Hosted by the fabulous The Broke and The Bookish. This week's prompt:
May 31: Beach Reads Week -- top ten great beach reads, ten books I plan to read on the beach, ten beach reads for those who don't like typical ~beach reads~, ten authors who are my go-to for beach reads, etc.
I’m not sure if my tastes and definition of beach reads are the same as everyone else’s but I can’t wait to find out.
For me beach reads are cozy mysteries, a side of contemporaries, and a dash of paranormals. Light, fluffy, easy-breezy reads that you can set aside if need be. Usually But don’t be fooled, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. I’ll have some more out there recommendations at the bottom.
I will say this: being a beach read is not a bad thing. It’s not an insult, I swear. Please do not look down on these books, authors, and readers. Give them a shot, it’ll be fun. :D
First up, my go-tos for romping fun:
These excel with amateur sleuths, quirky casts, and hijinks but often convoluted and full of conveniences. These are also all adult books with adult protagonists. There’s usually drinking, sex, and such, fyi. So if that’s not your thing, keep scrolling.
I love the Rose Strickland series, by Terri L. Austin. The first book, Diners, Dives, & Dead Ends was found in a giveaway from Goodreads. I currently have the second, Last Diner Standing up for trade/sell, if you find out you like it.
Synopsis: As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland's life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she's hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out. With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She's gone from zero to sixty and learns when you're speeding down the fast lane, it's easy to crash and burn.
In the same vein, there’s Portrait of a Dead Guy (Cherry Tucker #1) by Larissa Reinhart. (ARC for trade/sell)
In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.
As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.
Also available in e-book.
Blanche On The Lam (Blanche White #1) by Barbara Neely is another cozy mystery with a more grounded protagonist and setting. Blanche is insightful, unapologetic, and I can’t wait to read more of her. It’s funny and mysterious without the over-the-top white people that belong in the circus.
Blanche White lends a refreshing African-American, female twist to the mystery tradition, as she turns from domestic worker to insightful--if reluctant--sleuth. A middle-aged housekeeper with a strong sense of humor, Blanche becomes an unlikely yet ingenious sleuth when murder disrupts the wealthy household of her employers.
Next up, contemporaries
These are all YAs.Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham is another giveaway win that’s up for trade/sell. Friendships, music, and an old fashioned road trip. And boys. There's some family drama and heartwarming moments.
3 Ex-Best Friends
Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.
Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.
But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.
Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.
Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there.
But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt is another fun, quirky contemporary. This time a young woman struggles to deal with her father’s MS diagnosis and learns life lessons along the way. It hits hard but not a typical medical tear jerker and light enough for the beach. I mean, she writes a journal about his head…it just shouts rom com.
According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.
The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.
In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.
Leavitt has another book, Going Vintage: cute 3 star YA contemporary with a funny premise amid high school and family drama.
To round it out, I’ve included the fantastic To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (there’s going to be a third in the series!!!) and Dumplin.
Ya’ll should know both of those. If not, what are you doing?!?! (lol)
Typically there’s a lot of similarities between these picks and cozy mysteries but with a magical twist. These are back to being Adult books.
My Life as a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie #1) by Diana Rowland is a good example of this. Each installment has Angel working on another mystery with solid overarching plots, characters, and developments, with solid sci-fi world-building and romance.
Angel Crawford is a loser.
Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.
That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.
Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she's hungriest!
Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat.
The Agent of Hell series by Jacqueline Carey is a more series mystery of the week paranormal. Carey is one of my favorite authors, I’ve loved every one of her books. It’s action- and magic-packed. It’s a heavier beach read, but it’s still a breeze to read through, furiously flipping pages. Beware if you’re tanning because they’re hard to put down.
Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy novels, presents an all-new world featuring a woman caught between the normal and paranormal worlds, while enforcing order in both. Introducing Daisy Johanssen, reluctant hell-spawn…
The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.
To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.
But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.
If you want a more private book, there’s Dominic’s Nemesis by D. Alyce Domain with the dark side of paranormal, a historical gothic setting and sexy romance.
For a mix between paranormal and contemporaries, there's the fluffy fun romantic comedy, Hollyweird by Terri Clark (available for trade/sell).
Something Different Recomendables:
Breathe by Sara Crossan (ARC T/S): YA Dystopian perfect for mindlessly enjoying the action.
The Rise of Ransom City by Flix Gilman (T/S): an American steampunk tale that’s every enjoyable with lots going on and is easy to get lost in with a funny narrator.
Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley is another steam punk, this time set in England with a fierce heroine, a sexy bad boy, a solid mystery and a killer ending.
For a slow, poetic YA mystery starring Emily Dickinson, Nobody’s Secret By Michaela MacColl (ARC T/S) would be perfect for hot lazy days.
Some Good Authors for Summer Reads:
Janet Evanovich. Besides her Stephanie Plum series (Cozy mystery) I can recommend The Husband List (historical. ARC to trade/sell)
Carla Neggers. Though I’m not a fan of her contemporary romances, they’d definitely fit. Her romantic suspense is slightly better and I LOVE her In Death Series as J.D. Robb. I have Saint's Gate & Heron’s Cove, her romantic suspense [cover is damaged from a dog :(] for trade/gift.
Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Estep write fantastic, enjoyable novels.
So that’s way more than ten…but since it was impossible to narrow it down with so many different ways to come at it.