Summer Reading, Summer Fun

By Diane Parfitt | Good Reads | August 2022 Issue

Summer will be over before we know it, but we don’t want to miss out on any summer reading. School will be starting soon, vacations will be over, and we all will be getting ready for fall. Why not take these last few weeks to read some of the best books of the year, some that are not only great reads but fun, too?

1. “Verity’’ by Colleen Hoover
When Verity Crawford, a best-selling author, is injured, her husband, Jeremy, hires Lowen Ashleigh to work on his wife’s unfinished books. Ashleigh, a struggling writer, sees this as her dream job, but little does she know she will also be uncovering some long-held secrets. She finds Verity’s unfinished autobiography, which the famous author never intended to publish. Family secrets are revealed, and Ashleigh must decide whether to tell Jeremy what his wife has been hiding from him all these years.

2. “The Summer I Turned Pretty’’ by Jenny Han
With a title like that, who could pass up this book? Who hasn’t dreamed of a transformation of some sort over the summer? For Isabel, aka Belly, summer is the time for all good things to happen. Belly and her family spend the summer at the beach house of her mother’s best friend. All the kids hang out together, and a summer romance is bound to happen. As Belly navigates through all this, she begins to mature and finds out that even with wonderful and terrible things happening, in the end, they may end up like they should have all along. This is the first of the author’s YA Trilogy, which are more than just coming-of-age stories. They deal with friendships, love triangles, trust, family relationships, and grief.

3. “Sparring Partners’’ by John Grisham
Here we have three John Grisham stories, each too short to be a novel and too long to be a short story. Together, they make a terrific book that is funny and suspenseful while telling powerful stories that will move you and remind you why you have always loved Grisham’s work. In “Homecoming,” we revisit Jake Brigance, a favorite Grisham lawyer who is called on to help a former friend who left town under suspicious circumstances. In “Strawberry Moon,” the most poignant story in this book, we are kept on the edge of our seats as a young death-row inmate, only hours from his execution, has exhausted all his attempts at clemency but has one final request. The title story, “Sparring Partners,” is just that. Two successful young lawyers inherit the thriving law practice of their father, who has been sent to prison. The problem is, the brothers hate each other.

4. “Malibu Rising’’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Picture this: One night, one family of four famous siblings, and one extravagant end-of-summer party at a Malibu mansion in August 1983. Everyone wants to mingle with the famous Riva siblings. They include Nina, a supermodel and talented surfer; Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a famous photographer; and their beloved little sister, Kit. Each has a story and possibly a few secrets that will break them apart. The alcohol will flow, the music will be loud, and secrets will unravel. And then, the Malibu Beach mansion will go up in flames. Can they rise above the chaos and secrets and leave behind the past?

5. “Run Rose Run’’ by Dolly Parton and James Patterson
James Patterson has written more than 200 books, and at least half of them have been bestsellers. Many of his latest books have been co-authored with such famous people as Bill Clinton. Now, Dolly Parton joins Patterson to write one that is perfectly suited to her. This is a thriller about a rising young singer-songwriter on the run and willing to do whatever she can to make it to the top. Her songs tell a story of the hard life she left behind,. As she flees to Nashville to pursue her dreams, she could find the place where the darkness of her past will catch up with her. Dolly and James write a thriller with the glitz and glamour they both are known for, and there is even a Dolly album of the same title. What better way to end your summer than reading a terrific new mystery book? And you can get an album to go along with it.

6. “Book Lovers’’ by Emily Henry
Literary agent Nora Stephens reads all types of books, even romance novels in which the heroine always wins the day. But Nora is nothing like that — at least not the sweetheart type. She may be a heroine to her clients because she works hard to win them enormous book deals, but her personal life is anything but a romance novel. So when she decides to take a girls’ vacation with her beloved little sister, Libby, in a small town in North Carolina, little does she expect to be the heroine of her own story. Libby is hoping Nora will have a transformation of sorts, meeting attractive, small-town men and spending lazy days picnicking in the meadows. But instead of living this romantic dream, Nora can’t figure out why she keeps running into someone from back home, Charlie Lastra, a brooding city editor she finds annoying. These two people who don’t think of themselves as anyone’s dream just might find out they can write their own happy endings.