The past two books I read were pretty disappointing. I’ve always loved reading and climbing into bed with a great book at the end of a long day brings me so much joy, so it was a bit of a bummer to find myself paging through two books in a row that left a lot to be desired.
I want to be sure the same thing that happened to me doesn’t happen to you, so today I’m sharing 10 books I’ve read in the past that I loved! I tried to include a mix of breezy beach reads, thrilling page-turners and a few more thought-provoking novels. Hopefully a couple of them will jump out at you and make it onto your summer reading list!
10 Books For Your Summer Reading List
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
“They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose…
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.” – Amazon.com
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
“At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read…
My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.” – Amazon.com
- Defending Jacob by William Landay
“Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob.
Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.
Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.” – Amazon.com
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
“A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.
In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.
Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily’s good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.” – Amazon.com
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.” – Amazon.com
- Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
“Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.” – Amazon.com
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
“EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting onday she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?” Amazon.com
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.” – Amazon.com
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
“The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.” – Amazon.com
- Absolute Power by David Baldacci
“In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping Luther Whitney, a career break-in artist, behind a secret wall. Then the passion turns deadly, and Luther is running into the night. Because what he has just seen is a brutal murder involving Alan Richmond, the president of the United States, the man with…Absolute Power.” – Amazon.com
Questions of the Day
- What book should I add to my summer reading list?
- What was the last great book you read?
- What is the next book you have on your reading list?
Cait @ S U G A R & S A V A G E says
One of my favorite kinds of blog posts to read! I’ve read most of these but I’m adding the two I haven’t to my summer reading list. Thank you for the recommendations.
If you haven’t already read “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, I highly recommend it!!! Probably one of the best books I have read this year. If you have a Costco nearby, I saw it on sale there yesterday, too!
Kaie Dang says
I need to jump on the reading bandwagon after reading this list. They all look exciting and easy to read. Thanks for putting this list together!
Janice Yap says
I know I already told you this via snapchat (and was surprised when you responded!) but again, I highly recommend The Nightingale. 🙂 Also, would love to connect to you via Goodreads so I can see all your book recommendations in one place! I think we have very similar tastes in books. 🙂
YES! I need to get this one! 🙂
jen @ impossible jen blog says
last great: “yes please” by amy poehler
i’m nearly done with: “a spy among friends” by ben macintyre, which is a true spy story
i’m starting “lean in: women, work and the will to lead” by facebook coo sheryl sandberg.
Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things says
I’ve read several of these and I want to add a few of these to my list as well! The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlein and Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter were both AWESOME and I could not put them down. I’d totally recommend those ones for sure!
I just used up some gift cards at barnes & noble and bought The Little Paris Bookshop and All the Light We Cannot See, which won a Pulitzer prize. Both are set in France which for some reason always attracts me to a book!
My favorite kind of blog posts! I always love to add books to my running “to read” list! I’ve read many of the ones you mentioned along with the other commenters suggestions too! Here are some great ones that I didn’t see other suggest that I LOVED: Elenor and parks, brain on fire, all of Colleen Hoovers books, looking for Alaska, the ladies room, the light between oceans, and the invention of wings.
I have been trying to read The Boys in the Boat and All the Light we cannot see which both have raving reviews on Amazon and I just can’t get really into them, I will eventually finish them though!
Thanks for the recommendations, Julie! I would highly recommend the book Tell the Wolves I’m Home. It’s an incredibly moving story about a teen girl in the 1980s and her sick uncle. The last great book I read was one I finished yesterday- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It’s definitely not a feel-good book but I loved it. I plan on starting The Library at Mount Char next, I’ve heard great things.
I’d also like to add that if you started doing your book club again I would totally love to do it 🙂
Rachel @ Simply Rachel Nicole says
Yay! Thanks for this list. 🙂 I’ve been in the market for a good book. I think I want to read Me Before You
Nicole @ Blunders and Absurdities Blog says
I recently read and loved The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani. I thought The Husband’s Secret was great too – perfect for the beach or as an audiobook on a long drive!
Hi Julie!! I know I already bugged you on snapchat about this author, but Jennifer Weiner is one of my all time favorites! Two good ones for summer reading:
-Who Do You Love
This one is more of a basic love story than Weiner usually does, but the writing is phenomenal and it’s perfect for the beach! (Plus check out this funny review from Glamour Magazine: “It’s The Fault in Our Stars all grown-up: Two kids meet in an ER, cross paths later—and don’t die. Thank you, book gods.”)
