Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Recommended Reads for Summer!

Nothing says 'summer' quite like the chance to relax with a good book, whether it's on a beach, lounging by the pool or just in your back garden. So I asked the Novelistas to tell us which book from their shelves they would recommend as the perfect holiday read.

And, if you scroll down to the end of this post, there is a chance to win this fabulous book bundle from the Novelistas themselves!

Trisha Ashley
Resistance is Futile by Jenny Colgan

My recommended holiday read is Resistance is Futile by Jenny Colgan. This is a brilliant novel, full of dark-edged humour- I finished it late one night, unable to put it down and I was still thinking about it days later. It's science fiction, but also a great - in every sense of the word - love story. It's all about friendship and love and the strange forms they can take...some of them very strange. And I know nothing about maths but I understand now that it can have a strange beauty of its own.

Valerie-Anne Baglietto
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

I was in a bit of a reading slump when I picked up Letters to the Lost earlier this year, but I was immediately sucked into the story, and read it quite quickly - for me! I think it would be the perfect, absorbing read for a lazy summer's afternoon. It's set in 2011 and during the Second World War. A tale of love, heartbreak and hope, woven together with elegant imagery and rich historical detail. A word of caution though: as the threads of past and present come together, just make sure you have a tissue box handy!

Annie Burrows
Something Wicked by Jo Beverley

My TBR pile!
I don't have just one book I will be reading this summer. When I go on my holiday, I will be taking a pile of books with me – all the ones I cannot read while I'm writing my Regency romances, because they ARE Regency romances, and I'm always a bit bothered that I might absorb too many ideas from other writers while I'm trying to write my own stories.

And I will also be reading the ones I've saved to my kindle. In particular I'm looking forward to reading Jo Beverley's Something Wicked which was chosen by my Facebook reading group as the June pick, in memoriam.

Sophie Claire
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I was a fan of Jojo Moyes’ well before this novel hit the bestseller charts in 2012. My favourites were The Ship of Brides, The Last Letter From Your Lover, and Night Music. But Me Before You blew me away. 

Jojo Moyes’ writing is accessible yet beautiful, with strong plots and there’s always a romantic element. In Me Before You the romance is at the heart of the story, but it’s also about how two people are changed by meeting each other. It’s a thought-provoking and emotional premise that a young girl, employed to look after a quadriplegic man, would fall in love with him, and that’s what initially intrigued me. However, once I began reading, it was the characters which drew me in. Lou is the most endearing heroine: humble, fun-loving, kind and colourful with a quirky dress sense. Will makes the most unlikely hero, embittered after the accident which changed his life. The two are separated by class, wealth and education, yet they are drawn together despite – and perhaps because of – these differences. And watching them and their relationship develop made my heart melt.

Granted, this might not be the lightest of holiday reads, but the story is so compelling you won’t be able to put it down. And despite the serious issues it examines, this book is full of humour and romance and colour (if only in Lou’s outfits!). I admit, though, that it is also very emotional, so perhaps have tissues at the readyPS: And in case you’re wondering, the film is also very good!

Juliet Greenwood
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris

My recommended summer read is Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris, which remains one of my favourite books of all time. It’s hard to describe without spoilers, but it’s a magical story, full of wisdom and the most delicious sensuality. It is also a morality tale of the very best kind. The first time I read it, I was in a terror of anxiety that the moral of the story would not be carried through to the end. But it was.

A perfect, life-affirming book for a summer’s day. Besides, where else do you get to find your narrator to be a bottle of wine?

Beth Francis
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 
by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry, retired, disillusioned and sad, only leaves home to post a letter to a former friend who is seriously ill, but he passes the postbox and starts walking. With no map, no suitable clothes, and wearing only yachting shoes, he begins the long trek from Devon to Berwick in the belief that as long as he keeps walking his friend won’t die.

This is a gentle, funny book peopled by characters who wander into the story and touch Harold’s life with unexpected kindness. Characters who remind him of past events, and whose warmth emphasise the gulf that has developed between himself and his wife, Maureen.

Many start to walk with him, the story gets reported in the news, and Maureen, abandoned at home, bewildered and alone, begins to recall him as he was when they met, before the loss of their son isolated them in their individual grief.

The end of Harold’s pilgrimage marks the start of a new understanding between them.

If you want something shorter to read at the airport, try Rachel’s book of short stories A Snow Garden. Seven stories, each peopled with amazing characters, one telling how Maureen and Harold met.

June Francis
The Last Dance and Other Stories by Victoria Hislop

I settled on The Last Dance and Other Stories by Victoria Hislop. The stories are all set in Greece and in my opinion do give a flavor of the real Greece and its people. There is a real sense of place and some interesting characters and good twists in the tales.

Cheryl Lang
Some Elusive Dawn by Elizabeth Darrell

Well, this is a difficult one. I’ve read several good summer reads just lately, The Egyptian Years by Elizabeth Harris, The Sun in her Eyes by Paige Toon, Daughters of the Silk Road by Debbie Rix, Some Elusive Dawn by Elizabeth Darrell, Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley and The Separation by Dinah Jefferies.

