The books below are best Summer reads from some of my favourite bookish people (putting it mildly, some of the people featured here are my absolute idols!). They are light Summer reads either from this year, any time, or of all time. In terms of the line-up, I was both in awe and honoured by the readiness of all involved to participate, and their professionalism, showing that book-lovers are the best people! Contributors include members of the Imagine, Write, Inspire group, of which I am a member myself, as well as my favourite bloggers, writers and authors. So basically people who know their stuff!
For readers still due to fly the coop this Summer, I hope you’ll find that some of these will brighten up your holiday. For the remaining book lovers out there, I’m sure some of these picks will provide you with a comparable escape. There are some gems in here. Enjoy:)
Note: All links for books, blogs and Twitter accounts are found within the text of the post. Authors who have given a pick have their author pages and/ or books under the heading ‘books.’ So if you want to search out one of their books instead, feel free!
Aimee Alexander (Author, Blogger)
My summer reading choice is The Girl’s Guide To Hunting And Fishing by Melissa Bank, which I read years ago and have never forgotten. The book has nothing to do with hunting or fishing! It’s simply a story about the loves and relationships of a smart, funny New Yorker as she struggles to make sense of it all – if indeed you can! It is a beautifully written book with a central character who is as wonderfully flawed as she is clever. I loved it. Books: All We Have Lost, The Accidental Life of Greg Millar, Pause to Rewind
Tracie Banister (Author, Blogger)
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (Women’s Fiction) This tale of unexpected love and survival on a tropical island is the perfect beach read because it’s such a page-turner (I mainlined it in less than 24 hours!) On the Island had such an impact on me that I still smile and tear up when I think about certain scenes in it. A poignant, beautifully developed romance, wonderful characterizations, dangers aplenty, and surprising plot twists – this book has it all! Books: Twin Piques, In Need of Therapy and Blame It on the Fame
Char (Charlotte) Bennett (Blogger: BasicallyBooksBlog)
My summer read is always Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Mcguire . I read it every summer.
Amanda Jayne Bonsell ( Book blogger: AJ Book club)
How to Bake the Perfect Apple Pie by Gina Henning (Home for the Holidays, Book 3) It reminds me of my holiday in America, I loved the 4th of July in New York and Las Vegas. Also me and my daughter Sophie love to cook and Gina’s books have recipes. They are fun and it is a nice easy to read book by a very talented author. I love all three of the books in this series and it’s great to have on Kindle to read by the pool. Also the Cherry Tree Café by Heidi Swain. This book is fab too as I love to do crafts and love cooking. A lovely summer time read. Amanda Jayne’s Blog
Susannah Branson (Historical fiction writer, Member of IWI, Blogger)
Aimee Brown (Book blogger: Hello Chick Lit)
I actually have two that I’ve loved this summer. The first one is ‘Can’t Always Get What You Want‘ by Chelsey Krause – The book is funny, touching and reminds me of a cross between Cecilia Ahern and Sophie Kinsella. I loved the medical story line and the way the story is told. It’s one of those books that will stick with you forever as a favorite. The second one is ‘Absolutely True Lies‘ by Rachel Stuhler – This book is fun, and irritating all at the same time. I loved the story and was always pulling for the main character and it never actually went where you thought the story was going to go, it surprised you! I loved that, and when I was done it became a book to toss into the favorites pile.
