Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

Today I’m back with a reading guide for some fun reads to pick up this summer! I’ve got these organized by genres. This past year, I’ve found some great reads I want to share, including a lot of graphic novels!

If you’re curious to see some picks from last year, here’s my 2021 Summer TBR and My Summer Reading List 2021.

I took a page from Fiction Matters and made sure that the picks on this list are available in paperback form, either currently or (for a select few) will have their paperback copies coming out this summer!

Let’s get into the list.

Contemporary/Literary/Historical Fiction: These books are from a variety of categories but are mostly contemporary and literary fiction, although some have some historical fiction elements as well.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Price of Salt, Or Carol by Patricia Highsmith
Published by W. W. Norton & Company on March 17, 2004
Genres: Fiction / Classics, Fiction / LGBTQ+ / Lesbian, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Media Tie-In, Fiction / Psychological
Pages: 292

"A great American writer…Highsmith's writing is wicked…it puts a spell on you." —Entertainment Weekly

Patricia Highsmith's story of romantic obsession may be one of the most important, but still largely unrecognized, novels of the twentieth century. First published in 1952 and touted as "the novel of a love that society forbids," the book soon became a cult classic.

Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith's own life, The Price of Salt (or Carol) tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese's job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society's confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. The Price of Salt is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey
Published by Penguin on March 2, 2021
Genres: Fiction / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Small Town & Rural
Pages: 288

When a group of social activists arrives in a small town, the lives and beliefs of residents and outsiders alike are upended, in this wry, embracing novel.

Big Burr, Kansas, is the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone, and everyone shares the same values—or keeps their opinions to themselves. But when a national nonprofit labels Big Burr “the most homophobic town in the US” and sends in a task force of queer volunteers as an experiment—they’ll live and work in the community for two years in an attempt to broaden hearts and minds—no one is truly prepared for what will ensue.

Furious at being uprooted from her life in Los Angeles and desperate to fit in at her new high school, Avery fears that it’s only a matter of time before her “gay crusader” mom outs her. Still grieving the death of her son, Linda welcomes the arrivals, who know mercifully little about her past. And for Christine, the newcomers are not only a threat to the comforting rhythms of Big Burr life, but a call to action. As tensions roil the town, cratering relationships and forcing closely guarded secrets into the light, everyone must consider what it really means to belong. Told with warmth and wit, Under the Rainbow is a poignant, hopeful articulation of our complicated humanity that reminds us we are more alike than we’d like to admit.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
Published by Pushkin Press on May 1, 2022
Pages: 224

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Published by Grove Press on June 12, 2018
Genres: Fiction / City Life, Fiction / Cultural Heritage, Fiction / Literary
Pages: 176

The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most talented contemporary writers, selling over 650,000 copies there, Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction—many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual—and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action...

A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 30, 2021
Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / General, Fiction / Cultural Heritage, Fiction / Literary
Pages: 368

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.

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2021 BY BARACK OBAMA * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * ESQUIRE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * GOODREADS * THE MILLIONS * READER’S DIGEST * PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER * EERIE READER * PUBLIC RADIO TULSA * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Feels truer and more mesmerizing than some true stories. It’s a packed time capsule that doubles as a stick of dynamite.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

Mysterty/Thriller/Horror: This is one category I have definitely read the least, but there are a lot of picks in this section that are across multiple genres, such as sci fi, paranormal, etc.!

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Published by Steerforth Press on May 25, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / International Crime & Mystery, Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
Pages: 288

"Ayatsuji's brilliant and richly atmospheric puzzle will appeal to fans of golden age whodunits... Every word counts, leading up to a jaw-dropping but logical reveal"Publishers Weekly

A hugely enjoyable, page-turning murder mystery sure to appeal to fans of Elly Griffiths, Anthony Horowitz, and Agatha Christie, with one of the best and most-satisfying conclusions you'll ever read. A classic in Japan, available in English for the first time.

From The New York Times Book Review:

"Read Yukito Ayatsuji’s landmark mystery, The Decagon House Murders, and discover a real depth of feeling beneath the fiendish foul play.

Taking its cues from Agatha Christie’s locked-room classic And Then There Were None, the setup is this: The members of a university detective-fiction club, each nicknamed for a favorite crime writer (Poe, Carr, Orczy, Van Queen, Leroux and — yes — Christie), spend a week on remote Tsunojima Island, attracted to the place, and its eerie 10-sided house, because of a spate of murders that transpired the year before. That collective curiosity will, of course, be their undoing.

As the students approach Tsunojima in a hired fishing boat, 'the sunlight shining down turned the rippling waves to silver. The island lay ahead of them, wrapped in a misty veil of dust,' its sheer, dark cliffs rising straight out of the sea, accessible by one small inlet. There is no electricity on the island, and no telephones, either.

