Though summer’s already been here for a few weeks in the northern hemisphere, July 4th is quintessential summer. A perfect time to line up your summer reading, whatever that looks like. For me, its a rom com or a delightful fantasy I can fully escape into. If you’re looking for some ideas on what to read over your holiday weekend and beyond, we have a fantastic list with choices for every kind of mood.
The Housekeepers by Alex Hay
Start your July 4th weekend off with a heist! This delightful, page-turning clever novel will keep you occupied for hours by the pool, beach, or wherever your favorite reading spot this summer might be.
Synopsis: Mrs. King is no ordinary housekeeper. Born into a world of con artists and thieves, she’s made herself respectable, running the grandest home in Mayfair. The place is packed with treasures, a glittering symbol of wealth and power, but dark secrets lurk in the shadows.
When Mrs. King is suddenly dismissed from her position, she recruits an eclectic group of women to join her in revenge: A black market queen out to settle her scores. An actress desperate for a magnificent part. A seamstress dreaming of a better life. And Mrs. King’s predecessor, with her own desire for vengeance.
Their plan? On the night of the house’s highly anticipated costume ball–set to be the most illustrious of the year–they will rob it of its every possession, right under the noses of the distinguished guests and their elusive heiress host. But there’s one thing Mrs. King wants even more than money: the truth. And she’ll run any risk to get it…
After all, one should never underestimate the women downstairs.
Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Another delightful rom-com to relax with this summer is Rachel Lynn Solomon’s bookish romance about a ghost-writer and her celebrity client.
Synopsis: Chandler Cohen has never felt more like the ghost in “ghostwriter” until she attends a signing for a book she wrote—and the author doesn’t even recognize her. The evening turns more promising when she meets a charming man at the bar and immediately connects with him. But when all their sexual tension culminates in a spectacularly awkward hookup, she decides this is one night better off forgotten.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Her next project is ghostwriting a memoir for Finn Walsh, a C-list actor best known for playing a lovable nerd on a cult classic werewolf show who now makes a living appearing at fan conventions across the country. But Chandler knows him better from their one-night stand of hilarious mishaps.
Chandler’s determined to keep their partnership as professional as possible, but when she admits to Finn their night together wasn’t as mind-blowing as he thought it was, he’s distraught. He intrigues her enough that they strike a deal: when they’re not working on his book, Chandler will school Finn in the art of satisfaction. As they grow closer both in and out of the bedroom, they must figure out which is more important, business or pleasure—or if there’s a way for them to have both.
I Want To Be Spaghetti by Keira Wright-Ruiz, illustrated by Claudia Lam
How original is this picture book? A pack of ramen wants to be spaghetti. I think everyone regardless of age can find something to enjoy about this adorable book.
Synopsis: Even from Ramen’s small shelf in the supermarket, they see spaghetti propaganda everywhere. They want to be celebrated, too. Maybe, Ramen misguidedly thinks, I have to change to be loved like that. “I want to be spaghetti!” they proclaim to the dismay of the rest of the instant noodle section.
But when Ramen’s brought home and placed in a warm bowl of broth alongside new friends like Chashu, Narutomaki, and Nori, they realize they’ve always been perfect exactly the way they are.
Release Date: July 11, 2023, via Kokila. Order Here.
A Lady’s Guide to Scandal by Sophie Irwin
Are you eagerly awaiting the next season of Bridgerton? Desperate for some historical romance to read as you bide your time? Sophie Irwin’s delightful new novel should help.
Synopsis: When shy Miss Eliza Balfour married the austere Earl of Somerset, twenty years her senior, it was the match of the season–no matter that he was not the husband Eliza wanted. Now, ten years later, Eliza is widowed. Suddenly, she is left titled, rich, and, for the first time in her life, utterly in control of her own future. She’s always lived by society’s conventions, but now, Eliza has resolved to do as she wants. And what she wants is to head to Bath with her cousin Margaret, pursue painting, learn to drive, and flirt with Bath’s most alluring new resident, the infamous Lord Melville.
But when the ripples of Eliza’s behavior reach her late husband’s nephew–who broke Eliza’s heart, years ago–Eliza will learn that freedom does not come without consequences. The only way to ensure she can keep her fortune is to avoid all scandal–but where’s the fun in that?