-Fly Away Home
One of my all-time favorites! The protagonist is a politician’s wife whose life is turned upside down when it comes out into the public eye that her husband cheated on her with a younger intern. The story also focuses on her two adult daughters and it’s so well written!! Here’s the amazon review:
When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician’s wife—her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.
Lizzie, the Woodruffs’ younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve—a husband, a young son, the perfect home—and yet she’s trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER’s exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.
After Richard’s extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.
Also!! I just listened to Modern Romance as an audiobook (by Aziz Ansari! He reads the audiobook version too!) It was super interesting to listen to while taking walks!
Julia @ Drops of Jules says
I read Defending Jacob as per your recommendation a few weeks back and enjoyed it! I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of Me Before You before I see the movie, but I’m cutting it really close! It’s an unpopular opinion, but I wasn’t too much a fan of The Husband’s Secret. In my opinion Moriarty has much better novels out there! The Girl on the Train was a great, quick read! I powered through it the day after Christmas this year, and I can’t wait for the movie.
The Book Thief is in my top ten books ever read. If anyone read this comment here, please please please read The Book Thief! It’s so worth the heartbreak you’ll experience.
I love to see that you suggest The Kite Runner. It’s one of my favorite books!
Jessica @ Semi-Sweet Tooth says
Ummmm… that Henrietta Lacks book sounds AMAZING! I’m a total non-fiction nerd – a proud one really – and that book sounds like my jam! Can’t wait to check it out!
Thanks for the tips!
Jennifer Moneagle says
If you love non-fiction then you must pick up When Breath Becomes Air – it is beautifully written and haunts me still
Paula Niziolek says
I loved Henrietta Lacks! What a story! Sarah’s Key and The Book Thief are sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Can’t wait! The best of the books I’ve read recently was The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. It was a great historical fiction based around the Titanic.
Try “All the light we cannot see”. Very good.
Shelley Huang says
The Gargoyle by Andrew David. The Magician’s Lie by Greer McAllister. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve definitely read all of these more than once! Some of them are even better the second time around!
I’m in the middle of A House in the Sky. It’s a memoir and not my usual read but I can’t put it down.
A young female journalist is kidnapped and held captive in Somalia for a year and a half and it’s her story.
Liora (Allthingsloveli) says
I can’t wait to see the Me Before You movie! I just bought Eligible on my Kindle, looking forward to breaking into it this long weekend!
Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona says
I really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret, The Kite Runner, and The Book Thief. Actually The Book Thief was one of the few books that has ever made me cry.
Nikki Zilinsky says
I have read, and loved, all of these books except 2 of them! Adding Defending Jacob and Absolute Power to my summer reading list. Thank you!
If you liked Girl on the Train, might I suggest The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. Someone told me it was twistier than Gone Girl. And it is. I really enjoyed it.
I loved Sarah’s Key! I am currently working my way through Hamilton, by Ron Chernow (the biography on which the hit musical is based). It is extremely well-written and not dry at all – even though it is an 800+ page biography, Chernow uses so much color to describe the events and characters. I highly recommend the book, and also the music from the Hamilton musical if you haven’t yet listened to it. Thanks for the recommendations!
Great picks! I’m definitely adding the 2 I haven’t read to my list. Oh, and Sarah’s Key is one of my top 3 books and not many people have read it. Hopefully after seeing your list, they will add it to theirs!
This is a great list! I’ve read all but two of them, so I’m excited to dig into those! p.s. you totally turned me onto Sarah Jio, and now I’ve read all of her books, hah!
A few people have already mentioned these, but I have to too, because you’d probably love ’em : All the Light We Cannot See, The Light Between Oceans, Orphan Train, and Firefly Lane.
And if you’re looking for books to really bring light to emotions/courage & vulnerability, read any and all of Brene Brown’s books. They’re the bomb diggity.
Wow, your list came out the same day as the list on Modern Mrs. Darcy! Have you heard of that blog? She is my resource for what to read next whenever I need a suggestion :). Her list is at http://modernmrsdarcy.com/its-here-the-2016-summer-reading-guide. I highly recommend her!
