Check out the best summer reads for 2021 in this epic book list. Pick one of these books to read this summer at the beach or pool if you’re looking to escape into a love story!
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I’ve got you covered with all the best books to read this summer in romance.
Whether you’re taking a trip, lounging poolside or sunning at the beach, these books are your best picks for relaxing with a love story this summer.
Since I love reading romance books, I really don’t need ANY excuse to pick up a romance novel.
But even if romance isn’t your go-to genre, take if from me, there’s just something about disappearing into a sweet (or hot!) love story to give you all the feels during the summertime.
The books below are some of my most anticipated summer reads that I can’t wait to get my hands on.
These best summer reads have something for everyone.
You’ll find friends to lovers, opposites attract and fake relationship stories to name a few.
You can also pick from LBGTQ romances, historical romances or romantic comedies which are light on drama but high on humor.
Whether royals, rock stars, athletes or Hollywood starlets strike your fancy, I’m confident you’re going to find your best beach read of 2021 in this book list!
Looking for more books to read this summer?
Check out my new releases page to discover even more romance books that would make the best beach reads this year.
This list is continuously updated so check back to find more books worth reading.
Be sure to also check out my book list of romance books that inspire travel and the hottest summer reads of 2022 which you’ll also find on the Summer Reads Hub – you’re one-stop-shop for all of She Reads Romance Books’ summer reading lists!
Best Summer Reads Coming in May
May 18, 2021
Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but she’s hasn’t been a whiz in the dating department. Raised by her grandparents—she’s been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in.
But when she hears about GeneticAlly, a new DNA-based matchmaking company, she decides to take a chance and dip her toes back into the dating world.
How can she go wrong with science and yet something is drastically wrong when she finds out she’s been matched with GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena- the stuck-up, stubborn man she knows is not her soulmate.
When GeneticAlly proposes to pay her to get to know River, she can’t turn it down and may just find her soulmate after all.
This book has so much going for it – an honest look at online dating, a fake relationship and the writing duo of Christina Lauren!
This book made my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021 list, so I have high hopes that this will turn into one of the best summer reads for 2021.
Friends to Lovers, Opposites Attract Romance
May 11, 2021
Alex and Poppy have been the best of friends ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago. Despite being complete opposites and living far apart, every summer they have vacationed for a week together until two years ago when things were ruined.
Not having spoken since, Poppy realizes she needs to fix things and asks Alex to take one more vacation with her so that they can lay everything out on the table and make it right.
Henry’s prior release, Beach Read, was a 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards finalist so I figured this was one to check out this year.
I really hope this summer read is high on the feels and that Alex and Poppy can find a happily-ever-after.
Best Summer Reads Coming this June
June 1, 2021
August looks forward to seeing Jane every day on the train. Only her subway crush is impossible because Jane is a girl lost in time, displaced from the 1970s.
This book is probably the most anticipated book to read this summer if not all of 2021! (and yes, it made my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021 list).
It follows the mega success of McQuiston’s debut novel, Red, White and Royal Blue and looks to be equally fantastic with an intriguing FF romance that includes a time travel element.
I cannot wait to get my hands on what’s surely going to be one of the best summer reads for 2021.
June 1, 2021
Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in the north of Scotland. Only now they are joined by Addie’s ex, Dylan, and his best mate after Dylan smashed his car into their own.
Her heart was torn apart two years ago and now she’s forced to confront their past while trying to make it to the wedding on time.
Nothing screams summer more than a road trip! I adored O’Leary’s book, The Flatshare, and look forward to diving into this one.
A forced proximity romance sounds like the perfect choice for a beach read this year.
June 3, 2021
For months Neevah Saint stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for her time to shine until Canon Holt, famous film director saw her. Now she’s taking center stage in Hollywood in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic,
catapulting her into another stratosphere.
Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond her control jeopardize her dream. Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost her everything?
This book basically had me at Hollywood romance and Ryan, making it already one of the best summer reads worth checking out this year!
June 8, 2021
When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma, she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. She’s determined to start over but first she has to make it through rehab with her evil physical therapist, Simon.
