Bookshelf: Beach Reads


Summer is a time for fun in the sun and lazy days spent on lounge chairs. Be sure to apply enough sunscreen, grab your beach umbrella and tuck one of these romance novels into your beach bag. After all, any good vacation involves some quality reading time! Be sure to join Baltimore County Public Library’s Book Chat, where librarians share their favorite titles, talk about new books hitting the shelves and help you discover your next great read. Join us on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live at

(Alcove Press)

“The Lonely Hearts Trivia Night” by Lauren Farnsworth
When Donna places an ad to create a pub night trivia team, she couldn’t expect that the four strangers entering her life would ultimately change it. The team calls themselves the Red Hot Quizzy Peppers and begins to meet regularly on trivia nights. With Jaime’s background in art history, Bryony’s seemingly unending knowledge of history and Harry and Luke’s ability to answer questions involving sports and pop culture, it’s not long until they find themselves competing in the London Pub Quiz League’s Grand Final. But all is not rosy for the contestants. Each team member is contending with issues in their private lives, from damaged interpersonal and familial relationships, job struggles and issues surrounding their own mental health. Lauren Farnsworth’s novel examines social isolation and the need for connectivity, the struggles adults face when trying to make new friends and how problems are more easily solved with a support network. With interesting and memorable characters and a satisfying and hopeful ending, this novel makes a sweet addition to your summer reading list.


“The Design of Us” by Sajni Patel
What better way to spend summer reading time than with a rom-com set at a destination wedding in a fancy resort in Hawaii? In this novel, we meet Bhanu, working at a tech company with a focus on user experience. She is charismatic and funny and only the hyperfocused new coder, Sunny, seems to dislike her. They maintain a cordial relationship but find themselves in Hawaii at the same time. Bhanu is taking a mandated vacation while Sunny is a member of the wedding party of one of his friends. Some crossed wires and meddling from his ex leave Sunny without a room and Bhanu steps in, pretending to be his girlfriend to help him save face with his friends. The two are swept up in a fake dating scenario, as Bhanu is required to appear at a series of pre-wedding events. Can this pair put their differences aside and find love? Great characters with strong motivations and good descriptions of the lush setting and culture of Hawaii make this a fun summer must-read.

(Zebra Books)

“A Gamble at Sunset” by Vanessa Riley
The first book in the new Betting Against the Duke trilogy features aspiring musician Georgina Wilcox who creates quite the scandal in Regency England by kissing a stranger in the gardens of Anya House, a kiss that was not only seen by her sister, but a group of reporters and aristocrats walking in the gardens. Luckily, the man she kissed is the influential son of a marquis and a competent vocal coach. Can the pair fool society into believing their feigned courtship is true while furthering both of their musical ambitions … and could it lead to more? It is sure to satisfy your summer craving for a delicious read.
Vanessa Riley is also the author of The Lady Worthing Mystery series, also set in Regency England.

“Isabel and The Rogue” by Liana De la Rosa
The second novel in The Luna Sisters series finds Mexican heiress Isabel Luna Valdes poised to enter Victorian society to search for information that could aid Mexico during the French Occupation. Unbeknownst to her, there is a covert agent for the British Home Office lurking about, getting in with the aristocracy to learn their secrets. When this British captain and war hero spies the heiress surreptitiously digging for information, the attraction between them is undeniable. And when Isabel finds correspondence that could help her cause, this new romance could put them both in danger. This Victorian romance, rich in historical and period detail, is sure to put a sizzle into your summer. Be sure to check out the first book in the series, “Ana María and The Fox.”

Douglas Beatty is an adult and community engagement specialist with Baltimore County Public Library.

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