Your Summer Bucket List: The Best Books of Summer


Whether your summer bucket list includes a beach trip, a road trip with your best friends, or a plane to a vacation spot far away, there’s one thing that you can do en route to all the above – read a good book! If we’re being honest, books are the best part of any summer bucket list, and in case yours is running low, we’ve come up with a few to help you out! 

Portrait of A Mirror by A. Natasha Joukovsky

We’ve all encountered people who we despise but can’t help but want to impress. Wes and Diana are just that, what with his boyish good looks and blue-blooded sophistication and Diana equipped with her own charms. Vivien and Daniel are just the same, a picture-perfect couple with ties to the same circles as Diana and Wes. When the couple’s paths begin to cross upon Diana and Vivien starting their respective projects in New York and Philadelphia, their carefully crafted facades begin to fall as the summer heat engulfs them into desire and makes each of them question what – and who – they want.

Del Rio by Jane Rosenthal

Del Rio, California has gone from a thriving farm town to what the locals call “Cartel County”. The streets are lined with shabby mini-marts and dollar stores, and people drive through the town with their windows and doors locked up tight. For up-and-coming district attorney Callie McCall, her tattered hometown is an opportunity to launch her political career and make a difference. But when the body of a migrant teenager is found just outside Del Rio’s Citrus Cove, Callie faces a professional challenge that takes her deep into the violent west coast of Mexico and pits her against one of the town’s most powerful farming families – her own.

Tell Me the Truth by Matthew Farrell

In this follow-up to Don’t Ever Forget, Susan Adler and Liam Dwyer are at it again. In this harrowing mystery, 18-year-old Jenny Moore is excited for her college career up ahead – the people in her life on the other hand, are not. When Jenny turns up stabbed to death outside of her family home, Adler and Dwyer are called to the case right away. But immediately, the two notice that something is off. Between her parents’ conflicting stories, a jealous best friend and a constantly looming ex-lover, the only clear thing is the question that remains – who murdered Jenny Moore?

Madam by Phoebe Wynne

For 150 years, Caldonbrae Hall has stood atop the Scottish cliffs as a pillar of excellence among boarding schools for girls. When 26-year-old Classics teacher Rose Christie accepts a position there, she expects nothing less – until she learns she is the school’s first new hire in a decade, and a mystery surrounds the departure of the teacher she replaced – who’s ghost lingers in Caldonbrae’s halls. Rose’s search for the ominous teacher leads her into the darkest parts of Caldonbrae’s purpose, and her own part in perpetuating the haunting truth.

The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski

In 1917 Petrograd, Princess Svetlana Dalsky flees to Paris with her mother and sister to seek asylum for the Russian Revolution. But with the city of love buckling under the pressure of the Great War and the Bolsheviks intent on erasing every Russian aristocrat from memory, there is very little room to hide. On the other hand, Wynn MacCallan, the second son of a Scottish duke, is an aspiring surgeon. He finds himself utilizing his talents in Parisian hospitals – where he treats Svetlana for a minor injury. Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage with Wynn, who vows to protect her and her family in hopes of their union growing into more than a convenience. But when Paris becomes just as dangerous as Petrograd, the two begin to wonder if they will ever be safe again – both from violence and their budding feelings for one another.

Attachments by Jeff Arch

Stewart, Sandy, and Laura were best friends once upon a time. But it’s been nearly 20 years since they graduated from their Pennsylvania boarding school, and none of them have seen each other since. That is, until their formal dean and pseudo-father Henry Griffin uses his final words on his deathbed to request their presence. With no idea why they’ve been summoned following dean Griffin’s passing, the trio returns to school only for the secrets they’ve kept from one another to unravel, not to mention Griffin’s son, Chip, who may know much more than he can handle.

The Lockhart Women by Mary Camarillo

When Brenda Lockhart’s husband makes the decision to leave their family for a younger and less attractive version of Brenda, the lives of the Lockhart women are changed forever. Brenda, who has never worked a day of her life outside of their home, is forced to find a job in hopes of keeping her family afloat – all the while obsessed with the continued mystery of the heavily broadcasted O.J. Simpson case. Her oldest daughter Peggy pivots away from the chance at a four-year university when her father offers to foot the bill for community college while she works full time at the post office. And the youngest – Allison – is just grateful that she’s caught the attention of California’s “golden boy”. But when Peggy notices unexplained bruising on Allison’s arm, the three women begin to realize just how badly their family has been torn apart, and attempt to stitch themselves back together amid the increasingly evident struggles against racism and domestic violence in 1994 Los Angeles.