Virginie Busette (Book blogger: Chouett.com)
Bethany Clark (Book Blogger: One Book At A Time)
I would have to say my first choice in books to read would be the How to Bake series as a whole from Gina Henning – How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie – How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake and How to Bake the Perfect Apple Pie. I love this series as a whole! The story line pulls you in and you can’t wait to find out more about Lauren’s life and what will happen next! There is one more book to end the series shortly and I’m dying to read it! The characters are genuine, you can relate to their stories and Lauren really feels like the best friend you grew up next to all your life! Bethany’s Blog
Siobhan Davis (Author, IWI member, Book Blogger: My YA & NA book obsession)
I don’t normally read a lot of women’s fiction – I’m much more into NA and YA – but I’ve recently read some brilliant books that fall into this genre that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to your readers. I love the Due South series by an amazing New Zealand author, Tracey Alvarez. There are 3 full-length books, one novella, and one short story in this collection. In Too Deep, which is Book 1, is free to download from Amazon, B& N, Kobo and iBooks. Tracey’s writing is sublime and her world-building is breath-taking. But it’s her characters that bring me back time and time again. Character development is really strong and all the characters are complex with plenty of skeletons in their closets! There is plenty of steamy romance and witty dialog and I literally devoured every book in record-breaking time. My favourite book is the third one, Ready to Burn – it has some of the funniest dialogue I’ve ever read in a book. I recently read a fantastic rom-com called Miss Match by Laurelin McGee. It wasn’t just laugh-out-loud funny, it was roar-out-loud funny. I was in convulsions. The plot is quite predictable but I loved the book for it’s exemplary execution. I’d highly recommend it. My True Calling series is now a completed series with 3 full length novels, one short story and one novella. True Calling, Book 1, is now perma-free on Amazon, B& N, iBooks, Kobo, Scribd and Tolino.
Simona Elena (Blogger: Sky’s Book Corner)
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon signifies a lot of positive feelings for me. First of all it’s set in key West, one of my favourite places in Florida. I spent some time there last April and I fell in love with the keys. I had to reread the book immediately and it was amazing revisiting all these fab places with Laura, the main character. It’s a great summer read full of love, emotions, sunshine and depth. Paige’s writing is just wonderful, full of rich details, charm and magic! Perfect for summer!!! Simona’s Blog
Emma Louise (Book Blogger: Emmaloubookblog)
For a great Summer read, I always turn to Paige Toon and in particular, The Longest Holiday. With fun in the Orlando sun; the book is jam packed with beautiful scenery, fantastic characters and a plot you do not want to miss. Emma Louise’s Blog
Caroline Finnerty (Author)
I’m just back from holidays and one of the books that had me gripped was ‘I let you go‘ by Clare Mackintosh. A psychological thriller story with lots of twists and turns, it tells the story of Jenna Gray who is walking away from everything that she knows to start a new life in a remote cottage in Wales. I don’t want to give away the story so I’ll just say that it’s deeply atmospheric, with beautiful descriptive passages of the Welsh coastline, this book will keep you turning the pages. Another book I would recommend for warm summer days (pay attention Irish summer!) is ‘Instructions for a Heatwave‘ by the brilliant Maggie O’Farrell. This book starts with the great opening line, ‘The heat, the heat.’ Set in London during the heatwave of 1976 Robert Riordan leaves to buy the paper one day and doesn’t come back. Gretta his wife summons their children to the family home and as they all come together to help find their father, the complicated lives of this family unfold. Books: ‘In a Moment’, ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ‘Into The Night Sky’. Her fourth novel ‘My Sister’s Child’ will be published in August 2015.
Kirsty Greenwood (Author, Book Blogger: Novelicous)
My Summer read is the Primrose Terrace series of novellas by Cressida McLaughlin. I read the first one and it’s so sweet and funny – and I can’t wait to read the next three over the coming months. Cressida writes with such warmth and wit – it’s so comforting and escapist. Perfect for reading on a beach somewhere.
