Lists

Must-Read Books of Spring & Summer 2019

Below are the top twelve books on my radar this spring and summer, organized by release date. 2019 is shaping up to be SUCH a good year in books. I’m so excited about every book on this list I’ve already pre-ordered the entire list!


Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Release Date: April 2nd

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Release Date: April 16th

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Release Date: May 7th

This is one of my FAVORITE covers I’ve seen in a long time! I’m obsessed with the foil detailing and the gorgeous purple galaxy background. I need this finished copy in my hands ASAP.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

NOBODY PANIC.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Release Date: May 7th

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


Again, But Better by Chrisine Riccio
Release Date: May 7th

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.

 


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Release Date: May 14th

This is another cover that I LOVE. I pre-ordered a paperback copy instead of a Kindle version because I need this on my shelf!

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Release Date: May 14th 

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagram-able friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly un-stuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Fellow Austin-ites: Author Casey McQuiston will be visiting Book People on May 23rd to launch the book! Meet her and get your copy signed at 7pm. I’ve already read and loved this book, so trust me: this is one you’re going to want on your shelves. 

 

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 4th

I’ve been reading Sarah Dessen books since the seventh grade, and each new release from her is a must-read.

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when Emma was twelve. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family that she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is also divided into two people. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her—Emma or Saylor—will win out?

 

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Release Date: June 11th

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days . . . can he?

 

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
Release Date: June 11th 

At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around—she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

 

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop
Release Date: July 2nd

Katie Cleary has always known exactly what she wants: to be the best skier in the world. As a teenager, she leaves her home to live and train full time with her two best friends, all-American brothers Luke and Blair, whose wealthy father has hired the best coaches money can buy. Together, they are the USA’s best shot at bringing home Olympic gold.

But as the upward trajectory of Katie’s elite skiing career nears its zenith, a terrifying truth about her sister becomes impossible to ignore—one that will lay ruin not only to Katie’s career but to her family and her relationship with Luke and Blair.

With her life shattered and nothing left to lose, Katie flees the snowy mountainsides of home for Buenos Aires. There, she reinvents herself as Liz Sullivan, and meets a colorful group of ex-pats and the alluring, charismatic Gianluca Fortunado, a tango teacher with secrets of his own. This beautiful city, with its dark history and wild promise, seems like the perfect refuge, but can she really outrun her demons?

In alternating chapters, Katie grows up, falls in love, and races down the highest peaks on the planet—while Liz is reborn, falls into lust, and sinks into the underground tango scene at the bottom of the world. From the moneyed ski chalets of the American West to the dimly lit milongas of Argentina, We Came Here to Forget explores what it means to dream, to desire, to achieve—and what’s left behind after it all disappears.

 

What books are you most looking forward to this spring? Have you read anything I’ve mentioned yet? 

 

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If You Liked...

If You Liked RAMONA BLUE, Try HOW TO MAKE A WISH

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Ramona Blue and How to Make a Wish are two summery romances I read this year that are both super memorable. The authors both did such a great job of developing a small town setting that felt so real, chock full of interesting and unique secondary characters who go through a lot of development of their own. While each character’s experience is totally different, throughout the course of the novel each one realizes that they are actually bi-sexual instead of the orientation they began the novel with.

In Ramona Blue, 17-year-old Ramona thinks she has the rest of her life pretty figured out: stay in tiny Eulogy, Mississippi and help her pregnant 19-year-old sister Hattie with the baby and continue working her two part time jobs. She’s coming off a bittersweet end to a romance with a girl who was just in town for the summer, and has been proudly lesbian for a while. So when her childhood friend Freddie moves back to town, the last thing she expects is to develop feelings for him. Ramona Blue does a great job of exploring the fluid spectrum that is sexuality while also featuring excellent family relationships and friendships. Basically, it’s the total package of YA novels and it’s one of the best I’ve ever read. If you haven’t finished this one yet, GET ON IT OKAY.

How to Make a Wish was written by Ashley Herring Blake, who also wrote Suffer Love. This story features another girl, Grace, who feels trapped by her flaky mother and desperately wants to feel like a normal girl with a normal family. She’s a talented pianist who dreams of moving to NYC for music school, and is spending her summer focusing on preparing for her impending audition. Life is interrupted when her mother spontaneously decides that they are going to be moving in with her new boyfriend (and his son….who just so happens to be Grace’s ex-boyfriend…AWKWARD). Then Grace meets Eva, a new girl who is dealing with her own deep-rooted grief, and is swept into a world of midnight adventures and more-than-friends feelings that Grace hasn’t experienced before. The romance in this book is GREAT and I really loved watching these two fall for each other.

Both novels absolutely swept me up into their worlds of small-town coastal living and tight circles of friends who would do anything for you, imperfect families, and a romance that catches you by surprise. If you have read either of these books, I definitely think you will like the other as well!

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy [add to goodreads]
How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake [add to goodreads]

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Top 10

If You’re in the Mood For: Hallow-READS

Today I’ll be sharing some spooky new reads out just in time for an October read! With Halloween, foggy mornings, and cold weather just around the corner, fall is the perfect time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a scary book (aka, Hallow-READS!) There have been a number of new releases this season that I just can’t wait for, so here are a few titles I plan on purchasing!

