Each generation is defined by events and wars that shape its collective memory. Next week, we remember those who died fighting for our country with the celebration of Memorial Day. It’s also a popular day for family gatherings, and reunions are a fine setting for re-tell family history—maybe tales of heroism and bravery. We all have our heroes. This week in Oklahoma we witnessed the selflessness and heroism of people tested by the forces of nature. Teachers protected their students from the destructive tornados as and save countless lives. In Dallas we had a fireman lose his life just doing his job. In Afghanistan, men and women in uniform lost their lives in military service for our country. And so we will pause as a nation and remember those lives lost in service.

This is also a great time to read books that evoke heroism—think of it as a perfect little celebration. So, let’s start with one of the best military romance authors, Lindsay McKenna.

Most of her books are category romance, so all the ones you’ve missed are available as e-books or in paperback at used book stores. McKenna also manages to tread the dangerous tightrope of romance vs. harassment and make it all so natural and real, but not in that squirmy way some military romances can make a woman of the 21st century feel in the wrong. Perhaps since McKenna served in the US Navy she fully understands the regulations and rules as well as the possibilities of two characters falling in love in difficult situations. But she always provides a happy ending. In her over one hundred published books, you’re sure to find a romance of the military flavor to enjoy.

I recommend checking out her March release, Beyond Valor (Harlequin, 2013, e-book). “Rules and a harsh world can't stop their love from growing”: a high compliment for a book about two combat medics caught up the drama of the Afghanistan war zone and the conflicts of falling in love against all the rules. McKenna manages to pull this off with humor and the realism of military life. It’s a fabulous way to celebrate Memorial Day.

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M.L. Buchman, who is becoming well-known as a military romance author, develops the backstory of one of the characters he introduced in his highly recommended Night Stalkers series. The Night Stalkers books are set in an imaginary helicopter support base in Afghanistan, but his latest book, Frank’s Independence Day (Buccaneer, May 2013), instead focuses on the men and women of the Secret Service as they protect the President and various diplomatic missions. A fast-paced tale of an ordinary mission gone terribly wrong, readers who love suspense mixed with their love story will be very satisfied. Although not technically just a military romance, Frank’s Independence Day manages to include both militarySworn to Protect and civilians in ways not often attempted in romance novels. And it’s done very well.

Many of the police in our country got their start in military service, so it’s not a far stretch to include some novels featuring police when thinking about military related stories. One of my book club’s favorite authors, Jo Davis, is finally returning to Sugarland, Tenn.  with the first of a spin-off series about town’s police department, instead of its firefighters. That’s okay, though: Davis still knows how to satisfy even the pickiest of readers. The first in the new series is Sworn To Protect and it picks up the action Davis started in a novella. Although I couldn’t find the novella, I found the story easy to follow without the background info. It’s a rough and tumble tale, and Davis writes very believable and hunky male characters. She also knows how to pair her heroes with women that are best friend material. 

Also put the next Tracers novel by Laura Griffin on your to-read list. Exposed (Pocket, July 2013) is out this summer and it’s definitely a must buy. The heroine is a forensic photographer and she gets into all kinds of trouble moonlighting as a wedding photographer. Seriously, we all know weddings are deadly, right? Although, her story starts with engagement pictures, you’ll love the action and the twists Griffin always gives readers.

Memorial Day is always the unofficial start of the summer season. Time for barbeques and cookouts and finding the perfect swimsuit. Perhaps planning a summer vacation is on your agenda. Or maybe you just hope to get some time off to read. If so, what books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

Sara Reyes is the founder and partner at FreshFiction.com a popular fiction web site for today's reader with new titles, contests, over 50,000 genre fiction author profiles with backlists, and permanently archived reviews, plus all the industry buzz. Fresh Fiction has a biweekly segment (Buy the Book) on WFAA Channel 8 Good Morning Texas to talk about new books not to miss. Believing face-to-face interaction is as important as virtual communities, Fresh Fiction sponsors an annual author reader tea in June, a readers conference in November, monthly literary events, and book clubs. Follow Sara at @FreshFiction on Twitter or Facebook.com/FreshFiction.