Enjoy previous picks from

Summer Reading Guides

Over ELEVEN years of Summer Reading Guides
have produced some great reads we think you’ll like.

History Comes Alive

Novels that mess with history in the best possible way.

A Bridge Across the Ocean

A Bridge Across the Ocean

Author:
Series: History

Brette can see ghosts—she's had the sight since she was a child, same as her grandmother. When she's summoned by an uneasy ghost to put to rest unfinished business on the Queen Mary, she feels she has no choice but to comply. That summons plunges her into the fascinating and fraught history of the hundreds of war brides the ship carried across the ocean following the war—and one particular mystery that has never been solved. Reminiscent of Kate Morton, but with ghosts. A paperback original. Publication date: March 14.

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Wholly Unexpected Love Stories

Not at all what we were expecting

Waiting for Tom Hanks

Waiting for Tom Hanks

Annie Cassidy is a Nora Ephron-obsessed writer who dreams of both writing a rom com and finding a Tom Hanks of her own to love. Those dreams begin to come true when a Hollywood film crew invades her Columbus neighborhood to shoot a new romantic comedy featuring the handsome Drew Danforth … who Annie believes to be an overgrown manchild who cares more about on-set pranks than acting the part of a serious film star. But as Annie gets to know the people on set better, her life starts to take on an eerie resemblance to some of her favorite movies. This familiar story feels fresh and fun in Winfrey’s hands, and absolutely oozes charm. (In this closed-door romance, the sexy stuff is present, but happens offscreen.) Publication date June 11.

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Families Are Complicated

Tension drives a good plot forward, and these families have plenty of it

The Mother-in-Law

The Mother-in-Law

In the ten years she’s known her, Lucy has never felt her mother-in-law Diana approved of her—an especial disappointment because she’d hoped Diana would finally be the mother she’d never had. Yet she’s distraught when the police show up to announce that Diana has died by apparent suicide—and even more so when they reveal that the evidence points to possible murder. As we get to know the family members, we discover each of them had a motive to harm Diana, and stood to benefit from her death. The story is told alternately from Lucy and Diana’s points of view, so we get to understand what’s going on in their minds, and how badly they misunderstand each other through the years. But is it badly enough to lead to murder? A wholly satisfying domestic mystery, perfect for Liane Moriarty fans, that kept me guessing till the end. I devoured this on audio.

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Gripping Suspense
The Time in Between

The Time in Between

Fashion, romance, and ... espionage. If you loved Casablanca, try this novel set during the Spanish civil war. Sira Quiroga works her way from dressmaker's assistant to a premier couturier, putting her in contact with the wealthy and powerful. When the British government asks her to spy for them as World War II gears up, she agrees, stitching secret messages into the hems of dresses. Translated from the Spanish, and the dialogue is a little bumpy in places, but the story is worth it. Is it perfect? No way. But engrossing? Definitely.

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The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers

This title comes from the Victorian Era’s literal language of flowers, which they relied on to convey feelings rarely spoken of: ardor and friendship, jealousy and envy, infidelity and grief. We meet Victoria Jones on her eighteenth birthday: the day she is emancipated from foster care. Though fluent in the language of flowers, Victoria uses her flowers to communicate distrust and discord. But as she strikes out on her own, she comes to learn that the language of flowers is more complicated than she was taught to believe. This beautiful debut is easy-reading, yet has depth and feeling. Ultimately, it’s a redemption story. And who doesn't love a good redemption story?

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Glittering Images

Glittering Images

Some might try to categorize this as “religious fiction,” but that wouldn’t be quite right—unless your religious fiction typically comes with lots of romance, psychoanalysis, and sex. Glittering Images is the first book in the Starbridge series, set in the Church of England in the 1930s, and later, the 1960s. That may not sound like your idea of a page turner, but the characters are rich and engaging and the stories suck you in. Each of the series’ six books is self-contained, but is told from the perspective of a different character: taken together, they make a magnificent composite. Recommended by the likes of Anna Quindlen and Jacqueline Winspear. Now that's high praise.

