My Top Five Summer Reads – 2012

by Maryse on September 22, 2012 · 38 comments

in Book Recommendations, My Favorites

Well, summer is officially over. As of today. The first day of fall. And my husband is already starting to get excited about Christmas. Yep! Do you remember me mentioning his Christmas addiction last year? And the year before that?rolleyes He comes up often in my posts nearing that time of the year, and he’s already starting up. I posted his first “Christmas *squee*” a few days ago on Facebook:

“I was watching the Hallmark channel and just saw a “Countdown to Christmas” commercial advertising their upcoming Christmas movies.

My Christmas-loving husband first *squeeed*, then freaked out saying OMG it’s already September, only two months to get ready!! And then immediately went into a “Ohhhh nooo Christmas is already almost overrrrr” tantrum.

Oh please help me. confused

Uh huh. So I figured today is the perfect day to go over my summer reads and pick out my five favorites. I’ve read a bunch that were great, but these are the FIVE that stand out in my head, right now. And… I need to get this finished ASAP before the Christmas lights go up. And that could be like… any day now ;)

So here they are… my TOP FIVE favorite summer reads! PLUS —> I cheated a bit. I included TWO extras because they are the perfect “lighthearted” books that  I would easily recommend as a great “vacation” read. Or a great anytime read, but you know what I mean. ;)


The Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Halle
Okay to start off with, I’m going “cheat” my own system, right off the bat by listing an entire series as one of my choices. Since I LOVED the series it in it’s entirety and the last 3 “main” books in the series absolutely rocked my world, I can’t pick just one (and they all “feed” off of each other). If I had to pick my two favorites it would be Lying Season and The Dex Files, but each book is made better by the next one in the series, and as a whole?

Reading this series reminded me of back in the day, when I first started “power-reading” and would read an entire series back to back without stopping. I hadn’t done that in awhile, but this one took me back right “there”. Check out everything I’ve written so far about the author (Karina Halle) —> my book reviews, reading order guide, my own FAQ about the EIT series, etc…


The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle
I loved it because it was “that kind” of rock star read. A big ol’ angsty, gritty romance. A steamy, intense, jealousy filled train-wreck of a love story. But you KNOW I love those. Oh things are a mess, yes. Sure… some big mistakes, unforgivable moments, face-palm moments. And at times I disliked the one I was rooting for. At times I cried (yes I did!) for the one I thought I WASN’T rooting for (now THAT was something that seriously surprised me! I felt the pain, but I didn’t expect to feel it… for everyone). The tension and angst are prevalent in this book, the “groupie” worries, the BIG “on stage” song to pass an angry/hurt message… it’s all there. My stomach churned with worry (not just the love butterflies), and my heart felt every bit of it. A guilty pleasure FOR SURE!!! check out my book review of The Mighty Storm


On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
An excellent contemporary romance read! A friend asked about this one, and I summed it up like this:
“A great, even excellent, well rounded read. The whole shebang, maybe could have had even more moments of that deep pull, but overall it had pretty much everything going for it…. I felt it. Those “moments of desperation” when the character realizes something bad is about to happen. Hurt my heart and then later… retaliation… eeeep!! And of course the hero and his alpha moments were good too!”

Did I just say “good” alpha moments? Well I meant *whoooo* alpha moments! BIG STRONG yummy alpha moments! And don’t get me started on the spooning. *sigh* Loved it! Check out my book review of On Dublin Street


Onyx – book #2 (A Lux Novel) by Jennifer Armentrout
I love this Paranormal series  (well… aliens but you know what I mean ;) ) So far, it’s only two full length books in (plus a prequel) but it gives me almost that same “book rush” that Vampire Academy used to give me. This is YA, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out, you know? I don’t feel like it’s “too young” for me.

