Book Club

5 Must Read Books for The Summer

By Jul 9, 201558 Comments

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Summer is here and in full swing.

Whether it is at the beach, in a lounge chair in my own backyard, or even under the blankets late at night in the air conditioning, I love to curl up with a great book on these warm, summer days.

I am an avid Goodreads reader (if you don’t follow me over there, I hope you will, for more book talk), and I just can’t get enough of reading in the summer, or anytime at all to be honest. I’m always looking for the best books to read.

So what books are sizzling hot for this balmy summertime? I have a summer reading list you are going to love!

Ready to read this summer? We have five books you need to add to your summer reading list!

5 Must Read Books for The Summer

*This article includes affiliate links.

1. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

From the moment I began reading, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I was captivated and spell bound.

Seriously, when I finished reading it in less than three nights of late night reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about this amazing novel. The ending and has become one of my true favorites of all time.

This historical fiction read finds Vianne Mauriac dealing with her husband fighting in WWII France on the front lines and the aftermath of the French invasion, as well as the Nazi occupation of France. She is forced to take a Nazi into her own home, and with her every movement watched, her life and her child’s life is at risk daily.

Add to this the equally compelling story of Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, who is a rebellious and reckless eighteen year old that Vianne feels she needs to constantly look out for. But Isabelle, through it all, proves to be a force to reckon with.

As Goodreads states, Kristin Hannah tells a story we seldom hear, of the women’s war during WWII through the eyes of two sisters, who seem so different on the outside, but on the inside the sibling bond is strong.

And it is true how Hannah sums up this tale,

“I know now what matters, and it is not what I have lost. It is my memories. Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.”

To find out how love conquered all through the tumultuous, war and more, you will have to read this novel for yourself.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a great book to add to your summer reading list.

2. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

The Girl On The Train is another engrossing, must-read. From the title alone, I couldn’t help but immediately conjure up images that it had to be along the lines of Gone Girl, and boy was I on the money! It definitely is a suspenseful, Hitchcockian thriller similar to Gone Girl, and it has some similar plot twists.

The main character in The Girl on the Train, Rachel, conveniently takes the same commuter train every morning to pass by to see her old life that she lost, because of her addiction to alcohol.

As she passes by, she not only is checking in on what she lost, but peeking into the world of others now that live on her former block, which is a stretch of cozy suburban homes. It also just so conveniently stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck.

In her own deluded mind she has begun to feel like she knows them, giving them the names “Jess and Jason,” who seemingly have the perfect life similar to the one she lost herself. But when the unthinkable and unspeakable happens, Rachel is a witness to it, and that is when the real story begins to pick up steam.

And just when Rachel and the reader think they know what happened, trust me neither really do.

You will have to read this one to find out what really did happen!

The Girl On The Train is a must-read for your summer reading list.

3. The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant

From the opening of this heartfelt and historically, detailed novel, where the now Eighty-five-year-old Addie is conversing with her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, I was spellbound by The Boston Girl. Ava shares and tries to answer her granddaughter’s burning questions of who Addie once was was and how she came to be the older, wiser woman she is today.

As a granddaughter once myself, I can recall being inquisitive where my own grandmother was concerned. Thankfully, I like Ava, was blessed to have my grandmother live well into my early thirties, and also got the back story on her life, which made this book all the more real and fascinating to me.

This book truly had such heart and warmth, even through the roughest, most challenging days of Addie’s life. You couldn’t help but root for her as she shared her emotional tale with compassion and humor from the earliest days of living in a one-room tenement apartment that she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, simply because Addie had dreams and aspirations that all women could relate to spanning generations.

This book is a must read for women of all ages, in my humble estimation, this summer.

The Boston Girl

4. Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

I would be remiss to leave off Liane Moriarty from this list, because, in my estimation, this author is the pinnacle of summer reading — or pretty much all time reading — for women.

One of her most recent and probably one of my own favorites since The Husband’s Secret is Big Little Lies.

The story begins in the present time with the fateful school trivia night, but then we are catapulted back in time to see what actually transpired to have this evening take a very deadly and crazy turn.

The plot unfolds and is actually told through the eyes of all the major characters going back and forth.

First up is Madeline, who is a true spitfire. She lives in the same community with her daughters, her new husband, as well as her ex-husband, his new wife, and their young daughter, who just happens to be the same age as Madeline’s youngest daughter. The girls are in the same kindergarten class.

Next up is the absolutely gorgeous, Celeste, with two energetic twin boys, who seems to be married to the perfectly handsome and rich husband. But looks can totally be deceiving.

The two women befriend the new-to-town and much younger and unmarried, Jane, with a young son, who is the same age as Madeline’s youngest and Celeste’s twins.

The three women and their lives totally intertwine and we are treated to the biggest school PTA scandal they have or could ever imagine.

This one will make you happy that school and PTA meetings are out for the summer, but still give you your daily dose of gossip and cattiness in case you were missing during your summer vacation.

