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  • Heather McDorman

Dive Into Summer With These 15 “Hot” Book Titles

Person with their legs in a pool while reading a book

Summer is synonymous with relaxation, and what better companion to complement your sunny escapades than a delightful read? As the days grow longer and leisure time becomes abundant, diving into a great book can provide the perfect escape from everyday demands.

To help you navigate the vast sea of literary choices, we’ve gathered titles in three groups – newly published, obscure titles (as determined by Goodreads), and classics. But there’s a twist – because there are so many books from which to choose – each title includes at least one word evoking the summer season. Our selections span various genres, ensuring there's something for everyone, from gripping mysteries and heartwarming romances to historical tales and spellbinding fantasy.

“Life has gotten busy, so I’m looking forward to unwinding this summer poolside with a new book!” shared avid reader Amber, who is a friend of Heather’s. “When I think of the perfect summer read, I think of a love story by water, ha!”

“I’m most looking forward to Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune,” Amber said. “Her debut novel Every Summer After was one of my favorite books last year.”

Without further ado, here are a few “hot” titles to consider adding to your summer reading list:

Newly Published Titles in 2023

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  • Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune (romance) A random connection sends two strangers on a daylong adventure where they make a promise that one keeps and the other breaks, with life-changing effects, in this breathtaking new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Summer After. Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in the city. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.

  • The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero-Lacruz (fantasy) coming July 25 When Reina arrives at Aguila Manor, her heart stolen from her chest, she’s on the verge of death—until her estranged grandmother, a dark sorceress in the Don’s employ, intervenes. Indebted to a woman she never knew and smitten with the upper-caste daughter of the house, Celeste, Reina will do anything to earn–and keep–the family’s favor. Even the bidding of the ancient god who speaks to her from the Manor’s foundations. To save the woman she loves, Reina will have to defy the gods themselves and become something she never could have imagined.

  • My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank (historical fiction) coming June 6 Escape to the South Carolina Lowcountry, where family bonds and hidden secrets run deep. In this gripping tale of self-discovery, Victoria Benton Frank introduces us to Maggie, struggling to find her place in the world when she receives a phone call bringing her back to her hometown of Sullivan's Island.

  • All the Days of Summer by Nancy Thayer (family fiction) Heather Willette has a good life in Concord, Massachusetts – complete with a husband who runs his own business and a son to take up his mantle one day. But now that her marriage has fizzled out and Ross, her only child, is graduating from college and getting serious with his girlfriend, Heather wonders if that life is the one she really wants. Ready to seek out her own happiness and discover herself again, Heather decides to leave her husband and rent a cottage on Nantucket. A woman’s second act on the beautiful island of Nantucket delivers much more than she expected in this hopeful novel by the New York Times bestselling author.

  • The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop (mystery thriller) coming June 6 Rachel has been in love with Alistair for fifteen years. Even though she’s now married to someone else. Even though she was a teenager when they met. Even though he is twenty years older than her. Joining a post #MeToo discourse, The Girls of Summer grapples with themes of power, sex, and consent, as it explores the complicated nature of memory and trauma – and what it takes to reframe, and reclaim, your own story.

Classic Titles

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  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (historical fiction) A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. In his first great literary masterpiece, Hemingway portrays an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions.

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (comedy/fantasy fiction) The play is set in Athens and consists of several subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot involves a conflict between four Athenian lovers. Another follows a group of six amateur actors rehearsing the play that they are to perform before the wedding. Both groups find themselves in a forest inhabited by fairies who manipulate the humans and are engaged in their own domestic intrigue.

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (science fiction) The story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (historical murder mystery) The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

  • Dune by Frank Herbert (dystopian thriller) Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for. When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

Obscure Titles

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  • Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins (mystery) On one level this book is a fast-paced CIA adventure story with comic overtones; on another it’s a serious novel of ideas that brings the Big Picture into unexpected focus; but perhaps more than anything else, Fierce Invalids is a sexy celebration of language and life.

  • Tropical Nightmares by Kelly Cozzone (romantic adventure) Surviving numerous attempts on their lives, including the explosion that rocked Tropical Dreams, David Murphy and Tiana Alexander started to rebuild their lives. Living on the beautiful and tranquil island of St. Lucia, they tried not to let the ugliness of Robert Dubose invade every aspect of their lives. They knew he was coming and wouldn't stop until someone was dead.

  • The Bees by Laline Paul (dystopian) Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. Thrilling, suspenseful, and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees and its dazzling young heroine will forever change the way you look at the world outside your window.

  • Lagoonby Nnedi Okorafor (science fiction/fantasy) Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria's legendary mega-city, they're more alone than they've ever been before. But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they could never imagine.

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (fantasy/young adult) Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Hopefully, this list has provided you with some inspiration for your summer stack of books. “I’m now adding two more books to my summer reading list: Meet Me at the Lake and The Name of the Rose,” said co-blogger Jodi. “These two books are very different – a romance and a mystery, but they represent my eclectic taste in reading.”

Let us know if you have read any titles on our list and what you thought (on a five-star review system, let’s say). If you’ve been convinced to pick up one of the above books, let us know which one(s). Happy summer!

Editor’s Note: The synopses of the books listed above are from Goodreads, Amazon, and Wikipedia.

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1 Comment

May 22, 2023

Nice list. I’ve read all the Classics, my favorite of those is Name of the Rose. So good. I’ve been meaning to read the Neil Gaiman book. And maybe it’s time to read a romance or historical romance. Not my usual fare, but some of those look tempting and variety is nice. I think I’ll try Meet me by the Lake. - Kelly Jeide (I published as guest)

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