The story itself, and the connection between all of the characters has me hooked. It doesn’t really read like a “high school” story. Oh yes, they are in high school, true. And sure… there are a few moments of high school drama (OH AND I LOVED those moments because they are simply and deliciously infuriating!!), but the books are just so well written that I’m right there with them (or I’m “her”). This author is quite a tease when it comes to the book’s romance angle, but it’s totally working for me. For some reason, when it comes to these books, I don’t need the detailed steamy “adult” situations, because these two are steamy enough in their own right. I get all of the butterflies, and pine like crazy, and am satisfied with that “kiss”. And lemme tell you… those must be some serious kisses to make me forget I’m reading YA. The romantic tension is off the charts! Check out my review of Onyx (and if you haven’t read book #1 yet, skip the review and go directly to the Lux reading order guide).


Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee
This was a “short” but just perfect for me. A darker, more brooding storyline that captured my heart from the very start.  An unconventional love story of two very lonely people that meet and connect and fall in love, against all odds. He is part of a circus side show (tattooed from head to toe), and despite his scary appearance, the heroine sees his beauty underneath it all. And so will you. But you’ll also feel their pain as she attempts to hide him (and them) from social scrutiny. LOVED THIS! Check out my review of Bone Deep


And here are my “cheating-my-own-list” EXTRA TWO! Let’s get into the FUNNY stuff now. Perfect light-hearted summer romance reads. I mean, some are my favorite “summer reads” just because I read them over the summertime, and some are the perfect “summer vacation” read, and these would be them. Although, you might get some funny stares when you start snort-laughing on the beach. Just sayin’. Good thing beach-weather is pretty much over. You can snort to your heart’s content, in private!

Oh and beware (especially with the Chocolate Lovers series) –> Readers have mentioned over and over again that their laughing-fits would get so obnoxious as to incite their significant others to insist that they leave the room… the bed… and so on. So yes. Read these in private if you want to read uninterrupted. ;)

Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1) by Tara Sivec
Probably the funniest book I’ve ever read. Romance (sure) but delightfully silly (and at times, realistically so). This is not your sweet fluffy, “everything is almost perfect” love story. But it’s not your angsty, gritty one, either. A refreshing change from my usual book torment.

Everything is here! The drunken thought processes, the jealous but hilarious “speak before you think” moments (one of my favorite moments in the book!), the sexy innuendoes that are unapologetically not so subtle! And of course, even a bit of angst, and doubt. Just enough to make you root for the main characters! Check out my review (and I hear the recently released book #2 Futures and Frosting is just as funny!)


The Redhead Revealed (book #2 The Redhead Series) by Alice Clayton
You have to read book #1 (here is my review of it - The Unidentified Redhead) which I really enjoyed, to get to this one, which I LOVED. Both are witty, and funny, but this one actually gave me a bit of that full-on angst and heartbreak.

The first was a sweet intro into an unusual romance (she’s a struggling actress, and he’s a full on movie star) and they are perfectly adorable and sweetly silly together. There are issues that they need to concern themselves with, but it’s mostly very light-hearted. THIS ONE, book #2 comes full circle for me, and allowed me to actually feel the reality of “them”. And better yet? Let me connect to the heroine, as a real person. The witty banter was toned down a bit and her “human-side” came out. Realistic doubts, and believable reactions. I could finally really connect to her, which made this series a perfect summer read, for me. My review of The Redhead Revealed (book #2)

So… what were your summer favorites?

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim September 22, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Definetely loved The Mighty Storm just fiinished it actually LOL I’ve been a big scaredy cat about the emotional angst even though that’s what I LOVE to read. BAWELED like a baby at 73% in oh my gosh I just wanted to reach in my book and give out big ol hugs. Can’t wait for the next one now onto your recommendations above!!!

Maryse September 22, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Oh I know. I gravitate to the angsty ones, and still I panic when I get to those parts. Sucker for book pain!

Lise September 22, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Spectacular top 5 Summer reading list! I am thrilled that I have read your top five as well as the bonus two. Can’t wait to see your best of 2012 in a few months!

Jamie September 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Wow, it’s fall already! I’m going to miss the summer-poolside with kindle in hand-can’t think of anything to top it at the moment. Since I stumbled upon this blog a few months ago, I find that checking in each day has quickly become part of my routine. And as you will see your reviews have led me to some of my top 5 summer reads. Thanks Maryse for reintroducing me to my love of reading.

1. Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

2. Slammed & Point of Retreat (Slammed Series) by Collen Hoover–yeah I know its 2 different books, but how can I pick one without the other. I’m still in “butterflying” shock!

3. Playing for Keeps & Perfection (Neighbor from Hell Series)–yeah I cheated again, but can you blame me? I love Jason too much!

4. The Mighty Storm by Samatha Towle

5. On Dublin Street by Samatha Young

Carla September 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Amazing books Maryse, Good choices. I would choose EIT, TMS, and On Dublin Street too. I just would add Kathleen Turner and Demonica series that I just finish now.
Although Rhiannon’s Law was very nice too. So hard to choose.

Maryse September 22, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Well Jamie, these are our own fun lists, so I say we can cheat them all we want! :)

Maryse September 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Oh good choices Carla. I loved Demonica… Read those a year or two ago.

Angie September 22, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Great choices! Thanks to many of your recommendations, Maryse, I read my butt off this summer. Yay! My faves: On Dublin Street (of course!), About Last Night by Ruthie Knox, Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell (MMA fighter Reid is soooo hot in this one) and Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha (which came out this month, does it still count?). So many hot Book Boyfriends, so little time!

Minha September 22, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Starting Bone Deep right now. I was trying to decide my next book when I saw your posting. I Loved Dublin Street and TMS that I read because of you as well. Thank you for your great reviews and recommendations.

Sara September 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM

I really, REALLY liked “On Dublin Street”, “Bone Deep” (did you read “A Hearing Heart” as well? Just as good!) and “Seduction and Snacks” (and “Futures and Frosting”…HI-LARIOUS!!!). I have to say that I was really taken by surprise by “On Dublin Street”, it was just really good!

Kirsten September 22, 2012 at 9:04 PM

I think I have to put Dublin before TMS, and If I Were You get’s an honorable mention on my list. Plus I read all of the EIT series over the summer so that absolutely has to be there, even though that puts me way over 5. :)

erin o September 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Have read almost all of these and would have to say On Dublin Street is one of my favorites and fixing to start The Mighty Storm. Can’t wait to get started after reading all the review on this one

Amy September 22, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Since I’ve read your list I’ve been thinking what books I would put on my list.

*On the Island
*Gabriel’s Inferno
*Garbriel’s Rapture
*Forever Mine

and my bonus ones are: Divergent and Insurgent

Kat September 23, 2012 at 6:03 AM

Since July I have read 55 books some are new releases,others are old series,but mainly majority have come from your blog. Thank you so much for the work an effort you put into keeping all us fans & readers updated :) So my top reads since July(no certain order):
1.The Mighty Storm
2. Crash&Clash by Nicole Williams
3. Seduction & Snacks/Futures and Frosting by Tara Sivec
4. Existence Series by Abbi Glines
5. Easy by Tammara Webber (Re-Readed)

I so cheated that was 9 books.

Dawn September 23, 2012 at 6:15 AM

There are two on here I’m gonna need to go buy now! You cost me a fortune with your recommendations!! Lol
I decide what I’ll start reading from my TBR list on my kindle then when I check on here every morning there is another I want to buy!! Ha ha

Sheri Zee September 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM

My top summer reads which I couldn’t limit to 5 (sorry!):
1. The Mighty Storm
2. Seduction & Snacks
3. Futures & Frosting
4. The Unidentified Redhead
5. The Redhead Revealed
6. Grave Refrain
7. Avoiding Commitment
8. Trust in Advertising
Now, bring on the Fall reads!

Lise September 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Just finished The Sea of Tranquility and I am still sobbing. No spoilers-just want to say WOW!

@Sheri Zee- I loved Grave Refrain, glad to see it on your top summer list!

Kim September 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Maryse I just found Teresa Mummert new rock star romance White Trash Beautiful came out in the 18th. If this is anything like her Honor Series or Sin Series then we have another awesome one! Just finishing up Grave Refrain which I really like! Hmmm Brit Rocker oh yeah!!!

