Summer Reads: Trip Through Europe

It’s nearly time for a summer holiday and what’s better than to go abroad? Experience new things, get to know other cultures and try new food. Let’s take a trip through Europe, are you up for that? We’ll visit five locations in Europe to start off.

If this is popular, I’ll expand the tour to include five more. Add your own cities with a book recommendation in the comments!

London

The Path Keeper

The Path Keeper by N J Simmonds has just been rereleased and I’m so glad more people can enjoy this book. It follows the story of the Spanish Ella and mysterious Zac. Explore London through multiple centuries and hop on the jet to Spain for a little dessert. It’s officially YA+ because Ella is an older teen. This shouldn’t stop you from reading this amazing book though.

Summary
What if all our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London. She misses her old life in Spain and is struggling to get over her past—until she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic.

Amsterdam

The Things We Said in Venice

Venice, Italy — A gondola, Venice, Italy — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
The Things We Said in Venice by Kristin Anderson is actually set in Italy for the majority of the book, but the Amsterdam part is great. The way Kristin describes it reflects the city very well. It’s an eco romance novel with a lot of humour and real women problems. I laughed a lot when I read it. Be warned, you will get funny looks for randomly laughing.

Summary
Solid and dependable, high school counselor Sarah Turner knows all about helping others get their lives on track. But when her own life spirals drastically off course due to a fast-track divorce, she surprises everyone. She leaves her job and home in Bend, Oregon and heads to Europe for a six-week solo adventure. Amsterdam is her final destination where she plans to enter a controversial program that could change her life.

From the temples of Angkor Wat to the ruins of Machu Picchu, renowned Dutch travel writer Fokke van der Veld has seen it all. After a major betrayal, there’s one thing he’s not interested in seeing again: women. That’s why the guys-only trip to the Italian Dolomites with his old fraternity brothers is just what he needs. Sort of. If they weren’t teasing him and getting him drunk.

When a series of unexpected events in Italy throws Fokke and Sarah together, the sparks are undeniable, but so is the fear that keeps them apart. Will these two independent travelers open themselves up to a chance of love, or catch a fast train to safety?

Barcelona

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the least like the others in that it’s a historical thriller, but I think it deserves a spot on this list. Carlos describes the mid twentieth century Barcelona so well that I feel I’ve been there. My copy actually has a walking guide in the back so I can visit all of the locations he wrote about. How cool is that? It also has a forbidden library, tragic love, and ghosts.

Summary
Barcelona, 1945 – just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.

The Amalfi coast

The Ice Cream Parlour

The Ice Cream Parlour by Isabella May is the perfect summer read. Pick this one up on a hot day, order ice cream, and read. When Giovanna learns that her twin sister is taking over the ice cream parlour she worked her whole life at, she decides to start her own. Follow her as she rediscovers her Italian roots, finds new love, and fights off bad guys. A super enjoyable read.

Summary
Giovanna Tonioli is a successful stockbroker with a famous sports star boyfriend, but things aren’t as sweet as they seem. When life in the city of Bath goes from Vanilla to Rocky Road, she takes herself off to Italy for an ‘Eat Pray Love’ style tour of all things gelateria. What she doesn’t expect to find on her travels is one smooth, hot dollop of temptation that she just can’t shake.

How will her spiteful twin sister react when Giovanna returns to open a rival ice cream parlour? Will Natalia get her just desserts? Or will things become even stickier? All’s fair in love, war and ice cream. Isn’t it?

Santorini

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Oh man. Nostalgia is probably the right word to describe this read. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Bashares is set mostly in the US, but Lena goes to visit Greece. Who wouldn’t want to walk among the white houses covered with blue roofs or jump into the Mediterranean sea for an impromptu swim? Maybe you might catch the eye of a handsome Greek.

Summary
Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great; they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Lena decides they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them.

Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. . .

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