Summer Reading Season

May 18, 2018

summer reading

Summer TBR

As the summer reading season quickly approaches, it’s a perfect time to update TBRs! Honestly, I spend a great deal of time combing published lists and curating my TBR, and it’s a work in progress (more like a moving target to quote The Loud Library Lady) because I will delete and add titles depending on reviews and availability. For this list, I deliberately sought out recent releases, diverse reads, and women authors. If any of these reads earn a 4 or 5 star rating from me, you’ll see my review on the blog. Please don’t think I’m recommending everything on this list….I don’t end up loving every title I read…..what you read will depend on your preferences and preferred genres.

It’s OK to like different books!

One list that I always check for ideas is Modern Mrs Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. (I’m not sure whether or not you need to register your email to access the list…if so, you can always unsubscribe). The books on her list don’t always align with my preferences (more than a few on this year’s list are heavier and/or darker than usual or not preferred genres so check the reviews carefully….I already found a couple from her list that I’ve scratched off and one that I started a few weeks ago and discarded onto the DNF shelf); nevertheless, I did find a handful of good titles to add to my summer TBR. What you might like about the MMD Summer Reading Guide is that these will most likely be the most talked about books this summer and show up on your local Target shelf. (By the way, I didn’t put the popular The Great Alone on my summer list because I’ve already read and reviewed it here. I recommend it for your summer reading if you haven’t already read it….*trigger warnings for some domestic abuse.)***I’m planning to come back to this list throughout the year and add updates as I read the selections.

***Edited to add: Naturally, the first book I read this summer wasn’t even on this list and I loved it: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto …. review here.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Here’s what’s ahead for me this summer on my TBR (in no particular order):
(Amazon links provided for summary and purchase information)

Force of NatureForce of Nature by Jane Harper
Genre: Crime Fiction
(stand alone….you do not have to have read The Dry before reading her second book). This title was on my Spring TBR and I’m still on the library wait list).
***Update: Solid read. 4 stars. Agent Falk continues as a main character in this atmospheric mystery set in the isolated woods of Australia, and I enjoyed it just as much as The Dry. Force of Nature Review Here.

the widows of malabar hillThe Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
(diverse read set in Bombay, India).
Genre: Mystery
*A bit nervous about this…it’s received mixed reviews.
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 Stars on Goodreads). Full Review Here

a place for usA Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
(diverse read)
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Cultural Heritage/Family Life
Releases June 12, 2018.
***UPDATE: 5 Stars! Favorite book of the year so far. Full Review Here.

what we were promisedWhat We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
(diverse read)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Asian American
UPDATE: 2.5 Stars. Underwhelmed…although the cultural aspects were compelling. Goodreads Review Here.

ensembleThe Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Genre: Fiction (Music)
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars. An OK read. Full Review Here.

how to walk awayHow to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Genre: Women’s Fiction
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars….betting on hope. Not reviewed.

the boat peopleThe Boat People by Sharon Bala 
(Diverse read, Sri Lanka to Canada)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Cultural Heritage/Family Life
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Relevant, compelling, compassionate, and fair. Full Review Here.

whiskey and ribbonsWhiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
(diverse read)
Genre: African-American/Women’s Fiction/Family Life
***UPDATE: I decided not to read this one.

not your perfect mexican daughterI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
(diverse read, Mexican American)
Genre: YA Fiction/Social and Family Issues
***UPDATE: I abandoned this at 30%….not the book for me….disappointing (others have loved it)

map of salt and starsThe Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar 
(diverse read, Syria)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Folk Tale
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. An engaging read and one of my favorite stories of the year. Full Review Here.

clock dance

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Domestic Life.
Releases July 10, 2018.
Although I’m not a huge Anne Tyler fan, I’m willing to give this a try (keeping it on my list until more reviews come in) because she’s a gifted writer.
***UPDATE: Pleasantly surprised by this quiet, character driven story. 3.5 Stars.
Full Review Here

convenience store womenConvenience Store Woman by  Sayaka Murata
(diverse read)
Genre: Fiction
Releases June 12, 2018.
This had me at “quirky.”
***UPDATE: This is a quick, easy read (one day or possibly one sitting). I enjoyed this engaging story about a convenience store worker in Japan and her unique challenges. It might not be for everyone, but I enjoy adore quirky characters. 4 stars. Full Review Here.

Auntie PoldiAuntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
(diverse read)
Genre: Fiction/International Mystery
*Unsure about this one…it’s received mixed reviews.
***UPDATE: I finished it but it wasn’t a favorite read. 3 stars. Purely escapist, quirky characters, Italian culture, a mystery to solve, and a bit of romance. Although the writing is generally snappy, it’s a bit over the top for my taste. Goodreads review here.

I was anastasia

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Mystery
I’m on the fence about this one. Reviews are mixed. Just about the time I decide I’ll skip it, I’ll read a great review and then I have FOMO (fear of missing out)! So, I’m keeping this on the list for now.
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars Full Review Here

queen of hearts

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Sisters/Mothers & Children
*Compared to Grey’s Anatomy (on the fence about this one)
***UPDATE: I’m skipping this one right now, but it’s still on my TBR.

