Summer is upon us and that can only mean one thing for a bibliophile: summer reading. I miss the days of having the summer off and staying in pajamas all day, reading to my heart’s content. This summer is especially exciting because it also comes with some amazing new releases! I’ve tried to include something for everybody with genres ranging from coming-of-age to fantasy to women’s fiction, and I’m excited to read them all. I can’t wait to suit up and head to the beach with these incredible reads.

Read along with Nathalie this summer for BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge!

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

I was first drawn to this book because of the title. It immediately caught my attention and I thought to myself: what could this book possibly be about? So I read the first seven chapters of Anger is a Gift and I could not put it down. It covers a wide variety of topics ranging from police brutality to sexuality to mental illness and what I’m most excited about is the conversations that this book will bring about. More and more I’m seeing authors tackle tough subjects in their books; relevant stuff, the stuff nobody wants to talk about yet we need to. Books are the perfect way of sparking conversations and putting people in the shoes of someone that they may not have ever come across in their everyday life. I have no idea what it is like to lose a loved one in a police-involved shooting or what it feels like to be treated like a criminal in my own school or to not have up-to-date textbooks because the school doesn’t get enough state funding. Take a walk in Moss’s shoes and find out why sometimes anger is a gift.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

If you follow my blog then you know that I’m a huge fan of strong female characters and this book has that in spades. What’s better than two badass prophesied queens? Ones that are said to possess the power of all seven kinds of elemental magic? Nothing, that’s what! Told from multiple points of view, Furyborn follows Rielle and Eliana as they navigate through unknown trials and tribulations. Although born centuries apart, the fate of the world lies solely in their hands and only time will tell if they save their world or doom it. Sounds amazing, right? There’s also a lot of women saving men in this book and it’s like hallelujah! Not every girl is a damsel in distress! It’s about time that we have books that show women saving themselves, and others, because in reality there’s not always going to be someone else there to catch you when you fall. I can already tell that I’m going to love following Rielle and Eliana’s journey as they come into their own.

Florida by Lauren Groff

As an almost-native Floridian I was immediately drawn to this book because… well the title says it all, doesn’t it? Early praise says that Florida transports the reader and I just have to know how my home state is depicted in what is said to be a “magnificent achievement.” As a Floridian, hearing about a gator in a yard or, as happens frequently in the summer, in a backyard pool is just part of everyday life. We know not to swim in lakes or ponds and not to let our pets wander too close to the water’s edge because gators aren’t afraid of protecting their territory or having your poodle as a midnight snack. While Florida may be home to your favorite Disney characters, it also houses a diverse and plentiful wildlife and I can’t wait to see it come to life in this collection of stories.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

I was first introduced to this book by my friend Natasha Minoso, or Book Baristas for those familiar with her blog. As soon as she described it to me I knew that it was totally up my alley. Stella isn’t your typical heroine and this isn’t your typical love story. You see, Stella has Asperger’s Syndrome but that hasn’t stopped her from being wildly successful in her career, however her dating life is a whole other story. At 30 years old she has barely ever dated, much less had sex, and now her mom is saying that she wants grandchildren, sooner, rather than later. After brainstorming for solutions she comes up with the perfect plan: hire an escort to teach her everything she needs to know for a roll in the hay. What sets this book apart is that it shows how people with disabilities are just normal people. Sure, she has problems in social settings and doesn’t like to be touched – honestly neither do I – but she falls in love and lives just like anybody else. Having people from all walks of life be represented in books is so, so important. We need more diverse books like this one!

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

When I read the synopsis for Ghosted I knew that this was going to be a must-read. Sarah gets what every girl dreams of: love at first sight. Sarah and Eddie have seven perfect days together and everything seems meant to be, that is until Eddie ghosts her. I’ve never been ghosted (probably because my dating life is non-existent, lol) but I can only imagine how much it must suck to think that you’ve found the one only for him to disappear on you. If I’m honest I think that if I were Sarah I would try my best to move on but even when her friends tell her to forget about him, something won’t let her. She soon discovers that there is a reason that he ghosted her but will the truth be enough? And you guys, I must know why he ghosted her! Is he dying? Is he married? Is he an FBI agent and if he told her he’d have to kill her? The possibilities are endless! Either way ghosting someone is not cool so I’m hoping that Eddie has a good excuse and I can’t wait to find out what it is!

Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart

This book gives me some serious Devil Wears Prada vibes. Well, I guess the only similarity is that the main character is struggling to make a name for herself in the fashion world, but close enough, right? Grace, the main character, experiences what many millennials face today: after losing her job and not being able to pay her rent, she is forced to move back home. As a 25-year-old that had to move back home after college, I feel her pain. She has to reprioritize what she wants and what is truly important to her. Again, I can relate because over the past couple of years I’ve questioned and reevaluated my career and life choices many, many times but sometimes it’s okay to go down a path that you never thought of before or that wasn’t part of your plan. I love books that show us that it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to start over, and it’s okay to not know what you want. Life isn’t predictable and you learn as you go along and I can’t wait to see where Grace ends up on her journey to finding out what she really wants.

The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker

We’ve all heard the saying money does not equal happiness, however, I’m sure that we would all rather have money than be without. Hannah has everything she ever thought that she wanted: a high-paying job, an apartment in Manhattan, and a boyfriend that’s about to propose; but when she spontaneously gets a job offer at a family-run winery across the country she’s drawn to it. Soon she realizes that maybe her life wasn’t as perfect as she once thought. I like the idea that it is never too late to start over; it’s a concept that I still struggle with. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of trying to build a career, have a nice place, and still have a social/dating life that we forget that we also need to focus on our peace of mind just as much, if not more than, all of that. Success isn’t always measured by how much money we have in the bank or what our zip code is because if you’re miserable than what is that worth? Is it worth your happiness and peace of mind? Hannah is on a journey to find out just what she considers success and to figure out what truly makes her happy.

The Bucket List by Georgia Clark

I love the premise of this book because it touches on something that, unfortunately, many women face: being diagnosed with the BCRA1 gene mutation, also known as the breast cancer gene. With this diagnosis, Lacey Whitman has to make a choice to either do regular doctor visits to make sure that no cancer has formed or the more radical step of a preventative double mastectomy. Either way, it’s a scary decision and one not to be taken lightly. Unsurprisingly, Lacey doesn’t want to lose her breasts. It’s a symbol of femininity and sensuality for many women and Lacey is no different. It certainly doesn’t help that she works in the fashion industry; an industry known for being hypercritical of women’s’ bodies. Before she can make a decision, she decides to make a bucket list… for her boobs; she and her friends write down everything she wants them to experience before she ultimately has to make a decision. While this may be a tough subject for some I think it’s important that women feel like they can have a conversation about something that can be so scary and isolating. Hopefully women that have been through something similar, or know someone that has, will be able to relate to Lacey and the tough decision that lays ahead of her. This book may even push more women to get tested and how amazing would that be?

Vox by Christina Dalcher

This book has been described as something that fans of The Handmaid’s Tale will love and I’m absolutely obsessed with The Handmaid’s Tale. Vox is set in a world where women are limited to only 100 words a day and forced to wear a tracker that counts every word that comes out of their mouths. Soon after ‘women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice’. I can’t fathom living in a society such as this one but the scariest thing about books like this is that it feels as though it could actually happen. It is so important for women to be able to have a voice too. It has been so inspiring seeing women speak up through the #metoo movement and rallying behind each other but we’ve also seen the worst of humanity in recent days which is highly disconcerting. We need strong women that aren’t afraid of speaking up and fighting for the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with our male counterparts and let our voices be heard. I can’t wait to see what Vox has in store for us come August 21.