Her new start also includes opening a doggy day care in the building owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. As if that weren’t bad enough, her doggy day care seems to turn into a grandparent day care.
Despite the ups and downs, Emma soon realizes she’s fallen for her Evil PT, may have found a friend in Ali and may finally have found a new outlook on life.
I can’t think of a better summer read than anything by Jill Shalvis, and her new release sounds like the perfect beach read.
Her romance books always provide the sweetest happily-ever-afters and leave a big smile on my face.
Definitely check out this romance book as one of the best summer reads for this year.
June 15, 2021
When Teddy Phillips is dumped by her longtime boyfriend, she takes comfort in her not-so-guilty pleasure: Everett’s Place, a local children’s show hosted by Everett St. James.
Everett seems to have everything in life figured out so she decides to write him for advice.
The two never meet but continue writing to each other, until their worlds collide. It’s then they are both forced to let go of their fears and figure out if their futures include each other.
I think there is something extremely romantic about two people falling in love through letter writing.
It seems like such a rare thing these days so I think this is the perfect, unique love story making it one of the best summer reads for 2021.
June 15, 2021
Sophie Roseingrave hates nothing more than a swindler. And after her family lost their piano shop to a con man, she’s more suspicious than ever. That’s why she can tell the silk-weaver, Madeline Crewe, is certainly up to something.
Maddie Crewe has set her plan to fund the weavers’ union for life by pulling one over Mr. Giles, a greedy draper. But that was before the nosy piano teacher, Sophie, started sticking her nose where it didn’t belong.
If Sophie won’t be put off, the only thing to do is to seduce her to the cause.
I’ve been meaning to check out Waite’s Feminine Pursuits series so this is a perfect pick for a beach read this summer.
A bit of suspense and subterfuge makes this a must read LGBTQ romance.
June 29, 2021
Thaddeus Walker Bowman Owens is the backup quarterback for the Chicago Stars. He’s a total team player but not when it comes to his new travel partner for a nationwide promotional tour, Olivia Shore, the international opera superstar.
Too bad he has no tolerance for divas and she has a grudge against the jock. But these superstars have to find a way to work together or crash and burn.
OMG, I honestly couldn’t believe it when I heard that Susan Elizabeth Phillips was releasing another book in her beloved Chicago Stars series.
If you’re looking for a book series to binge read this summer, definitely check out Chicago Stars if you haven’t already and then read this one.
June 29 can’t come fast enough to check out one of the most anticipated books to read this summer (as well as one of my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021!).
Single Parent Romance
June 29, 2021
London Stuart has been single for the last four years but her cousins and best friends believe it’s time she get back out there.
She was actually excited for the speed dating sessions they signed her up for until she comes face to face with her son’s hot soccer coach, Oliver Hayes.
Oliver is the whole, brilliant, British package but he may be leaving the country soon to return home. If he’s going to be leaving, London’s not sure it’s the best move to put her heart on the line but it might already be too late.
Sometimes you just want sweet and sappy romance for a great summer read and this one in Hart’s The Introvert’s Guide series looks to be just that.
Give me a man with an accent who seems too good to be true any day.
June 29, 2021
I’m a pro athlete who’s never believed in superstitions because I’ve never needed one – until now. With my play in the tank and now talks of a trade, I’m desperate to get my game back on track.
After spending New Year’s Eve with a woman, and scoring a hat trick in the next game I’m tracking her down and begging her to do it again before every game.
The only problem is she wants nothing to do with me and I begin thinking more about her than my game.
It doesn’t take a lot of arm twisting to get me to read a hockey romance book.
I love the set up of this romance because I know some professional athletes have some serious superstitions and rituals that they must do before every game.
Be sure to add this romance to your summer reads list this year.
June 29, 2021
Gracie Cooper is devastated after losing her father to cancer. Rather than pursue her own dream, she decides to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop.
But Gracie has her hands full trying to keep the shop in the black and warding off Sebastian Andrews and his big corporate proposal for a buyout.
