Photo by Paula Borowska
Clean up your shelves, add a new collection to your e-reader, equip yourself with drinks and snacks. It's time for Summer recommendations! We've asked several of BookLikes authors to pick their perfect summer books. Here's a reading list that cannot be missed and a collection of reads that must be added to your TBR summer pile!
Meet & follow Tellulah Darling on BookLikes ->
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
"I picked this up because I am a sucker for alternate versions of cities. Yes, Neverwhere is a fav of mine and so when I saw this had that vibe happening, I was in. Let's start with the good: crossdressing thieves, multiple Londons, super cool magic, chicks to the rescue, throne power plays, and an amazing mythology I want to fall into and stay suspended in for a very long time.
Now for the bad: book two doesn't come out for another year. Seriously. That's all I've got.
Kell and Lila are a fabulous swashbuckling duo. His backstory is totally compelling and fraught with mystery. His brother Rhy is a charmer with a heart of gold that I demand more of. The world building is insanely cool. This is an original, compelling, thoroughly engaging and entertaining book one of a new fantasy series. If you're looking for romance, you won't really find it in this book though it sets up tantalizing and frustrating (in good ways) teases to be played out. Bonus points for actually wrapping up the main plot while still creating enough questions about events to follow.
Honestly, by partway through the first chapter I was excited in ways I hadn't been for a story in a while. Grab it!"
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
"Before I found this story, I was in such a bad reading slump that I couldn't even make eye contact with my Kindle because I felt like all the half-read books on it were glaring at me for not finishing them. Then in the space of a few hours, I discovered and read this book. Colours seemed brighter, my heart felt lighter - this beautiful, sumptuous romance made me so very happy.
Mili, married at 4 in a small Indian village, hasn't seen her husband in 20 years. But that hasn't stopped her from being 100% committed to this marriage and the hope that eventually he'll come for her. Until that day, she pawns her dowery jewelry so that she can further her education in the US. And that's where her brother-in-law Samir finds her, hell bent on getting her to sign annulment papers.
There was something magical about this romance, about each tiny step in Mili and Samir's developing friendship, made all the more fragile and heart-stopping by the secrets between them. I flat out loved it. There was no sentimentality, just genuine, raw, beautifully realized and flawed humans daring to hope for more than their pasts had dealt them."
Light Summer Read:
"Palisades Park is a touching story magically and masterfully told. If an amusement park in its heyday is where you want to be this summer, brothers and sisters, Alan Brennert will take you there.
It might take you a few other places, as well. I wish you all a pleasant journey."
Thrilling Summer Read:
"Vicki Pettersson is the love child of Dean Koontz and Gillian Flynn. Okay, she isn't, but she writes like she is. Swerve piqued my interest because I'm a sucker for scavenger-hunts-to-stay-alive books in the vein of Laymon's In the Dark.
I also love anything having to do with road trips and/or crazy stalkers. If you like the same kinda reads and are looking for a little thrill while lounging in the Summer sun, give this new release a try."
Meet and follow Tish Thawer on BookLikes ->
As a reader, I love books that can transport you. With both of these novels, I felt as if I was "in" the story. The world-building was phenomenal and the paranormal elements were woven in so well, I no longer felt like I was reading fiction. Magic is real, people! :)
The Life & Death of Jorja Graham by Brynn Myers
"Once again I was blown away by the imagination and detailed writing that Brynn puts into her stories. She never fails to transport me into the world she's created, and in this case, the world was eerie and magical and filled with characters that captured my heart."
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
"This book was so engrossing. The amazing detail of the alchemic process and imagery was amazing. This author did her homework!"
Meet and follow Samantha Wilcoxson on BookLikes ->
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
"This is my favorite book of all time by the author who sparked my obsession in medieval England.
Each of her books is wonderful with complex characters and impeccable historical research that transports the reader back in time.
Since Richard III, the main character in this book, has been in the headlines lately, this is an ideal time to get swept away in this novel."
Villette by Charlotte Brontë
"I recommend this book because it is lesser known than the author’s more famous Jane Eyre, but I feel that the story and characters are even more captivating.
Lucy Snowe felt like a kindred spirit as she attempted to make her way in the world. The realistic way that each person sees her differently, but none completely understand her is heart wrenching.
Anyone looking for a classic novel that is a little off the beaten path should try Villette."
Meet and follow Rod Raglin on BookLikes ->
I have made a commitment to read and review the work of individuals like myself, because no one needs recognition more than a new, independently published author (believe me, I know). I wouldn’t describe these books as “beach” reads, but they are very good novels that have received very little recognition.
War in a Beautiful Country by Patricia Ryan
"It’s quirky, perceptive and funny. It’s poignant as well as enlightening, entertaining and original. It ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous and covers a lot of the stuff in between.
The protagonist in War in a Beautiful Country is Regina, a middle aged woman living in New York City. Regina begins getting surface mail from an anonymous person threatening to blow her up, literally. The idea her life might end abruptly and without warning makes her examine her existence, her art, her relationships, her activities, and her purpose.