Hope In The Valley by Mitali Perkins
National book award nominee Mitali Perkins’ heartfelt, timely middle-grade novel is a beautiful and important read for all ages this summer.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Indian-American Pandita Paul doesn’t like change. She’s not ready to start middle school and leave the comforts of childhood behind. Most of all, Pandita doesn’t want to feel like she’s leaving her mother, who died a few years ago, behind. After a falling out with her best friend, Pandita is planning to spend most of her summer break reading and writing in her favorite secret space: the abandoned but majestic mansion across the street.
But then the unthinkable happens. The town announces that the old home will be bulldozed in favor of new—maybe affordable—housing. With her family on opposing sides of the issue, Pandita must find her voice—and the strength to move on—in order to give her community hope.
A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow
If space operas are more your speed, Alechia Dow’s original and much anticipated novel, A Song of Salvation, deserves a top spot on your July TBR list!
Synopsis: Zaira Citlali is supposed to die. After all, she’s the god Indigo reborn. Indigo, whose song created the universe and unified people across galaxies to banish Ozvios, the god of destruction. Although Zaira has never been able to harness Indigo’s powers, the Ilori Emperor wants to sacrifice her in Ozvios’s honor. Unless she escapes and finds Wesley, the boy prophesied to help her defeat Ozvios and the Ilori, once and for all.
Wesley Daniels didn’t ask for this. He just wants to work as a smuggler so he can save enough money to explore the stars. Once he completes his biggest job yet—bringing wanted celebrity Rubin Rima to a strange planet called Earth—he’ll be set for life. But when his path crosses with Zaira, he soon finds himself in the middle of an intergalactic war with more responsibility than he bargained for.
Together, Zaira, Wesley, and Rubin must find their way to Earth and unlock Zaira’s powers if they’re going to have any hope of saving the universe from total destruction.
Release Date: July 11, 2023, via Inkyard Press. Order Here.
A Guide To The Dark by Meriam Metoui
If you love haunting and uncanny reads a la Haunting of Hill House, you’ll want to pick up Meriam Metoui’s YA horror novel. And you’ll want to check out the photographs taken by the author to accompany the book!
Synopsis: Something is building, simmering just out of reach. The room is watching. But Mira and Layla don’t know this yet. When the two best friends are stranded on their spring break college tour road trip, they find themselves at the Wildwood Motel, located in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Mira can’t shake the feeling that there is something wrong and rotten about their room. Inside, she’s haunted by nightmares of her dead brother.
When she wakes up, he’s still there. Layla doesn’t see him. Or notice anything suspicious about Room 9. The place may be a little run down, but it has a certain charm she can’t wait to capture on camera. If Layla is being honest, she’s too preoccupied with confusing feelings for Mira to see much else. But when they learn eight people died in that same room, they realize there must be a connection between the deaths and the unexplainable things that keep happening inside it. They just have to find the connection before Mira becomes the ninth. Readers won’t be able to put down this edge-of-your-seat thriller that includes over thirty interior black and white photos by the author!
Release Date: July 18, 2023, via Henry Holt & Company. Order Here.
Clementine and Danny Save the World (and Each Other) by Livia Blackburne
Two teens join forces to save a local teashop, unaware that their online personas have been rivals for years. I’m sensing Tweet Cute energy from this one and I’m excited.
Clementine Chan believes in the power of the written word. Under the pseudonym Hibiscus, she runs a popular blog reviewing tea shops and discussing larger issues within her Chinatown community. She has a loyal, kind following, save for this one sour grape named BobaBoy888.
Danny Mok is allergic to change, and the gentrification seeping into Chinatown breaks his heart. He channels his frustration into his internet alter ego, BobaBoy888, bickering with local blogger Hibiscus over all things Chinatown and tea.
When a major corporation reveals plans that threaten to shut down the Mok’s beloved tea shop, Clementine and Danny find themselves working together in real life to save this community they both love. But as they fall hard for this cause–and each other–they have no clue that their online personas have been fighting for years.
When the truth comes to light, can Danny and Clementine still find their happily-ever-after?
Release Date: July 18, 2023, via HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Order Here.
A Book For Bear by Ellen Ramsey, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley
I have a weakness for picture books about bears. Add in a bear who loves books and I don’t care that its a picture book, I want it. If you’re like me or have any littles in your life, you NEED this book. You may read it again and again with them, but it’s so cute you won’t mind.
