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Start a Summer Romance with These 13 Must-Read Love Stories

by  | June 26
Reading a book on the beach

What is the summer for if not a little romance? Whether you seek to spice up your beach reads or need a mental getaway over the next few months, there’s something for every romance lover on this list. From soap opera stars finding love off-screen to dragons searching for a key to their survival and discovering love along the way, your summer is about to have a lot more to love about it.

The Book of Lost Names

The Book of Lost Names

by Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel’s novel The Book of Lost Names (releasing July 21) is inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II of a young woman with a talent for forgery helping hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis. The story begins in present day when that woman, fictionalized as Eva Traube Abrams, now a semi-retired librarian in Florida, reads an article about a book that she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years, The Book of Lost Names, in which she used codes to record the names of the children she helped escape. What follows is a novel that explores Eva’s present and past—including a half-forgotten love with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy in France during the 1940s.

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10 Things I Hate about Pinky

10 Things I Hate about Pinky

by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi is one of my favorite books from 2017. Since then I’ve loved every novel in this series and every character we’ve been introduced to. 10 Things I Hate about Pinky (out July 21) is no exception. Readers got to know Pinky in the second book in the series, There’s Something about Sweetie, and as a self-proclaimed social justice warrior, she’s a heroine perfect for 2020. However, even the strongest heroine sometimes needs a little help sometimes—especially when her parents keep giving her a hard time for her “poor decisions” (a.k.a. her bad ex-boyfriends). To get them off her back for the summer, Pinky asks Samir to be her fake boyfriend in exchange for helping him secure an internship. Soon these opposites-attract will have a summer they’ll never forget.

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On Ocean Boulevard

On Ocean Boulevard

by Mary Alice Monroe

If this book isn’t a beach read, I don’t know what is. Mary Alice Monroe’s On Ocean Boulevard brings the Rutledge relatives back to Charleston, South Carolina, for everyone’s favorite excuse for a family get-together: a summer wedding! Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has worked hard for her happy ending. But before she can say “I do,” she must deal with family illness and businesses on the brink. Despite it all, during the family gathering, the Rutledges discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy.

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The Jackal

The Jackal

by J.R. Ward

J. R. Ward has long been a staple for many paranormal romance fans. The Jackal (releasing August 18) launches a new spin-off of Ward’s popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Nyx is determined to infiltrate the prison camp of the glymerathe aristocrats of the vampires—and discover what happened to her sister, but in order to find answers, she needs the help of a veteran prison inmate, the Jackal. As the two work together to find out what happened to Nyx’s sister—and hatch an escape plan—the passion grows between them. Their destinies are forcing them apart, but with the help of the Brotherhood, Nyx and the Jackal are determined to change their fate.

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Dear Emmie Blue

Dear Emmie Blue

by Lia Louis

Who knew a little red balloon could change two people’s lives forever! In this heartwarming story (out July 14), when Emmie Blue is 16 she releases a red balloon with her name, email address, and a secret in it at the shore in England. Hundreds of miles away on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau picks up Emmie’s balloon and returns her message. Thus begins a 14-year-long friendship that starts with one secret and grows to encompass another: Emmie is in love with Lucas. This poignant romance is perfect for anyone who enjoys the themes of fate and friends to lovers, as in Cecelia Ahern’s Love, Rosie.

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Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels

by Hannah Orenstein

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein takes rom-com into the world of gymnastics. Reeling from a breakup, one-time Olympic hopeful Avery returns to her hometown in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean she wants to return to the gym. When the gymnastic center’s new coach, Ryan, asks her to help train a young gymnast, Avery puts aside her conflicted feelings and painful memories of her sport. Soon, it’s not just the gymnasts who are flying across the mat, but the sparks between Avery and Ryan. When a scandal shocks the gymnastics world, these two will only have each other to turn to for weathering the storm.

