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Your Perfect Summer Companion: Top 10 Books to Take on Your Vacation

Imagine… you’re sitting on the beach, blazing hot sand practically melting your backside through your ratty, well-loved beach towel, acquiring sweat in places you’d rather not talk about. The jumbo red and white striped beach umbrella is adjusted just-so. You roll over allowing yourself to lay on your stomach and read your new book without going blind from the sun bouncing off its light pages. 

While you celebrate achieving the perfect lighting you briefly wonder if your glowing fair skinned bod (ok, maybe I am talking about me) is blinding your significant other and quickly shrug it off as you realize you give zero ducks about it. The anticipation of your book quickly takes precedence in your brain, you remember your cold bevvy as a drip of condensation shocks your sizzling hot skin. 

Raising the glass, you let its bone-chilling contents quench your dehydration as you take in the first words of your new book, “Chapter One. November 1979. “My mother always says it’s common as pig tracks to go around with a run in your stocking.” Helen says, eyeing Billie’s ripped hosiery critically.” You briefly come to, at the screaming of children playing on the beach next to you, you adjust on your beach towel and dig back in. “Billie rolls her eyes. “Helen, it’s murder, not cotillion. (Killers of a Certain Age)” And the world begins to fade away as seconds…minutes…hours, are lost to the words quickly dancing off the page as you devour its contents and see them vividly playing out in your brain. 

If this is the time of year you turn back into a human, thawing from the inside out as the sun penetrates the coldest, most frozen portions of your being, you’re in good company. Three words: WINTER. IS. HARD. Books are a lifeline allowing us to pull ourselves back up into the light as we gasp for air. 

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If you’re reading this, you made it, and I’m glad you’re here. The good news is we can now safely begin making plans for warmer days ahead, like where and when you’ll read through your “to-be-read” pile. And trust me, you always need to add to the list. Find your next great adventure and let the thawing process begin!

10 Great Reads By the Pool, Lake, Ocean – Or in the Comfort of Your Home!

Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex

For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins

England, 1865: Newspaper columnist Lady Katherine Bascomb finds herself the subject of speculation when her latest article leads to an arrest in the murders plaguing London. The English believe women ought not to write about such vulgar things as crime, and a particularly attractive detective inspector is incensed that she’s interfered with his investigation. To escape her sudden notoriety, Katherine heads to the country – only to witness a murder upon her arrival. 

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham is appalled when Lady Katherine entangles herself in one of his cases – again. Her sensationalist reporting already nearly got him kicked off the police force, and he’ll be damned if he permits her to meddle a second time. Yet, her questions are awfully insightful, and he can’t deny his attraction to both her beauty and brains. As the clues point to a dangerous criminal, the two soon realize their best option is working together. But with their focus on the killer lurking in the shadows, neither is prepared for the other risk the case poses – to their hearts.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Some summers are just destined to be pretty. Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

The Courtship Plan by Kathleen Fuller

Finding a husband is serious business. And serious business requires serious planning.

Charity Raber is one of many single women who came to Birch Creek, Ohio, with one goal in mind: secure a husband from among the desperate bachelors a newspaper advertisement claimed inhabited the town. Even though that claim proved to be nothing more than a cruel prank, Charity is still hopeful that her happy ending might be within reach when she’s set up on a date with Jesse Bontrager. That is until Jesse not-so-gently shares that he has no interest in a relationship with anyone—and especially not with her.

One year later, Charity is working as a caretaker for a kind, elderly English woman in the nearby town of Marigold. She’s also working hard on a brand-new courtship plan. A plan that absolutely does not involve Jesse Bontrager. But when he moves next door and is made aware of her scheming, Charity vows to prove that her plan is foolproof. Meanwhile, Jesse is sure she’ll make a fool of herself. And for some reason he’s not willing to let that happen.

This stubborn bachelor and determined bachelorette will soon learn that their plans rarely work out as expected—but God’s plans always will.

Sanditon by Jane Austen and Kate Riordan

Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited, and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success. 

The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself…and ultimately find love.

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon.

They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re 60 years old, four women friends can’t just retire—it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller by New York Times best-selling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for 40 years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.

When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.

Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman—and a killer—of a certain age.

The Librarian Spy: A Novel of WW2

Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.

Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.

As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Nicholas Flamel appeared in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter – but did you know he really lived? And his secrets aren’t safe! Discover the truth in book one of the New York Times best-selling series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. 

The truth: Nicholas Flamel’s tomb is empty. 

The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. 

Nicholas Flamel is the greatest Alchemyst to ever live. The records show that he died in 1418, but what if he’s actually been making the elixir of life for centuries? 

The secrets to eternal life are hidden within the book he protects – the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed, and in the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. 

There is one hope. If the prophecy is true, Sophie and Josh Newman have the power to save everyone. Now they just have to learn to use it. 

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

Every song tells a story. She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell”. But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

In Conclusion…

Cranky old men, librarian spies, and senior citizen killers; how could you go wrong? If you don’t like reading, you simply have not found the right book. As you thaw out this summer, take a chance on reading or continue to grow your TBR pile. Let books be a beacon of light for you after hibernating inside this winter. 

In the words of famous author Stephen King, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Crack one open and let your next adventure transport you.  

Lexi Garr

A Pacific Northwest native, Lexi was born on the West side and transplanted to Idaho at a young age. She spent her childhood years camping, hiking, and enjoying the tranquility of her family’s cabin on the Selway River cultivating an appreciation of nature and the art of being still. It was here that she learned to covet quiet moments with a good book accompanied by the sound of a rushing river and birds twittering about. 

Now she can be found cramming reading into every stolen nook and cranny of time. Honestly, not a whole lot has changed. If she’s not reading or working for her family’s winery, she can be found chasing peace and quiet amongst the pines and listening to birds sing their heart song in the awe and wonder of the Pacific Northwest.


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