8 Romance Reads That’ll Light You Up Like Fireworks

June 28 2022
Share 8 Romance Reads That’ll Light You Up Like Fireworks

Summer can mean a whole lot of things: warm weather, barbecues with loved ones, days on the beach, sparklers, and fireworks. But the fireworks shouldn’t just be part of your holiday celebrations this summer—make them part of your reading routine as well! Here are eight amazing romances that have sparks flying from start to finish.

The Spanish Love Deception
by Elena Armas

I’ve probably recommended this book to more friends than I can count. Elena Armas’s THE SPANISH LOVE DECEPTION is a banter-filled and vividly relatable story that follows Catalina Martin’s escapades into fake dating. With her sister’s wedding right around the corner and lies about a fictional boyfriend that have taken on a life of their own, she’s forced to bring Aaron Blackford, her handsome and broody coworker that she’s never gotten along with, as her date. But as she spends more time with him, Lina begins to see that Aaron might not be so insufferable after all.

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The Spanish Love Deception
Elena Armas

A TikTok sensation, this rom-com about a young woman who agrees to fake date a colleague and bring him to her sister’s wedding has “everything you could want in a romance” (Helen Hoang, New York Times bestselling author).

Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially since her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiralled out of control. Now everyone she knows—including her ex and his fiancée—will be there and eager to meet him.

She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic and aid in her deception. New York to Spain is no short flight and her raucous family won’t be easy to fool.

Enter Aaron Blackford—her tall, handsome, condescending colleague—who surprisingly offers to step in. She’d rather refuse; never has there been a more aggravating, blood-boiling, and insufferable man.

But Catalina is desperate, and as the wedding draws nearer, Aaron looks like her best option. And she begins to realize he might not be as terrible in the real world as he is at the office.

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Dream On
by Angie Hockman

After finishing law school and passing the bar, Cass Walker gets into a car accident and falls into a coma for a handful of days, and has the most vivid dreams of Devin, her perfect man and ideal boyfriend. But when she wakes up and finds out he isn’t real, she returns to a normal life without him. Then, one year after the accident, Cass meets the real Devin and the twists and turns that emerge in this story kept me hooked until the very end.

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Dream On
Angie Hockman

In this fresh romantic comedy from the author of Shipped, heralded as an “absolutely sparkling debut” by Entertainment Weekly, a woman wakes up from a car accident with memories of a boyfriend she’s never met...only to run into him a year later. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Rebecca Serle.

What would you do if your dream man turned out to be real?

When law grad Cass Walker wakes up after surviving a car accident, she is flooded with memories of a man named Devin. The only problem? Devin—as confirmed by family, friends, and doctors—doesn’t exist. Everything about him, from his coffee-brown eyes to the slightly crooked angle of his pinkie to his high-wattage charm, is a figment of Cass’s coma-addled imagination. Still, she can’t get him out of her head.

So when she happens upon the real Devin a year later in a Cleveland flower shop, she’s completely shocked. Even more surprising is that Devin actually believes her story, and despite his protective younger brother’s doubts, they soon embark on a real-life romance. With her dream man by her side and a new job at a prestigious law firm, Cass’s future seems perfect. But fate might have other plans...

From the beloved author of Shipped comes a magical and witty romantic comedy that explores what happens when our dreams come true—even when they’re not the ones we expect.

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You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
by Akwaeke Emezi

YOU MADE A FOOL OF DEATH WITH YOUR BEAUTY is a beautiful literary romance that will remind you why you love escaping into a new story. Feyi Adekola lost the love of her life in an accident five years ago but now she’s ready to put herself back out there, and she soon gets swept up into an extravagant adventure with everything from a tropical island to mouthwatering meals. Emezi’s first foray into the genre is an enchanting romance that captures the intricacies of love, loss, and healing from trauma.

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You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
Akwaeke Emezi

A New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and “one of our greatest living writers” (Shondaland) reimagines the love story in this fresh and seductive novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss.

Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? ​

Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.

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Something Wilder
by Christina Lauren

I have never been disappointed by a Christina Lauren novel, and that stayed true after just finishing SOMETHING WILDER, actually the author duo’s first adventure-romance. Following a diary left behind by her late father, Lily Wilder has been guiding people on adventure experiences all throughout the state of Utah. One day, Leo Grady, a man she used to love, shows up on a tour, looking to rekindle what they once had. Apart from riddles and twists that will draw you into the story, Lily and Leo’s journey is also full of all the best tropes—it’s a dual-POV, slow burn of lovers to strangers to lovers, and nothing gets better than that.

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Something Wilder
Christina Lauren

The “reigning romance queens” (PopSugar) and New York Times bestselling authors of The Soulmate Equation and The Unhoneymooners present a charming and laugh-out-loud funny novel filled with adventure, treasure, and, of course, love.

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 nothing if not 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.

Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.

But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the author of the “heartfelt and funny” (Publishers Weekly) sensation The Unhoneymooners, this page-turning adventure full of second chances, complicated relationships, and the breathtaking beauty of the American Southwest will take fans on one wild ride.