Chick Lit

Honestly, light chick lit is a genre that I don’t usually love; however, multitudes of readers buy and enjoy light chick lit reads by the pool, next to the ocean, or while traveling during the summer. Because of FOMO (fear of missing out) and from time to time liking a palate cleanser in between heavier reads, I will (selectively) read chick lit. Two that I’m contemplating this summer, should the mood strike, are The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand (Releases June 19, 2018) and I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Maria de los Santos.

***UPDATE: Although The Perfect Couple is better than other books I’ve read by the author, the genre is not my cup of tea (although others love it). 2.5 Stars. Goodreads Review Here.
***UPDATE: I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is better written with more complexity than typical chick lit reads. Give this a chance! 4 star Goodreads Review Here.

By the way….

Any book you read at the beach is a beach read! (doesn’t have to be escapist)

Any book you read during the summer is a summer read! (doesn’t have to be light)

…and along the same train of thought….Any body wearing a swim suit is a beach body.

Winter and Spring TBR Update

I’m working toward reading the last two titles from my Winter and Spring TBR lists:

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is the only title left to read from my Winter list (I think at this point it feels like it has a permanent home on my TBR).

I finished The Music Shop from my Spring list this week and I reviewed it here.

I removed Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr from my Spring list because I found out that it’s an older book (written before All the Light You Cannot See)….. I’ll keep it on my general Goodreads to-read-someday shelf, but I’m removing it from my intentional, active TBR. If I visit Rome some day, I may move it to a priority list!

Do you like to make and check off lists?! When I look at both book lists, it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment! Most of them were enjoyable reads and if you look at the Index tab, you will find most reviews (I don’t review books on the blog that I do not truly love). Of course, there’s always books I discover along the way that never make it onto my TBR; they get squeezed in.

Other Reading Lists
(I have not previewed or read titles from these lists)

Diverse Books Club Book List (list in chart form)

Diverse Book Club Summer Reading Guide (same list as above with brief descriptions)

Prose and Palate: What Prose and Palate is Reading This Summer

The Novel Endeavor: A Mother’s Day Gift Guide (a few days late but I saw it after I had already published my recs for Mother’s Day post)

Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Links I Love

Do you love books and food? Check out the next two links!

My bookish friend Rhonda from The Thankful Heart shares a lovely breakfast get together with bookish friends that would be so easy and fun to emulate!

The Thankful Heart: Books and Breakfast: A Morning With Friends

If bookish get togethers and food are your jam….you might enjoy perusing The Ardent Biblio’s Literary Dinner Events (inspiring, ambitious, and lovely dinners using a book’s inspiration):

The Ardent Biblio: Literary Dinners

If you live in Tornado Alley or in an area that experiences severe weather you might enjoy this unique book list of 5 books to read in a shelter during a tornado alert!

Julia Harmon Book Woman: Five Reasons to Read During Severe Weather (& 5 recommendations)

Little Women

Did you watch the recent PBS adaptation of “Little Women”? The following link is an enjoyable and thoughtful review:

Peace, Love, and Raspberry Cordial: 12 Little Musings On the New Little Women

In Case You Missed It…….Last Week’s Post Listing Bookish Gift Ideas For Mom

Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’ll be reviewing “The Music Shop” and offering a “Memorable Character of the Month” link up opportunity.

music shop

Summary and Purchase Information Here

I Can’t Help It!

Books I’m Already Looking Forward To For Fall 2018!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
Releases October 8

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (C. S. Lewis)
Releases October 8

Kingdom of the Blind: An Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penney
Releases November 27

The Colors of All the Cattle: No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (#19) by Alexander McCall Smith
Releases November 6

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (author of The Book Thief)
Releases October 9

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 
Releases September 4

Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

 Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear about your summer TBR list!

Also, please share what you’ve been reading lately!

***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.


  1. What an ambitious reading list Carol!! I’ve not heard of most of these titles– where do you find your book choices?? I’m noting down books I want to look for– thanks thanks. And I’ve taped Little Women, but when I tried to watch it, our live in student kept talking! So I gave up and will watch it when I’m home alone!! It looks promising!! What did you think? (and thanks for the link up– I would love to have had you there with us! I’ll send you an invite when we do it next year– you’d have so much to add!) take care. xox

    • Most of these are new releases……most titles come from Modern Mrs Darcy and from my contacts on Instagram (bookstagram) 👍…… I’m already rethinking one because I’ve read 2 negative reviews of The Widows of Malabar Hill today…’s always risky putting a list out there before I’ve read them.

      I ended up taping Little Women tonight as my 4 yo grandson wanted to chat and play so I recorded it to watch later….but I’m enjoying it!

      • Hi Carol– I’m going to look of bookstgram– thanks! And I just finished watching Little Women this morning– liked it a lot. The Jo character was so strong and the cinematography was just beautiful. And somehow we have a copy of the Little Women movie with from about 15 years ago, which I really liked, so I’m going to watch it one of thee nights to compare… OK, love your posts!! Thanks for so many great recommendations! xox

      • Some people have been saying they prefer the original Little Women…….I’m curious how you’ll feel about the comparison! I thought the PBS version was well done…..and I can’t remember the original enough to compare! I think I’d enjoy any version! I remember my younger self loving Jo so much when I read the book.

        I’m eager to start on my summer reading! Can’t wait for the new Backman release! Happy reading Rhonda 😄❤️📚

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