Christina Lauren's The Unhoneymooners, a dazzling standalone contemporary romance, is a hilarious comedy of coincidences. Olive Torres is a notoriously unlucky woman, but her luck seems to change after her twin sister Amelia’s wedding ends with almost everyone sick from food poisoning. The only ones who dodged it are Olive and Ethan Thomas, the brother of Amelia’s new husband. Olive and Ethan can’t stand each other, and when Amelia insists that the two of them enjoy the prebooked Hawaiian honeymoon, which would be wasted on the unwell newlyweds, Olive is sure this will be the worst vacation ever. Instead, she finds herself having fun and rethinking her enmity with Ethan, who slowly reveals himself to be a genuinely decent guy. Lauren brilliantly wields familiar rom-com tropes—enemies to lovers, fake marriage, even height differences—to craft a delightful romance that will have readers hanging on every word. Christina Lauren is the pen name of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who share some of their favorite summer romance novels.
There are a million reasons to look forward to summer—warm weather, vacation, BBQs with friends, a sun that sets late in the evening—but let’s be totally honest here: summer means long days spent ignoring everyone and getting lost in a book. If you’re anything like us, there’s absolutely nothing better than finding that perfectly engrossing read to spend a warm, breezy day with. Here are some of our absolute favorite romantic, summer reads.
If you’re among the handful of people who hasn’t had this series pushed in your face, then you’re lucky because you still have the action, suspense, and ridiculously hot series to read for the very first time. We envy you. In this first book in the series, Maas re-stages Beauty and the Beast in a world of the Fae, but the series very quickly becomes something else entirely, and if you think you know what’s going to happen at each bend in the road, we promise you don’t. The romance in this is so smoking hot that it even made us blush, and the story is so addicting that, on a two-week road trip through Europe, Lauren managed to barely look up, reading the entire, enormous series in one go.
2. The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Okay, honesty time here: this book OWNS US. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you must get on it. In this book, Calla Fletcher—who left her small Alaskan frontier town when she was only a toddler—returns to the wilderness to see her father, who doesn’t have long to live. The setting is rustic, and it’s not a world that Calla knows at all anymore. What’s worse is the presence of Jonah, the shaggy, sarcastic pilot who is basically waiting for her to admit she can’t hack it in the Alaskan wilderness so he can fly her home. But over time, she and Jonah find connection... and maybe more. This book is beautiful, y’all, and we are jealous you get to read it for the first time.
3. Tangled by Emma Chase
This was our introduction to the hilarious and talented author, and if you’re looking for a wise-cracking narrator and scenes hot enough to put your air conditioning to the test, just trust us on this one. It will make you laugh out loud. Drew’s narration makes this book both naughty and sweet, and it is the perfect read for a warm day at the beach or a chilly night by a campfire.
4. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If you love women’s fiction, and want your brain and heart to be hijacked for a leisurely summer day, this is the book to get. This is the story of Emma, who loses her husband Jesse in a tragic accident. When she moves home in an attempt to move on from her loss, she runs into an old friend, Sam, and over time the two begin to fall in love. By now you’ve probably guessed that Jesse returns, but although we were scared to read this story because we like our hearts and don’t want to have them broken, we were delighted with how TJR carefully crafted the triangle. This book was everything we wanted it to be; both heartbreaking and delightful in equal, exquisite ways.
Sometimes there are books we’ll read and sit back and whine, “Why didn’t we think of this idea?” This is that book for us. But to be fair, we are so glad that O’Leary wrote it, because it means that we got to sit down and just enjoy it as a reader. This is the story of Tiffy and Leon, who share a flat—Leon works nights and Tiffy works days—and who go from strangers, to still-strangers-but-flatmates, to more in the most delightful and original way imaginable. We were genuinely tickled by this book; we loved the concept, the writing, the characters. This is such a great book to take on vacation and read in one go with your toes dug into the warm sand.
Sonali’s most recent book is a new favorite, and it has it all—gender swapped P&P themes, food, family, and romance. We adored Trisha and DJ. We loved that she’s the Darcy—terse, restrained, haughty—and he’s the Elizabeth, but more of a gentle soul sweetheart. We adored the mouth-watering descriptions of food, and the unbending family loyalty throughout. Truly a feel-good read, with lush writing and a full and loveable cast of characters, this book will be your favorite thing you pack for that weekend getaway.
Do you love romance? Are you a nerd? Do you love fandom? If you’ve answered yes to these questions and haven’t read Geekerella yet, you are going to love this book obsessively. It has fandom, and cons, and cosplay, and SWOONS. Honestly, what else can you ask for during the San Diego Comic Con season? This is the pinnacle of adorable nerd culture romance, and we are here for it.
We weren’t sure this would be our thing, because it takes place in the 13th century and we both worried the story or language would lose us but wow, we were w r o n g. Ranulf Ombrier is the former assassin of the king. Gwenllian of Ruardean is the widow of one of Ombrier’s victims. But when he ends up near death in her town in Wales, Gwenllian finds herself helping her enemy heal. But by helping him, Gwenllian creates problems for herself that turn the book into a masterful political thriller as well as an engrossing and smoking romance. This was honestly such a fun read, we can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.
We (and many others) have been yelling about this series for a few years now, but if you haven’t read it, dig into this first in the series, Captive Prince. Damianos is a prince and hero to his people, but when his half-brother overthrows their home country of Akielos, Damen is sold as a slave to Prince Laurent of Vere. Vere is the enemy of Akielos, and Damen needs to keep his identity a secret from Laurent, who would murder him on the spot if he knew who he was. Although Damen is now only a slave, and Laurent is cruel and cold, both have the same goal in mind: to take over—or take back—Akielos. If you like your reads to be both brilliant and edgy, this series—where every book is even better than the last—is a great pick for you.
This graphic novel isn’t just beautifully crafted, the story is sensual and gripping. It is a wonderful coming-of-age tale about queer identity, family, and growing up, and if you’ve ever wanted to read a graphic novel but find yourself lost in all the action and adventure options, this book is a perfect way to enter the graphic novel romance genre.
Sometimes we just want something sweet, voicey, and bursting with charisma, and whenever someone asks us for a recommendation like this, we immediately shout out this book. This trio (Anna and the French Kiss; Lola and the Boy Next Door; Isla and the Happily Ever After) is such a delightful hit of sweetness and charm that it is a great read for romance fans of all ages. Take it to that lakeside cabin and climb in the hammock for a day of escaping into the adorable world Perkins has created. Read it with your friends, or your teenagers, and debate which couple is your favorite. It will be hard to pick.