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter

As a talented photographer, Delta Dawn’s favorite subjects are New York City’s elite, snapping photos of their precious children’s birthday parties and creating memories that these much-too-stiff parents yearn for on their busy schedules. But when Delta is hired for Natalie’s eleventh birthday party, she finds herself longing to push herself beyond her camera lens and into their shoes. Once she has befriended Natalie’s mother and begun to babysit instead of photograph, she finds herself noticing that she can manipulate herself into much more than their expensive wine.

Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen

As Huong arrives in New Orleans from Vietnam with her two young sons Tuan and Binh, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about the husband that she left behind. Over time, her sons begin to lose touch with their culture and their mother, Binh, now “Ben”, slips into the American mold easily, embracing his new name and even coming to terms with his budding sexuality. Tuan on the other hand, gets involved with a Vietnamese gang as he longs for a sense of community and heritage. Their family is falling apart at the seams – until disaster strikes the city they call home. Sometimes, it takes the worst possible situation for a family to realize how much they need each other.

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

When Marian and Jamie graves are rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, the legacy that followed was a tremendous one. As the girls are raised in Missoula, Montana by their uncle, they come across two pilots passing through the area, which triggers Marian’s lifelong love affair with flight. Fast-forward 100 years, and Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film about her disappearance in Antarctica. Fed up and disgusted by the Hollywood culture that has mainstreamed her, Hadley sinks deep into Marian’s identity and finds that the two have much more in common than she would have thought – their perseverance. An emotionally explosive piece of work, Maggie Shipstead has crafted the perfect summer read.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

As Grace Harrington gears up to be a reporter for Hearst in 1896, the last thing she expects as her first big story is one out of Cuba. Evangelina Cisneros is imprisoned in Havana’s women’s jail. When Hearst slaps her face on their front page and names her “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba”, Evangelina becomes r a symbol for American intervention in the volatile environment. When Grace and Hearst’s staff attempt to save Evangelina with the help of Marina Perez, a courier working for Cuban revolutionaries, the three must work together on the path to freedom as the U.S. and Spain draw closer to war. 

Island Queen by Vanessa Riley

Doll bought the freedom of her sister, mother, and herself from her Irish planter father after being born into slavery in the Caribbean. Doll rises above the stereotypes of slavery and racism to build a legacy for herself and her family through the leveraging of the men who compete for her attention on a consistent basis – from a shipping merchant to a rogue naval captain who will later be named King William IV of England. Vanessa Riley crafts the perfect adventure of a woman who chose to hold her own ground and stand up for herself amid striking adversity.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi 

When henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her apprentice, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in his home city, Malik comes to find that not much has changed. Power, money, and class dynamics remain at the heart of the community, and the city’s secrets remain deep in its foundation. But when the city’s new cinema balcony burns down on opening night and threatens to untangle a slew of secrets, Malik must work to uncover the dark truth. Having been raised a street kid serves him well, as he learned how to hold his own – and as he untangles the web of lies before him, it comes in more handy than ever.

The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam 

When Asha Ray is reunited with her high school crush Cyrus Jones, her already-genius coder brain is put to the test. As Cyrus inspires Asha to write a new algorithm, she finds herself dropping out of her PhD program and exchanging vows with Cyrus before they can blink. The two move on to work at an exclusive, sensationalized tech incubator called Utopia. But as users begin to flood the platform and demand increases, Asha finds her marriage – and her expertise – falling to the backburner. Now, she must decide if her marriage can pass this test, and whether or not her brainpower can withstand that of the man that everyone is calling the new Messiah.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

In a cultural take on The Great Gatsby, Jordan Baker grows up in the epitome of wealth in the Jazz Age – with a killer golf handicap, invitations to glamorous parties and an obscene amount of wealth. The only catch: She’s a Vietnamese, adopted, Asian queer girl who has everything, except the open doors offered to her peers. But the world is full of wonders and mysteries and with the right idea, Jordan can do anything she sets her mind to. All she has to do is learn how.

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