Summer books, beach books, rom-com books, chick-lit books… That is what this post is all about. It just might be one of my favorite genres! Actually, it is not, but I do read one occasionally. This post has some new reads on it for this year and some older books I loved for the last few summers.
It’s the Top Ten Books of Summer you need to try!
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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
This was a fun book and the second I have read by this author. (The other one is listed in this post!)
This is a fairly typical chick-lit book with predictable events. I liked it because the events were not improbable – for the most part.
Poppy is a travel journalist that is able to travel all over the world as part of her dream job. She has always loved to travel and feels best when she travels with her best friend, Alex.
Alex and Poppy have gone on a summer trip every year- for the past 12-13 years. Their original plans had been to travel to exotic places, but finances derailed that and they have taken trips within the United States. They tend to stay in lesser-known hotels or inexpensive rentals. Although the two have traveled like this for years, they have never been romantically involved.
And then they travel to Croatia (with Poppy’s company footing the bill) and something happens that wrecks their relationship. As the book opens they have not spoken in two years.
The chapters alternate between a present-day meeting of the two and all of their past trips. Their relationship is quite comical and the banter always light-hearted and funny. You can probably already figure out how this ends, but you may be a little surprised. I gave this summer book 4 stars because I did enjoy it and loved the two main characters. Great summer read.
One Day in Summer by Shari Low
One Day in Summer is Agnetha McMaster’s birthday. She is turning 45 and her ‘one day’ begins with breakfast in bed served by her twin daughters. (Skye and Isla are about 20 years old.) While eating her breakfast, Aggs notices the two girls have added a photo to a nearby frame.
The picture is of Aggs at age 22 stretched out in a bikini on a shore in Malibu, far away from her home in Glasgow. What happened to that carefree girl she once was?
What happened on that one day in summer long ago? The summer long ago was a vacation for Agnetha and her best friend, Celeste. The plan was to travel in America until their money was gone or their Visas expired. Things change when they meet two young men Zac and Aaron. The girls move into Zac’s apartment and things are going great. In fact, Aggs and Aaron have a serious relationship. Serious, as in, a possible marriage.
Now, I must tell you about the style of this book. Part of the charm of this book is the way the story unfolds. It begins at 8 am and the events of a two-hour span are told from the point of view of Agnetha or Celeste or Mitchell. Some of those chapters tell the story of Aggs and Celeste during their summer in the USA.
There are many more characters and somehow they will come together on this one day in the life of Aggs. I really enjoyed this book. I give it 4 stars- it kept me reading because I couldn’t wait to see how this one day in summer ended. Definitely try this summer book- it’s a fun read with characters you will love!
Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews
You cannot get more summertime, beach-themed, chick lit than this author. Well, that is probably not true- take a look Elin Hilderbrand, Emily Henry, and Nancy Thayer! (They are pretty good at chick-lit, too!)
Now, let’s talk about Hello Summer! Conley Hawkins moved years ago to write for a big-city newspaper. Her sister, Grayson, has continued publishing the hometown newspaper (the Beacon) in Silver Bay, Florida. The book opens with Conley leaving her great job for an even bigger job in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, the job falls through and she finds herself without work or a place to live. She decides to return, temporarily, to Silver Bay.
Conley takes a job at the local paper and Skelly, a local man she knows from high school, witness a car accident in which a Senator has been killed. While investigating and reporting on this accident, all kinds of gossipy stories emerge and Conley is smack in the middle of it.
Speaking of gossip! Where did the name of the book come from? One of the Beacon’s most-read columns is a local gossip write-up by a woman that begins every story with ‘Hello Summer’. Her stories of what everyone wore to local events are actually quite funny.
So, did the Senator die from natural causes? Will his two families that are discovered (and had no prior knowledge of one another) work out their differences? Will Conley stay in Silver Bay and most importantly, will she stay with Skelly? I enjoyed this book! It was predictable- but that is why we love this genre! 4.5 stars!
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
If you have read anything from this author you know her books can be surprising. The one just prior to this new one was Mrs. Everything– a story of the lives of two sisters over a period of many years. The author is not afraid to attack social issues but you just might also find a little bit of chick-lit.
So, let’s meet some characters from Big Summer. The book opens with Daphne meeting a salesperson that offers clothing for Daphne to wear in her social media posts. Daphne has become quite a popular plus-sized model with a fabulous social media presence. Her start in this influencer world happened when she visited a bar with friends and somehow ended up dancing with a man her friends pushed her toward. One of those friends was Drue and Daphne accidentally overhears her talking to the man. Drue had set up the whole scene. When the man insults Daphne about her size she has an amazing reaction that is filmed and, you guessed it, the video became a viral hit with support coming to Daphne from many people.
Now, how about Drue? Drue is an old middle and high school “friend”. Drue is famous for betraying and using friends in very mean ways and Daphne has for some time avoided her – until Drue tracks her down and begs her to be a bridesmaid at her upcoming wedding. Despite her misgivings about what is really going on, Daphne agrees.