Synopsis: In this charming and heartfelt story, a book-loving bear and a book-loving girl hatch a plan to find the perfect book for them to read together. Bear loves books. When Bear decides he wants a book of his very own, he and his best friend, Ellen, hatch a plan. But sneaking a bear into school, a library, and a bookstore proves to be harder than they thought. Will Bear ever find a book of his very own?
Release Date: July 18, 2023, via Flamingo Books. Order Here.
The Weaver and The Witch King by Genevieve Gornichec
Norse retellings (especially feminist ones) are always buzzworthy and this powerful novel by Genevieve Gornichec is no exception.
Synopsis: Oddny and Gunnhild meet as children in tenth century Norway, and they could not be more different: Oddny hopes for a quiet life, while Gunnhild burns for power and longs to escape her cruel mother. But after a visiting wisewoman makes an ominous prophecy that involves Oddny, her sister Signy, and Gunnhild, the three girls take a blood oath to help one another always.
When Oddny’s farm is destroyed and Signy is kidnapped by Viking raiders, Oddny is set adrift from the life she imagined—but she’s determined to save her sister no matter the cost, even as she finds herself irresistibly drawn to one of the raiders who participated in the attack. And in the far north, Gunnhild, who fled her home years ago to learn the ways of a witch, is surprised to find her destiny seems to be linked with that of the formidable King Eirik, heir apparent to the ruler of all Norway.
But the bonds—both enchanted and emotional—that hold the two women together are strong, and when they find their way back to each other, these bonds will be tested in ways they never could have foreseen in this deeply moving novel of magic, history, and sworn sisterhood.
To Have and To Heist by Sara Desai
Doesn’t a heist rom-com sound incredible? The potential for high-stakes romance is too good to pass up. Definitely a contender for best beach read of the summer!
Synopsis: Simi Chopra is on a bad-luck streak. She’s lost yet another job, her student loan debt won’t stop growing, her basement apartment is a certifiable flood zone, and now her best friend has been accused of stealing a multimillion-dollar diamond necklace. To put it lightly, she’s desperate for a break–that’s right when Jack waltzes out of the bushes and into her life. Jack is just as charming as he is mysterious. When he offers to help her find the missing necklace and steal it back, Simi jumps at the chance to clear her friend’s name and collect the substantial reward.
But every good heist needs a crew. All she needs to do is transform a ragtag group of strangers into an elite heist crew, infiltrate a high-society wedding and steal the necklace from a dangerous criminal before the happy couple say “I do.” Meanwhile the bride is keeping secrets, a detective with a slow-burn smile keeps showing up at her door, and the ultimate robbery might not be the wedding con, but the way Jack is stealing her heart.
Release Date: July 25, 2023, via Berkley. Order Here.
Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington
Fans of Ace of Spades should check out this YA thriller about a Black teen who will do anything to regain her place at the Ivy League school she was blacklisted from, including joining a competition where the stakes are deadly.
Synopsis: You must work twice as hard to get half as much.
Adina Walker has known this the entire time she’s been on scholarship at the prestigious Edgewater Academy—a school for the rich (and mostly white) upper class of New England. It’s why she works so hard to be perfect and above reproach, no matter what she must force beneath the surface. Even one slip can cost you everything.
And it does. One fight, one moment of lost control, leaves Adina blacklisted from her top choice Ivy League college and any other. Her only chance to regain the future she’s sacrificed everything for is the Finish, a high-stakes contest sponsored by Edgewater’s founding family in which twelve young, ambitious women with exceptional promise are selected to compete in three mysterious the Ride, the Raid, and the Royale. The winner will be granted entry into the fold of the Remington family, whose wealth and power can open any door.
But when she arrives at the Finish, Adina quickly gets the feeling that something isn’t quite right with both the Remingtons and her competition, and soon it becomes clear that this larger-than-life prize can only come at an even greater cost. Because the Finish’s stakes aren’t just make or break…they’re life and death.
Adina knows the deck is stacked against her—it always has been—so maybe the only way to survive their vicious games is for her to change the rules.
Release Date: July 25, 2023, via Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
All Alone With You by Amelia Diane Coombs
This book is described as “in the vein of Jenn Bennett” and Jenn Bennett is an insta-read author for me so I knew I was going to like it before I even read the rest of the synopsis. And since the characters involved have a grumpy-sunshine dynamic (which we can all agree is the best) I think this book is going to be a delight.
