If you’re in need of new romance books for the start of summer, check out some of our favorites. PHOTO CREDIT: Amazon.com

One of the things I’m most looking forward to during summer vacation is the opportunity to read for fun again. There never seems to be enough time to sit down during the semester when there are assignments and deadlines every day, so relaxing with a book while sun lounging is something I’m excited about. 

I’m particularly fond of romance novels and I hope that these four recommendations satisfy any other romance readers out there.

1. “Redeemed” by Lauren Asher

This is actually the fourth book in the “Dirty Air” series, which follows a different couple in each novel involved in Formula 1, an international car racing competition. The characters are all present in each novel, but they can all be read as standalone, and this was my favorite of the four. 

“Redeemed” features Santiago, an F-1 racer who lived in seclusion in Italy ever since his career was destroyed, and Chloe, who travels to Italy to find her father, who she’s never met before. The two meet and immediately have tension when Santiago accuses Chloe of trying to break into his house. Chloe leaves his property but forgets her phone and when she returns the next day to retrieve it, Santiago’s family comes for a surprise visit and thinks they’ve found Santiago’s new girlfriend. He doesn’t have the heart to tell them they’re wrong, so the rest of the novel follows Chloe and Santiago fake dating and discovering their true feelings for each other. 

I loved this book because of how it deals with topics outside of their romance, like financial issues, growing up in a toxic household and coming to terms with personal disabilities. There was a great balance between their love story and their separate character growth and although a few parts of the story dragged on a little too long for me, I think this is a really fun story that weirdly taught me a lot about race car driving.

2. “In His Eyes” by Julie Olivia

This book follows Ian and Nia, who have worked together for nearly a decade at the same company. They’ve never gotten along, so Nia is grateful when he quits, but she’s quickly reunited with him at a mutual friend’s wedding where their true feelings come to the surface. I really like romance books that take place during weddings and this was no exception. It’s a great setting for two people to fall in love, especially two with so much history and pent-up angst and chemistry. The place is also very reminiscent of summer energy, so I think this would be a great read for that time of year.

3. “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston

We follow August and Jane and their romantic courting on a New York subway. August has recently moved to the city and lives a pretty normal life, working at a diner and living in a small apartment with weird roommates. Things change direction when she meets Jane, not only because she realizes she has feelings for her but because she soon finds out that Jane can’t leave the subway. 

The rest of the book is about balancing self-discovery with solving a paranormal mystery, which sounds strange, but I think this sci-fi time-traveling element was a great way for the author to contrast present-day and past versions of New York City in terms of acceptance and safety surrounding people in LGBTQ+ community. I always think of this book when I think of New York City in the summer and although this book is great year-round, I think it’s an especially magical reading experience in the summer.

4. “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare

As soon as “Bridgerton” came out, I binged the entire series in a day and have been craving some more period romances. One of my favorite substitutes has been any Tessa Dare book. This one, again, is the second in a series, which can be read as a standalone. I also recommend reading the first book, “The Duchess Deal,” but I was particularly fond of Alexandra and Chase in this story. 

Chase is a duke and the guardian of two girls who were recently orphaned and is struggling to find a governess to watch over time who won’t crack under the pressure. Alexander is a clock winder who goes to people’s houses and fixes their clocks, and when she goes to repair Chase’s clocks, he thinks she’s applying to be a governess and hires her on the spot. Alexandra is in need of the money, so she accepts. 

The rest of the book follows her attempts at soothing mourning children and helping Chase heal from his sorrowful past and showing him that he is deserving of love. I really enjoyed watching this couple grow together, Chase with his inner healing and Alexandra with her career prospects, and I can’t wait to read more of this author’s historical romances.

Whether you’ll be sunbathing on the beach or relaxing inside by the AC, I think any of these books would be a great companion this summer.