The Best Fiction Books » Romance

The Best Romance Books of Summer 2024

recommended by Katherine D. Morgan

If you've been looking for a love story to tuck into your beach bag, then look no further. Katherine D. Morgan—creator of Grand Gesture Books, a new romance-only bookstore—recommends the best new romance books of summer 2024.

Buy all books

Summertime is finally upon us. As the owner of Grand Gesture Books—a bookstore devoted to romance novels—you’re in a great position to reflect on the seasonal changes in people’s reading habits.

Summer is one of the most romantic seasons, for sure. Summer lovin’ is in the air and everything feels a little more optimistic.

I think readers typically stray towards the ‘beach read’ kind of romance. When I talk about beach reads, I don’t mean that they don’t have any substance, nothing like that. I’d say that they’re enjoyable, cozy, maybe a little sexy, and probably pretty funny too. I feel like covers get brighter and the energy in the romance section that I work in changes ever so slightly because of it.

It’s a great time to dive into the genre. Plus, a book is also a fashionable accessory, so you can never go wrong with one in your tote bag.

Well your first book certainly has a very stylish cover. Say You’ll Be Mine by Naina Kumar. What makes it one of the best new romances of summer 2024?

I remember reading this book earlier this spring, and was so excited to discover that this was Kumar’s debut. There’s nothing like discovering an author at the beginning of their publishing journey because you really can’t wait to see where they go next.

Say You’ll Be Mine is so charming. I love the ‘fake dating’ trope—in this case, a fake engagement of convenience—and I especially loved getting to learn about another culture that still values arranged marriages. This debut had me chuckling and I kept going, ‘shut up, you love her!’ while reading it, which is my favorite reaction to have an ‘opposites attract’ romance, or one where the feelings begin to turn just slightly too real. Read this one.

And yes, the cover is just so beautiful! We need more romance covers like this.

That sounds like fun. Now, can you tell me about the second romance on your summer 2024 list?

My second pick would have to be This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan, which is a great book for anyone who ever been scorned by a cheating partner. It basically riffs on the phrase, ‘when they go low, we go high.’


This book is an interconnected standalone—so while you should definitely read the first book in the series, This Could Be Us, it isn’t necessary per se. I loved getting the chance to see Soledad rise up from the ashes of her ruined marriage and learn to trust herself, and to determine what she believes that her worth is. Also, Judah is an absolute dreamboat. I loved getting to read about a Black man having a healthy co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife as they parent their autistic twin boys. Everyone was so respectful. I think that more of this representation needs to appear in romance novels.

The next book on your list of recommended 2024 summer romance reads is You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastian. I was just reading about why baseball romance is the new hockey romance. What did you enjoy about it?

I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to read different sub-genres of romance because I found myself only reading contemporary and it was starting to all blend together into one big glob. Plus, now that I own a romance bookstore, I figure that it would be a good idea to start dipping my toes into different types of romances. One of the members of my book club (hi Jenny!) is a Cat Sebastian superfan, so we read We Could Be So Good for one of our meetings. I liked it a lot, so I decided to read the second one in the interconnected series, which is You Should Be So Lucky, and I loved it!

It’s a bit of a heavier read, because Mark is dealing with the grief of losing his long-term partner who led a closeted life. This is New York in the 1960s. He finds friendship and love with Eddie, a queer baseball player who is in a slump and having a hard time adjusting to a new city and team. It was so wonderful. It was funny, warm, insightful, devastating, and just plain beautiful. I truly loved it and it has become one of my favorites to sell. I am so happy that this book is now one of my main personality traits.

Let’s talk about the fourth book on your summer 2024 romance reading list: At First Spite by Olivia Dade.

This book offers such an actual portrayal of mental health and how to care for your loved ones when they’re going through it. It was such a sensitive and vulnerable read, and I highlighted and sticky tabbed my copy like you wouldn’t believe. There are even handwritten notes in my margins, which many would consider blasphemy, but I felt like Dade’s work deserved that kind of care.

