Move Over Cheesy: 7 Brainy Romance Novels To Read This Summer

I’ve got summer fever, and the only prescription is more romance! If you’ve caught the same fever, check out my recommendations!

Recommendations Romance

I don’t know about y’all, but I plan on spending my summer lounging by the water, reading a good book. Scratch that, I’m going to be curled up in the air-conditioned indoors reading with my dog because it’s way too hot in Texas. And honestly, I’ll be reading in my free time, so I can keep providing you guys with amazing content for your pure enjoyment. The books that I’m going to indulge in? Romance books, it’s always romance. If you need your fix of some clever main characters with witty banter, I’ve got some recommendations for you!

Love and Other Puzzles

Cover of "Love and Other Puzzles" by Kimberley Allsopp.

Cover Blurb: "Warm, witty, charming and romantic, 'Love and Other Puzzles' is a glorious debut and I can't wait for the world to get their hands on it. -Jessica Dettmann."

Cover Blurb: "'Love and Other Puzzles' has more heart than Harry Burns, more singers than Daniel Cleaver, and is hotter than Fitzwilliam and Darcy emerging from a lake, partially clothed. If you love rom-coms as I do, you will meet cute with this wonderful twist on the genre. -Lauren Sams"

Cover Comment: Life doesn't always go perfectly to plan.

cr. Amazon

romance, summer, book, reading, recommendations
cr. Amazon

Love and Other Puzzles is Kimberley Allsopp’s first novel, and it’s safe to say it’s a hit. Our main girl, Rory, is calculated, to say the least. She follows a pattern, adhering to it out of habit rather than necessity. So, she decides to let the clues from a crossword puzzle determine her life for a week. Y’all know that Jim Carrey movie Yes Man? It’s that, but better.

The Kiss Quotient

Cover of "The Kiss Quotient: A Novel" by Helen Hoang.

cr. Amazon

Cover Blurb: "I dare you not to fall in love with these two characters and their story. -New York Times bestselling author, Nalini Singh" 

Cover Blurb: "A rare and riveting love story. -New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Douglas"

romance, summer, book, reading, recommendations
cr. Amazon

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang is the first book in a trilogy! Stella Lane is a math genius with Asperger’s, putting her on the autism spectrum. She has a job that doesn’t offer a whole lot of human interaction, which is great for her because she doesn’t really get other humans anyway. But, she does like to learn, so she hires escort Michael Phan to teach her. Y’all, I’m all in when it comes to that fake relationship trope. Adding to that, we’ve got autistic and POC representation, plus a cute little gender role reversal? Sold.

Love in Due Time

Cover of "Love in Due Time" by L. B. Dunbar

Cover Comments: Green Valley Public Library Book 001, Made in Tennessee, Penny Reid's Smartypants Romance.

cr. Amazon

romance, summer, book. reading, recommendations
cr. Amazon

Love in Due Time by L.B. Dunbar is the first of a nine-book series and is a part of the Pennyverse. Just reading the description of this one has me on the edge of my seat: “When a silver fox biker”—pause, I’m already invested. Seriously, though, it’s a single-dad romance, and the heroine is a librarian who doesn’t get out much? Also, it’s not high school-age characters, Naomi and Nathan are in their thirties and forties. Deal or no deal? It’s a deal for me.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Cover of "My Favorite Half-Night Stand" by New York Times bestselling  author of "Roomies" Christina Lauren.

Cover Blurb: "Truly a romance for the twenty-first century. -Kirkus Reviews on Dating You / Hating You"

cr. Amazon

romance, summer, book, reading, recommendations
cr. Amazon

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren is a friends-to-lovers romance that develops through the guise of a persona and an online dating profile. It’s a perfect beach read, just light enough that it doesn’t require your full focus, but deep enough to engage your brain in a game of table tennis. Millie is a professor who is fascinated by female serial killers (girlboss) and never learned healthy coping mechanisms, leading to her bottling up her feelings. Her love interest, Reid (also a professor), wears his heart on his sleeve. After matching on an app through Millie’s fake dating profile, how will these two end up? It gets even more complicated when you learn that they have slept together, but decided they were better as friends.

The Hating Game

Cover of "The Hating Game: A Novel" by Sally Thorne.

Cover Blurb: "A brilliant, biting, hilarious new voice. 'The Hating Game' will take the rom-com world by storm. One of the best I've read, ever. -Kristen Higgins, New York Times bestseller author."

Cover Comments: Now a major motion picture.

cr. Amazon

romance, summer, book, reading, recommendation
cr. Amazon

The Hating Game is Sally Thorne’s debut novel from back in 2016. Am I still singing its praises? Yeah, and I will continue to. It’s a workplace romance that just builds and builds until it explodes with a kiss in an elevator. Lucy and Joshua have always one-upped each other. Doesn’t matter what it is, they’re going to find a way to make it a challenge between the two of them. What happens when it all boils over with that aforementioned elevator smooch?

Bet The Farm

Cover of "Bet The Farm" by Staci Hart.

Cover Comment: "This city girl has no idea what she's in for."

cr. Amazon

romance, summer, book, reading, recommendations
cr. Amazon

Bet The Farm is Staci Hart’s first dip into the small town romance subgenre, and she killed it, if I do say so myself. The sunshine heroine and grumpy hero tropes are strong with this one, mixed with enemies to lovers, but never really enemies in the first place, they just suck at communicating, wow oh wow. Olivia and Jake are on a rampage to save the dairy farm they both inherited, but neither one of them is willing to listen to the other. I’m a sucker for small town romance, perhaps influenced by my own upbringing, but we aren’t going to get into that.

Outmatched

Cover of "Outmatched" by New York Times bestselling authors, Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young.

Cover Comment: A boxer. A geek. A deal that's below the belt...

cr. Amazon

romance, summer, book, reading, recommendation
cr. Amazon

Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young are a powerhouse duo in Outmatched. It’s enemies to lovers in a situation that calls for a fake marriage of convenience while also having elements of a sports romance because the love interest, Rhys, is a retired boxer. Parker, our main woman, works for a sexist pig boss who typically promotes more “settled” employees. In order to achieve that illusion, Parker hires Rhy’s younger brother Dean to pretend to be her hubby. Unfortunately for her, this is a family that has terrible timing, and Rhys steps in at the wrong moment. Everything boils over from there, it’s so good… so good.

I sure hope that you’ve enjoyed my seven brainy romance recommendations for your summer reading list! If I did my job right, then your summer just got a little bit steamier!

P.S. if you’re looking for a lighthearted summer romance flick, click here. *wink wonk*

Be on the lookout for other romance content from Bookstr, which you can check out here!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA GRACIE LAMBRIGHT / CANVA