The holiday season is coming and it’s the perfect time to snuggle up by the fireplace with a mug of something warm and lose yourself in a good read. But while some of you are reaching for the Christmas stories that are perfect for fireplace reading, I’ll be fantasizing about warmer temps (not that I want time to go faster; I just don’t want to add more cold to my already shivering bones).

If you’re like me, here are a few fabulous reads that take place in warmer temps. 

I had the honor of reading an advance copy of You and Me and Us (William Morrow) by Alison Hammer and haven’t been able to stop thinking (or talking) about it. It’s hard to believe this is a debut. Alexis has given up on finding a good work/life balance. But when her partner and father of their teenage daughter is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Alexis puts her career on hold and agrees to spend their last summer as a family at “their” beach. This is a beautifully written story about love and loss and guilt and moving forward. It’ll rip your heart to shreds and duct tape it back together. While this book doesn’t release until April 2020, you can pre-order and thank me later.

Overworked, overstressed single mom Amy reluctantly agrees to take an overdue break when her guilt-ridden ex shows up unexpectedly. In The Overdue Life of Amy Byler (Lake Union Publishing), Kelly Harms does what few authors can successfully pull off: deliver snort-your-hot-toddy humor with jaw-dropping insights that’ll make you wonder if she’s peeking into your own life. Read this and you’ll be planning your own #momspringa for next summer.

For me, summer reads are synonymous with Shelley Noble. The Beach at Painter’s Cove (William Morrow) is a heartwarming story of four generations, estranged for years, who come together at the family beach house, each with a different agenda. I adore family saga books and this one has the perfect combination of family secrets and feuds and coming to terms with the past, all in a fabulously described setting. And when the flurries start outside, just stare at the cover.

A book that starts with the opening line: “My sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news,” promises a turbulent, emotional ride. And in When We Believed in Mermaids (Lake Union Publishing), Barbara O’Neal doesn’t disappoint. Told through alternating points of view, we experience the ups and downs of sisters Kit and Josie, their heartbreaking childhood and their struggle to survive adulthood. As with all Barbara O’Neal books, the writing is absolutely gorgeous, bringing the setting to vivid life. A trip to Auckland with its brilliant beaches will warm you right up.

A summer internship with the Boston DA’s office is Rachel’s ticket to a successful law career, one with her ace defense lawyer husband. Or is it? The Murder List (Forge Books) by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a riveting thriller with twists and turns, an intertwined plot and a brilliant writing style that entertains and delivers a punch. It’s a fabulous read that will leave you sweating. And if you do happen to read it on a beach, put sunscreen on first because you’ll totally lose track of time. Read Cathy Lamb’s full BookTrib review for this page-turning thriller here.