Books that celebrate the bonds of sisters for National Sisters Day

Growing up, I always wanted a sister (apologies to my brother), because I imagined that basically meant you had a best friend who lived in the same house as you. Now that I’ve grown up a little, I understand that sisterly bonds take work, and are more complicated than I thought as a child, which makes them even more important! These books celebrate the relationships between sisters, in all their messy, complex glory!

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott: A classic for a reason! Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

Yolk, by Mary H. K. Choi: A funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives–even if it means swapping identities.
Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike. June’s three years older, a classic first-born, know-it-all narc with a problematic finance job and an equally soulless apartment (according to Jayne). Jayne is an emotionally stunted, self-obsessed basket case who lives in squalor, has egregious taste in men, and needs to get to class and stop wasting Mom and Dad’s money (if you ask June). Once thick as thieves, these sisters who moved from Seoul to San Antonio to New York together now don’t want anything to do with each other. That is, until June gets cancer. And Jayne becomes the only one who can help her.

In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez: It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leónidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas — the Butterflies. In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from secret crushes to gunrunning, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Korede’s sister Ayoola is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola’s knife. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood (bleach, bleach, and more bleach), the best way to move a body (wrap it in sheets like a mummy), and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen: Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love – and its threatened loss – the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

Stalking Shadows, by Cyla Panin: Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. Marie laces some of the perfume delicately — not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast. Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama.

Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn: At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman–fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves–must confront long-hidden scars.

In Her Shoes, by Jennifer Weiner: Meet Rose Feller, a thirty-year-old high-powered attorney with a secret passion for romance novels. She has an exercise regime she’s going to start next week, and she dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her she’s beautiful. She also dreams of getting her fantastically screwed-up, semi-employed little sister to straighten up and fly right. Meet Rose’s sister, Maggie. Twenty-eight years old and drop-dead gorgeous. Although her big-screen stardom hasn’t progressed past her left hip’s appearance in a Will Smith video, Maggie dreams of fame and fortune — and of getting her big sister on a skin-care regimen. These two women, who claim to have nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, DNA, and the same size feet, are about to learn that they’re more alike than they’d ever imagined.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find, by Joan He: Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her. In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return. Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones: Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families–the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode.

The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo: Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, blithely ignorant of all that awaits them. By 2016, they have four radically different daughters, each in a state of unrest. Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator turned stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. With the unexpected arrival of young Jonah Bendt — a child placed for adoption by one of the daughters fifteen years before — the Sorensons will be forced to reckon with the rich and varied tapestry of their past.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray: The Butler family has had their share of trials — as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest — but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives. Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters.

Atonement, by Ian McEwan: On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’ s incomplete grasp of adult motives — together with her precocious literary gifts — brings about a crime that will change all their lives.

Boozy Books 2021: Easy DIY Summer Cocktails Paired with 12 New Books

Boozy Books List 2021 

Summer is here, and we’ve created the perfect pairings of this season’s hottest summer reads with cool, delicious summer cocktails! Relax and enjoy with our Boozy Books List for Summer 2021, and share pics of your favorite pairings with us via Instagram and Twitter!

The Suffragette + The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon

There’s nothing accidental about how much you’ll enjoy this gorgeous novel or this classic cocktail that, according to the 1909 San Francisco Call, “makes a man willing to listen to the suffragettes’ proposition.” In fact, “two convince him that it has some merit. Three make him a missionary, willing to spread the gospel abroad, and four make him go home and wash the dishes.”

What you’ll need: Sloe gin, vermouth, orange bitters, lemon peelGet the recipe, or try this version with elderflower 

About the book: It’s 1912, and protagonist Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activists. 

As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington. 

The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.

Release date: June 1, 2021, Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Chocolate Martini + Read My Lips by Kelle Z. Riley

Indulge in this glass of chocolatey goodness as you enjoy this delicious Cinderella romance about a billionaire chocolatier who takes a chance on love when least expected. 

What you’ll need: Heavy cream, semi sweet chocolate, vodka, Baileys irish cream, grated chocolate – Get the recipe

About the Book: Temptation always leads to trouble…

Claire Lennox thought she could have it all—until trusting the wrong man destroyed her career, her reputation, and her heart. Now, as director of a literacy foundation, she has new ambitions. But when a sexy client tempts her to love again, does she dare? Billionaire chocolatier Clayton McClaine risks everything—even his heart—when he goes incognito, hoping to overcome the dyslexia that haunts him and threatens to destroy his carefully crafted image. They’re perfect for each other, except for one little thing—the billion-dollar deception that lies between them.

Release Date: September 7, 2021, Entangled

Magic Martini + Dutybound by Mark A. Alvarez

This epic fantasy novel is absolutely magical–and so is this vivid color-changing cocktail that will make you feel as if you have powers of your own. 

What you’ll need: Gin, ginger liqueur, b’Lure butterfly pea extract, fresh-squeezed lemon juice  – Get the recipe

About the Book: When young Lucia Sannon, High Maiden of Moz, receives a gift from her long lost father, her whole world changes. Lucia and the other heirs of nobility are forced to face the Sins of their forefathers and bring their world from the brink of Darkness. With the help of the Light Wings and its power, Lucia must heed the call to assemble the Light’s Virtues and lead them into battle against the very Sins that seek to destroy their world. But finding the four Virtues will not be easy, for much of the knowledge is lost and the understanding of one’s own morality is the only key to unlocking the power each of them holds within.

