So, it’s already June, and many of us are either going on vacation, thinking about our vacation, or wishing we were on one. I wanted to start off a new trend of monthly top 10s (not always actually ranked) of books I’m recommending, and I figured with it being the start of summer, a vacation reads list would be fitting. Many bloggers or even book related groups have a list such as this, but I wanted to go ahead and introduce you guys to books I’ve found that made my beach experience better, or were only able to be read in a vacation setting.
On the first spectrum, of course, are books that had me excited at every page, and made me happy to have as much time to read them, sometimes going late into the night. On the other side of the spectrum are usually the first books to a series, most often Fantasy or Science Fiction. It’s not always that I couldn’t read it during the hectic times of my life, but it was definitely easier to pick up these books lying on a beach, and have the time and energy to take in on the details, and have the patience to get through the generally slow beginnings.
Without further ado, here is the list of books, each of which I will try to at least give an idea of what they are about, and where they lie on the spectrum. I hope this list helps you find a new book for your beach or other vacation needs, and let me know if you’d like any other recommendations beyond these ten.
1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
5 out of 5
This book was one I ended up buying for a trip into the mountains, a little less than a year before the movie came out and cemented the book’s place in top lists everywhere. When I read it, I was instantly sucked into the story of our main character, Maddy, and her illness which keeps her from the outside world, but of course not from love. I can’t help finding a good romance. What really kept me going was the romance in this book, and then the twists, which had me saying ‘no’ in the middle of a car ride with my family, all of whom gave me a weird look. This one is definitely a book that is quick and meant to grab you from the first page. If you are looking for an easy read, this one will exceed expectations.
2. Dreamology by Lucy Keating
4 out of 5
This one wasn’t quite a vacation read when I read it, but it was there for me when I wasn’t feeling my best, and made me happy. It’s another short, happy read, but it isn’t all it appears as our protagonist, Alice, can interact with her love interest, Max, in their dreams, which is great until it’s not. I’d go into more detail, but like I mentioned, this book is short, making it a great vacation read if you don’t plan to lay for hours with a book. It also makes a great jump starter if you just need a quick book to get you caught up in your reading challenge without breaking into the novellas.
3. Star Touched Queen by Roshani Choski
4 out of 5
This was one of the books I grabbed knowing I would have a book hangover after A Court of Wings and Ruin, which left me in emotional ruin as usual. If you ever @an author on Instagram they mostly don’t respond or like, but Choski did, which was also exciting on a side note, she sounds like a very nice author too, so I’m dying to meet her. This book, and its sequel following another character, were unexpected adventures for me. There’s an air of mythology to them, and an exhilaration like what I was used to feeling when reading some of Renee Ahdieh’s books, and I loved every second of it. The Star Touched Queen starts out a little slow, but it picks up, and I think it would make a great read for anyone who needs a beach read where you feel like you are in another world!
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
3 out of 5
This is one of the lowest scores I have ever given a Sarah J. Maas novel, probably because it was my first. To be fair, it was the first book in a Fantasy series, which like I usually parrot, are notorious for being slow starters. Throne of Glass is one such slow starter, but I love the story of Celaena Sardothien, and in this book shipped her with Chaol. It took a bit to get into the story, but I was hooked from there, immediately buying the next books when I got home, if that tells you anything. Throne of Glass is a six book series with its last book expected in 2018 along with a world book (OMG!), and a side novel coming out this September called Tower of Dawn. It is one of the big series that occupy my shelves, and is well situated on my pre-order list. It is high fantasy that has witches, fae, and demons. If you are into Cassandra Clare’s books and haven’t tried this out, I definitely recommend, and also warn you to at least have the second book handy, they only get better.
5. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
4 out of 5
To anyone who has talked to me and already asked me for a book recommendation, you probably aren’t surprised this book is on the list. It is actually one of the books I did read at the beach, and was really thankful I did. It isn’t a fast in the first book when you begin, at least not all the way through the beginning. There were a few times it was slow starting out, but after one of the most memorable scenes of transformation the book, and trilogy rocket into a fast paced, gritty adventure that follows Darrow as he tries to right the wrongs of his world, and rise up from Red to Gold. This trilogy is a whirlwind of an adventure, and are probably the only books I have found that most anyone can like. It isn’t focused on romance, nor is it focused on being flowing and artful. Red Rising reads like its character; intense, action-packed, and unafraid to shock.
6. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
5 out of 5
The Percy Jackson books are probably one of my most beloved series on my shelves. Something about Percy’s sarcasm and jokes makes me love every word, sentence, and paragraph of these books. When The Heroes of Olympus books came out I was quick to rejoin the ranks, and read as a college student books that are marketed to middle schoolers, and I don’t regret anything. These books, while being meant for younger audiences are just as amazing for adults, if not better, because certain jokes that flew over your head as a child suddenly make sense, like watching Disney movies as an adult; supremely enlightening. These books accompanied me to beaches, school, and any other occasion that allowed me time to read, the tape on the spine of two books showing the battle scars of how close they stayed near me.
7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
4 out of 5
If you love video games, Monty Python, or pop culture references in general, you will love this book. This was another book I toted to the beach and got swept into its world. You probably could’ve yelled my name, or poked me and I wouldn’t have known anything but what I was reading. This was one of those surprise books that kind of just ran into you, and from there you wondered where it had been all your life. The immersion gaming featured in the story, and the competition that sparks off our protagonist’s adventure are like watching Sword Art Online, or playing Halo, but infinitely better.
8. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
4 out of 5
One of my all-time favorites, but admittedly one of those many slow starting fantasies. I will not lie, this was a book that my dad pushed at me for the longest time, thought he’d won once (I skimmed in middle school), and eventually won the war. It took the beach to get me to read through this incredible book, and understand truly how great a writer J.R.R. Tolkien really is. The Fellowship of the Ring sets up for Two Towers and Return of the King in a way that can be harder to take in until you reach Moria (also the case in the animated movies), but once you read to that point it is one of the best trilogies, and possibly one of those great vacation reads you need to get into a classic series.
9. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
4 out of 5
So, as much as I like Fantasy, I have not watched this series (I plan to, so no spoilers), and I’m not entirely fond of this book. I think the reason I gave it 4 stars, was because it got really good near the end, and the characters are amazing. Beyond those two great reasons I will be honest that this book is not only a brick, but extremely taxing to read. There is a lot of detail, and a level of emphasis on those small details that is bit much for anyone who simply wants to escape their long day at work or school, which is why I read it at the beach. It took me the whole week at the beach, just focusing on that book to finish, which annoys me still to this day. I am under the impression that the second book, Clash of Kings, will be better, but I have yet to catch up on my reading challenge enough to try risking it. If you’ve been thinking of reading that book, and have the time set aside, vacation is definitely the time to pull it out, otherwise it’s hard to pull through, though it is worth it.
10. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
3 out of 5
This one is not a commonly read book, and there are reasons for that fact. Pathfinder is another slow fantasy/Sci-fi read with a political focus in terms of its story. It’s been a while since I read the book, but I still feel the politicalness of this book in a way that’s jarring (I’m not big on politics). I loved the book at the end, but this is one that I had to have time to read, and know I wouldn’t have if I had to do anything in between reading chapters. I do recommend this book though if you like Ender’s Game, political royal fics, or simply want a story that takes you on an adventure, this book is definitely worth a shot.
Also, be sure to check out full length reviews here, and keep an eye out each month for the monthly Recommendations list!