Sometimes it's hard to believe that it is already summer, but if you are stuck in a pre-summer rut then look no further. Here are six books that will give you major summer vibes!
A new week means new books to explore, and this week's genre is romance! There are tons of great romance novels out there, but these are some fresh new releases to get you started for the week.
These lighthearted reads will make you laugh out loud, and maybe even transport you to your dream destination!
The weather’s not the only thing getting hotter! This week, we’ve got some highly-acclaimed summer crime novels that simmer with drama and tension—unreliable narrators, creative play with chronology, paranoia, and rich character development that’s guaranteed to knock you off your feet (that is, if the beach waves don’t get you first). Just because YOU’RE relaxing doesn’t mean your beach read has to be, and these heart-pounding thrillers will leave you at a loss for words… unless the words, of course, are “more please!”
And let’s not forget, it’s still LGBT+ Pride Month: this week, we’re bringing you one of the first #ownvoices non-binary coming out stories to hit the shelves. While Bookstr aspires to celebrate diverse voices every month, we’re especially excited to use this time to draw particular attention to identities that may remain misunderstood even within the LGBT+ community. So whether you’re reading on an airplane, beach, or even your commute home, we’ve got three stories that are guaranteed to captivate.
Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!
OUR HOT PICK
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.
Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.
Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls dazzled critics: a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice,” the smash-hit bestseller gleaned favorable reviews from The Wall Street Journal, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist. Now, Miranda is back at it with her next searing summer thriller: a Publisher’s Weekly starred review admires Miranda’s “clever, stylish mystery that will seize readers like a riptide.” Like her debut, this novel plays with time in a creative and compelling way, switching back and forth between 2017 and 2018 to keep up the palpable narrative tension. Unlike many thrillers, this one packs some serious commentary—the novel deftly explores the class tensions that complicate both the criminal investigation and the nature of Sadie & Avery’s friendship. This thriller is sure to thrill you with its character development and richly-realized web of secrets!
OUR BEACH READ
Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker
Beware the Man of the Year. You may praise him, resent him, even want to be him: but beneath the elegant trappings that define him, danger looms. Caroline Louise Walker’s stunning debut novel, for fans of Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door, delves into the increasingly paranoid mind of a man whose life as the most upstanding of citizens hides a relentlessly dark heart.
Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.
But when he begins to notice his new houseguest getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack. All the little lies Robert tells—harmless falsehoods meant to protect everything he holds dear—begin to mount. Before long, he’s embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends, his wife—who can clearly see the truth.
Biting and timely, Man of the Year races along at an electric pace, with a wicked twist that you won’t see coming.
This acclaimed summer thriller boldly flaunts its credentials: Booklist, Refinery29, and Publisher’s Weekly features and favorable reviews. Coming from a debut author, the novel Kirkus Reviews calls “a darkly beguiling summer mystery that exposes the shaky foundations of a complicated family” is all the more impressive. While some thrillers focus solely on the plot, Walker’s debut is deeply-character driven, offering the reader a tantalizingly voyeuristic look into the mental unraveling of a man who seems, superficially, to have (and be) it all. Until he doesn’t seem that way at all. Rife with plot twists, the novel follows an awful protagonist whose awfulness, frighteningly, is secret to most of the characters in the story. This leaves readers with an intense and delicious sense of dramatic irony, both wondering (and dreading!) when these malignant qualities will show themselves unambiguously. With a relentless plot and masterful analysis of character, this book is the perfect vacation read. But be careful—your beach umbrella won’t be the only thing blown away.
OUR DARK HORSE
i wISH yOU alL THE beST BY mASON dEAVER
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.
But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.
At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.
It’s LGBT+ Pride Month and, while rainbows may be visible tacked up in a few shop windows, even many well-meaning allies remain unaware of the nuance in LGBT+ identities. While all such identities are underrepresented in the media, non-binary identities are especially absent from many LGBT+ narratives. As readers, we’re fortunate enough to have had a selection of coming-out stories; however, most of these titles pertain to sexual orientation rather than gender identity. Mason Deaver’s thoughtful #ownvoices debut offers us one of the first non-binary coming out stories available today, in the process challenging many stereotypes about non-binary and LGBT+ people in general. NB protagonist Ben’s bisexuality reaffirms that bisexuality is not trans-exclusionary, a nagging (and false!) misconception of the bi identity. And although Ben’s parents are not supportive, the novel is largely optimistic, focusing on Ben’s coming-of-age rather than their suffering. As Deaver said on BookCon’s Read With Pride panel, “queer joy is revolution.” (Click the link for my article profiling Deaver and other hot new LGBT+ authors!)
All In-Text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage.
