While we were on vacation last week I felt a bit like I had a running list in my head for things to include in this sort of post. We’re just back from the beach (we went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina) so today I am sharing the things that came along to the pool and beach with me, including the best “beach” books I have read this year. It was convenient that Amazon Prime Day was just before we left so I definitely did some online shopping right before we left town. I also wanted to include some of my favorite ‘beach read’ books so scroll down for my reviews of some of the most popular books being enjoyed pool side this summer.
What’s in my Beach Bag…
Along with my books (and having the quiet time to read is pretty much my favorite part of vacation) here are some of the things I packed in my beach bag. I upgraded to this Panama style beach hat this year, I am very careful to not get sun on my face (I have enough wrinkles) and while I used to wear a visor this provided even more coverage and it is SPF 50. I think it’s even cute enough to wear it around to lunch or a sporting event too, but it was easy to crush into my bag when I wasn’t wearing it and it still held its shape.
I discovered this Coola sunscreen while in Florida last February and it is now absolutely my favorite. I know that the price tag will make you do a double take, but I am more than willing to spend more money to save putting toxic chemicals on my skin. Since I have fair skin (and again, enough wrinkles) I tend to use a lot of sunscreen. This smells great, doesn’t leave white streaks, and gave me great protection on both trips. It’s also a spray, which makes putting sunscreen on so easy and I think it covers much better too.
I ordered one of these easy beach skirts on Prime Day, they are super popular right now and not hot to wear like some cover ups. They comes in a ton of colors and are less than $15.
For the times when I wanted more protection, I reached for my Cabana Life rash guard. I have had mine for several years (it looks almost brand new, these are worth the price) but it’s great for being able to stay at the beach when you don’t want anymore sun. They have a ton of colors and styles, and I have even purchased them for my kids too. What I like about this style (below) is that you can pull down the ruching on the side for much more coverage (like over your hips), never a bad thing!
I have shared several times that I have been impressed with the quality of the CupShe bathing suits from Amazon, the price is right compared to most suits out there. I have several and from what I could tell on the beach, plenty of other women agree and were wearing them too.
Finally, if you don’t have a Yeti cup with the straw top you can add one to your existing YETI cup or you can get a new set HERE. I don’t know why I like this simple addition so much, these cups are already pretty great on their own but the straw just makes them even easier to drink out of. These keep your drinks super cold even on a hot day so they are a must have for the beach.
Books I read at the beach…
We haven’t done a “what I read lately” post in awhile, but I have been lucky enough to have quite a bit of time to read on the beach this year between both of our trips. I wanted to share a few of the books I really enjoyed and would recommend if you are heading out to the pool or on a vacation. These are definitely on the lighter side and probably not book club discussion material, but that’s what vacation is for, right?
I feel like pretty much any book by Elin Hilderbrand is perfect to read at the beach, I have worked my way through most of her books over the last few years. They are set in Nantucket (mostly) so they automatically bring you the feeling of vacation. I really liked her latest book, 28 Summers, and definitely felt like the characters were relatable and while the ending is sad (that’s not a spoiler, you are warned off the bat) the love story overall is simple and sweet. I also loved how she highlighted everything going on in the world each year over the 28 year storyline, it definitely took me back to some of the most memorable events in my lifetime.
PS if you have read it, and I am sure many of you have, there is short follow-up book available HERE.
I have really, really enjoyed all the books I have read by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Her Peachtree Bluff trilogy is the perfect series to read over the summer, I have recommended them before.) I thought her brand new book, Under The Southern Sky was a very engrossing read. The situation the two main characters face is definitely unique but they both feel like friends by the end of the story (as all of hers do) and you can’t help but root for a happy ending. This is a great beach read!
I read Cancel the Wedding while in Florida last February after seeing it on another bloggers “best of books” list. Months later still lingers in my mind as a great story. It’s not quite as light and easy as the ones above, but it completely engrossed me while I was sitting on the beach. It has a bit of mystery to it, which makes it a bit of a page-turner and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. This one will likely stay with you well after you are done reading it as it did for me.
This was the other book I downloaded for our beach trip –and full disclosure– I haven’t finished reading it so I can’t really tell you what I think of it yet. The title definitely influenced me (I mean, Guns and Roses!) and as a parent who recently went through the college application process with my son, I thought I’d find it relatable. The main character seems to be based on Jennifer Aniston’s tv news anchor character from The Morning Show (or at least that is who I kept picturing) if you watched that? Anyway, I am about halfway through so I am not sure how I’ll feel when I am done but so far I don’t feel like I like any of the characters very much, unlike the books above.I am not sure that means it’s not a great book, that’s just how I feel right now in the middle of the story.
Have you read any of these and did you like them? If you have any other beach reads to recommend please let us know!
Kristy Harvey says
Yay! Thank you SO much for reading Under the Southern Sky–and for you kind words. This means the world to me! Glad you had a great vacation!! (P.S. I’m a big Coola fan too!) xoxo Kristy
I read It earlier and it’s a good book. I really like any book you write since you’re one of my favorite authors!!!
Great recommendations, Amy! I love all of Elin’s books and I’m currently in a book club she’s hosting. So glad you had a great trip!
I have under the southern sky on my “to read“ list. Thank you for the follow up on 28 summers… I did not know that existed! I’ve heard that her latest book is not that great so it will be good to return to that book. I read cancel the wedding several years ago I do remember liking it. My favorite, always-recommended books are: Daisy Jones and the Six, One True Loves, In Five Years, and, although not a “light” read, Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us”. Read that one when you have a quiet weekend to yourself. You’ll need time to process and gain a new understanding of relationships that might not be like yours.
I have some pool time at a resort coming up and am REALLY looking forward to that chair, sunshine, hat, and books 🙂
Thank you for the recommendations! I have in fact read “It Ends with Us” and you are right that it is an incredible read, though certainly one that stays with you long after you are done. I really need to read Daisy Jones–I skipped over it somehow but need to add it to my list. Thank you for sharing, hope your summer is going great! XO, Amy