Synopsis: Eloise Deane is the worst and doesn’t care who knows it. She’s grumpy, prefers to be alone, and is just slogging through senior year with one goal: get accepted to USC and move to California. So when her guidance counselor drops the bombshell that to score a scholarship she’ll desperately need, her applications require volunteer hours, Eloise is up for the challenge. Until she’s paired with LifeCare, a volunteer agency that offers social support to lonely seniors through phone calls and visits. Basically, it’s a total nightmare for Eloise’s anxiety. Eloise realizes she’s made a huge mistake–especially when she’s paired with Austin, the fellow volunteer who’s the sunshine to her cloudy day.
But as Eloise and Austin work together to keep Marianne Landis–the mysterious former frontwoman of the 1970s band the Laundromats–company, something strange happens. She actually…likes Marianne and Austin? Eloise isn’t sure what to do with that, especially when her feelings toward Austin begin to blur into more-than-friends territory. And when ex-girlfriends, long-buried wounds, and insecurities reappear, Eloise will have a choice to make: go all in with Marianne and Austin or get out before she gets hurt.
Release Date: July 25, 2023, via Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Order Here.
Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto
Are dark fantasies having a moment? Or are they always having a moment? Because some of the best books I’ve read have been dark fantasies, such as Gideon The Ninth and The Bone Houses and I need to read more. If you feel the same, pick up Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto.
Synopsis: Ready your blade. Defeat the undead. In the Dominions, the dead linger, violent and unpredictable, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its earthly remains. For bonesmith Wren, becoming a valkyr–a ghost-fighting warrior–is a chance to solidify her place in the noble House of Bone and impress her frequently absent father. But when sabotage causes Wren to fail her qualifying trial, she is banished to the Border Wall, the last line of defense against a wasteland called the Breach where the vicious dead roam unchecked.
Determined to reclaim her family’s respect, Wren gets her chance when a House of Gold prince is kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To prove she has what it takes to be a valkyr, Wren vows to cross the Breach and rescue the prince. But to do so, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with one of the kidnappers–a fierce ironsmith called Julian from the exiled House of Iron, the very people who caused the Breach in the first place…and the House of Bone’s sworn enemy. As they travel, Wren and Julian spend as much time fighting each other as they do the undead, but when they discover there’s more behind the kidnapping than either of them knew, they’ll need to work together to combat the real danger: a dark alliance that is brewing between the living and the undead.
Release Date: July 25, 2023, via Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Order Here.
House of Root and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
I’ve been captivated by Erin A. Craig’s writing since reading House of Salt and Sorrows and have been hooked on her gothic fantasy writing ever since. This book has been highly-anticipated for me since I first heard it mentioned on social media.
Synopsis: In a manor by the sea, one sister is still cursed.
Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family’s estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia. When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem–wife of a celebrated botanist–is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won’t allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she’s kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts, she just doesn’t know it.
Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and–with nowhere else to turn–makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance . . . blossoms. But it’s not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet façade. . . .
Release Date: July 25, 2023, via Delacorte Press. Order Here.
Ghosted by Amanda Quain
Jane Austen fans rejoice. Amanda Quain has written another fantastic retelling, with wit and a slowburn romance Jane herself would be proud of.
Synopsis: Hattie Tilney isn’t a believer. Yes, she’s a senior at America’s most (allegedly) haunted high school, Northanger Abbey. But ever since her paranormal-loving dad passed away, she’s hung up her Ghostbusters suit, put away the EMF detectors, and moved on. She has enough to worry about in the land of the living–like taking care of her younger brother, Liam, while their older sister spirals out and their mother, Northanger’s formidable headmistress, buries herself in work. If Hattie just tries hard enough and keeps that overachiever mask on tight through graduation, maybe her mom will finally notice her.
But the mask starts slipping when Hattie’s assigned to be an ambassador to Kit Morland, who’s just transferred to Northanger on–what else–a ghost-hunting scholarship. The two are paired up for an investigative project on the school’s paranormal activity, and Hattie quickly strikes a deal: Kit will present whatever ghostly evidence he can find to prove that the campus is haunted, and Hattie will prove it’s not. But as they explore the abandoned tunnels and foggy graveyards of Northanger, Hattie starts to realize that Kit might be the kind of person who makes her want to believe in something–and someone–for the first time. With her signature wit and slow-burn romance, Amanda Quain turns another Austen classic on its head in this sparkling retelling that proves sometimes the ghosts are just a metaphor after all.
Release Date: July 25, 2023, via Wednesday Books. Order Here.