A story of faith and morality, Dutybound: Light Wings Volume 1 will lead you through a journey of self-discovery as our heroes face conflict from outside and within themselves. Duty, desire, envy, hope, hate, love, pride, and temperance all are challenged within this series in an epic tale that is sure to have you pondering your own true nature.

Release Date: June 22, 2021, Light Wings Promotions LLC

Cocktail Glitter + Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad

Turn any drink as silvery and magical looking as liquid mercury, and enjoy your beverage while you become enthralled by this gripping YA thriller about a group of high school girls who form a secret society after discovering they can communicate with boys from the past, but the situation devolves into a crucible of female desire, jealousy, and the shifting lines between friendship and rivalry. 

What you’ll need: Your favorite cocktail + this silver cocktail glitter

About the Book: After her life is upended by divorce and a cross-country move, 16-year-old Saskia Brown feels like an outsider at her new school—not only is she a transplant, but she’s also biracial in a population of mostly white students. One day while visiting her only friend at her part-time library job, Saskia encounters a vial of liquid mercury, then touches an old daguerreotype—the precursor of the modern-day photograph—and makes a startling discovery. She is somehow able to visit the man in the portrait: Robert Cornelius, a brilliant young inventor from the nineteenth century. The hitch: she can see him only in her dreams. Saskia shares her revelation with some classmates, hoping to find connection and friendship among strangers. Under her guidance, the other girls steal portraits of young men from a local college’s daguerreotype collection and try the dangerous experiment for themselves. Soon, they each form a bond with their own “Mercury Boy,” from an injured Union soldier to a charming pickpocket in New York City. At night, the girls visit the boys in their dreams. During the day, they hold clandestine meetings of their new secret society. At first, the Mercury Boys Club is a thrilling diversion from their troubled everyday lives, but it’s not long before jealousy, violence and secrets threaten everything the girls hold dear.

Release Date: August 3, 2021, Soho Teen

Bay Breeze Cocktail + A Lot Like Love by Jennifer Snow

Feel the ocean breeze with this sweet cocktail and this seaside romance that will warm your heart like the summer sun. 

What you’ll need: Vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice – Get the recipe

About the Book: They have different ideas about the fate of an old inn…until it brings them together. When Sarah Lewis inherits a run-down B&B from her late grandmother in coastal Blue Moon Bay, the logical thing to do is sell it and focus on her life in L.A. But when she learns that interested buyers will only tear it down in its current state, she feels a sense of obligation to her grandmother to get it back to the landmark tourist destination it once was…even if that means hiring the best contractor for the job, who happens to be her old high school crush. 

Wes Sharrun’s life has continued to unravel since the death of his wife three years before. Now with a struggling construction company and a nine-year-old daughter, he sees the B&B as an opportunity to get back on his feet. Unfortunately, despite trying to keep his distance, his daughter has taken a liking to Sarah, and his own feelings are tough to deny. As they spend more time together painting, exploring a forgotten treasure trove of wine in a basement cellar, and arguing over balcony placement, the more the spark between them ignites. But will saving the B&B be enough to convince them both to take a second chance at love?

Release Date: June 29, 2021, Entangled

The Passport + Em’s Awful Good Fortune by Marcie Maxfield

Grab your passport — aka, this cocktail — and settle in for an armchair adventure around the world with this compelling, sardonic, and unusual memoir of (reluctant) expat life. 

What you’ll need: Ginger liqueur, vodka, ice – Get the recipe

About the Book: Part dysfunctional marriage, part global romp, this is not your typical expat story. Em’s Awful Good Fortune is a deeply personal, marriage coming-apart-at-the-seams look at the struggle between a woman’s desire for partnership and her need for identity. Fueled by twin demons, love and rage, Em stomps her way around the world coming to terms with the fantasy of having it all: husband, kids, and a career. Em is not just married; it’s more like being handcuffed to her husband’s international career. Her life reads like a fantasy, bouncing between Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul. But–the good fortune is all her husband’s: Em is just the tagalong wife. Maxfield’s compelling, non-linear story explores the expatriate lifestyle through the lens of a crumbling marriage, while at the same time tracing the lasting impact of sexual assault and PTSD. Em’s journey exposes the dark corners of this seemingly privileged world: loneliness, depression, infidelity, and loss of career. An empowering, uncomfortably funny narrative about compromise that every woman should read. As Em begins to value her needs before those of her husband’s career, she stops letting herself be dragged along for the ride–and ultimately emerges triumphant.

Release Date: August 3, 2021, She Writes Press

Boilermaker + The Sightless City by Noah Lemelson

This classic, smoky drink is the kind of hardboiled beverage we need for a steampunk-esque mystery about a veteran PI who gets embroiled in a plot that puts him in the crosshairs of a mysterious force. 

