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Friday Favorites: 16 Fantastic Beach Reads for Summer 2023

Looking for some great books to curl up with this summer? Wait until you see this list of 16 great beach reads with a mix of summer romance, historical fiction, and some chilling psychological thrillers for good measure.

Summer and books.

They’re two things that just go together, like chocolate and peanut butter.

Ice and tea.

Tequila and lime.

As the days spin out longer, and the temperatures rise, there’s nothing quite like slowing down a bit and taking time to enjoy a good story.

Stack of three books on a sandy beach with the water out of focus behind them.


As much as I love reading, during the hot summer months I’m looking for books that make me feel like I’m taking a vacation.

Summer isn’t when I feel like reading heavier subject matter.

Those are the books I save for reading when I’m bundled up by the fireplace.

When I’m sitting by the pool, or on the beach, or on my porch, I’m looking for a fun love story.

Or one about friendship.

Sometimes a nice twisty, fast-paced psychological thriller.

I’ve got a list of 16 great perfect for the beach books on my wish list to read this summer.

Let me know if I missed any down in the comment section!

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Why I Love Reading on a Kindle

I’ve had a Kindle Paperwhite ever since that version of the e-reader was released.

I love that the screen looks like a real book page because it doesn’t have a bright back light.

I don’t need to use a book light when I’m reading at night.

When I read while I’m doing my hair, I don’t have to try to prop a book open and I can turn the pages with the tap of a finger.

If I’m almost finished reading a book, I don’t have to carry two books with me to the beach because they’re both in my Kindle!

Plus, the newer versions of the Paperwhite have an IPX8 rating so you don’t need to worry about getting a special waterproof case to safely read by the pool or at the beach.

There’s also a great program for Kindle users if you’re a Prime member called Amazon Prime First Reads.

You get one free book a month!

Amazon sends you an email at the beginning of the month with the eight titles you can choose from that month, and you get to read them before they’re officially released.

S2M Tip: Wait to pick your book until the middle of the month so you can see which ones have the highest ratings.

I also love the Kindle Unlimited program.

For $9.99 per month, you can read as many books as you want that are part of the program!

It’s a great deal.

Also, be sure to sign up for the Kindle Daily Deals email so you can find out when books are being offered at great discounts.

Happy Place

I’ve loved every Emily Henry book I’ve read: they’re quintessential beach reads!

So I’ve been eagerly anticipating Happy Place for a lovely, light, summer romance.

The perfect couple broke up five months ago, even though they’re still crazy about each other.

But they haven’t told their friends.

Of course they’ll have to share a room in the Maine cottage that they’ve been visiting every summer for the past ten years with their friends…

I’m pretty sure I know how this is going to turn out, but Emily’s ability to tell a story to get you there is always worth it.

Nora Goes Off Script

Have you ever watched a Hallmark movie?

Then you know, the stories are pretty predictable.

In Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan, Nora is a screenwriter for a romance channel and she knows the formula.

When her husband leaves her, she decides to turn her real life into a screenplay and it gets picked up by a major movie company!

Will this book end up being an awful lot like what you see in a Hallmark movie?


And I’m okay with that.

One Italian Summer

Our book club read In Five Years a few years ago, and Rebecca Serle’s storytelling really stuck with me.

In One Italian Summer, she dabbles again with some time-traveling magic that somehow gives a young woman who’s grieving for her mother the opportunity to meet and get to know her mother when she was young.

If you’re my age, then you know the person you were 30 years ago is very different from who you are now.

I imagine this one is going to be a little bittersweet but also with lots of heart.

Plus, the entire book is set against the Amalfi coast with some amazing food and charming characters.

This book is at the top of my summer 2023 reading list!

Carrie Soto is Back

I read Carrie Soto is Back at the end of last year and when I finished it declared it the best book I’d read all year!

It’s that good.

Taylor Jenkins Reid became one of my favorite authors after our book club read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

In this book, you get to follow Carrie Soto’s journey to tennis stardom, and then her battle to return from retirement.

I don’t really like watching tennis, but this story had me completely riveted!

Carrie isn’t always an easy character to like, but she’s still pretty freaking awesome.

She is beautifully flawed, and the heights she reaches thanks to her sheer determination are pretty impressive.

The relationship she has with her father and her growth as a person all take place on the grass, clay, and hard tennis courts where she spends most of her life.

This book will have you cheering and keep you turning the page to see what’s going to happen next.

The Homewreckers

Some of my favorite summer books have been by Mary Kay Andrews and The Homewreckers sounds like another one I’ll love!

A young woman who flips houses gets the opportunity to compete in a reality TV show, sort of like Battle on the Beach by HGTV.

I’m pretty sure she’ll end up falling in love because it’s a Mary Kay Andrews book, but you know there will be highs and lows, laughs and misunderstandings along the way, and I’m here for it!

Pineapple Street

I always enjoy books that lift the veil on the wealthy and powerful.

Pineapple Street is a debut novel, and the reviews by some of my favorite authors have me looking forward to reading it!

This is a family novel set in Brooklyn, and I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sure what it’s actually about… LOL

But it’s a new novel with over 7,000 reviews on Amazon and 28,000 ratings on Goodreads, so I’m planning to give it a try…

“Nothing beats a story told this well…. I could not stop laughing at this hilarious insider’s view of Brooklyn Heights WASPs. Truly the smartest and most deliciously fun novel I’ve read in ages.”
—Kevin Kwan, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians

Twenty Years Later

Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea sounds like a fantastic thriller!

