12 Diverse Books To Read This Spring/Summer

I’ve been giving Netflix (and Korean Dramas) a break so I can indulge in some fun spring/summer reading. I wanted to share this curated list of books by diverse women writes for your rainy days of spring and sunshine-filled hot days of summer reading pleasure. You’re welcome.

This very short curated spring/summer reading list includes novels by Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) women and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Two-Spirit, Asexual and Ally (LGBTQ2S+) writers, and novels by or about people with disabilities.

Because it’s about to get hot in herre -weather wise, I wanted to keep things light-hearted and fun for the most part. The list includes a few romantic comedies, some family drama – think life-changing secrets and betrayals, and a murder mystery or two to keep things interesting. I did say, “light-hearted and fun for the most part.”

I hope you find a fun title or two to read while indulging in some well-deserved patio, pool-side or feet-in-the-sand-drink-in-hand relaxation. 

12 Diverse Books for You Spring/Summer Reading List 

1. Black Cake – Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake is being developed for the screen as a Hulu original series. The multi-generational family saga is about Eleanor and her two children, Byron and Benny. When Eleanor dies, the two estranged siblings inherit her Caribbean black cake recipe – a family recipe with a long history. Eleanor also left them a voice recording revealing family secrets and a mystery of a long-lost child. 

Their mother’s secrets leave the two siblings questioning their lineage and themselves. Will this and their mother’s black cake help their relationship heal or will it tear them even further apart?

2. Love Marriage – Monica Ali

Love Marriage tells the story of 26-year-old, Yasmin who is studying to be a doctor, like her dad. The trouble is that Yasmin is engaged to upper-class Joe Sangster whose mother just happens to be a feminist. Yasmin and Joe also have very different levels of sexual experiences.  As the wedding date approaches Yasmin’s life begins to get even more complicated – secrets, infidelity, misunderstandings, and the truth about her parents’ love marriage. Yasmin’s relationship will be challenged along with her beliefs.

Monica Ali is the author of Brick Lane which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Guardian Book Prize among other literary accolades – I read it years ago and it was really good.

3. Olga Dies Dreaming – Xochitl Gonzalez

This book has been optioned for a series on Hulu. The story centers around Olga Acevedo, a Wedding Planner to Manhattan’s power brokers, and her brother and congressman, Prieto, who lives in New York City. 

Life is great until Olga meets Matteo and it stirs up old family secrets that Olga now has to confront. The siblings must also deal with the return of their politically radical mother, Bianca, who abandoned them in Puerto Rico when they were children.

4. Get a Life Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

Get A Life, Chloe Brown is a rom-com by British author Talia Hibbert. It is the first book in a three-book series with the Brown sisters. In this first book, Chloe Brown, a chronically ill web designer experiences a near-death moment that causes her to think about her life differently. She decides she wants to “get a life” but first she has to make a plan and a bucket list. 

She’s accomplished the first thing on her list, moving out on her own and living independently for the first time. The other items on her list include:

  • Enjoy a drunken night out on the town.
  • Ride a motorcycle.
  • Go camping.
  • Have meaningless sex.
  • Travel the world with only a carryon suitcase
  • Do something bad.

Chloe quickly realizes that she may need some help accomplishing everything on her list, especially given her illness. Enter her building’s motorcycle riding, tattooed, long-haired redhead, Superintendent, Redford “Red” Morgan.  Red just happens to be an artist with his own baggage including, really resenting posh women like Chloe Brown – for good reason. 

They don’t like each other but they soon realize they can help each other out; Red needs a website to get his career back on track and Chloe needs help with her the items on her list to get her life back. Can they remain friends long enough to accomplish their goals?

5. Daughters of the Deer – Danielle Daniel

This historical fiction is set in the 1600s during the French settlement in the Algonquin territories. It centres around Marie and Jeanne. Maris, an Algonquin healer of the Weskarini Deer Clan marries a green-eyed French ex-soldier (and devout Catholic). She doesn’t want to marry this man but the alliance might help her people. 

Marie’s firstborn, Jeanne, is both white and Weskarini. Later Jeanne will discover she is also two-spirited when she falls for Josephine. Her two worlds will clash;  in her father’s world, she is expected to marry a man and being two-spirited is considered a sin. Being two-spirited in her mother’s world is seen as a blessing and a sign of special wisdom.

