Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Summer Reads

Once again, I’m joining in with the Top 5 Tuesday meme this week! Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Bionic Bookworm, who posts the month’s topics at the start of each month. Today’s topic is Top 5 Summer Reads. This topic could go a few different ways… book set in the summer? books to read in the summer? books I’ve read in the summer? books about beaches? I guess I’ll do a little of everything — here’s my list of five books that are great to read in the summer or that have a summer theme! 

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han: 
The story of a teen girl and the two boys she spends every summer with at their families’ shared beach house is just so perfect for reading on a beach or by a pool. It’s surprisingly deeper than you might expect, getting into family loyalties and loss and grief. (It’s the first in a trilogy, and all three are good!)

2. Beach Read by Emily Henry
I just finished this terrific love story, set in a beach cottage over the course of an eventful summer. A perfect summer read!

3. Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe
This awesome collection of robot and fairy stories includes several by favorite authors of mine (Including Seanan McGuire and John Scalzi), and maybe it’s because I took this on vacation with me a couple of years ago and read it on the beach, but I feel like it’s just so fun and entertaining and low commitment that it’s perfect for summer.

4. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
This book is sweetness and light, and so full of happiness that I can see it as a perfect summer reading option.

5. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
There’s no obvious connection to summer, but the four books of the Finishing School series are light, funny, and exciting, and feel to me like a perfect choice for reading poolside with a frosty drink in hand.

 

What do you consider summer reads? Let me know, and please share your Top 5 link if you have one!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Beach Reads

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.

This week’s theme is Top Ten Beach Reads. When I hear the words “beach reads”, I picture a blanket, a sun umbrella, some palm trees, white sand, gently rolling waves… Bliss!

What makes a good beach read? Nothing too heavy or sad — no tears allowed at the beach! It should be engrossing enough to hold your attention despite all the beach-y distractions — but nothing that you couldn’t put down at a moment’s notice in order to run back into the surf or go get another piña colada. Extra points for a summery setting, maybe an island getaway or a beach town, a cottage on the dunes, or even a barbecue or two.

As usual,  the big challenge was in limiting myself to just ten… so here is my top 10 list containing slightly more than ten books:

1) Firefly Beach by Luanne Rice — or really, pretty much anything by Luanne Rice. This author specializes in stories of sisters and families, usually in beach town settings, somewhere with a coast or a harbor. You can practically feel the sea spray and hear the waves crashing when you read these books.

2) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. This story of four friends, one pair of jeans, and and an unforgettable summer strikes just the right balance of ups and downs, with plenty of self-discovery and girl power.

3) Another sisterhood book: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. Southern fiction at its best! Mothers, daughters, friends, secrets — just emotional and involving enough to enjoy on the beach, maybe with a mint julep to help move things along.

4) What’s beach reading without a good family saga or two? Something that spans generations, sweeping in scope — enough to keep you from nodding off in the sun. A few “classic” family sagas perfect for the beach would be Evergreen by Belva Plain, The Immigrants by Howard Fast, or The Bastard by John Jakes.

5) An afternoon at the beach is the perfect time to sink your teeth (ha!) into the first volume of a good, juicy urban fantasy series. I’d go with Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris, Tempest Rising (Jane True, #1) by Nicole Peeler, or Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger. Nothing says summer like vampires, werewolves, and selkies!

6) How about something utterly silly? The island setting makes this one a beach read for me: Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. Almost all of my top 10 lists include a Christopher Moore book. Why stop now?

7) If this is a serious beach vacation — we’re talking a week in Maui, not just a couple of hours at the local strip of sand — then a big chunky book with lots of plot will keep you going for days (or weeks) at a time. I’d pick A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin or Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Not the sunniest subject matter, but you won’t lose interest and you won’t run out of reading material.

8) For that New England summer feel, there’s Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead, a story of a WASP wedding weekend in which nothing goes as planned.

9) I think I need to mention a young adult favorite of mine: Sea Change by Aimee Friedman, about a city girl forced to spend a summer on a remote island with big secrets. There’s love, there’s a mystery, and there are beautiful beaches! I have the impression that not that many people have read Sea Change, which is a shame. It’s lovely and romantic, yet with a lead female character who stands up for herself and makes some healthy choices.

10) And my final selection is one that I took on vacation a few years ago, and which worked out perfectly for me as a beach read: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales by Kate Bernheimer (editor). This collection includes stories by some truly amazing writers (Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Karen Joy Fowler, and more). Each story is captivating, but you can easily toss the book aside in between stories for a quick dip in the water or a game of beach volleyball.

Ah, summer…

What will you be reading on the beach this year?

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