Perfect Summer Reads

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I can personally read any book at any time of the year, and enjoy it just the same. However, I do notice that in the summertime, myself and plenty of other readers out there start to gravitate towards certain books--books that we can picture reading at a pool or a beach or a cabin, even if we aren't going to any of those places, and even if that's a super vague and subjective description. For me, summer book recommendations fit best into three categories:

1. Fluffy, love-filled, funny, charming *beach* books
2. Intelligent, captivating, moving, illuminating *cabin/wilderness/alone time* books
3. Dark, intense, suspenseful, gripping *poolside* books

Why do I put these in such specific locations? Couldn't tell you--my reader mind just feels this way. [But do feel free to take these summer reads anywhere; the above descriptions are just suggestions!]

*Light, Funny and Romantic*

1. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
One of my most recent reads, and already one of my favorites of the year, this book is absolutely hilarious, unique and refreshing. It takes the little known story of Lady Jane Grey and turns it completely on it's head in the best way.
My Rating: 4.5/5

2. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
I talk about this book constantly! Just trust me and read it. It's the perfect summer book--light, humorous, romantic and written entirely in letters!
My Rating: 5/5

3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This book is one of the most unique contemporary love stories ever. A girl who is allergic to everything and never leaves her house meets someone who actually makes her want a life outside of the small space she's always been in.
My Rating: 4.5/5

4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
This book is everything. It has everything. It's amazing. The story of 1999, two hilarious best friends, and the man hired to read their emails who ends up loving one of them.
My Rating: 5/5

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass
This highly popular young adult series is so beach-ready it's crazy. The covers are gorgeous (I know this doesn't technically matter, but it's still important), and it's the perfect combination of adventure, romance, drama, and the hilarious antics of teenage girls.
My Rating: 4.7/5

6. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
An adorable love story told from every possible perspective. Seriously, aside from normal POV's like the friends and classmates of the two soon-to-be lovers, it also includes short chapters from the perspective of benches and squirrels and trees. It's odd and off-beat, but also very charming and amusing.
My Rating: 4.5/5

7. From Notting Hill with Love...Actually by Ali McNamara
Plenty of cliches to be found here, but sometimes you might just need a little cutesy rom-com book in the summer. I feel you. This one is definitely worth a quick read and you could probably finish it in a day or two by the pool.
My Rating: 3.5/5

*Modern, Stimulating, and Intelligent*

1. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
This book is epistolary, comprised entirely of the hilarious and zany letters written by a college professor to various scholarship committees and organizations. The protagonist, Jason Fitger, is facing a variety of issues in his personal and professional life.  As a result, he's bitter and fed up with life, both of which come through in the unintentional humor of his letters.
My Rating: 4/5

2. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
This is one of Ellen's autobiographies, and it (like her) is very funny. If you're a fan of the talk show host or humorous memoirs in general, I recommend this one for a charming, amusing, heartwarming summer read.
My Rating: 4/5

3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
This is a beautiful, contemporary young adult book with gorgeous prose and striking characters. The book follows several characters with very different lives and locations, whose lives intersect in the most unexpected of ways. It's a complex, moving story.
My Rating: 4/5

4. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Eagan
This book is crazy and all over the place, but it also has a certain alluring quality that made me thoroughly enjoy it. It's built of short story-like chapters, and follows various characters, all tied together by the theme of music. The timeline is constantly changing, the characters are constantly's a crazy ride and it's excellent.
My Rating: 4/5

5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Oh, this book is amazing. The characters are incredible, and the prose is captivating. It's adventurous, but also deep and intelligent, and deals with themes of family bonds and racism in an incredible way.
My Rating: 5/5

*Dark, Mysterious and Captivating*

1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Usually, if I'm talking about Gillian Flynn, I'm talking about Dark Places, but her shorter book, Sharp Objects, is also great. Like all of her books, it's a psychological thriller, with boatloads of suspense. This book starts out slower, but builds to an awesome, creepy climax.
My Rating: 4.5/5

2. Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe
I've talked about this comic/graphic novel before, and I'll keep talking about it! It's a great first volume, and follows a group of four badass lady heroines, fighting monsters (and their own personal turmoil) for money. It's funny, violent and totally awesome.
My Rating: 5/5

3. Most Evil by Steve Hodel
I don't talk about this genre as much, but I'm a big fan of true crime, and this is a great example of the genre and what it has to offer. In this book, Hodel, a long-time homicide detective, presents his evidence and argument that his father was a serial killer responsible for the Black Dahlia murder, Zodiac killings, and other infamous crimes. While his evidence is far from conclusive, it is extremely fascinating to read his opinions and criminal science and investigation into these decades-old crimes, no matter if I ultimately believe his claims.
My Rating: 4/5

4. Jackaby by William Ritter
(For more information on this book, see my full review a few posts below!) This is a murder mystery novel set in New England in the 1800s, following a young woman named Abigail Rook, who begins working for a zany Holmes-esque detective, who also has the ability to "see" non-human creatures, one of whom is a prime murder suspect.
My Rating: 4/5

5. The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton
This is a unique collection of varied short stories by three excellent writers. Each story is it's own bizarre, magical, enticing entity, and that makes the collection so worthwhile. It's experimental and bold, and I totally loved this book.
My Rating: 5/5

6. Legend by Marie Lu
This is the first book in the extremely popular young adult trilogy. There are probably tons of better ways to describe these books, but the best one coming to mind for me is "readable". These books are insanely readable, and can be devoured in no time. They're full of action, mysteries and betrayal.
My Rating: 5/5

7. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
In this dark book, the main character Violet has the ability to sense of the echoes of dead bodies--specifically those that have been murdered.  This doesn't bother her much until a serial killer begins claiming lives in her town, and Violet is the first one to discover each body. It's intense and interesting, and has a super glorious cover.
My Rating: 4/5

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