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August 2, 2023

3 Romance Novels to Wrap Up Summer

by MK French

Do you have one more vacation planned or are kids back in school and you are finally finding a little time to yourself for reading? These three romance novels are a great way to wrap up summer.

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Counterfeit Commoner by Kelle Z. Riley

book cover of romance novel Counterfeit Commoner by Kelle Z. Riley
May 2023; Indie; 978-1736781135
ebook, print (353 pages); romance

Lady Sophia de Lyons decided to forego her lineage and forget that she's the former fiancée to a king. Pretending to be an ordinary American woman, she unexpectedly fell in love. Unfortunately, her new love turns out to be the tabloid reporter of her nightmares. Can she ever learn to trust him after he betrays her?

While this is the fourth novel of the Riches and Royals series, you don't have to know the prior three books in the series. Events are neatly summed up in the opening chapter: Sophia was raised to marry the second royal son, but the eldest abdicated for love, and the second found the love of his life. Sophia was now free of all those expectations on her head, and the new bride's sister suggested disappearing for a few days with her help. In the meantime, Mike was recalled home from his life in the paparazzi after his mother's death to help his sister and the family pub with all of their debts. Of course the two collide and kiss, leaving Sophia stranded in his orbit for a while. This lets him realize who she is and write a story to help pay the bills, but it betrays her in the process. We know Sophia will find out at the worst possible moment, and it adds to the tension while reading it. While they have their fun moments of daily life and cuteness, we know it's all going to fall apart.

I really felt for Sophie as she tried to figure out how to maneuver through life as a regular woman when it was clear this was for more than a few days. She became a waitress, definitely not a job for the faint of heart. She learned more about American life and Mike got closer to her as well as to his family. There are some really touching sequences, and we see how torn Mike is between the payout and protecting Sophie's identity. It crashes spectacularly badly, though Mike essentially surrenders his future to protect Sophie as best as he can in that situation. The declaration of love and hint of happily ever after come at the appropriate beats, and hopefully they actually get a chance to see it fulfilled. It's a cute romance, with the glamor of a modern royal family thrown in.

Buy Counterfeit Commoner at Amazon

Four Weddings to Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

book cover of romance novel Four Wedding to Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
July 2023; Indie; ebook (235 pages); romantic comedy

Max Mok has four weddings to attend this year, and from the very beginning, he hit it off with Kim Sung. She's into one night stands and having fun with no strings attached, not something he's used to. He keeps running into her and can't stop thinking about her. Can he convince her that a relationship is worth the risk?

Kim has a rather dour view of relationships more for the other family that she'd have to deal with because her own is so chaotic. Max is reserved and wants "to be more than a checklist of acceptable traits." Being opposite and continually thrown at each other over the course of a year means that they not only learn more about each other, which Max especially needs, but hears about each other from all the people they know in common. It's even more intense when they're seated at the same banquet table together, and it's all downhill from there.

Jackie Lau writes adorable romances starring Asian characters in the Toronto area. They're all professionals with families that inevitably push the traditional values of marriage, children, and professionalism in whichever jobs the characters chose to do. She treats the fears and concerns about relationships for people very seriously and addresses them in a reasonable way. Family is important, but so is the individual and their needs. This couple is no different, and Kim and Max do very well together.

The Referral Program by Shamara Ray

book cover of romantic comedy The Referral Program by Shamara Ray
August 2023; Strebor; 978-1593096953
ebook, print (288 pages); romantic comedy

Dylan, Ivy, and Brooke are three successful yet single women in their mid-thirties. They decide that rather than wade through terrible men, each friend will refer men they know who would be perfect partners, just not for themselves. It sounds like a great idea, but will it cause problems between the three friends and the men they referred?

Dating is hard, and I don't envy these women the struggle at all. Dylan had a rough experience when an ex abruptly ended a relationship she thought was going to lead to an engagement. Fast forward five years and the friends introduce men they know who are well-adjusted and hard-working but don't tick the box "romantic partner" for them. It's inspired by their parents' generation introducing people to each other, and then letting romance develop. They do it here, and we get to see their dates. It doesn't always work out, and we see that it isn't anything necessarily wrong, just that there isn't always a romantic spark. It doesn't mean that the program doesn't work, just that people want different things, and chemistry can't be predicted. 

The inevitable stumbling block in the romance novel comes, and it threatens not just romantic relationships, but the friendships as well. But true friends that they are, they don't allow it to stand. They continue to boost each other up, consider each other sisters, and provide the sounding board that they need. Everyone should have friends like these, and I love seeing that in books. The relationship struggles are realistic and range from awkward to delightful, just as they can be for the rest of us.

Buy The Referral Program at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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