20 hot new releases everyone will be talking about this summer

20 hot new releases everyone will be talking about this summer

Readers, I told you this was my favorite time of the year for reading. Last week I shared the 2019 Summer Reading Guide with subscribers and on Monday I highlighted my Minimalist Summer Reading Guide. Today I have a different sort of list for you.

The Summer Reading Guide is my personal guide to the season’s best books: the ones I love, and think you will, too. I limit myself to recommending only books I’ve read cover to cover. And since it’s a summer reading guide, I try to not recommend too many books that aren’t coming out till later this season, because I want you to be able to get your hands on them! (This year I did stretch those bounds some, as you can read in the Letter from the Editor I included in the guide.)

Today’s list of hot summer books includes some titles I enjoyed but didn’t find right for the guide, some much-buzzed books I haven’t read yet, and some that come out too late in the season to include in the guide. I can’t vouch for these titles the same way I can for those in the guide. With these, I’m just a girl, standing in front of a bookshelf, hoping to find some fantastic summer books.

So grab your TBR, enjoy today’s list, and let me know in the comments section what YOU want to read this summer. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

20 hot books for summer:

If You Want to Make God Laugh

If You Want to Make God Laugh

Author:
A pregnant teen. A wealthy socialite. A disgraced former nun. The lives of three women intersect in unexpected ways in post-Apartheid South Africa after the discovery of an abandoned baby. Their beliefs about race, identity, and motherhood will be challenged as the mystery of the infant grows. Marais's debut Hum If You Don't Know the Words was a 2017 Summer Reading Guide selection and I've been looking forward to her new release. Publication date July 16. More info →
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Lady in the Lake: A Novel

Lady in the Lake: A Novel

Author:
Lippman combines mystery with classic noir in her latest, whose plot is based on a real 1960s unsolved mystery. Maddie knows what it is to have secrets. Freshly out of her twenty year marriage and going hard after a fresh start as a journalist, she throws herself into a story about a missing Black woman whose body has just been discovered. Maddie's going to find the truth about Cleo, whether the dead woman wants her to or not. But in 1966 Baltimore, secrets have a way of coming out for both Maddie and Cleo and the consequences could be devastating. Lippman isn't much for likable characters: take note when deciding whether to add this to your TBR. Publication date July 23. More info →
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Home for Erring and Outcast Girls: A Novel

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls: A Novel

Author:
Inspired by historical events, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls in Texas is a port in the storm for "fallen girls." The progressive home offers training and rehabilitation to young women going through hard times. A century later, reclusive university librarian Cate stumbles on to the cemetery, leading her to combing through the archives to learn about the residents. What Cate discovers will help her make peace with her own heartbreaking past. Dual timelines make this a moving and resonant story about the power of love and friendship and the things we must overcome to find ourselves again. Publication date July 23. More info →
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The Nickel Boys: A Novel

The Nickel Boys: A Novel

Colson Whitehead brings Jim Crow-era Florida to life through the real story of a reform school in Tallahassee that claimed to rehabilitate delinquent boys and instead abused and terrorized them for over one hundred years. Elwood Curtis is bound for a local black college when an innocent mistake lands him at The Nickel Academy instead. Elwood finds comfort in Dr. Martin Luther King's words and holds to his ideals, whereas his friend Turner believes the world is crooked so you have to scheme to survive. All this leads to a decision with harrowing repercussions for their respective fates. Publication date July 16. More info →
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The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter

Every family has secrets. Lena Donohue reinvented herself in New York City after she was betrayed by her sister on her wedding day. She rarely returns to her small Southern hometown, until her father's worsening Alzheimer's calls her back. As she and her siblings work together to preserve his failing memories, a secret from his past emerges. Lena will have to decide whether she has the strength to forgive in this absorbing story. Publication date June 4. More info →
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Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Author:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep." Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, this genderbent story pits neurosurgeon Dr. Trisha Raje against chef DJ Caine in a series of misunderstandings and unfair judgments. But Trisha is the only surgeon who can save DJ's sister’s life and these two will have to find a way to work together. Read this for Dev's take on Austen, the mouthwatering descriptions of food, and the way the story examines class and privilege in our modern world. More info →
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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Books have the power to change lives and nowhere is this more true than the story of 19-year-old Cussy Carter, an Appalachian woman who joins the Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and delivers books to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky. She's also the last living female with Blue People ancestry, all of whom had a skin condition called methemoglobinemia, which really did turn their skin blue. Inspired by real history and set in 1936, this is a story of hope and heartbreak and how fierce determination can challenge the grasp of poverty and oppression. More info →
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The Paris Diversion

