Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

Posted June 19, 2018 by Amber in Memes / 26 Comments

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The last time I can remember actually being at the beach was summer 2016.  We were on vacation in Maine with our friends and we all decided to go to Old Orchard Beach.  I went, and spent a great deal of time following their toddler around and NOT going in the water.  Two reasons:

  1. The Northern Atlantic Ocean is cold.  Even in June.
  2. As it turns out there are THINGS in the ocean.  Things that didn’t bother when I was nine, but now am super aware of.  Like jellyfish.  And giant squids.  Odds of seeing a giant squid?  Low.  Not gonna take that chance.

Super pathetic, right?  As a kid, I was a mermaid.  I spent full summers lakeside.

I still love it, I just have to make myself not think about it.  I’m no better with pools, either.  I might be if it was my own, private pool but it never is.  It’s always the hotel pool or the waterpark pool or the apartment pool and I think about toddlers peeing and floating band-aids.

So, um, now that I’ve thrown all my weird swimming issues out there, lets talk about some great poolside books you can read this summer.  Traditionally, beach books are fluffy romances that you can devour and forget, right?  I do things differently.

I’ll read any book I want, wherever I am.

Therefore, here is a lovely list of some fantastic books that are easy reads, and definitely things that you should consider reading on those lazy summer afternoons.  Will there be romance?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Find out for yourself!

(I did try to pick some silly, fluffy romances. 🙂 )

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Paperback

Published by Vintage Books on July 5th 2007
Genres: Classics, Dystopia, Feminism, Fiction, Science Fiction
Length: 324 pages Source: Amazon

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-half-stars

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.


If you have watched the Hulu series and haven’t read the book, this one is an absolute essential.  The Handmaid’s Tale is a short, easy read… but deep and fascinating in the same way we try to stretch our necks to see past the ambulance while we drive pack a car accident.

> my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

eBook

Published by Hot Key Books on January 16th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 288 pages Source: NetGalley

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-stars

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a "suitable" Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City--and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she's only known from afar. There's the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya's last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I really enjoyed this #OwnVoices novel released earlier this year and I feel like it was a really strong contemporary debut for Samira Ahmed.  That said, I feel like this book was mentioned here and there… but didn’t get very much hype.  It’s a short book with a really good and important message and deserves a bit more attention!

> my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Hardcover

Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on October 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Teen, Young Adult, Young Adult Contemporary
Length: 304 pages Source: Amazon

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-stars

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.


A lot of people were really excited for this release, and once it was out I think I read fewer than five reviews.  I will admit that it is not The Fault In Our Stars, but it is very good.  It’s also another #OwnVoices book, as John Green addresses Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety.  He has a way of making you feel exactly what his characters are feeling.

> my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber

Digital Audiobook narrated by Heather Wilds

Published by Berkley, Tantor Audio on November 6, 2012
Series: Lady Darby Mystery #1
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery, Romance
Length: 357 pages or 11 hours, 44 minutes
Source: Overdrive

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-stars

Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.

Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.

When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim...


Every beach reading list needs a historical romance.  It’s required.  This one also happens to be a bit murdery. It’s actually out of my normal reading pattern, so this recommendation is particularly peculiar.  I liked this book quite a lot and a hundred or so other Goodreaders can second that this is a good one for either romance or murder mystery.

my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

Paperback

Published by Sourcebooks on March 6, 2018
Genres: History, Non-Fiction, Science
Length: 496 pages Source: Amazon

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

five-stars

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive -- until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.