The perfect unputdownable book for summer (in my opinion, anyway…)

The host of a hit TV show that often investigates true crime stumbles over a story that is going to be “ratings gold.”

New DNA technology helps to identify a 9/11 victim who had been accused of murder.

The same DNA that was all over the crime scene may end up clearing her name.

But someone doesn’t want the rest of the story to come out…

The Five Star Weekend

Did Summer actually happen if you didn’t read a book by Elin Hilderbrand?

Not in my world!

Her books are always set on Nantucket, and some day I’m actually going to go there so I can see all the places she describes.

The Five Star Weekend is based on an interesting concept: Your current best friend invites 3 best friends from your past stages to spend a weekend together.

The main character in this book is a food blogger so I already feel some kinship!

It wouldn’t be an Elin Hilderbrand book without some conflict, so I’ve got a feeling the friends from the food blogger’s past aren’t going to get along…

Smile and Look Pretty

I actually just finished Smile and Look Pretty by Amanda Pellegrino this week.

Four twentysomethings who are all working as underpaid assistants to powerful people in the entertainment industry.

They’ve been keeping their heads down and paying their dues for over two years in hopes of getting a break to make it to the next level.

Eventually, they reach a breaking point and start an anonymous website where women can share their stories.

When their site goes viral, their anonymity is threatened and they have to decide what to do.

It’s a satisfying story in the spirit of 9 to 5.


Magpie popped up in my recommendations because I gave The Last Mrs. Parrish a good rating on Goodreads.

It’s a pyschological thriller, and the description brings to mind the movie, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

A young couple having trouble conceiving rents out a room to a young woman to help give them the money they need for fertility treatments.

The title gives a hint about where I think the plot may take us: after all magpies will invade nests and steal eggs.

I’m looking forward to this twisty novel!

All the Days of Summer

All the Days of Summer sounds like it’s going to be a really heartwarming family story.

Heather doesn’t really get along with her son’s girlfriend, but they’re going to be thrown together for the summer due to some big life changes.

I’ve enjoyed a number of Nancy Thayer’s books and this one looks like it’ll be a great summery book.

Daisy Jones and the Six

I may have mentioned that I absolutely adore Taylor Jenkins Reid…

If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you’ve got to check her out!

Daisy Jones and the Six is one of her older books, and it reads like a rockumentary.

The story behind Daisy and the 70s rock band, The Six reads like an interview.

Daisy and Billy smoulder.

It’s a great story and it was unputdownable.

Except I didn’t want it to end.

Then they turned it into a mini series on Amazon Prime!

Even though they made some changes, it was still an outstanding show that my husband enjoyed too.

I loved this one enough I’d read it again, so if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Summer Stage

Summer Stage is about an extended family of actors who end up reunited working on a summer production at a Block Island theater.

They’re from different generations: including one who’s a TikTok star, and they’ve got different ideas about what fame looks like.

They all have to learn to work together to make the production a success, and along the way they figure out what’s really most important to them.

I’ve enjoyed other summer books from this author so I’ll be looking forward to reading this one when it comes out on May 23.

The Soulmate

I love a good thriller and The Soulmate sounds like it might get nice and twisty!

The main characters live in a pretty cottage on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

For some reason, this cliff becomes a place where people go to end their lives.

The husband has a knack for literally talking people off the ledge until the night that he doesn’t.

Turns out he knows the victim and so begins the investigation.

Dark secrets revealed.

Perfect facades crack.

It sounds right up my alley, how about yours?

The Celebrants

The Celebrants is about a group of college friends all about to turn 50 so it resonates with me right there.

They’ve stayed close through the years, throwing each other”living funerals” where they celebrate someone’s life while that person is still living.

They plan them when someone is experiencing a challenge in life to remind them of their life’s value.

But this time, one of them has a secret that’s going to upend their pact.

It’s an updated version of an old favorite movie of mine, The Big Chill.

The living funeral concept has me intrigued so I’m looking forward to this one, even if it’s not as lighthearted as some of my other summer picks.

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley is set in my home state of Maryland and is loosely based on Smith Island on the Chesapeake Bay.

For this reason alone, I’m gonna have to read this one!

The main character’s husband’s fishing boat is discovered empty and he’s assumed dead.

She’s so grief-stricken that she goes on acting as if he’s still alive.

All of the residents of the tiny island play along in hopes of helping her cope.

These are the kinds of neighbors we all could use more of in the world!

Then a reporter shows up to cover the island’s cake walk fundraiser and realizes he may have stumbled onto an actual mystery…

Incidentally, you may have heard of Smith Island Cake even if you’re not from Maryland if you ever read Southern Living Magazine.

If not, trust me, it’s a decadent dessert that’s worth every single carb and calorie that you can have delivered to your home…

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Collage of 16 book covers selected for 2023 summer beach reading.

Our Beach Reads: Twenty Years Later | The Five Star Weekend | Pineapple Street | Happy Place | The Homewreckers | Nora Goes Off Script | Summer Stage | One Italian Summer | Magpie | The Soulmate | The Celebrants | Smile and Look Pretty | Carrie Soto is Back | Daisy Jones and the Six | All the Days of Summer | The Invisible Husband of Frick Island

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