Category: Three to Read

'The Helicopter Heist,' 'Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe,' 'Hold Fast Your Crown'

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 5/10/19

Since it’s not quite time yet for a summer getaway, why not escape into the pages of your next favorite book? Everyone’s perfect vacation, just like everyone’s favorite stories, are different—but they tend to have one major factor in common. They’re amazing. You may be an endless well of energy who hits the museums at eight and the clubs at midnight, or you may prefer to spend your time napping in the sun as the waves crash in the background. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, there’s no wrong choice… just like there’s no wrong choice of book to read this week! Whether your preferred escape is a bold heist; a heartwarming small-town; or a bizarre, existential romp across continents, hurry up and get away! For a book that excites OR relaxes you, you’re in the right place.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week.



'The Helicopter Heist' by Jonas Bonnier



A fast-paced, riveting novel inspired by the true story of a group of four young Swedish men who pulled off “one of the most spectacular heists of all time” (Time). The men behind the daring daylight robbery have been imprisoned, but the $6.5 million that they stole has never been recovered.

Sami has a history of petty crime, but that’s all behind him now. He has a new child to provide for, so he’s training as a chef, ready to lead a quiet life. But when a business deal suddenly goes sideways, Sami is left wondering how he’ll ever provide for his newborn daughter.

Michel and his family fled a bloody civil war in Lebanon when he was a child. He grew up in the suburbs of Stockholm surrounded by poverty and criminals. He’s trying to turn over a new leaf, but the past just won’t let him go.

Niklas has always had a thirst for life. He traveled the world and made an effort to become someone who was both seen and heard everywhere he went, the sort of person people talked about. He followed through on his vision…and no good has come of it.

Zoran is a businessman. He knows everyone and who seals a deal with a handshake. When he was young, the ambitious Yugoslavian had a dream—to get rich, by whatever means necessary.

And Alexandra? She’s the reason that the four men found themselves plotting to rob a Stockholm cash depot in September 2009.

At first, the plan seems foolproof. Every contingency is covered, every detail is planned perfectly, and the payoff will make them all rich for life. No one would even get hurt. But not everyone is who they seem. Even as the gang’s stolen helicopter is lifting off from the cash depot with $6.5 million inside, questions remain unanswered. What secrets does each man hold? Who is the woman who has implicated herself in all of their lives? And who among them holds the key to the wealth they so desperately seek?



The best stories are the ones that seem real, so expansive that it feels large enough to live inside. Jonas Bonnier‘s The Helicopter Heist actually IS real—and that’s sure to make every twist and tragedy hit that much harder. Time magazine called this “one of the most spectacular heists of all time,” a crime so theatrical and audacious that it almost feels fictional. We assure you, it isn’t. The difference between a heist and a robbery tends to be that heists have a certain style to them, an irresistible allure. Challenging circumstances tend to open up the doors to those secret rooms in people’s souls, unleashing their most private emotions and darkest secrets. Bonnier portrays these characters as arrestingly human—because that’s exactly what they are. If that’s not reason enough to grab a copy, consider that most of us prefer reading a book before seeing it onscreen. Now’s your chance: Netflix is picking up The Helicopter Heist starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who called this book a “rapturous” account of the bold heist. No new details have been released since December, so if you want a sneak peek… get to reading!


our coffee shop read


'Midnight in the Blackbird Cafe' by Heather Webber



Heather Webber’s Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.

Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.



At Granny Zee’s café, the pies are magic—literally. Granny’s pies make people dream of those they’ve loved and lost, a gentle and captivating mystery that is sweeter than most. Of course, the pies aren’t the only magic in Midnight at the Blackbird Café; Heather Webber‘s immersive writing creates an immersive tone throughout. Anna may be the one coming to Winslow, but you may feel as though you’re returning home. Webber certainly knows what she’s doing: as the author of the seven-book Nina Quinn Mystery series, she’s a master of drawing readers in. But Midnight at the Blackbird Café isn’t a story of the kinds of secrets that can kill you; instead, it’s more about what might make you feel whole. This novel is as warm as the cup of coffee you’ll surely want to settle down with as you pick up this book and read straight through to the ending.