War in a Beautiful Country is wickedly funny while at the same time wise and worldly with fascinating insights on art and relationships."
The Last Bad Job by Colin Dodds
"The Last Bad Job is an apocalyptic story with a sense of humor.
What makes this novel standout, makes it exceptional is the writing – natural dialogue, characterization through action, exact diction and an imaginative plot that doesn’t let you catch your breath.
Our protagonist, best described as an anti-hero, is an investigative reporter assigned to do a story on an apocalyptic cult and it’s leader, Dizzy Sheehan. The assignment entails living with the group and right away he compromises his objectivity by participating in cult activities like having sex with the female members. This is the first, but certainly not the last demonstration of his almost complete lack of any sense of morals or integrity.
As the reporter’s life spins more and more out of control, and Dizzy’s prediction of the apocalypse begins to unfold our anti-hero comes to believe he has been chosen for some special purpose and, indeed, he has."
Meet and follow Sandra Gustafsson on BookLikes ->
Someone by Alice McDermott
"This author was new to me, and maybe it´s to soon to say this is my favorite author, but I really enjoyed reading this book. Here and there I stopped at sentences, just to read them again, and again because they were so well written. The details made me feel like I was there, beside the book´s protagonist.
The story is told in a simple yet very straight-forward way and I didn´t want it to end.
If you like people and the stories behind them, I think you will like this book."
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
"This is a very well written and really tense short novel. It´s the sort of book were nothing seems to happen, and still - everything is happening in front of me. It´s melancholy, haunting and exquisitely written - a beautiful novel. If you enjoy a slow and intimate book this one is for you."
Meet and follow Amber Foxx on BookLikes ->
Two books I’d recommend to people who share my taste for mysteries that venture off the beaten track are The First Lie, by Virginia King and When the Clocks Stopped by M.L. Eaton. These are totally different from each other, and yet have in common a thread of the mystical, vivid settings, complex and realistic protagonists, and excellent writing.
The First Lie by Virginia King
"The First Lie is set in Hawaii, where Selkie Moon has escaped from her former life in Australia. Her voice as the narrator is compelling, and the bizarre events that overtake her made it hard for me to stop reading. The layers of mythology and psychology in the intense plot gave it the kind of depth I like. I want more than to know the solution of a mystery, but to get involved with the characters’ lives."
When the Clocks Stopped by M.L. Eaton
"When the Clocks Stopped takes place in a quaint English village with a dark history that comes alive. The main character, Hazel Dawkins, is utterly original, and so is the concept of this book, with the interweaving of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the crimes of both periods in time, and the ordinary and the extraordinary."
Anyone who likes a well-crafted and unconventional take on mystery will enjoy these books.
Meet and follow Jenny Schwartz on BookLikes ->
Two perfect summer reads for romance fans.
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
"The first is a fast-paced, sexy paranormal romance by one of my favourite authors, Ilona Andrews. Burn For Me has the ultimate alpha hero and a heroine unsure whether to love him or run."
Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold
"My second recommended summer read takes you back in time to summer in Saxon England. “Naked” is the real story of Lady Godiva’s famous ride, beautifully told, and it’s special to me because it’s written by a good friend, Eliza Redgold, who is passionate about the power of Godiva’s legend and of Celtic women in general."
Meet and follow Murielle Cyr on BookLikes ->
Two of my summer readings picks swing precariously from the supernatural classic, Three Supernatural Classics, to the more lighter literary shôjo manga, The Heart of Thomas. Both are perfect for short and frequent time fillers needed while traveling, or even between beach dips.
"Algeron Blackwood is the master of anything weird. “An idyllic camping trip along the Danube goes horribly wrong in The Willows”. In his second story, The Wendigo, “the dark terror of the remote Canadian wilderness unfolds where a hunting party encounters a creature from Algonquin myth.” In his third story, The Listener, a writer confronts his fears in a “rundown house in London” when he has “the sensation of being watched while he sleeps.”
"Moto Hagio is considered the “founding mother” of shôjo manga (manga graphic novels written and illustrated by women). “Unabashedly romantic and emotionally complex”, The Heart of Thomas, promises a “richly imagined setting” and great memorable characters."
Happy reading, and have a magical summer!
"Anyone who has an interest in the creative process, from writers and artists to musicians and filmmakers, will find this book interesting and inspiring.
Catmull is the the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. The level of struggle and revision that goes into making a Pixar movie is an inspiration, and the process they use to solicit useful and timely feedback on their work will be useful to all kinds of artists."
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
"A gorgeously crafted and designed book about the power of belief. Micah's journey may rekindle your own belief in magic.
I loved it so much that the moment I put down my library copy, I called the bookstore to order a hardback."
BookLikes authors recommendations made it to the reading lists on BookLikes. If you liked our authors' picks, you can easily add all books to your shelf through the Reading List: 20 great summer reads picked by authors ->
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