As the days get warmer – in the Northern Hemisphere at least – most of us are probably having to think in terms of Staycations rather than Vacations, but regardless of where we’re going to be, I’d imagine a bit of time spent lounging around with one’s nose in a good book sounds like a really, really good idea right now. As usual, AAR staffers have cast about for the books we think are going to provide the best reads over the coming month. It’s not a comprehensive list, so please do drop by and let us know which goodies you think we’re missing out on!

High Heat by Annabeth Albert (27 Jul)

The second book in the author’s Hotshots series picks up the story of one of the team of Smoke Jumpers we met in Burn Zone following a serious accident.  There’s a May/December vibe here as two very different men – one with his future mapped out, one who’s never wanted to put down roots – find each other and fall in love. – Caz

Albert is one of my never disapoint authors, and this one sound exciting! – Lisa

An injured smoke jumper and his sexy neighbor develop feelings for each other as they work together to re-home a lost dog. Publishing by my beloved Carina Press, High Heat sounds like an enticing blend of suspense, steamy romance, and sweet love. (Besides, I am a huge fan of firefighters as romance protagonists.) 💋 Liz

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

The Keeper of Bees by Gregory Ashe (31 Jul)

I have no idea how he does it, but Gregory Ashe’s books keep on getting better and better!  This final book in his second Hazard and Somerset series promises to be a real page-turner; the mysterious (and evil) Keeper of Bees committed a couple of truly gruesome murders in The Rational Faculty and the author has kept that storyline bubbing along in the background as Hazard and Somers have fought crime (!) and adjusted to live as an engaged couple.  My expectations are incredibly high, but I’m sure they’re going to be met! – Caz

I want to know who the identity of the Keeper of the Bees is. Reader, I do. But since I love Hazard and Somers, and their found family… I also don’t. Because I’m certain he (or she!) is someone they already know. I expect thrills and chills in this one, and I AM HERE FOR IT. – Em

Buy it at: Amazon 

The Best Man Plan by Jaci Burton

A vetrenarian dumped by her fiance on her wedding day (via email!) decides to have a fling with a handsome friend. Said friend, though, has plans for her. Sounds charming, and Burton as always is amazing. – Lisa

Jaci Burton’s new romantic comedy is billed as ‘a sweep-you-off-your-feet friends-to-lovers romance’. That sounds like a perfect summer beach read to me. – Maria Rose

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

The Sugared Game by K.J. Charles

I LOVED the first book in the author’s Will Darling Adventures and am on tenterhooks waiting for more!  Dastardly deeds, feats of derring-do, a tough ex-soldier-turned-bookshop-owner and a dapper aristocrat who is not at all what he seems… I was on the edge of my seat reading Slippery Creatures, and if the author’s track-record with “the second book” holds true, The Sugared Game is going to be even better! – Caz

I’m one of the few KJ fans that didn’t love Slippery Creatures. I’m planning to give it a second try before digging into The Sugared Game, and keeping my fingers crossed second time’s a charm. Even a Charles I don’t love is better than most everything else, so this will move to the top of the queue the moment I have it. – Em

I’m excited to see what this one brings! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon 

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (7 Jul)

I read an early copy of this for review, and It.Is. Awesome; an opposites-attract, fake-relationhsip that begins when the son of a rock-star needs to rehabilitate his image by finding a ‘sensible’ boyfriend, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much reading a book! – Caz

From the cover, this looks like a shameless attempt to lure in those who loved Red, White and Royal Blue. I was one of those people who loved it, and this fact, combined with some serious love of Alexis Hall by other reviewers, has piqued my interest in this son-of-a-rock-star and a lawyer fake-relationship romance. – Charlotte

Love Alexis Hall’s work, and this one sounds like fun! – Lisa

I’m always excited when I see a new book coming from Alexis Hall! He’s one of those authors whose books I willingly add to my to-read list without even glancing at the blurb. – Maria Rose

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride by Virginia Heath (1 Jul)

One of the few authors around producing consistently good historical romances, I’ll read anything Ms. Heath writes! – Caz

A man wrongly accused of stealing a lady’s family jewels finds himself pressed into service to rescue her from an arranged marriage. No one does historical romance like Heath, so I’m looking out for this one – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

Never if Not Now by Madeline Hunter (7 Jul) 

As a medievals fan, I’m ecstatic to have any new releases, much less something from Madeline Hunter, who wrote my favorite medievals series. – Caroline

Madeline Hunter returns to Medievals as an impoverished woman once more encounters the childhood friend, whom she blames for her situation – Lisa  

Buy it at: Amazon 

A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane (21 Jul)

I’ve been favoring fantasy romances a lot over the last few months (I wonder why!) and one of my favorites to re-read is Milla Vane’s latest, A Heart of Blood and Ashes. Her world building is stunning, the characters compelling, and the plot kept surprising me. I can’t wait to escape into the world of her Barbarians in this next book! – Alexandra

In an interview, Milla Vane said this novel featured a feral cinnamon roll hero who is desperately in love with a girl he’s known since they were children, but who doesn’t want anything to do with him after he exiled her from the kingdom. And the blurb promises a badass, female mercenary for hire. Love this combination, this series and this writer. One of my most anticipated books of the year. – Em

The next part of the Gathering of Dragons series continues Lizzan and Aerax’s story. This has been one heck of an adventure so far, and I’m delighted to keep on reading this series. -Lisa.