Not wanting to admit her troubles to friends or family, she turns to “Sir” whom she’s connected with on the blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages before exchanging real names or photos.
But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.
Boy, do I miss the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movies of the past but this romance has You’ve Got Mail written all over it.
Lauren Layne knows how to pen sweet and sassy romance books making her latest release one of the best summer reads of 2021.
Best Summer Reads Coming in July
Rock Star Romance
July 1, 2021
Rock star Oliver Smith is lost after the death of his twin brother and bandmate. Even trying to drink his sorrows away he can’t escape the paparazzi, but the bartender Emery is there for him at his lowest.
Working hard to hold it together as a single mother, Emery is no stranger to loneliness which she can see in the rock star who’s taking a seat in her bar. Can these two find solace and hope together or will the world tear them apart?
If you’re looking for a book to read this summer that has a bit more emotion and will surely put your heart through the ringer then Cherry’s latest release should be on your list.
Cherry’s novels never fail to suck you in and make you FEEL. These two loners who are struggling with loss and pain will surely make this summer beach read a heart wrencher!
Neighbors to Lovers Romance
July 6, 2021
Andi Lockley knows first-hand that the world can be a scary place after narrowly escaping a dangerous man years ago.
Her anxiety doesn’t let her forget it, but she’s channeling her fears into her next horror novel and her true crime podcast.
Former firefighter Hill Dawson can’t sleep and is stuck in limbo.
After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he doesn’t know what to do with his life, but he’s quick to jump in and save is neighbor Andi when someone breaks in.
What starts out as a neighbor rescue turns into a chance for something more if Andi can put aside her fear and trust in love again.
I adored Loren’s last release, Yes & I Love You, so I cannot wait to read this one. I love to read about two characters down on their luck finally finding something meaningful with another kindred spirit.
I cannot wait to see how Andi and Hill connect and work to find a way to be with each other. This is one of my most anticipated summer reads for 2021.
Second Chance Romance
July 6, 2021
Yash Raje, California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate, has always lived by the motto, control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate-fueled incident injures his friend, he’s stricken with panic.
To help him get back on the campaign trail and keep his conditioned under wraps, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach.
India has helped many overachievers, but Yash proves to be an interesting case having spent years repressing everything, including their one night together 10 years ago.
I’m a big fan of modern romance retellings and this looks to be a fantastic retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Sense and Sensibility with an Indian American twist.
If you’re looking for a diverse romance book to read this summer, check out this one!
MM Sports Romance
July 9, 2021
I’ve gotten by in the big leagues keeping my one rule in check – don’t date another baseball player. That all changes after one look when the new rookie walks into my locker room.
Grant may get me in ways no one else ever has but that is no excuse for kissing him one night after a game.
It’s also shouldn’t be a reason I’m ready to break my own rule when he reveals he’s never been with a guy and wants me to help him around the bases.
OMG, this books sounds so hot! Any baseball romance makes the best summer read in my book, but a baseball romance that’s also a MM romance is perfection.
Blakely has never one to back down from bringing the heat in her romance books so get ready to fan yourself if you pick this one up for a beach read this year.
Know that this is book one in Blakely’s Men of Summer duet, so check out book two below after reading this one.
July 13, 2021
Piper Bellinger may be a fashionable influencer, but when her wild child reputation goes a bit too far and lands her in the slammer, her stepfather cuts her off.
Hoping to teach her a lesson, he sends her off to Washington to run her late father’s dive bar where she meets a big surly sea captain who instantly knows she doesn’t belong in their small town.
Brendan figures Piper won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills even if there is an undeniable attraction between the two opposites.
Piper is determined to prove everyone wrong and can’t risk any distractions, including the feelings she’s beginning to have for the sailor.
This romance immediately made my must read books to read this summer list once I heard about it.
I love a good opposites attract romance story and this one sounds like it will be both hilarious and sweet.
This is one of my top picks for best summer reads of 2021!
July 13, 2021
Ben Stephens has always kept things casual in his relationships. But when Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, he’s tempted to mix business with pleasure.
