Ah, May… college is done, the sun is shining, and the rest of the schools are getting out… it’s a wonderful time! And I know the last thing you all are thinking about is reading. Still, there’s nothing better to me than finding the right summer book. No school mentioned, just you and a book on a back porch with a nice cold iced vanilla chai (or your summer beverage of preference) with nothing to do but tan and immerse yourself in something that means absolutely nothing! Am I the only one totally at drooling at that thought? Yes? Oops… that happens, I guess. Still… in case you change your mind, I give you my Top 6 Picks for your next summer read. They’re a bit of a throwback though. I’m too frugal to ask you all to go buy new books or even to buy them at all. I’m 99% positive that all of these titles can be found in your local library, so check them out!
By the way, a little introduction to my top 6 lists. There isn’t really a preference order. I usually like all of them equally and that’s why they’re in my Top 6. If I have a preference above the rest, I usually will let you know in the blurb about them. For example, if I was telling you my Top 6 Harry Potter books and preferred Prisoner of Azkaban the most (because it does rock) I would say something along the lines of “This one here’s my favorite.”
So, without further ado….
#1-The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Ms. Matson is one of my favorite writers, and this is that introduced me to her. Don’t be daunted by its slightly larger-than-usual size. This book fits into a purse (I know because I’ve tried) and is a quick read. Andie Walker is the daughter of a popular congressman whose world is turned upside-down when her father is implicated in a huge scandal which costs her a summer internship. Since her mom died years earlier, Andie and her dad had drifted apart,, so now that he’s home more often, things are awkward. Then she meets Clark McAllister and Bertie the Great Pyrenees. Filled with best friends and scavenger quests, Andie navigates the summer that she never thought she would have.
I consider this book to be a little bit of everything, a romance, a friendship book, and a book to read when you just want something to be happy about.
The Best Part: Dogs and handsome fantasy-novel writers, need I say more?
#2-Wish You Were Italian By Kristin Rae
How many of you want to travel during your summer? How many of you want to go to Italy without needing to worry about Coronavirus? Then this is the book for you! Pippa is going on the trip of a lifetime: to study art in Italy! Pippa’s always wanted to go to Italy, but she’s not too thrilled about the studying art part. So, she makes an executive decision to send the school an email that she’s not going when she’s already in Rome. With the scrapbook made by her bestie, Morgan, Pippa comes up with a list to have the best summer ever (with things including getting a makeover and falling in love with an Italian). Along the way she meets – and continues to run into – Darren, an archaeology buff that’s been all over Europe; Chiara, a local barista that takes Pippa to her Aunt’s place in Cinque Terre; and Bruno, the drop-dead gorgeous, typical Italian hunk. Interested in both Darren and Bruno, Pippa’s forced to choose between what she thought she wanted and what her heart is wanting.
This book is dead accurate when it comes to the beauty of Italy. I was fortunate enough to have been able to go there, and THIS is the book I turn to when I want to go back.
The Best Part: vicarious rebellion, ITALY, an archaeology student that it modeled after Darren Criss, and gelato! How could I not love it?
#3-Friends Forever By Dr.Joy Francis
This is probably my favorite summer read. Light, fluffy, spiritual, and with enough feels to make you want to cry into your chai latte (once again, or your favorite summer drink). Six friends (Chloe, Gavin, Sarah, Rebekah, Cassie, and Paulo) have just graduated from college and are using their graduation money (plus, assumedly, money they’ve put aside through the years) to go on their dream vacations. Cassie and Rebekah road trip their way across the southwestern United States; Gavin copes and discovers love in the Highlands of Scotland; Sarah takes in beauty and adventure in the green hills of Ireland; Chloe discovers tragedy and hope in Romania; and Paulo strengthens his faith and others in Brazil. All the while, God is healing their hearts and helping them to accomplish what He put them on this earth to do. Dr. Joy balances out humor and heartwarming healing with insights about the Lord’s love for all of us in this summer tale. Plus, there’s a surprise twist at the end that I guarantee you won’t see coming.
The Best Part: LOVE. Romance, sisterly love, love for your neighbor, and a Fatherly Love that conquers all.
#4-Death on the Aisle by Richard and Frances Lockridge
Where are my mystery buffs at? This is my go-to mystery book that ISN’T Agatha Christie. Richard and Frances are two of the greatest writers I know when it comes to misdirection.
Set in the 1920s, Pam and Jerry North are your stereotypical idling couple. They are just watching a rehearsal for the new play Two in a Bush when the producer is found dead in the back of the theater. Then, their friend Detective Bill Weingard is brought in to solve the murder with way too many suspects. Pam and Jerry listen in as Bill interviews suspect after suspect; can they help the good detective catch the killer in time to stop another murder?
The Best Part: A gripping mystery that definitely classifies as a page-turner and the 1920’s flair for fun!
#5-Bulletproof Mascara by Bethany Maines
If the previous book didn’t have enough suspense or action for you, then this book should be next on your list. Filled to the brim with kick-a$$ Avon ladies and a twisty ending I totally didn’t see coming, Maines creates a cast of characters that you can’t help but love – even a few villains that you can’t help but love.
Nikki Lanier (pronounced Lan-yay) is an out of work linguist whose overbearing mother motivates her to make some questionable choices that end up with her being recruited by the mysterious Carrie Mae company – a door-to-door cosmetic company that is actually a cover for a top-secret spy ring made up entirely of women. The Carrie Mae ladies can stop a terrorist threat, campaign for better opportunities for women in third-world countries, and infiltrate a prostitution trade all without smudging their lipstick or chip their nail polish (which is more than I can say with just typing up this op-ed). But when Nikki hears from an old fake boyfriend, Z’ev (long story) and is sent on a mission with Valerie Robinson (the most awesome Mrs. Robinson), can Nikki figure out who can be trusted and who can’t?
The Best Part: Cosmetics that are really anything but. I don’t want to spoil by listing them, you’ll find out if you read the book!
#6-You Are Beautiful: A Journey Of Discovery By Dr.Joy Francis
This is for my nonfiction people. Now I know what you’re thinking: summer’s a time to relax! Not to read a self-help book that only tells me what I’m not! Well…. That’s why I’ve recommended this book! Dr. Joy’s You Are Beautiful is an account of love that we could never imagine if we tried.
Let’s be real here, society as a whole doesn’t teach us to love ourselves for who we are. Obviously there are exceptions, but for the most part, we aren’t taught that we are beautiful, wonderful, amazing just by being ourselves. Yet, this book shows us that no matter what we think – no matter how broken, trodden-down, and emotionally exhausted we are – there is always one being who will love us: the Lord. By weaving stories that come from her experience not only as a teacher but as an open-hearted believer, Dr. Joy shows us that the Lord is not only there for us whenever we need Him, but loves us just because we’re us!
The Best Part: Candid experiences showing God as who He is, a loving Father that wants us to accept His love as the gift it truly is!
Send Off From Vera
I loved all of these books, and I hope they brighten up your summer as much as they did mine. Obviously there are way more summer reads than these six, so if you find one you loved be sure to comment below! If you read any of these six also comment below and tell me what you think! Just one piece of advice: if you read these outside, make sure to either wear sunscreen, find a shady spot to sit, or set a timer for less than an hour so you aren’t sitting in the sun for that long of a time… I learned that from experience! (Long story ending with a bad sunburn XP). Enjoy your summer and until next time!
*Unfortunately I can’t guarantee these two titles are in your public library, but the funds received from these books are going straight to charity. For more information, see the following Amazon links. Also available at Barnes and Noble, these are published on an as-requested basis to save unnecessary printing.
Here are the Amazon links!