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  • BN Editors 2:00 pm on 2018/07/16 Permalink
    Tags: , bear town, beneath a scarlet sky, cecelia ahern, , , educated, , franklin graham, , , helen hoang, , mark sullivan, mary kay andrews, , , , the gift, , , , therese ann fowler, through my father's eyes,   

    Cottage by the Sea Author Debbie Macomber Shares Her Summer Reading List 

    Filled with memorable characters and set in gorgeous locales, bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s novels about family, friendships, and love, will help even a staycation feel like an escape. And while her stories are perfect for reading any time of the year (her Angel series and Christmas novels are delightful to cozy up with during the holidays), summer is the perfect time to lose yourself one of her lush, heartwarming stories. In her newest novel, Cottage by the Sea, a woman who has experienced great trauma travels to the Pacific Northwest, a place where she has happy memories from childhood, to recover. There she begins building a new life for herself, despite her grief, discovering her own community and even finding romance—until she finds herself at the crossroads of an important and life-defining decision. Ms. Macomber was kind enough to share her own summer reading list with B&N Reads—and it is filled with fascinating stories, from nonfiction to historicals, that are sure to find their way onto your own summer to-be-read pile! Enjoy her ten picks below (and don’t miss her interview with the B&N Podcast here!).

    Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan
    I’m actually half way through this book about an Italian youth working for the resistance in World War II, which I’m finding to be fascinating. It’s based on a true story and compelling reading.

    Through My Father’s Eyes, by Franklin Graham
    With the death of Billy Graham earlier this year I have this book on my bookshelf and am eager to read about the man himself.  I personally attended two of his crusades and am a great admirer of this godly man.

    The Gift, by Cecilia Ahern
    This is actually a Christmas book that I’ve been wanting to read since the holidays.  If I wait much longer it will be the season so I’ve moved it to my “to-be-read” pile.

    The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang
    There’s been quite a bit of industry buzz about this book.  I found the premise intriguing, an autistic woman who is eager to understand what it is to fall in love.

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Her beach reads are something I look forward to each summer season. This story is full of romance, and even has a surprising twist that I did not expect!

    All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
    It’s a thought provoking and relatable novel that involves complex social issues we face in today’s society. This is definitely one of her best, and who doesn’t love the cobalt blue cover!

    The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
    Many people know Kristin from her book The Nightingale, but this stand alone is just as amazing! The Great Alone is set in Alaska which is wild in nature. This setting mixed with the dysfunction of the family creates a downfall of events. Each dark moment seems to get darker and darker. This story digs deep, and the character development is incredible. Your heart will be intertwined and invested not only with Leni and her parents, but the community who embraces this family.

    Bear Town, by Fredrik Backman
    The tragedies that befall this community and the families there are much like you’d experience in any small town. When you finish this book, you know there is more to this story. I was thrilled to see the follow up Us Against You was just released.

    Educated, by Tara Westover
    This is a truly gripping story about a girl struggling for an education. It pulled at my heart strings as I read through each page. This book is moving and demonstrates the power in someone’s life that an education holds.

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Ann Fowler
    With her highly anticipated new book coming out this October, A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts, I decided to reread this one.  It was just as good if not better the second time. It takes you back in time to the roaring twenties and the Jazz era. Re-reading this book made me anxious for her next debut.

    Cottage by the Sea is on B&N bookshelves July 17.

    The post <i>Cottage by the Sea</i> Author Debbie Macomber Shares Her Summer Reading List appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Cristina Merrill 4:00 pm on 2018/06/13 Permalink
    Tags: , by invitation only, calypso, , , , , , , , , , love and ruin, mary kay andrews, , , rainy day friends, , , the cast, , the perfect couple   

    10 Beach Reads to Get You into That Summer State of Mind 

    Summer is nearly here! That means plenty of time for lounging about in the great outdoors. Here are 10 page-turning stories to enjoy as you soak up the sun. Some are light and breezy, and others are a bit darker—covering everything from murders to social media scandals. There are fresh starts and betrayals and secrets. They all have one thing in common, though: They’re each filled with beautiful, colorful characters who will make you want to keep turning the pages, even when the going gets rough. (Especially when the going gets rough, actually.)

    So put on your biggest shades, slather on the SPF-whatever-you-need, and enjoy! Just don’t forget to turn over once in a while.

