Tag: Summer Reading

Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Is Back!

As kids, summer reading may have been the most dreaded thing on our minds as the final school days of June ticked by and thoughts of swimming and sleeping until noon filled our heads. Well, for those of us who weren’t absolute bookworms anyway. No matter how many times a teacher or parent told us it was important, we didn’t want to do it. I’m sure more than half of us didn’t even pick up one of those assigned books until the last weeks of August when it became a race to get it done before the first day back.

So what is the point of Summer Reading? Well, it helps prevent what is known as the “summer slide.” The summer slide is the phenomenon where kids’ reading ability worsens over a summer of no reading. Reading levels drop, and reading comprehension becomes more difficult upon returning to class. Assigned reading over the summer months was just one of the many ways schools and teachers have tried to combat this slide in literacy, but there are more interesting approaches like that of Scholastic.


Young girl reading outside during summer

Like many teachers and parents, Scholastic knows that summer reading can be a challenge but a very important challenge to keeping literacy rates high. Scholastic is a popular children’s book publisher, popular for more than just the publication of the Harry Potter series, which makes it unsurprising that they have a plan to inspire children across the United States to get reading this summer. For their thirteenth year running, Scholastic is hosting Read-a-Palooza, helping kids track not just books read but the minutes spent reading. This, unlike many reading challenges, isn’t a competition to see who can read the most books, which can discourage the slower readers in the bunch. All that matters is how much time a kid spends reading this summer!


Scholastic infographic representing the in-text numbers

According to the homepage for Read-a-Palooza, “77% of kids ages 6-17 and 94% of parents believe reading books over the summer helps kids during the school year.” For Read-a-Palooza, kids can unlock digital rewards for tracking their minutes spent reading, and they can help unlock a very large book donation for communities and children in need across the United States. Students can even help land their school in the 2019 Scholastic Book of World Records. There is no shortage of incentives to get kids reading!

One super important point to make is that there are no requirements as to what kids are reading. Graphic novels? Great! Fantasy? Excellent! As long as they’re reading, it counts. Kids have until September 6th to input their minutes on the Scholastic website.

featured image via scholastic

8 Thrillers for Your Beach Bag This Summer

These eerie page-turners from debut and bestselling authors are sure-fire summer hits.

1. LAYOVER by David Bell


Publication Date: July 2nd

“In the hands of a master of suspense like Bell, a chance flirtation at an airport leads to a fast-paced novel filled with turbulence. Make sure your belt is fastened and enjoy! Bell is at his best.”—Kaira Rouda, USA Today bestselling author of Best Day Ever

In this high concept psychological suspense novel from USA Today bestselling author David Bell, a chance meeting—and passionate kiss—with a beautiful woman in an airport sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth.

2. GIRLS LIKE US by Cristina Alger


Publication Date: July 2nd

Girls Like Us is something special: A beautiful, deeply textured novel and a poignant, surprising mystery. I loved it, every chapter and every word. I’m going to be thinking about it as a reader, a father, and a storyteller for a long, long time.”—Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant

Girls Like Us is Cristina Alger’s best book yet. Worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father?

3. LOCK EVERY DOOR by Riley Sager


Publication Date: July 2nd

Lock Every Door is a gem: Fast-paced, crisp writing, stellar character development. Riley Sager’s best book yet!”
—Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of In Her Bones

A young woman has a new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings…but it may cost more than it pays. Super eerie, this heart-pounding thriller from Riley Sager is sure to be another bestseller.

4. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin


Publication Date: July 30th

“High wire tension from the first moment to the last. Four ruthless people locked in a deadly game where victory means survival. Gripping and unforgettable!” ―Harlan Coben

Four young Wall Street rising stars discover the price of ambition when an escape room challenge turns into a lethal game of revenge in this gripping debut from Megan Goldin. In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success lavishly―but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.

5. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Publication Date: July 2nd

“Exciting and sprinkled with razor-sharp insights about what it is to be a woman today, Whisper Network is a witty and timely story that will make you cheer for sisterhood.”
―Liv Constantine, USA Today bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened.”

Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand against an inappropriate boss sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies are uncovered, and secrets exposed. And not everyone will survive. All of their lives―as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries―will change dramatically as a result.