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Twisty Mysteries

Engrossing novels that keep you guessing till the end

I Found You

I Found You

$13.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Jewell is a master at the kind of domestic suspense that has you reading "one more chapter" till 2 a.m. Her latest hooked me on page 3, when a man is found on the Yorkshire coast, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. Miles away in Surrey, a new wife is worried that her ever-punctual husband has been missing for hours. These events are intimately connected, but nothing will make sense until we figure out what really happened on one fateful night back in 1993. Publication date: April 11.

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Hit the Road
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One Plus One

One Plus One

A road-trip-from-hell as a romantic comedy? Yep. Moyes’s latest novel is a departure from her previous works, this time focusing on a single mom, her weird kids, and a geeky tech guy. Financially strapped Jess can’t afford to send her math whiz daughter to a decent school, but then a scholarship opportunity arises—in Scotland, and she can’t afford to drive there. Enter Geeky Ed, who owes her a favor, but mostly wants a chance to think about anything besides the insider trader scandal he’s embroiled in. The story is told from four different points of view, with different voices for each, which makes the audio version great. Quirky and endearing.

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Badass Women

Stories with gutsy leading ladies

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Cinder

Cinder

Each book in the YA fantasy series The Lunar Chronicles puts a new spin on an old fairy tale. In this first installment, Cinderella becomes a kickass mechanic, despised by her mother and stepsisters because she’s a cyborg. Though it’s clear where the story is headed, spotting the imaginative ways Meyer reinvents the old fairy tale keeps the reader turning the pages. Fresh, fun, surprising, and compulsively readable.

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Beachy Novels

Easy-reading stories perfect for the backyard, beach, or pool

The Royal We

The Royal We

This book will not make you feel smarter, wiser, or better read: it’s 100% Kate Middleton fan fiction, and it couldn’t be more fun. Fashion bloggers Cocks and Morgan reinvent the royal fairy tale: when American Bex Porter heads to Oxford to study abroad for a year, she first befriends—and then falls in love with—handsome Prince Nicholas of Wales. Sure, why not. The big enemies of their love are his family—and the tabloids. Especially the tabloids. Bex loves Nick, but does she love him enough to endure a lifetime of public scrutiny? Hugely entertaining and wickedly funny.

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"The SRG is my official kick off to summer-can’t wait!"

Thoughtful and Funny Memoirs
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A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, And The Things That Really Matter

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, And The Things That Really Matter

Deresiewicz had zero interest in reading Jane Austen—he thought it was chick-lit, fluffy and boring. But then as a young grad student he was forced to read Emma for class, and actually reading Austen shattered his preconceptions. A Jane Austen Education is part memoir, part literary criticism: Deresiewicz reflects on the path of his own life through each of Jane Austen’s novels in turn. It works.

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Flights of Fancy

Wildly imaginative novels

Garden Spells

Garden Spells

Sweet, sparkly, and thoroughly Southern. Like all the women in her family, Claire Waverley possesses a unique magic: she uses edible flowers to prepare foods that affect the eater in “curious ways.” Years ago, Claire’s sister fled town—and her Waverley gift—but she discovers her own sort of magic when she returns. What to say about this book? The romance verges on twee, the magic is impossible, but put them together and it sings. If you’re not down with supernatural food or a magical apple tree, skip this one—but you should know how many readers call this “a wonderful surprise.” Allen’s long-anticipated next novel, Other Birds, is due out August 30. Open-ish door. For fans of Emily Henry’s Book Lovers and Maria de los Santos’s Love Walked In.

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Get Smart

Dad books for everyone

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time

Can a woman truly have it all? 168 Hours author Vanderkam explores what true balance looks like, meticulously upending the dominant culture narrative that presume a woman’s professional success comes only at great personal cost. In this data-driven narrative, based on hundreds of time logs from successful professionals, she shows how women who “have it all” succeed at work, enjoy their families, and make time for themselves. An important (and readable) contribution to the ongoing discussion of work/life balance, and I’m not saying this just because a post on this blog inspired the study.

