It's a bit of a different post from me this eve'. Although it's no secret that I'm partial to a lipstick and a blush or two, you might also be interested to know that I'm rather fond of dipping in to a good book. I used to be quite the little bookworm back in the day, and although I don't get chance to read as much as I used to, I always manage to find some quiet time now and again to really immerse myself in the pages of a story plot. I'll let you into a little secret here and tell you that I'm usually a fan of thrillers and crime genres (they fascinate me...as does crime-watch, CSI and all those prison documentaries on TV...) - not at all girly in the slightest but if I'm going to read a book, I prefer the ones that have you gripped from start to finish. However, when I'm jetting away abroad, I must admit I prefer something a little more lighthearted and summery to read whilst I'm relaxing on my sun lounger. I thought I'd give you the run-down on a few of my favourites - I know I always like to look through reviews of summer-themed books before I go away on holiday as I'm quite picky about plots and where they're actually set (I'm so fussy!?) If any of you are flying away to sunnier climes this summer, I thought it might give you some inspiration for some pool-side reading.
Before I crack off, I shall tell you that the two books I have here are very well thumbed through. They have to be my most favourite beach reads ever ever everrrr and it's extremely rare that I read a book twice - let alone multiple times - so it just goes to show how much I really do love them. Sadly, I succumbed to the dark-side of life when the Amazon Kindle was released (let's take a moment to appreciate how ancient mine is...bless it's cotton socks... the old fossil is still going strong!) so I'm afraid I don't have a lot of physical copies - but I thought I'd give you an insight as to what's on there as well. So sit down, grab a cuppa if you must and have a nosey at what's tip-top of my little summer library...
Out of the Blue | Belinda Jones | Link
This has to be my most favourite beach read. It's set in Crete (which also happens to be where I'm jetting away to this summer so it's even more appropriate) and it's got everything in there a girl could possibly want from a sunlounger read - sun, sea, dare i say - a bit of sex - (oo-er missus - just don't expect your 50 Shades of Grey talk though - there's none of that funny business in there) and it's topped off with Belinda Jones' fabulous humour and witty way of writing. It's the typical storyline really - girl gets fed up of daily life...jets away somewhere sunny and carefree... falls in love with some exotic studmuffin and the rest is history. Of course, there's a few twists and turns in there and it does keep you reading to find out how things pan out - but for me, it's the way the author writes that keeps me reading. What's great about Belinda Jones' books is that she writes about places she's actually travelled - and you definitely get a sense of realism when you read her stories. This is my favourite of the bunch but she's also has books set in LA, Italy, Tahiti and Las Vegas to name a few - all perfect books if you want to escape somewhere else for a little while. If you've ever had a cheeky little holiday romance then you'll probably enjoy this one even more - you'll really sympathise with the main character and I think this is why I loved it so much as it wasn't overly unrealistic or 'sickly' for the sake of a bit of hearts and roses - it was very real and believable. I won't divulge too much of the plot as I don't half ramble on and I also don't want to ruin it, but I've provided links to these books anyway if you fancy having a more in-depth look at them.
Mike Gayle | Wish You Were Here | Link
I picked this up on a whim about 5 years ago on a drive to Tesco to pick up some last minute suncream (crikey...time flies). I'm so glad I took a chance on a new author and it ended up being one of the best holiday books I've ever read (you can tell I was sold on the front cover alone though can't you!? Someone was caught up in the sunshine state of mind!) It's definitely a more quirky read and it's not your typical 'holiday romance' book whatsoever so don't let the predictable title and slightly cheesy cover image fool you - it's filled with witty banter and typical 'laddish' humour but that's exactly why I loved it. It's not often a book actually makes me 'LOL' but I found myself genuinely giggling and rolling my eyes at this one. It's basically about a group of blokes at the wrong end of the 18-30 scale who book a last minute trip to Malia (again, set in Crete!) after one member of the group gets ditched by his long-term girlfriend. They've been a tight-knit group since their school days and they begin to realise they just aren't cut-out for the clubbing scene anymore - it's really quite hilarious in parts. It's definitely got a little bit of romance in there too so don't let the slight 'man-ish' hint put you off - it's actually quite refreshing to read a story like this from a male perspective and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. If you want a beach read without the sickly 'boy meets girl' thing - this one will be a winner. Similarly, if you loved The Inbetweeners - I guarantee you'll like this one.
Paige Toon | Various
I thought I'd group Paige Toon's books together as there's a few written by her that I've really enjoyed. My favourite has to be 'Lucy in the Sky'. She receives a text message right before her 24-hour flight sets off to Australia from a woman claiming to have slept with her fiance, admitting she's been seeing him behind her back. Straight from the beginning you really do sympathise with the emotional turmoil she's put through when she can't do anything about it whilst she's in the air or find out the truth whilst she's so far away from home. It definitely made me feel frustrated in parts and it's not your typical holiday romance book at all but it certainly makes for a gripping read and you end up trying to figure out the truth alongside her. Another good one is 'The Longest Holiday' - again, like 'Out of the Blue' by Belinda Jones, it's your typical holiday romance sort of story but this one is set in the Florida Keys. It's somewhat predictable in parts but it's one that I really found myself reading intently and it's great for a quick, easy read. My third favourite has to be 'Pictures of Lily', set in Sydney, Australia. It's not really a summer book as such - it's more of a 'one that got away' story and you follow her emotional journey of being torn between the man she loves now who has recently proposed and her childhood sweetheart who she's never quite forgotten about. It's probably the most gripping of the 3 if you fancy dipping into something slightly different from the typical beach read.
And so there we have it - my Top 5 Summer reads. I'm definitely one of these people who latches on to an author - if I read and like one book by them, I'll often go through the whole bunch and pick a few favourites. Paige Toon and Belinda Jones have to be my 'go-to' for girly, lighthearted reads because I simply love the way they write. If you're after a new book to take away with you in your suitcase (or even if you're having a stay-cation and need a dose of summer in your life) it's well worth looking into these ones or downloading a sample onto your Kindle (if you have one). If you end up reading one of these on your summer holiday - do let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Have you read any of these books? What's your favourite ever beach read?