The best romances of May

Adrian Liang on May 22, 2019
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It's very possible that May is my favorite month so far in 2019 for romance. While I listed five of my favorites below, new books by Maisey Yates, Alyssa Cole, Sandhya Menon, and Amanda Quick also reach readers' happy hands this month.

Stories of enemies becoming lovers, a meddling mom who thinks she knows best, and a kilt-wearing prankster are among the best romances of the month.

Load up your book bag or Kindle, grab some me-time, and start reading.


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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Note to self: If getting married, don't serve seafood. After the whole wedding is brought to a vomitous halt due to bad fish, the new bride tells her twin sister Olive Torres to go on the Hawaii honeymoon in her place for various complicated reasons that do make sense. Unfortunately, the new groom tells his brother Ethan Thomas the same thing, and Olive and Ethan can't stand to be within a room of each other, much less share a honeymoon suite. But hilarious encounters with Olive's soon-to-be boss and Ethan's predatory ex-girlfriend force Olive and Ethan to fake a relationship that could, with the right amount of forgiveness and vulnerability, turn into the real thing. The writing duo known as Christina Lauren delivers a laugh-out-loud doozy of a modern romance with a thoughtful core.


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Getting Hot with the Scot: A Sometimes in Love Novel by Melonie Johnson

When kilt-wearing prank show host Logan Reid nearly convinces American Cassie Crow that she's stumbled into an Outlander-type moment after she consumes too much scotch in Edinburgh Castle, Cassie knows she has to keep the tape off the air or she will never get the chance to convince her boss she's ready for more serious responsibilities. For Logan, this brilliant prank might be just the episode that will move him from the web to a real TV broadcaster, and getting Cassie's OK to show the footage is essential to future success. It should help that Cassie is clearly attracted to him, right? But their shared attraction morphs into something more, just as this fluffy romance morphs into a heartfelt story with deeper issues that grounds it and sets it above the rest of the pack while still sparking with fun. Johnson continues her series with Smitten by the Brit, available May 28.


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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

We named Hoang's The Kiss Quotient the best romance of 2018, and I'm delighted (and relieved) that The Bride Test has the same spark, humor, and, yes, boneheadedness that made me fall hard for Hoang's first book. Khai believes he has no feelings and is destined to disappoint any woman who falls for him, so he avoids women—and all people other than family—as much as possible. But his mom thinks she knows better, and after one of her trips to Vietnam, she brings home to California with her Esme Tran, a potential bride, and gives him a summer to fall in love with Esme. Funny, heartwrenching, and the sort of book you'll literally clasp to your chest with a happy sigh after you finish it.


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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

There's been a ton of buzz about this book for months. Surprisingly (yes, I'm cynical), it not only fulfills its promise but offers far, far more. Prince Henry of Great Britain and First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz always act cordial in public but chilly in private--at least until Alex does something nearly unforgivable at a royal wedding, and the two young men are sent on a publicity junket to prove to the world that they are BFFs. Dislike softens into empathy; empathy strengthens into attraction. Even as Alex's mom hits the campaign trail to be reelected as president, suddenly Harry and Alex have to hide a very different relationship: they are ferociously in love with each other. I admit, I've been giving the royal romance subgenre the side-eye for a few years, unwilling to embrace a trope that seems too similar to the tired (and outdated) billionaire-meets-poor-but-plucky-woman story line. But Red, White & Royal Blue flings itself so deeply into questions about love and identity both inside and out, while garnishing these introspective queries with great secondary characters, that it rises above a simple "royal romance" label. This novel bursts with consequence and far wider crossover appeal, making it the perfect summer read to savor and share.


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Every Last Breath (Final Hour) by Juno Rushdan

Danger, desire, and distrust fuel Rushdan's suspenseful romantic thriller. US agent Maddox Kinkade had to rebuild her life and her heart after a misguided decision killed the love of her life years ago. So when she discovers that not only is her dead fiance Cole Matthews secretly alive but the target of her next op, she's torn between her professional goals and her personal desire to get Cole out of her system once and for all. Every Last Breath steers closer to hard action than to soft suspense, and the journey is an adrenaline-charged one with a satisfying finish line that also teases the reader to pick up the series's next adventure, Nothing to Fear (August 27).


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