fast. Feast. Repeat. After losing over eighty pounds and keeping every one of them off, Gin Stephens started a vibrant, successful online community with hundreds of thousands of members from around the world who have learned the magic of a Delay, Don’t Deny® intermittent fasting lifestyle. Change when you eat and change your body, your health, and your life!
Quarantine or no, summer is here. The sound of lawnmowers, and the smell of barbecue fills the air. Some people associate reading a good book with the winter months- cozied up in front of the fire. But my best memories of reading are being outside, in the shady grass or on a blanket by the pool. After our months of being quarantined indoors, it’s finally time to spread our wings (safely and distantly) to the outdoors. No need to feel guilty about not cleaning the house and reading a book instead–you are spending time outside! How many times did your mom tell you to do just that?! Here’s a list of June titles to enjoy while you appreciate the space and freedom of a summer day.
Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Meet recently separated Toby Fleishman, medical professional by day, kids every other weekend, newbie bachelor exploring the the singles scene through a dating app on his phone. Toby’s life has been turned upside down by his ex-wife’s disappearance. Has she truly disappeared, is she avoiding Toby and their shared responsibilities with their kids, or is she having a nervous breakdown? Toby will embark on a desperate search for his ex-wife while juggling his career and trying to parent 2 unraveling kids. Don’t pass this book up. From the outside it seems like another “Bridget Jones ” type story, but there is much more here to enjoy and explore. This book is witty, fast-paced, with sharp observations about marriage, divorce and parenting in today’s world. Mary
The Tale of the Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
This is the tale of the ‘shining’ Genji, the favorite son the Japanese Emperor, and Genji’s many romantic dalliances and the resulting political consequences. While a bit of slog at roughly 1200 pages and with an unsympathetic main character, this novel, argued by many to be the world’s first novel, fascinatingly details the intricate court life of a thousand years ago in Heian Period Japan. Trent
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
High school dropout Galaxy “Alex” Stern has narrowly escaped her disastrous Los Angeles past of drug dealer boyfriends and violence, awakening in a hospital bed the sole survivor of a gruesome multiple homicide. While recovering, she is offered a strange but irrefutable second chance: attend Yale completely free of cost if she serves as the new “Dante” for Lethe. Lethe is the Ninth House of the Houses of the Veil, secret societies at Yale that generally practice magic to ensure their own professional success and financial security. Alex is responsible for overseeing the rituals and magic of the other eight houses, assuring everyone involved survives and that no dangerous magic escapes. Soon though a young woman is found brutally murdered on campus and Alex suspects magic was involved. Wildly atmospheric and emotional charged, this page-turner is highly recommended for fans of dark adult fantasy. Nicole
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
Lerner is one of my favorite contemporary novelists. Whenever I read one of his books, I feel that he is describing aspects of my own experience, but much better than I could ever do – sort of giving me the words, or some words, I guess, that make sense to me, and help me understand my own life up to this point. The Topeka School is a fictional take on Lerner’s adolescence – he grew up in the Midwest, Jewish, white and privileged, but also experienced anomie, rootlessness, angst, all the blues that come with being a teenager. The novel is very smart, poignant, and incisive, as well as experimental in ways I find really interesting and exciting. Recommended as a fascinating study of violence, whiteness and maleness, that is not afraid to be both honest and compassionate. Andrew
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Nebula and Hugo Award winning Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a quick placed novella that introduces the reader to Binti as she leaves home to study at the most prestigious university in the galaxy, Oomza University. The author propels the reader into a futuristic world where marvels of technology live as the everyday and intergalactic travel is routine. At times the amount of new information and fast pace can be a bit overwhelming, but when enjoyed as a whole series (there are two sequels that expand on many of the terms, concepts introduced) the reader is presented with a rich narrative that explores heroism, growth, and family. Greg
The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
It is 1957 and Naoko Nakamura wants to marry American serviceman Jimmy Kovac. Her family has other plans for her including an arranged marriage. Pregnant Naoko leaves her family’s home to marry Jimmy. When Jimmy is away, Naoko finds herself in a maternity home designed to take care of unwanted pregnancies, namely mixed-race children. Eventually Naoko escapes from the maternity home and her sickly baby is born. Decades later in Ohio Jimmy’s daughter, Tori, is given a letter from her father on his deathbed to be given to Naoko in Japan. Tori is determined to find her half-sister. This is an enjoyable well-researched piece of historical fiction. Emma
Inland by Tea Obrecht
Two lives unfold in the late 19th century American West in Inland by Tea Obrecht. A duel narrative, we hear the story of Lurie, a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts, lost souls who always want something from him. Lurie’s mysterious traveling companion hears his story. Meanwhile, Nora awaits the return of her sons and her husband in drought stricken Arizona while conversing with her daughter, who died in infancy. Haunted by their pasts, Nora and Lurie do what they can to survive. I listened to the audiobook, which was transporting, with talented narrators who really captured the characters. Dori
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson
A deep detailed history of the Caribbean and North America with a little coverage of major events in Meso and South America. The Spanish have older roots here than the English. Written records like diary entries and letters by government and church administrators are quoted as often as possible. Gibson is specific also about the different ingenious cultures (ex. Tainos, Maya, Apalachee, and Zuni) encountered. It is a thick history book and is taking quite a commitment of time to work through it, but I am finding it constantly fascinating. Byron
Officially, summer doesn’t end until September 23rd, but we all know that the unofficial ending of summer is when the kids go back to school. So, let’s grab the few days we have left and head out to the beach or the closest swimming pool! And if you’re working (like me) or don’t like the heat, the bugs or the people, enjoy some beachly entertainment like the suggestions below:
See you at the beach!