Tuesday, May 23, 2017

12 Books Perfect For Your Beach Bag

Memorial Day weekend -- and the unofficial start of summer -- is just days away! Appropriately, this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a summer reading-related freebie. I decided to go with 12 books I've read in the last year or so that'd make good beach reads.

Living in Hawaii, I do a lot of beach reading -- and I take whatever I'm currently immersed in to the beach with me. But I can tell you, the best books for the beach are easy, absorbing, fast-paced reads that don't require tons of concentration and can handle frequent distractions and interruptions. A beach (or pool or lakeside) day is not the time to finally haul out "War and Peace"!

Below are 12 decent (or fantastic!) books in a variety of genres perfect for your beach bag.

books for the beach

In no particular order:

1. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This is a women's fiction take on the parallel universe theme and I absolutely loved it! The protagonist's life splits off into two versions -- told in alternating chapters -- following a seemingly innocuous decision. It was thought-provoking and touching and fun -- and the epitome of good beach reading! (4.5 stars, review)

2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: This genre-bending sci-fi thriller (which also deals with the idea of parallel universes) had me on the edge of my seat, and I blew through it in two days. One of my favorite reads of 2016. (4.5 stars, review)

3. Uprooted by Naomi Novik: I devoured this delightful fantasy novel it in record time and loved every minute! Also one of my favorite reads of 2016. (5 stars! No review, but just read it!!!!)

4. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh: I'm pretty disillusioned with the psychological thriller genre, but this fast-paced read is worth (some of) the hype. (3.5 stars, review)

5. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: This sci-fi novel, the first in a trilogy, deals with ancient aliens and is written in an easy-to-devour epistolary format, in journal entries and transcripts. A totally accessible book for non-sci-fi enthusiasts. Bonus: the second book just came out, so you don't have to wait a year to find out what happens next! (4 stars, review)

6. November 9 by Colleen Hoover: A fun, well-written contemporary romance with plenty of bookish references! I don't read much in this genre, but I did enjoy this one. (4 stars, review)

7. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: This is is the first book in Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series. The second book came out this year, and Veronica is now cemented as one of my favorite heroines! She's a charming butterfly scientist/badass amateur sleuth, and the books are so much fun to read! A friend described the series as "comfort food" and I couldn't agree more. (4.5 stars, review)

8. The Royal We by Heather Cock and Jessica Morgan: You will be totally wrapped up in the romance and tribulations of regular-girl Bex and prince Nick -- loosely based on Kate and Will, complete with roguish brother Freddie/Harry. I'm hardly a "royal watcher," but I couldn't put this book down! (4.5 stars, review)

9. The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth: One half of this story is about two patients with early-onset Alzheimer's falling in love in their care facility, and the other half is told from the perspective of the facility's chef, who has problems all her own. Endearing, heartwarming, sad and poignant. (4 stars, review)

10. Written in Red by Anne Bishop: This is a fantastic entree into the world of urban fantasy (think shapeshifters and vampires)  -- and it comes with this delightful sense of cozy atmosphere and great worldbuilding. It's fun, it's addicting, you'll love it! (4.5 stars, review)

11. June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore: Gotta have some historical fiction on the list -- and this book is set during summer! It's a past/present dual narrative set in a small Ohio town in the '50s (when a movie set comes to town) and in present day when down-on-her-luck Cassie inherits her grandmother's crumbling mansion. (4.5 stars, review

12. You by Caroline Kepnes: Joe Goldberg, stalker extraordinaire and star of Kepnes' entrancing thriller, will keep you fascinated amidst any and all beach distractions (though it also may make you want to hold off posting those beach selfies to Facebook...). (4 stars, review)

Bonus: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel: I just started this last night but I wanted to tack it into the list in case you're craving some non-fiction! It's a fast-paced, short and totally interesting read!


  1. I have a copy of June I need to pull out. I'm not much on beachy reads - there are no beaches in my landlocked state, but I would put Written in Red on any list!

  2. I love the Veronica Speedwell books too and "comfort food" is a great way to describe them!
    Here's my TTT

  3. I love your definition of what makes for a good beach read.

  4. I haven't read any of these but Uprooted is on my TBR.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/top-ten-tuesday-108/

  5. The Things We Keep sounds like a real tearjerker. I just added it to my TBR list. :)

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday

  6. I recently a bought Dark Matter and can't wait to start it!
    My TTT

  7. I'm a bit jealous of you right now for being able to read on the beach in Hawaii :D

    "Dark Matter" was one of my favorite thrillers last year, too, it was just impossible to put the book down!

    I also read "Sleeping Giants" and while I felt that it didn't quite live up to the hype I still enjoyed reading it, so I'm looking forward to "Waking Gods".

  8. The Royal We is a perfect beach read! I want to read Uprooted and Written in Red too. Great list!
    My Top Ten


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