Books

22 Beach Reads You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

written by MADELINE GALASSI AND JENNA PIOTROWICZ

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beach reads"
beach reads
Source: @stephonashelf
Source: @stephonashelf

Whether you’re spending your next Saturday lounging on your patio or hopping on a plane to spend a week on a white-sand beach in Anguilla, warm weather and sunny summer days call for an arsenal of beach reads.

There’s nothing as relaxing as sitting outside, breathing in the fresh air, and cracking open a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Whenever we finish a book we love, we turn to Goodreads to help us find our next page-turner—they can help you find your next favorite book based on past ones you’ve loved.

We’re all about having a stack of books ready to read in the summer months. The list below includes an assortment of highly rated beach reads from Goodreads that span every genre you could think of, so you know you’ll find the perfect read for your next beach day here.

Ashley Elston
First Lie Wins

Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, and a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist. The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job. Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher—but then, Evie has always liked a challenge…

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Emily Henry
Funny Story

Daphne always loved the way her fiancé Peter told their story… Right up until the moment he realized he was actually in love with his childhood best friend Petra. Which is how Daphne begins her new story: Stranded without friends or family, proposing to be roommates with the only person who could possibly understand her predicament: Petra’s ex, Miles Nowak. Scruffy and chaotic, Miles is exactly the opposite of practical, buttoned-up Daphne. The roommates mainly avoid one another until one day, while drowning their sorrows, they form a tenuous friendship and a plan to post deliberately misleading photos of their summer adventures together. But it’s all just for show, of course, because there’s no way Daphne would actually start her new chapter by falling in love with her ex-fiancé’s new fiancée’s ex…right?

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Danielle L. Jensen
A Fate Inked in Blood

Bound in an unwanted marriage, Freya’s dreams abruptly become reality when her husband betrays her to the region’s jarl, landing her in a fight to the death against his son, Bjorn. To survive, Freya is forced to reveal her deepest secret: She possesses a drop of a goddess’s blood, which makes her a shield maiden with magic capable of repelling any attack. It was foretold such a magic would unite the fractured nation of Skaland beneath the one who controls the shield maiden’s fate. Desperate to prove her strength, Freya must train to fight and learn to control her magic, all while facing perilous tests set by the gods. The greatest test of all, however, may be resisting her forbidden attraction to Bjorn. If Freya succumbs to her lust for the charming and fierce warrior, she risks not only her own destiny but the fate of all the people she swore to protect.

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Kaliane Bradley
The Ministry of Time

In the near future, a recently established government ministry is gathering “expats” from across history to establish whether time travel is feasible—for the body but also for the fabric of space-time. A civil servant is tasked with working as a “bridge”: living with, assisting, and monitoring the expat known as “1847” or Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic. Soon, what the bridge initially thought would be, at best, a seriously uncomfortable housemate dynamic, evolves into something much more. Over the course of an unprecedented year, Gore and the bridge fall haphazardly, fervently in love, with consequences they never could have imagined. Supported by a chaotic and charming cast of characters, the bridge will be forced to confront the past that shaped her choices and the choices that will shape the future.

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Dolly Alderton
Good Material

Andy loves Jen. Jen loved Andy. And he can’t work out why she stopped. Set adrift in the sea of heartbreak, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of his ruined relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him. But Andy still has a lot to learn… In this sharply funny and exquisitely relatable story of romantic disaster and friendship, Dolly Alderton offers up a love story with two endings, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most exciting writers today and the true voice of a generation.

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Ali Hazelwood
Bride

Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, is an outcast—again. She has been called upon to uphold a historic peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their mortal enemies, the Weres. Weres are ruthless and unpredictable, and their Alpha, Lowe Moreland, is no exception. He rules his pack with absolute authority but not without justice. It’s clear from the way he tracks Misery’s every movement that he doesn’t trust her. If only he knew how right he was… Because Misery has her own reasons to agree to this marriage of convenience, reasons that have nothing to do with politics or alliances and everything to do with the only thing she’s ever cared about. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get back what’s hers, even if it means a life alone in Were territory… alone with the wolf.

