I am a huge reader, and summer is one of the best times to read (in my opinion). There’s nothing like curling up with a good book in a hammock or sitting on the porch sipping an iced tea, getting lost in someone else’s story. It’s a grand experience, but the first task is figuring out what to read.
I’ve dug through my reading list and pulled out the best summer reads that I’ve already ripped through or I’m just about to and decided which ones you should take a peek at if you’re looking for your next read. Whether you want a thrilling mystery or a heart-swelling romance, these are the best books on my list!
- Best summer beach reads for romantics
- Best summer beach reads for thrill-seekers
Best summer beach reads for romantics
It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian
Noni has just gotten out of a 10-year relationship and has realized that it’s high-time she puts her own wants, needs and dreams first. She’s determined to do only things (and people) that feel good in the moment (this is a lifestyle I can relate to). So she embarks on a journey that takes her to new places and introduces her to new people.
Reviews of this book share that it’s a hilariously relatable story of self-discovery about a thirty-something woman who’s been living for everyone else. If you’re looking for a summer beach read that will have you laughing and make you take stock out of your own life and how you treat yourself, then It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake is for you.
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
This is one of the romantic summer beach reads that absolutely hits a chord with me. Bea, a plus-size fashion blogger, gets the opportunity to be the star of Main Squeeze a Bachelorette-type show. She sees it as a great opportunity to bring a plus-size woman into the spotlight and grow her brand.
But when the cameras start rolling, she realizes it’s not going to be as easy as she though. Readers say this book is hilarious, witty and charming. One to Watch should be a mandatory beach read for every plus size women who dreams big and is ready to make it. Get ready to be entertained!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
If your love the life of writers or want to be one, Beach Read is a book for you. A healthy competition brings together a literary writer stuck in a rut and a romance writer who no longer believes in love, and they have to upend everything they believe in.
This book is seemingly on everyone’s list for the best summer beach reads, so it should probably be on yours too. It’s a fun mash up of complete opposites who, despite their differences, help each other to to have an unforgettable summer.
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner is an exceptional writer that features plus size characters, who I assure you, I love and That Summer is no exception. Daisy has a thriving cooking business, a full schedule of volunteer work and a beautiful home, she should be satisfied with her life. But it wouldn’t be much of a book if she was, would it?
While she’s trying to figure out why she’s dissatisfied with her life she meets the glamorous Diana. But as they get closer Daisy realizes that their meeting might not be so accidental. Who is this woman and why is she interested in Daisy?
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Waiting for Tom Hanks holds a special place in my heart since my standard for romance is You’ve Got Mail (who doesn’t like an enemy-turned-lover story at the cutting edge of technology?). Anna spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle and waiting for her movie-perfect meet cute (so basically my life).
The one thing she wants is to find her very own Tom Hanks, she believes then her troubles would truly disappear. Then she meets the lead actor of a movie filming in her neighbourhood, and he couldn’t be further from Tom Hanks (huge bummer). It’s a fun, cute and relatable romance about an ambitious girl who wants it all but isn’t quite sure what it is.
American Royals by Katharine McGee
American Royals is described as The Crown meets Crazy Rich Asians, which sounds like the perfect combination for many of us who romance the royal life. It poses the question of what would America be like if they had a royal family, and what would they be like?
I love that it’s an alternative-reality version of history—what would and what could happen. It reminds me of a lighter, romantic and not-so-scary version of The Man in the High Castle (which I honestly loved). Readers say that it’s a fun, juicy and addictive read.
Best summer beach reads for thrill-seekers
Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
Shari Lapena is my favourite modern whodunnit writer, her An Unwanted Guest is still one of my favourite thrilling reads to this day (and I read it a few years back). In Not a Happy Family, Fred and Sheila Mercer are filthy rich, but even money can’t protect them when a killer comes a’knockin’.
After Easter dinner with their three adult children, the Mercers are murdered. Their kids are, of course, devastated… or are they? The Mercers were never a happy family, but perhaps one of the Mercer kids was unhappier than the rest?
I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
If your ideal thrilling beach summer read is found in a YA novel, then I Killed Zoe Spanos is for you. Anna arrives in a Hamptons village ready for a hopeful summer of nannying, but finds that the town is distressed over the disappearance of Zoe, who Anna surprisingly resembles.
As Anna digs deeper into Zoe’s life she’s convinced she knows what happened. But then Zoe’s body is found in the water and Anna is charged with her murder. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes—what really happened to Zoe? Podcaster Martina Green is determined to find out.
Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews
Mary Kay Andrews writes amazing summer beach reads and Hello, Summer sounds like the next best addition to her body of work. Conley is a big city reporter at a fancy paper, but when her new job goes up in smoke she ends up at the small town paper she previously left, in a place she simply doesn’t want to be.
Then she witnesses an accident that results in the death of a local congressman, a war hero with a shady past, and the more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. Readers say this is an exceptional pick if you’re looking for mystery, thrills romance and a pure, engaging summer read.
A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell
A Stranger on the Beach is admittedly not Michele Campbell’s most compelling read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Caroline’s beach house was supposed to be part-refuge, part-status symbol, but a public fight with her husband, missing money and a life that doesn’t seem to fit makes her start to reevaluate things.
So, she does what most unsatisfied married women in books do, she has an affair with a handsome stranger. But things get weird, fast. And Adrian’s obsession with Caroline and her beach house becomes dangerous… who gets the blame when someone ends up dead?
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
If you have a mother-in-law you’re not a huge fan of, The Mother-in-Law might just be the summer beach read you need to get your hands on. Lucy is not the wife her mother-in-law had in mind for her son, and while everyone loves Diane, Lucy can’t seem to crack her shell. And, when Diane is found dead under questionable circumstances, Lucy’s indifference could mean finger’s point in her direction.
Readers rave that this novel is perfect for fans of Big Little Lies. If you like mystery mixed with complex, relatable characters and plot twists you won’t see coming, this might just be the perfect summer thriller for you. Some even describe the twists as Gone Girl-level.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires has been on my reading list for ages and I’m dead and determined to get to it this summer. Described as a mix between Steel Magnolias and Dracula, this page-turning mystery is perfect for true crime podcast lovers and fans of Stephen King.
It tells the story of a housewife who’s main joy is her true crime bookclub. But after one meeting, she’s attacked by an elderly neighbour which brings his nephew, James, into her life. He’s handsome, well-read, mysterious… and possibly a bloodsucking vampire?
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
It’s wedding season in the perfect summer destination, Nantucket, but hours before the big day a body is found in the harbour and apparently everyone in the wedding party is a suspect. It’s the perfect warm-weather combination of lavish weddings, engaging characters and mind-bending mystery.
The Perfect Couple is one of the best summer beach reads for fans of Elin Hilderbrand’s other novels, as it features the return of some of her most beloved characters. Reader’s say that this is a fun, clever whodunit. Pack it in your beach bag and get lost in another world this summer season.
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