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I miss reading lists from when I was little. I used to ride my bike or convince my mom to drive me to the local library on the first day of summer to get signed up for the summer reading program. I would pore over the reading list, circle the books I wanted to read, and would head home with a stack of books I could barely carry myself.
Adults should get a summer reading program too. Maybe we should put one together next summer.
Until then, please accept this modest adult summer reading list that should keep you busy this season, whether you are road-tripping, sitting by the pool, or camping in the woods.
Let me know what you end up reading!
The You Series by Caroline Kepnes
(You (Kindle), Hidden Bodies (Kindle), You Love Me (Kindle), For You And Only You (Kindle)) – The Netflix series “You” is based on these books, but don’t let that deter you. It’s a very LOOSE basis. The main character (Joe) basically thinks kidnapping, murder, and stalking are perfectly logical ways to get women to be his.
And somehow, it works. He is a semi-likable character (more than most kidnapping-stalking murderers), and the storyline varies just enough from the series that I even recommend you read it if you’ve watched the show already.
The Women’s Murder Club Series by James Patterson
(paperbacks, kindle) – there are TWENTY-THREE books in this series, so it should keep you busy for a while. There are at least two wild crimes in each book, with an underlying backstory with the women teaming together to solve them. Each crime is wrapped up nicely with a little bow at the end, so there are no big cliffhangers in the final chapters. (As a neurospicy human, I find closure in books very satisfying.) There are very sporadic (like maybe once every other book) love scenes, and they’re incredibly vanilla (just in case you don’t like the super-spicy flavor of romance).
The Winter Series from Elin Hilderbrand
(Winter Street (kindle), Winter Stroll (kindle), Winter Storms (kindle), Winter Solstice (kindle)) – I know it seems a little bizarre to read about winter during the summer, but when that heat wave kicks in, it will be nice to imagine snowdrifts and Christmas parties.
This series follows a blended family who own a little inn on Nantucket and all of their shenanigans over a 4-ish year period. I sobbed my eyes out at the end of the 4th book, so just be warned. There is a faint hint of spice in a few spots, but this is not a sm*t kind of series.
The Wicked Villains Series from Katee Robert
(paperbacks, kindle) – this series is not for the faint of heart. It’s a seven out of five on the spice scale (coincidentally, there are seven books). Katee is an incredibly steamy writer with a very dirty mind and has reimagined all of these villains and their stories into a series that is guaranteed to make you blush at least once.
The relationships in this series trend toward the non-traditional type, and there are a lot of … creative spicy scenes. If you get embarrassed trying to tell someone about what you’re reading, definitely go with the Kindle version.
Cedar Cove Series from Debbie Macomber
(paperbacks, kindle) – This is a delightfully classic romance series based around a little fictional town on an island in Puget Sound. I’m always a sucker for local settings, especially when the author doesn’t just Google “Washington State pretty places” and make most of it up.
Debbie has been writing for almost 40 years, so these book trend more toward the old-school Harlequin romance genre than the newer open-door romance books of BookTok fame. They’re mostly chaste, with some occasional steamy scenes but nothing as explicit as, say, Katee Robert or those fae books.
Nothing you’d need to be remiss to read in front of your gramma.
Bibliophile Mystery Series from Kate Carlisle
(paperbacks, kindle) – a romance series based around a bookbinding artist sounds kind of dull at first, but buckle up buttercup. This series involves murders and mysteries and is based in San Francisco and the Sonoma wine country. It has a hot British intelligence officer, a cult, a witchy mom who thinks she can curse people and cast spells, and lots and lots of bookbinding.
Sidney Sherman’s Marshmallow Heart (kindle) – I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend my own book. Sidney is a sweet neurodivergent heroine who goes through a midlife crisis and ends up with a puppy. It’s got a few spicy scenes, but is just the sweet journey of a single mom about to have an empty nest, trying to figure it all out.
So this should be enough to keep you busy for at least part of the summer – if you have any recommendations or need another suggestion, please feel free to email me at libby at miacupcake dot com. I am always happy to talk books with you!