Summer’s One “Must Read” Book

July 16, 2019

Find Your One “Must Read” Book of the Summer!

One Great Summer Read

Are you pondering what book to pack for your vacation?

Are you in limbo trying to decide what ONE great book to read this summer?

Do you ever wish someone would just TELL you what book to read?

Are you looking for a list of trusted book review bloggers?

Do you spend more time thinking about which book to pack for your vacation than packing the clothes? (oh…just me?)

If you only have time to read ONE more book before summer’s end, what would you choose?

beach reads cartoon

This is the time of year when readers look for “beach reads.” This term is puzzling to me because I think any book you read at the beach is a beach read (similar to any body at the beach is a beach body!). Furthermore, “beach read” means different things to different readers: some want easy reading/light/fluffy, some want escapist, some want thrillers/suspense/mystery, while others are looking for heavier or longer reads that they might have more time for in the summer. During the summer, I look for the same types of reads I look for all year long: something substantial, engaging, memorable, unputdownable, and thought-provoking. What is your ideal beach read?

One Great Summer Read.png
Image Source: Canva

Reviewers Recommend:

Some things bring joy to a blogger’s heart and this post is definitely at the top of the list!

I am thrilled to publish this post today! I contacted twelve experienced reviewers from a variety of geographical locations to ask them what they would recommend as their ONE “not-to-be-missed  5 Star” summer recommendation. Today, I’m exceptionally excited to introduce you to twelve bloggers who chose ONE recommendation for YOU (listed in alphabetical order by blogger’s first name). Please take a look at their recommendation, check out their blog, and give them a follow!

I think you’ll enjoy the following “recent releases” recommendations that include some diversity and represent a variety of genres that will appeal to a variety of tastes (from hisfic to romance to nonfiction to family drama to southern fiction to time travel to young adult to slightly dark).

i love books

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links and full review links have been included.


Afoma (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at Afoma Umesi recommends her favorite character-driven mystery/thriller.

Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Searching For Sylvie Lee

In Afoma’s words:

“Searching for Sylvie Lee is a thought-provoking meditation on race, Chinese culture, mental health, and life in Amsterdam. This contemporary, character-driven mystery-thriller will keep you turning the pages.

If you’re a fan of books featuring a search for identity, forbidden love, and foreign countries, this might be the pick for you!”

Find Afoma’s full review here.


(Kentucky) at The Lexington Bookie recommends a family drama and a diverse read.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

In Amanda’s Words:
“My summer must-read of 2019 is Balli Kaur Jaswal’s The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. The novel is a beautifully woven story of sisterhood and family devotion, from the view of three sisters on a spiritual journey to India in memory of their mother. I absolutely adored Kaur Jaswal’s latest novel, and her writing is both fun and poetic. She knows how to write snappy dialogue but then get descriptive in a scenic moment. I not only felt like a fly on the wall of this family, but I felt like I went to India with these women too- bathing in the Ganges, visiting the temples, and going to the market. In the end, this novel had me both teary-eyed and cackling with memories of my own sisterly dramas.
If you’re looking for your fix of drama, comedy, culture, and wanderlust this summer, this is the perfect read for you!”


Ashley (Texas) at Ashes Books & Bobs recommends a new favorite rom-com and slow-burn romance.

Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey

Coldhearted Boss

In Ashley’s words:
“I love a book that is able to make me forget about star ratings, the review I have to write, and the date I need to read it by. This book took away every ounce of pressure that comes with being a book blogger and allowed me to fully enjoy the story. I was in a love-induced daze when I finished this book, unsure of where I was or who I am. I haven’t experienced this level of total absorption in a story in a long time. Ethan and Taylor were everything I needed in the characters.
This enemies-to-lovers story may be my very favorite by R.S. Grey – the slow burn was off the charts and the angst they felt for one another was palpable. I loved every single second of this book and wish it wasn’t over!”


Davida (Israel) at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog recommends a story set in South Carolina in 1989.

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis.

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt

In Davida’s words:

“The reason I recommend this first and foremost is because this debut, historical fiction novel is stunningly and beautifully written! Bobotis brings the reader to a fictional, cotton town in South Carolina in 1989, with secrets of the Kratt family from 60 years prior. Yes, South Carolina in the 1920s means racism and hatred, mixed with the steady decline of a town that could have boomed, but instead went bust, not only because of the effects of the Great Depression. Every setting is vivid, and every character comes alive with Bobotis’s very unique voice and fluid storytelling.

I gave this an unequivocal 5/5 stars and it is now my favorite novel published in 2019 so far!”

Find Davida’s full review here.