    The Cast, by Danielle Steel
    Hoping to dip your toes into a glamorous, Hollywood-esque story? Seek no further! Steel’s yarn is about a woman, Kait Whittier, who has a respectable magazine writing career. After meeting Zack Winter, a television producer, Kait becomes inspired to write a TV series based on her grandmother’s life. She soon finds herself in the middle of a major production filled with all kinds of people. All is going quite well, until she is confronted with a major maternal-related issue. Will she be able to get through it? And will her new inner circle help her?

    The Perfect Couple, by Elin Hilderbrand
    Fans of The Castaways and A Summer Affair will have a chance to revisit some of their favorite characters in this novel! It’s wedding season on Nantucket, which doesn’t exactly thrill the locals. (So. Many. Tourists.) Then a bride-to-be is found dead just a few hours before the ceremony was supposed to begin, and many of those who were close to her are prime suspects. Chief of Police Ed Kapenash is on the case, and he soon realizes that no lovey-dovey couple—or family, for that matter—is perfect. He’s going to have to ask some difficult questions in order to solve this case and bring the bride’s loved ones closure.

    All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
    Giffin’s latest tale is about a major incident that goes viral on social media. Nina Browning is living the good life in Nashville. Her wealthy husband just sold his tech company for a major profit, and their son got accepted to Princeton. Living a very different life is Tom Volpe, a single dad working multiple jobs to raise his daughter, Lyla, while making sure she doesn’t screw things up at her new prep school. One night, at a wild party, a scandalous photo is taken that can shake up everything these two families have worked for. Can they manage to survive the scandal and pick up the pieces of their lives?

    Calypso, by David Sedaris
    Humor book alert! Funnyman David Sedaris’s latest book is about his purchase of a beach house. This may seem like The Dream for just about anyone, but, as Sedaris learns, it’s not all fun and games. He thought it would be a relaxing retreat, but he still can’t escape the facts of life, such as middle age and mortality. There are plenty of his patented and hilarious ruminations on both in this volume, so be prepared for lots of belly laughs in spite of yourself—and maybe some stares from the people sitting nearby.

    Shelter in Place, by Nora Roberts
    Roberts’ latest book deals with a mass shooting at a mall, and how it affects the lives of the survivors for years to come. One man decides to go into law enforcement, while one woman finds a much-needed outlet in her art. Years have passed since that horrible night, but the pain still lingers, and it may not even be over yet. Let’s just say that someone bad is waiting to cause more chaos. Fans know that Roberts (and her alter writing ego, J.D. Robb) consistently delivers thrillers filled with the most wonderful human characters.   

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Attorney Brooke Trappnell has been summoned by 99-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick to the old lady’s beach home. Josephine wants to make things right with the descendants of her old girl gang. They called themselves The High Tide Club back in the day, and let’s just say they used to have oodles of fun together. (Case in point: They went skinny dipping. A lot.) Of course, many things have happened since those days. Oh, and Josephine also wants Brooke to help her protect her land from greedy hands. Brooke soon finds herself in the middle of decades-old drama as she reunites everyone at Josephine’s home.

    Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain
    McLain is at it again! After the success of The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson, his first of multiple marriages, this new tome delves into Hemingway’s marriage with journalist Martha Gellhorn. Martha travels to Madrid to report on the Spanish Civil War and ends up crossing paths with the soon-to-be-super-famous writer. Throughout their relationship, one of her main struggles is to make sure she remains her own person, which many a modern reader can appreciate. Hemingway scholars know how this particular love story ends, but it’s still fun to read about a romance between two interesting and intelligent people with lots of inner turmoil.

    By Invitation Only, by Dorothea Benton Frank
    A wedding is about to take place, and let’s just say the bride and groom come from very different backgrounds. Fred’s family are Southern peach farmers, while Shelby comes from a wealthy Chicago family. One side is very hardworking, while the other side—or certain folks on it—have a bit of a sense of entitlement. Everyone is feeling a little bit out of their element, especially the two mothers. Will Fred and Shelby’s relationship survive class differences? And will everyone be feeling the love when Fred and Shelby say “I do?” (That is, IF they do?)