The Paris Diversion

Author:
Pavone is back with the exciting second installment of the Kate Moore series. It's a day like any other in Paris or so everyone thinks until a massive terrorist attack begins. But Kate soon realizes things are not what they seem and somehow the truth involves her family. My husband enjoyed this espionage thriller, but I didn't persevere till the end.) More info →
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The Farm: A Novel

The Farm: A Novel

Author:
It sounds like a dream: go to the Farm and take advantage of every amenity, from the organic meals to the daily massages. Not only that, you'll be paid for the privilege. All you have to do once you're chosen to be a Host is become a surrogate. Immigrant and single mother Jane is thrilled when she's selected, until she realizes she no longer belongs to herself. Cut off from her daughter, she cannot leave the grounds and she has no freedom. And she dare not risk what will happen if she tries. This dystopian tale raises questions about motherhood, money, and the ethics of the concessions and trade-offs we sometimes make for those we love. I thought the premise and world-building were fantastic but found the execution unsatisfying. More info →
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The Friends We Keep

The Friends We Keep

Author:
I can't tell you how many MMD readers have said it's not really summer till they pick up the new Jane Green novel. Friends since college, Evvie, Maggie, and Topher swore nothing would keep them apart. Instead, they've drifted apart over the years until their 30th reunion brings them back together. No one is where they thought they'd be but now they have a second chance to reconnect with themselves and each other. Jane Green's latest reminds us our regrets and disappointments don't have to define us and that it's never too late for love and forgiveness. Publication date June 4. More info →
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City of Girls: A Novel

City of Girls: A Novel

Elizabeth Gilbert delivers a love story set in the 1940s New York City theater scene. Vivian Morris is shipped off to her Aunt Peg after she's kicked out of college. Her aunt's theater introduces her to a dazzling array of people and life experiences. But when Vivian is embroiled in a professional scandal, it will not only turn her new life upside down, it will put her on the path to the great love of her life. Exploring female sexuality and human desire, City Of Girls will have you questioning what it means to be "good." I thought this was SO MUCH FUN, and adored the narrative voice, which is quite different from Gilbert's previous works. Publication date June 4. More info →
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On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel

Author:
In this luminous debut about family and first love, a gay Vietnamese immigrant man writes his mother a letter in which he reveals their painful family history and gives her insights about his own life. His mother doesn't know how to read but the letter is a window for her to better understand him, if she so chooses. With evocative prose, Vuong reminds us of the power in telling your own story, especially when your voice was previously silenced. Publication date June 4. More info →
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Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Author:
Natalie Tan returns home to San Francisco after her estranged mother's death and finds a changed city and the unexpected inheritance of her grandmother's restaurant. When the neighborhood seer tells her she must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook for her struggling neighbors in order for the restaurant to succeed, she couldn't be less interested. After all, her neighbors didn't help her deal with her mother. Or did they? This lush debut shows how we can find community and support in unexpected places. And it's guaranteed to make you hungry! Publication date June 11. More info →
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Summer of ’69

Summer of ’69

Is it really summer if you don't read Elin Hilderbrand’s latest novel? This time she's back with her first historical fiction. The Levin children love spending their summers at their grandmother's home in downtown Nantucket but this summer finds them torn in other directions—Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Vietnam—with the exception of 13 year old Jessie, who's suddenly not so sure about getting stuck with her grandmother. Get a front seat view as the family experiences the changing times for their country and for themselves. I'm looking forward to reading this. Publication date June 18. More info →
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Big Sky (Jackson Brodie)

Big Sky (Jackson Brodie)

Author:
Fans of Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series will be delighted to learn about this release, nine years after the last book Started Early, Took My Dog. Brodie lives in a quiet seaside village now and works as a private investigator. When his current job leads him to discover a human trafficking network, he also learns just how far back the crimes go. Atkinson writes mysteries exploring the human condition with trademark wit balancing out the devastation. You'll fly through the pages until justice is served. I thoroughly enjoyed this, but thought it would be doing readers a disservice to recommend the fifth book in a series in the guide. Publication date June 25. More info →
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The Last House Guest