Big Little Lies

5. The Second Sister, by Marie Bostwick

One of my most recent reads was The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick. It was slow starting, but definitely went full steam ahead as the plot thickened.

This is a story for all women, but especially those who have a sister and have their fair share of sisterly, sibling rivalries and love, too. Women who hope to find that deeper connection with, not only their family, but in other female friendships, too.

In The Second Sister, Bostwick introduces us to Lucy Toomey, the younger of the Toomey sisters, who has become a political superstar running the campaign of the newly elected presidential candidate, while her older sister, Alice has opted to stay behind in their small town of Nilson’s Bay in Wisconsin because of a life altering accident. This accident occurred when the sisters were young teens and left Alice mentally impaired.

From the outside looking in, Lucy’s life is a fairy tale and pretty much golden, but then Alice dies unexpectedly and Lucy has to return to Nilson’s Bay for the funeral and to settle her sister’s estate. We slowly find out that Lucy tried to leave behind this town because she was haunted by the past. But in returning, Lucy finds out that Alice, who had been trying to get Lucy to return for years for a visit to help her remember the past differently, stipulated in her will that Lucy needs to stay on for a determined time.

During what seems like a crazy, last demand from her older sister, this Lucy lives in her old family cottage, finally meets the FOA (friends of Alice) who slowly take Lucy into their circle of friendship, learns to live her life at a slower pace by taking up quilting (her sister’s favorite pass-time), re-aquaints herself with old friends and even her first ever crush.

But Lucy is still unsure of her life’s direction. Can this strange, but most wonderful last imparted gift from her departed sister help Lucy deal with her troubled past and find a better meaning of happiness?

You are going to want to read Bostwick’s novel to find out.

The Second Sister

Your turn! Have you read any of the books above or any other good books so far this summer? Share your thoughts and summer recommendations with us so we can keep adding to our summer reading list.

About Janine Huldie

Janine is a published author of the books, The Mother of All Meltdowns and Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, Mamapedia, Today Parenting Team and SheKnows. She also writes at Confessions of A Mommyaholic, as well as running her own graphic design company at J9 Designs. She's busy with two beautiful, zany, energetic daughters and a husband, but still trying (key word) to keep it all in perspective by attempting to make the days and nights a little bit brighter. Find Janine, also, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


  • Rhonda Gales says:

    I love reading at the beach or anywhere for that matter. I’m going to add several of these books to my reading list. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best. Looking forward to seeing more must read books on your list.

  • Nina says:

    Hi Janine – stopping by from the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop this week, and discovered your book list for summer. I recently ordered The Nightingale but haven’t started reading it yet. Now I will be looking for the other titles that you have recommended. Thanks for linking up to the blog hop – I’ll be looking for your post next week at the hop. Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage

  • Mary Hill says:

    I just started reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale today. I am loving it. The other books look great too. I hope you will link up with us at Literacy Musing Mondays: http://www.maryanderingcreatively.com/literacy-musing-mondays-week-25/

  • karen says:

    as you know I’ve read two of those and LOVED them, now I have to check out the other three books.

  • Okay, I haven’t heard of any of these books but The Girl on the Train sounds like the perfect read for me this summer!

    Thanks for these great reviews. I have some reading to do now!

  • i absolutely loved big little lies and I’ve been hearing so much about the girl on the train book! I need to read it before it becomes a movie!! Thanks for the amazing recommendations as usual.

  • Oh but there are some great potential reads here, Janine! Excellent. The only one I’ve read is The Girl On The Train. I loved it. The way the author slowly dripfed us the pertinent details was amazing. And that ending? Yowzers.
    I am an avid reader as well. Lately I’ve made the mistake of cruising by the book aisle during my Costco trips and picking up a book … Find myself justifying my purchase with a quick “Hey, two Starbucks special coffees would be about the same price …”

  • Bev says:

    Haha, I’m currently reading The Boston Girl, I read Girl on the Train right before that, and I just checked out Big Little Lies to read next. Clearly we are on the same page when it comes to reading 😉 I’ll have to add the other two to my list.

    • Bev, looks like we really are similar in reading tastes, as well as so much more. Love that we are and hope you can totally read the other two now 😉

  • Chris Carter says:

    Oh my gosh Janine! Your review of all of these amazing books is just incredible!! Thank you so much for such a well written description of each of them…. you definitely have me wanting to go get each and every one of these thrillers! They sound too good to pass up!

    I don’t know where you find the time to read all of these books, AND do all your blogging AND be such an awesome mom and wife! You are truly an inspiration, my friend!

  • Janine! Wow we must have similar taste. I just finished Big Little Lies (OMG), and before that, The Nightengale. I’m reading Girl on a Train now. Thanks – going to download the Boston one tonight!!

    • Absolutely love that we have similar taste on books, Kristi and most definitely think since we do with the rest that you will totally enjoy The Boston Girl, too now 🙂

  • Alexa says:

    These look and sound like my kind of books! Thanks for the suggestions – I have been looking for some good summer time reads!

