Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite Summer Reads


“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. This week’s theme is: favourite summer reads.

I ran into a bit of a roadblock with this one because I wasn’t exactly sure what books my brain categorizes as “summer reads.” Are they books that are set during summer, or are they ones that you just feel like reading during summer? And if the latter, I can’t be the only one who feels like reading cold, dark, moody stuff during these months. I mean, what better way to combat the sweltering heat than with a book about an Antarctic expedition? Or one about a haunted doll?

I couldn’t decide so I divided my list into books that are fun light-hearted romps; books that send chills down your spine–thus saving you on air conditioning bills; and one book that just needs to be read during the summer.

1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Gentleman's Guide
I read this in the summer of last year so I may be biased, but Gentleman’s Guide is a fun, uncomplicated story in which young lord Henry and his companions embark on a tour of Europe that soon gets sidetracked into something rather unexpected and harrowing. It’s not quite the rollicking adventure the blurb had me believe, but it’s got a sweet romance, a mystery, and pirates–and that combo just screams “summer” to me.

2. Kings of  the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Kings of the Wyld
Kings of the Wyld is such a ridiculously fun read. Set in a medieval fantasy world where adventuring bands are like the rock bands of today (they have band names, they go on tours, their weapons correlate to various instruments, and so forth), it’s a story that’s exciting and funny but also strangely heartwarming–it had me chuckling to sniffling in a matter of paragraphs. And most of all, it’s such a smack on the lips to lovers of fantasy RPGs. So spice up your summer with this pulse-pounding adventure!

3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird BoxI never really got scared reading horror books as I did watching horror movies (something about the lack of sound and strong visuals). But then Bird Box came along. Its characters are blindfolded for the majority of the story and the horrors that haunt them are unknown and unseen. Malerman masterfully–and evilly–uses your imagination against you and leaves you chilled and shaking for hours after you finish. I read most of it in bed at night in the dark, which turned out to be a terrible, terrible idea, because I couldn’t fall sleep or even get out of bed to turn the lights on.

4. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale
Rooted in Russian folktales, much of The Bear and the Nightingale is set in winter and Katherine Arden does such a fantastic job bringing the season to life. She’ll make you feel the inhuman cold racing through your body and smell and taste the freshly fallen snow. Perfect for those hot, stuffy nights.

5. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

On the Jellicoe Road2
On the Jellicoe Road isn’t light-hearted or fun, but its setting–a small Australian town–just begs you to read it while surrounded by warmth and rustling summer trees. If you’re reading this masterpiece for the first time, I highly recommend that you do it (if you can) outside on a sunny day, in a secluded area and surrounded by nature. It just enhances the atmosphere of the story and creates this intimate bubble in which friendship is indeed magic and the past and the present merge. And if all of that sounds super vague, just go read the book. It’ll be one of the best decisions you make this summer.


And that’s it from me! Tell me some of your favourite summer reads and if any of the above books are on your list!

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Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books June 6, 2018 - 12:37 pm

I think reading A Bear and the Nightingale during the summer is a great idea! It’s so atmospheric and you feel transported to Russia during the dead of winter! Awesome list!

Tammy June 6, 2018 - 12:43 pm

I always think of humor when I think of summer reads. Uncomplicated and light hearted. Kings of the Wyld is a great choice!

fanfiaddict June 6, 2018 - 1:14 pm

LOVED KoTW and Bird Box.

Sionna (Books in Her Eyes) June 6, 2018 - 2:02 pm

I have no idea what my summer reads are… writing up my own post is going to take some thought. Last year I did a post about horror books I wanted to read because summer is when haunted houses and horror is popular in Japan. hmmm hmmm

nadbooks June 6, 2018 - 3:33 pm

I love your interpretation of “summer reads”! Books that chill you to the bone are ironically fitting and Bird Box sounds fascinating!

Madge June 6, 2018 - 4:09 pm

I have the same issue with horror books, but Bird Box really got to me, too haha. This is a great list 🙂

Nadine - todaysechoes June 6, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Greta recommendations! I loved Bird Box, but I’d never thought to add it to summer reads list.

Vera June 6, 2018 - 6:38 pm

I was also thinking about what “summer reads” mean! 😊 I would just think of what I want to read next (during summer).

I think The Bear and the Nightingale will be an excellent ‘cool down’ book as it’s so atmospheric. It was my book of 2017, I really hope you’ll enjoy it!