    Cottage by the Sea, by Debbie Macomber
    Annie Marlow has been through some pretty painful experiences, so she decides to hightail it to the Pacific Northwest. There she meets a colorful cast of characters, including Keaton, who helps her fix up her seaside rental cottage. He’s a very nice, zen kind of guy, which Annie really needs right now. Life is going smoothly, and then Annie gets a major opportunity thrown her way. Add to that a landlady with some major emotional walls around her and a teenager who might be in desperate need of Annie’s help, and you’ve got a page turner you won’t be able to put down.

    Rainy Day Friends, by Jill Shalvis
    Lanie Jacobs’ husband recently passed away, and she’s still getting over her grief when she discovers that she wasn’t his only wife. She’s devastated, to say the least, and she decides to make a fresh start for herself by working at the Capriotti Winery. It’s a family-run venture, and Lanie gets plenty of distraction from the noisy Capriotti family. There’s also the matter of Mark Capriotti, an Air Force veteran who is now the deputy sheriff. He and Lanie soon realize that they really like each other. Then a 21-year-old newcomer with some dark secrets shows up, which just might ruin everything that Lanie has worked for.

    The post 10 Beach Reads to Get You into That Summer State of Mind appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2018/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: a court of frost and starlight, , , a rogue of her own, , , , , ashes on the moor, , , , devil in tertan, , ella quin, , , , , his wicked charm, , hurts to love you, , , , , , , , , , mary kay andrews, , natural blonde instincts, , , sarah m. eden, , , the designs of lord randolph cavanaugh, , the identicals, , , the sins of lord lockwood, , the world of all souls, too wilde to wed, , we can't wait!,   

    Romance Spring Preview: 24 of Our Most Anticipated Novels 

    Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but Spring will soon be here! There is no better time for romance to bloom than when the frost thaws and our world starts to become sunnier, hotter…you get the idea. Here are 25 of our most anticipated romances coming this season.

    February

    The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand (February 20)
    It’s a tale as old as time: twins who couldn’t be more different, find themselves living a life where the grass is always greener, and learning something in the process. Harper is low-key, relaxed…and a complete romantic disaster. Tabitha is dignified, with a high standard for taste (and the debt to match)…not to mention a teenage daughter she can’t reign in. By switching islands and living the other sister’s life, they find a way to bury the resentments of the past, and both find hope for the future.

    Hello Stranger, by Lisa Kleypas (February 20)
    Garrett Gibson has never taken no for an answer—that’s how she became a doctor in an age and a society where women were discouraged from doing anything of the sort. She may be daring, but she’s never taken a risk in matters of the heart…until she meets Ethan Ransom, a detective for Scotland Yard, and gives into the throes of passion. But when she is pulled into a dangerous case, the stakes are raised, and she could lose more than her heart.

    A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole (February 27)
    We’ve all gotten strange emails claiming we’re betrothed to an overseas prince, right? Naledi Smith knows they’re a scam, and one she doesn’t have time for. But in this case, they’re true: Prince Thabiso has been looking for the missing girl he was supposed to marry—and when he meets Naledi, she thinks he’s nothing but a regular person like her. And so he decides to play along, believing he can convince her to love the man behind the crown.

    The Marquis and I, by Ella Quin (February 27)
    Charlotte has been kidnapped, thanks to her brother-in-law’s recklessness (and the enemies he made as a result). But then she is rescued by a man even more unscrupulous, and her reputation is in tatters. She wants nothing to do with Constantine, the Marquis who rescued her…but he is determined to win her heart.

    The Sins of Lord Lockwood, by Meredith Duran (February 27)
    Liam is on a quest for revenge after his wedding to Anna was taken from him thanks to a conspiracy. But Anna has not given up on the man she loves, despite his pleas to leave him to his life of vengeance.

    March

    A Rogue of Her Own, by Grace Burrowes (March 6)
    Miss Charlotte Windham has no intention of ever marrying, and the best way to ensure that no one would ever want to marry her is a simple scandal. Lucas Sherborne is the perfect man to rope into her plan—but instead, thanks to his own desires to marry a woman of influence and wealth, they end up at the altar instead. A marriage neither one of them truly wanted turns into a love they never knew they needed.

