Summer reading check-in. (My take on 8 of summer’s hot new releases and a chance to win them all.)

Somehow it’s July already: time for a summer reading check-in. Today I’m sharing my take on eight of summer’s hot new releases, and I’m giving you a chance to win the whole stack over on Instagram.

(I’ll tell you more about how I’m doing with my summer reading list in the next Quick Lit link-up, coming July 15.)

Summer Reading Check-In
Sweet Forgiveness:  A Novel

Sweet Forgiveness: A Novel

From the author of The Life List. When a forgiveness craze starts sweeping the nation—thanks to the faddish Forgiveness Stones—talk show host Hannah Farr makes a startling confession on live tv, at the urging of her producers. Of course, it ruins her career, and sends her on a quest for genuine forgiveness. The bad boyfriend feels like a stock character, and the novel has one more twist than it needs, but it's still very readable, with good prose and a plucky heroine. Published June 2, 2015. More info →


This new release from first-time novelist Bannan tells the story of a teen girl who transfers into a small town high school: when she first arrives, she's the golden girl, but her vicious classmates soon brand her as a slut (with help from social media). Bannan powerfully depicts the devastating effects of mental illness and teen bullying; the first person plural narration gives it an eery feeling. I read this book immediately after So You've Been Publicly Shamed, and that combination was a doozy. A good, but hard read. Triggers galore. Published June 30, 2015. More info →
The Rumor

The Rumor

Nantucket novelist Madeline King is on deadline but has a huge case of writer's block: she needs a story for her next novel, and she needs it fast. Then her best friend Grace starts crushing on her handsome landscape architect. Madeline knows a good story when she sees it, and her novel practically writes itself. I loved Hilderbrand's comments about this novel at BEA: she said that because she was intimately familiar with writer's block, she had no trouble at all writing this novel. Writers will note that all the publishing industry details are spot-on. My favorite Hilderbrand so far. Published June 16, 2015. More info →
Beach Town

Beach Town

In Andrews' latest summer novel, a movie location scout discovers the perfect sleepy town on the Florida coast, and then promptly falls for the man standing in the way of her plans. This is classic fluffy summer romance. Published May 19, 2015. More info →
Eight Hundred Grapes

Eight Hundred Grapes

This novel is set at a small family vineyard in Sonoma County; the title comes from the number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine. I enjoyed this from page 1: the storytelling is excellent, and the author explored so many interesting themes about relationships. But I have complicated feelings about how those relationships resolve (which would make this a fantastic book club novel). Published June 2, 2015. More info →
The Canterbury Sisters

The Canterbury Sisters

Che Milan's life is falling apart: her long-time boyfriend unexpectedly dumps her; her narcissistic mother dies. But her mother left Che one last request: to undertake a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Within days Che finds herself journeying from London to Canterbury Cathedral, on foot, with a motley group of women, all of whom have their own reasons for making the pilgrimage. In the tradition of Chaucer, they take turns telling their life stories on the journey. I hoped for more from the resolution, but I appreciated the unusual format. Published May 19, 2015. More info →
The Summer of Good Intentions

The Summer of Good Intentions

When a strained family reconvenes at their beach house for their annual summer vacation, the secrets they've been carrying start to slip out. This is a summery novel in a sense, thanks to its Cape Cod vacation setting, but it's filled with heavy issues: broken relationships, dementia, and serious diagnoses. Pack your beach bag accordingly. Publication date July 7, 2015. More info →
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

The publisher describes this as You've Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake. A gruff British restaurant critic tanks a Milwaukee chef's career with a scathing review of her beloved French bistro. What he doesn't know is that he visited the restaurant on the worst day of her life. Of course, they later meet, and sparks fly, and then they both have a lot of explaining to do. The plot is utterly predictable, but anyone who knows anything about the Milwaukee food scene will forgive all. Publication date July 21, 2015. More info →

What have been your favorite reads of the summer so far? Tell us your summer reading highlights in comments. 

P.S. For more summer reading ideas, check out the Summer Reading Guide.

MMD shelfie summer reading checkin


Leave A Comment
  1. Gwyn says:

    I love your suggestions. Two books that I have really enjoyed this summer are: “The Bookseller” by Cynthia Swanson, and “Water from my Heart” by Charles Martin.

