While we're all looking forward to getting out and about this summer, I think we're all also really looking forward to an end to the dark days and just stretching out on the sand for a few hours, soaking up some rays. And the best past time while you do that? A good book!
There's a reason why beach reads are synonymous with relaxation – a really good book is something you can lose yourself in and forget the world around you. So we've picked the summer's top releases to watch out for on your bookshop shelves this summer so you can lose yourself while sitting out in the sunshine! Check them out below and preorder them from the links in the title!
Two friends. Ten summer trips. Their last chance to fall in love.
12 Summers ago: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other and are pretty confident they'll never speak again.
11 Summers ago: They're forced to share a ride home from university and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.
10 Summers ago: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver. Poppy holds his hand the whole way.
7 Summers ago: They get way too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.
2 Summers ago: It all goes wrong.
This summer: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. Could this holiday make them realise they’re not just friends after all?
The perfect summery read, this book will delight fans of Beth O’Leary and Sophie Cousens!
Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruel acts of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.
Here is the electrifying debut novel from Lisa Taddeo, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Three Women, which was named to more than thirty best-of-the-year lists and hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “a heartbreaking, gripping, astonishing masterpiece” (Esquire). Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society. With writing that scorches and mesmerises, Taddeo illustrates one woman’s exhilarating transformation from prey into predator.
Mary is a difficult grandmother for Durga to love. She is sharp-tongued and ferocious, with more demons than there are lines on her palms. When Durga visits her in rural Malaysia, she only wants to endure Mary, and the dark memories home brings, for as long as it takes to escape.
But a reckoning is coming. Stuck together in in the rising heat, both women must untangle the truth from the myth of their family's past.What happened to Durga's mother after she gave birth? Why did so many of their family members disappear during the war? And who is to blame for the childhood tragedy that haunts her to this day?
In her stunning debut novel Catherine Menon traces one family's story from 1920 to the present, unravelling a thrilling tale of love, betrayal and redemption against the backdrop of natural disasters and fallen empires. Written in vivid technicolour, with an electric daughter-grandmother relationship at its heart, Fragile Monsters explores what happens when secrets fester through the generations.
As they will learn, in a place ravaged by floods, it is only a matter of time before the bones of the past emerge.
‘The Perfect Life’ opens with a woman – Catherine, she softly introduces herself as – who is house viewing a stunning palatial mansion. She seems refined, put-together, with a life you might covet on Instagram. But soon we realise that everything isn’t as it seems – because those aren’t her clothes, that’s not her voice, and Catherine isn’t her name. This viewing is about to go very wrong.
Nuala Ellwood takes fantasizing about having a nicer life to the next level in this heart-racing thriller.
Haven’t you ever wanted to be someone else?
Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.
That's how it started: looking round houses she couldn't possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn't.
Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.
And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…
It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.
Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.
These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.
Moving from the Tuscan Hills, to the smog of the East End and the piazzas of Florence, Still Life is a sweeping, mischievous, richly-peopled novel about beauty, love, family and fate.
Gerry Hussey is Ireland's leading health and performance coach and founder of the incredible movement Soul Space. Here in his first book, ‘Awaken Your Power Within’, he brings us on an open, honest and mind-blowing human encounter that takes us inside the heart and mind of a young boy who dared to ask deeper questions about the mind and soul.
With amazing insights, life lessons, and powerful meditations ‘Awaken Your Power Within’ unlocks the truths about how we experience the world and shows us how we can break free from unconscious, self-limiting beliefs, habits, emotions and thinking patterns to reshape and reclaim our inner world, enabling us to live as our truest and most powerful self.
From letting go of the fear of not being enough, to overcoming the dis-ease of distraction, to opening up to a deeper level of consciousness, ‘Awaken Your Power Within’ is a powerful guide for all ages, one which takes us on a path of discovery to a deeper understanding of who we truly are and the limitless possibilities of which we are all capable.
I have killed several people (some brutally, others calmly) and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit.
When I think about what I actually did, I feel somewhat sad that nobody will ever know about the complex operation that I undertook. Getting away with it is highly preferable, of course, but perhaps when I’m long gone, someone will open an old safe and find this confession. The public would reel. After all, almost nobody else in the world can possibly understand how someone, by the tender age of 28, can have calmly killed six members of her family. And then happily got on with the rest of her life, never to regret a thing.
When Grace Bernard discovers her absentee millionaire father has rejected her dying mother’s pleas for help, she vows revenge, and sets about to kill every member of his family. Readers have a front row seat as Grace picks off the family one by one – and the result is as and gruesome as it is entertaining in this wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.
But then Grace is imprisoned for a murder she didn’t commit.
Outrageously funny, compulsive and subversive, perfect for fans of Killing Eve and My Sister, the Serial Killer.
Reunions. Recriminations. Reckonings.
Ireland. Great nationalists, bad mothers and a whole lot of secrets. Ryan Cusack is ready to deliver its soundtrack.
Former sex-worker Georgie wants the truth about Ryan's past out there but the journalist has her own agenda. Mel returns from Brexit Britain, ill-equipped to deal with the resurgence of a family scandal. Karine has always been sure of herself, till a terrible secret tugs the rug from under her. Maureen has got wind that things are changing, and if anyone's telling the story she wants to make sure it's her.
A riotous blast of sex, scandal, obsession, love, feminism, gender, music, class and transgression from an author with tremendous, singular talent.
