Raise your hand if reading every book in your library queue is on your summer bucket list. Summer is THE season for reading, and somehow also the time of year we give ourselves permission to read frothy, possibly low-brow books in the name of easy entertainment. Count me here for it in all the ways!
During the summer I like to read a mix of new releases and classic titles, or even reread old favorites. So I put together this summer reading list for you full of my favorite beach reads across all categories. You can see even more reading recommendations in my book reviews.
New and Now
The chart toppers and crowd pleasers you'll want to chat about with your girlfriends.
Daisy Jones and The Six // A fictional band from the '70s tells the story of their rise to fame, their surprising break up, and the chemistry between the iconic lead singer and guitarist. Written as an interview transcript, you'll believe this Fleetwood Mac-inspired band is totally real...and you'll want to hear their music! Word is the book is being developed into a TV series.
City of Girls // Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love returns with a 1940s heroine that that lives life on her own terms with scandalous repercussions. Gilbert takes on the closeted history of women's sexual liberty, exploring the confused notion that one has to be a "good girl" to be a good person.
The Summer Wives // Eighteen years ago, Miranda spent the best summer of her life on Winthrop Island, only for it to end in tragedy and exile. Now she returns to right the wrongs of her past while digging up the dirt the monied summer residents of Winthrop want to keep buried. You won't be able to put it down!
Lost Roses // A tale of how three women's lives, from St. Petersburg to New York, intertwine as World War I rages in Europe. Kelly delves into the brutality of the Russian Revolution, how it toppled the imperial dynasty and the aristocracy along with it...and how one woman risked it all to fight for her family. Tremendously moving, you'll be gasping in shock and awe.
Where The Crawdads Sing // By far the most popular book of the year, Crawdads follows Kya, a five-year-old girl abandoned in the coastal marshes of North Carolina to fend for herself when everyone she's ever met turns their back on her. Interwoven into Kya's coming-of-age tale is a murder mystery with delightful turns and twists. Worth the hype!
The Idea Of You // The official book-of-the-month for August for my book club, this one follows a divorcée mom as she begins a passionate romance with the leader of a boy band twenty years her junior. Actress Elizabeth Banks said this book "captures what fame actually looks like, and how it affects us all." Reviews are high, as are my expectations!
Ask Again, Yes // A character-driven novel following two families torn apart by a dramatic event, only to see perspectives shift and relationships change as the years pass and the families grow up. Reviewers call it relatable, beautiful, a story about love and forgiveness.
Also try: Educated // Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine // The Friend Zone
Southern-Based Page Turners
If you're summering on the southern sea shore, these coming-of-age stories and mysteries will feel like look-sees into southern charm and culture.
Southern Solstice // Larkin Devereaux returns broken-hearted back to her grandiose family home on the Charleston Battery. Larkin starts to rekindle a romance from her past right as a rogue beau comes into her life, knocking her for a loop. Who will she choose? What will her controlling mother think? Sadler's sensory writing will have you smelling the marsh, salt air, and She Crab soup.
Southernmost // A quasi sequel to Southern Solstice, this book follows Kayla, an blue collar Alabama beauty queen who gets mixed up in the high society introduced to us in the first novel. Given an ultimatum by her daughter's father, Kayla uproots their lives to move to Charleston, only to find him a depressed, unstable alcoholic. Fighting to support her family and keep a devastating secret under wraps, Kayla struggles while carving out a new life of her own. All the southern cooking will make your mouth water, believe me!
Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil // A mystery with so many twists and colorful characters you forget it's a work of nonfiction. Set in Savannah, the author interviews society women and Southern belles, drag queens and gigolos trying to figure out if the gunshots fired in 1981 were in the name of murder or self-defense.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood // Next to Steel Magnolias, this book is the ultimate tale of Southern female friendship and mother-daughter dynamics. Funny, tearful, wise, nostalgic...worth revisiting in adulthood if you originally read it as a teen or twenty-something.
Also try: The Hideaway // Before We Were Yours // Slightly South of Simple
Nothing like a little teenage drama to add some sizzle to your reading list!
Little White Lies // A debutante whodunit -- what more do you need to know? Sawyer Taft's estranged grandmother shows up unexpectedly and offers her half a million dollars if Sawyer will agree to live with her while participating as a debutante. What Sawyer is sure will be a lame summer turns out to be filled with kidnapping, blackmail, and taking revenge on the highest figures of society. You won't be able to put it down! The sequel, Deadly Little Scandals, comes out this fall.
The Thousandth Floor // Manhattan, 2118. New York City is dominated by The Tower, a thousand-floor high monstrosity full of high-tech glamor and drugs. A Gossip Girl-like cast fills each floor: the perfect blonde tormented by what she wants and can never have; her always-second-best bestie hiding a drug problem; her confident friend hiding a family scandal; and the tech genius who can learn everyone's little secrets. Teenaged romance, suspense, drama...it's got it all. A three-part trilogy to keep you entertained all summer long.
