Pack Your Bags

I'm heading to the mountains soon for a family vacation, which has me thinking about what books I'll bring with me. Every year on the blog, I've paired vacation destinations with the books I'd want to read at each. My full list that I've been making my way through is 36 books long, and it contains a mix of backlist books and new releases. But for today's post, it's all about the 2019 releases! Some I've already read and loved so much they had to be included, some are on my "official" 36-book list, and some were added to my summer TBR while preparing this post. No matter where I'm headed this summer, I know exactly what I plan on reading! Here's the list:

I say it every year, but the beach always has me reaching for contemporary and/or romance. I need something that's fun to read and easy to start and stop as needed (because my three-year-old wants me to "watch this!" this whole time). I can already vouch for the fact that The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren made me long for the beach. It was the perfect companion on the train to Paris! As for the other three, they all seem like perfect picks for sand and sun: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (a hate-to-love romance), The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem (a three-month deadline to find "The One"), and The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (young love story thwarted by fate that's revisited 60 years later). What more do I need to say?! 

Honestly, I can read pretty much anything in the mountains – though I often feel most drawn to historical fiction and fantasy. There's something about being surrounded by nature that makes me want to slow down, take a deep breath, and get lost in another world. Beatriz Williams is a favorite for me, so The Golden Hour was one of the first books I added to my Summer TBR. I didn't love her previous release but am hoping this one will be a win. I'm dying to read Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker, especially after loving The Simple Wild last year. It's a contemporary romance, but that cover is just begging to be read in the mountains! And finally, I just finished Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson a few days ago and loved it! It's a fantasy that's just perfect for book lovers. 

the extras: towel | hat | swimsuit | shoes | travel mug | lip balm

At the lake I prefer a hint of mystery, even if it's in a historical form. Maybe because a lake always feels faintly dangerous to me? There just seems to be something lurking there under the water... which also probably explains why I don't spend a lot of time at the lake. But, if I did, these three books would be perfect picks! Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson is a new direction for this established Southern author, and I can't wait to see what dark twists she has in store. The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis will be my first read from this author. It's a dual timeline historical fiction with a Cold War focus, which sounds ominous. And finally, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a recent favorite – unraveling the mystery of why a famous (fictional) band broke up.

Summer doesn't always mean jetting off to exciting locations. Most of my days are spent in our backyard, watching my son run through the sprinkler and trying to survive Georgia's heat. I'm open to a little bit of anything at home, especially since my bookshelves are only steps away. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center is about a female firefighter who uproots her life for her family, and I'm here for a new book from Center! I've never read anything by Lisa See but The Island of Sea Women, which focuses on best friends in Korea over decades, sounds excellent. I cannot wait for The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee! An advice columnist in 1890s Atlanta + a favorite author = GIMME. And I can't stop raving about Lovely War by Julie Berry this year, so of course it made the list!

 the extras: sea spray | tote | hair tie | lip balm | swim suit | sunglasses

The pool is a lot like the beach for me when it comes to reading, except worse because I don't have the ocean to drown out the sounds of the annoying people next to me. If I'm at the pool during peak hours, I know to expect lots of kids playing and at least one person playing their music too loud. So, I'm reaching for something that's fun and will have me hooked. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez  is a favorite of the year and definitely fits the bill. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes involves a romance in Maine, a setting I need more of in my life. That's What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield & Lauren Gershell is the Fifth Avenue drama that sounds just like what I want in the summer. And Recursion by Blake Crouch is a sci-fi thriller about memory that I'm itching to pick up!

This destination is a new addition to my list this year. I usually stick to the other five categories, but I had so many books that I needed a sixth. This seemed like the obvious choice since plenty of people plan vacations to big cities or far-away locales in the summer! When I'm flying, I love tuning out all distractions and losing myself in a good way. Elin Hilderbrand has a reputation for writing addicting books, so I think Summer of '69 would fit the bill. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim looks and sounds adorable. Romance and food and San Francisco? Yes, please! And I can vouch for The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary as the perfect plane pick since I read it on my flight to England. The premise was intriguing, and the characters made it impossible to put down.

What books will be in your bag this summer?
Any trips already booked?

This post was inspired by a past Top Ten Tuesday topic, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
Here's a look back at my "summer bags" through the years: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2017 | 2018


  1. I really loved The Island of Sea Women! It’s such an interesting and unbelievable topic, but the relationships are what make the book. Although I’ve read several of Lisa See’s books and have loved them all.

  2. I always love your recommendation posts, Hannah! You do such a wonderful job suggesting books that would work perfectly in all these different scenarios (I'm particularly fond of the ones for the mountains and the lake), but I also like seeing all the goodies you'd pick out for these different summer scenarios too.


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