Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

10 New Romance Reads for Your Beach Bag

Emily Martin

Contributing Editor

Emily has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, MS, and she has an MFA in Creative Writing from GCSU in Milledgeville, GA, home of Flannery O’Connor. She spends her free time reading, watching horror movies and musicals, cuddling cats, Instagramming pictures of cats, and blogging/podcasting about books with the ladies over at #BookSquadGoals ( She can be reached at

Avon Books

An Avon book has always been a “Book for the Heart” and we publish stories that touch all hearts.

As we near the end of winter and look forward to spring, it’s time to start planning our TBRs for the warmer months. And for a relaxing day at the beach, taking in some warm sun, there’s really nothing more satisfying than a romance read that’s light and happy but still makes your heart flutter.

And while everyone says not to judge a book by its cover, there’s just something aesthetically pleasing about a romance novel with bright colors and fun images against the backdrop of the sand and sea. These new must-read romance books deliver exciting, page-turning stories, fun, relatable characters, and all of your favorite romance tropes—from enemies to lovers to fake dating and everything in between. And the icing on the cake? They’re going to look so gorgeous sticking out of your beach bag as you set up in the sand on your next warm-weather vacation.

Pro-tip: you’re not going to be able to put down any of these 10 new romance reads. So you might want to pack two (or four) into your beach bag. Between the warm sand, the waves, and all the other relaxing beach sounds, you’re about to live your best beach reading life. You’re welcome!

Say You'll Be Mine book cover

Say You’ll Be Mine by Naina Kumar

Say You’ll Be Mine is Naina Kumar’s debut romance novel about theater teacher and aspiring playwright Meghna Raman. Despite going against her parents’ wishes for her to be an engineer, Meghna’s life is going great. But then her best friend (and secret crush) Seth suddenly gets engaged and asks her to be his best man. In a desperate effort to get over the one that got away, Meghna agrees to let her parents set her up. And a fake engagement with a grumpy (but handsome) engineer seems like just the thing to help Meghna get over her crush.

the getaway list book cover

The Getaway List by Emma Lord

This cute YA contemporary romance follows recently graduated Riley, who spent her high school years doing her best to be the perfect, well-behaved daughter for her mom. But now that she’s growing up and moving out, she has no idea what she really wants from her life when she’s not worried about pleasing others. Looking for a way to find herself, she teams up with her best friend Tom and moves to New York for the summer to complete The Getaway List — a list of things they’ve wanted to do together since they were kids, before Tom moved away.

the breakup tour book cover

The Breakup Tour by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Singer-songwriter Riley Wynn becomes an overnight sensation after she releases a breakup album featuring a hit single no one can get enough of. But when her ex-husband claims the song is about him, Riley is determined to set the record straight. And so she contacts her old college flame, Max Harcourt, the guy the song is really about. When Riley asks Max to go public as the real inspiration for the song, he will only agree under one condition. He wants to go on tour with her. As the two travel the country together, they begin to wonder if what was in the past shouldn’t stay in the past.

Cover of The Takeover new romance books January 2024

The Takeover by Cara Tanamachi

Enemies-to-lovers fans, throw this one in your beach bag immediately. Nami has always exceeded at everything. But that all changes on her 30th birthday, when her engagement shockingly ends, and her tech company is on the verge of losing funding. Worst of all, just when she asks the universe to bring her a soulmate, she is instead delivered her hate mate. Jae Lee, her old high school nemesis who beat her out for valedictorian, has plans to take over her start-up.

cover of Don't Want You Like a Best Friend Emma R. Alban

Don’t Want You Like A Best Friend by Emma R. Alban

This queer Victorian romance is the first in a new series from Emma R. Alban. There’s nothing debutante Beth wants less than snagging a husband, but if she doesn’t within the next year, she and her mother will be out on the streets. Meanwhile, Gwen, the daughter of an earl, is on her fourth season and is just enjoying the party, with no intentions of ever finding a spouse. So when Gwen meets Beth, she hatches up a plan to save them both: they’ll set up Gwen’s father with Beth’s mother.

wild life book cover

Wild Life by Opal Wei

Zoey Fong has one simple goal: find a cure for cancer. But the research is not going as well as Zoey hoped, and to make matters worse, a key part of her research has accidentally ended up in the hands of a handsome stranger. All Davy Hsieh wants is to set up an animal sanctuary away from the prying eyes of other humans. He was definitely not expecting Zoey to enter into his quiet hermit bubble. And he wasn’t expecting romance.

Cover of The [Fake] Dating Game by Timothy Janovsky

The [Fake] Dating Game by Timothy Janovsky

Raise your hand if you love fake dating stories! (Me!) Holden James auditions for the reality television competition, Madcap Market, thinking this could be the perfect homage to his mother, who died six years ago. But now his relationship with his long-term boyfriend is on the rocks, and without a boyfriend, his time on the show might be over before it begins. Then, he meets hotel concierge Leo Min. Leo is kind and understanding and seems like the perfect person to be on the show. So maybe they can throw together a fake relationship and make this work?

fangirl down book cover

Fangirl Down by Tessa Bailey

Wells Whitaker is in a rut. Once golf’s hottest rising star, now he feels like he has nothing to show for his hard work and only one remaining fan. Josephine Doyle has always believed in Wells, so when he asks her to be his caddy and split the prize money if he wins, she of course says yes. Traveling together, the two soon become inseparable. Maybe Josephine was the key to his success all along.

cover of How You Get the Girl by Anita Kelly

How You Get the Girl by Anita Kelly

Here’s another sports-themed romance you won’t want to miss. High school basketball coach Julie Parker is ready for the challenge with smart-mouthed Vanessa Lerner joining the team. What she wasn’t prepared for was how star-struck she would be when she meets Vanessa’s mother, former basketball star Elle Cochrane. Eventually, Julie works up the courage to ask Elle to become the assistant coach for the year. As the two grow closer and closer, Julie wonders how Elle is still single.

cover of the catch by amy lea

The Catch by Amy Lea

Boston fashion influencer Melanie Karlsen is desperate to save her brand, which is how she finds herself in a rural fishing village on the east coast of Canada. That’s where she meets grumpy lobster fisherman Evan Whaler. The two don’t hit it off at first, but after Evan gets in a boating accident and winds up unconscious in the hospital, Mel is mistaken as Evan’s fiancée. After meeting Evan’s fun, quirky family, Mel happily agrees to pretend to be Evan’s fiancée for a week, as long as Evan agrees to help her with her social media content.

Looking for more romance reads to bring with you on your next beach trip? Or just to your favorite reading chair? Here are some of the best beach reads of 2023, in case you missed them. Make sure you also check out Book Riot’s bimonthly podcast, When in Romance, to get all the romance novel news and book recommendations!