Books: Yours Truly, The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Jenny Hale (Author, Blogger)
When I was asked by Bernadette to choose a top summer read I could feel the swell of panic. While I’ve read a ton of wonderful books, I decided that if I’m going to recommend one, it had better be an all-time favorite of mine! So, I set out, digging my way through my stacks of books. Choosing one wasn’t easy—I had a pile—but in the end, when I imagine sitting on the front porch in the heat of summer, with my iced tea and bare feet, I had to go with my very favorite, Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella. Remember Me? is a story of Lexi, a regular 25-year-old girl who wakes up in the hospital having lost the last three years of her life. This story has it all—rags to riches, a handsome guy who happens to be a millionaire (never hurts), glamorous friends, and it begins with Lexi’s jewelry making, karaoke-loving friends! If all of that doesn’t scream summer read, just to be sure, they’ve put a giant sunflower on the front cover! This book, in true Sophie Kinsella style, is hilariously funny, heartwarming, and rich in good storytelling. So, my all time sit-on-the-porch-in-the-heat-of-summer read is this book! Happy reading! Books include: Coming Home for Christmas, Love me for Me, A Christmas to Remember and her latest Summer by the Sea
Gemma Harding (Book Blogger: Book Mood Reviews)
The book that came to mind for me was The Wedding Proposal by Sue Moorcroft and published by Choc Lit. It just captured the memories I had of Malta and had this great, sweet romance that I used to read all the time before i seemed to drift into darker, erotic romance. It is just the perfect beach read and made me want to go on holiday to Malta after finishing it.
Carmel Harrington (Author, Blogger, Leader of IWI group, freelance writer and TV3 Midday panelist)
Next up on my kindle is Alexandra Brown’s The Great Village Show. I adore Alex’s books, they never fail to charm me. As soon as I finish my current edits, this book is my reward. I have to include a book that I’ve just finished. For a heartwarming, laugh out loud, summer read, Claudia Carroll’s Meet me in Manhattan is a must read. i read it in one satisfying, smile inducing sitting. And for anyone (like me) who considers To Kill A Mockingbird amongst their all time favourite reads, Go Set a Watchman will jump to the top of my TBR pile this summer. Books: Beyond Grace’s Rainbow and The Life You Left (HarperCollinsUK) were bestsellers and her third novel, Every Time A Bell Rings, a Christmas novel inspired by her favourite movie It’s A Wonderful Life, will be published in October.
Sophie Hedley (Book blogger: Reviewed the book)
The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher is my pick of 2015’s summer reads. A glorious setting, fascinating characters and an incredibly told, multi-layered story makes it a must-have beach read for me. Unputdownable. Sophie’s Blog:
Jade and Robyn (Book Bloggers: Reflections of A Book Geek)
Jade: Marry Me for Money by Mia Kayla
A light and heart warming read!
Robyn: The Consequence of Loving Colton by Rachel Van Dyken
A great romantic read!
Jennifer Joyce (Author, Book Blogger)
My favourite read of the summer so far has been The Love Shack by Jane Costello because it’s absolutely jam-packed with humour and fantastic characters. The writing has a natural, witty flow to it, which makes it a perfect summer read for me. Books: A Beginner’s Guide To Salad and Everything Changes But You are out now. Jennifer’s blog
Tric Kearney (Writer, Member of IWI, Blogger)
I love to read but am picky about what I like. My summer read this year was The Miniaturist. I’d been fascinated by its premise, a young bride receives a dolls house as a present from her aloof husband. It’s a perfect replica of their house but it seems to have a predictive power over what happens in the lives of those living in the real house, It surpassed all expectations. Despite it’s historical setting I could completely identify with the main characters. There was mystery and intrigue in every chapter yet the story remained one of love and loss. A real page turner which at times took my breath away. One of those books you count the pages you have left and wonder what you will do when you finish.
Suzanne Lavender (Blogger: Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams)
Laura Lovelock (Writer, Member of IWI, Book blogger: Blabbering About Books)
My Top Summer Read for this year has to be The Piano Man Project by Kat French. The Piano Man Project is a saucy, funny, heart-warming, affecting read that follows the life of Honey who is a single charity shop manager. Her friends are intent on helping her find a man and so start the project to find a hunky pianist for their friend. Along the way there are laughs, moments that bring a tear to your eye, a whole lotta romance and a very hunky man! There are lots of chick-lit books I’ve loved so far this year but when looking back, this one stands out the most! Laura’s Blog
Andrea Mara (Writer, Member of IWI, Blogger: Office Mum)
I’d recommend The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt as a summer read. Utterly absorbing, I was lost in the New York and Las Vegas worlds of Theo Decker – watching his mistakes with half-closed eyes, grimacing as each twist and turn led to bigger consequences. It’s a morality tale that stays with you all day until you can pick it up again – compulsive reading for the poolside, or sitting down at night with a glass of wine.
