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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

14 Excellent Beach Reads

As we head into July, and with some states in reopening phases, we all want to be outside! Whether it's to a literal beach or a virtual beach, a shady meadow in a park or a sunny afternoon in your back yard, let's head outside and enjoy a good summery beach read! Here's a collection of 14 recommended Summer/Beach Reads (alphabetical by title).

That leads to a bit of a discussion about what constitutes a "beach read." Something light and fun and doesn't need much concentration as you bake in the sun? Or, something long and engrossing now that you have time to lounge around by the lake (ocean, pool)? Maybe a light romance or will it be a scary thriller since it stays light longer? Is your idea of a summer read a book that you've been meaning to read for a long time, or one that's just out and everyone is talking about?

Hmmm. Personally, I don't read much differently in the summer than any other time of the year. I just pick up something from my bookshelf that catches my eye and sounds interesting at that moment. Hopefully I've collected some here that will sound interesting to you.

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

Genre: Dystopian

A fast-moving story of a strong woman and her daughter fighting to survive in a flooded dystopian world. Not overly grim and with some thought provoking moments. - TERRIE

Reviewed here

Beach Lawyer #1 by Avery Duff

Genre: Thriller

Perfect for a lounging day, this quick read is actually a legal thriller, not just a story with a lawyer as a character! A lawyer bucks the system, his firm, and his mentor to do the right thing - like early Grisham. - TERRIE

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA, Romance

Sweet (but not too sweet), troubled home life (but not too graphic), written so authentically I felt almost transported back to my teen years. Such a fun, engaging story. - TERRIE

Reviewed here

Guardians of the Night #2 by Alan Russell

Genre: Mystery

A solid who-dunnit with a detective and his smart police dog on the hunt to catch the bad guys. A little humor, a good mystery and both the dog and investigator are great characters. - TERRIE

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

Genre: General Fiction

A single mom, Jess, goes on a road trip with her teenage son and young math-whiz daughter for a once-in-a-lifetime chance at a scholarship. Along the way everything goes wrong with often hilarious results. With the help of her geeky boss(!), Jess and her kids and their smelly dog make it to their goal. I can't emphasize enough how much I liked this book. I've read it twice and just thinking about it makes me want to read it again. DONNA

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Genre: Historical Fiction

Though some might find this story sad and not particularly "light", I found it very heartwarming at times. Told with a clear storytelling style, it grabbed me right away because the two main characters are SO wonderful. It's told in two timelines: an elderly lady and her memories of the orphan train, and a young woman about to be forced out of the foster system with nowhere to go. - TERRIE

Running With Sherman by Christopher McDougall

Genre: Nonfiction

This is a true story of the author taking in a donkey from a hoarder. Sherman is in poor condition when he arrives but McDougall vows to get him healed and healthy. When he discovers a burro-racing competition, he begins to train Sherman, and a couple of other amusing equines on his property, to run. Warm story that brought a smile to my face. - DONNA

Reviewed here

St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin

Genre: General Fiction

Maeve’s life is falling apart when she finds she’s inherited a house, a VW Beetle, and a cat from her birth mother that she never knew. Upon arrival she also finds an abandoned bulldog. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more about animals in this book given the title and the cover picture. However, it had some depth as Maeve discovers the truth about her mother’s past and the characters were entertaining. - DONNA

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

Genre: Thriller

This is a perfect beach read for someone wanting to escape. A couple of college girls join the crew of some guys sailing the world on a yacht. Friendships, romance, and disaster follow. A nice quick read. - TERRIE

Reviewed here

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Genre: General Fiction

Looking for a light, breezy, feel-good story? This is it: a young librarian loses her job so decides to make a life change and moves to Ireland, buys a van and creates a mobile library. Along the way she meets some quirky folks, makes some friends, and tries to find herself. - TERRIE

Reviewed here

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Genre: General Fiction

This fabulous story is NOT as light as the previous one. But, it IS an excellent sibling story and an excellent dysfunctional family story. Every character is intensely realized in this well written, emotional story. - TERRIE

Reviewed here

Ghostman #1 by Roger Hobbs

Genre: Thriller

Ready for some summer action? This book moves right along and has LOTS of action. The Ghostman finds lost things, like a million in cash from a casino heist that’s gone bad. He’s just trying to do his job while being hunted by a bad guy. This was a re-read for me because I remembered I liked it so much when I first read it. - DONNA

The World According to Tom Hanks by Gavin Edwards

Genre: Biography

This was a fun, light read (perfect for the beach) about Tom Hanks’ life but especially about his movies. There are reviews of all his movies, both good and bad and because I’ve seen just about all his movies, it was a fun section to read. The book also tells stories about Hanks through the years – his experiences and what he’s said. - DONNA

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Genre: General Fiction

A fun, fast-moving, humorous, snarky book as Bernadette's life falls apart around her and she rediscovers herself. Plus, I like that it's set in Seattle and I recognize many of the locations...... - TERRIE

Donna or I have actually read all these books so we can vouch for their readability. Many Must-Read lists tend to focus on the shiny new publications - and those are fun....but you'll see that many of these are back-list books. Back-list books are often easier to find at the library or at thrift stores because the big rush to read them has passed. But, they are still good, sometimes great, books - what do you think of our reading recommendations?

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.


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The review ratings are based on a 5 star  (1/2 stars sometimes) system with a 3 being an average read for me. I hope you find that helpful. Knowing, of course, that all opinions are just that - my opinion!  Let me know if you agree or disagree - I'd love to hear from you.

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