Jaymi (California) at Orange County Readers recommends a contemporary women’s fiction title by a popular author.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire
In Jaymi’s words:
“What makes for a good summer read? A warm setting, a problem that gets resolved and characters that I’d want to be friends with in real life! 
This was my second book by Katherine Center after last year’s How to Walk Away and I read it as soon as I was approved on netgalley!
Cassie Hanwell is the main character and she’s a badass. She’s a firefighter and a paramedic, she’s ridiculously fit and has no trouble holding her own!
Cassie thrives on routine and predictability. When she moves from Texas to Massachusetts to help care for her sick mom, Cassie must face her past. 
This was a story about forgiveness and family and being compassionate and real and courageous. Oh, and hot firefighters never hurt a storyline!”

 Jennifer (North Carolina) at Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader recommends a memorable southern historical fiction story.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

In Jennifer’s Words:

“In The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, you will come to know the hills of Kentucky and its hardscrabble people during the Depression. You will also come to know, as you already do, dear reader, that books empower those who have been deprived and instill hope to the weary and lost. 

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek will be a novel I remember from the summer of 2019. The experience of reading it and its endearing characters will always be carried with me. I save room for the best kinds of books to do just that.”

Find Jennifer’s full review here.

 Kayla (Kentucky) at Kayla’s Only Heart recommends a YA book by a favorite, popular author.

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the Story
In Kayla’s words:
“Sarah Dessen’s latest novel The Rest of the Story hit shelves just in time for summer reading. It even takes place at a lake during summer as Emma Saylor visits her maternal grandmother she hadn’t seen since early childhood. As she reunites with her mother’s extended family years after the loss of her mother, she starts to learn some background. Dessen tackles developing new family relationships, handling the risks of alcoholism, and first love all within the view of a North Carolina lake. The slowly budding romance brings both sweetness and depth as Saylor develops her identity.
Though generally revolving around teens, the story delivers a reminder to readers of all ages that we can learn more about ourselves and family by acknowledging the details, flaws and all, rather than ignoring them.”

Kendra (Texas) at Kendra Nicole recommends a favorite nonfiction read with the practical topic of “decision fatigue.”

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

The Next Right Thing

In Kendra’s words:

“I’m notoriously decision-averse, so when Emily P. Freeman (my favorite online spiritual mentor) announced a new book about making decisions with peace and clarity, I knew that reading it was one decision I would NOT have difficulty making.

The book explores various aspects of decision making, from becoming a soul minimalist and learning to say no, to staying in the present and refusing to rush clarity. Freeman shares stories of how these soul-nurturing practices have played out in her personal life, and she guides readers in incorporating these principles into our own decision making as we navigate life’s chaos. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea how complex and important decision making could be, but with each new tool presented, I found myself thinking, “Yes! This is where I’ve been going wrong in making decisions. THIS is why decisions are so fatiguing for me!” Freeman’s advice helped me make peace with my own lack of clarity and left me feeling empowered to approach decisions with confidence, integrity, and grace. 

The Next Right Thing is a must-read for anyone seeking wise, compassionate guidance in navigating life’s decisions, big and small. My Rating: 5 Stars!”

 Find Kendra’s full review here.

 Kristin (Canada) at Kristin Kraves Books recommends an atmospheric and slightly dark historical fiction title set in the English countryside.

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

Bitter Orange.jpg
In Kristin’s words:
“Bitter Orange is a historical fiction novel set in the summer of 1969. Our main character, Frances, is spending the summer in a rundown mansion in the English countryside where she has been employed to research the architecture. It is here where she finds herself living with (above) a dynamic and intriguing couple, Cara and Peter. Frances quickly becomes enamored with this couple, to the point where she spies on them through a peephole in the floor, and you start to get the sense that things are not as they seem. There is a sinister tone throughout the entire novel and you never quite know who to trust. This is a book that will take you places that you will not see coming. Bitter Orange has such a sense of place. The setting and the environment are imperative to the story. You get the feeling that the insufferable heat plays a major part in the decisions that the characters make.
Bitter Orange is the perfect book to read this summer if you are looking for something that has an element of mystery with writing so lush that you feel like you are part of the story- suffering in the heat and the surroundings right along with the characters.”

