Summer was made for reading—or is it the other way around? Either way, we’re super excited about our to-be-read pile for the long, relaxing days that lie ahead. Whether you’re looking for a good laugh, a good thrill, or maybe even some good gossip, these titles will keep you entertained all season.
“The Life She Was Given” // Ellen Marie Wiseman (Kensington)
On a summer night in 1931, young Lilly Blackwood is allowed out of her attic room at Blackwood Manor by her mother for the very first time—only to be sold to the circus. She quickly goes from sideshow spectacle to star, but then tragedy strikes. Two decades later, Julia Blackwood inherits Blackwood Manor from her parents, and along with it unhappy memories of a strict childhood. Julia hopes that a return to her family’s home might give her a fresh start, but she is soon swept up into secrets involving a forbidden attic room and mysterious circus photos. The novel weaves together the stories of both women to produce a tale of family betrayal that is both hopeful as it is heartbreaking.
“Ten Dead Comedians” // Fred Van Lente (Quirk)
What happens when show business mixes with an Agatha Christie mystery? You get Van Lente’s satirical debut. Nine comics of various levels of celebrity convene at the island retreat of Hollywood legend Dustin Walker. Upon arrival, they find that the island is abandoned—and there’s no cell phone signal. One by one, the nine unfortunate guests are killed—but who’s the murderer? This dark yet humorous version of “And Then There Were None” will have you glued to your beach chair this summer.
“Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life” // Jen Hatmaker (Thomas Nelson)
Women are beautiful and strong. They are also confused, make mistakes, and are otherwise less than perfect. Hatmaker—aka Big Sister Emeritus and Chief BFF—is here to remind us that there is no “right” way of doing things. In fact, if it feels like whatever you’re doing is hard, it means that you’re living life. With her trademark hilarity and honesty, this book dishes up a whole lot of hope for women who need a refill on their moxie.
“Impossible Views of the World” // Lucy Ives (Penguin Press)
It’s been a heck of a week for Stella Krakus, a museum curator in Manhattan. She’s being stalked by her ex-husband, her budding workplace romance is about to fizzle out, and she is the reluctant star of a viral video. Then Paul, one of her favorite colleagues, goes missing. Could his disappearance have anything to do with the sponsor of the current museum exhibit, a Belgian multinational whose love of the arts is eclipsed only by a desire to take control of the world’s water supply? As Stella searches to uncover secrets about the missing Paul, she slowly attempts to make sense of her own crazed life.
“The Identicals” // Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown & Company)
Harper Frost and her twin sister Tabitha might look alike, but they are polar opposites in just about everything. On Martha’s Vineyard, Harper’s life is in shambles: She’s living in a rundown house inherited from her father, she lost yet another job, and her romantic life is fodder for gossip. On Nantucket, Tabitha isn’t having a much easier time: She’s struggling to raise a rebellious teen daughter, and her fashion boutique is about to be a bust. For one summer, the sisters decide to put aside their sibling rivalry and swap locations in an attempt to rebuild their lives. There’s only one thing for sure with their plan–it won’t be a drama-free summer.
“Blind Item” // Kevin Dickson & Jack Ketsoyan (Imprint)
Nicola is an assistant publicist on the rise in Hollywood. But she’s broken one of her cardinal rules: Never mix work with pleasure. So when she starts dating a movie star, Nicola finds that she is about to be on the wrong side of the scoop. Her best friend Billy is looking out for her as he lurks around La La Land for the latest gossip to sell to tabloids, and her stylist roommate Kara is there to lend support, even though she has her eyes on reality TV stardom. Can Ohio native Nicola survive Hollywood, where salacious scandals are always afoot and secrets always have a price tag?
The Inside Scoop on “Blind Item”
Hollywood is known for glitz, glamour, and gossip. No one knows that better than entertainment journalist Kevin Dickson and celebrity publicist Jack Ketsoyan. Their careers, which have collectively spanned decades of red carpet shenanigans, A-list scandals, and social media meltdowns, led them to write the highly anticipated novel, “Blind Item.”
There was never a lack of inspiration for their work in celebrity media. According to Dickson, “We had so much stuff we were talking about that we could never print. But we wouldn’t want to print it,” he says. “Ultimately, you don’t want to just destroy someone’s life.” So the authors kicked around the idea of a novel as a way to do something with all the juicy stories they had, and “Blind Item” was born.
Ketsoyan’s celebrity clients would approve. “All my clients know I wrote the book, and 90 percent of them have read it,” he says. As for the other 10 percent, “I assured them that they are not in the book,” Ketsoyan explains.
The Last Gunslinger vs. the Man in Black
At long last, the film version of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” is set to arrive in theaters this August. The last gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) must outwit Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), known as the Man in Black, who is intent on destroying the Dark Tower—and the universe along with it. No one writes a better tale of good vs. evil than King, and we can’t wait to see how this one plays out on the big screen.
By: Barbara Bellesi