If you’re ever looking for a non-fiction romance that will scoop your heart out with a rusted spoon and fling it into the sea, Radium Girls is it!  Kate Moore writes incredibly well – I found myself engrossed in this one.  It’s a powerful, eye-opening read about the horrors of the industry and corporate corruption.

my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

The Martian by Andy Weir

Paperback

Published by Crown on February 11th 2014
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction
Length: 369 pages Source: Twitter Books for Trade

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

five-stars

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


If you haven’t read this one already, you have no excuse.  The Martian will make you laugh, and it’s just as good as the movie.  If you haven’t seen the movie recently, reading the book really won’t feel like a waste of your time.  It’s short.  It’s a modern classic.  You won’t regret it.

my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Digital Audiobook narrated by Linda Lavin

Published by Scribner on August 4th 2015
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction
Length: 336 pages or 7 hours, 39 minutes
Source: Audible

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-stars

Anita Diamant's vivid, affectionate portrait of American womanhood follows the life of one woman, Addie Baum, through a period of dramatic change. Addie is The Boston Girl, the spirited daughter of an immigrant Jewish family, born in 1900 to parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End of Boston, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, to finding the love of her life, eighty-five-year-old Addie recounts her adventures with humor and compassion for the naïve girl she once was.


Anita Diamant is always a good bet, but The Boston Girl is a strong one and feels more beachy than, say, The Red Tent. Which is also a really great read and I completely recommend it!  Addie Baum is an intriguing character and… oh, I don’t know.  They spend a lot of summers in the country and it just feels all summer vacationy and worked for me.  Shut up, I’m not good at this.

> my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Digital Audiobook narrated by Julia Whelan

Published by Harper Collins on May 10th 2011
Series: Revenants #1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 341 pages or 9 hours, 20 minutes
Source: Overdrive

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-half-stars

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?


This one is so silly and fluffy and ridiculous and I think I read it at just the right time, because it is rightfully cheesy in its Parisian romance.  They’re also vampires-not-vampires, so put the three together (vampires + Paris + cheesy romance) and that’s a pretty good beach read… right?

my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Paperback

Published by Scholastic on April 2nd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Length: 329 pages Source: Fellow Book Blogger

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

four-stars

Love is more than a game.

Love and Death choose their players in an eternal game. Death has never lost and Love will do anything to win.

Henry and Flora find each other, not knowing they are the players. Can their love be enough to keep them both alive?


This book is achingly beautiful.  It’s a sweet forbidden romance in a time where people drew lines that needn’t be drawn… it’s heartbreaking and beautiful with lovely characters and it is a book that is never talked about.  In fact, The Game of Love and Death fell into my lap by chance and now I’ll recommend it to anyone.

> my review

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Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Digital Audiobook narrated by Zara Ramm

Published by Audible Studios on June 1, 2013
Series: The Chronicles of St. Mary's #1
Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Length: 322 pages or 9 hours, 30 minutes
Source: Audible

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound

five-stars

Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.

The first thing you learn on the job at St. Mary’s is that one wrong move and history will fight back—sometimes in particularly nasty ways. But, as new recruit Madeleine Maxwell soon discovers, it’s not only history they’re often fighting.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Max and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea.

From eleventh-century London to World War I, from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, one thing is for sure: wherever the historians at St. Mary’s go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake.


Okay, so this one has funny, romance, time travel, DINOSAURS, tragedy, coffee, falling rocks, and a fantastic title.  Another of my new insta-recommends.  And I did read this one waterside (okay, on a cruise ship, I’m counting it) so I’ve already made it a beach side read. 10/10 recommend.

my review

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So now that we’ve gone through all that, I think that we all can agree that I’m a terrible person to ask for a poolside book recommendation!  Winter reads that wrap you up? I’m your girl.  But fluffy sunshine reads?  Well you get murdery things and haunting dystopias.

I should go to the beach more.  Meanwhile, check out this week’s Top Ten Tuesday for some better suggestions from bloggers who do fluffy romance and addictive mysteries!

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What do you read on the beach?

What’s your favorite light romance?

Are you a seasonal reader (light for summer, dark for winter, etc.)?
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26 responses to “Beachside Reads for the Non-Beachside Person

  1. Oh my gosh, I can relate to this so much! I don’t even know how long it’s been since I’ve been on a proper beach (I’m not counting the three foot wide strip of sand I was on a couple days ago…), but I think it was… oh I don’t know, last summer? Which maybe doesn’t seem too bad, but I um, live in a beachside town. So.
    I’m around water a lot, because beachside town, but our beaches are mostly rocky, and I have no motivation to go swimming, so it’s mostly boats (like, big ones, not ones where you’re actually remotely close to the water) and views from the distance.
    Oops. Maybe I should get to the beaches more… I DID walk along a three foot wide, *maybe* twenty foot long stretch of sand next to a concrete wall the other day… but… I don’t even think that counts.

