The kids are out of school and the summer sun has started to bake Texas a nice golden brown. So what does a hot bibliophile do? Read more books of course. I just happen to have a list of a few that readers might like to try on for a little vacation fun, whether that means taking them along for a flight or just relaxing with them at home.

1. The Identicals”

First on the list this year is the best book I have read all year. I know the year is short so far, but it was really that good – I read Elin Hilderbrand’s books every summer because I love that she lets at least my mind go to Nantucket. But this year her book, “The Identicals,” takes readers to not only Nantucket, but my favorite East Coast island, Martha’s Vineyard.

The story centers on a set of twins who just can’t seem to get their relationship with one another on even ground. Tabitha and Harper Frost are about as different as two nearly identical people can be as adults. They haven’t spoken in more than a decade when the story opens and series of family dramas bring them back into one another’s lives. Will they hash out old resentments or will each one continue to nurse those old wounds all of the way back to their respective island? Only way to find out is to read the book. Luckily for the reader, Hilderbrand threw in a rascally teenage daughter for Tabitha, a fabulous dog for Harper and two parents who could make any set of twins consider family counseling. All of that, and delicious descriptions of food that readers will long to chow down on, make the book a must-read.

For those who want more Hilderbrand when they are done with “The Identicals” I can recommend “The Blue Bistro,” “A Beautiful Day,” and “The Rumor,” as personal favorites.

2. “Camino Island”

Though People Magazine called Hilderbrand the queen of the summer novel, she is not the only beach-read writer out there. “Camino Island” by John Grisham is a book about a heist that involves rare books and Princeton University. OK, I know he usually writes legal thrillers, which I generally love, but this one is a bit different. And I have always loved his books that are a bit different. “Skipping Christmas” and “Bleachers” come to mind when thinking of the knock-it-out-of-the-park kind of amazing stories that come from Grisham when he steps away from the courtroom.

3. “16th Seduction”

Those who have read my reviews in the past will know I am a fan of James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series and this summer there is a new one to read. The “16th Seduction” is the best of these books in a while. (Goodness, I hope I don’t say that about every book in a series. Do I always love the latest book the best?). Recent books in this series took a downer turn that left me feeling lonely for the group of girls working to make their places in a man’s world of murder and intrigue. The “16th Seduction” is a return to that somehow and the book is more upbeat than recent additions to the series.

4. “My Path to OMEGA: a story of one’s infinite journey into truth”

Another book that I am looking forward to reading is by a Denison author. Terri Malek — some from Whitesboro might think of her as Terri Sluder Malek — has written a book called “My Path to Omega, a story of one’s infinite journey to truth.” While the book is not the fiction escape I generally pack for summer reading, I love Terri’s perspective on life and her voice. She writes about finding one’s way in the world and making the best out of the situations life gives to us all. The is available at

5. “The People We Hate at the Wedding”

“The People We Hate at the Wedding,” by Grant Grinder is a book I have been aching to read since I first heard it mentioned in a list of upcoming books. While I do love books that take me to a different place, I try generally to stay in America, but this book is set in London. It centers on a set of siblings. Publisher’s Weekly said about the book, “Ginder takes family dysfunction to its hysterical limit in this joyously ribald, sharply cynical, and impossible-to-put-down examination of love and loyalty.” Now, who could resist reading a book that earns that description? Not me. It is next on my list of must reads.


“The Good Daughter” by Karen Slaughter;

“Final Girls” by Riley Sager;

“The Burning Girls” by Claire Messud.

Jerrie Whiteley is the criminal justice editor at the Herald Democrat. If you read any of the above and want to talk about them follow here on Twitter @jlwhiteley or email here at