What you’ll need: Whiskey, beer – Get the recipe

About the Book: Kidnapping. Enslavement. Murder. Those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actions some will take to protect their interests in æther-oil, the coveted substance that fuels the city of Huile. As both veteran and private investigator, Marcel Talwar knows this firsthand, and he likes to think he’d never participate in such things. However, that naïve idea comes to a crashing end when he takes on a new case that quickly shatters his worldview. A trail of evidence points to someone in Marcel’s inner circle who’s using him as a pawn to conduct grisly experiments-experiments that could lead to genocide.

Now, Marcel is more determined than ever to discover who’s pulling the strings to this sinister plot. But the further he gets, the larger the target on his back becomes, and it’s not long before Marcel has to ask himself how much and how many he’s willing to sacrifice to get to the truth.

Release Date: July 20, 2021, Tiny Fox Press LLC

Justice Served + Leading for Justice by Rita Sever

Justice never tasted so good. Sit back, sip, and relax while perusing this essential guide–and while you’re at it, check out this list of cocktail bars that donate to good causes to see if there’s a location near you!

What you’ll need: Ginger beer, Fernet, orange wedge, orange rind – Get the recipe

About the Book: Leading in organizations working for justice is not the same as leading anywhere else. Staff expect to be treated as partners and demand internal practices that center equity. Justice leaders must meet these expectations, as well as recognize and address the ways that individuals and organizations inadvertently replicate oppression. Created specifically for social justice leaders, Leading for Justice addresses specific concerns and issues that beset organizations working for social justice and offers practices and models that center justice and equity. Topics include: the role of a supervisor in a social justice organization, the importance of self-awareness, issues of power and privilege, human resources as a justice partner, misses and messes, and clear guidelines for holding people accountable in a manner that is respectful and effective. Written in a friendly, accessible, and supportive tone, and offering discussion questions at the end of each short section to make the book user-friendly for both individuals and teams, Leading for Justice is a book for leaders who want to walk the talk of supporting social justice, in their organizations and in the world.

Release Date: August 3, 2021, She Writes Press

Icy Blue Curacao + Cold Consequences by David Rohlfing

Revenge is best served cold (and so is this cocktail) as we’re caught in the chilling grip of a new Sasha Frank detective mystery and prequel to his hit debut, Deliberate Duplicity. 

What you’ll need: Ice cubes, Blue Curacao, Smirnoff Ice, peppermint sticks  – Get the recipe

About the book: Ashley Cummins, the granddaughter of a powerful judge, is unexpectedly shot while buying drugs from her dealer late one night on a city street. As detective Sasha Frank investigates her murder, all of his possible suspects start showing up dead or missing. Who is behind the killings? As pressure builds on Sasha to solve the case, he uncovers new information that begins to unravel a complicated web of evidence–will Sasha be able to prove who the killer is and take down the person responsible for the murders? Cold Consequences is the exciting second book in David Rohlfing’s Detective Sasha Frank Mystery Series.

It serves as a prequel to Rohlfing’s Deliberate Duplicity. Fans of the mystery-thriller genre will love this gripping new tale. Full of exciting twists and turns, readers won’t be able to put the book down as Sasha pursues every lead to find the killer.

Release date: July 27, 2021, River Grove Books

Fancy Whisky Cocktail + Hitched to the Gunslinger by Michelle McLean

Both the drink and this steamy Western romance are rugged, sweet, and totally sexy.

What you’ll need: Blended whiskey, triple sec, superfine sugar, bitters – Get the recipe

About the Book: Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is the fastest gun west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, he’s ready to hang up his hat. Sure, being notorious has its perks. But the nomadic lifestyle–and people always tryin’ to kill you–gets old real fast. 

Now he just wants to find a place to retire so he can spend his days the way the good Lord intended. Staring at the sunset. And napping. 

When his stubborn horse drags him into a hole-in-the-wall town called Desolation, something about the place calls to Gray, and he figures he might actually have a shot at a sleepy retirement. 

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half. 

Soon he finds himself embroiled in a town vendetta and married to a woman named Mercy. Who, judging by her aggravating personality, doesn’t know the meaning of her own name. In fact, she’s downright impossible. 

But dang it if his wife isn’t irresistible. If only she’d stop trying to steal his guns to go after the bad guys herself. 

There goes his peace and quiet…

Release Date: August 24, 2021, Entangled

Seven Deadly Sins Sangria + Siege of the Seven Sins by Emily Colin 

This dark and sinfully delicious sangria is sure to be a conversation starter, just like this gripping YA fantasy series about a dystopian government that punishes people based on the seven deadly sins–but love is the most forbidden of all.  

What you’ll need: Apples, oranges, pears, red wine, cinnamon sticks, brandy, Sparkling Ice Orange MangoGet the recipe

About the Book: What do you do when the victory you’ve been fighting for is doomed to break your heart? Rogue bellators Eva Marteinn and Ari Westergaard have escaped the restrictive world of the Commonwealth, and they would like nothing more than to leave it behind forever. But Eva is the formidable weapon the Commonwealth wants-and they’ll stop at nothing to get her back. For years, Ari has seen Eva as his temptation and his secret, his virtue and his sin.

Now that they’re finally free, he wants what he’s been craving-to start a new life…with her. But Eva is keeping a devastating secret of her own: the very victory against the Commonwealth the two of them have been fighting for is doomed to break their hearts. She faces an impossible decision-to be the face of the revolution she’s dedicated her life to and abandon the boy she loves…or to sacrifice everything she’s fought for to stand by his side.