    Ashes on the Moor, by Sarah M. Eden (March 6)
    It is 1871, and Evangeline has been sent by her grandfather to a small mill town to teach—and if she fails, she will never see her inheritance or her younger sister, the last family she has left, again. She keeps her upper-class status a secret as she finds a community in the town, bonding with Dermot, an Irish brick mason and his son…but when her secret is revealed, she must piece together the unraveling threads of her life to find a happy ending.

    High Voltage, by Karen Marie Moning (March 6)
    The Fever series continues with Dani protecting the people of Dublin against the forces of evil gathering strength beneath the surface. Her bond with Ryodan is stronger than ever, but even the immortal cannot protect her from the horrors from her past.

    With This Man, by Jodi Ellen Malpas (March 20)
    Jesse Ward is back in the new installment in this erotic romance series, and his entire world is rocked thanks to a tragic accident. Jesse and Ava were happy. But then she ends up in the hospital, and they aren’t sure she’s going to make it. Which would be bad enough…except that when she does pull through, she cannot remember him. Or anything about the last sixteen years. So Jesse is once again given a problem he might not be able to conquer: seducing his wife, and proving to her that the last sixteen years are worth remembering.

    Accidental Heroes, by Danielle Steele (March 20)
    Someone on plane A321 is going to do something terrible, and only Homeland Security agent Ben Waterman can figure out who, and how to stop them in time. In this thriller, a TSA agent informs him of a suspicious postcard with a mysterious message, and together they must rise to the occasion and become heroes to save the day.

    His Wicked Charm, by Candace Camp (March 27)
    Lilah hates Constantine Moreland. To make things worse, his twin brother married her best friend. But when his sisters are kidnapped, she helps him on the case and discovers there is more to him than meets the eye.

    Hurts to Love You, by Alisha Rai (March 27)
    Evangeline Chandler is an heiress, which means she knows the rules: don’t embarrass the family, don’t reveal your true feelings, and don’t hook up with the help. But she can’t help the attraction she feels for Gabriel, even if they can never be together. That is, until they find themselves unable to stop being together.

    Twice Bitten, by Lynsay Sands (March 27)
    Elspeth Argeneau has been alive for almost two centuries, but it’s only after getting away from her very controlling mother that she feels like she can start to experience life. Between hunting vampires, she can certainly find time for a fling. Especially with a guy who has no idea what she is.

    April

    The Thief, by J.R. Ward (April 10)
    The Black Dagger Brotherhood saga continues with the story of Sola Morte, a human woman—and former criminal—who is trying to reform herself and live the life she needs to in order to keep her grandmother safe. What she doesn’t need is a distraction, especially from Assail, the only man she’s ever truly felt something for…though she doesn’t know the truth that he is a vampire, and deals in arms with the Black Dagger Brotherhood. But when his life is in danger, Sola must risk it all to bring them together again.

    Natural Blonde Instincts, by Jill Shalvis (April 16)
    After trying to do her own thing, Kenna has decided it’s time to join the family business and prove herself capable of taking the reigns. The problem? Her boss is hot, powerful, and not falling for her feminine wiles.

    The Designs of Lord Randolph Cavanaugh, by Stephanie Laurens (April 24)
    The titular character of this historical romance is loyal only to those closest to him—for everyone else, his top priority has always been his finances. But when an investment falls through, he is torn between seeking restitution for his losses…and seeking the heart of a brilliant woman.

    A Devil of a Duke, by Madeline Hunter (April 24)
    Gabriel is a rake of the first order, used to getting everything he wants from the world, and from women. Which is why it’s incredibly frustrating to be falling for—and bedding—a woman who will give him her body, but not her name or her heart.

    May

    A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas (May 1)
    A continuation of the Court of Thorns and Roses series, this story bridges the initial three novels with the latter tales in the series. Feyre and Rhysand are rebuilding their world following a devastating conflict: love, war, loyalty, and friendship collide for another adventure in the world of the High Fae.

    Someone to Care, by Mary Balogh (May 1)
    Viola has not been able to move on from the shame and trauma of being stripped of her title after the death of her Earl husband. Not the young debutante she once was, but not ready for the grave, either, Viola isn’t sure where she fits…until she finds herself falling for the Marquess of Dorchester, a notorious rake…and a man worth risking her limited standing in society for.