As someone who has dealt with depression most of her life and has a wonderful partner who tries his best to care for me, I think of this book as a kind of blueprint that I can hand to male customers to tell them how to act. There’s a scene that makes everyone sob, which is lovingly called ‘the bathtub scene,’ which I did love and felt was very romantic, but my heart ached most at the scene where Matthew cleans Athena’s house for her during a bout of depression.

That’s the kind of romance that I can get behind. Also, the main character being plus size but not having that be her personality or what her man loves the most about her in a fetishizing way? Say less.

The last book on your list of the best romance books of summer 2024 is How You Get the Girl by Anita Kelly. It’s another sporting romance, this time between high school basketball coach and one of her players’ mothers. Tell us about it.

You know, I like most sports a lot. Not enough to, say, follow them all the time or tell you the names of players, but enough to sit down and watch a game. So I was excited to get my hands on Kelly’s newest sport-based, sapphic romance because my coworker Antonoa read it and told me that she cried. I love crying at anything and everything in a romance book, so I happily dove in.

This is the book I credit for making me realize that I was queer. Julie—the sister of a main character in Something Wild and Wonderful, the second book in this interconnected series; notice that I read a lot of those—is really going through it in the book because she has never dated anyone before and she’s trying to figure out her sexuality. She’s a late bloomer; I want more late bloomers in romances as well!

She’s also trying to figure out what her role in her friends’ lives are. She feels like she’s stuck doing the same things day in and day out, while all of her friends seem to be moving on. I felt so seen by this book, and if you’ve ever felt a similar way then know that this book is for you.

That’s a heartfelt recommendation, thank you. Are there any new summer 2024 romances that you’re excited about but haven’t gotten the chance to read yet?

I’ve been hearing great things about Alicia Thompson’s The Art of Catching Feelings. (I’m in my sports era now.) Late Bloomer by Mazey Eddings came out a few months ago and the cover is so charming I keep stopping to look at it as I walk by.

I was a big fan of Alexandria Bellefleur’s The Fiancée Farce, which came out last year. Now she has a new one out called Truly, Madly, Deeply, and both characters are bi. She calls it her ‘horniest novel yet,’ so I immediately bought a copy.

I know you only asked me about new books that I haven’t read yet, but I also want to tell people that they should read Only For the Week by Natasha Bishop if they want a sexy short romance to bring to the beach. It’s such a fun romp. And lastly, I consider any book that I bring to the beach a beach read, and I’ve recently gotten into Beverly Jenkins, so I’m bringing a copy of her 2016 book Forbidden with me because man, I am so excited to get to know her work. Her book, Wild Rain, changed something in my DNA.

I love that. Before we let you go, I mentioned earlier that you have been opening a new romance bookstore. Has this new endeavor affected your love for the genre?

I think that it has made me appreciate it a lot more. It’s more than just talking about my favorite reads with customers in the aisle. It’s figuring out why some books sell better than others. It’s appreciating how much romance readers love stickers and merchandise that highlights their love for the genre. It’s figuring out how to make smaller authors in the field stand out.

While my store, Grand Gesture Books, doesn’t have a physical storefront yet—we’re actually supposed to sign a lease sometime in the next week!—I’ve been doing pop-ups and the like for the past six months or so, and the romance community in Portland, Oregon is wonderful, loud, affectionate, and excited. We’ve been fundraising for the past couple of weeks and I’m really proud of how much money we’ve raised so far.

They’re so very excited, which makes me excited. It’s also something that I have to romanticize a little bit—because, otherwise, thinking about doing business taxes and hiring people makes me anxious and I don’t love being anxious. It’s all good though. Being anxious makes me feel like I care.


If you’d like to help Katherine in her efforts to open a Grand Gesture Books storefront in Portland, Oregon, you can find more information here.

July 5, 2024

Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at [email protected]

Support Five Books

Five Books interviews are expensive to produce. If you've enjoyed this interview, please support us by .

Katherine D. Morgan

Katherine D. Morgan

Katherine D. Morgan is a writer and bookseller living in Portland, Oregon.

Katherine D. Morgan

Katherine D. Morgan

Katherine D. Morgan is a writer and bookseller living in Portland, Oregon.