Enchantée // Orphaned on the brink of the French Revolution, Camille Durbonne relies on her magical abilities to feed and care for her siblings. When her brother takes every penny to their name, Camille transforms herself into a baroness to infiltrate the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Camille struggles to maintain her magic, hide her secrets, and abstain from the excessive luxuries of the rich. Once revolution begins, which side will Camille choose?
One Of Us Is Lying // Described as "'Pretty Little Liars' meets 'The Breakfast Club'" by EW.com, the long story short of this novel is: five students walk into detention, only four walk out. The Pretty One, the Smart One, the Athletic One, the Trouble One, and the Different One are all in attendance. Simon, the social outcast, planned to reveal secrets on the other four the next day until he winds up dead. Investigators say his death wasn't an accident...so whodunit? And who's lying?
Also try: A Sky Painted Gold // Tell Me Three Things // Every Last Word
Oldies But Goodies
If you've never gotten around to reading these old school classics, there's no time like summertime to finally check these titles off your list!
To Kill A Mockingbird // One of the great American novels, this coming-of-age tale follows a little girl in the deep South as she tries to make sense of her blossoming world contaminated by horrible prejudice. Her father, Atticus Finch, goes out on a limb among his peers to defend a black man accused of a violent crime. The trial divides the community and the family, with only Finch determined to see justice for all.
The Great Gatsby // The ultimate Jazz Age tale about the mysterious Gatsby, his famous parties, and his unrequited love for former flame Daisy Buchanan. If you love speakeasies, cocktails, and midsummer romances among the rich and famous, you have to read the novel that started it all.
Jane Eyre // The Clueless of books for the young female reader (even though the film was based on Austen's Emma), Jane Eyre follows the titular character through her journey of emotional and spiritual growth and sexual awakening as she falls for the mercurial Mr. Rochester. Considered a novel ahead of its time.
The Outsiders // The Greasers versus The Socs, a tale of class conflict seen through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy learning society views him as an "outsider."
THE SERIES YOU NEED TO START
The popular series that live up to the hype that you should've read years ago.
Harry Potter Series // If you think you're too old to enjoy this YA fantasy series, trust me: you're not. The story of The Boy Who Lived is one of the best of ALL time. Each book builds on the previous one, creating a whole wizarding world that's full of love, tragedy, complication, and comedy. You can enjoy this with your children but I guarantee you'll love it as much as they do.
A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones series) // You think you know this story...but you have no idea. Okay fine, if you watched the TV series you've got a pretty good grasp on what happens through the first three books, after which the show went rogue and messed it all up. (And we all know how it ended, #lame). While the ASOIAF series isn't complete, it's worth reading to discover extra plot twists, intricacies, and complications. (It's even more brutal and boob-filled than the show.) And did I mention there is another secret Targaryen lurking within the pages?
Serafina Series // A children's series that's downright spooky. Set in western North Carolina, Serafina and her father live in the basement of Biltmore Estate. Shy, daring, and unusual, Serafina befriends Braeden Vanderbilt as other children around the estate begin disappearing. As they attempt to solve the mystery, Serafina discovers the truth about who's behind the crimes...and who she really is.
Classic John Grisham AKA Books In Your Rental Beach House
The master of the legal thriller, Grisham's early novels can't be beat. Corruption, greed, cover-ups...all the good things beach reads are made of. You could probably finish all three during a week's vacation.
The Firm // Fresh out of law school at a high-caliber law firm, Mitch McDeere thinks he's got it made with his new car, paid-off school loans, and huge new house. But lurking behind the pristine veneer of Bendini, Lambert & Locke is a shady world that more closely resembles a Mob mentality than a legal one. When the FBI comes knocking, Mitch's safety and family are hung in the balance.
The Pelican Brief // Two Supreme Court justices are found dead, murdered. A young law student barely escapes death after someone reads her recent legal brief and wants to shut her up for good. Partnering with a reporter looking for the news break of his career, Darby tries to unearth this murderous cover-up within the upper echelons of the American government.
The Client // A young boy, Mark, happens upon a suicidal lawyer who in his last minutes spills the secret of a dead body hidden by the mob. Caught between the prosecutors who want him to spill and the Mob who wants to shut him up, Mark places his trust in his rookie lawyer, Reggie Love.
Also try: The President Is Missing // The Innocent // Jack Ryan series
What are the best books you've read this summer so far? Any books you've read in summers past that really stuck with you? I always put more store in another book worm's opinion than in a media review.
Thank you so much for coming by the blog today!