Release Date: August 3, 2021, Blue Crow Publishing

The Phoenix Cocktail + Creatrix Rising by Stephanie Raffelock

This glorious cocktail undergoes a colorful transformation and (literally) burns with a vibrant flame, making it the perfect pairing for this wonderful book on “unlocking the power of midlife women.”

What you’ll need: Gin, rum, b’Lure butterfly pea extract, lemon and elderflower syrup, cinnamon, ice – Get the recipe

About the Book: Ever since Eve was banned from the garden, women have endured the oftentimes painful and inaccurate definitions foisted upon them by the patriarchy. Maiden, mother, and crone, representing the three stages assigned to a woman’s life cycle, have been the limiting categories of both ancient and modern (neo-pagan) mythology. And one label in particular rankles: crone. The word conjures a wizened hag–useless for the most part, marginalized by appearance and ability. None of us has ever truly fit the old-crone image, and for today’s midlife women, a new archetype is being birthed: the creatrix. In Creatrix Rising, Stephanie Raffelock lays out–through personal stories and essays–the highlights of the past fifty years, in which women have gone from a quiet strength to a resounding voice. She invites us along on her own transformational journey by providing probing questions for reflection so that we can flesh out and bring to life this new archetype within ourselves. If what the Dalai Lama has predicted–that women will save the world–proves true, then the creatrix will for certain be out front, leading the pack.

Release Date: August 24, 2021, She Writes Press

What to read when you’re still thinking about Mare of Easttown

Books you’ll love if you’re still not over Mare of Easttown

I don’t know about you, but I became obsessed with Mare of Easttown and came up with all sorts of theories of how it would end. Now that it’s over and all has been revealed, my hunger for thrillers and crime are at an all time high. So if you are looking for something to fill the void, check out some of these books!

1. The Trespasser by Tana French: French is a master of the genre and you’ll root for the tough female detective Antionette (very Mare-like) as she works to solve the murder of a pretty blonde who everyone assumes was killed by her lover.

2. The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup: This thriller is full of twists and turns as a kidnapping and a series of gruesome murders are found to be linked through handmade dolls made of chestnuts. The author is the creator of the hit show The Killing, and his ability to create suspense will leave you on the edge of your seat. I literally couldn’t put it down.

3. The Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves: These books follow detective Vera Stanhope as she works to solve various crimes in the seaside town she grew up in. All of these books are perfect for crime lovers wanting to connect with a character over time. The backstory of Detective Stanhope and her connection to the town are revealed slowly, much like the slow-burn of information about Mare in the show.

4. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: If you are looking for family drama mixed with murder, this book is right for you. Complicated relationships and past traumas come to a head in this book that was also turned into a television miniseries.

5. The Alienist by Caleb Carr: This is a classic crime novel all about young people being murdered and a group of people using profiling to come up with a suspect for the first time successfully. There are a couple twists in this novel that feel very Mare of Eastown that you will enjoy.

6. The Whisper Man by Alex North: Much like Mare of Easttown this book takes place in a small town, Featherbank, where past murders by The Whisper Man are brought back into the light as a young boy vanishes. The two detectives, Amanda Beck and Pete Willis, have to confront the past in order to save the boy before it is too late.

7. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: This book also looks at the question: “What would you do to protect the ones closest to you?” as a sister grapples with the knowledge of her sister’s murderous habit.

8. And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall: This story follows Grayson Skyes as she relentlessly looks for a woman who has disappeared, Isabel Lincoln. The more she searches, the more she uncovers about Isabel’s past secrets. A cat-and-mouse game between two smart women.

9. If You Tell by Gregg Olsen: This one can be hard to read because it is the true story of three sisters living in a house with an abusive and murderous mother. Like Easttown, it evaluates the lengths people go to in order to protect themselves and their family. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

10. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: A much more straightforward mystery novel with a female protagonist who is finds herself in prison for a murder of a child she swears she didn’t commit. The twist at the end is what makes it a perfect fit for this list.

Red white and blue book covers to read for Flag Day

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffmann

In Other People’s Children, three mothers make excruciating choices to protect their families and their dreams—choices that put them at decided odds against one another. You will root for each one of them and wonder just how far you’d go in the same situation. This riveting debut is a thoughtful exploration of love and family, and a heart-pounding page-turner you’ll find impossible to put down. 

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

In the vein of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new novel resonates in our times and is perfect for readers of Brit Bennett, Min Jin Lee, and Yaa Gyasi. 

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton

An electrifying novel about the meteoric rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise. Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life. But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

A disturbing, toxic and compelling novel that explores the power of fear and desire, jealousy and betrayal, love and hate, BLOOD ORANGE introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a year. Despite living next door to each other, they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her beloved sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did. On the day of Cora’s twelfth birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note. She has decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever—and stop him.

Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins

The author of the “suspenseful, atmospheric, and completely riveting” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) debut The Winter Sister returns with a darkly thrilling novel about a woman who comes to believe that she has a connection to a decades old kidnapping and now that the victim has gone missing again, begins a frantic search to learn what happened in the past.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend by Ben Philippe

In the biting, hilarious vein of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life—comes Ben Philippe’s candid memoir-in-essays, chronicling a lifetime of being the Black friend (see also: foreign kid, boyfriend, coworker, student, teacher, roommate, enemy) in predominantly white spaces.