A fresh round of violent deaths begins, and Ayatsuji’s skillful, furious pacing propels the narrative. As the students are picked off one by one, he weaves in the story of the mainland investigation of the earlier murders. This is a homage to Golden Age detective fiction, but it’s also unabashed entertainment."

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by Tom Doherty Associates on September 7, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy, Fiction / Horror, Fiction / Noir
Pages: 352

From Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic, comes Certain Dark Things, a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The One by John Marrs
Published by Del Rey on May 4, 2017
Pages: 416

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner - the one you're genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking - and deadlier - than others...

(Note: Previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions)

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on January 5, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Gothic, Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense, Fiction / Women
Pages: 304

Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

"Compulsively readable...a gothic thriller laced with arsenic." ––EW

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021: CNN Newsweek • Vulture • PopSugar • Parade • BuzzFeed • E!Online TimeOut • Woman's Day • Goodreads • She Reads • Good Housekeeping • CrimeReads • Frolic • Hello! Mystery and Suspense

January 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
Published by Penguin on June 8, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological, Fiction / Women, Fiction / World Literature / Japan
Pages: 224

“A taut and compelling depiction of loneliness and obsession.” --Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“[It] will keep you firmly in its grip.” --Oyinkan Braithwaite, bestselling author of My Sister, the Serial Killer

“The love child of Eugene Ionesco and Patricia Highsmith.” --Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get in Trouble

A bestselling, prizewinning novel by one of Japan's most acclaimed young writers, for fans of Convenience Store Woman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and the movies Parasite and Rear Window

I think what I'm trying to say is that I've been wanting to become friends with the Woman in the Purple Skirt for a very long time...

Almost every afternoon, the Woman in the Purple Skirt sits on the same park bench, where she eats a cream bun while the local children make a game of trying to get her attention. Unbeknownst to her, she is being watched--by the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who is always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes, what she eats, whom she speaks to.

From a distance, the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. She is single, she lives in a small apartment, and she is short on money--just like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who lures her to a job as a housekeeper at a hotel, where she too is a housekeeper. Soon, the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss and all eyes are on her. But no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That's the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.

Studiously deadpan and chillingly voyeuristic, and with the off-kilter appeal of the novels of Ottessa Moshfegh, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores envy, loneliness, power dynamics, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, suspenseful narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
on May 4, 2021
Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / General, Fiction / Gothic, Fiction / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Pages: 368

A TIME 100 Must-Read Book of 2021

A New York Times Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of 2021

The Stonewall Book Award winner of 2022

Named a Best Book of 2021 by NPR, The New York Public Library, Publishers Weekly and more!

A triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction.

Vern—seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised—flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future—outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka
Published by Penguin Random House on March 17, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
Pages: 464

Five killers. One train journey. But who will survive? The original and propulsive thriller from a massive Japanese bestseller.

*SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING BRAD PITT AND SANDRA BULLOCK*

Satoshi looks like an innocent schoolboy but he is really a viciously cunning psychopath. Kimura's young son is in a coma thanks to him, and Kimura has tracked him onto the bullet train heading from Tokyo to Morioka to exact his revenge. But Kimura soon discovers that they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard.

Nanao, the self-proclaimed 'unluckiest assassin in the world', and the deadly partnership of Tangerine and Lemon are also travelling to Morioka. A suitcase full of money leads others to show their hands. Why are they all on the same train, and who will get off alive at the last station?

'A locked-room crime drama played out at 200mph' The Times

'A high-octane thriller... Thoroughly enjoyable' Guardian

Readers can't stop reading Bullet Train!

'Original, quirky and highly entertaining'

'A dark-humoured, twisty thriller that's a lot of fun'

'One of the most addictive thrillers I've ever read... smart and cinematic'

'What an original novel! Exciting from beginning to end'

'A whole lot of darkly comic fun'

'A thrilling ride'

Bullet Train was originally published in Japan with the title Maria Beetle.

SFF: For sci fi and fantasy picks, I wanted to highlight standalone novels this year!

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 18, 2020
Pages: 384

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

"A spellbinding fairy tale rooted in Mexican mythology . . . Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it's like nothing you've read before."--Bustle

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TORDOTCOM AND THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather's house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather's room. She opens it--and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea's demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucat n to the bright lights of Mexico City--and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

Praise for Gods of Jade and Shadow

"A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic."--NPR

"Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. . . . Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N. K. Jemisin are popular."--Library Journal (starred review)

"A magical novel of duality, tradition, and change . . . Moreno-Garcia's seamless blend of mythology and history provides a ripe setting for Casiopea's stellar journey of self-discovery, which culminates in a dramatic denouement. Readers will gladly immerse themselves in Moreno-Garcia's rich and complex tale of desperate hopes and complicated relationships."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Casiopea is not a damsel in distress, but rather a young woman coming of age in a time where music, myth, art and exploration thrum colorfully around her. . . . Readers will be floored by Moreno-Garcia's painstaking attention to detail. Her descriptions of the emotionally charged interactions between realistic human characters and otherworldly gods, witches and demonic forces are unforgettable, as are the fairy-tale and folktale aspects of the plot."--BookPage (starred review)

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 17, 2020
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / General, Fiction / Romance / Science Fiction, Fiction / Science Fiction / Time Travel
Pages: 224

“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay...This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review).