Jenny Marston (Blogger: Jenny In Neverland. Writer)
My favourite summer read has to be Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge. I read it earlier this year and I was completely captivated by it! The exotic location, the interesting locals, sexy Niko and of course, the scones. It’s the epitome of ‘beach read’ Jenny’s Blog
Holly Martin (Author, Blogger)
My favourite Summer story is the Catch Me If You Cannes series by Lisa Dickenson. It was an absolute delightful summery story with gorgeous summery scenery, beaches, glamorous yachts with a wonderfully sweet love story and laugh out loud humour too. Perfect. Books: Fairytale Beginnings, Tied Up With Love, The Guestbook, Beneath The Moon and The Stars, One Hundred Proposals, One Hundred Christmas Proposals, The Sentinel, The Prophecies.
Rebecca Minton (Blogger: Brunette Lifestyle)
My Top Book would be Not Quite Perfect by Annie Lyons, It’s the perfect summer read. It has everything! It’s a beautiful story and characters you’ll just fall in love with! Some unexpected twists and is a nice read. Gives you time to stop and think about what a Perfect Life really is. It’s my favourite book ever and recommend everyone reads it! Rebecca’s Blog
Grainne Plaxton (Romantic suspense writer in IWI)
Rebecca Pugh (Author, Book blogger)
I’d have to say that my top summer recommendation is ‘Summer at Shell Cottage‘ by Lucy Diamond. If you’re a family girl, like myself, then this really is a top read, following the intricacies of modern family life in the ultimate seaside setting of Shell Cottage in Devon. Secrets, sea and sand make the perfect combination! Books: Return to Bluebell Hill
Deirdre Reidy (Writer, Member of IWI, Blogger)
Lorna Sixsmith (Author, Blogger: Irish Farmerette)
Okay, I don’t tend to read too many women’s fiction (I’m afraid I do like dark historial fiction, thrillers and crime) but I did enjoy Evie Gaughan’s The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris, reminded me a little bit of Chocolat. Gorgeous French baking, a little mystery, unlikely friendships between the Irish Edith and her employers, cobbled streets and a little romance – it’s a really charming read with a feel-good atmosphere. I recommend indulging in some yummy pastries as you’re reading it. Books: ‘Would You Marry A Farmer?,’ currently working on ‘How To Be A Perfect Farm Wife.’
Tara Sparling (Blogger)
My ultimate summer read is a Marian Keyes book. Any of them, really, because Marian’s books are just like the Irish summer – sunny and light-hearted on the surface, but with inevitable dark clouds lurking on the horizon you’re trying almost comically to ignore. My favourite from her back catalogue is This Charming Man. It knocked my socks off. It’s a very different book from her others, because it’s much darker, and uses four diverse narrators and styles: Lola’s diary/text-speak style; wry bluntness (Marian’s speciality) from Grace; alcoholic Marnie’s mesmerising, poetic prose and cleverly layered interjections from deluded, isolated Alicia. Meanwhile, Paddy de Courcy, the man they’re all so obsessed with, is the only one without a voice, as captivating a shadow in the background as Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I still haven’t read The Woman Who Stole My Life, so that’s on my list for this summer. Because nobody can lull you into a false sense of comic familiarity, only to shatter cliché and genre stereotypes, and shock the bejeebus out of you in the process, like Marian. Once or twice I read a negative review of one of her books and thought ‘well, maybe I’ll give this one a miss’. And then I read them anyway, only to enjoy every single last sentence. What more could a girl want?” Tara’s Blog
Sharon Thomson (Writer, Member of IWI, Blogger: Remember Victoria)
I would recommend Hazel Gaynor’s ‘A Memory of Violets‘ as a summer read. Historical fiction at its best, Hazel is an author that transports the reader to another era, and introduces them to wonderfully vivid characters. Perfect for a read looking out at the rain, or an engaging read by the pool.