Vacation Picks

We are finally hitting the summer months, and with that months that I look forward to when it comes to reading in particular. Given the different personalities even in my own family I know there are some who enjoy just sitting by the pool or on the beach reading, and there are those who have active vacations with reading on the side. Whether you love paragliding or just sitting back, I hope some of these picks can help build your vacation reads list, or inspire some ideas for yours. Usually I just list a few books that I’ve loved and make me think of relaxing on the beach, but to mix it up this year I’m building a list based on different genres and groupings.

  • Contemporary Romance: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
    • There is nothing like having a beginning and end in one book, especially when I’ve been struggling with the wait on some series’ endings. If you are seeking a good romance Christina Lauren has a number of really strong contenders in this category, but the Unhoneymooners remains one of my all-time favorites. Maybe it’s my love of enemies to lovers, but this one captured my attention from the beginning, and doesn’t hurt that it takes place at a resort. If you aren’t on vacation while reading this one, you may find yourself wanting one.
    • Synopsis: The Unhoneymooners follows Olive and Ethan, sister of the bride, and brother of the groom as they get pulled along in the great big wedding.  Olive’s twin sister, Ami is the ultimate coupon and winner of contests, so the wedding and honeymoon are all won or gotten at as good a discount as possible.  For most of the wedding this seems to go really well, and save her and the parents money, well at least barring the bright green bridesmaids dresses (and those can get bad at a cost anyway) and the seafood bar.  Olive having an allergy to seafood and Ethan just not trusting a buffet are the only ones who don’t partake, and dodge a seriously bad case of food poisoning.  Beyond suffering from the food poisoning her sister and new brother in law have to figure out a way to salvage the non refundable/non transferable honeymoon.  Their scheme is to have Ethan and Olive go in their place, and the rest of course is amazing drama (eyebrow wag).
  • Fantasy: City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
    • I might be hitting a point where I sound like a broken record, but this book/series blew my mind. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I did read this one on vacation and the setting of Egypt and Daevabad felt even closer while being on a beach. The combination of great characters, immersive world-building, and a powerful plot made this book take off, and made me inhale this book.
    • Synopsis: Nahri, is a con woman living in Cairo, Egypt.  She doesn’t believe in magic, but that doesn’t mean she won’t play along if it puts food in her belly, and keeps a roof over her head.  She may not have many “friends” or a family to look after her but she makes do, and has survived as much solely on her own.  All this changes though when she recites an enchantment that brings a mysterious being forth, a djinn warrior, who is just the beginning of her introduction into a magical and dangerous world that she might have been a part of all this time.
  • YA Fantasy/Sci-fi: Mirage by Somaiya Daud
    • This is a duology, which I just read the last book of recently, and have yet to post the review. Don’t take that as a negative on this book though, because this one is definitely in the under-hyped category. A mixture of Fantasy, and Sci-Fi elements Mirage brings a solid political intrigue plot, a richly diverse set of cultures, and all the danger for the main character you could ever want. It’s a really short duology on top of that, so if you only have room in your bag for two books, and want something easy and quick to read these are a great pick for your list.
    • Synopsis: So, what is Mirage by Somaiya Daud about?  It’s a story that follows a Kushailian village girl whose world and people have been taken over by the Vath, a people who at one point had been peaceful until their world could no longer sustain them.  Having lost their own world they turn to their neighbors, and instead of asking nicely, decide to take over and invade.  While this invasion is somewhat recent, our main character, Amani, has only known her world as it is now; broken.  She has learned to get by in life, and only seeks to live as best as possible with her family, all until the Bath interrupt her village’s maturity celebration, and take her to the new Vath capital, once her people’s Royal Palace, and she learns that she is the exact image of the Princess, Maram, part Vathek and part Kushailan.
  • YA Mystery: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
    • The first time I picked up this book in the bookstore I quickly put it back. At that point in time I hadn’t heard all the rave reviews, and all I knew was that they were cutting open a dead body, which made me squeamish. If you brave the first pages though, this book and series are incredibly addictive. The dark mystery of the Jack the Ripper murders already brings a great attention grabber to the story, but the characters will be what pull you through the series. There is a lot of character growth, amazing twists to already known mysteries, and an excitement that seems to transfer to even the reader. This is a fun, addictive, and fast paced series to spice up any relaxing pool day.
    • Synopsis: Besides the whole death and goriness, what is this series about?  It’s a five novel series (last book comes out Sept. 10th) following Audrey Rose Wadsworth (I’ll try to keep this strictly to the first book so no one gets spoiled) as she works with her uncle on one of the most infamous police cases of all time; Jack the Ripper.  The biggest barrier for her solving the case though isn’t technology or physical evidence, but that she is a woman.  In order to work under her uncle, not only does she have to lie to her father but dress as a boy to attend school.  The Ripper case though brings her further into harm’s way as she stalks the same dark streets in order to catch the serial killer before his next kill.
  • A Unique World: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
    • This one is probably the most unique on the list, featuring a part of the world that not even YA tends to explore very often; the Wild West. There are a lot of different variations when it comes to time period or even the physical setting of the Wild West, but this one brings a classic concept, just with all the great features we get in YA. The classic concept? A revenge story. The YA Features? Diversity in the Wild West, and a female lead. I may have picked this up due to my Red Dead Redemption addiction at the time, but this book started with a bang, and took off faster than a bullet (did that sound western enough?). It’s different enough to stick around in your head for days, and well written to stick with you even longer.
    • Synopsis: Vengeance Road, and its companion novel, Retribution Rails take place in the 1870’s and 1880’s Arizona when it’s known as the Arizona Territory. Not quite a duology, the two connected stories begin with the events of Vengeance Road as Kate Thompson returns to her home to find her father murdered by a band of outlaws. Faced with a burned down homestead and dead father, Kate pursues the group and begins a hunt for vengeance.

What books are you looking forward to taking on your next adventure? Let me know in the comments below!

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