Daphne takes off for an island to attend the wedding and she and Drue appear to be the best of friends again. All is going great and Daphne even gets quite cozy with someone attending the wedding. And then…
BAM! Something happens that made me sit up straight. And I will not go any further. I will tell you that this thing that happened occurred at the 47% mark on my Kindle. So, don’t give up on this book thinking it might just be chick-lit, girl meets boy, and they all live happily ever after. 4.5 stars because of this delightful twist!
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
This is the story of two Dianas.
One is Daisy (also called Diana). Daisy starts receiving emails intended for the other Diana. The two communicate about the emails and decide to meet.
In the meantime, there are backstories to both Dianas and current stories that intersect. Daisy and her husband Hal have a daughter named Bea that is about to be expelled from school. Confiding in her new friend, Diana, adds to the story. Diana’s backstory is all about events that happened to her as a 15-year old. Diana’s story and Daisy’s story will eventually lead to one another.
There is some drama and some silliness and as rom-coms go there are some improbable things that happen. It was still enjoyable for me and I gave it 4 stars. As a summer beach read it was pretty good.
Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews
This summer book is one of my favorite of the beach books! It is a little bit of a chick-lit book, but with a detective-style mystery added in.
After her mom’s funeral, 36-year-old Drue, is given the keys to her grandparent’s cottage on Sunset Beach. Her dad, whom she has not been in contact with for years, shows up for mom’s funeral. Mom has left the cottage to Drue and now dad is offering her a job. He owns a law firm that specializes in injury cases.
Drue decides to move to Sunset Beach and take the job. And then the drama ensues!
This was a fun read. I loved the investigation/mystery part and it had just enough fluff to make it entertaining. 4.5 stars! This book had drama, mystery, and was enjoyable. Try it!
Life’s a Beach by Claire Cook
Seriously, how can you go wrong with this book title?
This seems like the perfect place to start with beach-themed books!
Ginger Walsh is a forty-one-year-old woman living in her parent’s garage apartment. Still single, Ginger makes jewelry from sea glass and loves her cat named Boyfriend. Her current somewhat boyfriend is Noah.
In the meantime, her mother wants to sell the family home which means Ginger will have to move. Her father makes daily treks to a local dump and hauls home relics and treasures he finds. He hides them in her apartment- because mom is determined to clean out their house and sell it. And, Noah seems reluctant to any type of commitment.
Now, before you think this is a typical chick book I must tell you this one is ‘laugh out loud’ funny. Ginger’s conversations with everyone are sprinkled with wit and situations that you will love.
My rating is 4 stars. This is a light-hearted summer book that is just right for a lazy afternoons at the beach!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Let’s start with their names. January and Augustus. No, seriously, the main characters are named January and Gus, but it works.
The two first met as college students and briefly shared a dance at a frat party, but never had anything in common.
Years later, they discover they are staying in neighboring beach houses for the summer.
January and Gus are both writers, but with very different genres. They are both staying at the beach houses due to writer’s block and impending deadlines for a new book. Of course, they meet and with some excellent and sarcastic banter they begin a relationship. By banter, I mean laugh-out-loud funny asides and jokes. The relationship is purely literary- for about five minutes.
I am going with 5 stars on this one! I listened to this book and Julia Whelan is perfect as the narrator. The book was a perfect Beach/Summertime Book, but it was also well-done!
An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart
This is the story of 5 women and their relationships.
One is Maggie Flynn who returns to her hometown for her 40th class reunion in Wyndham Beach. Newly widowed, Maggie is ready for a change. Her old friends, Liddy and Emma, are ready to have her back with them in their community.
In the meantime, Maggie has two adult daughters, Grace, and Natalie. Grace has just undergone a tragic end to her marriage and is contemplating moving from the law firm her father managed before his death. Natalie is a single parent of a three-year-old named Daisy. The two girls are just one of the reasons Maggie is reluctant to move back to Wyndham Beach.
And, of course, the police chief of the town just happens to be Maggie’s high school boyfrend.
There is a lot more in the story, including some mysteries and surprises. It was a sweet, engaging book with characters I really loved. 4 stars for this one!
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Definitely 5 stars! I really enjoyed this book. And it is not a typical Elin Hilderbrand book.
This one is a fast-paced thriller!
On the morning of Celeste’s wedding to Benji, she finds her maid of honor floating in the ocean. Merritt is dead and an investigation into what happened begins. Celeste is supposed to be married on Nantucket with a lavish wedding being thrown by Benji’s rather wealthy parents. Her parents arrive at the seaside mansion and you find out that Karen has cancer and doesn’t expect to live much longer. The two are in Nantucket to be at their daughter’s wedding. Also entering the picture is Shooter Uxley, Benji’s best man, and a woman named Featherleigh.
There are many possibilities for what happened to Merritt and over a few days of investigating, many secrets are revealed. Chapters alternate with the story of how Benji and Celeste met and what the police officers are discovering as they interview all the wedding guests and the families. I loved this summer book! It was a great departure from Ms. Hilderbrand’s romance style- a real who-dun-it that you will not be able to figure out! 5 stars!
How do I Rate Books?
My rating system: 5 stars- perfection, the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.
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