  2. Adrienne says:

    My favorite read (so far) this summer has been ‘Still Life’, which I first heard about on this blog. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series. And I just started 11/22/63, from your list of books for every Myers-Briggs personality type. Time travel is one of my favorite book genres, and I can’t believe I missed the fact that Stephen King wrote a time travel book.

  3. liz n. says:

    “Eight Hundred Grapes” and “The Rumor” both seem interesting, especially the take on writers’ block… Am I a horrible person to admit that I just can’t read anything, like “Beach Town,” that is considered “fluff?” Ah, well…I’m finishing the third “Hangman’s Daughter” book which, to me, is fluff-ish but not full-on fluffitude…which is a new word I made up just now and plan to incorporate into my vocabulary.

    By the way, if anyone likes books about wine, wine-making, wine-making history, and doesn’t mind a bit of family drama, Julia Flynn-Siler’s “The House of Mondavi” is a fascinating read.

  4. Missy G. says:

    I flew through The Royal We and Lizzy & Jane last week. Actually, I returned them to the library just yesterday, so two of my summer faves won’t make it into my #MMDshelfie!

  5. Kim Abernathy says:

    The last couple of weeks I have been reading Judy Blume…. One of my favorite childhood author. Starting her newest one “An Unlikely event “.

  6. Amy says:

    Two very different, but equally wonderful reads for me this summer were Redshirts by John Scalzi and The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

  7. Breanne says:

    I discovered Elin Hilderbrand this year, thanks to an earlier mention of her books on your blog and The Rumour sounds fascinating. Thus far I’ve liked The Blue Bistro and Silver Girl the most but her latest sounds very interesting.

  8. Shannon says:

    Of the seven Summer Reading Guide books I have read so far, my favorites have been The Real Thing and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.

  9. Ana says:

    I’ve read a lot of great books this summer, but the hand down favorite was The Blue Castle, which I FINALLY read after your post about it. I can’t believe I lived that many years without that book in my life! It had such a fascinating (and real) take on family, romance, marriage. I want to read it again already!!!

  10. Bernadette says:

    I loved 800 Grapes. I saw it at Barnes and Noble 2 weeks ago, and decided to order it from my library. I finished it last night. I do like how he relationships end. The ones that needed to be persisted with were, and seemingly for the better. The one were trust was seriously broken was ended. Anyway, I would love to be a in book club discussion about it, because I’d love to hear why you didn’t like the relationship resolutions.

    • Anne says:

      I’m not necessarily saying I didn’t like the resolutions: I still can’t decide! But there is so much meaty stuff to discuss there about what makes a relationship work, what is essential, what the “have to haves” are, using the book’s phrase. Glad you found it and enjoyed it.

  11. Alison S. says:

    I just finished reading Better Than Before last night. Very much enjoyed it! I’m halfway done with The Residence (about the White House). I think I’m on a non-fiction kick. 🙂

  12. I just got back from a cruise vacation where I read “Geography of You and Me” and “Paris Letter” (found the recommendations here), loved it and you are right, I have wanderlust now after reading these books back to back.

  13. donna says:

    Great post, Anne! I am halfway through Eight Hundred Grapes and thoroughly enjoying it. I can’t wait to check out other titles by Laura Dave. Also, loved The Knockoff and The Painted Girls which I finished last week. I’m also reading and loving Oh! You Pretty Things. I made a slight detour from
    my summer reading list and
    picked up The Barbarian
    Nurseries by Hector Tobar a
    few days ago and I’m hooked.
    Highly highly recommend it!
    Happy summer reading!☺

  14. Sarah says:

    I’m not in a very fluffy mood this summer. Over the weekend, I finished A God in Ruins, and it knocked me flat. Now I am desperately seeking similar high-quality books.

  15. Lisa H. says:

    I’m drawn to the fluff during the summer. I just read Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple, which I really enjoyed. I also zipped through Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews – a nice story about a struggling, newly-single florist, set in Savannah, GA. I just started The Liar by Nora Roberts and although it’s gotten mixed reviews, I’m liking the premise and story.

    • Cindy H. says:

      I love May Kay Andrews. Haven’t read this one, or the one included in this review, but I’ve ready a lot of hers and they are always so much fun to read…great summer fare.