  • Charlotte says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m always looking for a good summer read and have added all of these books (and you!) on Goodreads. I loved that Liane Moriarty book, too, and think her writing is so fun (and perfect for a good beach trip).

    Hope you are enjoying your summer 🙂

    • I totally agree about Liane Moriarty’s books and so glad you were able to add them. Also hoping you are having a wonderful summer now, too!!

  • I’m so excited that two I’ve read on the list. I FINALLY got Girl on the Train from the library. I swear when I initially put it on hold I was like 200 something on the waiting list. I had the audio and ebook on hold so the one that came first was the audio. For me it was hard to start listening to. I always advice for people who have a electronic reader to get a sample of the book and read what’s available then listen to the audio. I really enjoyed it. I love an audiobook with the narrator has a genuine accent. Same with Big Little Lies, I listened to that one as well. I am going to check on the other three at my library. Thanks for the recommendations Janine.

    • So happy to give recommendations Kenya and you know I have yet to actually do audiobooks myself and reading my library ebooks though religiously though 😉

  • Eva says:

    The girl on the train has been on my to read list forever. We have a similar taste in books. I will follow you on goodreads

  • Allie says:

    Love seeing you here Janine! Perfect timing for my vacation as I plan to read my face off. I absolutely loved The Girl on The Train and right now I’m reading Mean Streak (which is amazing!) but I jotted down almost all of the rest of these. THANK YOU!

    • Allie, right back at you and so happy to see you here today, too. Am adding Mean Streak to my list, as well and wishing you a wonderful vacation now, as well 🙂

  • Dana says:

    Great recs, Janine – I recently finished The Boston Girl, too. I haven’t read the last two on your list; I will check them out!

    • I love that I was able to recommend a few you haven’t read just yet, Dana as I usually love following your reading book recommendations, too 😉

  • Kristen says:

    I have not heard of ANY of these…totally downloading the Kristin Hannah book, love her! Might I add if you are a sports fan, OPEN by Andre Agassi is AMAZING. Couldn’t put it down!

  • I actually didn’t like The Girl on the Train but am interested in Boston Girl!

    • I saw that today on your site about The Girl on the Train and even though we didn’t agree, I loved getting your take. Hope you get to read The Boston Girl soon, Lisa 😉

  • Jen says:

    I have not read any of these! I am sooo excited! Thank you for sharing!

  • Love this! Big Little Lies was already on my list 🙂 Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican is another good beach read. (Following you on Goodreads!)

  • Emily says:

    Great list Janine…I’m right at the beginning of “The Girl on the Train” right now and I can tell already I’m going to like it!

  • Bill says:

    How can I give agreement to any list of books that doesn’t have my book on it? LOL

    Thanks for the suggestions, Janine, and Happy Thursday to you.

    • Aw, Happy Thursday Bill and you can totally add your books here, too. I have been reading more sudsy type books for the summer, but you know you are one of my favorite authors, my friend always!! 😉

  • I’ve read Girl on The Train. I want to read Nightingale – saw it on another list and was intrigued. I also just downloaded one called What Alice Forgot that sounds very great. I can’t wait to start it.

    • The Nightingale, seriously is one of my favorites now, Lisa. So, I hope you do read and if you do let me know what you thought of it. And I also loved What Alice Forgot as I am a huge Liane Moriarty fan (she really is such a fun author to read anytime of the year).

  • I haven’t read any of these, Janine, so I’m pinning them to find later. I’m almost finished with Nora Robert’s The Liar and I’ve really been sucked in. There’s an undercurrent of southern living in it and it’s hits just close enough to home to be fun!

    • Glad you are pinning, Rabia to refer back to and admit I have yet to read any of Nora Robert’s books, but I am going to check out the one you mentioned here on Goodreads. So thank you, Rabia 😉

  • Diane Roark says:


    Your book suggestions look ready interesting. I am very rare person and only read true stories. I just finished CHOOSING TO SEE by Mary Beth Chapman. She is the wife of multi-grammy award winner Steven Curtis Chapman. This book is about them loosing their youngest child and how they worked through the pain with God’s help.
    I always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you again for these book suggestion. I might just pic up a fictional book.
    Diane Roark

  • Echo says:

    These are awesome suggestions. I am currently reading the first Game of Thrones book and I may, MAY, finish it before summer ends, LOL!

  • Paula Kiger says:

    Oh — and I just finished Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn’s first book (also a WHOA!). Finished (and reviewed Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir (which deserved a different kind of “whoa”).

  • Paula Kiger says:

    I have only read one of these (so thanks for expanding my list!). I read Girl on the Train. WHOA.

    • Thanks for sharing your list and so fun to have you over here at SITS. Janine is a fabulous writer and contributor anywhere she goes. What a terrific collection of books to choose from, so glad to have the over-views and brief intro to make selection a bit easier – though they all sound like great reads. Hope to see Janine here again SOON! Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow