Must Haves

Must Haves

Must Haves

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Summertime is one of my favorite times to read. Anytime I can get out by the water to soak up some Vitamin C and devour a good book is the perfect day for me.  

I’m a huge reader. Like massively huge reader. So much so in fact that last year I read 175 books alone. I spend a lot of my free time reading and I love listening to audiobooks. So trust me, if you’re a person who is looking for your next favorite summer read whether that’s a physical book or an audio version I have you covered.  

Here are 21 incredible beach reads that are just waiting for you to devour.

  • 1) Beach Read by Emily Henry

    I will recommend this book until I turn blue in the face. Emily Henry is one of the queens of beach reads. And Beach Read was her romance book debut back in 2020. As a native Michigander, this book is everything to me.  

    The story is about born romantic and romance author January Andrews. After the death of her father and some unexpected betrayals are revealed to her, January loses her creative spirit and is unable to write her next book. She decides to visit the small coastal Lake Michigan town to sell her father’s beach house and bumps into her literary rival Augustus “Gus” Everett. The pair enter into a competition to see who can sell the best book and along the way are confronted with a plethora of rom-com moments that make this book one of my favorites.

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  • 2) Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    If you are looking for book that feels like you’re watching Almost Famous then this is the book for you. This book is not only inspired by iconic rock groups like Fleetwood Mac, but it also is being turned into a TV series.  

    The book follows the rise and fall of a fictional rock group in the 70s called Daisy Jones & The Six. Daisy Jones is a teen in LA in the late sixties whose voice is being noticed more and more as she enters her twenties. Another group The Six also is rising into popularity, and when one producer gets Daisy Jones and The Six’s front runner Billy Dunne to cross paths the two acts merge together into this legendary sound.

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  • 3) The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

    While this book isn’t set during the summer-per say it definitely fulfills the beach read quota. This romance book by Lyssa Kay Adams is easily one of the coolest book pitches I had ever heard. Nashville Legends’ second baseman, Gavin Scott, is in a bit of a pickle. His wife is ready to divorce him. After only a few years of marriage and two twin daughters, Thea Scott is done with the life of being a baseball player’s wife. But Gavin isn’t ready to quit. Enter the secret romance book club comprised of Nashville’s top alpha men. While reading a regency-era historical romance, Gavin’s new friends help coach him through fixing his marriage and wooing his wife all over again.  

    The best part is not only is this book the first in an inter-connected series but it is also being made into a Netflix TV Series. So you will certainly be seeing these characters come to life in the near future!

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  • 4) The Hating Game by Sally Thorn

    The Hating Game is one of those romance books that just gives me everything I need. Lucy Hutton is an assistant to one of the two CEOs of recently merged publishing house Bexley & Gamin. Her work rival Joshua Templeman, a fellow assistant to the other CEO, is a constant thorn in her side. When their bosses announces a brand new Chief Operations Manager position, Josh and Lucy embark on their biggest rivalry game yet. The only problem is, that there is a fine line between love and hate and sometimes the line gets crossed… 

    Seriously, I could write essays as to why this book is so amazing, but I will also leave you with the note that this book was recently made into a movie starring Pretty Little Liars’s Lucy Hale, and is currently available on Hulu!

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  • 5) People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

    I told you she’s one of the queens of beach reads, so yes I had to add another Emily Henry book to this list. If you love When Harry Met Sally, run don’t walk to grab this book!  

    When Poppy and Alex first met in college they were very clearly opposites. Poppy is a wild child, Alex is more organized and stoic. And for years they would take a fun summer trip together exploring places Poppy had always dreamed of going. Until one fateful summer trip that prompted a two year silence between the two friends. Determined to rekindle their friendship, Poppy invites Alex to take one more vacation with her and miraculously he agrees. Now she has one week to fix everything. If only she can manage to dodge the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the shadows of their seemingly perfect friendship… 

    This book is filled with fun summer trips and lots of When Harry Met Sally-esq moments. So buckle up because it’s definitely a tear-jerker. 

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  • 6) Book Lovers by Emily Henry

    As a certified book lover myself, I knew I was going to devour Emily Henry’s newest release. This might just be my favorite of hers thus far. Book Lovers is an interesting take on the You’ve Got Mail story. Two people who work in the book world, this time in publishing specifically, who hate each other are forced to spend time together in a small city in North Carolina for over a month. 

    The story focuses heavily on breaking down the idyllic Hallmark It Girl and instead focuses on the side character’s girlfriend who got dumped for the Inn Owners Daughter. It also tells the story of family and how family makes sacrifices for each other and the costs of those decisions. It’s beautiful and brilliant and definitely a must read. 

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  • 7) The Paris Apartment By Lucy Foley

    If you love thrillers you need to pick this one up immediately. Lucy Foley is known for mystery and thriller novels. The Paris Apartment is definitely on my list of books that blew my mind. The story is about a girl named Jess who is looking for a fresh start. After leaving her job under less than ideal circumstances and with little money, her half-brother Ben takes her into his very nice apartment in Paris. At first, she is skeptical about how Ben can afford a luxury apartment until she realizes he’s not there. Thus beings Jess’s quest to learn the truth about Ben’s disappearance and what exactly the mysterious neighbors in this apartment are hiding.

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  • 8) Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

    Here is another book that is being turned into a movie. In fact, very soon Where The Crawdads Sing will be hitting the big screen. This is one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks and it’s no surprise wise.  

    Here’s the description: “For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

    But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.”

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  • 9) One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

    For all of the people who love Gilmore Girls, this book is definitely one you will end up loving. The book is not only beautiful and heart-wrenching but hilarious and full of joy. It’s Mamma Mia meets Gilmore Girls in the best way possible. 

    “When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

    “But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit and among the beautiful scenery starts to feel herself coming back to life.

    “And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.”

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  • 10) Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    This is another great book for music fans. The story focuses on the family and fall out of a rock star named Mick Riva who has struggled with drug addiction throughout his whirlwind career. 

    The story centers on Mick’s four children. Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit. All of who have careers and stardom of their own, along with a dissolved relationship with their dad. On the night of Nina’s famous end-of-the-summer party, Nina’s baby sister, Kit, invites their dad and soon the chaos of the party and family secrets begin to spill out.

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  • 11) It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

    This book was easily my favorite of 2021. Tessa Bailey is an incredible romance author and It Happened One Summer is her masterpiece in my opinion. If you are a fan of Schitt’s Creek and Alexis Rose let me introduce you to Piper Bellinger. 

    Piper has the it-girl lifestyle. She’s fashionable, influential, and constantly in the paparazzi’s eye. When one night prompts too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in jail, her stepfather decides to cut her off. She and her sister Hannah are sent away to their father’s hometown of Westport, Washington to learn some responsibility by running their late father’s dive bar. There Piper meets Brendan, a big burly sea captain and unofficial town mayor who instantly takes a disliking to the way Piper acts. These polar opposites collide on many occasions and soon an undeniable attraction pulls them together. But what happens at the end of the summer when Piper is supposed to go back to LA? Does she go back to the It Girl lifestyle she’s used to or does she stay in Westport where things are starting to feel like home?

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  • 12) 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

    This book is one of my mom’s favorite by Elin Hilderbrand. If you love the East Coast and Nantucket area this book is going to give you that feeling since almost all of Elin Hilderbrand’s books are set there.  

    28 Summers is a story about love that just can’t seem to be. The story which is based on the film Same Time Next Year focuses on Mallory, who has asked her son Link to reach out to her former lover Jake McCloud. Jake is not only the husband of the soon-to-be Vice President of the United States but also the man Mallory has had numerous summer affairs with. While Mallory is on her deathbed, she has Link to tell Jake to come to visit because there won’t be much time left. The book is told in flashbacks of Jake and Mallory’s encounters and the love that never really had the time to be. 

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  • 13) Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

    I like to make sure mystery and thrillers are added to these lists because not everyone wants a summer romance. Some people need an unputdownable mystery with a crazy plot twist and well that’s exactly what you get with Reckless Girls. In the same vein as Yellow Jackets, Lux and her boyfriend Nico are hired to take two college best friends to a mysterious island known for it’s rumored cannibalism, numerous shipwrecks, and inhabitance. But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted and the secrets and deceit begin to spill out.

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  • 14) Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton & James Patterson

    For all of your country music lovers, this book is going to be right up your alley. Run Rose Run tells the story of an up-and-coming country music star. It’s like watching any country stars rise to the top. “She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.”

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  • 15) It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

    Everyone is talking about Colleen Hoover’s books. Colleen Hoover is one of those writers that will make you feel a lot of things, and in most cases, it’s going to be sad. This book which was inspired by some of her mom’s past is about a girl named Lily who meets a very successful neurosurgeon named Ryle. While Ryle is stubborn and arrogant, he has a soft spot for Lily. Things seem alright until Lily’s first love, Atlas Corrigan, shows up again and Lily begins to wonder just what and who she needs in her life.

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  • 16) Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

    If you haven’t watched the Netflix show for this one yet I’ll give you a little bit of background. Firefly Lane is a story about friendship at its core. “Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.” The story focuses on how friendship and success can sometimes breed jealously, but at the end of the day, the one person who really knows you and has the power to hurt you can also heal you. 

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  • 17) The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

    Here is another thriller that is unputdownable with lots of twists and turns. When Hannah Hale’s husband leaves behind a note saying to protect his daughter Bailey she at first is frightened and confused. As the US Marshals arrest her husband’s boss and his sudden disappearance, Hannah and Bailey begin to try to piece together what happened.  

    Along the way, Hannah and Bailey begin to uncover details about Owen’s life and he might not be just who Hannah thinks he is. And Bailey might just be the key to understanding it all.

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  • 18) One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

    For all of you Bachelor/Bachelorette lovers out there, you absolutely need to pick this book up. This book is based on the now infamous reality dating TV-series and definitely will have you hooked from cover to cover. 

    When plus-sized fashion blogger Bea Schumacher writes a scathing review of the show for not adding enough body diversity to the reality dating TV series The Main Squeeze, she is surprised when producers ask her to be the next Main Squeeze, the star of the upcoming season. The show’s dwindling viewership and new producers have decided Bea is right and that by casting a plus-sized with more body diverse men that the show can make a comeback. While Bea agrees, she is convinced she will not find love and use this as a catalyst to further her career and inspire women all over America that love doesn’t have a size attached to it. But through a couple of hot air balloon rides, picnics in the park, some sexy suitors, and suddenly Bea’s idea of not finding love might turn into finding the real deal. 

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  • 19) Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand

    Here is another perfect summer read from Elin Hilderbrand. Again this story is set in Nantucket, but this time features a big family. It tells the story of first loves and gives you the feeling of what that carefree summer days and nights feel like. Here is a quick synopsis of the book. 

    “Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. And thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, while each of them hides a troubling secret.”

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  • 20) The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

    When it comes to swoony romance books the dynamic duo behind the pen name Christina Lauren is high on the list of favorites. If you love romance with a dash of tension, misunderstandings, and fake dating this book is the one for you. 

    Olive has always been an unlucky person. When her identical twin sister Ami gets married and the entire wedding party gets food poisoning during the reception, Olive is one of two people who make it out scot-free. When Ami convinces Olive to take the non-refundable honeymoon to Hawaii, she is at first overjoyed with the prospect of a relaxing vacation. There’s only one problem. Olive will have to pretend she is Ami and that she is married to Ami’s new husband’s brother Ethan who also happens to be Olive’s worst enemy. The pair put aside their differences with the sole determination to avoid each other on the trip. Until Olive runs into her future boss and suddenly is at risk of losing her new position because of the little white lie of her being married. Now, she and Ethan have to pretend to be loving newlyweds when they can’t stand to be around each other.

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  • 21) The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

    I’m a sucker for a good fake dating story. That’s why there are few on this list with that same trope. And The Spanish Love Deception is definitely fitting that bill. This TikTok sensation debut book by Elena Armas is great for imaging yourself in Spain and it’s filled with lots of family drama. 

    Catalina Martin needs a date for her sister’s wedding. Desperately. Not only to get her family off her case about not having a boyfriend but also to prove to her ex and her soon-to-be brother-in-law’s brother that she is definitely over him. Enter Aaron Blackford. Aaron and Lina have been at odds ever since they started working together. But when her handsome and condescending colleague offers to be her date for the wedding, Lina finds it hard to say no on a deadline. The pair fly to Spain and begin a game of faking their relationship not only to her not-easy-to-fool family but to Lina’s ex-boyfriend. Soon, Lina begins to realize Aaron might not be as terrible as she might have once thought.

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