One of the highlights of trips, travel and adventure is taking time to sit back, recline a seat, grab a cocktail and enjoy a good read. For many of us, this is just the time to dig into a juicy romance (in a country where nobody knows us) or finally finish the novel sitting on our bedside table. For anyone with a lengthy train ride on the horizon or a few hours devoted to basking in the summer sun, here are 5 Summer Reads to while away the hours in the company of great characters, compelling plots and exotic settings, whether you’re holding a book in your hand, reading off Kindle or listening through Audible. 

1. Waiting for Tom Hanks – Kerry Winfrey (available on Kindle and Audible) 

Stapley’s rom-com arrived this summer in paperback, making it easily transportable to the beach or far-flung foreign cafe. Annie Cassidy wants to become the next Nora Ephron, penning romantic comedy screenplays and waiting for her own love story to unfold in Hollywood-esque style. When she meets Drew Danforth, she has no expectation of said love story, as Drew is nothing like her Tom Hanks image, but it’s funny how sometimes the least expected people keep us on our toes. For anyone looking for a bit of romance and charm, Winfrey’s novel will be a perfect fit. 

2. The Last Resort – Marissa Stapley (available on Kindle and Audible) 

The Last Resort is set on the Mayan Riveria where The Harmony Resort caters to married couples on the verge of divorce. Led by celebrity therapists Drs. Miles and Grace Markell, The Harmony Resort is a place where couples come to repair damage and mend fences, but when a tropical storm hits and everyone is trapped at the resort, secrets emerge, trust is tested and what appears perfect on the surface begins to bubble over. If you’re looking for both thrilling and heartwarming, Stapley’s novel is one to pack. 

3. The Woman in the Window – A. J. Finn 

Finn’s book is a modern-day Rear Window, which induces heaps of excitement but also a bit of reserve. Can anyone compete with Hitchcock? Stephen King calls The Woman in the Window “unputdownable,” which makes us take note. King knows a thing or two about suspense, darkness and thrillers. Anna Fox, the protagonist, is an agoraphobe living alone in New York City and, well, spying on her neighbors. When a seemingly perfect family moves in across the way, Anna sees something that may shatter the perfect image and forces her to question what is real, imagined and everything in between. If you need a gripping thriller to take your mind off an overseas flight, The Woman in the Window might just be your best bet. 

4. City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert (available on Kindle and Audible) 

From the bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things, City of Girls is described by The New York Times as, “…a delicious novel of glamor, sex, and adventure.” The scene is set in the theater world of New York City in the 40s. Main character Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College and is sent to NYC to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns the Lily Playhouse theater, where Vivian meets characters of all kinds, including some of ill-repute. Now in her late 80s, Vivian tells the story of her own growth and development with the wisdom and perspective of time and age. 

5. The Hideaway – Lauren K. Denton (available on Kindle and Audible) 

Denton’s debut novel has garnered over 3,000 reviews on Amazon, with a solid 4.5 star rating. Sara Jenkins, Denton’s heroin, must leave her successful life in New Orleans to return home to Sweet Bay where her grandmother’s ramshackle B&B, The Hideaway, needs some tender loving care after her death. Finding a box in the attic with clues to a life Sara’s grandmother lived but never shared, Sara unearths much about her family and, ultimately, herself. People are raving about this novel, calling it ‘an experience’ and noting the strong character development and personal growth.