With difficulty, because I loved them all, I choose Some Far Elusive Dawn by Elizabeth Darrell Set in Singapore after the first world war this story tells how the rigid old ways and strictures of behaviour are blown apart by two incomers. You really feel the heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes the illnesses and Europeans trying to cope in a tropical climate.

It follows several families trying to lead normal lives whilst adhering rigidly to colonial rules. Life is a whirl of tennis parties and club nights and afternoon teas on shady verandas always with the same set of people. Until Martin Linwood arrives. His mind has been affected by the horrors of war that the colonials would prefer to ignore. He is not accepted because he is different and so when a distant cousin of the family, Dorothea, arrives she is also tainted as being different as she is going to write a book on life in Singapore and wants to add ‘native colour.’ Between them they turn the cosy colonial world of Singapore upside down.

Louise Marley
Imogen by Jilly Cooper

I first discovered Jilly Cooper when I was 13 years old and on a holiday to the Isle of Wight. It was the height of summer, so it rained and it rained and it rained. While my brothers disappeared off to the amusement arcade, I found myself in a little cafΓ© on my own, sat next to a carousel stacked with her books. I quickly handed over my pocket money and my parents didn’t see me for the rest of the holiday.

I think the reason I love Jilly’s books so much is that they are hugely funny and don’t take themselves too seriously. The heroines make the same mistakes as the rest of us, but rather than whinge about it they just crack a joke and move on. My favourite, which I eventually read so many times it fell to bits, is Imogen. She falls in love with a bad boy tennis player and is whisked off on holiday to the French Riviera, which at the time seemed a very long way from a rain-lashed Isle of Wight!

**The competition is now closed! ** 


If you'd like to win this fabulous book bundle from the Novelistas, just leave a comment below! One winner will be drawn, in our usual random way, after the closing date. **Due to the cost of postage, we're only able to offer this prize to entrants living in the UK - sorry! **

Closing Date:
Thursday 30th June 2016

The Prize:

A collection of paperback novels as follows:

Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley
Every Woman for Herself by Trisha Ashley
The Moon on a Stick by Valerie-Anne Baglietto
In Bed with the Duke by Annie Burrows
Her Forget-Me-Not Ex by Sophie Claire
Lily's War by June Francis
Eden's Garden by Juliet Greenwood
A Girl's Best Friend by Louise Marley

Small print!!!
Be sure to use your full name, or post using an account we can contact you on (Facebook, Twitter Blogger, etc). If we don't hear back from the winner within 72 hours of notification, another winner will be drawn.

Good luck!

Trisha Ashley drawing the winner!
Congratulations to Chris Sterry !

Photo credits 
Book covers: individual publishers
Girl reading: Shutterstock


  1. Amazing prize, thanks for the chance!. This would brighten up my week πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’• @Lost815_Oceanic

  2. Great book selection. I'd love to win them. Good luck everyone.

  3. What a fantastic prize. I have my fingers crossed.

  4. Reading brightens up my day. And there is nothing Tha a good book can't cure. I love the authors in this bundle and would love to win this

  5. Would live to win the parcel and discover new authors recommended by ones I already know and love.

  6. Would live to win the parcel and discover new authors recommended by ones I already know and love.

  7. What a wonderful summer book bundle! Happy summer reading to whomever the winner may be! @Rae_Cowie

  8. I would love to win this as I could share it with my Daughter Abbie. She hasn't read for pleasure since starting her English Degree at University. She's coming home for summer at the end of June and this fantastic pile of books would be a welcome surprise ��

  9. I would love to win this as I could share it with my Daughter Abbie. She hasn't read for pleasure since starting her English Degree at University. She's coming home for summer at the end of June and this fantastic pile of books would be a welcome surprise ��

  10. Thanks for the chance! 😊😘

  11. Brilliant selection - I would love to win this prize! Nikki x

  12. Love to read, would love to win such a great selection

  13. This is amazing! Just my sort of competition! @heatherheadon

  14. What an exciting bunch of books. Let's hear it for all our hard-working novelistas, slaving over their hot laptops for our amusement!

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  16. Wow these books sound fantastic. I would love to read these when sat outside my caravan in the sun (or more than likely sat under the canopy in the rain) with a cup of coffee/glass of wine. Thanks for the chance.

    Twitter name is @tanyainwales

  17. Such a fantastic selection of summer reads, both the books you all have chosen and the prize. I will definitely add the books I haven't read yet to my wish list. Have a good summer!

  18. Isobel Monaghan22 June 2016 at 06:28

    Yes please, will definitely be adding some of the recommendations to my kindle library, but would love to win some 'real' books to relax with on my holiday, the kindle just isn't the same!

  19. Fab #competition - Thank you very much! #win. I am following and have RT :-)

  20. Great recommendations, thanks. Katharine x

  21. I would love to win this great prize!!!Reading glasses at the readyπŸ˜†

  22. I would love to win this great prize!!!Reading glasses at the readyπŸ˜†

  23. Have read and loved some of these already but would love to read the rest - and send the ones I know are fabulous to friends.

  24. An amazing selection of books!πŸ˜πŸŽ‰


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