Wondering which book to read next? In this month’s Books On Your Radar, BookSparks’ founder Crystal Patriarche raves about the books (shows and movies, too) that she loved this month. As an ultimate bookworm who reads across all genres, and devours all kinds of content across platforms, she definitely knows how to spot a great story. Here are the newest books (and shows) she says should definitely be on your radar.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Hands down one of my favorite books of the year. The snappy, smart dialogue alone makes this book worth it. But there is so much more to love too. Henry’s best work!
They call Nora Stephens “the shark.” A high-powered, successful literary agent, Nora is known for her work ethic, her candor, and her dedication to her clients. But when her younger sister Libby begs Nora to take a trip with her to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, she reluctantly agrees. Nora knows that Libby’s hoping this trip will turn out like one of her favourite romance novels and Nora will transform into a more laid-back version of herself, and maybe even fall in love with a charming smalltown bartender. But what she doesn’t expect is to run into Charlie Lastra, a handsome but callous editor from back in the city. When Charlie finds himself in a position to edit one of one of her client’s books, Nora proposes they work together. For the rest of her month-long stay, Charlie and Nora explore a relationship they never expected, that will result in them possibly rewriting their own stories.
A Thousand Miles by Bridget Morrissey
This is the second read by Bridget Morrissey I have absolutely loved; the first was Love Scenes—and I flew through both books!
Ten years ago, Ben and his ex-best friend Dee Matthews buried a time capsule in his grandma’s backyard, promising to return in ten years and open it. But after a huge fallout, Ben and Dee stopped speaking. A decade later, when his grandmother reveals a shocking secret, Ben finds himself on a mission to pursue what he truly wants—and it all starts with that road trip with Dee. When he asks if she’ll join him, Dee can’t say no. As a cohost of a popular podcast, Dee owes it to her listeners to give them the full story, and to herself to sort out her unresolved feelings for Ben. As they near their destination, their friendship reignites and their attraction becomes undeniable. Last time they went down this road, their friendship didn’t survive it. Is there any hope for it this time around?
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
When romance ghostwriter Florence Day goes through a terrible breakup, she finds she can no longer write about love. To make matters worse, her new editor refuses to give her an extension for her latest book. She’s ready to hang up her writing career, but then she receives devastating news that her father has passed away. Florence returns to the Southern town she left in her rear-view mirror all those years ago and is shocked to find a ghost standing at the door of her family’s funeral parlor: The ghost of her new editor. As she works to help him resolve whatever unfinished business is keeping him tied to the living world, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about love.
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is a prolific writer, and her books bring culture, emotion, and what it means to be a woman finding her way.
When her brother is run out of town by a vicious mob, Luz Lopez must navigate her way through 1930’s Denver on her own. But Luz finds herself immersed in another world when she starts to have visions about her homeland, the Lost Territory. Luz collects pieces of her family history through these visions and sees the wrath of the forces that have destroyed her people and her home for generations. Now it is up to Luz to reveal her family’s history and share the truth.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
I finally read this masterful suspense novel now that it came out in paperback, and it has some of the most memorable characters ever. I’m still thinking about this book.
At thirteen years old, Duchess Day Radley is a rebellious rule-breaker and the ferociously protective sister of her younger brother, Robin. Born to a mother incapable of taking care of anyone, Duchess relies on herself. In the same coastal California town, thirty years ago, Walk provided testimony that sent his best friend Vincent King to prison, leaving him with the responsibility of protecting Duchess and Robin. Now that Walk is chief of police and Vincent is being released, Walk, Duchess and Robin must face the consequences of his return.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
A fun, thought-provoking mix of science, culinary arts, romance and coming-of-age, Lessons in Chemistry is a great read about women breaking barriers.
Set in 1960s America, this is a story about a woman who breaks the mold and becomes a nation-wide inspiration for women and girls everywhere. Elizabeth Zott is a scientist at Hastings Research Institute, where she meets and falls in love with the exceptional Calvin Evans. Refusing to live in his shadow, Elizabeth works hard to make her own discoveries that will revolutionize the science world. But when life rearranges the plans she made for her future, Elizabeth finds herself the host of a new cooking show, Supper at Six. As her show becomes more popular, Elizabeth encounters opposition from those who fear her powerful influence. Because Elizabeth isn’t only teaching women to cook—she’s teaching them to break barriers.
