Thursday 18 April 2024

5 Books That Will Transport You on a Virtual Vacation

A book sitting open on a sandy beach there is a pair of sunglasses siting on top of it with a straw hat above and a crochet bag below both slightly cropped out of frame. There are also some shells scattered about in the picture.

The summer months are approaching and I’m craving a vacation to plan! However speaking as someone who finds travelling difficult, and therefore hasn’t done as much as they like, it’s wonderful to find books where the characters travel to different destinations and with descriptive language so vivid you feel like you’re actually there experiencing it yourself. I wanted to share 5 of my favourites with you. These are all available in paperback, e-book and audiobook (which is how I read the majority of them so I can attest to them being good!). 

*ad- This post was created in partnership with Tandem Collective but all opinions are, as always, my own.*

The Simple Wild Book by K.A Tucker

City girl Calla Fletcher was only 2 years old when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to cope with the extreme isolation and rural lifestyle, to live in Toronto. Leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren. Many years later Wren reaches out to Calla to tell her he’s sick and would like to see her so she decides to journey to Alaska for the first time by herself. Experiencing the scenery, subarctic environment, lifestyle and wildlife is a big adjustment not to mention reconnecting with her absent father. Jonah, the brooding Alaskan pilot of her fathers charter plane company doesn’t think she’ll last a day and is ready to fly her back where she belongs at any second but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. 

I absolutely love The Simple Wild series and this first book is my favourite! As someone who’s never been to Alaska, reading about Calla’s adventures and the descriptions of the settings were so incredible they made me feel like I was really there. The character development of Calla is one of my favourite arcs that I’ve read. She starts off as a naïve, rather spoiled girl with not much direction in her life and gets thrown into the isolated, rural Alaskan wild and has to figure out how or if she could fit in there. This story is both heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure.

Paris is Always a Good Idea Book by Jenn McKinlay

Chelsea Martin, a successful fundraiser for the American Cancer Coalition, feels like she has her career, at least, in order. However when her father announces he’s getting re-married she’s forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died and that the last time she felt truly happy or in love was when she took a gap year abroad 7 years prior. She’s inspired to retrace her steps and go on her European adventure once again and visit Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France and Marcello in Italy, hoping that one of these 3 men who stole her heart all those years ago will help her find it again. 

I’ve re-read this book several times! It has a kind of ‘Mamma Mia vibe’ with the lead character, Chelsea, journeying to catch up with 3 past loves. I really love the travel element to the story, the different places she chose to re-visit and how they fit with each of the love interests as well. There is a theme of loss throughout that is very powerful and drives most of Chelsea’s motivations and mistakes. I felt like the story was very cinematic and I could totally picture it being turned into a movie at some point. 

The Hours of You Book by Fiona Collins

Maggie is a journalist who decides to take one last commission before retiring. She is given 24 hours on a remote tropical island to interview former Hollywood heart-throb Ed Cavanagh. Who just so happens to be her ex love and the only man who ever broke her heart. He also doesn’t want any part in Maggie's exclusive article. As each precious hour on the island ticks down bringing back memories of their tangled love story Maggie is forced to confront the painful twists of fate that kept them apart. Was a different future for them ever possible? Is it even possible now?

I really enjoyed the setting of this story, it’s set on a tropical island called Mémoire which I believe is fictional but seems to be based off a similarly named island in the Seychelles so that’s where I imagined they were! The descriptions were vivid and beautiful. I could practically feel the sun on my skin. Although the present day chapters only span 24 hours Maggie and Ed’s love story spans several decades and we get to flashback to what happened in their past. I loved how believable and messy these characters were and I became really invested in them making their way back to one another. 

Something Wilder Book by Christina Lauren

Lily, the daughter of a notorious treasure hunter, makes ends meet by using her fathers coveted hand drawn maps to guide tours on fake treasure hunts through the canyons of Utah. Lily is shocked to see Leo , the man who she once loved, turn up with a group of friends for one of her tours one day. He’s ready to hit the trails (and secretly hoping to reconnect with the only woman he ever loved) whilst she’s ready to take him out into the wilderness and just leave him there! Chaos ensues when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong and the group begin to wonder whether the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a myth after all. Isolated and alone in the dangerous mazes of the canyons, Lily and Leo must decide whether to risk their lives and their hearts to continue on this adventure. 

This is pure escapism! I have never been to the US and never seen a canyon in real life but I really felt like I was having an adventure in the wilds of Utah with Lily and Leo whilst reading this! There are so many unexpected twists and turns. I absolutely loved the mix of romance, adventure and mystery in this story, it made it such a compelling read. I have read it several times now and love it more and more with each re-read. I can't speak highly enough of Christina Lauren as an author. I'm always recommending their books to my friends. 

You and Me on Vacation Book by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex met 12 summers ago in college and, although they are complete opposites in many ways, end up becoming firm friends on a car-share home along with making a pact that every year they plan one vacation together. From Vancouver to Palm Springs, New York, Nashville, Italy and Croatia we catch up with Poppy and Alex’s chaotic & hilarious adventures each summer interspersed with updates on where they are at ‘this summer’ until finally find out what led them to stop speaking two summers ago. Then this summer Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.

I’m a big fan of Emily Henry’s writing, Beach Read being one of my all time favourite books. You and Me on Vacation is a slow burn, friends to lovers story with bags of chemistry, laughs, in-jokes and emotional moments. Emily Henry is a master at writing chemistry between her couples and sparkling dialogue. She also writes incredible female leads that are flawed but with so much strength & personality. I aspire to be more like Poppy! She’s so fun and colourful, absolutely loves travel and ends up having a successful travel blog. Alex is Poppy’s opposite but they gel together so well that by a few chapters in they feel real and like you’ve known them for years. 

Honourable mentions: The Un-Honeymooners by Christina Lauren - Hawaii, No Judgements by Meg Cabot -the Florida Keys (although this is set during a hurricane so not exactly a vacation!), Love Lessons by Sarina Bowen - Italy, The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas - Spain.

Let me know if you have read any of these books, I’d love to discuss them in the comments! 

If you want to see more of my book related content, what I'm reading & reviews then follow me on my book account @katiekbooks on both Instagram & Tik Tok.

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