Summer is among us, and it’s time to pick up a sweet summertime book to listen to while lounging on your outdoor patio furniture and by the pool.
Now with Amazon Prime Day, it’s never been more affordable to pick up a new read (especially when you can get three free months of Audible Premium Plus). With favorite titles — hint hint, check out Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club — you’ll soon make it your daily mission to read (or listen) every day.
As an avid reader, I make it a mission to read at least 50 pages of my favorite genre (that being rom-com), though I can typically finish a book in a day if it’s that good. With all of my book downloads and trips to the library, rest assured that this is the only list you’ll need.
Ahead, find the 30 best summer books to add to your personal library this season — all of which are on sale this Amazon Prime Day. It’s time to release my inner book critic and Goodreads five-star-rater.
Oh, and if you’re all about the e-reading, check out the best Amazon Prime Day Kindle deals that are happening now.
Rebecca Serle is the queen of literary realism, and “One Italian Summer” is no exception to her track record. This hot new release is part of most book lists — and not just for its riveting cover of the Italian riviera.
When Katy’s mother dies, she sets out on a solo trip to Positano, the southern landmark of lemons, luscious relaxation and lots of oceanic scenes. It’s one of the most thought-provoking books I read this year, surrounding the theme of discovering your true identity, overcoming grief on your own terms and finding magic along the way.
Georgia Clark is one of the most inspiring authors I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with through her writing. “Island Time” is her upcoming release that centers on a family who becomes stranded on an Australian island after a volcano erupts. It’s a wonderful, light read to take with you on vacation or to read when the sun’s shining.
What makes this work stand out from the rest is how beautifully Clark weaves her characters together; each one has a different personality and different subplots to follow. Plus, there are underlying themes of gender equality, authenticity and living life one day at a time.
OK, real talk — even if you’re not keen on thrillers, “The Golden Couple” is a must-read. I was hooked from beginning to end (and, the ending isn’t so predictable, which I appreciated).
It’s an electrifying story of two wealthy Washington suburbanites, Marissa and Matthew, who are navigating their marriage through counseling after infidelity. Enter Avery, their therapist, who’s investigating this “golden couple” off the clock, too. It’s spicy, seductive and just ideal to sift through.
Instantly made a national favorite, “The School for Good Mothers” deserves all the praise and acclaim for being one of the most unique novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. One author, Liz Moore, dubbed it “haunting and unforgettable,” saying she’s “in awe of Jessamine Chan’s mind.” I couldn’t agree more.
When Asian American protagonist Frida, the mother of Harriet, has a “horrible day,” she’s led to a surveillance-housed campus where she’ll learn how to be a good mother. It perfectly portrays the perils of culture differences, the struggles of motherhood and socioeconomic differences among caregivers. It’s probably next on deck to turn into a movie, too.
I’ve been a fan of Orenstein’s fiction work for a while, as she has a voice of her own for being a former matchmaker and journalist by trade. Her latest release, “Meant to Be Mine” is just as delightful as her other three novels, too.
Here, we explore Edie, the protagonist who has been waiting for a specific date to meet the love of her life (after her grandmother Gloria predicted meet-cutes for decades). When she meets who she instantly aligns to be the love of her life, she’s led to question if’s perfect timing — or, if fate-led relationships are a hoax.
If you love the traditional rom-com, you’ll love this new spinoff. It’s magical, wistful and leaves you in love with her words just as much as love for the characters (and hope for love in general, TBH).
Wow, if you’re looking for a great book you’ll be instantly obsessed with, “A Novel Obsession” hits the nail on the head — in both title and story.
Naomi Ackerman, a NYC-based bookseller and aspiring novelist, grows an uncanny obsession with her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. The “research” for her debut novel (of which she’s been procrasting writing) turns into impromptu meet-ups, and you’re just going to have to read for more.
I couldn’t put this book down. It became a page-turner on my commute to work (both ways) and there won’t be another one like it. Ultimately, Naomi must decide what’s worth the perfect ending. It’s so spicy.
All hail the Queen of Beach Reads, Jennifer Weiner. Her latest release, “The Summer Place,” is one of the more relatable reads to enjoy by the beach or pool — and, intelligently, makes pandemic references and touches on modern-day life to put this season into a whole new perspective.
The character-driven plot homes in on Sarah and her stepdaugher Ruby who’s planning a wedding with Gabe, her pandemic boyfriend she quarantined with at NYU. Along the way, you’ll meet Sarah’s former best-selling novelist mother Veronica, along with her brother, Sam, who’s on a self-discovery journey of his own.
Perfectly packaged into the hottest summer read, it’s one we recommend IRL, too.
Speaking of Weiner, you have to read “That Summer” (add both to your to-read list while you’re at it). Infused with beautiful, summery scenery from Cape Cod, the luscious descriptions of buttered lobster rolls and dips at the ocean make it one of the most well-written fiction books I’ve read.
