Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

7 Romantic Beach Reads That Celebrate Black Joy

Erika Hardison

Staff Writer

Erika Hardison is a writer, social media junkie, podcaster, publisher and aspiring novelist from Chicago currently residing in New Jersey. When she's not bridging the gap between Black feminism and superheroes on, she's spending sleepless nights as a new mom with her talkative toddler playing and giggling under the covers.

Tia Williams’ Seven Days in June.

Reese Witherspoon’s June Book Club pick and one of summer’s Most Anticipated Books (Oprah Daily, Good Housekeeping, Travel + Leisure, Bustle, Essence and more)! Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget and seven days to get it all back again… This is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell novel of two writers and their second chance at love. “A smart, sexy testament to Black joy, to the well of strength from which women draw, and to tragic romances that mature into second chances. I absolutely loved it.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Finally, summer is here! Now, it’s time to get your summer book list ready for those days you want to relax on the beach. Reading at the the beach is such a joy in itself. You get your towel, sunscreen, umbrella and just enjoy the waves for as long as you want. But nothing completes the day like having a summer romance book in your bag. With so many good books out, how can you decide what books to read while you’re catching some sun? We’ve all had a rough year, so this summer, you should add some Black joy to your summer TBR list. Black romance is made for the heat and there are a lot of hidden gems out there you’ve probably never heard of before. If you want to be whisked away to the deep south, Las Vegas, or Ethiopia, you’ll find comfort in these romance novels about Black joy. And not for nothing, beach reads should have awesome, eye-catching covers, which all the books I’m recommending have; that way your books will never get lost in the sand. So here are several romance novels about Black joy that you can take to the beach.

Romance Novels About Black Joy

A Lowcountry Bride By Preslaysa Williams 

South Carolina is the perfect setting for this romance. Maya has career aspirations of selling her wedding dresses that her current boss thinks are too ethnic. She goes to her father’s hometown to care for him while he’s sick and meets a widower, Derek, who owns the town’s first Black-owned bridal boutique. Sparks fly when the pair collaborate to keep the business running.

’90s Kinda Love: Lay Your Head On My Pillow By Tanzania Glover

This is part of a series where authors take some of our favorite old-school R&B songs and create love stories out of them. With Lay Your Head On My Pillow, Toni Riley is content with not celebrating her birthday until her friend convinces her to go on a date with Arlan, the artist at her school who has a crush on her. The two finally connect for a date and things heat up over a night of painting.

While We Were Dating By Jasmine Guillory

Guillory gives us a feel-good novel with While We Were Dating. Ben Stephens is an attractive bachelor working at an ad agency. All he wants to do is climb the corporate ladder and be the best in his industry, which is why he prefers flings and one-night stands. That’s until he meets Anna, a beautiful Hollywood star who is making him think twice about his aspirations and love life.

Learned Reactions By Jayce Ellis 

Carlton is an out-and-proud gay man who took his nephew in to raise him. Now that his nephew is off to college, Carlton is looking to get his bachelor’s life back. But when his niece needs a home, Carlton finds himself trying to get the ideal family together to ensure he gets custody of her. To do that, Carlton asks his best friend Deion, who is also in love with him, to help him parent and to pretend they are a couple. Soon, those lines get blurred and Deion finds himself falling more in love with Carlton, but, this time, Carlton might be falling too.

Finding Joy By Adriana Herrera

Desta Joy Walker finds himself avoiding his father’s country of Ethiopia, especially since his father passed away. For the next 12 weeks, Desta will be working in Ethiopia and will be forced to deal with his paternal history. Desta is caught off-guard when he meets Elias, a handsome Dominican emergency relief worker. The two become close, and together they each learn how to live their best life unapologetically.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry By Joya Goffney

Imagine if someone took your journal and posted your entries on Instagram! That is what happens to Quinn in this YA romance, and she is mortified. The person who has her journal has given her an ultimatum: either do what they ask of her or they will expose her entire journal to the whole school. Quinn can’t have that; the anonymous account wants her to face her fears that she wrote in her journal. Quinn isn’t impressed and asks Carter to help her find out who is blackmailing her. As Quinn learns to trust Carter, her feelings become a little complicated.

Sidelined: The Contract By Bianca Williams

Being an athlete’s wife can be stressful and Bryn Charles will stop at nothing to keep her dream world from becoming a reality, but Shane has some serious baggage of his own. Bryn embarks on an emotional rollercoaster with the man she wants to be with, but learns that even love has limits.