Faith VanderMolen says
Oh man! I already have so many books on my Kindle that I need to get to, and now I just added so many of these. They all sound so good! Thanks for putting this together!
Come Away With Me by Karma Brown was so, so good- the ending really surprised me! Highly recommend it!!
“Find Her” by Lisa Gardner was fantastic!! I couldn’t put it down & finished it in two days 🙂
Thanks for putting this together! I have read your blog for a long time and have really enjoyed all your book recommendations. This is by far my favorite blog because of how well rounded you keep the content. Some fitness, yummy and simple recipes, classic fashion and style pointers, and great book recs. Thank you!
Kim from MN says
I literally own thousands of books (I have an actual library in my small home! And I just packed up half of them to get my home ready for viewings because we’re putting our house up for sale.) And I too absolutely hate it when I can’t seem to really get into a book, it’s my total joy before bedtime! So I looooove book recommendations, so I will be thoroughly reading these comments, too! Thanks for the great post, Julie!
If you or anyone who reads this is looking for crowd-approved books (that is, books that I read that I loved, that I then loaned or bought for others, and THEY loved, who then read them at book clubs and THEY all loved them), here’s my list:
The Rosie Project – by Graeme Simsion. So good it’s going to be turned into a movie with Jennifer Lawrence! Told from a professor’s viewpoint. Julie, if you love THE BIG BANG THEORY, you will love this book. And anyone else, if you don’t love the Big Bang Theory, you will still love this book. And it has a sequel, The Rosie Effect. If a romantic comedy movie could be a book, this would be it. FUNNY. It’s somehow also a mystery. It’s fun.
On the Island – by Tracey Garvis-Graves. Can’t give too much away, but two people crash land on an island. Page turner.
If You Only Knew – by Kristin Higgins. About two sisters, very interesting. LOTS of funny moments. You’ll be hooked in the first chapter, so I recommend “look inside” on amazon, and you’ll see what I mean.
Life as We knew it – by Susan Beth Pfeffer. About daily life and survival on modern day earth after a catastrophe. There are sequels, and they’re all good, but skip book four! Not worth reading! The author retired immediately after releasing that book. The first three are excellent.
Nickel Plated – by Aric Davis. NOT a YA novel, however the protagonist is a boy-detective, who rights wrongs. This book is not for kids at all due to the nature of the crimes he’s investigating, but it’s a swift mystery read. The author wrote it to deal with some of his own traumatic past. Amazon promoted this book heavily about 3 years ago, which is when I read it.
I have more recommendations but can’t think of them right now. I love talking books, and can’t wait to cruise through these comments. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Julie!
I really love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It is an 8 book series. The STARS show Outlander is based on this series.
The recommendations in the comments are all so very helpful. I have a nice list now. Thanks all.
To add to the list, I highly recommend: A Man Called Ove and the Storied Life of AJ Fikrey.
ABsolutely need to read “the Martian” what an awesome read. 5 stars!! I, like you also enjoyed defending jacob and the totally was taken by surprise at the ending.
Krysten Moore says
Thanks so much for sharing! I’m in the middle of The Rosie Project, and I’m just not loving it as much as I wanted to be. Up next is the second book in the Divergent series and then I’ll have to check one of these out. Defending Jacob sounds like a page-turner!
Currently reading Boys on a Boat which has surprised me in the fact that I lilke it! It is a true story based on the rowing crew from Washington State inthe 1936 Olympics but it is written more like a novel so you find yourself really caught up inthe story and the lives of the individual characters.
Thanks for all the great suggestions. One that everyone seems to like but I found depressing in Girl on a Train. The main character’s own life just disturbed me so that I had trouble getting through the book.
Like things by Lane Moriarity, whose name I may have just massacred. They seem to always have a little twist that you are just not expecting.
What Alice Forgot is amazing!! Everyone I’ve recommended it too loves it!
Also, I’m currently reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter and it’s great so far! I can’t put it down!
Absolute Power of course 🙂
I’ve already read a bunch of these (The Book Thief, The Kite Runner, The Girl On The Train) and LOVED them, so I added all the other one to my toberead-list! We seem to have the same taste in books. 🙂
Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes says
Thanks for sharing! We clearly have similar taste in books because I read The Husband’s Secret, The Girl on the Train and Violets of March already and loved them. I’ll have to check out some of your other recommendations. I recently finished Paris Letters and I would definitely recommend checking that one out!