    The World of All Souls, by Deborah Harkness (May 8)
    There is much more to the story of Oxford historian and witch Diana Bishop and time-traveling vampire Matthew Clairmont…and this guide to the world in which they met and fell in love reveals all!

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews (May 8)
    In this perfect early-spring beach read, a woman is given an arduous task by an aging heiress: find the descendants of her long-deceased friends, with whom she was not able to make amends before they died, and bring them together.

    The Other Lady Vanishes, by Amanda Quick (May 8)
    1930’s California is a place of beauty and danger when a woman escapes from a sanitarium and starts a new life, only to be tempted by a widowed businessman and drawn into a murder mystery.

    Devil in Tartan, by Julia London (May 16)
    Lottie is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her home safe, including taking her Highland clan to the ocean for illegal whiskey sales and holding a captain from a rival clan captive after an attack on her vessel. Aulay never thought he’d let himself get bound by a woman’s heart, and yet he can’t help but want to possess Lottie as much as he wants her ship.

    Too Wilde to Wed, by Eloisa James (May 29)
    Since being jilted, North went to war and cultivated a reputation for being ill-suited to marriage. But he doesn’t know that his almost-bride, Diana, never intended to hurt him, and her reputation has paid a price as well.

    The post Romance Spring Preview: 24 of Our Most Anticipated Novels appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 5:23 pm on 2015/04/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , eliza kennedy, , karen white, , , lucy sykes, mary kay andrews, , , ,   

    May’s Top Picks in Fiction 

    In May’s most exciting fiction releases, Kate Atkinson returns to characters introduced in her masterful award winner Life After Life, Chuck Palahniuk’s stories are collected for the first time, and Matthew Pearl writes a literary caper you won’t be able to resist.

    A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
    A God in Ruins is the companion novel to Atkinson’s astonishing Life After Life, which follows Ursula Todd from birth to death again and again, tracking the progression of her soul as she lives out her life in countless iterations. Now Atkinson turns her focus to Ursula’s beloved brother, Teddy, whose safe return from World War II was one of the first novel’s emotional high points. The focus is on his postwar life, which Teddy, as a former RAF pilot, didn’t really expect to be granted. In telling his story, Atkinson again bends time and tests the boundaries of traditional narration; she’s a master storyteller, and A God in Ruins is not to be missed.

    I Take You, by Eliza Kennedy
    Reluctant bride-to-be Lily is many things: a lawyer, a New Yorker, a party girl who can drink you under the table. What she’s sure she won’t be, though, is a model wife. In the weeks leading up to her wedding to the perfect man, Lily questions everything, from her tendency to cheat to her willingness to give up her freewheeling life of no-strings-attached fun and bad decisions. When her future mother-in-law threatens to tell her secrets and spoil her chance at marital happiness, Lily must figure out—fast—if promiscuity can exist side by side with conjugal love.

    Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, by Chuck Palahniuk
    When it comes attached to a collection of Palahniuk stories, you can’t take this subtitle lightly. The author is known for his power to disturb, but his ability to delight and engross are equally on display in these 21 tales plus a novella. Fight Club‘s Tyler Durden makes an appearance in “Expedition,” and “Cannibal,” true to its title, takes its place beside Palahniuk’s more difficult-to-shake grotesqueries. The stories are ripe with the twisted and the macabre, with strange magic and humor, and with passages that are difficult to bear.

    Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
    Haruf returns to Holt, Colorado, in his final novel, a tender tale about a widow and widower using each other as a balm against loneliness, and the love that blooms once they’ve dropped their defenses. Despite gossiping neighbors and disapproving family members, Addie Moore and Louis Waters start spending their nights together, in a not-quite-plantonic, not-yet-romantic way. As they talk the late-night hours away, they discover an intimacy that infuses their twilight years with an unforeseen joy, one that’s worth fighting for.

    The Scarlet Gospels, by Clive Barker
    Two of Barker’s most iconic characters face off in this follow-up tale to The Hellbound Heart and Barker’s Hellraiser films. Long-suffering detective Harry D’Amour and Pinhead, king of hell, finally reach their final chapter together, in a gory grand guignol that will thrill old fans and win a score of new ones. To save a kidnapped friend, Harry must follow Pinhead into his underworld domain, where their last stand plays out against an epic background of monsters, violence, and the landscape of hell itself.

