What I’m Reading: The Best Books from Summer 2018

Top 5 Best Books from Summer 2018

Which psycho read 23 books this summer? MEEEE 🙂 And I’m here to recap them all for you: which ones to check out, which ones to devour IMMEDIATELY, and which ones to skip. So, without further ado, here are the best books from summer 2018.

Top 5 Best Books from Summer 2018

Top 5 Best Books from Summer 2018

  1. Now That You Mention It by Kristan HigginsOh, how I loved this book. It has everything: humor, adversity, inspiration, tragedy, sadness, travel, dysfunctional families, addiction, romance, a dog as a main character, and so much more. I’ve never read a book with so much depth of character and story telling before. I fell so in love with all the characters, and with the setting itself: coastal Maine! I cried at the ending just because the story was over. Nora, a doctor and the main character, gets in an accident and breaks up with her cheating boyfriend all in the same day, so she moves back home to Scupper Island, Maine, to recover at home with her mom and trusty doggo. From there, the story wraps you up in her dysfunctional family life, confronting her old high school bullies, a new romance, overcoming PTSD, and in general just marveling at what a strong, amazing, hilarious woman she is. You’ll never want to leave Maine and Nora. Bonus points if you listen to the audiobook and get to experience Xe Sands’ narration in all its Maine accent greatness.
  2. Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonAnother book that will make you immediately want to book a ticket to go there. This time, it’s in Cuba. This novel is so beautiful and well-told, I wish it were twice as long. The story follows two different timelines: current day American traveling to Cuba for the first time, and her grandmother in 1950’s Havana. As someone who lost their own grandmother, I really connected to Marisol’s journey to honor her recently departed Cuban grandmother’s memory. Plus, there are sexy Cuban men everywhere you turn 😉
  3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin KwanThis one has been on everyone’s summer reading list since the movie came out, and let me tell you- it lives up to the hype!! If I have any critique, it’s that there are too many characters and story lines, and it’s hard to keep all the names straight. That being said, I freaking LOVED this book! There’s just nothing else out there quite like it. Hilarious, romantic, and will fill you with an insatiable travel bug to visit Singapore. You’ll love being swept away into the truly crazy world of billionaire Asian moguls.
  4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensThe quote on the cover says everything I wanted to say: “Painfully beautiful. . . At once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative, and a celebration of nature.” At its core, this novel is deeply sad, but don’t let that deter you. It’s worth the read. Kya was abandoned by her whole family as a young child, and was forced to survive on her own and raise herself in near isolation for years in the marshes of North Carolina. It truly is heartbreaking, but also completely inspirational. Her story is incredible, and the ongoing suspense and murder mystery aspect of it all makes the book really satisfying. It’s a slow read, with copious detail of the marsh, but truly gorgeous. It’s one of those books that makes you a better, more compassionate person for reading it and seeing the world through anothers eyes.
  5. Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly HarperOkay, so this is one of SIX Molly Harper books I read this summer. Yes, I’m obsessed with her and her narrator, Amanda Ronconi. Pure Audible gold. This one really stands out to me though as one to recommend/ one of the best. Maybe it’s because it’s set in Georgia? Maybe because I just really loved the main character Margot and her hilarious family that owns a funeral home/bait shop combo. Who knows, but it’s a light and funny one you’ll love from start to finish.

Entertaining Mysteries Worth a Read

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

One of the best twisty mysteries- hands down- I’ve ever read is Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, (blog post about it here) so when I saw she had a new book coming out- “Cross Her Heart”- I was WAY too excited. It came out this summer in the UK, and didn’t release in the US until about a month ago. My weirdo ass ordered it FROM THE UK and had it shipped because I refused to wait. Well, I finished “Cross Her Heart” in one day, and I definitely had some thoughts. While it was a gripping, suspenseful mystery with a “Gone Girl” vibe, it was deeply disturbing. If you love dark stories, you’ll love it. If small children being abused/murdered is too much for you, stay far, far away.

The Silkworm and Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I’m currently in the middle of Book 4 of this series, but I read books 2 & 3 this summer, (“The Silkworm” and “Career of Evil”, respectively). I can’t get enough of these books! I included the first book, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” on my last book roundup, and I’ve been devouring them ever since. Did you know the author, Robert Galbraith, is actually JK Rowling (of Harry Potter) writing under a fake name? Another reason for me to love it 🙂 These are classic detective novels with lots of twists, hidden clues, and red herrings galore. They can get off to a slow start, but you’ll be hooked in no time.