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Intense emotionally resonant

Stories that keep your pages turning and your heart pounding

The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages

The book begins with an accident. It was just a fender-bender, and it wasn't their fault, but after two years in Jordan as an Army wife, Cass has learned it doesn't matter—as Americans, they're always the guilty party. Newly arrived Margaret, whose husband is also stationed at the Embassy, chafes at these local "customs," and all the other cultural pressures she feels as an American living in a country that's becoming increasingly dangerous. But Margaret determines to go pay the "guilt tax" anyway, and asks Cass to babysit her child while she tends to her quick errand. When Margaret doesn't return, Cass becomes annoyed, then increasingly worried.... as it dawns on Cass that she never understood her friend at all. This close look at two women, two marriages, and two worlds is dark and broody in the best kind of way. Publication date: June 27.

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Southern Fiction

Tales with southern charms and wiles

The Invention Of Wings

The Invention Of Wings

Charleston, November 1803. Sarah Grimké turns 11. Her birthday gift? A slave named Hetty ("Handful"). This sweeping novel tells the story—in alternating voices—of real-life abolitionist Sarah Grimké and the wholly imagined slave Handful through several decades and up and down the East Coast during a tumultuous time in American history. A can’t miss for fans of The Help or Monk Kidd’s first hit, The Secret Life of Bees. An engaging mix of fact and fiction.

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Evensong

Evensong

What happens when we get the thing we desire most in life—only to find that it might destroy us? That's the question Margaret faces at the opening of Evensong. This tale, set in the mountains of North Carolina, faithfully examines marriage and vocation and calling through the eyes of Margaret, a thirtysomething Episcopal priest, who is forced to finally confront matters when three unexpected and—let's face it—unwelcome guests arrive in her sleepy North Carolina mountain town of High Balsam. This book, first published in 1999, has the fingerprints of the millennium all over it. If you love it, go back and read its predecessor, Father Melancholy's Daughter.

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Bel Canto

Bel Canto

This oddly structured pageturner from Nashvillian Ann Patchett fuses opera and a hostage crisis–and surprisingly, it works. Japanese businessman and opera buff Katsumi Hosokawa is celebrating his birthday in an unnamed South American country, in the company of diplomats, government officials, and businessman. Mr. Hosokawa knows he's being shaken down for a large donation, but he can't resist attending, because the South Americans have secured a performance by legendary soprano Roxanne Coss. The country's president is unable to attend (he's much too interested in what happens on his favorite soap opera on Tuesday nights), and his fixation spares him from being taken hostage when the militant group La Familia storms the gathering. Intriguing, highly readable, and loosely based on a true story.

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Foodie Memoirs

Stories of life in and around food services will leave your mouth watering

Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage

Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage

Wizenberg is one of the original food bloggers, and her brand of intimate, chatty conversation—mixed with reliable recipes—works well in long form. If you’re new to her work, you may enjoy starting with her first book A Homemade Life, in which, among other events, she meets and marries her husband Brandon after he contacts her through her blog. In this sequel-of-sorts, Brandon and a somewhat reluctant Molly have their first "baby": a pizza place named Delancey. In her familiar style, Wizenberg reflects on the messy and marvelous muddle that is her young marriage, and her younger restaurant, and shares recipes for the simple, delicious food that chefs like to eat at home.

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Meet Anne

Anne Bogel is an author, podcast and book club host, and the creator of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy. Anne approaches old, familiar ideas from new and fresh angles and she is well known by readers, authors, and publishers as a tastemaker. Her podcast What Should I Read Next? Is a popular show devoted to literary matchmaking, bibliotherapy, and all things books and reading. She also helps people learn to read better, together in Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. Anne lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband, four children, and a yellow lab named Daisy.