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Island Time
by Georgia Clark

There’s no better time than summer to read a romance. Georgia Clark’s ISLAND TIME blends family drama and romance into one book as two families, the Kellys and the Lees, are stranded on the same island for six weeks. First brought together by a marriage—the charming, sapphic romance is the heart of the story—we also learn about all the different dynamics in both families and get the perspectives of each character. The blend of genres in ISLAND TIME shows readers that love can sometimes come and go, but everything works out in the end.

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Island Time
Georgia Clark

Love is in the salty sea air in this smart and steamy ensemble romantic comedy set in a tropical paradise, from the author of the “sparkly and entertaining” (Oprah Daily) It Had to Be You. This is one island you won’t want to be rescued from.

The Kellys are messy, loud, loving Australians. The Lees are sophisticated, aloof, buttoned-up Americans. They have nothing in common…except for the fact that their daughters are married. When a nearby volcano erupts during their short vacation to a remote tropical island off the coast of Queensland, the two families find themselves stranded together for six weeks.

With only two island employees making up the rest of their party, everyone is forced to question what—or who—they really want. Island Time is a sumptuous summer read that dives deep into queer romance, family secrets, ambition, parenthood, and a bird-chasing bromance. This sexy, sun-soaked paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest will show you it’s never too late to change your destiny.

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Sari, Not Sari
by Sonya Singh

Manny Dogra has made quite the name for herself as the CEO of a major company, but between losing her parents and planning her wedding to a successful architect, she realizes she has little to no connections with her South Asian roots. So Manny seeks help from one of her clients, Sammy Patel, and accompanies him to his brother's wedding to learn more about Indian culture. This swoony, multicultural, rom-com is the perfect balance of fun moments and reflective ones, and I can’t get enough of it.

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Sari, Not Sari
Sonya Singh

This delightful debut rom-com follows the adventures of a woman trying to connect with her South Asian roots and introduces readers to a memorable cast of characters in a veritable feast of food, family traditions, and fun.

Manny Dogra is the beautiful young CEO of Breakup, a highly successful company that helps people manage their relationship breakups. As preoccupied as she is with her business, she’s also planning her wedding to handsome architect Adam Jamieson while dealing with the loss of her beloved parents.

For reasons Manny has never understood, her mother and father, who were both born in India, always wanted her to become an “All-American” girl. So that’s what she did. She knows next to nothing about her South Asian heritage, and that’s never been a problem—until her parents are no longer around, and an image of Manny that’s been Photoshopped to make her skin look more white appears on a major magazine cover. Suddenly, the woman who built an empire encouraging people to be true to themselves is having her own identity crisis.

But when an irritating client named Sammy Patel approaches Manny with an odd breakup request, the perfect solution presents itself: If they both agree to certain terms, he’ll give her a crash course in being “Indian” at his brother’s wedding.

What follows is days of dancing and dal, masala and mehndi as Manny meets the lovable, if endlessly interfering, aunties and uncles of the Patel family, and, along the way, discovers much more than she could ever have anticipated.

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To Marry and to Meddle
by Martha Waters

Finishing the newest season of Bridgerton left a regency-romance sized whole in my heart that Martha Waters’ newest book filled perfectly. TO MERRY AND TO MEDDLE is a witty romance that takes readers along for a ride with Lady Emily Turner, a young woman who has been a debutante for six seasons, and Lord Julian Belfry, who society has frowned upon for his acting ambitions. The pair devise a plan to help solve both their dilemmas: a marriage of convenience. This book had me smiling the whole way through and was the perfect escape—with just the right amount of sparks.

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To Marry and to Meddle
Martha Waters

The “sweet, sexy, and utterly fun” (Emily Henry, author of People We Meet on Vacation) Regency Vows series continues with a witty, charming, and joyful novel following a seasoned debutante and a rakish theater owner as they navigate a complicated marriage of convenience.

Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan to benefit them both.

With a marriage of convenience, Emily will use her society connections to promote the theater to a more respectable clientele and Julian will take her out from under the shadows of her father’s unsavory associates. But they soon realize they have very different plans for their marriage—Julian wants Emily to remain a society wife, while Emily discovers an interest in the theater. But when a fleeing actress, murderous kitten, and meddlesome friends enter the fray, Emily and Julian will have to confront the fact that their marriage of convenience comes with rather inconvenient feelings.

With “an arch sense of humor and a marvelously witty voice that rivals the best of the Regency authors” (Entertainment Weekly), Martha Waters crafts another fresh romantic comedy that for fans of Julia Quinn and Evie Dunmore.

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The Summer I Turned Pretty
by Jenny Han

Cue the nostalgia and fond memories of childhood summers. With the TV adaptation here, I decided to reread this YA Romance trilogy and I reminded me why I have such a special place in my heart for these books. Get a glimpse with Jenny Han’s THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, where the stories about Belly’s summers in Cousins Beach with her brother, mom, mom’s best friend, Suzanne, and her two sons begin. It’s the perfect mix of romance and coming-of-age that will bring you back to being a young teenager again.

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The Summer I Turned Pretty
Jenny Han

Soon to be a streaming series in Summer 2022!

Belly has an unforgettable summer in this stunning start to the Summer I Turned Pretty series from the New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han.

Some summers are just destined to be pretty.

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

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Photo credit: iStock / Yumi mini

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