What are your summer plans?

Vacation in barbados
Throwback to two years ago in Barbados


Whether you’re traveling somewhere sunny, sitting pretty on a beach or meeting up with family in a fancy city in Europe or North America, summer is a great time to do some reading! This year, there are so many great books out and I thought it was only right that I streamline things for you all by giving you my recommendations!

Check out last summer’s reading list and my last book recommendation post for more books!

Let’s get started, shall we?

(book titles in bold linked to amazon if you need more deets/need to read reviews)


Middle Eastern Vibes

salt houses hala alyan
image via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books.

1. Salt Houses by Hala Alyan.



On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.  

When war shakes up the family and causes them to leave their home, we follow their story from Beirut to Boston and beyond as they navigate the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities.  Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand—one that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths: you can’t go home again. 
This book has been on my wish list for so long! I haven’t read anything from the Middle East since forever and I have a very good feeling about this one!

Quirky Reads

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Image via realizing grace.


Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking, so she avoids social interaction and sticks to quiet Friday nights with pizza, vodka and long phone talks with her mummy.

Things change when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living.

I love quirky characters so I’m excited to read this one! It’s also going to be made into a motion picture soon by Reese Witherspoon, so I have all the good feelings!

21st Century Problems

hello sunshine

3. Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave.


Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.

I’ve actually read this and will be reviewing next month and I enjoyed it! While the characters are not the most likable, its plot will definitely have you HOOKED. I love it! I received an advance reader’s copy via Netgalley.

A bit of a Thrill

watch me disappear janelle brown

4. Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth.

This book is already sitting in my kindle and I can’t wait to get into it! I’ll definitely be updating you on how it’s turning out on Twitter and on goodreads long before I review it on here. It sounds like a real thriller!

Life Changing Memoirs

option b

5. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.”Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Also already on my kindle (is it obvious how much of a book hoarder I am yet? Thank God for technology), I’m hoping to read Lean In and Option B soon because I’ve read and enjoyed so many articles by Sandberg already!

Literary Fiction

what we lose zinzi clemmons
image via zinzi clemmons twitter
6. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemons
Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.
I’m so excited about all these debut novels and have been looking forward to the new crop of authors since after reading Brit Bennett’s The Mothers. Plus this book had me at its beautiful cover!

Love & Science

chemistry by weike wang
image via earn spend live.
7. Chemistry by Weike Wang.
Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research–and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life.
But there’s another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can’t make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she’s confronted with a question she won’t find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want? 
I’ve heard so many good things about this book. Really bummed that there’s no kindle version yet, but so tempted to get the hardcover even though it’ll cost me twice as much to get it shipped to this island of mine.

Some Mystery for You

the nix
The Nix by Nathan Hill (Emily Bogle/NPR)
8. The Nix by Nathan Hill.

It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson hasn’t seen his mother, Faye, in decades—not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.

Also another books with superb Amazon reviews! I’m not 100% sold on the description, but all these people can’t be wrong, can they?

Something To Think About

how to fall in love with anyone

9. How To Fall In Love With Anyone by Mandy Len Catron.

What really makes love last? Does love ever work the way we say it does in movies and books and Facebook posts? Or does obsessing over those love stories hurt our real-life relationships? When her parents divorced after a twenty-eight year marriage and her own ten-year relationship ended, those were the questions that Mandy Len Catron wanted to answer.

In a series of candid, vulnerable, and wise essays that takes a closer look at what it means to love someone, be loved, and how we present our love to the world, Catron deconstructs her own personal canon of love stories.

 She uses biologists’ research into dopamine triggers to ask whether the need to love is an innate human drive. She uses literary theory to show why we prefer certain kinds of love stories. She urges us to question the unwritten scripts we follow in relationships and looks into where those scripts come from in the first place.

And she tells the story of how she decided to test a psychology experiment that she’d read about—where the goal was to create intimacy between strangers using a list of thirty-six questions—and ended up in the surreal situation of having millions of people following her brand-new relationship.

Mandy Len Catron has a Tedtalk on how to fall in love with anyone and this book is quite encompassing. I found her investigations very thought provoking and I think if you’re interested in the psychology of love, you’ll enjoy this. Just know that you won’t be learning anything about falling in love with anyone. I received an advance reader’s copy via Netgalley.


Beach Reads

the identicals by elin hilderbrand
image via purewow


10. The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand


Identical twins Harper and Tabitha are completely different personalities separated when their parents divorced.

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands–and lives–to save what’s left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they’d outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.

This seems like the classic beach read. From the reviews, people seem to love it! I’m interested!


I’ve read a few books on this list and I’m starting to trust my good book radar so I know the to be released ones on this list will be just as amazing!

Have you read any of the books on this list? I’m on the hunt for books by African authors this summer, so if you know any, please point me in that direction! What are your summer plans? Do they involve any books? Tell me!

*Blurbs paraphrased from amazon.com.