When I think of summer reads, I think of the typical “chick-lit” with the hunky love interest and over-the-top romance. What I always forget about are the many other genres that are perfect to take off to the beach to read or even listen to while I quickly burn to a crisp. Over the last two years, autobiography has become one of my favorite genres, and I love listening to them – especially when they’re narrated by the authors. So here is my list of those perfect, inspiring autobiographies you need to be adding to your Audible or Libro.fm wishlist for summer.
1. Life Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler
image via DPAC
If you’re a lover of Chelsea, you know her previous books have been all about how much of a hot mess her life is. They are jam packed with jokes, horror stories, and the occasional (frequent) hook-up. Her entire persona has been built up around her propensity to drink and get high and laid. I would love to say this book paints Chelsea as having it more together, but the truth is it highlights how much she doesn’t have it together… how much none of us really have it together. If you read the book, you do get to see all of the pictures of her dogs, friends, and family, but her narration adds another layer to the story she is telling in this book. Her voice cracks, you can hear her smile, and you get that authentic note of sarcasm in her tone that you may just miss in the book. If you’re wary, don’t be! The audio is under six hours, and it is all jam-packed with emotions. Warning: have some tissues ready, as you will unexpectedly be going to therapy with her.
2. Becoming by Michelle Obama
image via capital one arena
Let’s face it: when we saw Michelle Obama as First Lady, she was never anything other than elegant and graceful. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering where her story starts, look no further! In her book, she recounts the major events in her life from growing up in a working class African American household in Chicago, to heading off to Harvard Law School, and eventually taking up residence at the most popular address in all of these United States. Through the narration, one thing remains certain: Michelle Obama maintains that same elegance and grace we came to love. She comes off so down to earth and at the same time you can tell she doesn’t take any crap. I absolutely adored reading about her adventures as daughter, student, wife, mother, and eventually First Lady. She even touches on returning to “normal” life once their stay at the White House was over. If you want a little insight as to what goes on behind closed doors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, this book is perfect for that, too!
3. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
image via amazon
In 2000, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel took us by storm as the mother-daughter-duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. But just how did Lauren Graham find her way to that fateful day? Well, you can find out by picking up this book! In this book, Lauren recounts all of her tales from trying to make it as an actress in New York City, to struggling as an actress in New York City, to finally landing Gilmore Girls, to life after the show, and, finally, returning to Stars Hollow one last (maybe) time. As Lauren would say here, the ending of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life does end on a cliffhanger. If you aren’t a fan of Gilmore Girls, you can still find a lot of value in this book. She has advice for writers, advice for not dieting, and advice on what the appropriate tip is for when someone returns your backpack full of cocaine completely intact. Her reflections on her early acting career are amazing, and aspiring actors and actresses will definitely find this part of the story helpful. If you’re struggling to keep your current written project active (and struggling with finding that time to do so), she will guide you on how to do that exactly. In this book, Lauren proves how well she has taken on the mothering persona of Lorelai, giving us all the motherly advice we need wedged into the four and half hours of this audiobook! Fans of Gilmore Girls, you may even forget it isn’t Lorelai narrating this story. You should beware: there are some spoilers for Gilmore GIrls: A Year in the Life if you haven’t watched that yet.
4. It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms and other Confessions from an Unprepared Single Dad by Josh Wolf
image via goodreads
Josh Wolf is a devout Patriots fan, but we won’t hold that against him as he recounts the funniest, most embarrassing tales of single fatherhood. We talk so much about single moms, who always seem to have it much more together than they should, but Josh makes it clear single dads are sometimes hanging on by a thread. He works his way through the early days, trying to find sitters so he can go on dates, to trying to find any kind of job so he can feed his children, even running an underground sandwich shop out of his kitchen! If you’re looking for a laugh, you have come to the right book. Josh Wolf is sure to keep you in stitches as he recounts a slew of stories in which each one is more hilarious than the last.
5. Has Anyone Seen My Pants? by Sarah Colonna
image via sarah colonna
Another comedian, another fantastic audiobook! Sarah Colonna is hilarious, and you may remember her from her time on Chelsea Lately as a reoccurring comedian on the roundtable. In this book, she not only talks about some of the hook-ups that have gone south, but she also touches on all of the things in her single life before finding love in a Seattle Seahawks kicker, Jon Ryan. When she penned the book, she wasn’t trying to make anyone feel bad about being single or not finding love on the timetable that is given to us. Instead, she was trying to get the world to understand that it is okay to be single and ask for a table for one. She didn’t know that by the end of her book it would happen for her. The truth is no one ever knows what is going to happen; things just need time to happen. But don’t fret! Sarah will keep you laughing and crying all the way to end. Reading her memoir blew me away! Let it take you away for a few hours, too.