6. The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley


Publication Date: June 11th

“Marissa Stapley’s writing is a gift.”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

As a deadly tropical storm descends on the Mayan Riviera coast, trapping the hosts and the guests on the resort, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested and not one single person—or their marriage—will remain unchanged by what follows.

7. A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell


\Publication Date: July 23rd

“Fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn meet your next obsession.” ―BuzzFeed

Michele Campbell’s edge-of-your seat story of passion and intrigue will keep you guessing until the very end. Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house.

8. THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish


Publication Date: June 11th

“[A] disturbing novel of domestic suspense. With a structure reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies…A nicely paced, wryly intelligent novel with sharp insights into human behavior.”—Kirkus Reviews

In Louise Candlish’s startling domestic suspense novel set in a suburban neighborhood poses the question: “Could your neighbor make you angry enough to kill?” Lowland Way is the epitome of the suburban dream. Every house and yard is carefully maintained for maximum curb appeal, and everyone knows one another and gets along. When Darren and Jodie move in, the neighborhood changes for the worse. An all-out war is brewing on Lowland Way, and when someone is killed, accusations start flying.

Judy Blume

Make the Most of Your Last Days of Summer with This Adorable Romance

It’s already August and we’ve been chasing summer as much as we’ve been chasing the perfect summer read, but have no fear! We have just the book to wrap up your hot summer.
New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series, Helena Hunting, has released the much-anticipated rom-com novel we all need. The Good Luck Charm is here to steal hearts and remind you that, sometimes, love has a second chance. 
Helena Hunting

Image Via Amazon 

Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.


Ethan wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.


Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let Ethan in, though, she finds out their reunion might have nothing to do with love and everything to do with improving his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.


Publishers Weekly is raving about it, saying “Hunting sparkles in this well-plotted contemporary about a struggling and superstitious hockey player, his devastated ex-lover, and the hope and joy of second chances.”


They also point out something we loved about the book, which is the attention Hunting gives and fun she has with her secondary characters. “Lively supporting characters, including Lilah’s sassy sister, Carmen, add fun to the mix. Readers will hope for a return to Forest Lake.” You’ll be falling just as hard for her characters as you will for her eye-catching cover perfect for the modern day rom-com fan.
Hunting spoke exclusively with Bookstr about the cover art that’s stealing our hearts, saying
I’m in love with the gorgeous cover for this story! The Good Luck Charm is different in that it has a fresh, illustrated cover, which is very different from my other covers.
Hunting does an amazing job at creating real characters with a real story. Nothing is perfect, but Lilah and Ethan’s rekindled love seems so desirable anyway! Hunting will make you laugh, cry, fall in love, and question whether or not second chance romance really exists (we’re thinking it does). This story is more than just boy-meets-girl, it’s about love lost and found, then somehow getting it back when you’re exactly where you’re suppose to be. Hunting explained the importance of having real characters from a place anybody can call home. “I really loved exploring the setting… I wanted to explore the comfort that comes with familiarity, and how success happens when we surround ourselves with the right people at the right time.” 

In the words of New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis, this book is ‘fabulously fun!’, so end your summer on a high note and check out The Good Luck Charm!


Check out her website helenahunting.com for more information on her brilliant books, and once you’ve got reading, join her reading group The Beaver Den where you can share your love of books and love stories with the author herself plus thousands more!


Enter here to win a copy of The Good Luck Charm plus cute bookish gifts!

Featured Image Via Amazon. Synopsis Via Amazon
Reese Witherspoon next to book cover

Here Is Every Celebrity Book Club’s July Picks!

If you’re having a bit of trouble picking your next read, it may be worth it to see what some of our favorite celebrities are reading right now. The differences in picks really highlight each of the stars’ personalities. Have a little peek. This month’s picks include great finds, such as Jake Tapper’s The Hell Fire Club, Anthony Ray Hinton’s The Sun Does Shine, and Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana.


Mindy Kaling


While Mindy doesn’t have an official book club of her own, she likes to keep her Instagram updated with her current reads.


This month’s pick:

She has been reading The Hell Fire Club by Jake Tapper.





Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career…but for his life. (Via Amazon)



Oprah’s Book Club


Oprah’s book club. The book club of book clubs.


This month’s pick:

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton.


Oprah holding sun does shine book

Image Via YouTube




In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty–nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.


But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence―full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty–seven years he was a beacon―transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty–four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.