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolteacher and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist–the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

Meet Majella O’Neill, a heroine like no other, in this captivating Irish debut that has been called Milkman meets Derry Girls.

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

The Break Up Book Club by Wendy Wax

Breakups, like book clubs, come in many shapes and sizes and can take us on unexpected journeys as four women discover in this funny and heartwarming exploration of friendship from the USA Today bestselling author of Ten Beach Road and My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding.

A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams

When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give. 

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

Like satellites trapped in orbit around each other, Thora and Santi are destined to meet again: as a teacher and prodigy student; a caretaker and dying patient; a cynic and a believer. In numerous lives they become friends, colleagues, lovers, and enemies. But as blurred memories and strange patterns compound, Thora and Santi come to a shocking revelation—they must discover the truth of their mysterious attachment before their many lives come to one, final end. 

Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas

Hilariously dark, Oligarchy is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the digital age. Scarlett Thomas captures the lives of privileged teenage girls seeking to be loved and accepted in all their triviality and magnitude. With the help of her diet-obsessed classmates, Tash must try to stay alive―and sane―while she uncovers what’s really going on.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

In Act Your Age, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

For readers of Valeria Luiselli and Edwidge Danticat, an urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured—and are enduring right now.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, a novel that imagines a deeply compelling what-might-have-been: What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton?

Big Books to Read on the Longest Day of the Year

Summertime is the best time to read. With the weather finally getting nicer, we’re called to our back porches, parks, and beaches to enjoy the summer heat. But us readers know that these hours spent outdoors are a perfect time to read our books. What better way to spend the longest day of the year with a super long book? If you’re looking for a big book, look no further. These eight novels might seem too long to tackle, but they’ll also keep you intrigued the entire time.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – 827 pages long

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – 1007 pages long

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara – 720 pages long

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – 1006 pages long

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke’s magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann – 1020 pages long

Latticing one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of “happy couples”, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans?

A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder—and a revolution in the novel.

It’s also very, very funny.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – 848 pages long

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas – 803 pages long

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – 925 pages long

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Author: Simone Jung

Seven LGBTQIA+ Booktokers to follow for Pride Month, and books they recommend


June is a time to be proud of who you were born to be, and to increase the visibility of LGBTQIA+ people in the world! We reached out to Booktokers to recommend books that represent the LGBTQIA+ community. Get your TBR lists out, these are perfect to read in honor of Pride month, and beyond!

Read By Fin: “My recommendation is Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta! It is a young adult sci-fi retelling of Arthurian legend! I loved the unique gender-bent world with casual LGBTQ+ representation! Filled with non-binary, lesbian, and queer characters, Once & Future tackles topics of climate change and what it means to be family. It is one of my favorite books that had me laughing out loud from the hilarious banter! With Black characters, queer characters, and more, Once & Future sets the bar for the inclusion and diversity we need to see in books today.”

Kevin T Norman: “My most recent favorite 5 star gay read was Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I even made this unique storytime TikTok convincing others to read it!”

Cityveinlights: “I would recommend More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I recommend this because it was one of, if not the first, book I read that had a gay main character. Aaron’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance is one that speaks true to many people. It holds a special place in my heart, and is one I try to read every year. The writing is gorgeous and the different representations, specifically the Latinx representation, is enough to grab anyone’s attention.”

Shania Chante1215: “I recommend A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth. It is a fantasy book consisting of furies, fae and faeries. It is about 4 queer teens: Vehan (a fae prince) who is bisexual, Aurelian (a guardian of the prince) who is gay, Arlo (half fae and half human outcast) who is queer, Nausicaä (a fury set on revenge) who is a lesbian. Who have to come together to solve a series of murders that risks the exposure of the faerie world to humans. This books includes a Titan who identifies as non-binary and uses gender neutral terms (they/them), and consists gender-neutral pronouns such as “Xe/Xis/xemself”. Vehan has strong feelings for his guardian (Aurelian), which are mutual, but Aurelian tries his hardest to keep his feelings a secret (from Vehan’s mother as well as Vehan) to protect Vehan from the control of his mother. Nausicaä has sworn off emotions after the death of her sister, but eventually learns to accept her emotions and be more open, whilst unexpectedly falling in love with the Arlo (the only one who is not afraid of Nausicaä‘s bad reputation).

The book is set in the 21st century, where the fae world co-exists with the human world (in secret), which allows the fae kind to take part in protests for LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights etc.

There is a wide variety of LGBTQ+ representation within the book, which was greatly accepted within the society in the book. Which I loved because the main focus was not on the characters sexuality or sexual relationships being seen as taboo, but instead about the characters dealing with their feelings for each other (whilst trying to stop a serial killer). The story line of this book was so engaging that I couldn’t put the book down!!! I would definitely recommend this book, and I hope to see a sequel written (due to the cliffhanger).This books also covers issues of mental health such as depression, suicide and suicidal ideation.”

