These are the thrilling, historical, and heartwarming books you’ll want to tote to the beach all summer.

By Jessica Dukes

Sand in your drink? Annoying. Sand in your book? Somehow charming. Any of these would make a perfect vacation book so raise a beach umbrella, relax with one of these summer reads, and pause for a moment to realize that life doesn’t get much better than this.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Tom and his son, Jake, are hoping that a move to a new town will give them the space they need to grieve the sudden death of their wife and mother. Unfortunately, their new town is dealing with an old nemesis: “The Whisper Man” – a jailed serial killer who appears to have a partner on the outside and their first victim, a young boy. When Jake starts hearing whispers at his window, a new nightmare begins.

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The Silent Patient - Celadon Books

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berensen’s beautiful life dissolves in an instant when, for no understandable reason, she shoots and kills her husband. Her following silence captures the public’s imagination and feeds the wild rumors about their lives. When a criminal psychotherapist, Theo Faber, finally gets to study Alicia, what he uncovers is a plot twist so shocking you’ll have to read it twice to believe it.

Cape May by Chip Cheek

Cape May by Chip Cheek

Newlyweds Henry and Effie have just arrived in the quaint beach town of Cape May, New Jersey, when they meet an enigmatic couple, Clara and Max. What follows is a whirlwind of parties and erotic adventures that, unfortunately, Henry and Effie aren’t at all ready to navigate as a couple. Swept into Clara and Max’s dramatic world, their exploits lead to some difficult conversations about marriage, sexuality, and their future together.

A Nearly Normal Family Book Cover

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

Imagine that your ordinary teenager is suddenly in the middle of a murder investigation, accused of killing a shady businessman. Of course your first reaction is to protect your child, but what if you can’t? What if the law isn’t on your side? What if you develop questions about your child’s life to which there are no answers? Watching the Sandell family tackle these moments makes it the family saga of the summer.

We Love Anderson Cooper by R.L. Maizes

We Love Anderson Cooper by R.L. Maizes

The characters in Maizes’ debut collection are all struggling with their identities and taking risks, trying to live their best lives. Some, happy to say, are more successful than others. Her eleven short stories are equally heartwarming and emotional to read – there’s a lot of human tension and unexpected epiphanies packed into a few thousand words.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

The luxurious Hudson Valley retreat is every pregnant woman’s dream, unless you want to leave. Jane, a Pilipino immigrant, learns the hard way that once she agrees to be a “host” for a wealthy couple’s baby, she is detained at The Farm and constantly monitored with no outside communication. Any misstep, no matter the tragedies her family is facing back home, and she risks losing the life-changing payment she’ll receive upon delivering the child.

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

At long last, the author of The Silence of the Lambs has delivered another spine-tingling thriller. Cari Mora is the caretaker of Pablo Escobar’s mansion in Miami, where he allegedly hid a thousand pounds of cartel gold before his death. Hans-Peter Schneider is a sex-trafficking treasure hunter who has plans for both the gold and Cari. She’s tougher and wiser than Schneider expects, but can she get out of Miami alive?

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

Berlin in the 1930s was an intellectual and cultural playground for Mildred Fish, her husband, and her friends. But the rise of the Nazi Party put their lives on a different path – one of resistance. Mildred and her friends work their journalist and government contacts for intel which they pass to Nazi enemies, until the day that their work is exposed and their lives become a fight for survival.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Peter and Katie have known each other their whole lives. Their families are neighbors in a tranquil suburb, close friends until a tragedy drives a wedge between their mothers. As adults, Peter and Katie grow close even as the heartbreak of the past tests their love for each other in unimaginable ways, over decades, while childhood memories complicate their lives.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It’s the 1970s, and music is supercharged with power and sexuality like never before. So when an L.A. producer introduces sultry Daisy Jones to a hot band called The Six, rock and roll legends are born. Daisy and the other lead, Billy, clash often and publicly, but they also work in perfect harmony to create one of the biggest groups of the decade. Hold on to your seats because the higher they rise, the harder they fall.

American Spy

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

Being a young, black, female FBI agent at the height of the Cold War has its challenges. Marie’s biggest case yet has her investigating the Communist president of Burkina Faso, and within a year she has infiltrated his administration, seduced him, and played a key role in his coup. She also may have fallen in love, and now has to live with the guilt of a grand betrayal, executed in the name of her country.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Frannie Langton is a former slave from a Jamaican sugar plantation, and a current servant at a wealthy home in London. She is accused of murdering her employer and his wife, and her trial is the talk of the town. As Langton retells salacious stories from her past – including a relationship with her employer – her verdict is not just an indictment of herself, but of English society as a whole.

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

Chandra is a busy economist, a divorced father of three, and is on the verge of a mid-life crisis. The stress of his highly-competitive job will certainly be a threat to his life if he doesn’t change. Right on time, he is involved in a minor accident and is placed under doctor’s orders to relax. It’s a joy to watch a tightly-wound professor slowly unwind as he travels (and lets a few stray threads of his life waft in warm ocean breezes) – a reminder for all of us to find a little bliss.

The Guest Book

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

Kitty and Ogden Milton used their considerable wealth to purchase Crockett’s Island off the coast of Maine in the 1930s, but now the grandchildren are unable to afford its opulent upkeep. As the family debates whether to sell, long-buried secrets emerge, opening old wounds for a family struggling to come to terms with the ugly bigotry in their past.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

Is Stella Fortuna cursed? This is what she and everyone around her want to know, for just when it looks like Stella is about to die a grisly death, she narrowly escapes. Now, her scariest moment of all may be the life-changing move from Italy to Connecticut on the eve of WWII. As Stella and her sister come of age in an unfamiliar country, family pressures to be traditional Italian women threaten to tear them apart, sending Stella on a search for an escape she needs more than ever.

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