Fun reading romps to kick off spring

Spring has sprung, and when I get joyously happy about the weather, I generally want to grab a fun read that’s perfect for sun-lounging. Here are three books — in three different genres — that are ideal for a sunlit afternoon filled with adventure and fun times.

These aren’t going to fulfill your need for the next literary classic or the best executed plots of a lifetime. Some disbelief will have to be suspended. Some eyes will be rolled. But that’s OK, because these are fun and free wheeling. You’ll like them, I promise.

Urban Fantasy: “Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews

Firmly in the urban fantasy camp, “Magic Bites” is a rollicking read. In the not-too-distant future, magic is real; it has taken over, and technology only works periodically. Filled with lesser known myths, gods, and magic systems, “Magic Bites” will start you on a swordplay-filled journey with an awesome heroine hiding in plain sight.

The protagonist, mercenary Kate Daniels, has become one of my favorite females in fantasy. She’s full of snark and tough as nails, and Andrews crafts her deftly into a heroine to root for. Another thing I love about this book is that it lacks the boring world-building exposition. You are immediately dropped into the action. Plus, the wonderful cast of side characters and bad guys will have you furiously clicking the hold button for the other books in the series.

Sci-Fi: “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown

If you’ve been bemoaning the lack of a good “Hunger Games” read-alike over the last few years, then “Red Rising” is the book for you. Part uprising, part infiltration scheme, part brutal Machiavellian games, the whole book feels like “Ocean’s 11” or the “Six of Crows“: the perfect con, perfectly executed. In the highly stratified caste system on Mars, Reds are worked as slaves while Golds profit from their servitude. Darrow is recruited by the Sons of Ares when his life as a Red is ended and he is remade into a Gold. He infiltrates the top echelon of their society and joins his “peers” at the Institute, where he must succeed in order to bring down the system from the inside.

“Red Rising” is impossible to put down. You’ll race through it at breakneck speed, hoping against hope that Darrow can pull off the greatest coup in Mars’ history. Another excellent thing about “Red Rising”? It’s a trilogy, and all three books have been published. There’s no waiting to find out what happens to Darrow; the whole space opera is ready for consumption.

Romance: “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne

Think of those perfect romantic comedy movies: “When Harry Met Sally,” “Moonstruck,” “Sabrina.” You can officially add, in book format, “The Hating Game.” Lucy and Joshua hate each other to the very depths of their souls, forever and ever. When they are both up for the same promotion at their publishing company, tension ramps up to an unbearable degree. Neither is willing to back down, and yet when a tense moment in an elevator bubbles over (cue eye roll), Lucy is left wondering if she ever hated Joshua at all, or if this is just another game to derail her from earning the big promotion.

The sexual tension will have you gripping pages, and the downright cuteness of it all will make you want to binge-watch all your favorite romantic comedies. Thorne’s use of metaphor and general wordsmithing will leave you in a rosy, rosy haze. It’s an old and sometimes overused romance trope, but “The Hating Game” may have you re-evaluating your hatred of the love-hate dichotomy.

So there you have it. Three perfectly respectable rompy reads. Enjoy them! Enjoy the sunshine! Spring is in the air and good books abound!

-Lauren Taylor is a youth services assistant at the Lawrence Public Library.