Anna Gardiner is on a mission to make herself a household name but figures what’s the harm in a bit of flirtation with the hot ad manager she’s working with.
When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben and Anna keep things casual or will they find their own happily ever after?
Romance books that sweep you away into the Hollywood spotlight are some of the best summer reads in my opinion.
The glitz and the glamour and the sparks of a flirtation make this one worth cuddling up with on the beach.
Marriage of Convenience Romance
July 20, 2021
Having a Russian journalist as a father who mysteriously disappeared after speaking against the government, Elena Konnikova escaped her country the only way she knew how – by marrying her childhood friend, Vladimir, and moving to the United States.
Vlad is a professional hockey player in Nashville who’s been living with a marriage of convenience and wife he’s determined to make love him.
He joined the Bromance Book Club to pick up some pointers and is now ready to create his own epic romance.
With the help of his Bros, Vlad’s senior citizen neighbors and a group of meddling widows will Vlad and Elena be able to find their own happy ever after?
It’s rare to find a romance novel where the characters are already married so I was quick to add this one to my list of books to read this summer.
I love the concept behind their marriage of convenience and how it’s Vlad’s desire to find real love with his wife that sparks his drive to change things and write a romance novel!
I hope this is one summer read that I’ll be swooning over.
July 20, 2021
An insidious curse is weakening the Norse kingdom of Saylok, where no daughters have been born in years. Washing up on these plagued shores is Ghisla, an orphaned stowaway nursed back to health by a blind cave dweller.
Named for a mysterious god, the boy, Hod, is surrounded by prophecy. To Ghisla, he’s a cherished new friend. To Hod, the girl is even more so. For when Ghisla sings, Hod can see.
Unable to offer safe shelter, Hod urges Ghisla onward to become a daughter of the temple, where all the kingdom’s girl children have been gathered. But because of a magical rune, the two cannot be separated, no matter the time or the distance.
Now, subject to a ruthless king, Ghisla enters a desperate world of warring clan chieftains and catastrophic power struggles. Who among them can be trusted is unknowable.
So are the sacrifices Ghisla and Hod must make to defeat the cursed forces that could destroy a kingdom and the fated bond between two souls.
OMG I couldn’t even change a thing about this book synopsis because there is so much going on in this epic fantasy!
I am a HUGE fan of Amy Harmon’s work and have become a recent convert to fantasy romance so this new release was a given for my summer book list.
If you’re interested in escaping into a new world while lying on the beach or lounging by the pool, this book is a must add to your own books to read this summer list.
Small Town Romance
July 20, 2021
Jackson James is a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town in Tennessee. He takes his role to serve and protect quite seriously but his need to let loose at night is pursued with equal abandon.
Only Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor may actually be longing for something more than a one night stand.
Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. But years of always leaving has the starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.
When Raquel once again crosses paths with Jackson whom she once spent one unforgettable night with, they must both decide whether it’s more important following their rules or maybe finding something real.
Gah! Is it really coming?? I’ve been waiting to return to Green Valley for Jackson’s story and I’m so happy to put it on my summer read list.
If you’ve read Reid’s Beauty and the Mustache or Hope Ellis’ Been There Done That, then you’ve probably already fallen for Jackson James as I have.
Even if you haven’t (though those books are fantastic and I highly recommend reading them!) this can easily be read as a standalone and is the perfect beach read for 2021.
Neighbors to Lovers Romance
July 27, 2021
Dillion Stitch never planned on returning to Pearl Lake but here she is taking her place in the family business.
Another thing she didn’t plan – catching an eyeful of her new neighbor, Donovan “Van” Firestone—her beloved neighbor’s grandson—in all his unclothed glory.
Despite both being the town exiles, Dillion and Van bicker like it’s nobody’s business since their fateful meeting.
But underneath the bickering is an undeniable attraction that could lead to finding love next door.
This book had me at bickering. 😊 I love romance books where the chemistry between characters simmers along with great banter.
I’ll be reading this summer read while imagining I’m chilling at a cottage on Pearl Lake along with Dillion and Van.