From award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone comes an enthralling, romantic novel spanning time and space about two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right?

Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
Published by Penguin on May 14, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Historical, Fiction / Magical Realism
Pages: 359

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive national bestselling debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda's story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin's all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life--and possibly all of existence--is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she'll accept the fate that she's foreseen for her beloved family...or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Something to Talk about by Meryl Wilsner
Published by Penguin on May 14, 2022
Genres: Fiction / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / LGBTQ+ / General
Pages: 336

A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn't come at a worse time--threatening Emma's promotion and Jo's new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a "source" is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is "no comment".

With the launch of Jo's film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all...but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

Romance:

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake
Published by Penguin on February 22, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 400

A clever and steamy queer romantic comedy about taking chances and accepting love—with all its complications—by debut author Ashley Herring Blake.

Delilah Green swore she would never go back to Bright Falls—nothing is there for her but memories of a lonely childhood where she was little more than a burden to her cold and distant stepfamily. Her life is in New York, with her photography career finally gaining steam and her bed never empty. Sure, it’s a different woman every night, but that’s just fine with her.
 
When Delilah’s estranged stepsister, Astrid, pressures her into photographing her wedding with a guilt trip and a five-figure check, Delilah finds herself back in the godforsaken town that she used to call home. She plans to breeze in and out, but then she sees Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s stuck-up besties, and decides that maybe there’s some fun (and a little retribution) to be had in Bright Falls, after all.
 
Having raised her eleven-year-old daughter mostly on her own while dealing with her unreliable ex and running a bookstore, Claire Sutherland depends upon a life without surprises. And Delilah Green is an unwelcome surprise…at first. Though they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really know each other—so Claire is unsettled when Delilah figures out exactly what buttons to push. When they’re forced together during a gauntlet of wedding preparations—including a plot to save Astrid from her horrible fiancé—Claire isn’t sure she has the strength to resist Delilah’s charms. Even worse, she’s starting to think she doesn’t want to...

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 1, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Romance / LGBTQ+ / Lesbian, Fiction / Romance / New Adult, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 432

*INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*
*INSTANT USA TODAY BESTSELLER*
*INSTANT #1 INDIE BESTSELLER*


From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks...

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

"A dazzling romance, filled with plenty of humor and heart." - Time Magazine, "The 21 Most Anticipated Books of 2021"

"Dreamy, other worldly, smart, swoony, thoughtful, hilarious - all in all, exactly what you'd expect from Casey McQuiston!" - Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal and Party for Two

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 18, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Humorous / General, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy, Fiction / Women
Pages: 368

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Writing duo and reigning romance queens Christina Lauren are back with The Soulmate Equation, their most ambitious book to date.” —PopSugar

“A sexy, science-filled, and surprising romance full of warmth and wit.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chosen as a best pick by Bustle, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, PopSugar, BuzzFeed, Goodreads, Country Living, The Pioneer Woman, Woman’s World, Bookish, Bookreporter, Frolic, and more!

The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Single mom Jessica Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: one of GeneticAlly’s founders, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond Match” that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

“Laugh-out-loud, sweet, charming, and humorous” (Library Journal, starred review), The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly
Published by Grand Central Publishing on May 14, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 384

The first openly nonbinary contestant on America's favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut that USA Today hailed as "an essential read."

Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef's Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying--not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she's focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.

After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They're there to prove the trolls--including a fellow contestant and their dad--wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.

As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London's steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen--and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Published by Penguin on May 14, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy, Fiction / Women
Pages: 384

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Oprah Daily Today Parade ∙ Marie Claire Bustle PopSugar Katie Couric Media Book Bub SheReads Medium and more!

An insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming...

Nora Stephens' life is books--she's read them all--and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters' trip away--with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she's convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they've met many times and it's never been cute.

If Nora knows she's not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he's nobody's hero, but as they are thrown together again and again--in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow--what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they've written about themselves.

"Emily Henry never fails to deliver ... this may just be her best yet."--Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Lovers;

Graphic Novels: Graphic novels aren’t a genre, but I’ve been reading a lot of books in this format lately and finding some great reads that I wanted to highlight in this year’s reading list!

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Published by First Second on February 13, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Historical, Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Romance
Pages: 276

A fairy tale for any age, Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family.

