We’re back with a list! Woo! Because summer reading isn’t all about prepping for AP classes and the Classics, whatever that even means anymore. Who wants to read The Jungle (TQ’s personal experience) while lazing under a umbrella, sipping vodka (over 21 only please) out of a water bottle so you don’t get kicked off the beach, right? Well, we hear that’s what people do. We’ve never done it ourselves…
On with the list!
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Mystery) — A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.
Beach Read Qualification: Sleepy, mystery detective story, secretly written by JK Rowling.
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter (Paranormal Romance) — All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she’ll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member — a man trapped in a hell of his own. Neither can resist the instant hunger than calms their torments… and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction — and a soul-shattering test of love…
Though they carry an eternal curse, the Lords of the Underworld are irresistibly seductive — and unimaginably powerful…
Beach Read Qualification: Pandora’s box was full of demons who now inhabit sexy, immortal warriors. Greek mythology like you really wanted it.
Kindred by Octavia Butler (Sci-Fi) — Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.
Beach Read Qualification: Time travel + history + Octavia Butler. That’s all you need.
Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older (Urban Fantasy) — Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death. One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead. But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…
Beach Read Qualification: Noir. The dead. The half-dead. Actual magical realism. Not gentrified urban fantasy. Read. It. Now.
Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins (Fiction) — On Bernadine Brown’s fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn’t cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose. The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The failing town had put itself up for sale on the Internet, so Bernadine bought it. Trent July is the mayor, and watching the town of his birth slide into debt and foreclosure is about the hardest thing he’s ever done. When the buyer comes to town, he’s impressed by her vision, strength, and the hope she wants to offer not only to the town and its few remaining residents, but to a handful of kids in desperate need of a second chance. Not everyone in town wants to get on board though; they don’t want change. But Bernadine and Trent, along with his first love, Lily Fontaine, are determined to preserve the town’s legacy while ushering in a new era with ties to its unique past and its promising future.
Beach Read Qualification: We all wish we were filthy rich and could buy our own town like Bernadine. This book also makes history interesting, too.
Beach Read Qualification: It’s totally okay to ugly cry when you can camouflage your tears with all that salty ocean water.
Beach Read Qualification: Hot af, time traveling highlanders and modern women. And this is just book one.
Stay With Me by Maureen Smith (Fantasy/Romance) — Four women…
One ancient legend…
An invitation to ecstasy…
Dallas reporter Sydney Russell is in desperate need of stress relief. When she and her best friends are invited to spend three weeks in the tropical paradise of St. Mirabelle, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Boasting white-sand beaches and lush rainforests, the beautiful Caribbean island throbs with an unmistakable sensuality…the kind that promises untold pleasures.
The moment Sydney arrives and locks gazes with a breathtakingly sexy stranger, she knows that this will be the vacation of a lifetime. Although Dr. Tristan McCade isn’t her usual type, she can’t resist the fierce arousal he awakens in her. When he offers her a ride to her luxury resort, she surrenders to their explosive mutual attraction. It’s the most reckless thing she’s ever done, but her steamy island adventure is just getting started.
As she falls deeper under Tristan’s seductive spell, not only does she lose her inhibitions…she soon finds herself losing her heart. But when her three weeks in paradise are up, will she be able to walk away from the one and only man she’s ever loved?
Beach Read Qualification: Mermaid legends. Tropical islands. Sex.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Contemporary) — American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face. Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become. Which is how she gets into trouble. Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing. Spanning nearly a decade, The Royal We is a richly imagined, emotionally compelling novel that examines, with warmth and wit, what truly happens after your prince has come.
Beach Read Qualification: Who doesn’t love the pauper to princess fantasy?
Bossypants by Tina Fey (Memoir) — Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
Beach Read Qualification: Tina Fey.