When the holiday countdown begins, the search begins for books to read while spending lazy days lounging by the pool or in the garden soaking up the sun. It can be tempting to dust off the books from last year and pull them out for their annual showing, because I hate wasting suitcase space taking away books that are just rubbish. And yes, I still take paperbacks with me.
This year I was determined to branch out, try some new authors and see what was on offer. As an established fan of Jodi Picoult, Dan Brown and Harry Potter, I already enjoy a variety of genres, but it was time to add to the bookshelf with a few newbies. And because I can appreciate how hard it can be to find the books that make you forget you’re reading a book, make you opt for a bath instead of a shower so you can continue reading, and stay up until 3am because you just have to know what happens, I’m going to share with you my favourite summer finds!
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
I like to read the book before I watch the movie adaptation, and with the recent cinema success of Me Before You I thought it was about time I checked out the book. This was actually the first book I read on my holiday, and it set the bar very high.
Set in a rural town in England, the book follows Louisa’s unlikely appointment as a carer for Will after his motorcycle accident and the events that unfold. Completely heartwarming, I was hooked and spent a solid day and evening reading this just so I could find out how it ended. I spotted a fair few people around the pool reading this book, and I personally enjoyed this book so much that I am now working my way through the sequel, After You. I’ll let you know if it lives up to the first one!
A Piece Of Cake, Cupcake Brown
This wasn’t actually a new book this year, in fact I’ve read this book every year on holiday since I was recommended it 8 years ago. But each time I read Cupcake’s story, I am absolutely addicted. Detailing Cupcake’s true story, you could be forgiven for thinking that what happens after her mum passes away is so bizarre that it couldn’t possibly happen to one person, let alone a child. And when you remind yourself that you are actually reading about a child, you’ll be shaking your head in disbelief.
This is one of the few books I’ve read that actually made me shed a tear, and I really felt like I followed Cupcake on her journey. She reaches such lows that you wonder how she ever came out of it to actually write the book, and although the writing style isn’t one I would usually stick with, the journey pulls you in and you can’t help but root for her. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all doom and gloom. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but if you’re like me it’ll leave you feeling so grateful for what you’ve got and motivated to work for what you want. And this is one book I recommend year in, year out to absolutely everyone who asks me for a book recommendation.
See Me, Nicholas Sparks
My introduction to the Nicholas Spark range came in the form of See Me, one of the few books I thought hadn’t been made into a film – I was wrong. The prologue gave a somewhat creepy introduction to the book, but served as a reminder that this wasn’t just going to be a lovey dovey book about the main characters Colin and Maria and their journey together. Instead, it kept me wondering what was going to be around the corner the whole time, and despite constantly trying to work out how it would end, I still didn’t see it coming.
I really enjoyed the balance of romance and thriller in this book, which I feel can be a difficult one to find. I often decided to skip a dip in the pool just so I could keep reading and find out what was going to happen next, and I enjoyed the fact that there was more than one storyline to keep the book exciting. I was disappointed to finish the book, only because it meant I couldn’t enjoy it any more, and once I’d made my way through the good books I’d taken away with me I did contemplate reading this again.
The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
While I would struggle to pick a favourite book from the Jodi Picoult collection, this would be a strong contender. The story follows Sage, a baker who shies away from people, as she meets the lovely, lonely Josef, an old man who holds a place in many of the town residents’ hearts. As they get to know each other, he pulls her out of her reclusive shell before sharing with her a dark secret.
I really don’t want to give too much away with this book, but as someone who has always been interested with the history of the persecution of the Jews and the concentration camps, this was a surprising theme for a Picoult book. I have now read this book twice, captivated both times and gaining a much deeper understanding of the story when I reread it. This is one of those books that makes you forget you are reading, and instead makes you feel as though you’ve watched it all unfold before your eyes. If you can deal with the details of the Holocaust, make sure you’ve got a few days free, because you’ll want to spend every second reading this book.
So there you have it, the best of my summer holiday reads. While I did take nine books away with me, these four set the bar so high I opted to not read a couple of the others because I didn’t feel they’d live up to the standard set. And I can’t wait until enough time has passed that I forget a few details of the books and get to read them all again!
Do you have any holiday book recommendations? Let me know, I’d love to give them a read!