    The Last Bookaneer, by Matthew Pearl
    In this rollicking page-turner, Pearl shines light on the shocking and little-known historical practice of stealing authors’ work, publishing it without their permission, then selling it for cheap, wrapping it up into an imagined account of crafty “bookaneer” Pen Davenport. At the end of the 19th century, just as the law was cracking down on these manuscript thefts, Pen races to reach a dying Robert Louis Stevenson—and steal what might be his final book—before his nemesis does. This grand literary adventure will sweep you off your feet.

    The Sound of Glass, by Karen White
    Maine widow Merritt Heyward finds her life upended by an unexpected inheritance: her late husband’s aunt has left her the family home, in Beaufort, South Carolina. Once there, Merritt’s outsider status is complicated further by the arrival of unwanted houseguests, a brother-in-law who’s too charming for Merritt’s own good, and a web of Heyward family secrets that have more to do with Merritt than she ever would have guessed. This atmospheric Southern story pairs best with summer heat and a tall glass of iced tea.

    Beach Town, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Disgraced location scout Greer Hennessy knows her latest assignment just might be her last shot: she must find the perfect untouched beach to serve as a backdrop for a big-budget movie. But when the beach she has in her sights—an idyllic stretch of Florida sand—puts her in direct opposition to environmentalist mayor Eben Thinadeaux, sparks, good and bad, start to fly.

    The Guest Cottage, by Nancy Thayer
    Two bruised people—Sophie, left reeling by her husband’s announcement that he’s leaving her, and Trevor, a newly single father following his wife’s death—make a fortuitous error when they rent the same summer guest house at the same time. Against the backdrop of the Nantucket shoreline, Sophie comes to terms with her husband’s betrayal, and attempts to relocate her center after a marriage spent putting his needs ahead of her own. In the meantime, Trevor tries to imagine a life in which he raises his sensitive, closed-off son on his own. As the families blend and a romance grows, readers will settle into this well-wrought tale as comfortably as they would a seaside hammock.

    The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes
    In this dishy modern riff on All About Eve, fashion magazine editor Imogen Tate is in danger of being pushed out of the picture by ambitious, backstabbing assistant Eve Morton. On returning from a six-month medical leave, Imogen is confronted with evil Eve’s youthful team of tech addicts, who’ve turned her magazine into a website. We’re already fantasy casting the film adaptation of this fresh, funny satire, which follows technophobe Imogen’s attempts to claw her way back to the top of the heap.

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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:30 pm on 2014/07/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , ladies' night, mary kay andrews, mindy baling, reconstructing amelia, , , , , the devil in the white city, the glass castle, the racketeer, wolf hall   

    Make Your Escape with These 10 Summer Book-cations 

    Tell the Wolves Im Home

    It’s not summer without searing hot car seats, miniature golf, and a page-turning novel you can’t seem to put down even though it’s your turn at miniature golf. The summer months are the perfect time to dig into a lighthearted book of comic essays, a gripping thriller, or an unforgettable journey into the darkest periods of history. Isn’t it just your luck that we’ve rounded up a few of each, for your reading pleasure?

    The Racketeer, by John Grisham
    Grisham is the grand master of the legal thriller, and he’s in top form here. The Racketeer (also known as former attorney Malcolm Bannister) may be in prison, but he’s the only one who seems to have any clue as to how an active federal judge and his young secretary managed to turn up dead in an isolated lakeside cabin. And he’s all too happy to share the information he has—but it comes at a steep price. A diabolically clever thriller you’ll burn through in a long weekend, especially if you’re a lover of twists and turns.

    The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
    A brilliant, unforgettable, and true account of the planning and execution of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (a monumental achievement for its time—and for now), this utterly absorbing book focuses on the struggles and triumphs of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect tasked with overseeing the unfathomably large project of designing and building the immense Fair, as the world watched and waited to see if he would succeed. Larson brilliantly injects an element of darkness into the narrative by interspersing it with a chilling account of the nefarious activities of one H. H. Holmes, a sociopathic serial killer who committed a number of heinous crimes around the advent of the Chicago World’s Fair. This is one beach book that will find you sitting on the sand reading with a flashlight long after everyone else has shaken out their towels and gone home.