The Last House Guest

Author:
Avery is inseparable from her friend Sadie every summer in Littleport, Maine; a feat in a village where locals and visitors rarely go beyond acquaintance. But then Sadie is found dead and ruled a suicide and Avery can't help but feel the community blames her for the loss. The truth will out and Avery must do all she can to clear her name. Come for the story, stay for the unexpected twist. This psychological thriller is the very definition of a beach read! Publication date June 18. More info →
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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author:
Nina Hill is content with her bookstore job, trivia team, and cat. When the father she never knew suddenly dies, she learns she has a huge extended family, who all want to meet her—the horror! And if that wasn't enough to wrap her mind around, her trivia nemesis starts seeing her in a romantic light. None of this can be a good idea. Or can it? Looks like Nina's bookish life is about to get much more interesting. I found this to be fast, light, and fun. Publication date July 9. More info →
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The Two Lila Bennetts

The Two Lila Bennetts

If you've ever wondered about the road less taken, you'll love this inventive thriller. One of criminal defense attorney Lila Bennett's bad choices splits her life in two. In one version of her life, she's taken hostage. In the other, she avoids being kidnapped but still falls prey to someone who wants to destroy her happiness. Lila will have to figure out not only who's out to get her but how she can possibly survive. Publication date July 23. More info →
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The Chelsea Girls: A Novel

The Chelsea Girls: A Novel

Author:
The Chelsea Hotel is a long-time haven for creatives, making it the perfect setting for playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead to use to their advantage. But as they work on bringing their show to Broadway, they find a roadblock in the Red scare targeting the entertainment industry. Fiona Davis brings the glitz, glam, and danger of 1950s New York to life with a revealing look at the toll of McCarthyism and the complications it brings to Hazel and Maxine's dreams and friendship. Publication date July 30. More info →
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Things You Save in a Fire

Things You Save in a Fire

One of the only female firefighters in her firehouse, Cassie always knows how to deal with an emergency. At least, when it comes to others. When her estranged mother asks her to move back to Boston to help take care of her, Cassie thrown into the deep end. Her new firehouse doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms, with the exception of the handsome rookie. But Cassie never dates fellow firefighters and taking this risk could jeopardize her career. She's about to learn what courage really looks like and how to love against all odds. Publication date August 13. More info →
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What new summer titles are you most looking forward to?

48 comments | Comment

48 comments

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  1. Gina says:

    I just finished reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. It was incredible! Strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves a story you can’t put down!

    • Elizabeth says:

      This one keeps popping up on various recommended reading guides for me, so I think it definitely has to go on my summer reading list! It sounds like a fascinating story.

  2. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    Kate Atkinson and Laura Lippmann are already pre-ordered; now I have a new Coleson Whitehead to read? Oooh–my 80+ bookish neighbor and I will dig that one together. Ways to Make God Laugh also looks really good. I read an excerpt of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous–it is great writing, but not a book for me. Fiona Davis? Yes! (Drat! Summer Reading List is a virtual tower on my bedside table!)

  3. Susan Bingham says:

    I’m looking forward to Alexandra Fuller’s latest memoir, “Travel Light, Move Fast.” I think it comes out in August. I will never get tired of reading about Fuller’s amazing family!

  4. Elisabeth says:

    I am currently reading The Dearly Beloved and am wondering if you’ve read it. It may be the best ARC I’ve read in a long time- though since I’m not quite finished, I’ll save that thought. It feels so much like Stegner’s Crossing to Safety that I can’t help but think you’d love it.

  5. Jamie says:

    I’m looking forward to Friends we Keep by Jane Green and Elin Hilderbrand Summer of 69—sound like perfect beach books!

  6. Jo Yates says:

    The Heart of Barkness, the next installment of Spencer Quinn’s Chet & Bernie series, is due out July 2. I have it pre-ordered & will drop everything and read it as soon as it arrives!

  7. I already have the Fenton/Steinke novel on my TBR list and also the new Megan Miranda book – I loved ALL THE MISSING GIRLS and how she told the story in reverse.

    I just started reading an ARC of Clare Mackintosh’s AFTER THE END (comes out in June) – it’s amazing and heartbreaking, and I’m only about 25 pages in!