July 27, 2021
Lady Merritt Sterling, a young widow running her late husband’s shipping company, knows that London society is just waiting for her to slip up and catch her in a scandal.
She’s evaded any such notion until she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller.
Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead, but when his secret connection to one of England’s most powerful families is revealed, the only one he can trust is Merritt.
It’s been way too long since I read a new Kleypas book so this book not only made my books to read this summer list but it also landed on my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021 list.
I love historical romance books, but especially those with a Scottish hero. Here’s hoping this one lives up to my expectations.
Best Summer Reads Coming this August
August 3, 2021
Anna Sun dislikes Quan Diep or so she keeps trying to convince herself. Only he has eyes for her newly engaged sister.
Anna must work to overcome her OCD, and find a way to bury her anxieties and seduce Quan so he doesn’t ruin her sister’s engagement.
I can’t believe I’ve yet to read a Hoang romance which is why this book also made my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021 list.
I love the diverse storyline to this romance book, making it a must read summer romance I’ll be throwing in my beach bag this August.
MM Sports Romance
August 6, 2021
Resisting the shortstop has never been my strong suit. I failed at it during my first spring training. It sure as hell looks like I’m about to fail at it again.
The sport I love playing with my very soul hangs in the balance. Trouble is, I can’t seem to get Declan out of my head, even if I stand to lose everything I’ve worked for my entire life.
This is the second book in Blakely’s Men of Summer duet so be sure to check out Scoring With Him first.
I love that duets give you more of an epic love story than just one book. I say bring all the angst that this finale has to offer.
Fake Relationship Romance
August 17, 2021
When Jamar Dixon wants back into the NFL, he needs a professional personal trainer to help get him there. And he wants Taylor Powell. There’s just one catch — no one can know what they’re doing.
But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor agrees to fake date her client. Only now she’s not so sure if Jamar is only in it to achieve his goal or if he’s playing for keeps.
Oh, how I love fake relationship romances! I adore these storylines and this looks to be a great one with a sports romance angle.
This will be my first Rochon book and I’m hoping it’s one of the best summer reads of the year.
August 24, 2021
Lady Sesily Talbot has endured years as London’s brightest scandal. She’s embraced the reputation and has used it to her advantage luring gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom.
Caleb Calhoun has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s sister, but someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades.
But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever.
I’m so intrigued by this first romance novel in a new series by MacLean that has a strong feminist slant to it.
I guess I’ll have to read it to find out what Sesily is really up to. If you’re looking for some suspense or a historical romance to read this summer, consider this romance book!
August 24, 2021
Nothing and no one can stand in the way of Hugh Cassidy’s drive to build an American empire until he meets the sheltered darling of London, Lady Lillias Vaughn.
When they meet, sparks ignite and lead to an inevitable indiscretion. Hugh’s proposal salvages Lillias’ honor but kills their dreams for their futures…until they arrive at a plan that could honorably set them free.
There’s nothing like a historical romance where an indiscretion is involved! I’m so excited to read Julie Anne Long again and I hope it’s sure to be one of the best summer reads for the season.
If you can’t travel this summer, why not escape to the London of old with this must read romance.
Opposites Attract Romance
August 24, 2021
Bonnie St. James has lost her way. In the hopes of finding some direction, she decides to answer a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands.
There she finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman, but sparks soon begin to fly.
I’ve come to really love Meghan Quinn’s romantic comedies as she writes the best banter. Plus I love any romance that features a hot Scotsman!
This is sure to be one of the best summer reads worth reading.
August 31, 2021
Piper Evans lives a quiet life in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider. That is until a prince and princess with their brooding bodyguard move in next door.
Harrison Cole may be hot, but he immediately deems Piper a security threat.
Too bad that their constant run-ins show that underneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart that tempts Piper into believing that maybe white knights do exist.
This romance looks to be one of the best summer reads to wrap up the season. What could be better than spying on British royals and sparring with a hot bodyguard?
I’m looking forward to Halle’s release and you should too.