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!
OUR HOT PICK
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 Bustle, PopSugar, 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.
Our COFFEE SHOP READ
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!
OUR DARK HORSE
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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