Nine Highly Rated Paperbacks for Your End of Summer Reading List | Book Recommendations

fiction summer reading list

Ready to Travel…Summer Reading:

The other day I met a friend for coffee at Target and she told she was going camping and wanted to bring along a book to read and was hoping for some suggestions. She was looking for something enjoyable and also easy to travel with…meaning she didn’t want to bring a bunch of hardcover books.

I have noticed an uptick in people asking for reading suggestions lately which makes me so happy! I thought it was the perfect time to hop on over to the book section at Target and see what was readily available if you were looking for a book to grab and go!

I do order many of my books online but there is something about being able to run into a store and pick something up last minute. All of these books are readily available at your local Target, Barnes & Noble and will be easy to find at an airport bookstore and the best part…they are all around the $10 mark!

Gen The Bookworm summer reading paperback suggestions

The Perfect Couple is one of my very favorite Elin Hilderbrand books and I have many! This one has all the elements of her quintessential Nantucket beach reading style along with a captivating murder mystery. It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

Book Summary:
“It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways, Beautiful Day, and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read.”


Gen The Bookworm summer reading suggestions

I know, I can’t stop sharing about Life and Other Inconveniences, but Kristan Higgins is truly one of my favorite summer reading authors. She has the ability to share relatable and real storylines that have both humor and heart. You can read my full review HERE.

Book Summary:

“Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley. 

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?”


book review at Gen The Bookworm

All We Ever Wanted has all the elements of Emily Giffin’s easy reading style. In addition, she shares a storyline with a thought-provoking and relevant topic that many of us will be able to relate to with the many complexities of modern life.

While this certainly isn’t literary fiction, I think that is exactly why it worked. I loved how she was able to take a timely topic and incorporate it into her accessible writing style. It was engrossing to read while also sparking discussion in a way her books haven’t done before.

Book Summary:

“Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. 

Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.”


book review and recommendation

I read Before We Were Yours on vacation a couple of years ago and I will never forget it. Lisa Wingate shares a powerful and heartbreaking story that is based on true life events with compassion while also being completely compelling as a reader.

Book Summary:

“Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.”


book recommendations

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory is on my own summer reading list and I am planning on taking it on our upcoming summer vacation to Maine.  So many of my book reviewing friends have suggested it and I have been holding off on reading it specifically because I wanted to save it for our trip.

I love a good contemporary romance that is enjoyable yet not too cheesy and Guillory excels at this. It sounds like the perfect poolside read and after loving her book The Wedding Date, I have high hopes for this one.

Book Summary:

“Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.”


book recommendation & review

The Dream Daughter is one of my favorite books ever. Diane Chamberlain’s books are so unique and she has this ability to weave storylines they are thought-provoking while also being completely engrossing. I am a details person and I love how she builds multifaceted characters and mystery and intrigue at the same time. I need to do a whole post about my favorite Diane Chamberlain books because I have many, but I loved The Stolen Marriage, Necessary Lies, Pretending to Dance and The Silent Sister.

The Dream Daughter had me on the edge of my seat while also constantly making me think “what would I do in this situation?”. You are able to see the story from multiple viewpoints because she does such a wonderful and in-depth presentation of the main characters. This was very different from a lot of her past books with the time-traveling aspect but it stayed true to her roots with the general concept and flow of the book. You can read my full review HERE.

Book Summary:

“When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage she never knew existed. Something that will mean an unimaginable leap of faith on Carly’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

The Dream Daughter is a rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.”


book recommendations

How to Walk Away was my first book by Katherine Center book. I loved reading something that introduces me to a new author to love and anticipate their next piece of writing. While I am a fan of contemporary romance, I am quite particular about giving many a high rating.

The storyline is semi-predictable but it is the character development that Center just does so well and that makes her books so satisfying. I enjoyed watching Margaret’s journey towards healing and she had the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength that kept me rooting for her while also being relatable.