    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling
    It could be argued that it is a beach book’s job to make you laugh until you hiccup—and if you subscribe to that belief, then look no further than Kaling’s bitingly funny (and yet also disarmingly sweet and thoughtful) collection of essays. With wit and insight, Kaling tackles such issues as growing up, deciding to pursue an acting career, and ultimately making it in the notoriously difficult world of show business. I dare you to read this book and not wish Mindy Kaling were one of your best friends. Her smart, wry, well-honed observational humor is as refreshing as a tall, frosty mojito. And…now I need a cold drink. Darn you, summer!

    Cockroaches, by Jo Nesbø
    The second book in the arresting Harry Hole series, Nesbo’s Cockroaches finds the intrepid investigator looking into a murder in a Bangkok brothel of a Norwegian ambassador to Thailand. A fascinating peek into the seedy underbelly of a beautiful and exotic vacation destination, the novel interweaves Harry’s struggles to resolve his messy personal life with his efforts to solve a case that grows ever more complex and dangerous the closer he comes to the truth. If you haven’t yet checked out Jo Nesbø’s thrilling detective series, which is up to 10 books, you’re in for a wicked treat.

    Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan
    Standup comedian Jim Gaffigan has always had a way with words—and this new book about his experiences as a father of five children is filled with memorable (and hard won) one-liners and scathing observational humor. A fun, light read that will make you feel like you’re on vacation simply because you don’t have five children (unless of course you do, in which case you should definitely pick up a copy and commiserate), Dad is Fat is a breezy, funny summer read that will have you snort-laughing at least once per chapter. (I can’t be the only one here who snort-laughs.)

    Ladies’ Night, by Mary Kay Andrews
    When Grace Stanton catches her husband cheating, naturally she retaliates by driving his fancy sports car into a swimming pool. Unfortunately, this teensy little incident knocks her from a life high on the hog and at the top of a rapidly ascending career, down to sharing a house with her widowed mother above a dive bar. Fortunately, her court-mandated “divorce recovery” therapy sessions introduce her to a cotillion of like-minded friends, who begin organizing their own “therapy” sessions together at the bar…and that’s when the fun really begins in this salty, clever poolside read.

    The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
    Summer isn’t just about barbecues and beach balls and tan lines. For those quiet, introspective, rainy summer days when even the fact that it’s July isn’t enough cheer you up, it’s nice to have a searing memoir in your back pocket. The Glass Castle is a mesmerizing, wrenching account of Walls’ childhood, during which she and three siblings were raised (if that term even applies here) by an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, parents who were by turns brilliant, disinterested, and completely self-destructive. Walls and her siblings eventually mustered the strength and resources to leave, and her courage and ability to build a normal, successful life for herself in the wake of such early chaos is as inspiring as her story is unforgettable.

    Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
    If you miss the summer reading you used to be assigned in school—in part because it helped you choose what to read, but also because the material was often enriching and enlightening—then Wolf Hall, winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize, is going on your Fake Grownup Assigned Summer Reading List. The fascinating story of life in Tudor England under the erratic, alternately passionate and vicious rule of the indomitable King Henry VIII, Mantel’s account focuses on the crafty maneuverings of his ambitious statesman and adviser, Thomas Cromwell. A seamless blend of history and fiction, you’ll be both educated and entertained—what could be better?

    Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt
    An inspiring and memorable debut novel about a young girl’s coming of age, Tell the Wolves I’m Home is the moving story of 14-year-old June Elbus, who loses her uncle, Finn Weiss—who also happens to be her godfather and best friend. June feels adrift in the world until she makes the acquaintance of Toby, a friend of Finn’s, and their fragile relationship teaches her about loss, love, and growing up.

    Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight
    Don’t pick up this riveting mystery unless you’re ready to stay up all night reading! When busy single mom Kate Baron gets a call from her daughter’s exclusive Brooklyn private school letting her know that her daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating, she’s shocked and disappointed. But when she arrives at the school, the news is even worse: Amelia is dead after having apparently jumped off the roof of a building. Unable to believe that her bright, ambitious daughter would commit suicide (especially after receiving an anonymous text that simply reads, “She didn’t jump”), Kate dedicates herself to sifting through Amelia’s social media and cellphone history, finding herself caught up in an increasingly alarming and convoluted race to find out what really happened.

    What books are in your beach bag (or briefcase) this summer?

     
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