We recently went on our annual Spring Break vacation. Leading up to our trip, I had been in a great groove with reading, so I packed several books to take along. Each book would make a great “beach read”, so they’re perfect for any upcoming summer trips you my have planned. Here’s my list of vacation books!
So I actually read The Guncle right before we left for vacation. I borrowed my neighbor’s library copy, and legit read it in 2 sittings. It was SUCH a heart-warmer — not my typical genre, but I loved it.
The story is told from the perspective of ex-actor, Patrick. He’s gay and never married. His best friend from college married his brother, and they kept in touch, but never were as close as they were “back in the day”. Fast forward, Sarah is sick and passes away, Patrick’s brother has been struggling with pills, as his wife battled cancer, and checks himself into rehab — leaving Patrick (or Gay Uncle Patrick) in charge of his young niece and nephew. Hilarity and tears ensue, throughout this feel-good story about love and loss and moving on.
My favorite was all the character growth! Seeing where each of them started, to where they are at the end of the book was amazing. Having such lovable characters really sucks you into this one!! I highly recommend The Guncle making your list of vacation books!
What Happened to the Bennetts
I preordered What Happened to the Bennetts, and couldn’t wait to start reading it, and actually nearly finished it on the flight down to Florida! I was HOOKED from the get-go with this fast-paced story.
The first chapter is nothing short of gripping — it was shocking, and really set the tone for the rest of the book. The characters were all super relatable, and you couldn’t help but feel for them; especially as a parent. I could classify this as a Family Thriller. It had just the right amount of suspense!
A family is attacked one night, and their lives are forever changed when it turns out their “random attackers” are members of a very dangerous cartel. The Bennetts must flee and go into hiding to stay safe. The majority of the plot is dedicated to Jason’s (the father) search for answers, and the truth — and hopefully, his family’s freedom, all while navigating their new normal and dealing with crippling loss.
I kept turning pages – once I hit part 2, I could not put the book down!! Usually, I hate endings of stories. However, this was so well-done, and there were so many twists, it would have been impossible to predict it all!!! We got closure in a realistic way, and I loved seeing how the characters developed overall. I gave What Happened to the Bennetts 5 stars on Goodreads, and highly, highly recommend!!
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie was good, but just good – not great I wish I had read it before What Happened to the Bennetts. The plots were not identical, but mildly similar. However, Bennetts had WAY more build, way more suspense, way more action, and was overall just better-written.
That said, I did enjoy how Two Truths and a Lie was written. Alexa’s chapters were my favorite, and I liked the way she kept repeating lyrics. That said, everything kind of fizzled out — there was a lot more the author could have done with this story, but it’s like she ran out of pages, and just decided to end the book.
Despite Two Truths and a Lie having portions that were page-turners, I will say it was a slow-burner that fizzled out… the ending was anti-climactic! I gave this one three stars. If you don’t like dark thrillers though, this would be the perfect title to add to your list of vacation books!
The Hunting Party
The Hunting Party is almost exactly One by One by Ruth Ware, but with the cast from Friends. And Phoebe is sleeping with Chandler. Oy. A group of friends (more like frenemies) vacations in a desolate, snow-covered region, easily shut-off from the world with one bad storm — gee, I wonder what’s going to happen? 🙃🤦🏼♀️
Clearly, I found the plot to be super predictable. However, I also found it to be a page-turner at times. There was so much depth to each of the characters, you’re almost forced to choose sides as you read.
It had decent pace, and narration bounced between 5 characters, over the course of a few days. I thought it was interesting to read certain parts from a few perspectives, but I also loved the feeling of knowing inside information that some of the other characters didn’t know yet!
The Hunting Party is another “good, not great” vacation read, but it’s a quick and easy read (great for family vacations and beach trips with kiddos!)
The Woman Outside my Door
The Woman Outside my Door was a very short read; taking me less than 4 hours total. It developed slowly, despite being a fast read! I enjoyed piecing together the mystery, but found the end to be really predictable. Literally to the scene with the hill/pier.
The only son of a couple starts mentioning his “new Granny” shortly after the death of his actual grandmother. From candy in the park to long, secretive phone calls, the mother, Georgina is torn between believing her son may be in trouble and this being a harmless imaginary game. As the plot develops, it is soon clear that this is a very dangerous situation indeed, and a mother’s intuition might be the only thing that can save her son. (If you’re thinking that sounds a little cheesy, you’re exactly right 😉)
I’m glad Kelly-Anne proved to be a good friend 😂 she might have been my favorite character!! She was a definite secondary character, though, and if she is what stands out to me most, then I think that says a lot here. My biggest pet peeve was that “the woman” was never really outside Georgina’s door — maybe outside the window in one scene… but I felt author Rachel Ryan only scraped at the surface of the whole “stalking” aspect, which was disappointing. I gave The Woman Outside My Door 3 stars on Goodreads, and thought that was being generous.
Did you read any of my recent vacation books? Which was your favorite? Will you be adding any of my vacation books to your list this summer?