This title has Common Core connections.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Published by Random House Graphic on May 14, 2022
Pages: 256

Tiến loves his family and his friends...but Tiến has a secret he's been keeping from them, and it might change everything. An amazing YA graphic novel that deals with the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together.

Real life isn't a fairytale.

But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through?

Is there a way to tell them he's gay?

A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what--we can all have our own happy endings.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Chef's Kiss by Jarrett Melendez
Published by Oni Press on April 12, 2022
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels / General, Comics & Graphic Novels / LGBTQ, Comics & Graphic Novels / Romance
Pages: 160

"A perfect mix of romance and self-discovery." — Publishers Weekly

Watch things start to really heat up in the kitchen in this sweet, queer, new adult graphic novel!

Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right?

When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022The Girl from the Sea: A Graphic Novel by Molly Knox Ostertag
Published by Scholastic Inc. on June 1, 2021
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction / LGBTQ
Pages: 256

From the author of The Witch Boy trilogy comes a graphic novel about family, romance, and first love.

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can't wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She's desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends...who don't understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan's biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn't seem so stifling anymore.But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they're each trying to hide will find its way to the surface...whether Morgan is ready or not.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022A Cat Story by Ursula Murray Husted
Published by HarperCollins on October 6, 2020
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Animals / Cats, Juvenile Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Action & Adventure, Juvenile Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Animals, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Friendship
Pages: 192

A vibrant, heartwarming graphic novel about two irresistible cat friends on a journey to find their forever home—a journey inspired by the magic of art and storytelling.

Cilla and Betto are two friends who need a place to call home. The docks in Valletta are too wet, and the scraps of food too scarce. The city’s streets are too busy, and the humans too unreliable.

But what about the quiet garden from old kitten tales—a place where all cats are welcome, and the humans are always kind? Could the stories really be true?

As Cilla and Betto embark on a grand adventure to find out, they begin to spin a tale of their own—one that will take them through the art and stories of many journeyers who came before, and that will bring them to a surprising destination.

Pre-20th Century Literature:

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Published by Knopf on May 14, 1991
Genres: Fiction / Classics
Pages: 368

No novel in English has given more pleasure than Pride and Prejudice. Because it is one of the great works in our literature, critics in every generation reexamine and reinterpret it. But the rest of us simply fall in love with it—and with its wonderfully charming and intelligent heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. And everyone is held fast not only by the novel's romantic suspense but also by the fascinations of the world we visit. The life of the English country gentry at the turn of the nineteenth century is made as real to us as our own, not only by the author's wit and feeling but by her subtle observation of the way people behave in society and how we are true or treacherous to each other and to ourselves.

“Jane Austen remains the most misunderstood of great English writers . . . Austen's is an extended, exploratory, dangerously subversive art, and is neither harmlessly decorative nor picturesquely provincial . . . [Irony] is the secret of the perfect self-sufficiency of Pride and Prejudice.”—from the Introduction by Peter Conrad

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Frankenstein: The 1818 Text by Mary Shelley
Published by Penguin on January 16, 2018
Genres: Fiction / Classics, Fiction / Horror, Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Pages: 288

For the bicentennial of its first publication, Mary Shelley’s original 1818 text, introduced by National Book Critics Circle award-winner Charlotte Gordon. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
 
2018 marks the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel. For the first time, Penguin Classics will publish the original 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically-charged aspects of Shelley’s original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also emphasizes Shelley’s relationship with her mother—trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who penned A Vindication of the Rights of Woman—and demonstrates her commitment to carrying forward her mother’s ideals, placing her in the context of a feminist legacy rather than the sole female in the company of male poets, including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.
 
This edition includes a new introduction and suggestions for further reading by National Book Critics Circle award-winner and Shelley expert Charlotte Gordon, literary excerpts and reviews selected by Gordon, and a chronology and essay by preeminent Shelley scholar Charles E. Robinson.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Book List: My Summer Reading Recommendations 2022Dracula by Bram Stoker
Published by Penguin on August 25, 2020
Pages: 512

The Graphic Novelization of a Classic Tale!

Of the many admiring reviews Bram Stoker's Dracula received when it first appeared in 1897, the most astute praise came from the author's mother, who wrote her son: 'It is splendid. No book since Mrs. Shelley's Frankenstein or indeed any other at all has come near yours in originality, or terror.'A popular bestseller in Victorian England, Stoker's hypnotic tale of the bloodthirsty Count Dracula, whose nocturnal atrocities are symbolic of an evil ages old yet forever new, endures as the quintessential story of suspense and horror. The unbridled lusts and desires, the diabolical cravings that Stoker dramatized with such mythical force, render Dracula resonant and unsettling a century later.

Here’s a list full of recommendations for some books to check out this season! I would love to see some recommendations if you’d like to share in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

Rae

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