top of page

Top books for summer reading lists

Must read books to enjoy by the beach or poolside | COMPILED BY MOLLY HAINES-RIDDLE


In David Baldacci's "A Calamity Souls," Jack Lee is a white lawyer from Freeman County, Virginia, who has never done anything to push back against racism, until he decides to represent Jerome Washington, a Black man charged with brutally killing an elderly and wealthy white couple. Doubting his decision, Lee fears that his legal skills may not be enough to prevail in a case where the odds are already stacked against both him and his client. And he quickly finds himself out of his depth when he realizes that what is at stake is far greater than the outcome of a murder trial. 

Desiree DuBose is a Black lawyer from Chicago who has devoted her life to furthering the causes of justice and equality for everyone. She comes to Freeman County and enters a fractious and unwieldy partnership with Lee in a legal battle against the best prosecutor in the Commonwealth. Yet DuBose is also aware that powerful outside forces are at work to blunt the victories achieved by the Civil Rights era.  

Lee and DuBose could not be more dissimilar. On their own, neither one can stop the prosecution’s deliberate march towards a guilty verdict and the electric chair.  But together, the pair fight for what once seemed impossible: a chance for a fair trial and true justice. 

Over a decade in the writing, "A Calamity of Souls" breathes richly imagined and detailed life into a bygone era, taking the reader through a world that will seem both foreign and familiar.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Legal Thriller


Biloxi’s best criminal defense attorney has never lost a case. Then his client’s beautiful wife is murdered, and America’s #1 lawyer suddenly becomes its #1 suspect. 

In James Patterson's "The #1 Lawyer," Stafford Lee Penney is a small-town lawyer with a big-time reputation for winning every case he tries. In his sharp suits and polished Oxford shoes, Penney is Biloxi, Mississippi’s #1 Lawyer and top local celebrity.

 Just as Penney notches his latest courtroom victory, his wife is scandalously killed. He spirals into a legal and personal losing streak, damaging his reputation and ruining his career. 

 That’s when Penney makes a bold decision. He stops trading on his power-lawyer identity and creates a new one: lawyer lifeguard. Moonlighting at the beach, showing up to court in flip-flops, mentoring a law student, the new Penney is at first unrecognizable. 

 It’s said that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. But when Penney is accused of murder, the #1 Lawyer will find a way to triumph.

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Legal Thriller, Crime


The right guy, the right place, the wrong time.

It’s 1995 in James Goodhand's "The Day Tripper," and Alex Dean has it all: a spot at Cambridge University next year, the love of an amazing woman named Holly and all the time in the world ahead of him. That is until a brutal encounter with a ghost from his past sees him beaten, battered and almost drowning in the Thames.

He wakes the next day to find he’s in a messy, derelict room he’s never seen before, in grimy clothes he doesn’t recognize, with no idea of how he got there. A glimpse in the mirror tells him he’s older—much older—and has been living a hard life, his features ravaged by time and poor decisions. He snatches a newspaper and finds it’s 2010—fifteen years since the fight.

After finally drifting off to sleep, Alex wakes the following morning to find it’s now 2019, another nine years later. But the next day, it’s 1999. Never knowing which day is coming, he begins to piece together what happens in his life after that fateful night by the river.

But what exactly is going on? Why does his life look nothing like he thought it would? What about Cambridge, and Holly? In this thrilling adventure, Alex must navigate his way through the years to learn that small actions have untold impact. And that might be all he needs to save the people he loves and, equally importantly, himself.

Genres: Time Travel, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance


Sometimes, the worst day of your life happens, and you have to figure out how to live after it.

In Ashley Poston's "The Seven Year Slip," Clementine forms a plan to keep her heart safe: work hard, find someone decent to love, and try to remember to chase the moon. The last one is silly and obviously metaphorical, but her aunt always told her that you needed at least one big dream to keep going. And for the last year, that plan has gone off without a hitch. Mostly. The love part is hard because she doesn’t want to get too close to anyone—she isn’t sure her heart can take it.

And then she finds a strange man standing in the kitchen of her late aunt’s apartment. A man with kind eyes and a Southern drawl and a taste for lemon pies. The kind of man that, before it all, she would’ve fallen head-over-heels for. And she might again.

Except, he exists in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact. And she, quite literally, lives seven years in his future.

Her aunt always said the apartment was a pinch in time, a place where moments blended together like watercolors. And Clementine knows that if she lets her heart fall, she’ll be doomed.

After all, love is never a matter of time—but a matter of timing.

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Magical Realism 

Comments


bottom of page