Surefire Summer Reading

There are few things more relaxing then curling up with a good book at the beach or by the pool.

Cosmo books editor and best-selling author John Searles suggested a list of the summer's hottest reads, on The Early Show Tuesday.

His suggestions, complete with his comments:

SWAPPING LIVES, by Jane Green

"I wanted to say it was the trashiest book on the list but someone told me trashy sounded mean, and I like Jane Green, so I will say it's the fluffiest book on the list. It's a story of, 'You always want what you can't have.' It's two women, one who lives in London, has a glamorous life as a magazine editor, a beautiful apartment, parties every night, but wants husband and children. The other woman lives in Connecticut. She has four kids, a beautiful house, a great husband, but she really wants a single life again. So, through strange twists of fate, they end up swapping lives for 30 days, and it's a lot of fun."

THE GIRLS, by Lori Lansens

"It has one of the best first lines: "I never looked into my sister's eyes," and the reason is that they are conjoined twins. At first, I thought, 'This is going to be heavy book,' and it is heavy, but it's a real tear-jerker and perfect for anyone looking for a real evocative, beautiful, literary read for the summer."

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen

"It's set in the Depression era. It's the story of a young man who is in veterinarian school and both of his parents pass away, and he finds out they've left him no money. So he has to quit school, and the only skill he has is taking care of animals, so he ends up working for a circus, and he falls in love with a woman, and so it's a love story with all kinds of colorful characters. It's a really beautiful book.

TERRORIST, by John Updike

"Usually, he writes these delicately crafted, literary stories. This one is different than anything he's ever done. It's a rip-from-the-headlines page-turner about a young boy in New Jersey who wants to be a martyr. You know? A terrorist. It's all about plot this time. It's very different for him and it's a great book."

BEAUTIFUL LIES, by Lisa Unger

"(A young woman) makes a split-second decision that changes her life. Sees a young boy crossing a street, and thinks he is going to get hit by a van, so she steps in and rescues him. Suddenly, her picture is on in the papers and she is on television and she gets a package with a photo of her and a photo of a baby and it just says, 'Are you my daughter?' "

THE HARD WAY, by Lee Child

"One again, someone who makes a seemingly innocent decision ends up changing their life. The main character sits down at an outdoor café, looks across the street and sees someone get into a Mercedes and drive off. Seems innocent enough, but what he's just witnessed is a man picking up $1 million in ransom money for a kidnapping and he quickly gets sucked into this situation, so it's a really gripping page-turner."

HEAT: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, by Bill Buford

"I love the opening of this book. The author, Bill Buford, was having a birthday party for a friend. His friend happens to be pals with the world-renowned chef, Mario Batali. So, he says, 'Well, I'll invite Mario, as well.' Mario accepts the invitation. When he tells his wife, she says, 'Are you crazy? You have a world renowned chef coming to our house for dinner? You're not that good of a cook!' Mr. Buford then confesses to Mario that he always wanted to work in a restaurant, so Mario Batali gives him a job at a restaurant, and this is his experience working in the restaurant, and also personal history of Mario Batali, the chef. This is perfect for food lovers but, just this warning: It makes you want to eat a lot!"

BLUE WATER, by A. Manette Ansay

"(This is) about a couple who loses child. … It's a heart-wrenching, great summer read."