Keep in mind that this book references sexual assault, so it may be a bit heavy for some. However, it’s a thought-provoking book that balances deeper topics and easy-breezy days of summer to a T.
As a fan of cruise vacations, I knew I had to read “The Unsinkable Greta James.” It’s also unique in that it focuses on a father-daughter relationship — one that’s somewhat of a rarity in modern-day fiction.
On a cruise to Alaska, both characters are sharpening their relationship by vacationing in close quarters, maturing in how they view themselves and resisting the urge to change. It’s an extremely light read — perfect for the warmer months, especially — and the characters are hard not to love.
Integrating the struggles of womanhood throughout, it’s the perfect coming-of-age story about growth, love and learning about what matters most.
Oh, how sweet this debut novel is from Rebecca Hardiman. “Good Eggs” homes in on three generations of a whimsical Irish family whose tensions ignite once a home aide enters their lives.
Filled with much wisdom (after all, an eighty-three-year-old), this casual read leaves you with the feeling that life is never too old to start living and that no single family is perfect — and that’s just part of what fills up your cup.
Truth be told, I’ve read “One Day in December” and “The Two Lives of Lydia Bird” by Josie Silver and, while I’d read them again, nothing compares to the author’s new release, “One Night on the Island.”
In this charming rom-com, Cleo scurries out of the country from her editorial job and into the throes of a remote Irish island to celebrate her thirtieth birthday. But, when she arrives, a handsome Boston native is already nice and cozy in what should have been Cleo’s rental property.
This easy-to-follow “opposites attract” novel is heartfelt and gave me all the feels (seriously, I was on the brink of tears at times). It’s phenomenal and worth the read.
I’ve read a boatload of rom-com novels (as if you couldn’t already tell), but when I say Kate Spencer’s debut novel “In a New York Minute” was one of the best ones I’ve read in a while, I’m not kidding.
When Franny is laid off from her interior design job, her dress ends up ripping when caught in a NYC subway door — as if her day couldn’t get any worse. But, when a well-suited man gives her his jacket, they end up going viral on social media.
You’ll just have to read it to find out the rest, but I seriously couldn’t put this one down. I loved all the modern-day language, too, and it is totally relatable if you’re a Gen Z or millennial; this one is such a gem!
Oh, Colleen Hoover. Like many avid readers, I’ve read a good amount of her novels (like “November 9” and “Verity“), though “Reminders of Him” was the most emotion-packed and beautifully woven together.
After five years in prison due to a tragic mishap, Kenna has her eyes after two things: (1) reinventing herself and (2) reconnecting with her daughter. When she runs into a bartender who’s the only connected trace of finding her, things become interesting.
The ending is the most shocking and hand-to-heart moment I’ve had in a while and, though a bit heavier than other books on the list, you won’t regret reading this one.
If you follow new releases, you likely know that “The Love Hypothesis” has received all the acclaim. It’s especially great for science lovers, college students and those who love all things academia.
I especially loved this collegiate-grounded plot, circling a bright PhD student and a professor with a cold interior. It’s another novel that’s a must-read (and, it gets quite steamy), great for fans of traditional rom-coms.
As a journalist, I, of course, had to read “Weather Girl.” Perfect for fans of “The Ex Talk” (Rachel Lynn Solomon’s other novel I enjoyed), the meteorologist and sports reporter relationship was unique to follow and a delight for the whimsically minded.
Not to mention, it’s relatable to the masses, with undercurrents of mental health advocacy and a whole bunch of weather-related puns, metaphors and proverbs.
As a devout fan of Sara Desai’s “The Marriage Game,” her recent release is chock-full of Indian culture and romance. After a devasting breakup, Zara is accustomed to sitting at the singles table for her schedule of weddings and happens to cross paths with someone she doesn’t particularly like: Jay.
As a celebrity-obsessed lawyer, Zara strikes a deal with Jay to play matchmaker for him if he’ll connect her to his roster of connections. It’s unpredictable, well-written and a lovely warm-weather read.
As a new author, “Without a Hitch” is one of those wonderfully woven reads that continues to be a source of inspiration for me. Written by a duo with experience in the wedding planning business, “Without a Hitch” centers on a twenty-something Lottie who lands a new career at an upscale wedding boutique firm where she’s planning lavish, bouquet-filled ceremonies.
But, the kicker: Lottie is faced with planning her ex-boyfriend’s wedding. This novel has a refreshing angle on southern charm, facing your fears and perhaps falling in love along the way.
As mentioned, Clark has my heart for her beautiful writing. “It Had to Be You” is a modern take on “Love Actually,” centering on a handful of NYC natives who are all woven together in some capacity.
This witty rom-com features Liv, who recently lost her husband, and eventually takes over their co-owned wedding business with his secret girlfriend, Savannah — a younger, southern blonde. It’s a sexy and charming tale rolled into one amazing work.