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Leigh Bardugo
The Familiar

In the new capital of Madrid, Luzia Cotado uses scraps of magic to get through her days of endless toil as a scullion. But when her scheming mistress discovers the servant in the kitchen is actually hiding a talent for little miracles, she demands Luzia use those gifts to better the family’s social position. What begins as simple amusement for the bored nobility takes a perilous turn when Luzia garners the notice of Antonio Pérez, the disgraced secretary to Spain’s king. The king is desperate for any advantage in the war against England’s heretic queen—and Pérez will stop at nothing to regain the king’s favor. She will have to use every bit of her wit and will to survive—even if that means enlisting the help of Guillén Santangel, an embittered immortal familiar whose own secrets could prove deadly for them both.

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Sarah A. Parker
When the Moon Hatched

As a valued Elding Blade of the rebellion group Fíur du Ath, Raeve’s job is to kill. When a renowned bounty hunter is employed by The Crown to capture a member of the Ath, Raeve finds herself at the mercy of the Guild of Nobles—a group of dual-beaded elementals who intend to turn her into a political statement. Only death will set her free. Crushed beneath a mourning weight, Kaan Vaegor took the head of a king and donned his melted crown. His hunt for a moonshard lures him into Gore’s notorious prison, where he stumbles upon something that rips apart his perception of reality. A shackled miracle with eyes full of rage and blood on her hands. However, some truths… They’re too poisonous to swallow.

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Tia Williams
A Love Song for Ricki Wilde

Ricki Wilde has many talents, but being a Wilde isn’t one of them. As the impulsive, artistic daughter of a powerful Atlanta dynasty, she’s the opposite of her famous socialite sisters. In her bones, Ricki knows that somewhere, a different, more exciting life awaits her. When regal nonagenarian, Ms. Della, invites her to rent the bottom floor of her Harlem brownstone, Ricki jumps at the chance for a fresh beginning. She leaves behind her family, wealth, and chaotic romantic decisions to realize her dream of opening a flower shop. One evening, Ricki encounters a handsome, deeply mysterious stranger who knocks her world off balance in the most unexpected way.

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Rebecca Yarros
Fourth Wing

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—her mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders. But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them. Most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant. Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

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Lisa Jewell
None of This Is True

Celebrating her birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. Although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly, she starts to realize that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life. But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.

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Jessica Knoll
Bright Young Women

A serial killer has terrorized women across the Pacific Northwest, but his existence couldn’t be further from the minds of the vibrant young women at the top sorority in Tallahassee. One fateful night, Pamela Schumacher, president of the sorority, investigates a strange sound at 3 a.m. What she finds behind the door is a scene of implausible violence—two of her sisters dead, two maimed. Over the next few days, Pamela is thrust into a terrifying mystery inspired by the crime that’s captivated public interest for more than four decades. On the other side of the country, Tina Cannon has found peace in Seattle after years of hardship. A chance encounter brings Ruth Wachowsky into her life, and the two form an instant connection. When Ruth goes missing from a State Park in broad daylight, Tina devotes herself to finding out what happened to her. When she hears about the tragedy in Tallahassee, she travels to Florida on a collision course with Pamela—and one last impending tragedy.

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Amy Tintera
Listen for the Lie

After Lucy is found wandering the streets, covered in her best friend Savvy’s blood, everyone thinks she is a murderer. Lucy and Savvy were the golden girls of their small Texas town: pretty, smart, and enviable. It’s been years since that horrible night, a night Lucy can’t remember anything about, and she has since moved to LA and started a new life. But now the phenomenally huge hit true-crime podcast “Listen for the Lie,” and its too-good looking host Ben Owens, have decided to investigate Savvy’s murder for the show’s second season. Lucy is forced to return to the place she vowed never to set foot in again to solve her friend’s murder, even if she is the one who did it.

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Jeneva Rose
Home Is Where the Bodies Are

 After their mother passes, three estranged siblings reunite to sort out her estate. While going through their parent’s belongings, the siblings stumble upon a collection of home videos and decide to revisit those happier memories. However, the nostalgia is cut short when one of the VHS tapes reveals a night back in 1999 that none of them have any recollection of. On-screen, their father appears covered in blood. What follows is a dead body and a pact between their parents to get rid of it before the video abruptly ends. Beth, Nicole, and Michael must now decide whether to leave the past in the past or uncover the dark secret their mother took to her grave.