  8. Michelle says:

    What a great list! My summer is going to be packed full of great books. For anyone looking for The Book Woman from Troublesome Creek at your online library, try their Hoopla app. Mine didn’t have it on Overdrive/Libby but it is available on Hoopla. Sometimes I forget to check there since I prefer reading on my kindle over my iPad.

  9. Janene says:

    Wow! What a great list after that wonderful summer reading guide! My holds list at the library is absolutely nuts – in a very good way, of course!

    • Anne says:

      I’m happy to amplify voices that have not received as much support from readers or publishers, and sadly that includes female voices.

    • Rose says:

      I’m new to your blog and all of these books look amazing. I just wanted to thank you for including authors of color on your reading lists. Not everyone does and as a person of color I appreciate the different experiences these authors shed light on.

  10. Sheila DelCharco says:

    I’m curious why “Pride, Prejudice, and other Flavors” didn’t make the Janeite category of the SRG? Other than that, I’m interested in the Katherine Center book since I really enjoyed “Happiness for Beginners.” But with 15 titles from the SRG on my TBR, I’m not sure I’ll get to it anytime this summer!

    • Anne says:

      Because 30 titles was already plenty for the guide! (And I felt this list was a better place for it, based on the selection criteria I’ve laid out.)

  11. Colleen says:

    Looks great; I see a couple I have to read. One on my list, which is due out in August, is Mary Doris Russell’s book, The Women of the Copper Country. It will go to the top of my TBR stack.

  12. Meg says:

    Most looking forward to The Nickel Boys. But I had no idea Laura Lippman had a new book coming out, so definitely adding that to the list!

  13. Michelle says:

    I’m loving all your book suggestions—thank you! I’m currently reading The Paris Diversion and it’s not my favorite. It has moments that keep me reading, but it’s not as good as I’d hoped. I’ve invested too much time to quit now, but it’s rather disappointing.

  14. Great list. I absolutely loved Home for Erring an Outcast Girls as well as The Last House Guest. Appreciated receiving these ARCs. I also enjoyed Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (June 11). Looking forward to reading Beatriz Williams’ The Golden Hour (June 19) and All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio (August 13).

  15. Debi Morton says:

    I’m most looking forward to the new Louise Penny book, The Better Man, which comes out Aug. 24. My summer isn’t complete until I see what Inspector Gamache and the Three Pines crew are up to.

  16. I’m obsessed with Pride And Prejudice retellings at the moment, so I was OVERJOYED to see a bunch of them in your summer reading guide, and another one here! I’d not even heard about Pride And Prejudice And Other Flavors, so really appreciate the heads up 😉👍

  17. Valerie says:

    I am so excited about Home for Erring and Outcast Girls. Julie Kibler’s first book, Calling Me Home, is one of my all-time favorites and its been a long wait (6 years) for this sophomore novel.

  18. Stephanie says:

    You included one of them, Katherine Center’s new book but I am also excited about Katherine Reay’s new novel, The Printed Letter Bookshop. I have loved each of her books and I’m sure this one will be lovely too!

  19. Christine G. says:

    Hi Everyone!
    I just saw that you can pre-order the Kindle version of
    The Two Lila Bennetts for 3.99 on Amazon. I don’t know how long the sale will last though.

  20. Suzanne says:

    Just a small note on The Nickel Boys: the true-life reform school that it’s based on, the Dozier School for Boys, wasn’t in Tallahassee. It was in Marianna, Florida, which is about 1 1/2 hours to the west of Tallahassee, two counties over. If you’re interested in some companion reading, there have been several articles on Dozier, including Smithsonian Magazine and NPR. Sadly, the reality was worse than the fiction.

  21. Bonnie says:

    Having loved his Dark Matter, I was excited to see the new novel: Recursion by Blake Crouch come out. In a matter of three days, I am nearly finished with the well-done audio version and what a wild, mind-bending ride it is.

  22. Marcia says:

    I’m recommending “Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” for our book club. Didn’t know that medical condition existed or pack horse librarians during the ’30s.
    Also read “Home for Erring and Outcast Girls”. Think I am really into historical fiction!

    • Anne says:

      So fun! I just found out I get to be in conversation with Kim Michele here in Louisville next month. I’m looking forward to hearing about these book women in person!

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