Lynne (Canada) at Fictionophile recommends a popular unputdownable story with an abundance of atmosphere and scenery descriptions of the swamp and its wildlife.
where the crawdads sing
In Lynne’s words:
“I was very surprised to learn that this is a first novel. The author has published a few non-fiction books before this, so obviously, she has honed her writing skills before her fiction debut. The characterization and imagery were nothing short of outstanding.
This novel highlights the strength and resiliency of the human spirit as well as the more negative aspects of prejudice and bigotry. It is a book about loss, hope, friendship, and human kindness. It clearly demonstrates the profound impact of social isolation.
This literary fiction novel was as much of a treasure as Kya’s beloved feathers. A rare treat for fans of the genre. A masterpiece. Highly recommended!”


Nicki (Jersey, Channel Islands) at the Secret Library Book Blog recommends a book set in 1920s Ireland.

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

What The Wind Knows

In Nicki’s words:

“This was a book I felt so at home in and didn’t want to leave. I felt like I’d been transported to 1920s Ireland every time I picked up this book. The writing was so beautiful and the characters so real that it was an absolute pleasure to read. I loved that there was a mystery involved in the plot as well, but it wasn’t at the forefront of the story, just bubbling away in the background, only being revealed towards the end.

I can see myself reading this book again as I loved the setting and would love to go back and become reacquainted with Anne and Thomas.”

Find my full review on my blog.


Tina (California) at Reading Between The Pages recommends a memorable read for fans of historical fiction.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say

In Tina’s words:

“The Things You Cannot Say is a must-read for anyone who loves historical fiction! It only took reading the prologue to hook me! This book has it all – family, mystery, love, intrigue, tragedy, and more. The characters are fantastic and many of the relationships woven into the story touched my heart. This memorable book made me smile, and I even found myself giggling from time to time.

This book was released in March and it immediately went right on my top ten books of the year, here we are four months later and it is still there.”

Tima’s full review here.

baker's dozen

Last, making a perfect “baker’s dozen,” is a recommendation from me!

love to read

Carol (California) from Reading Ladies recommends a favorite complicated family drama.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes

In Carol’s words:

“Complicated family drama is one of my favorite sub genres, but it may not be for everyone. Ask Again, Yes includes issues of mental illness and alcoholism with strong themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and saying “Yes” again and again to love and life with all its risks and complications.

This book isn’t perfect, but it is poignant, realistic, and hopeful. I cared deeply for the characters and their well being and healing.”

Find Carol’s full review here.

Thank you to each blogger who participated in this post and for your ONE GREAT recommendation!

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed this collaborative post! Please share or pin this post so that others looking for ONE great read can hear about these recommendations! Let us know in comments if you choose ONE of these books for your summer read! One of our greatest joys is hearing that you read one of our recommended books!

ONE Great Summer Read
Image Source: Canva

top ten tuesday

We’re linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie
(even though we have 13 in our list of Summer Reads!)


Did you choose one of these books to read this summer?

 Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“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

Sharing is Caring

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Please consider following some or all of the thirteen blogs represented in this post.

***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.

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

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.


  1. What a fun post Carol!! Thanks for doing all the work to bring al those blogger recommendations together! I’ve only read the Crawdads book. But Ask Again, Yes is on our Lit Group list to read in October and I’m looking forward to it. I just finished reading Unmmarriagable. (I think from your recommendation). Enjoyable and fun for summer– Now I need to get to the library to pick up the old BBC Pride and Prejudice to remember which plot lines are exactly from the Austen version. And read This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell — a man marries a film star who has fled to live in seclusion in rural Ireland. Strong characters and the book mostly centers on them and relationships with their children and family. Each chapter is sort of its own little story. Intriguing, but maybe not for everyone. And now I’m reading The Gown– which heard about from you– just starting, but so far just up by alley. Have you listened to Anne Bogel’s new second podcast?? Short with just a 10 minute review of one, usually older, book. That’s fun while you’e cooking dinner or walking… OK, hope you’re having a wonderful summer– any travels?? We’re headed to Ukraine to do a Music Camp with a church from Odessa next Tuesday. A little nervous, but trusting God to use it all. OK, love to you from here. Love your blog– and Instagram posts!!

    • Hi Rhonda! Thanks for your reading update! I actually haven’t yet read (or recommended) Unmarriageable ….you might have seen it on the MMD SRG. I Read Ayesha At Last…..another P&P retelling. It was enjoyable. I read This Must Be The Place. I can’t say it’s a fav but I do admire the writing. It was a challenging timeline to follow! I hope you enjoy The Gown! Yes I’m listening to Bogel’s newest podcast 👍😍 This week I’m reading Recursion….not my usual genre! But I’m curious about it. Hope your trip goes well! I’ll look for your updates on Instagram! We don’t have any big travel plans for summer. We’ll stick around to monitor and report on earthquakes I guess! 😱 Thanks for commenting and your kind words!

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