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Robert Jackson Bennett
The Tainted Cup

In Daretana’s most opulent mansion, a high Imperial officer lies dead—killed, to all appearances, when a tree spontaneously erupted from his body. Called in to investigate this mystery is Ana Dolabra, an investigator whose reputation for brilliance is matched only by her eccentricities. At her side is her new assistant, Dinios Kol. Din is an engraver, magically altered to possess a perfect memory. His job is to observe, report, and act as his superior’s eyes and ears. As the case unfolds and Ana makes one startling deduction after the next, he finds it hard to deny that she is, indeed, the Empire’s greatest detective. As the two close in on a mastermind and uncover a scheme that threatens the safety of the Empire itself, Din realizes he’s barely begun to assemble the puzzle that is Ana Dolabra—and wonders how long he’ll be able to keep his own secrets safe from her piercing intellect.

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Jennifer Marie Thorne
Diavola

Anna has two rules for the annual Pace family vacations: Tread lightly and survive. It isn’t easy when she’s the only one in the family who doesn’t quite fit in. Her twin brother, Benny, goes with the flow so much he’s practically dissolved, and her older sister, Nicole, is so used to everyone falling in line that Anna often ends up in trouble for simply asking a question. Mom seizes every opportunity to question her life choices, and Dad, when not reminding everyone who paid for this vacation, just wants some peace and quiet. The gorgeous, remote villa in tiny Monteperso seems like a perfect place to endure so much family togetherness until things start going off the rails—the strange noises at night, the unsettling warnings from the local villagers, and the dark, violent past of the villa itself.

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Carley Fortune
This Summer Will Be Different

Lucy is the tourist vacationing at a beach house on Prince Edward Island. Felix is the local who shows her a very good time. The only problem: Lucy doesn’t know he’s her best friend’s younger brother. Lucy and Felix’s chemistry is unreal, but the list of reasons why they need to stay away from each other is long, and they vow to never repeat that electric night again. But it’s easier said than done.

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Sierra Greer
Annie Bot

Annie Bot was created to be the perfect girlfriend for her human owner, Doug. Designed to satisfy his emotional and physical needs, she has dinner ready for him every night, wears the cute outfits he orders for her, and adjusts her libido to suit his moods. True, she’s not the greatest at keeping Doug’s place spotless, but she’s trying to please him. She’s trying hard. She’s learning, too. Doug says he loves that Annie’s artificial intelligence makes her seem more like a real woman, but the more human Annie becomes, the less perfectly she behaves. As Annie’s relationship with Doug grows more intricate and difficult, she starts to wonder whether Doug truly desires what he says he does. In such an impossible paradox, what does Annie owe herself?

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Ann Patchett
Tom Lake

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew. Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart.

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Heather Fawcett
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries

Professor Emily Wilde is the foremost expert on the study of faeries, writing the world’s first encyclopedia of faerie lore. When she arrives in the village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk, nor another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby. But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones—the most elusive of all faeries—lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all—her own heart.

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Ariel Lawhon
The Frozen River

Maine, 1789: When the Kennebec River freezes, entombing a man in the ice, Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine the cause of death. As a midwife and healer, she is privy to much of what goes on behind closed doors in Hallowell. Months earlier, Martha documented the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s most respected gentlemen—one of whom has now been found dead in the ice. But when a local physician undermines her conclusion, declaring the death to be an accident, Martha is forced to investigate the shocking murder on her own.

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Kristen Ciccarelli
Heartless Hunter

Rune spends her nights as the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante who rescues her kind from being purged. She decides to throw the witch hunters off her scent by courting the handsome Gideon Sharpe—a notorious and unforgiving witch hunter loyal to the revolution—whom she can’t help but find herself falling for. Gideon loathes the decadence and superficiality Rune represents, but when he learns the Crimson Moth has been using Rune’s merchant ships to smuggle renegade witches out of the republic, he inserts himself into her social circles by pretending to court her right back. He soon realizes that beneath her beauty and shallow façade is someone fiercely intelligent and tender who feels like his perfect match. Except, what if she’s the very villain he’s been hunting?

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