The Sequel Nobody Wanted: “My recommendations would definitely be The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. It’s a gorgeous graphic novel that follows a gay boy named Tién whose struggling to find the words to come out to his parents, because while they speak Vietnamese and struggle with English, he speaks English and struggles with Vietnamese. They end up communicating and spending time through fairy tales. It’s a story about how stories evolve to be what people need them to be. A language, a way to show acceptance or a way to learn things. It’s so brilliantly written, the art is gorgeous, and it quickly became one of my favourite books of all time after I finished it.”

The Laynie Rose: “My rec is gonna be Malice by Heather Walter! Reading this book felt like queering the narrative of my life and my childhood favorite fairytale: Sleeping Beauty. This sapphic retelling of the classic tale is magical and dark, perfect for those who love a good villain origin story. If you like seeing fairytales twisted on their head, queer retellings, and rooting for the villain, this book is for you!”

Emmm Reads: “My book recommendation: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. It is a gorgeously written book set in 1954 San Francisco, following a young Chinese girl as she discovers the lesbian bar scene, deals with the impacts of the Red Scare on her and her family, and falls in love with another girl.”

Dishes inspired by some of my favorite books

I have a ton of cookbooks and I love to read informational books about food, but there’s something special to me about a personal story that incorporates recipes as part of the narrative. I love a book that makes me hungry, so anytime what I’m reading features a meal, I’m likely to try to cook it. It’s one of my (long-term) goals to make a little cookbook of recipes that were inspired by books that I’ve read, but we’ll see if I ever actually get around to doing it.

Here are some of the dishes I’ve made recently, and the books that influenced them, and a recipe I used! Some of them follow a recipe listed in the book, others just use the book as light inspiration, but I encourage everyone to play around with the food — it’s supposed to be fun!

Tahdig, inspired by Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

There are so many delicious-sounding Persian dishes mentioned in this book, but tahdig is one that I have always wanted to try, and Samin Nosrat’s recipe makes it easy for a beginner. This might be my favorite thing I’ve ever made.

Split pea soup, inspired by Still Life by Louise Penny

If you’ve read the Three Pines series, you know meals shared among the community are a central part of most of the books. This greenish-brown soup might seem like an odd choice, but it’s warm and nourishing just like Penny’s stories. Plus it’s cold in the book, and this should warm you right up!

Banana cake, inspired by Beard Science by Penny Reid

One of the characters in this romance has been made famous by her banana cake recipe, and this recipe makes a great version.

Kimchi, inspired by Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

This book is about the author’s relationship with her mother and learning to deal with her loss. She deals with this in part by cooking traditional Korean dishes that her mom made, including kimchi. This had special meaning for me because my dad lost most of his sense of taste last year but can still taste kimchi, so there was a double layer of emotion that went into preparing it.

Pozole, inspired by Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel and his family have some things that they are working through in this book, but I remember the feeling of comfort that Yadriel seemed to find in his abuelita’s cooking, and to me, this pozole ate like a big plate of love.

The Su Special, inspired by One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

No recipe for this one because the author made it up, but it’s basically a breakfast sandwich involving Texas toast, bacon, a fried egg, hot sauce and maple syrup. I tried it and it blew me away. 10/10 will make again.

Gingerbread bundt cake, inspired by Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

There’s a very important gingerbread festival that much of this book centers around, and this cake seemed exactly like something Eve would whip up to knock everyone’s socks off.

Platanos maduros fritos, inspired by American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

Nesto owns a food truck in this romance novel, so I was hungry the entire time I was reading it. I made some platanos early on and snacked on them while finishing the book, and I highly recommend you do the same.

Cheese gougeres, inspired by Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

One of the love interests in this book makes “cheesy bites,” which reminded me immediately of gougeres — I made them years ago and they were absolutely delicious. They also require a little bit of technical skill, which feels right for a book about a cooking competition.

Lemon verbena tembleque, inspired by With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Emoni, an aspiring chef, puts together flavor combinations that other people would never dare to try to make magical dishes. This blog recreated one of her recipes from the book, and it was everything I hoped for.

Apple pie, inspired by Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

The main character in this graphic novel is just as talented at baking as he is at hockey (and figure skating), and can often be found crafting his next pie. I picked apple because it’s a classic that can still hold some surprises, just like Bitty.

7 Geeky Reads for Geek Pride Day

Calling all geeks! In honor of May 25th’s Geek Pride Day, we have some notably nerdy, deliciously dorky, and gloriously geeky reads that are perfect to get your geek on! Whether you’re into Lovecraftian horror, quirky romance, or speculative space fiction, we’ve got something for every geek on this list. Check it out!

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. Perfect for fans of Marie Lu and E. Lockhart, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a twisty YA sci-fi that follows the story of two sisters, separated by an ocean, desperately trying to find each other in a climate-ravaged future.

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi

In the epic, action-packed sequel to the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel War Girls, the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun.

It’s been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she’s always dreamed–the Space Colonies. She is a respected, high-ranking medical officer and has dedicated her life to helping refugees like herself rebuild in the Colonies.

Back in the still devastated Nigeria, Uzo, a young synth, is helping an aid worker, Xifeng, recover images and details of the war held in the technology of destroyed androids. Uzo, Xifeng, and the rest of their team are working to preserve memories of the many lives lost, despite the government’s best efforts to eradicate any signs that the war ever happened.