Two husbands dead; a life marred by sadness. And now Katharine is in love for the first time in her life.
The eye of an ageing and dangerous king falls upon her. She cannot refuse him. She must stifle her feelings and never betray that she wanted another.
And now she is the sixth wife. Her queenship is a holy mission yet, fearfully, she dreams of the tragic parade of women who went before her. She cherishes the secret beliefs that could send her to the fire. And still the King loves and trusts her.
Now her enemies are closing in. She must fight for her very life.
Katharine Parr – the last of Henry’s queens.
Alison Weir recounts the extraordinary story of a woman forced into a perilous situation and rising heroically to the challenge. Katharine is a delightful woman, a warm and kindly heroine – and yet she will be betrayed by those she loves and trusts most.
Too late, the truth will dawn on her.
One missing boy.
Marissa Irvine arrives at 14 Tudor Grove, expecting to pick up her young son Milo from his first playdate with a boy at his new school. But the woman who answers the door isn't a mother she recognises. She isn't the nanny. She doesn't have Milo. And so begins every parent's worst nightmare.
Four guilty women.
As news of the disappearance filters through the quiet Dublin suburb and an unexpected suspect is named, whispers start to spread about the women most closely connected to the shocking event. Because only one of them may have taken Milo – but they could all be blamed…
In a community full of secrets, who is really at fault?
It's the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.
As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus?
But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?
Missing persons don't always stay that way.
Sandrine lives alone, rarely speaking to anyone other than her colleagues. She is resigned to her solitary life, until she sees on TV a man despairing for his wife who has mysteriously disappeared. Sandrine is drawn to him and eventually the two strike up a relationship. When the man's wife reappears, Sandrine is forced to confront the truth about him.
Is he all she thought he was, or is he hiding an abusive and manipulative character? Who can she trust – the man she loves now, or the woman he loved first?
In Maylis de Kerangal's Painting Time, we are introduced to the burgeoning young artist Paula Karst, who is enrolled at the famous Institut de Peinture in Brussels. Unlike the friends she makes at school, Paula strives to understand the specifics of what she's painting–replicating a wood's essence or a marble's wear requires method, technique, and talent, she finds, but also something else: craftsmanship. She resolutely chooses the painstaking demands of craft over the abstraction of high art.
With the attention of a documentary filmmaker, de Kerangal follows Paula's apprenticeship, punctuated by brushstrokes, hard work, sleepless nights, sore muscles, and long, festive evenings. After completing her studies at the Institute, Paula continues to practice her art in Paris, in Moscow, then in Italy on the sets of great films, all as if rehearsing for a grand finale: at a job working on Lascaux IV, a facsimile reproduction of the world's most famous paleolithic cave art and the apotheosis of human cultural expression.
An enchanted, atmospheric, and highly aesthetic coming-of-age novel, Painting Time is an intimate and unsparing exploration of craft, inspiration, and the contours of the contemporary art world. As she did in her acclaimed novels The Heart and The Cook, Maylis de Kerangal unravels a tightly wound professional world to reveal the beauty within.
Once a social worker specializing in kids who were the victims of violent crime, Elle Castillo is now the host of a popular true crime podcast that tackles cold cases of missing children in her hometown of the Twin Cities. After two seasons of successfully solving cases, Elle decides to tackle her white whale—The Countdown Killer. Twenty years ago, TCK abruptly stopped after establishing a pattern of taking and ritualistically murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why—why he stopped with his eleventh victim, a girl of eleven years old, or why he followed the ritual at all.
When a listener phones in with a tip, Elle sets out to interview him, only to discover his dead body. And within days, a child is abducted following the original TCK MO. Unlike the experts in the media and law enforcement who have always spun theories of a guilty suicide, Elle never believed TCK had died, and her investigation was meant to lay that suspicion to rest. But instead, her podcast seems to be kicking up new victims.
Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right…
Starting work on her new project – photographing murder houses – she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the draughty house that overlooked the bay, the feeling of being nowhere, the memory of her childhood friend Shirley Craigie and the devastating familicide of her family by the father, John Craigie.
Arriving at the Craigie house, Cath finds that it's occupied by financial analyst Alice Rahman. Her bid to escape the city lifestyle, the anxiety she felt in that world, led her to leave London and settle on the island. The strangeness of the situation brings them closer, leading them to reinvestigate the Craigie murder. Now, within the walls of the Craigie house, Cath can uncover the nefarious truths and curious nature of John Craigie: his hidden obsession with the work of Richard Dadd and the local myths of the fairy folk.
The Good Neighbours is an enquiry into the unknowability of the past and our attempts to make events fit our need to interpret them; the fallibility of recollection; the power of myths in shaping human narratives. Nina Allan skilfully weaves the imagined and the real to create a magically haunting story of memory, obsession and the liminal spaces that our minds frequent to escape trauma.
To mark the anniversary of a death in the family, Kate meticulously plans a dinner party – from the fancy table setting to the perfect baked alaska waiting in the freezer. But by the end of the night, old tensions have flared, the guests are gone, and Kate is spinning out of control.
Set between from the 1990s and the present day, from Carlow to Dublin, the family farmhouse to Trinity College, Dinner Party is a beautifully observed, dark and twisty novel that thrillingly unravels into family secrets and tragedy.
Haunting and unforgettable, it explores how the past informs the present, the inevitability of childhood damage resurfacing in later life – and yet how, despite everything, we can't help returning home.