I just finished reading the first in this series A Heart of Blood and Ashes and I couldn’t put it down! This is definitely one I’m excited to read. – Maria Rose

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

A Dangerous Kind of Lady by Mia Vincy

Mia Vincy is a relatively new author, but I’ve loved both her previous books. The story of an heiress who hopes to maintain her independence with a fake engagement, this looks promising. – Alexandra

I’ve awarded DIK status to both of Mia Vincy’s published historical romances and am really hoping this one is going to make it three-for-three! – Caz

I enjoyed Vincy’s first two books, but I loved them in audio. Based on the strength of her first two books, I expect to find this one on my Best of list at year end. – Em

I adore Mia Vincy and she’s an auto-buy for me, so I’m looking out for this one! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon 

Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey (7 Jul)

Chloe does not have room for romance in her life, but that doesn’t stop her best friend from writing a rom-com inspired by Chloe and her “scruffy-bearded hunk” boss, Nick. As the movie premiere grows near, Chloe begins to view Nick as leading man material. The couple’s story has a happy ending on the screen, but Chloe doubts that she and Nick will experience a real-life happily ever after. I was immediately drawn to Kerry Winfrey’s premise, which reminds me of my fave rom-com flick of 2019, Isn’t It Romantic. 💋 Liz

Winfrey’s first book, Waiting for Tom Hanks, was a fine romantic comedy, though sometimes too self-aware of its tropes. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next book in the series is like! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

We’re also looking forward to…


A Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan (1 Jul) 

Sometimes I judge books by their covers, okay???? Also, I love a good coworkers story.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound


The Heir Affair  by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (7 Jul)

The sequel to 2015’s “what if Kate Middleton was American” The Royal We. I loved that book but its super tenuous HFN ending drove me up a wall, so I’m extremely pleased we finally get more.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound


Flat Whites and Chocolate Fish by Jay Hogan

I first read Jay Hogan back in August 2019 when I read and reviewed Digging Deep, and since then, I’ve become a fan.  This is book three in her Southern Lights series, and it features the enigmatic barista Adrian, whom we first met in Powder & Pavlova and his sexy, silver-fox neighbour. – Caz

Buy it at: Amazon 


Spotlight by Eden Finely (16 Jul) 

Finley’s books are low angst, sexy, feel good books.  I liked the first book in the series, and the premise for this one.  What can I say?  I’m a Finley fan. 

Buy it at: Amazon 


10 Things I Hate About Pinkyby Sandhya Menon (21 Jul)

Pinky Kumar finally gets her own story!  I can’t wait to tear into this one.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

Once Dishonored  by Mary Jo Putney (28 Jul)

Putney’s Rogues Redeemed series continues with a disgraced widow turning to a naval officer to find evidence which will redeem her reputation.  Sounds good!

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite (28 Jul)

I’ve read this one and can confirm it’s even more fabulous than The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics.  A widowed engraver with an adult son and a beekeeper with a complicated romantic history meet and fall in love against the backdrop of the ascension of George IV to the British throne.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound


ROMeANTICALLY CHALLENGED  by Marina Adair (28 Jul)

A newly single physician’s assistant gets stuck working at a hospital in Rome, Rhode Island (instead of Rome, Italy) and shares a cabin with a “big, brooding, annoyingly hot male roommate.” Their mutual attraction makes her seriously doubt her “man-free diet.” Publisher Kensington describes ROMeANTICALLY CHALLENGED as Three Men and a Baby meets 27 Dresses. Intriguing! I’m excited to read Marina Adair’s work, which promises to deliver both humor and heart. Stay tuned for my review! 💋 Liz

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

Maria Rose:

Delta Force Defender by Megan Crane (7 Jul)
Megan Crane’s Alaska Force novels have a great mix of suspense, action and romance and I’m ready to dive in to the latest in the series.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha (28 Jul)

Kit Rocha’s Beyond series (dystopian erotic romance with compelling worldbuilding) is one of my favorites. When I heard they had a new publishing contract with Tor for a science fiction series about mercenary librarians I made sure to add it to my list!

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

Come Home to Deep River by Jackie Ashenden (28 Jul)

Small town Alaska is a new setting for contemporary romance author Jackie Ashenden but her blend of sexy heat and strong characters always make for an enjoyable combination and I’m looking forward to this new series.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday (28 Jul)

I love Jenny Holiday’s contemporary romances. They consistently end up on my favorites lists (and my recommended reads)  and this story of a big city doctor finding love in a small town sounds like a lovely romance to binge on a summer vacation.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound


Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang (1 Jul)

Lydia Kang’s books are like a breath of fresh air in my reading life. Her stories are darkly beautiful, and I’m not exaggerating when I say she makes even the most familiar of tropes utterly her own. Opium and Absinthe has been on my radar for several months now, and I’m relieved its release is almost upon us.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh (7 Jul)

Renee Ahdieh’s The Beautiful series contains pretty much everything I love in a good YA fantasy romance. Her take on vampires is one of my favorites to date, so I’m super excited to get my hands on a copy of the second installment.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (21 Jul)

Call me twisted, but I’m always ready for a great pandemic story, and that’s exactly what Emma Donoghue’s latest novel promises to be. It’s set during the 1918 Flu epidemic, a time in history that runs parallel with the time we’re currently living in, and I couldn’t be more excited to get my hands on a copy. I’ve enjoyed many of Donoghue’s previous books so I’m expecting great things.

Buy it at: Amazon / Indiebound

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of available titles, just a selection made by AAR reviewers according to their personal tastes. Purchase links are given where available at time of writing.

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Queer romance, romantic suspense and historicals - romance, mysteries, fiction -  are my genres of choice these days, and when I haven't got my nose in a book, I’ve got my ears in one.  I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and am rarely to be found without my earbuds in.