It’s summertime and the reading is easy, as the song might go in literary circles. What isn’t always easy, however, is choosing which books to read. For ideas, we asked several authors for summer reading suggestions. Here are their 12 fun recommendations – and the promise of many more.
Wax, a USA Today bestselling writer, knows something about beach reads. “Best Beach Ever” is the latest in her popular Ten Beach Road series, featuring a group of women who renovate houses, build friendships and, in the process, fix their personal lives.
Sure to delight HGTV addicts as well as fans of summer beach romance novels, Wax’s newest title, published the end of May, is a witty, heartwarming look at love and the bonds of true friendship.
The Atlanta resident’s own book picks are similarly hot off the presses.
“I had the pleasure of reading and critiquing Karen White's ‘Dreams of Falling’ and Susan Crandall's ‘The Myth of Perpetual Summer’ as they were being written,” Wax said, “and I think they're perfect summer reads.”
White’s “Dreams of Falling,” coming June 5, is “a beautifully written story about best friends, family ties and the love that can both strengthen and break those bonds,” Wax said.
Crandall’s “Myth of Perpetual Summer,” debuting June 19, is “a heartfelt and moving story about an increasingly dysfunctional Southern family and the young girl desperate to hold it together,” Wax said.
What’s more, all three writers – Wax, White and Crandall – will be featured at Atlanta-area book events this summer.
“Dreams of Falling” is the 25th novel for White, Milton’s own New York Times bestselling author. Set in South Carolina’s low country, White’s latest book concerns lifelong friends who share a devastating secret stretching back decades and is steeped in love, sacrifice and betrayal.
Though June will be packed with author appearances, White was already planning to make time for Ruth Ware’s latest book, “The Death of Mrs. Westaway.”
“Ms. Ware is the author of ‘The Woman in Cabin 10’ and several other un-putdownable psychological thrillers,” White said, calling them similar in style to “Gone Girl.”
“This one involves a tarot reader who mistakenly receives a letter informing her of an inheritance, which she decides to claim,” White said. “As with all of her other books, I expect lots of twisty turns and an ending that leaves me completely blindsided.”
KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY
“The Secret to Southern Charm” is Harvey’s fourth novel and the second in her bestselling Peachtree Bluff series. Published in April, the book is a poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities and second chances for a trio of sisters and their mother. Mother and daughters discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.
As for her own summer reading, Harvey said, “I just started ‘The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go’ by Amy E. Reichert. The protagonist, Gina, is an optimist to say the least, despite having a lot on her plate, including a deceased husband, a sullen teenager and an impossible mother. But when she stumbles upon a closely held family secret, she realizes that everything she believed is subject to change.
“With family drama, a big secret and several generations of women,” Harvey said, “this one has all the makings of the perfect summer read.”
Marietta’s Bunn, author of six children’s books including “Once Upon a Zoo,” co-written with her daughter Maggie, said, “I highly recommend Susan Sands’ ‘Forever, Alabama’ as a favorite summer beach read.”
The book’s two main characters are celebrated local attorney, Ben Laroux, and Sabine O’Connor, the town therapist in Ministry, Ala. “When Ben shows interest in Sabine, she is horrified, as she’s heard all about him from the local women,” Bunn said. “But Ben might be the only one who can help Sabine free herself from her mysterious past.”
Calling “Forever, Alabama” a romantic suspense wrapped in Southern appeal, Bunn said, “I do hope you’ll add this charming story to your summer reading list.”
The Brookhaven author of three novels and one work of creative nonfiction may be busy penning her next domestic suspense novel, but McDermott plans to make time for one particular title.
“Here’s a book on my Kindle I am going to read – ‘I’ll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany’ by Mark Greenside,” McDermott said.
“I am going to a wedding in July in Brittany, the daughter of some French friends, and I will be staying in the area where this book is set,” McDermott said. “I can’t wait to jump into the story.”
For non-Francophiles, McDermott suggests “The Perfect Nanny” by Leila Slimani.
“I heard about it at a recent writers’ conference,” she said. “The first sentence is chilling, given the novel’s title, and makes me want to start each of my future novels with an equally disturbing hook.”
The award-winning author of five novels, including April’s “Precious Cargo,” Sands is busy with a variety of projects, including the next book in her Cargo series. But she was anticipating summer’s sun and reading fun on the Forsyth County side of Alpharetta.
“This winter was so long and unpredictable that I slipped into a gray haze, a kind of blur between good and bad,” Sands said. “Loving the change of norm, the surprises around the corner, but hating the lack of sunshine and predictability. It’s no wonder I turned to noir-esque book choices in both my book club and on Audible.”
“Laura Lippman’s ‘Sunburn’ blew me away with her complex, yet believable characters, who I’m still thinking about weeks later. A perfect setting combined with scenes so well-developed you’ll be instantly transported and left wanting more.
“The other book I highly recommend with the same noir vibe is ‘The Woman in the Window’ by A.J. Finn. It may feel a bit like fan-fiction, especially if you grew up on Hitchcock and love black-and-white films as much as I do.
“Whether it’s Lippmann or Finn you’re taking to the beach,” said Sands, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year for Mystery, “be sure to pack a load of sunscreen and a few more beers, because you’re going to be lost in black and white (pages) for a while.”
Roswell’s Baron, author of 23 works of fiction, including her latest, “The Siege: A Novel,” recommends “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman.
“You’ll fall in love with this debut Scottish author’s voice and endearingly eccentric heroine from the very first page,” said Baron, 2017 Georgia Author of the Year finalist in the romance category.
“Eleanor overcomes tragedy with optimism and resilience, as she faces an ending you won’t see coming,” Baron said. “This award-winning young adult book for all ages about loneliness, friendship and connections is uplifting.
“If you want additional ideas about some super summer reads,” Baron continued, “join me and five other authors June 20 from 7-9 p.m. at East Main Café, 210 E. Main St., Canton, for A Novel Idea. The theme will be Beach Reads.”
Contributing journalist, Kathy Des Jardins Cioffi. Owner of Johns Creek’s KRC Communications.Connect with her at krccom.com.