Katherine Center excels at infusing both humor and also resilience into her characters and I just enjoy her books so much. Her newest release Things You Save In a Fire is not out in paperback yet but it was a 5 star read for me which doesn’t happen a lot with this genre!

Book Summary:

“Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture the reader’s hearts with every page.”


book recommendation

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel a story about family, marriage, secrets and daily life. This book was so beautifully written and timely. I read it a couple of years ago while celebrating our own wedding anniversary and it was the perfect balance of a book that makes you think while also being completely heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time.

“Well. Usually, boys don’t wear dresses to preschool,” Rosie admitted carefully. “Or tights.”
“I’m not usually,” said Claude. This, Rosie reflected, even at the time, was true.

In a world where sexuality and society norms are a part of political discussions and also everyday life, this book is amazingly powerful and so timely. Frankel’s approachable writing not only educates but also shares a powerful message. She shares the idea of self-acceptance and allowing everyone to be who they really are while also taking into account the complexities of everyday life and just trying to do the best we can as parents and as human beings.

Book Summary:

“This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.”


book recommendations

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is a psychological thriller that ended up having the perfect amount of character complexities and suspense, which if you know my particular expectations of this type of books, you know I rarely find! I love her writing style and how she keeps me totally absorbed in the storyline.  It was gripping and kept me guessing until the end.

Book Summary:

“Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?”


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August 6th, 2019 New Book Releases | Happy Publication Day!

August 6th, 2019 new book releases

New Book Releases!

The new books keep on coming and I don’t know about you, but my summer reading stack is getting pretty big! I have way more books than I will ever be able to read during the next few weeks but that is just how I like it…My reading tastes very much depend on my mood so I always love having a lot of choices.

Maybe it is because I am keeping better track of it, but 2019 has had so many amazing book publication already so there have been a lot of wonderful options. I recently recapped some of my favorite books of 2019 (so far!) and you can check that out HERE if you missed it.

Kristan Higgins and Berkley Publishing

Pleasure Reading…

This time of the year I am drawn to books that are engrossing and easy to get drawn into. I have been reading a lot of books that are a bit lighter but have enough depth to not be total fluff. When I think of authors that totally succeed at this kind of writing, Kristan Higgins comes to mind!

I love her books and her writing is engaging and thought-provoking while also being fun and enjoyable to read. These kinds of books work well for “escape reading” which is something I tend to look for during this more hectic time of the year. I read her newest release a few months ago and I am excited to share that it is available today!

August 6th, 2019 New Book Releases:

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Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences involves four generations of a family, the ties that bind and the complexities of past choices and how they affect relationships today. Higgin’s offers multidimensional characters, diverse relationships and the ability to weave real-life issues into her plotlines.

While this is a fun and engaging read, Higgins is also able to provide a level of depth that makes her writing thought-provoking and satisfying. Higgin’s ability to share these stories from multiple different perspectives allows you as the reader to see where these characters are coming from, even if you don’t always agree with their choices.

In order to move forward, we must often look back at the choices and decisions we have made and Higgins excels at presenting this story in such a powerful and multilayered way. The ending of this book is bittersweet and real, which I find much more satisfying than a “happily ever after” scenario.

You can read my full review HERE

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Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Keeping Lucy was my first book my T. Greenwood and I was immediately drawn into this story and the characters. Greenwood’s storytelling was wonderful and her attention to detail made me easily picture the scenes and the amazingly well-developed characters that were based in the 1960s and early 1970s. I have been wanting to read a book that just captivated me and this one did from the start.

I felt emotionally connected to the characters and was rooting for them all in different ways. Within the very powerful main storyline (that was based on real events) were smaller ones that also were very timely and powerful in their own right. Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, the last 1960s were shockingly different in many ways and I was impressed at how Greenwood could bring me there with such vividness in her writing.

This book was filled with themes of fear, persistence, friendship, hope and the most wonderful thing of all, the power that we can all learn and change. The ending of the book all came together for me in a very satisfying way and I was sad it was over which is a sign of a book you really loved.

You can read my full review of Keeping Lucy HERE.