Our dark horse


'Hold Fast to Your Crown' Yannick Haenel



Hold Fast Your Crown, recently translated from its original French, is a profoundly original work of significant madness and insight that we are finally fortunate enough to have in the English language. And it’s not just the story that we love—it’s the writing itself, rich with arresting imagery and inventive turns of phrase. Readers will love Yannick Haenel‘s uncanny ability to juggle high culture and pop culture with as much insight as humor. Although frequently comic and absurd, the novel then reads as all the more serious and sincere when it does stray away from its madcap adventures—to striking effect. The narrator’s obsession has an inescapable pull, one certain to inspire a similar obsession in anyone who gives this book a try.
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Three To Read May 1

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 5/1/19

In this new month (and new chapter), you MAY catch yourself reading these incredible new releases. Just kidding—there’s definitely no ‘maybe’ about it. Our Hot Pick may look like your classic beach read, but, in reality, it’s a shocking crime novel—and you’ll be reading it everywhere. Our Coffee Shop Read for the week, a sweeping literary epic, introduces a new Arab-American voice to fiction… and, we presume, a new book to your shelf. And you might find we saved the best for last: our Dark Horse is a striking blend of biography and novel that’s recently been translated from French, and it’s finally available for English-speakers to read! While these books may differ in genre, they have one major thing in common: they’re practically begging to be read. As the April showers fade away and those May flowers bloom, you’re sure to warm up to our picks for this week.

Check out our latest Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!




Sunset Beach



Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm.



It may still be too cold to hit the beach, but you can bring the beach to you… sans the murder, we hope. Sunset Beach is the latest release from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews (epithet: ‘Queen of of the Beach Reads’). Andrews was a journalist for fourteen years, and her reporter’s eye for detail is clear in what may be her most personal release yet. Set along the beaches of her childhood, this novel’s focus on true crime is reminiscent of Andrews’ own introduction to the subject. Her work has been favorably reviewed by BustlePopSugar, and The New York Times—and, of course, by us here at Bookstr! Publishers Weely has drawn attention to the novel’s “fascinating characters and captivating dialogue,” which make Andrews’ writing all the more impressive when compared to the well-oiled plot machines that mysteries can occasionally become. It may not be summer yet, but this compulsively enjoyable read is plenty hot.




'A Woman is No Man' Etaf Rum



Introducing a brave, new Arab-American voice, an unflinching debut novel that takes us inside a world where few of us have been before: the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her fragile community.

Set in an America that may feel removed yet is all too close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is both a gripping page-turner and an intimate family portrait. Fans of The Kite Runner and Everything I Never Told You will be drawn to this powerful novel.



Not only has this debut novel gotten some serious hype—but it also (seriously!) deserves it. As it’s a Washington Post and Refinery29 Best Book of the Month and a Millions Book of the Year, it seems safe to say that Etaf Rum‘s A Woman Is No Man is at the very least a book of the week. This engaging, intergenerational tale will engross readers with its intimate depiction of an America that is so immediate to some and so distant to others. This tale of arranged marriage and family secrets maintains the breakneck urgency of a thriller with all the scope and nuance of a literary epic. Readers are sure to appreciate the complex cast of female characters and welcome the representation of Arabic women in fiction. Rum addresses issues of loss and displacement in a manner both devastating and deeply human.

Not convinced of her talents yet? Prepare to be wrong: Rum also runs a popular bookstagram account!




David Hockney



With clear, vivid prose, this meticulously researched novel draws an intimate, moving portrait of the most famous living English painter. 

Born in 1937 in a small town in the north of England, David Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving his home in Bradford for the Royal College of Art in London, his career flourished, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging, because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalized, and his inclination for a figurative style of art not sufficiently “contemporary” to be valued. Trips to New York and California–where he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming pools–introduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic.

A compelling hybrid of novel and biography, Life of David Hockney offers an accessible overview of the painter who shook the world of art with a vitality and freedom that neither heartbreak nor illness nor loss could corrode.



Catherine Cusset has an impressive track record as an artist—and so does her subject matter. David Hockney‘s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures)” was recently sold at auction for a staggering $90.3 million, breaking the world record for highest sale at auction for a piece from a living artist. Cusset’s Life of David Hockney is just as certainly a masterpiece—only this one will cost you $10.99. A daring blend of biography and novel, Cusset’s work captures Hockney’s work with a deep, captivating sense of empathy and understanding. Kirkus Reviews emphasizes the engaging structure of the novel: in particular, how Cusset is “enlivening the narrative with the speed of Hockney’s rise to fame—a speed that comes to perfectly mirror his experience with the AIDS epidemic, friends dying too quickly.” This is our Dark Horse read solely because American readers may be unfamiliar with this French author… but, given that Cusset has published thirteen bestselling novels, you’re not exactly taking a chance on this one. Rather, you’re taking the chance that you’ll get lost in this book, never to be seen again.


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