With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty–year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy. (Via Amazon)




Sarah Jessica Parker


SJP uses her GoodReads account to keep up updated with what she is reading. She is currently promoting a book for which she is the editor, A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. That is not stopping her from reading, however!


This month’s pick: 

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne


Ladder to the sky book cover

Image Via Amazon




If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career. A chance encounter in a West Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter.


Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them–or to whom they belong–as long as they help him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous, but they will also make him beg, borrow, and steal. They may even make him do worse.


A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Sky shows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul. (Via Amazon)



Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf

Our Shared Shelf is also on GoodReads (like SJP).


This month’s pick:

For the months of July and August they will be reading a bit of poetry.Performing poems was what got me into acting,” Watson said on the book club’s announcement of the pick, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.


milk and honey

Image Via Amazon




#1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. (Via Amazon)



Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine

Reese keeps her book club updated on the official site and her Instagram!


This month’s pick:


Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton







Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. 

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage. (Via Amazon)



Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel announced recently that he wants to start a summer book club. Viewers voted for which book they wanted to read the most out of five choices.


This month’s pick:


The winner was The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin


The Immortalists book cover

Image Via GoodReads




It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds. (Via Amazon)



Bookstr’s Picks

Bookstr 3 to read image

You know we couldn’t end this without a little bit of personal insight! Bookstr’s hot picks for this week are out in our weekly ‘Three to Read’ article. We really hope you give them a go!


Feature Image Via Bustle

Books and drinks

5 Summer Reads and the Perfect Drinks to Go with Them!

With the heat of the summer upon us, people come out of hiding for all the awesome seasonal festivities to enjoy. Whether it’s parties, holidays, barbeques, or going to the beach everyone comes out in droves to soak up a little sun. Yet it also feels like summer is in slow motion. Hot days that last until the 8PM, no set plans, and hazy afternoons make for a relaxing time. What better time to pick up a new read or four?


The summertime is an important season for readers’ it’s a whole season dedicated to a new plethora of books. So when you want to take part in the fun, but you need a new read, there’s just no choosing only one. So here we’ve got a sweet list here for the perfect summer books and the adult beverages to go with them.


1. The Female Persuasion: A Novel by Meg Wolitzer



Sumer books and drinks

Image Via Amazon


Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer- madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place- feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.


What to drink:


Blueberry Ginger Mojito is for when you can’t decide which path to take: tart or spicy. So instead you just choose both.



Image Via Food Network



2. Tangerine: A Novel by Christine Mangan




Image Via Amazon


The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country. 

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.



What to drink:



Green Tea and Orange Coolers are perfect for this read. There’s no alcohol because we want you fully alert for a book you can’t seem to put down. It’s as satisfying and refreshing as the plot.




Image Via Food Network




3. Love and Ruin: A Novel by Paula McLain




Image Via Amazon



In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer.



What to drink:


Strawberry Lemonade Bourbon Cocktail will be your best drink of choice. We’re talking about Hemingway after all; a little whiskey only seems right.




Image Via Food Network



4. The High Tide Club: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews 




Image Via Amazon


When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons attorney Brooke Trappnell to her 20,000 acre barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never actually met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter, but why enlist Brooke and not the prestigious Atlanta law firm she has used for years? Brooke travels to Shellhaven and meets the cagey Josephine, whose home is a crumbling pink mansion at the edge of the turquoise sea.

Over the course of a few meetings, Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, dark secrets, betrayal, and a long-unsolved murder. She is hiring Brooke for two reasons: first, to protect her island from those who would despoil her land, and second, to help her make amends with the heirs of the women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club―so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades―Millie, Ruth, and Varina. To fulfill a dying woman’s wishes, Brooke must find Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met. But in doing so, Brooke unleashes the makings of a scandal that could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams…or cause them to be in the crosshairs of a murderer….



What to drink:


White Sangria tastes sweet, fruity, and fresh so with every turn of the page you’ll be taking another sip. This will have you feeling like you’re right on the water.



Image Via Food Network




5. By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank




Image Via Amazon



By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well to do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hard -working Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate, when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?



What to drink:



Image Via Food Network



Peach Iced Tea fits the southern charm and wit of this story. There’s no alcohol, but the character’s background of being a peach farmer plus the sweet taste will still have you feeling like a right Georgia peach. 





Featured Image Via Shutterstock. All Synopses Via Amazon