Julie September 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Love your lists!!! I’ve read 3 of the book on this list because of you and have been so happy about it – Mighty Storm, Bone Deep and On Dublin Street. Can’t wait to get started on the Dex Files. Keep reading the way for us! It makes my life and reading time a happier place :o )

J.A. Psoras September 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM

I really liked Amanda Hocking’s “Hollowland.” I had just got a Kindle Fire and was looking for my first book download. Hocking’s work came up when I was researching launching my own fantasy novel. The book is an easy read. What’s unique about it is the tough female protagonist. If you enjoy non-stop action, you’d probably like it too. The story carries it more so than the literary quality, but a good fantasy book nonetheless. I believe it’s free too!

Minha September 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I just finished Bone Deep… Thank you Maryse. I would never have found this book without your recommendation. I normally stay away from historical romances – how could they have angst romance without the drama created by cellphones, text messages, and Facebook??? LOL just kidding :) .
But seriously… WOW!!! What a wonderful book! I was hooked since the first page and did not want it to finish, definitely one of the best books I have ever read. I couldn’t put it down and now that I am finished I want to be back in the characters lives. I can’t stop thinking about them. Going online right now to search for other books from this author. Once again… THANK YOU MARYSE!!!!

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Minha —> YAY!!!! I too, am not normally into historical, but since that one isn’t too far back, and he was tattooed (so I knew there would be social issues) I was SO IN. And it affected me (and so many readers) the same way.

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Thanks for the recommendation J.A!

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:29 PM

So happy to Julie! And if you haven’t read Experiment in Terror yet, “Dex-Files” is the latest book in the series, so you’ve got a bunch of reading to go before you start that one. BUT I LOVVVVE IT!!!

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Thanks Kim!! Another one for our rock star list! I was a bad girl this weekend and read like crazy, but I will take a few hours out this week to properly update it. LOVE that list!

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Lise! I bought that one this weekend. It’s a toss up for me between that and Consequences for my next read…

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Ohhh Grave Refrain!! I want to read that. Rock star too, right Sheri? Good list!!!

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

I have to read CLASH asap. Thanks for reminding me Kat. I hear that one is a roller coaster.

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Amy —> I LOVE On The Island!! That made my best of 2011 list (and it was the very last book I read last year)

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Kirsten I really liked “If I Were You”, but I think I’ll need book #2 to know just how much… Sort of like EIT. I have a feeling they’ll feed off of each other.

Maryse September 23, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Let me know what you think, Erin! There are quite a few scenes from that book that are burned into my brain.

Erin September 23, 2012 at 7:17 PM

I love your lists maryse & I’m a little shocked I’ve only read 2 out of 7. Granted a couple of those are not avail on my nook & that’s really frustrating for me. I love reading everyone else’s list too, so I will try my best with mine.
1. Binding Arbitration by Elizabeth Marx
2. Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter
3. Seduction & Snacks by Tara Sivec
4. Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
5. Until the sun falls from the Sky by Kristen Ashley

Syd September 23, 2012 at 7:36 PM

LOVED The Future of our Past and Don’t Forget to Remember Me

Candie September 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Loving David by Gina Hummer
Creed by Kristen Ashley (late summer read ;)

Kim September 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Maryse- per your recommendation I just started Seduction and Snacks and I have to say this is absolutely the funniest book I’ve ever read. I’m not finished but I know I will be buying the second one as soon as I’m done. I freaking love Gavin that kid is hysterical. I also love Carter and of course I love Claire and Liz. Heck I love them ALL!!!

Thank you for your recommendations I have come across some wonderful books just by following your blog :) I can’t wait to leave work so I can continue reading Seduction and Snacks. My husband kept looking at me last night because I had tears rolling down my face and I was laughing so hard by far a awesome funny read that I will recommend to all my friends!

Have a great day- Kim

Maryse September 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Just soooo funny, and a perfect “pick-me-up” for sure!

Marilyn September 28, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Have you read White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert? It’s awesome!!!

Chasity June 21, 2013 at 8:54 AM

I am glad I ran across this site. I just finished #2 of the Chocolate Lovers books and I LOVE them. I have laughed so hard, my husband keeps looking at me like I have lost my mind. Thank you for the recommendation!

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