We Carry Their Bones by Erin Kimmerle
This true story/new investigative journalistic book tells the true story behind Colson Whitehead’s Nickel Boys— an amazing fiction book which I also read finally and highly recommend!
In this harrowing story of the Arthur G. Dozier Boys’ School, Erin Kimmerle reveals the truth behind its secrets, its abuse, and its victims. Established in 1900, the Boys’ School housed numerous children as young as six years old for crimes as mild as trespassing. After its shutdown in 2011, Kimmerle began a forensic investigation to discover exactly how many graves the school grounds held and who was buried there, in hopes of reuniting the boys with their families. With several obstacles in her path, Kimmerle continues to investigate the cruel injustices of the juvenile reform school and fights for its victims’ stories to be heard.
My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa
Mystery, dark secrets, and adjusting to a new life culminates in this vividly written novel.
When Paloma sublets the second bedroom of her San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India, she feels good about it, believing it’ll be nice to help someone establish a home and a sense of belonging in a new country. After all, Paloma was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka and is familiar with the process of adjusting to a new life. But things begin to spiral out of control when Arun discovers her darkest secret. Before Paloma can figure out how to keep it contained, Arun’s body is found in a pool of blood. The mystery of his death is amplified when the police arrive on the scene and the body is gone, along with any evidence that Arun ever existed. Could this all be related to her escape from Sri Lanka? In order to protect her future, Paloma must face the actions of her past.
We Lie Here by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rachel Howzell Hall does it again with this mystery about what we don’t know about our own families.
When TV writer Yara Gibson returns to her hometown of Palmdale, California to host her parents’ anniversary party, she doesn’t expect to receive a life-changing text. Felicia Campbell, who claims to be a childhood friend of Yara’s mother, insists that they talk “before it’s too late.” The next day, Felicia’s body is found in Lake Palmdale and Yara is left with the key to a remote lakeside cabin. In the basement, she discovers documents related to an unsolved tragedy that took place in 1988. Now she must work to uncover the truth of what happened at that cabin, even if it means questioning everything she thought she knew about her family.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
You guys—this is MUST-READ!
Two young friends, Sam and Sadie, experience overnight success when they create Ichigo, a new video game that breaks new ground. Spanning thirty years, the novel follows Sam and Sadie’s friendship as they navigate success, fame and a world of new possibilities. The novel explores themes of identity, disability, play and love in an unforgettable and richly imaginative way.
Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore
I worked on Meg Mitchell Moore’s debut years ago and have been a big fan ever since of her writing.
Louisa is a writer and a mother of three, ready for a vacation at her parents’ place in Maine. Her husband has been busy fundraising his start-up, and Louisa can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities life has thrown her way. But in Maine, things aren’t easier. Louisa’s father suffers from Alzheimers, while her mother carries on as if everything’s okay. When one of Louisa’s kids stumbles upon a letter that unravels a shocking family secret, things get even more complicated. Then there’s Kristie, who has taken a bus from Pennsylvania to Maine in an attempt to outrun her past. But can she keep her secrets safe forever? Louisa’s and Kristie’s stories intertwine to create a gripping tale about family, loss and responsibility.
The Summer I Turned Pretty based on Jenny Han’s book, on Amazon Prime Video
For 16-year-old Belly, the months between June and August are a magical time. The beach house where she spends each summer is her safe haven, and the people she spends it with are her best friends: Susannah, Jeremiah and Conrad. But this summer, everything changes, and Belly must navigate the new dynamic of her group—or risk hurting those she cares about the most.
The Bear on Hulu
This is an incredible fast paced show about the restaurant industry—but more importantly, about grief and healing.
Life for Carmen Berzatto, a talented young chef, is about to take a turn after a heartbreaking tragedy in the family forces his return to his hometown. While attempting to deal with the reality of losing his brother, Carmen must also take charge of the smaller scale restaurant his brother has left for him. The change of scenery from world class restaurants to a smaller scale sandwich shop challenges Carmen as he attempts to navigate his own emotional upheaval.