Romance Roundup: May 2019

A look at what’s steaming up the shelves this month

Romance Roundup: May 2019

April showers brought May flowers — and a bevy of new romances to read! From rom-coms to erotic romance, I’ve read some terrific novels this month.


For foodies who love romance (or romance fans who love food), Stephanie Evanovich delivers a delicious treat with Under the Table (William Morrow).

Zoey Sullivan left Ohio and an unhappy marriage for a fresh start in New York City. Now she’s living with her sister and working as a private caterer. Her business is starting to take off and she’s just landed a job for a geeky billionaire who is charming, sexy, and more than a little awkward.

Tristan Malloy is a computer programmer with an incredible penthouse apartment, a foodie’s dream kitchen, and a complete lack of personal style. There’s instant chemistry between him and Zoey, and they immediately become friends. But could it be more?

Though Zoey is really into Tristan, there’s still the matter of her husband back in Ohio. Derek is no prize, but he says he’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Zoey isn’t sure she’s interested in giving her marriage another go, especially with Tristan in the picture, but she needs to make a decision — and soon.

Evanovich weaves an utterly enchanting story of two unlikely people who absolutely belong together. Zoey and Tristan are wonderful together, and while there isn’t a lot of angst and conflict, their budding romance keeps the pages turning.


With The Rose (MIRA), Tiffany Reisz combines Greek mythology and erotic fantasy for a decadent, sexy romance that transcends the genre.

For her college graduation, Lady Lia Godwick’s art-collecting parents give her an ancient wine cup known as the Rose Kylix. The unusual gift attracts the attention of Augustine Bowman, a mysterious and handsome friend of Lia’s parents. August attempts to buy the Kylix from Lia, telling her of its reputation as a conduit for erotic fantasies.

Lia is cautious with August, having had a bad experience with a previous lover that left her doubting herself. Still, she can’t resist him — or the lure of the Kylix. The two drink from the cup, and August seduces Lia in a series of fantasies centering on heroines from Greek mythology.

Lia’s painful past has caused her to put up walls to protect herself, but August slowly conquers her lingering doubts. With no barriers between them, the two are free to explore their wildest fantasies on an intense and emotional level.

The Rose is something of a sequel to Reisz’s The Red, which featured the story of Lia’s parents, but it can be read as a standalone. The Rose is a scorching, atmospheric novel that demonstrates why Reisz is one of the best erotic romance writers of the past decade.


Sheila Roberts strikes just the right balance between romance and women’s fiction in The Summer Retreat (MIRA), making this a terrific, lighthearted beach read.

After she finds out her boyfriend cheated on her, Celeste Jones says goodbye to her first-grade students for the summer and takes off for Moonlight Harbor, Washington. She’s hopeful that spending time with her family will cure her broken heart.

Her sister, Jenna, is happy to have Celeste around to help out at the inn she runs, but she also wants to help Celeste find the right guy. That’s easier said than done, as Jenna is dealing with her own romantic dilemma. The two sisters rely on each other, as well as their close-knit family and friends, to make it an unforgettable summer for both of them.

Delightful secondary characters and a picturesque seaside town make The Summer Retreat a delicious confection. This is the third book in Roberts’ Moonlight Harbor series and can be read as a standalone. But once you visit the town and get to know its residents, you’ll want to return again and again.


Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners (Gallery Books) is a beguiling charmer that’s about as perfect as any romantic comedy I’ve ever read. Plus, it’s set in Hawaii. What’s not to love?

Olive Torres has been a little unlucky in life — until now. When her twin sister, Amelia’s, wedding proves to be a disaster, with nearly every guest succumbing to food poisoning, Olive finds herself in the enviable position of taking Amelia’s place on her non-refundable, non-transferrable, all-expenses-paid Hawaii honeymoon. There’s only one catch: Olive’s companion for the journey is Ethan Thomas, Amelia’s new husband’s brother.

Olive and Ethan can’t stand each other, but tolerating one another’s presence seems a small price to pay for a free vacation. The only thing is, the more time they spend together, the more Olive and Ethan realize that maybe they don’t dislike each other. In fact, it may be just the opposite.

This enemies-to-lovers story has a lot going for it, most notably Lauren’s skill at crafting likeable characters and realistic dialogue. It wouldn’t be a rom-com without some wacky situations, including Olive and Ethan pretending to be married. But the familiar tropes work beautifully, making The Unhoneymooners a fresh, fun read.

Kristina Wright lives in Virginia with her husband, their two sons, a dog, a cat, and a parrot. She’s the digital editorial manager of Your Teen Magazine and a regular contributor to BookBub. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, and more. Find her on Twitter at @kristinawright and tell her what you’re reading!

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