The Top 10 Books to Read in Summer!

This is no contemporary romance playlist. Spice up your summer with these diverse reads

Hello there!
I’m Olivia-Savannah, a book blogger from Olivia’s Catastrophe (http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/) and today I want to share with you all my top 10 reads for the summer season, and why I think summer is the perfect time to read them! And don’t you go thinking it’s going to be all contemporary and romance books here – it’s far from the usual when it comes to Olivia’s Catastrophe!

1. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

This novel was pretty much my favourite standalone read of 2017. I absolutely loved it. Not only is it perfect for summer because it effectively conveys the backbreaking heat that is consuming the town of Breathed during the summer, but this one is also something thought provoking to fill your warm summer evenings – who is the real devil? Is it a physical being, or is the devil something in all of us?

Synopsis: Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. 

As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. 

While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.


2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This book is one BIG book, and a bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner on that. It’s so huge that you’re definitely going to want to take the time to really sink your teeth into it – and because of the long summer holiday, what better a time to do this? Also, I promise you, Theo’s character is going to be so real and flawed that you will probably expect to bump into him on the street. There’s also a terrorist attack scene that is realistic and especially thought provoking in light of real life events occurring lately…

Synopsis: It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.


3. Stygian by Santino Hassell

Stygian is HOT HOT HOT. Phewy, you better be prepared if you’re intending to read this one, that you will be getting a lot of sexy heated scenes in this book. Despite the excessive swearing and explicitness, there is a lot of depth and emotional aspects of this book. Ultimately, the main theme is trust. Oh, and it’s perfect for summer because it’s about a band going on a summer retreat where they end up in a sweltering, creepy house. The paranormal element definitely creeps in!

Synopsis: Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought. Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band's enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway. Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he's finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.


4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I don’t cry easily when it comes to my novels, but this was one that had me thinking about the novel long after I finished. It’s a bestseller about true friendships, about culture, about invasion and about forgiveness that will truly break your heart. There’s no better time to read it in the summer where you have the time to really think deeply, and let the emotions affect you.

Synopsis: Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.


5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

If you’re looking for something a bit more beyond this world, and a little more light-hearted, this is one for you! Cinder is a cyborg, sci-fi novel set in a world different from our own. It’s also a fairytale retelling of the classic Cinderella story, and the characters are sweet and energetic enough to make you swoon!

Synopsis: A forbidden romance.

A deadly plague.

Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it's one you won't forget.

6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Don’t take this YA novel at face value! While reading, it may seem like a simple, light book about a group of rich (and a tad bit spoiled) teenagers and their family on their usually summer trip to an island. However, the largest plot twist will be thrown your way which will send your head spinning. I recommend you watch youtube videos afterwards to see if you picked up on all the hints, for a bit of fun this summer!

Synopsis: We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken. A tale of love and romance. A tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth? You decide.


7. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Again, this is not another YA novel to underestimate. Although it appears to be a romance novel through and through, there is a whole lot more depth to this one. Not only is about letting go of the past, working through family issues, dealing with anorexia and another theme that contributes to the plot twist (no spoilers here!). It’s also about anger, about how we listen and communicate with each other these days. It’s about making a change for yourself, and it changed me. Summer is the best time to start evoking a change to make it routine by the time work or school rolls around again.

Synopsis: Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.


8. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Phew, that title is such a mouthful! But it’s originally what caught my eye about this story. Boy, did this turn out to be an enjoyable easy read. Told from the perspective of a child who is dealing with her grandmother passing on from cancer, she discovers more about the woman she has always seen as her hero. Not only this, but she learns that first impressions aren’t all that there is to a person… Which may be true for any of the people you end up spending your summer with!

Synopsis: From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales. Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.


9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

You’ll either love or hate this book, but it’s a quick read which is worth reading because you can start tons of debates with others who have read this bestseller! It’s a book full of philosophy and life advice that you don’t need a philosophy degree to be able to understand and relate to yourself. What better way to spend summer than pondering life?

Synopsis: Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.


10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Wow, this list sure is long! But I saved one of the best for last. Not only can you reward yourself by watching this movie after finishing the book, but this one is about history, about the help who served under others for years, and about what it means to stand up for what is right. Stockett knows how to make characters you will care for by the end of the novel. It’s also set during the summer months, which makes summer a good time to read this one!

Synopsis: Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women--mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends--view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope,The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.


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Thank you so much for reading along with me today! I hope you enjoyed this post – and better yet that you will enjoy reading some of these this summer. Would love to know what you thought if you do get around to it, so make sure to stop by Olivia’s Catastrophe and let me know in the comment section (or shoot me an email!)

Olivia-Savannah x
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