A vacation read is a very specific type of book. While at home, I’m willing to pick up that 600 page epic fantasy that I know will fill me with plenty of angst and sleepless nights. But when I’m on vacation, I want a book that’s fun, light and that I don’t mind getting sand all over if I feel the need to take a dip in the ocean. Don’t get me wrong: it still needs to be a well-written read, with characters I want to root for, and a storyline that will suck me in. But it also needs to be a story I can pop in and out of, one that feels more like cotton candy than a giant, consuming feast.
Since Memorial Day is quickly approaching, here are four reads I plan on taking with me while I hit up the beach, barbecue my brains out, and simply enjoy the sun now that the long, cold winter is finally over:
The Vegas Diaries, Holly Madison (Dey Street Books, May 17)
The last time this former Playboy bunny wrote a memoir, she dished about life in the Playboy mansion and the dirty-little secrets about what it’s really like to be Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend. Which is exactly why I plan on picking up her latest tell-all. This time Madison describes her years right after leaving the mansion, and her decision to start over again in Vegas. Expect lots of candid stories about what it’s like to live and date in Sin City, as well as headline a crazy popular burlesque show. This will be the perfect vacation read: a little scandalous and a ton of fun.
Listen to Me, Kristen Proby (William Morrow, April 12)
Just look at that cover and tell me you’re not intrigued! Proby launches a new series with this sexy story about a restaurateur who opens Seduction —the hottest new eatery in Portland—with five of her closest friends. When musician Jake Weller walks in looking for a job, Addie Wade is happy to let him play his music for her diners. She’s not as happy to let him play with her heart. Jake has his work cut out for him convincing Addie to trust his intentions, especially when his bad boy past finally catches up to him. Light-hearted, sexy romances are my favorite way to pass a vacation, and I can’t wait to dive into this one this Memorial Day.
Bounty, Kristen Ashley (April 18)
What, you thought I wasn’t going to recommend the new Kristen Ashley novel? Have we met? This time Ashley returns to her popular Colorado Mountain series to give us Deke Hightower’s story. The biker from Carnal has watched all his friends find love, but he knows that kind of happiness just isn’t in the cards for him. Even when he first meets Justice Lonesome, he decides the sweet (but wandering) soul is too cute and innocent. But when Justice finds herself in danger, Deke realizes that she might just be the one. Ashley never disappoints when it comes to hot alpha men and strong heroines, which is why I can’t wait to read this while soaking up a little vacation sun.
All Summer Long, Dorothea Benton Frank (William Morrow, May 31)
It wouldn’t be a vacation without at least one summer-themed book. Benton Frank brings her signature smart, witty style to this novel about a couple who are facing a major life change. Olivia and Nicholas have been in love for years, but now he wants to move back to the south and Olivia isn’t sure she’s ready to leave Manhattan. Before the two have to face reality, they embark on a sun-filled summer romp that takes them from Nantucket to Necker Island, southern Spain and more. A big decision looms ahead and the underlying question it brings informs their entire summer together—is true love enough? This book screams beach read (and not just because the bathing suit on the cover is so cute).