Hi everyone! We are kicking off summer today on Top Ten Tuesday with our lists of beach reads! After last week’s atrociously difficult prompt for which I was only to come up with an embarrassing FOUR books (it still hurts a little), I have gone above and beyond this week. For you, my dear readers, always for you. And because I’m a book
I’ve divided the list into categories, so you can choose the list that best meets your reading style. But, my disclaimer is this: Most of the books can fit into multiple categories; I just had to pick one to place them in. So… without further ado….
Umm… and also for space purposes… I limited myself to 3 books in each category… but y’all. It wasn’t easy.
Can’t get to the beach this year? Let these books take you there vicariously.
1. Finders Keepers by Sarah Monzon – This is a dual timeline novel that ties together three lives and three hundred years with the mystery surrounding a sunken ship. The kisses. The banter. The kisses. The writing voice. The kisses. The FEELS. The kisses. The dual timeline. Did I mention the kisses?!? All of this makes for a stellar sophomore novel by Sarah Monzon. Lots of great beachy scenes – heat, water, sand, exotic islands – to make your staycation feel more like a beachside resort. Goodreads | Amazon
2. Amish Brides of Pinecraft series by Shelley Shepard Gray – A fun and unique series that spotlights a side of the Amish you don’t typically see in that genre. Vacations. Particularly the beach vacations they take to Pinecraft, an Amish resort community in Florida. Sand, ocean, ice cream, and a bevy of delightful characters will have you feeling like you’re on vacation right along with them! Goodreads | Amazon
3. Jilted by Carla Laureano – Set in Belize, this novella (free to Carla’s newsletter subscribers) is rich with the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the beachy paradise. From start to finish, this is an absolute must read – full of everything that makes a great contemporary romance. The characters. The writing. That KISS. After reading Jilted, you may be prone to do any and all of the following: a) develop a sudden fascination with potted palms, b) crave gourmet meals, particularly seafood, and c) book Belize as your next vacation destination. Get Jilted here.
If getting a tan is as boring for you as it is for me, try one of these gripping page turners.
1. If I Run by Terri Blackstock – This book is perhaps the best suspense novel I’ve ever read. And I don’t say that lightly. If I Run is a stunning thriller that needs to be at the top of your to-read list. Part The Fugitive, part its own identity, it is a masterfully-crafted book that will leave you breathless… and frantically stalking the Googles for any word on a sequel. Goodreads | Amazon
2. Sister Dear by Laura McNeill – A book that captivates and intrigues as it weaves a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The shifting perspectives between different main characters as well as between the past and the present heightens the dramatic tension and allows for greater insight into the psychology of each character. As with all well-written psychological suspense, Sister Dear is less of a mystery and more of a chilling look into the twisted reality of a disturbed soul. Less time wondering who did it and more time watching for the thread that will cause it all to unravel. Goodreads | Amazon
3. Two From Isaac’s House by Normandie Fischer – A wonderfully enjoyable dichotomy of genres, Two From Isaac’s House reads like Southern fiction but is very much a novel of international intrigue. The author’s writing style is so beautifully descriptive (without over-telling) and immerses readers in the scenes – the sights, the smells, the sounds, the emotions. Wry Southern humor subtly peppers each chapter, providing delightful relief in the midst of suspenseful tension. Goodreads | Amazon
No beachy book bag worth its salt is complete without some emotionally compelling reads. Bonus: You can always blame the copious amounts of sand for those tears.
1. The Carpenter’s Daughter by Jennifer Rodewald – The Carpenter’s Daughter by Jennifer Rodewald is a heartachingly beautiful story. I say that because my heart ached nearly from word one all the way to the last punctuation mark. And because even in the heartache, sometimes because of the heartache, it was beautiful. Every woman who has ever felt like she wasn’t pretty enough… or smart enough … or creative enough… or just ENOUGH needs needs NEEDS to read The Carpenter’s Daughter. Goodreads | Amazon
2. A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton – A Flight of Arrows is rich in characters, history, romance, and a range of emotions written so exquisitely that you find yourself holding your breath more than once. Mercy and grace and redemption are all over these pages – as well as a quiet and profound wisdom that will sear itself on your heart. Goodreads | Amazon
3. Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti – With her exquisitely engaging style, each word in perfect pitch, Cynthia Ruchti creates a beautiful story of healing and humor and hope. A story for the riffed teacher, for the frustrated wife, for the mother of adult children. A story for everyone whose life failed to proceed according to plan. Vivid characters, wry wit, and gentle truth held me captive from the first page to the last. This is a book that will linger in my heart for a long time! Goodreads | Amazon
Need to recover from the intensity of the page-turners or the emotional feels of the last category? These books are full of fun!
1. A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard – It’s campy. It’s quirky. It’s full of opportunities to smile. You may even laugh out loud. Great-Aunt Martha is quite simply a hoot and will delight readers with her Jessica Fletcher-ing, while Serena wins them over with her endearing personality that’s full of wit and eccentricities. Goodreads | Amazon
2. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan – Rachel’s humor speaks my language! The FOOTNOTES! Delightful. As were the snippets from made-up works of literature that Rachel included at the beginning of each chapter. And just Jem and Merinda in general. (And yummy Ray doesn’t hurt at all!) Goodreads | Amazon
3. Sit Stay Love by Dana Mentink – I can’t recommend this book highly enough! It’s fun. It’s quirky. It’s delightfully entertaining! It’s uplifting and emotional and full of cute humor and sweet romance and great characters. Whether you love baseball or you just show up for the food, Sit Stay Love and Dana Mentink may make fans of you by the end of the book. Dog lovers, this one needs to be on your wish list for sure! Goodreads | Amazon
Rained out at the beach? These books don’t need the sun to turn up the heat!
1. A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham – A Twist of Faith is funny and endearing and heartwarming. And it’s got a swoony hero who chops firewood and has darling kids and banters adorably with the heroine. 🙂 The romantic tension swirls deliciously through any scene in which Reese and Dee share the page, so make sure you have a fan nearby so you don’t overheat! Especially for one kiss that is my particular fave. Goodreads | Amazon
2. The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall – The characters Dawn creates feel real and honest, and boy howdy can she write a kissing scene! Long before I read this book, people were telling me all about the kissing scene under the stairs. I now completely understand what all the drooling was about. My. WORD. but that’s a great scene. There are not enough bubble hearts in the world to express how much I loved that kiss! Goodreads | Amazon
3. Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman – Woven into this tale of redemption and second chances, there are kisses and sparks and HEAT aplenty!!!!! Ooooh boy- are there ever! Make sure you keep that fan handy when you sit down to read Isle of Hope – and perhaps additional oxygen? A fainting couch would not be amiss. Goodreads | Amazon
I think this should give you a fairly good start on packing for your beach vacay or for your staycation this summer! What are some of your fave beach reads? Let me know in the comments and link up your post if you participated this week!