Although the summer solstice doesn’t occur for a few more weeks, with the passing of Memorial Day weekend, most people consider summer to have already begun (me included). Those who know me well know that I’m not a fan of hot weather. I prefer dry, crisp fall weather above all other. However, what I do love about summer is the way everyone slows down a bit. This is especially important now that I live in the Northeast, where the normal pace of things is warp speed.

One of the best ways to slow time (and to vacation without actually going anywhere) is to pick up a book and be transported to another time and place (and, depending on your reading tastes, maybe even another world).Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 4.28.28 PM

My TBR (to be read) pile continues to grow, but I thought I’d share some of the books on my pile (as well as a few recently finished books) just in case you are looking for a little romance reading for your next weekend by the shore.

Here goes:

Recently read:

The Escape, by Mary Balogh (historical romance).  Fabulous. She is always very good, but this book (these characters) really resonated with me (it was released last summer, so I don’t know how I missed it!). Ben is a wounded war veteran and Samantha a young widow. Their relationship develops steadily and surely–beautifully–from hate-at-first-sight to deep love and respect.

Four Nights with a Duke, by Eloisa James (historical romance). Very pleasant read. This is a marriage-of-convenience (blackmail) trope, but a well-done one. Mia and Vander are interesting, likable characters for the most part, and there was something fun about this story. I particularly enjoyed the way Vander engaged with Mia’s nephew.

Dearest Rogue, by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance). Another very good read. I have liked Trevillion and Phoebe in supporting roles in former books, so I was eager to read this story. I absolutely adored the hero (uptight and repressed as he is) and Phoebe is a lovely heroine (blind, which made it interesting, because the author has you experience the other senses of this character when in her POV). My only quibble was with the ending of the story, which seemed rather abrupt and unsatisfying (the resolution of the external conflict/kidnapping plots). Still, I loved it.

Bachelorette for Sale, by Gail Chianese (contemporary romance). I received an advanced reader copy of this upcoming debut (releases June 23). I found this to be sweet (Cherry “Bear” and her grandparents, in particular, tickled me), sassy, and fun all rolled into one. Cherry has been through the ringer in more ways than one, so you are happy to see her end up with a good guy. Jason is a sexy hero, too…so that always helps!

It Had to Be Him, by Tamra Baumann (contemporary romance). I also recommend this razor sharp romantic comedy. Unlike the preceding book, this one is intentionally “over the top” in its fictional small town setting and some of the extreme personalities (the grandmother, for example), all of which add a heavy dose of humor to the romance. Josh is a hero worth rooting for and Meg (Muck) is a spunky, unique heroine.

The Truth About Love, by Sheila Athens (contemporary romance). This is a more serious-minded romance, wherein the heroine is working to free who she believes to be a wrongly convicted murderer, who happens to the man the hero “witnessed” at the scene of his mother’s murder. The characters are both believable and likable, and their ethical struggles are interesting to consider.

To Be Read Pile:

Triple Time, by Regina Kyle (contemporary romance). This is the second book in her Art of Seduction series (HQ Blaze). I really enjoyed the first book (Triple Threat), and am looking forward to this next installment.

No Better Man, by Sara Richardson (contemporary romance). I received an ARC in a contest, but have not found the time to squeeze it in yet. However, this book just released last week and the reviews look great, so it will remain near the top of my list.

Art of Sinning, by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance). I actually have just started this book (another ARC), so we shall see how it goes. More to come…

A Curvy Girl for the Cadet, by Sugar Jamison (contemporary romance). Sugar writes sassy contemporary romances, so I look forward to getting around to this one as well.

This Thing Called Love, by Miranda Liasson (contemporary romance).  I like the premise (ambitious career girl gets sucked by to small hometown to become guardian of her deceased sister’s infant daughter, and reconnects with former flame, who is also niece’s uncle), and it’s racking up the reviews!

The Last Time I Saw Her, by Karen Robards (paranormal romantic suspense). I’ve been reading all the books in this series, and the year-long wait between just kills me. This one doesn’t come out until August, but I will read it the minute it downloads. There are some elements of this series that have become a bit repetitive (the heroine’s waffling), but I adore the ghostly hero (“convicted” serial killer), Michael, and can’t wait for what I think will be the final book in this paranormal romantic suspense.

If You Only Knew, by Kristan Higgins (women’s fiction). This is the NYT best selling romance author’s ‘debut’ in women’s fiction, so perhaps it doesn’t belong on a “romance” reading list. But I suspect there will be some kind of romantic subplot, given her contemporary romance history! It comes out in August, too.

So, are there any summer romance reading recommendations you can offer to me (or other readers here on the blog)?

XO- Jamie