Though they are working toward common goals of helping those who suffered, Ify and Uzo are worlds apart. But when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children in the Space Colonies, their paths collide. Ify makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease. And doing so means going back to the homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemison

Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a “glorious” story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City.

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power.

In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her.
In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels.

And they’re not the only ones.

Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She’s got six.

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and must save both the human and god worlds. Perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, and The Hunger Games.

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. The alternate history first contact adventure Axiom’s End is an extraordinary debut from Hugo finalist and video essayist Lindsay Ellis.

Truth is a human right.

It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government—and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him—until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.

Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human—and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined.

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they’re fighting for a common purpose–and falling for each other–in Zoe Hana Mikuta’s high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu’s Legend series.

We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead…

The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer–as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…

Eight BookToker Summer Reading Recommendations

Summer is fast approaching, and the warm weather has me wishing I permanently lived on a beach with a book in my hand. This list of summer reading recommendations from some of our favorite BookTokers is perfect to kickstart your summer reading list, so get ready!

  1. Nicole (@nicoleandbooks) starts our list off with: “A YA book I recently read called Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter! This book is a perfect summer read as it takes place the summer before university, with the holidays vibes of the seaside, ice cream, friendship and romance! While being funny and cute it also has a great message of body positivity, loving yourself and figuring out who you actually love! Great fat rep and bisexual rep!
  2. Victoria (@thebasicbookworm) says: “My pick is my all-time favorite romance The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. This story follows Stella as she navigates dating, while also being on the autism spectrum. This book has the most lovable characters, a steamy romance, and great neurodiversity representation. Helen Hoang will make you cry, laugh, and swoon all at the same time, so The Kiss Quotient should be at the top of your TBR this summer!”
  3. Faith (@yabooktok) recommends: “Legendborn by Tracy Deonn! Legendborn is an own-voices YA fantasy based on Arthurian legends, with a hint of dark academia. I read this book last summer and it was phenomenal! It has mystery, magic, and it also explores important themes such as grief and racism, by highlighting many of the struggles faced by people of colour. It also features an amazing and diverse cast of characters, led by the badass Bree, who is very strong-willed and feels her emotions deeply. Plus, the love interests in this book, golden boy Nick, along with dark and mysterious Sel, are to die for! This is one of my favourite books of all time and I think you’ll love it too!”
  4. Fatima (@wanderbooks) highly recommends: “The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: “It’s a captivating, witty adult historical fiction with memorable characters and a WILD, mystery plotline that will have you on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking for a beautiful, melancholy ‘story within a story’ filled with drama, mystery and romance & just gorgeous, evocative writing all-round, try it out!!”
  5. Anny (@messermoony) says the perfect summer read is: “Heartstopper by Alice Oseman. It is an easy quick read and will immediately fill you with joy. It’s perfect to read out in the sun when you want a quick break and a comforting book. With Netflix adapting the books for screen soon, now is the perfect time to pick them up!”
  6. Lexi (@lexislibrary) says: “An awesome summer read is Sophie Gonzales’ newest novel Perfect on Paper. It’s a heartwarming Young Adult Contemporary packed full of lovable LGBTQ+ characters, witty banter, and adorable romance. It will make you laugh, it will make you smile, and it’s the “perfect” book to pick up this summer. Thank you so much for reaching out to me.”
  7. Erin (@erinreads) recommends a favorite series called: “The Mirror Visitor quartet, which was originally written in French! It takes place in a fantasy universe and follows the main character, Ophelia, who has the power to read objects’ histories by touching them and can travel through mirrors. She has to leave her family to be with her fiance, Thorne, who she was arranged to marry, and is faced with several dangers as a result. The magical plot is incredibly captivating, and the slow-burn romance between Thorne and Ophelia made my heart melt.”
  8. And lastly, as if the above recommendations weren’t enough, my recommendation is Summer Club by Katherine Dean Mazerov. The title hints that this novel is perfect for summer reading, and the story lives up to it. This hysterical, relaxed read has an ideal amount of excitement that keeps you constantly intrigued in the swim and tennis club antics at Meadow Glen. But apparently, dealing with club high jinks wasn’t enough for club president, Lydia. She also has to deal with a car following the club manager, a break-in at her home, and wait… a body in the river? Luckily as a former journalist, she’s perfect for the job!

Get a book recommendation from one of bookstagram’s best librarians

Librarians are true heroes, if you ask me. Their skill set is incredible, they are filled with patience, and they can ALWAYS find a book that will suit your fancy. I’ve been using my library’s drive through window for a year now, and recently one of the librarians noticed the books I had on hold and gave me three incredible book recommendations. It’s truly magic.

Here are some of our favorite librarians and library works of bookstagram, along with a book recommendation that they think you should check out!

Anna (@thebooksinmylapp) says: “An incredible book for middle grade readers is Jacqueline Woodson’s Harbor Me. It follows several children who come to rely on each other as they share about their lives — from a parent’s incarceration, a family’s fear of deportation, financial hardships and racial profiling. Woodson manages these heart-breaking topics with such care and attention, and it’s a book about kids having the space to talk to each other without adult intervention, giving them autonomy and breathing room for growth.”