6. Vera Kelly Lost and Found – Rosalie Knecht (June 21, 2022)

It’s spring 1971 and private detective Vera Kelly is on the case but this time it’s personal. Vera must find her missing girlfriend, Max who goes missing one night while visiting with her estranged, and very wealthy, family. Did Maxi’s controlling father and the occultist, who might be stealing the family money, have something to do with Max’s disappearance? 

7. Chef’s Kiss  T.J. Alexander

This queer rom-com stars pastry chef, Simone Larkspur, whose professional goals get sidelined when her dream job with a cookbook publisher decides to modernize their brand and make the move to video. Simone is a perfectionist and for the first time she finds herself suddenly failing at something. If this new adjustment wasn’t stressful enough, Simone has to deal with Ray Layton, the test kitchen manager from hell – Ray is outgoing and cheerful.

After Ray becomes a YouTube viral sensation, the company decides to force the two to work together and Simone has no choice but to go along or risk losing the job that she loves. As the pair work closely together, Simone realizes she may have been too quick to judge and that that she might just be falling for Ray.

But when Ray comes out as nonbinary, Simone is forced to choose between her career and the person who may be the one for her.

8. Portrait of a Thief – Grace D. Li

Portrait of a Thief is being described as “Ocean’s Eleven meets The Farewell” and is inspired by a true story of Chinese art that goes missing from Western museums. When Harvard student and art history major, Will Chan, receives a proposition from a mysterious Chinese benefactor, he must decide whether he decides he’s willing to break the law – by leading a major art heist – to return priceless Chinese artwork that had previously been looted from Beijing centuries ago by other countries. 

Will and his crew can earn $50 million from the job and make history or face the consequences of their actions, including failing to right a wrong. Portrait of a Thief touches on Chinese American identity and the impacts of colonialism.

9. Kamila Knows Best – Farah Heron

Kamila Hussain is living the good life. She hosts lavish Bollywood parties, is a social media darling, loves her job and has lots of friends who need her help finding love. She’s been so busy she hasn’t time to think about her own love life. Well, that was until she and a long-time family friend, handsome Rohan Nasser, start to engage in a little bit of fun flirtation. When Kamila’s nemesis comes to town and she sets her sights on Rohan this threatens to upend Kamila’s perfect life.

10. Like a Sister – Kellye Garrett

When 25-year-old reality TV star Desiree Pierce’s body turns up in a playground, the police want to rule it as an overdose. That was until her half-sister Lena Scott realizes that something isn’t right and decides to get involved. She is determined to get justice for Desiree. Now, all she has to do is to make sure she can stay alive in the process.

11. The Things She’s Seen – Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

This thriller is a YA novel that was released in 2019 and tells the ‘ghost’ story of Beth Teller. Beth Teller dies in an accident but her spirit lives on and her dad is the only one who can see and hear her. 

Beth’s dad is a really good detective and with her death, he is dealing with crippling grief. She must help him reconnect with living by helping him solve a murder in a remote Australian town. They have to work together to unravel the secrets being kept in this small town to be able to close the case.

12Dial “A” for Aunties – Jessie Q. Sutanto 

Four Asian aunties, one big fat billionaire Asian wedding, and one murder equal a lot of trouble for Meddelin (Meddy) Chan. Meddy is not quiet over the breakup of her college sweetheart even though it was years ago, and he had moved away. 

Meddy’s mother poses on a dating app as her and sets her up on a blind date, Meddy is horrified. The Aunties, however, think this is brilliant and insists she go on the date with his handsome restaurateur. 

When Meddy finally agrees to go on the blind date she ends up accidentally killing him and must call the Aunties for help. Things go downhill as they try to deal with the body and orchestrate the wedding for a billionaire at the same time. The wedding is a big deal for the family wedding business and Aunties do not intend to let a corpse or looming murder charges ruin their big day.

Things only get worse when Meddy’s college sweetheart unexpectedly turns up. Can Meddy survive the weekend, escape prison, and find love?


I hope you found a few titles to add to your TBR list. I know I have! Share this post with a friend or your book club and

Feel free to connect with me on Instagram @swaggerandgreys and let me know what you’re currently reading!

As always, let’s continue to show love and support to the many diverse authors, independent bookstores, and our public libraries.

About cassandra mcd.

World's coolest aunt (so I've been told). I'm all about personal growth and living a healthy lifestyle that prioritizes self-care and mental wellness. I want to embrace aging with swagger (and less gray hair), living life more mindfully and filled with an abundance of gratitude.
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