Daughters unto DevilsDaughters Unto Devils, by Amy Lucavics

If Little House on the Prairie met an M. Night Shymalan movie, this book would be the mix! When the character’s family moves to a new house on the prairie, they discover the inside of their new cabin is covered in blood and know something is definitely not right. The character (who is also secretly pregnant) hears stories of murder and psychosis rampant throughout the land, and encounters some seriously scary stuff. The ending is supposed to be absolutely terrifying!

Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt, #1)

Blood and Salt, by Kim Liggett

The main character follows her mother to a “spiritual commune” ( read: cult) that her mother had escaped from many years ago. The town is filled with secrets and a long history of murder, mystery, and magic, all under the guise of tradition. When a string of gruesome murders pop up while the town prepares for a secret ceremony, the character must try to rescue her mother from the cult and discover the truth about what is happening in the town. Cults have always both intrigued me and completely creeped me out, so I’m hoping this one is as scary as it sounds!

We'll Never Be Apart We’ll Never Be Apart, by Emiko Jean

At the beginning of the book, the main character has just been placed into a mental institution after her sister sets a fire that kills her boyfriend and seriously injures her. While in the asylum, she begins a journal that details her memories of life with her sister, starting from when they were very young. As the entries go on, you begin to notice that something is just not right about her sister. She goes from slightly off to completely scary and the journal entries provide mystery and suspense for a psychologically thrilling novel with, of course, a twist at the end. I LOVE psychological thrillers and hope to second-guess myself throughout this book!

Top 10

Top 10 YA Must-Reads, Like Ever

Hey y’all! For my very first ever post (!!!!), I will be sharing my top 10 YA Must-Reads. These are the books I would recommend to someone who isn’t much of a reader, who is looking to venture into the YA genre, etc. I would definitely consider these some of my all-time favorites, in no particular order.

1. Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride

I remember my mom buying this book for me at Target when it came out in 2009 as a vacation book, but have lost count of how many times I have re-read it since! I’ve read every Sarah Dessen book but this one is my long-standing favorite. It’s a perfect summer beach read with just the right amount of depth and emotion.

2. Golden, Jessi Kirby

Golden Golden is one of those thought-provoking books that has always stuck with me. Jessi Kirby is an absolute master of creating beautiful settings that you completely feel a part of as you read, which is one of my favorite things about her books. Golden features a recurring theme around the lovely quote by Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

3. The Boyfriend List, by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)

Ahh, this series!!! The Boyfriend List is the first in a series of four books that are all so absolutely hilarious. I seriously could not put them down, and gobbled them up one after the other. I loved these books so much that I named my dog after the main character (Ruby). So, if that doesn’t tell you how great this series is I don’t know what will 🙂

4. My Life Next Door, Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)

My Life Next Door is a phenomenal debut about family and first loves, with a twist that was seriously jaw-dropping. You will completely fall in love with the characters and their world. This is an absolute MUST READ, especially since its companion novel, The Boy Most Likely To, will be coming out August 18th!

5. Graceling, by Kristen Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

I’m normally not a fantasy reader, but I’m so glad I decided to pick this one up a couple years ago! Graceling is such a unique and well-told story, and the author is literally a genius (read the whole series, you’ll see what I mean!).

6. Wanderlove, Kirsten Hubbard

Wanderlove Just talking about Wanderlove makes me want to grab it off my favorites shelf and start re-reading! Wanderlove is about a girl who travels to Central America with a travel group but ends up backpacking through Belize and Guatemala with some people she meets and has the best adventures! I absolutely loved the beautiful and perfectly described settings in this book and now want to travel to Belize myself more than anywhere else in the world, and that’s saying something coming from a girl who’s dreamed of Paris since I was like six years old.

7. Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Speaking of Paris, Anna and the French Kiss and it’s following companion books (Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After) are some of the best, funniest, and totally swoon-worthy books in existence. I would read absolutely anything that Stephanie Perkins writes! I totally fell in love with the love interests in each book and you will too. More than just a beach-read romance, this series will make you laugh out loud over and over again. Plus, each book takes place in a FABULOUS setting that is just so fun to read about (Paris! San Francisco! Barcelona!)

8. Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity, #2) On a deeper/slower note, Rose Under Fire is such an important book. It’s about a young American girl who is sent to a Nazi concentration camp. I learned so much while reading this heartbreaking book and felt so close to Rose and her trials. I also loved that Rose was a pilot and the author used pilot terms as a theme throughout the books since I’m currently getting my pilot’s license. Rose Under Fire is actually the companion novel to Code Name Verity, which I also loved!

9. Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer

Morgan Matson has long been on my auto-read list, and this is the book that started it all for me. My copy literally has dried pages from my tears, so be prepared to get super emotionally invested in this one. I loved the small lake-town summery setting, which totally felt like a town I used to visit as a kid in California.

10. Time Between Us, Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us (Time Between Us, #1) This is a book that I don’t feel got nearly enough attention/buzz! I found this by chance one day at Barnes and Noble and was seriously back the next day to pick up the sequel. It’s a fun time-travel romance that really keeps you guessing as to what’s going on!

Are any of these books on your top 10 list? What’s your all-time favorite or go-to book recommendation? Let me know in the comments below!