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Woo! This one was a doozy. Talk about f#*@ed up. This book follows the story of a 15-year old girl, Annie, whose mother is a serial killer. Annie turns her in to the cops, and the majority of the book centers on her testimony at her mother’s trial. The story really gets you deep into Annie’s mind- and her constant internal struggle- of whether she is bad like her mom or not. By the end of the book, you’ll know for certain.

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

I felt like this book was pretty standard- not great, but not bad at all. The main characters were a little annoying, but the premise of the novel was intriguing: what happens after you find millions of dollars floating in the water? People come after you, that’s what. I enjoyed the side-plot of the documentary film maker, and the twist at the end was predictable, but entertaining nonetheless.

A Simple Favor by Darcy Bell

We read this one for my book club only because the movie had just come out. The plot was very “Gone Girl”-esque, with the main twist being right smack in the middle of the book when the narrator changes. I enjoyed the book from start to finish, and it was a very easy read, but man, it had some bizarre details. The characters’ “secrets” in this book were very taboo, which made it a little different than your average read. Now I just need to watch the movie!

Light & Juicy Reads

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Another Molly Harper book! Not the first or last on this list; I’m obsessed. This book is everything you need: a strong, hilarious female lead, a sexy, surly werewolf love interest, and a tiny, lovable town in Alaska. You’ll fly through it, laughing the whole way.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand and beach reads are synonymous to me. Any of her books you pick up will be light, juicy, and entertaining, and The Perfect Couple is no exception. A Nantucket wedding, a dead maid-of-honor, and a lot of not-so-perfect couples with secrets to hide. This was a well-crafted mystery without straying too far from the juicy, chic lit category.

Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men, Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever, and Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors by Molly Harper

Again with the Molly Harper. I can’t stop! The whole “Nice Girls” series is everything you wishes Twilight would have been: funny, sexy, and definitely not cringe-worthy. You’ll fall totally in love with Jane Jameson, former librarian and doormat turned witty Vampire, and her hilarious adventures in learning the blood-sucking ropes in rural Kentucky. I devoured them all.

On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Obviously, “Now That You Mention It” by Kristan Higgins was on my Top 5, so I immediately read another of hers. “On Second Thought” was extremely good too, but just a little sadder and less complex than the other, so it didn’t make the ‘best-of’ cut. Right off the bat, the main character loses her husband and it’s just depressing. But, with the help of her sister who is going through her own breakup, they both get back on their feet. It’s heartwarming, funny, and memorable.

Changeling by Molly Harper

No really, my Molly Harper addiction is REAL. This time, the story is set in a dystopian society where witches and wizards rule, and non-magical people are their servants. The story centers around a teenage girl, born into a servant family, that finds out she does, in fact, have magical powers. Her time at wizarding school is vaguely Harry Potter-esque, and very entertaining. I can’t wait for more books in this series to come out!

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

I read this book in one day on my honeymoon, and it was exactly the light, juicy entertainment I needed while sunning myself. Affairs, rumors, and secrets, all in a beachy Nantucket setting.

The High Season by Judy Blundell

This is another good vacation read! The story is set in the Hamptons, and is told from a few different perspectives of the locals that cater to the lives of the rich, wealthy summer tourists.

Ones You Can Skip

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

This is potentially the worst book I read this year. Nearly impossible to get through, I was bored stiff and put it on 1.5x speed (audiobook) just to get it over with. Seriously, Reese Witherspoon, what were you thinking when you put this on your book club list? The characters were totally flat and I don’t even remember any of their names. Even with the whole murder mystery aspect, this book sucked. Period. Don’t read it.

Folded Notes from High School by Matthew Boren

This one was funny, but totally stupid. The whole book is actually just folded notes from high school. Notes passed back and forth between different people unfolds the “dramatic” lives of high schoolers. The lingo and slang they used was over-the-top and confusing at times. It’s like the author tried so hard to make it realistic he forgot to add a plot. The main character was a ridiculous narcissist and I routinely skipped over pages and pages at a time of absolute nonsense and worthless words.

The Couple Next Door by Shari LapenaI actually read this book, cover-to-cover, on a 5-hour flight back from the west coast. It’s not that it was bad, per se, it was just blah for a psychological thriller. I found the twists and premise a little obvious and overdone, and the characters were not memorable.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I think my opinion here might be an unpopular one, but I found this classic book pretty plot-less. There were absolutely some powerful passages about the feeling of mental illness and depression, but it feels like the book is only so highly regarded and popular because the author committed suicide right after publishing.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

This book wasn’t bad, but it never sucked me in completely like most other “twisty mysteries” I read, and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend it compared to some of Ruth Ware’s other books.

Still want more? Check out some of the other books I’ve read:

The Best Books of Spring 2018

The 12 Best Books I Read This Winter, Ranked

The 9 Best Books I Read This Summer

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Written by Ally