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The Lemonade Life by Zack Friedman

The Lemonade Life was the perfect dose of inspiration while also being very relatable. Friedman shares advice and examples of how to live life on your own terms by being more aware of the control we have over our thoughts and emotions. This is what he calls “The Lemonade Life”.

Taking control helps give you the ability to have more positive changes in your own life. You will feel like you are in the driver’s seat instead of everyone and everything around you. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control how we respond and move forward.

I got so much out of this book and I know it is one I will refer back to again and again. While not every section was totally applicable to my own life, there was something I was able to get out of each of them. I loved the idea that The Lemonade Life isn’t a destination but a way of life. When we know ourselves, use the tools we have and work towards our own personal goals, we have the ability to live full and happy lives right where we are and as we grow.

You can read my full review of The Lemonade Life HERE

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Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

Because You’re Mine has all the elements of a great domestic thriller, highly detailed characters, mystery, and suspense. I think what I have been missing lately with thrillers is the ability to really get to know the characters and what happened in their pasts to play into their current situations and Frey did an amazing job with this aspect. I also loved getting to know Lee’s son Mason. His character was great and I loved what a big role he had in this book.

This book had a perfect balance of thinking I had it all figured it out and also keeping me on the edge of my seat. Her writing is edgy and this book is full of secrets. I thought I knew what was happening and I was in for a big surprise at the end.

You can read my full review of Becuase You’re Mine HERE


 

July 2019 Book Recap & Ratings | Monthly Book Wrap-Up

July 2019 book ratings

The Month of July:

July was filled with lots of family visiting, a wedding, berry picking and lots of time in the water, either on the lake or at the pool. It was a hot and humid the last few weeks for us around here and I am very grateful to have air conditioning both at work and at home. When I was growing up I remember summers sleeping next to a huge box fan and I still love sleeping with the sound of a fan now.

Reading Recap:

I actually read a lot more than I had expected. The only way I keep track of all my books is on Goodreads, so it is always a little bit of a surprise when I add them all up at the end of each month. I read a lot on Kindle, a few audiobooks and a couple of hard copy books.

My daytime reading was pretty low but I made up for it with audiobooks and reading before bed and also on some early mornings. I have the best memories of reading during the wedding weekend while drinking my coffee and having the most beautiful Jay Peak mountain view.

Reading Highs

My favorite books this month and my only 5 star reads were After The End by Clare Mackintosh and Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler. They were both powerful in very different ways (one is fiction one is non-fiction)and ones that will really stick with me!

The Perfect Summer Reading:

The Escape Room, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and The Unbreakables were perfect books for a summer reading list. They were enjoyable, a bit different and had enough back story to fill my quota for understanding the WHY!! which is my general problem with some books these days…I like details that helps everything all come together and these were satisfying in that way!

Reading Lows:

I had a bit of a frustrating month with the “thriller genre” and The Turn of The Key and Lock Every Door were just 3-star reads and not ones I would recommend.

And while City of Girls started off well for me, it ended up dragging and felt a bit…boring?  Maybe I was just in the wrong mood for it because I have read a lot of amazing reviews for it as well…

July Book Ratings:

5 star book

After The End by Clare Mackintosh

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*My full review of After The End can be found HERE.

book review of The Idea of You

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*My full review of The Idea Of You is coming soon.

book review of The Unbreakables

The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of The Unbreakables is coming soon.

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City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of City of Girls is coming soon.

book review

Mine by Courtney Cole

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

*My full review of Mine is coming soon.

book view of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill can be found HERE

book of the month selection

The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of The Reckless Oath We Made can be found HERE

book review of Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler

Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*My full review of Limitless Mind can be found HERE

book review of The Escape Room

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of The Escape Room can be found HERE

book review

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of You’ve Been Volunteered is coming soon.

book of the month selection

The Turn of The Key by Ruth Ware

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of The Turn of The Key can be found HERE

book of the month book review

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*My full review of Lock Every Door can be found HERE


How was your last month of reading? Did you have any favorites? I would love to hear!

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