I have many books on my list but Circe or Little Fires Everywhere is probably I would like to read next (if I don’t get distracted by something else of course… 😂)

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 6, 2018 - 9:13 pm

Haha I’ve already read The Bear and the Nightingale last year but I still need to read The Girl in the Tower before the third book drops, so I guess that’ll be my summer read this year!

And I hope you enjoy Circe, if you do get to it!. I’ve been hearing wonderful things about it. (I *still* need to decide if I want to get the UK cover or the US one :P)

Vera June 7, 2018 - 5:32 am

I see! I’m thinking about re-reading it at some pint as well, great idea for those hot summer days! 👌😊

I want to read both Circe and The Songs of Achilles but I keep on getting distracted. 🙈Fingers crossed Circe happens in June. Ha ha, those both covers look great, good luck with your deciding. 😊🍀

Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams June 6, 2018 - 7:15 pm

I ADORE this list!! I’m planning on reading The Bear and the Nightingale soon, but I whole-heartedly agree with you on Jellicoe Road &The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

Wonderful post, Kathy. <3

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 6, 2018 - 8:51 pm

Aw, thank you Lily! <3 And I really hope you like Bear and the Nightingale. It's such a beautifully atmospheric book, and I'm jealous you'll get to experience it for the first time. 🙂

Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams June 6, 2018 - 8:53 pm

Haha ahh that’s so sweet, I have really high expectations for it. 🙂

A Storm Of Pages June 6, 2018 - 10:46 pm

I sort of thought it was both – either books that felt like summer and/or that I read in summer. Good line up – I’m hoping to get to A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue soon, though I may see if I can pick up the audiobook, as I’ve heard great things about the recording 🙂

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 7, 2018 - 12:06 am

Gentleman’s Guide audiobook is apparently done by the actor who played Tom Riddle in the HP movies? So I kind of want to try it out as well!

Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum June 7, 2018 - 3:20 am

I agree with Kings of the Wyld being a perfect summer read. So much fun!

tasya @ the literary huntress June 7, 2018 - 6:21 am

i love the winternight trilogy, it’s very atmospheric! i love reading it during christmas time, the vibe is just perfect for me!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 8, 2018 - 4:56 am

It IS such a perfect christmas book! I’m planning on reading the second book this summer and saving the third book for this winter. 🙂

arubunwritten June 7, 2018 - 9:19 am

I always think of ‘light’ reads when it comes to ‘summer reading’. Things that don’t have too complicated a plot, don’t feature heavy topics but are just really fun and entertaining to read. Or old favourites of course.
And Kings of the Wyld sounds like such a fun read! 🙂

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 8, 2018 - 4:55 am

It rains a lot during Winter here, so I tend to read a lot of the light books during then. 😀 And the heavy-plot ones I like reading during Summer.
And Kings of the Wyld IS so much fun! A kind-of-standalone-but-also-a-sequel is dropping in August and I’m very excited!

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silvermoonreads June 8, 2018 - 10:10 am

Jellicoe Road it’s on my TBR for a while now. Thank you for your suggestion.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 9, 2018 - 2:06 am

You’re so very welcome! <3 I always love recommending it to people.

thebookwormdrinketh June 8, 2018 - 1:30 pm

Some great choices! A couple of these are on my list to read, I’ve heard VERY good things!

Gerry@TheBookNookUK June 8, 2018 - 7:36 pm

I didn’t know what to put either for ‘summer reads’ as it was a rather open ended description! I like your choices and the twist of ‘ones to cool you down!’ The Bear and the Nightingale is very much on my TBR and as this is the 2nd post I’ve read this week that mentions it I think the signs are pointing me…

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 9, 2018 - 2:05 am

Since you loved Uprooted I think Bear and the Nightingale will be right up your alley! It’s got the similar theme of female empowerment and gorgeous, gorgeous atmosphere.

Gerry@TheBookNookUK June 10, 2018 - 4:06 pm

I’m really looking forward to it actually! I love adult fairy tales and ones that are not the ‘typical’ kind are very much my kind!

sjhigbee June 28, 2018 - 4:57 pm

I love the sound of all of these. And thank you – no one else has summed up Kings of the Wyld so that I’ve been seriously tempted – but the idea of a warband operating in a similar fashion to a rock band sounds irrestistible…

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 30, 2018 - 9:51 am

Always glad to be adding more books to people’s maybe-TBR! 🙂 And from what I’ve been hearing, the sequel Bloody Rose is *even* better, so I’m very excited.

sjhigbee June 30, 2018 - 11:43 am

Err… thank you for the addition – I think! Looking forward to hearing how you get on with Bloody Rose:)

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