Brooke (@book.appetit) recommends The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. “This is a book in verse that tells the story of Xiomara, a high school student living in Harlem. Throughout the book, Xiomara discovers her voice through slam poetry and attempts to make sense of her life in the pages of her journal. I recommend this book to all of the young reluctant readers and avid readers alike. It never disappoints.”

Jessica (@justagirlwithabook) says: “I work as a public school librarian at a junior high school (7th- and 8th-graders) in Northwest Arkansas, and one of my favorite books to recommend to our teens is Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani. I love this award-winning but not-very-well-known book for its fast pace; its intelligent, quick-thinking main character, Claire Takata; the unexpected twist and resolution at the end of the book; and, more than anything else, the author’s Japanese-American heritage that she seamlessly incorporated into the storyline and her characters, making this debut not only informative but one to be especially valued and appreciated. In all the times I’ve recommended this book, not once has a student come back with a negative response!”

Erin (@redhead_reads) says: “I especially enjoy recommending books based on other materials patrons check out. When I see them with music CDs, I like to recommend They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, a book of music essays by Hanif Abdurraqib. Abdurraqib’s passion and love for the artists he covers is evident in his exquisite writing. I was never a Fall Out Boy superfan, but reading his piece on the band resonated deeply with me as a music lover. Anyone who appreciates good writing and cultural commentary will like They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us.”

Bobbie (@booknerdbobbie) says: “Lately, I have been recommending Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho to friends, family, co-workers … everyone. It reads just like watching Acho’s video series of the same title (I also recommend). I think readers will appreciate the way the book is structured and how difficult topics are presented as if having an actual in-person conversation. And there is a young reader’s edition, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy, due out soon, so even young people can join in on this conversation of racism and its effects.”

Ari (@bookslibrariesalsocats) says: “Recommended For You by Laura Silverman is one of my 2020 favorites that I’ve been recommending non-stop to teens & YA readers of all ages! This YA holiday rom-com follows two rival teen booksellers competing for a holiday bonus — and falling for each other along the way! It’s also wonderfully diverse: The two main characters are Jewish, and there’s a number of BIPOC, queer & trans, and disabled characters throughout the book. It’s a heart-warming book that feels like a love letter to book nerds.”

Soleil (@soleilreads) recommends: Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU by Rachel Brian: “This graphic novel approaches the topic of consent with simplicity and humor. Consent can seem like a daunting topic of conversation, but Consent (for Kids!) breaks it down so it’s accessible and age-appropriate for young readers. It’s also great for grown-ups! As a parent, I appreciated the simple explanations and realistic scenarios I could discuss with my 6-year-old.”

Nel (@bookish_nel) says: “When I’m at the reference desk, I give recommendations based on what a patron loves. Romance? You got it! Need some sci-fi? I have plenty! But when a teen is in a reading rut or can’t figure out their reading *~mOod~*, I always recommend The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. It has a little of everything, heist adventure, fantasy, magic, historical fiction, and great representation!”

Kit (@kitonlit) recommends A Last Goodbye by Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim. “The most frequent request I get from caregivers is for books to help young readers when they are experiencing grief and loss. This picture book explores the way various animals (including humans) mourn, opening the door for important conversations about the universality of death and offering comfort that readers aren’t alone in their sadness. With its spare and tender prose and spectacular diorama illustrations, A Last Goodbye brought me to tears and is my go-to recommendation for grieving families.”

Laura (@librarianmsg) recommends All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat. “I could not put this award-winning nonfiction book down! If you have students who like survival stories or feel-good human interest books, give them THIS one.”

Forrest (@favoritelibrarian) says: “As a Reference Librarian, I am surrounded by canons and volumes of great literature. My favorite novel is Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo by Ntozake Shange. This multi-generational tale of three sisters and their mother from the low country areas of Charleston, South Carolina is packed with beautiful illustrations of the Black Arts Movement, Pan-Africanism, Gullah/Geechee culture, Blackness and Folk Medicine and Magical Realism. Additionally, my additional go-to recommendation would have to be Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Whether you enjoy the short story or novel of brilliant work of science-fiction, follow Charlie, a compassionate man with a learning impairment. Through an experiment to improve his intelligence, readers can explore the beautiful illustrations of humility, compassion, disabilities and how one man and mouse contributed to science and society. Each suggestion is great for any high school scholar or area of higher learning, or for readers looking for a great novel.”

Hawa (@hawa.reads) says: “A book I like to recommend to patrons is Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes. Although it’s a memoir, it’s written so beautifully that fans of fiction and nonfiction will both be drawn in by the story.”

Quinn (@theromanticace) says: “One book I recommend to patrons quite often is actually one of my favorite books from last year, which is The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo! I’m not a fantasy reader, but I picked this up on a whim because of its stunning cover and it blew me away! It’s a short book (~120 pages) so it is accessible to everyone but is so well done that it feels like a full length novel, and it has elements to intrigue readers of all interests and backgrounds.”

Cynthia (@cynthiasreadinglist) says: “Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is action-packed, and the mystery surrounding Bree’s magical abilities will keep readers enthralled. It even made me go down a rabbit hole googling Arthurian legends! Perfect for any fantasy lover.”