  16. Nicole says:

    Modern fiction is not my favorite, but I spend the school year homeschooling and stretching my brain, so I enjoyed reading some fluff in June. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Royal We, which I read based on your recommendation. It’s the right kind of fluff- fun dialog and interesting characters.

  17. Heather says:

    Wow! Sounds like a bunch of great reads! Would love to win! I just finished reading Death by Coffee – a quick mystery book. It was fun and got me out of the Dark Tower funk I was in…LOL

  18. Kristen M says:

    Just finished Unbroken, which was difficult but great. Favorite though was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

  19. Linda D. says:

    Many of my summer reads have not been light at all – The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, A History of Loneliness by John Boyne – but they have all been superb.

  20. Grace Furman says:

    Interesting list! I will definitely be putting in a request for Weightless at my library. In general for all of 2015 I’ve been less than impressed with most of the books I’ve read. However, I did recently finish and really enjoy The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel and Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center.

  21. Amy says:

    I don’t have an instagram account but would love to win the books. I guess I’ll have to settle for adding them to my TBR:)

  22. Sarah says:

    I am currently reading “Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters” by Amy Alznauer & Jessica Griffith. I am really enjoying it. It inspires me to write more letters. I love the idea of letter writing, but I never do it …

      • Sarah says:

        Good for you, Liz! I just need to stop thinking about writing a letter and actually write a letter! I know it would bring much joy, not only to the recipient but to my soul, too.

  23. Anna says:

    I really enjoyed Still Life. I’m almost finished with All the Light We Cannot See and am not crazy about it.

  24. Heather says:

    Thanks for the chance to win those books. 🙂
    I’ve been reading so many great books this summer. From your recommendation I read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and quickly fell in love with Flavia de Luce. I’m on the next book in the series now. I also recently finished The Boys in the Boat on audiobook. Simply an amazing story and so well done by narrator, Edward Hermann. I’ve also been on a big graphic novel/memoir kick this summer; so far I’ve read El Deafo, Persepolis, March and Stitches.

  25. Southern Gal says:

    I just finished re-reading The Hiding Place and am in the middle of All the Light We Cannot See. I’m loving it and will hate for it to end. It’s a WWII theme this summer for some reason.

  26. Krystal P says:

    I just finished, Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. I actually enjoyed it less than I thought I would. But I have read two books I enjoyed this summer, Station Eleven, felt wonderfully crafted, and Cinder, which was just major flufftitude (great word!) But it was just such a fun read.

  27. I’ve been wanting to start a new book club, but I was looking for a good book under 300 pages to be the first I suggested, so Eight Hundred Grapes sounds perfect!

    I live in Milwaukee, so I need to check out The Coincidence of the Coconut Cake. I love reading books about places I’ve lived.

    The Rumor sounds good too. And Weightless is already on my TBR list. Sweet Forgiveness is the next book on my stack. I should be able to start it next week.

  28. Christa says:

    I’ve been working my way through the summer reading guide. Just finished Happiness for Beginners, I was so sad when I was done. I’m currently reading Mr. Kiss and Tell, and just started Backlands.

  29. Cindy H. says:

    I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity and absolutely LOVED IT. It’s my third book by Moriarity in as many months. I love her writing style but this one, Big Little Lies, has been my favorite thus far.

    I also read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe right before Big Little Lies and LOVED IT and thought “surely this next book will not measure up to the greatness of Aristotle and Dante!” and lo and behold, it was another 5 out of 5 star book.

  30. Peggy says:

    Reading lots of different genres this summer. Working on Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman and The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson. Always looking for more to enjoy.

  31. Pingback: Favorite Reads
  32. Becky S says:

    I’m currently reading The Truth According to Us and All Creatures Great and Small and they’re both wonderful! They’ll definitely be added to my “favorite” list on goodreads. 🙂

  33. Andrea says:

    Almost done with Erik Larsen’s Dead Wake, about the sinking of the Lusitania. Excellent writing, and excellent audiobook. I feel like this book takes a story that usually gets a paragraph or two in a history testbook and brings it to life. I’m usually a fiction reader, but I have loved Larsen’s books, and I think this is his best so far. This is the way history should be written, in my opinion!

  34. Melia says:

    I love book lists! Thank you for “Eight Hundred Grapes”. I blew through it and loved it. Canterbury Sisters was wonderful as well. You definitely added to my GoodReads “To Read” shelf!

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