Add “The Dinner List” to your reading list along with Serle’s recent novel, “One Italian Summer.” Another literary realism pick, the extremely light read focuses on the question: “If you can have dinner with five people, living or dead, who would they be?”
The protagonist happens to experience that in reality, where a long dinner party leads to past reflections on love and life — and unchartered territory. It’s a fun, different book that would be great for a book club, too.
I had the pleasure of reading “The First Time We Met” this year and, even halfway through it, I knew it was going to be one of my favorites.
Izzy has a “love at first sight” moment when Sam walks into her cafe workplace one morning. But, she soon realizes that this sparks-fly connection happens on his wedding day.
After a future of reconnecting, they learn that perhaps these moments are real and meant-to-be. It’s a sweet flip-through that is sure to make you swoon.
Perfect for cruise lovers and those looking for the perfect book to transition you into summertime, “The Summer Sail” is, by far, my prized recommendation for you.
Three middle-aged former roommates spend a vacation on a cruise to Bermuda: one who’s looking to connect more with her daughter, another who seems to be the perfect wife but has a lingering secret and another who’s anxiously waiting for her boyfriend to pop the question.
It was the perfect amount of intrigue to keep me reading but filled with many summer scenes to keep it light — absolutely perfect and definitely a hidden gem in the bunch.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be paid to be a bridesmaid? Well, that’s what happened to Willa in “The Wedding Ringer,” and this book deserves way more praise than it currently has.
Filled with strong themes of friendship, love and finding your own path, it’s one of those rom-coms that’s not cliche and will keep you on your toes.
I absolutely love how brilliant “Cheat Day” is, Liv Stratman’s debut novel. With a double entendre of cheating in love and cheating with your diet, it’s one of the most realistic takes on love and “figuring it out,” that I’ve read.
Also, if you’re keen on books that take place in New York, the quaint Brooklyn bakery scene will steal your heart.
I am already getting revved up when typing my brief review of “The Husbands,” a suburban murder mystery and marriage tale that I’m still thinking about after reading.
When successful attorney Nora stumbles across a swanky suburban neighborhood, Dynasty Ranch, she knows it would be the perfect spot to continue packing the kids’ lunches and replacing the toilet paper — things her husband doesn’t do, which leads to some angst.
Her soon-to-be neighbors fill her in on a recent murder, surrounding a fire, and ask her to represent the case. Little does she know that she’s investigating much more. It’s amazing and one of my favorite books I read recently.
It doesn’t matter what type of book genre you prefer, I swear that everyone has to get their hands on “Cultish” by Amanda Montell.
No, it doesn’t simply talk about cults and spirituality (though the points she makes are exceptional). I found myself taking ample notes on how modern-day institutions, like boutique fitness classes and trending businesses, can be reminiscent of cult-like behavior.
I love how extensive Montell’s descriptions go, especially how she defines “cultish” as a language that’s not limited to one institution. It’s such a clever, educational read.
I savored “Made In Manhattan,” Lauren Layne’s most recent release. It’s a reverse take on “My Fair Lady,” centering on Violet, who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan — very “Gossip Girl.”
When her beloved grandmother asks her to teach a dear friend the ins and outs of NYC, she has an enemies-to-lovers encounter that heats up over time. It’s a cute, socialite-surrounding favorite of mine that I recommend tenfold.
I absolutely adored Hannah Orenstein’s rom-com, “Love at First Like,” focusing on Eliza, who accidentally posts a photo of her wearing an engagement ring from the jewelry boutique she co-owns with her sister. When sales skyrocket, she decides to fake a “secret fiance.”
On a quest to find love, she ends up meeting someone special. It’s a modern-day novel that’s worth diving into this spring, along with her upcoming release, “Meant to Be Mine” (which is next on my list).
If you love essays, you’ll love this collection by Sophia Benoit. As a writer and comedian, it’s exuberantly funny, touches on the struggles and raw emotions surrounding paternal divorce, body image and relationships, and explores growing up in today’s society.
What’s great about this book is it’s easy to read it in chunks (the beauty of essays!) and inevitably relatable to everyone. For a light read, it fits the bill.
“Cover Story” centers on aspiring writer, Lora, who lands a summer internship at ELLE magazine and meets seasoned editor Cat, who takes Lora under her wing. It’s a great read about friendship, ambition and the journalism industry at-large.
When a scandal emerges, there’s a slew of emails and FBI correspondence to spice up the book as a whole, and it’s an insightful and interesting tale that you should read ASAP.
Beautiful cover aside, “Bless Your Heart, Rae Sutton” is a well-written book that focuses on Raeley, who’s mourning the loss of her recent marriage. When she’s an honorary member of her late mother’s circle of friends, it perfectly weaves in love among all ages.
What a refreshing read! It’s witty, touches on love and is great if you adore that heartwarming, Southern Belle writing style. Add this to your list (you won’t be sorry)!
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