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Get Rec'd: Six sci-fi and fantasy romance reads to chill out with in July

By Carly Lane & Kayleigh Donaldson
July 2020 SFF romance hero

There's nothing better than relaxing somewhere quiet with a good book, right? And while we might be a little limited in where we can go to get our chill on right now, we're fortunate in that books have been and continue to be here for us. Hence, the latest installment of our monthly romance recommendations, where your resident romance die-hards (that's the two of us) list some of the books we're looking forward to, as well as the slightly older, occasionally non-genre titles that we're reading.

We've got six sci-fi and fantasy romance novels to recommend that are releasing throughout the month of July, as well as the other, occasionally genre-adjacent titles that we've finally pulled from our TBR pile and can't say enough good things about.

Let us know what you're planning on reading on Twitter this month, either individually or via SYFY FANGRRLS using the hashtag #FangrrlsRomance. (And don't forget to check out last month's Pride-perfect releases in case you're looking to add even more books to your to-read list. We won't apologize for anything.)

The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything - Kristen Ashley (available now)

Marriages of convenience and fantasy worlds collide in this new serial series by Kristen Ashley. The continent of Triton existed once upon a time, in a parallel universe from our own — beautiful, but divided by war. Amidst all of the chaos, a conspiracy to awaken a terrifying creature known as the Beast begins taking shape. The only way to stop him is to fulfill an ancient prophecy in which Triton's four strongest warriors must marry its four strongest witches. Of course these unions have to succeed too, because the fate of the entire world is at stake.

Forbidden Desire

Forbidden Desire - Robin Lovett (July 13)

We're full of nothing but good things to say about Lovett's Planet of Desire series, which is as wacky as it is sexy — what do you expect when everything takes place on a planet where the atmosphere is a breathable aphrodisiac and the consequences for not getting your bang on could be death if certain urges are left unchecked? And now we're coming up on the fourth book, Forbidden Desire, which revolves around the burgeoning romance between a literal sex goddess and a bioengineered super-soldier — oh, and it turns out he's never done the deed before. This book promises to flip the script on the "kidnapped by the alien" trope in all kinds of fun ways and we're ready to dive in.

Deadly Touch

Deadly Touch - Heather Graham (July 21)

Graham's long-running Krewe of Hunters series pairs the paranormal with elements of romantic thrillers that are sure to whet readers' appetites — especially in summer, which always feels like the right time to crack open something a little creepier. When Raina Hamish has a terrifyingly accurate vision of a body buried somewhere in the Everglades, she wants to find a way to help — but no one's eager to believe her, except for Special Agent Axel Tiger, who works for an elite team that might be perfectly equipped to nurture Raina's special abilities. Unfortunately, their team-up will also put her directly in the crosshairs of a killer who might be the last person they ever expected.

A Touch of Stone and Snow

A Touch of Stone and Snow - Milla Vane (July 21)

Vane's first book in her epically brutal barbarian romance series, titled A Heart of Blood and Ashes, was everything we love about fantasy — in-depth worldbuilding, a compelling story, a heroine who's not afraid to go toe-to-toe with a ruthless hero, and so much more. We've been eagerly anticipating the follow-up some time now, and the premise — in which a female mercenary for hire ends up crossing paths with the bastard prince who used to be her childhood friend and became the man who sent her into exile, promises the sort of reunion we honestly live for in romance, full of intense feelings against the backdrop of realms in turmoil.

Spells for the Dead

Spells for the Dead - Faith Hunter (July 28)

One of the best things about urban fantasy as a subgenre is the fact that readers get to spend multiple books with the same characters — watching them grow, following along as their relationships evolve, and waiting for the moment when a slowly budding romance finally starts to take shape. As a rookie PsyLed agent, Nell Ingram uses the powers she can summon from the Earth to solve paranormal crimes. With her team by her side, she's tackled the darkest magic — but this latest threat in her territory could derail all the strides she's been making when corpses start rapidly decaying from a mysterious source of death magic and a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to suppress her efforts at every turn.

Deal with the Devil

Deal with the Devil - Kit Rocha (July 28)

F*** yeah, Kit Rocha. We mentioned this book a few days ago, but think it bears repeating. If the phrase "mercenary librarians" piques your interest at all, keep reading. In a crumbling, near-future version of America, Nina and her team use their knowledge to save the hopeless. Enter Knox, the bitter and battle-weary captain of a group known as the Silver Devils. His fellow soldiers went AWOL and he's been fighting to survive ever since. When these two collide, they could burn down the world... or they could do the harder thing and team up. Pick up this book for a thrilling sci-fi story with found family elements and lots of tension (romantic and otherwise).

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics

Kayleigh's Miscellaneous Recs

It took me way too long (and a lot of badgering from Carly!) for me to finally read the wonderful Olivia Waite title The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics. Gorgeous historical romance between a charming young astronomer and an older society woman? And a joyous exploration of women in STEM and the arts? What took me so long?! I won't make the same mistake with the sequel (out later this month!).

I also officially became the owner of my very first Harlequin category paperback in the form of the brief but delightful Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee. Always in need of yet another long-running series to add to my TBR pile, I jumped on the Toby Daye bandwagon. Seanan McGuire is one of the most consistently entertaining writers in the business.

Oh, and also I've been reading a lot of Phantom of the Opera retellings. Like, too many. It's a problem.

My Fake Rake

Carly's Miscellaneous Recs

So, as it turns out, being stuck at home for hours, days, weeks at a time has been great for my reading productivity. I've already conquered my personal reading goal for 2020 and then some, and I've read so many good books lately that I want to press into everyone's hands.

I just finished an ARC of Kalynn Bayron's Cinderella is Dead, a YA fantasy that takes place in a world where a) Cinderella was real and b) has been dead for 200 years, and the patriarchal society that has risen up after that famous story of a ball and a glass slipper. It's fun, it's subversive, it's fabulously queer, and I can't say enough good things.

I'll also be diving into more than a few titles on this list (Milla Vane and Kit Rocha, hel-lo), in addition to getting my histrom on with the first of Eva Leigh's new Union of the Rakes series, My Fake Rake, because I can't resist a good makeover story wherein the heroine falls in love with the shy, bookish academic that she's trying to turn into a dashing rogue.