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The Heir Affair

The Heir Affair

by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Royal We was the buzz book of 2015 for fans of Kate and William’s royal wedding. Now, the sequel, The Heir Affair, picks up with Rebecca “Bex” Porter and Prince Nicholas. While we saw this couple get their happy ending in The Royal We, there is now trouble in paradise. A scandalous secret has rocked the palace, and Bex and Nicholas must endure a self-imposed exile to keep the gossip at bay. Authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan of the comedy blog “Go Fug Yourself” are the royal experts, and their palace commentary and trademark wit make this a delightful read for any crown fanatic.

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A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

by Vanessa Riley

West Indian heiress Patience Jordan has lost everything after questioning her husband’s suicide in Vanessa Riley’s The Duke, the Lady, and a Baby. Her infant son has been taken from her, her fortune is gone, and she’s been falsely imprisoned. When the Widow’s Grace, a secret society that helps ill-treated widows, steps in, Patience has a chance to get her son back, but to do so she must infiltrate the house of her child’s new guardian by posing as the new nanny. Little does Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, realize that the alluring Patience could be the key to unlocking the secrets around his cousin’s death—and unlocking a love they both deserve (with baby in tow).

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You Had Me at Hola

You Had Me at Hola

by Alexis Daria

Alexis Daria’s You Had Me at Hola (releasing July 8) features a soap opera star and a telenovela leading man who are on the brink of a major career breakthrough—or total career disaster. When a last-minute recasting pairs Jasmine Lin Rodriguez with Ashton Suárez, the two know that their careers depend on their chemistry, and luckily they have that in spades. Private rehearsals and practice kisses turn to very real off-screen passion. But can this power couple in the making handle the spotlight? The answer is, of course!

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Deal with the Devil

Deal with the Devil

by Kit Rocha

Two words say it all: mercenary librarians. In a not-so-distant future, the world as we know it is destroyed and knowledge becomes a powerful commodity—one that information broker Nina and her crew of warrior librarians protect at all costs. At the same time, Knox and his band of warriors have gone AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, but now they have a price on their heads—a price they can pay if they kidnap Nina and turn her over to a dangerous enemy. Against all odds, these two find love in a hopeless place. Deal with the Devil will hit shelves on July 28.

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The Boyfriend Project

The Boyfriend Project

by Farrah Rochon

When Samiah Brooks discovers her boyfriend has not only been two-timing her, but three-timing her, the best course of action she can think of is to team up with the other two heartbroken women and make a pact to work on themselves—no men, no dating. This means it’s not the most convenient time for her to meet Daniel Collins, sexy app developer, at work. Will Samiah put her pact aside to follow her heart and, if so, will it open her up to even more heartbreak?

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Dragon Unleashed

Dragon Unleashed

by Grace Draven

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire—which is ruled by a cruel dictator who punishes magic users with death. Halani is a powerful healer, whose skills come from magic, but revealing this secret would mean her certain doom. When a mysterious and injured stranger, Malachus, arrives at her camp, Halani’s insulated community of free traders choose to protect him. But Malachus has secrets of his own: he’s a dragon disguised as a human and searching for an artifact that could mean his survival. Little do Halani and Malachus know that by teaming up to fight corruption, they are putting themselves—and the growing love between them—at risk.

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How Lulu Lost Her Mind

How Lulu Lost Her Mind

by Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson is a must-read author for rom-com fans. Lou Ann “Lulu” Hunter hasn’t had the best role model of romantic love in her five-time divorced mother. Now Lulu’s mom has Alzheimer’s and her amorous efforts at her elder care facility have gotten her kicked out of the center. So Lulu, who has built a successful relationship-advice empire, decides to trade in her Louboutins for boots to take care of her mother at the family’s dilapidated old home—with the help of a local handyman. How Lulu Lost Her Mind (out July 21) is a tender look at the changing and complicated dynamic between a mother and daughter as they both grapple with the reality that their futures are not going as planned.

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By day, Jennifer Proffitt works in marketing for a non-profit in Brooklyn. By night, she spends her free time writing and reading romance novels and talking about pop culture. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her cat, whom she likes more than most people.