15 Hot Summer Reads to Keep You Warm This Winter

I hate winter. I tried to like it, I even wrote a post about all the things I like about winter. My blog is a happiness blog, I can’t hate anything right? Wrong. This blog is about finding your path to happiness but with temps dropping into the single digits for weeks at a time, I am starting to stray from the path.

To help me stay on track and forget the frozen tundra outside my window, I often look to a good book to transport me someplace warm and tropical.  I want to feel the sun on my skin, hear the crickets serenading me on a warm summer evening, and smell the sweet magnolias blooming on a warm May afternoon. Here are my top 15 picks to keep you warm this winter.  Leave your favorites in the comments so I can read them to!

15 hot summer reads to keep you warm this winter

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Cry Wolf – Tami Hoag

I just finished rereading this book yesterday. Set in Louisiana’s Arcadian region, this romantic mystery will make you feel like you are sitting right on the bayou in sundress sipping sweet tea.

Tami Hoag is one of my favorite authors and all of her books make you feel like you have been submerged in the world of her characters. Cajun French, a bit of classism, and a lot of the good and bad of sex in the world.  This book keeps you guessing until the last.

If you are ready to be swept into the Antebellum mansions of the south and perhaps the arms of a tortured bad boy, check out Cry Wolf.

Lucky You – Carl Hiassen 

Carl Hiassen books are the most fun you can have while reading. His plot devices are just on the edge of reality, his characters only fit in the wacky world of south Florida, and his passion for the natural beauty of Florida makes this book a perfect read on a cold winter’s day.

An ex-governor who eats roadkill.  Check.  Using a stuffed marlin as a weapon. Yep, that too. Strip club bouncers melting their faces off with questionable products meant to cure their acne? Oh yea, Hiassen has you covered on all fronts. All of these little gems aren’t in this particular book, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. I have read every single one of his books and haven’t found a bad one among them.

If you are freezing today and need a good laugh, Lucky You is waiting to pull you into the warm and wacky world of south Florida.  Start with this one, and work your way around to a book totally dedicated to Skink.

The Hideaway – Laura Denton

This coming home tale is set in the small town of Sweet Bay, Alabama will transport you from your cold winter hideaway to the quiet backwaters of southern Alabama.  An aging plantation house, a love had and lost, and a cast of characters that are as enchanting as they are odd will keep you tangled up in the charming tale of Sarah and her grandmother Mags.

A little bit mystery (but not murder), a little bit romance (but no explicit sex), Laura Denton does an excellent job of giving you all of the details without going over the top. She transports you to the warm shores of the bayou. Pits new against old in more ways than one.  This book makes you think, makes you love, and will keep you warm both inside and out.

Horseplay: A Novel – Judy Reene Singer

If you like horses, you will like this book. If you like tales of women overcoming bad men and bad job to find themselves better on the other side, you will like this book. Judy Reene Singer is most known for her book “Water for Elephants” but this was my first read by her, and I couldn’t get enough.

A woman in a bad marriage decides to chuck her job as a school teacher and head to the kudzu-covered south to take a working student position (aka barn slave) at a dressage barn in North Carolina. The fortyish, slightly plump main character finds herself trading her school books for a pitchfork and more physical labor than she has done in her life.

Lot’s of great quips, a wacky vet, and a few interesting suitors make this tale a fun, fast-paced read. And there isn’t a mention of snow anywhere!

The Water is Wide – Pat Conroy

This memoir had me mesmerized from the get-go. I love a good memoir. Perhaps I have a future as a peeping Tom, but I love these glimpses into people’s lives. From the extraordinary things ordinary people do, to the not so extraordinary reasons people do them.   This book is no different. Pat Conroy does a good job humbling himself in his role of teaching a group of unknown black children, at an unknown island school, at the height of the civil war movement.

From Amazon “Though the children of Yamacraw Island live less than two miles from the southern mainland, they can’t name the US president or the ocean that surrounds them. Most can’t read or write. Many of the students are the descendants of slaves, handicapped by poverty and isolation.”

This one does have a few chilly scenes, but overall you will be able to smell the salt air and get lost on a tiny South Carolina Island.

10 More Books to Warm You Up

In the interest of space and time, I will just list the next ten. No need to bore you with my description. Just know all of these books take place somewhere warm and will take you away from your own frozen reality, if just for a little while.

If you have any great warm weather books, please leave them in the comments. I am always on the hunt for new reads.

#1 Mango Key – A Mango Bob Adventure

#2 The Beach at Painters Cove – a Novel

#3 Camino Island – John Grisham 

#4 The Goddesses – Swant Huntley

#5 Beach House For Rent – Mary Alice Monroe

#6 Summer Secrets – Jane Green

#7 One Sumer Day in Rome – Mark Lamprell

#8 The Shark Club – Ann Kidd Taylor

#9 The Coconut Cowboy – Tim Dorsey

#10 Officer Elvis – A Darla Cavanagh Mystery – Gary Gusick 

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