    And yup. Light fluffy books? What are those? 😂
    I’m using this prompt as my summer TBR…

    • Amber

      I know right? Bring on the dreary, dramatic dark fantasies with blood-curdling betrayals!!!

      I think you don’t have to go to the beach if you don’t love it. 😛 I love the idea of the beach, but even at the beset of times, I get there, and there’s sand everywhere, and I am hardcore not digging it. If you love to swim or lay out and tan they’re perfect but otherwise… they’re sort of hot and sticky and awkward and sunburns and giant squids. XD

    • Amber

      Oh no! For whatever reason sharks are one of the few creatures I’m not worried about? Which is silly, because they’re far more likely than squids or jellyfish in my area of the ocean…. Glad to see you escaped unscathed! 😉

      • Haha – Sharks terrify me, I blame Jaws and Deep Blue Sea for that….and Blue Planet lol The ocean is a beautiful yet terrifying place lol

        • Amber

          Truth! I didn’t see Jaws until I was a teenager, so at the time I was not incredible impressed by the special effects, thank goodness! 🙂

    • Amber

      It’s definitely a very sad book, but also a very good and important book. Tears or not, I recommend it!

    • Amber

      I really, really enjoyed The Martian! It’s probably one of my top 25 of all time. 🙂 I’m so glad you loved it too!

    • Amber

      I didn’t read it until last year – I wish I read it sooner! It’s a really great, really powerful book.

    • Amber

      I’ve had it on my TBR for a year, and only picked it up because it popped up as the book of the month on one of my book clubs. I’m SO glad I did. It’s a powerful story, and really should be taken in small doses… it would make a really good, really moving miniseries as well. I think it’s so important that people know the story. 🙂

    • Amber

      New shinies are so tempting! TGoL&D is a really quick read – it could probably be done in an afternoon, and it’s so beautifully written. 🙂 I hope you like it!

  2. Great list! I’m not a big fan of the beach either – sand gets everywhere! – so I feel your pain, and I’m also much more of an autumn/winter gal. I’m actually making my way through Just One Damned Thing After Another at the moment and I would agree it’s a really fun read for the summer.

    Jess @ Jessticulates recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday | My 2018 Summer TBR!
    • Amber

      I’m an autumn girl through-and-through. Give me orange leaves and big floppy sweaters over any other season. 🙂

      Ah, so glad to hear of someone else reading that one! “Fun” is really the best way to describe JODTAA. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s an awful lot of fun.

  3. hahaha Omg I’m the same!! As a kid you couldn’t get me out of the water, but now I NEVER step foot in the ocean when I’m at the beach. I’m always very aware of potential jellyfish and I really don’t want to reenact that episode of Friends when Monica gets stung. 😂

    This is a great list with so many books I want to read!! The Handmaid’s Tale, Turtles All the Way Down, and Radium Girls are all on my tbr list. I’m so happy they’re good! I’m also now very intrigued by Die For Me and Just One Damned Thing because they sound so fun!

    Loretta @ The Laughing Listener recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads
    • Amber

      Fair warning: Die for Me is ridiculously cliche and sort of the worst and I don’t really have any way to defend it… but I really liked it. 🙂

      I feel like I am bonding with so many people today about the-ocean-is-weird-and-please-no-thanks, and it’s lovely. XD

    • Amber

      Welcome to Top Ten Tuesdays! I hope you enjoy the meme – it’s always a lot of fun. 🙂

      I’m so glad to hear you loved TATWD! It was such a good read for me, it’s always lovely to bond over it! 😀

  4. I read the same kinds of books all year round, I think. Whatever looks good at the time.

    I thought The Handmaid’s Tale looked like an interesting read in high school. I should read it one of these days.