The hottest books. June 2013.
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There’s something about June. Even if you don’t have kids on summer vacation or work for a company that indulges in “summer Fridays,” after Memorial Day you can’t help thinking about long afternoons at the beach or by the pool. And what is the most essential of summer accessories? Without question, it is a good book. Whether you’re headed on vacation or simply wish you were, we have a host of fabulous books for you this month, all of them ready to take you away. â€“ Jen Karsbaek
The Testing by Joelle Charbanneau (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, June 4) Fans of young adult dystopians, get ready for a new series to obsess over. Charbonneau’s The Testing is an incredibly engaging story with a wonderfully strong main character. The Testing’s fast pace and intriguing world building will make readers race to the end and anxiously anticipate the next book in the trilogy.  —Jen Karsbaek, Devourer of Books

Editor's Pick: Charbonneau's series is inventive, smart - and best of all - addictive. —Jen
The Lavender Garden, by Lucinda Riley (Atria Books, June 11) There is much to love about this book, with its focus on the French Resistance and the tough women of the SEO; the depth of its characters and its Gothic elements; its old château and its library. Do you like historical novels set in France during World War II? This book is a must. —Emma Cazabonne, Words and Peace

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand (Reagan Arthur Books, June 25) A “family without its mother,” the Carmichaels keenly feel the loss of Beth as they prepare for Jenna’s wedding with a notebook Beth left behind, making suggestions for the big day. But as the bride and groom’s families come together in Elin Hilderbrand’s Beautiful Day, they prove even the most loving family is ultimately dysfunctional. — Jennifer Ravey, The Picky Girl
Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa by Benjamin Constable (Gallery Books, June 4) Benjamin Constable’s friend has disappeared, leaving behind a mysterious suicide note and a trail of strange e-mail messages, journals, and pieces of her past hidden in public for him to find. Suspense and humor blend together to the tail end of Benjamin Constable’s journey. Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa is an unexpected, playful jaunt, woven by an author with a talent for navigating language that you won't want to miss. —Shannon Nemer, River City Reading
Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Harper, June 4) How far do family ties stretch? When Pandora’s brother unexpectedly turns up on her doorstep, homeless and hundreds of pounds overweight, she must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for family. Shriver is a master storyteller, and Big Brother might well be her best effort to date. —Michele Jacobsen, A Reader’s Respite
Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus by Dean N. Jensen (Crown, June 11) Lillian Leitzel climbed her way out of poverty to become the biggest star in the most famous circus of the 1920s. Leitzel’s success in the ring was a stark contrast to the frustrations in her personal life. Her one true love was Alfredo Codona, the greatest trapeze flyer of his time, but their reign as king and queen of the circus could lead only to their downfall. —Kim Ukura, Sophisticated Dorkiness
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 4) Weeks before Danny graduates, his mother loses her battle with cancer and Danny’s left to make all decisions, including what to do with their apartment in Japan where his mother spent much of her time. A letter from the apartment manager leaves nagging questions about her time spent there, so Danny sets off for answers in Japan. A beautifully heartbreaking story of love and loss. —Jamie Miller, The Perpetual Page Turner
A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White (Touchstone, June 4) A Place at the Table is a beautiful and touching story about leaving family and finding a new one. Examining life through the lens of food, faith, and family Bobby and Amelia’s journeys about finding a new home will move and delight. Not to be missed. —Amy Riley, My Friend Amy
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Random House, June 4) With a crisp, concise beauty, Colum McCann breathes life into the distance between Ireland and the United States in this novel featuring Frederick Douglass and the Good Friday Agreement. What connects these stories is as moving as that long anticipated glimpse of land after a journey across the vast ocean. —Jennifer Conner, Literate Housewife
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani (Riverhead Books, June 4) Creating an atmosphere that’s as dreamy and misty as a midsummer southern night, Anton DiSclafani, in her debut novel, transports us to the early years of the Great Depression and the waning days of finishing schools for privileged young ladies. Weaving fifteen-year-old Thea’s love of horses with an undercurrent of smoldering passions, DiSclafani artfully builds the tension as the mystery of the girl’s disgrace is tantalizingly revealed, keeping us mesmerized until the story is fully played out. —Candace B. Levy, Beth Fish Reads

Bloggers Recommend
Nicole Bonía - Executive Editor
Jennifer Karsbaek - Executive Editor
Candace B. Levy – Editor
Jennifer Lawrence – Community Outreach Director
Michelle Shannon – Media Director
Swapna Krishna – Communications Director

Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence by David Samuel Levinson (Algonquin Books, June 4) Levinson's writing is a dream—lush, cunning, and full of finely crafted characters and carefully placed plot twists that go off like bombs. Whom to root for, who you think is crazy, and what really happened are elusive ideas that shift by the moment in this gripping thriller focused on the literary life. —Nicole Bonía, Linus’s Blanket

Editor's Pick: Deeply absorbing -  I picked this one up and didn't read anything else until it was all gone. —Nicole
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Dutton Books, June 4) Gameboard of the Gods maintains the attention to detail, flawless world building, entertaining and complex characters, and deep mysteries that make Richelle Mead’s series so enjoyable. The use of both familiar and obscure gods is an added interesting twist as the novel simultaneously educates and entertains. It is well worth checking out this fascinating new series. —Michelle Shannon, That’s What She Read
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland Books, June 4) Everything about The Shining Girls is familiar, and yet the tweaks Lauren Beukes makes to a traditional murder mystery format sets the story apart from others. The time-travel aspect of the story is absolutely brilliant. The circular nature of the events as they unfold add a fascinating level of intricacy. This unique, well-written thriller is a perfect addition to any summer reading pile. —Michelle Shannon, That’s What She Read
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt & Co, June 4) The second in the Grisha Trilogy, Siege and Storm continues the ascension of the orphaned Alina into her role as one of the most powerful sorcerers in her war-torn land. Replete with epic battles, mysticism, and folk tales plus rich world building and memorable characters, Bardugo’s latest novel masterfully surpasses its worthy predecessor. —Nicole Bonía, Linus’s Blanket
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf, June 11) The Engagements is a gorgeous story of the culture of diamonds, told through the framework of realistic characters and seemingly unrelated storylines. The way Sullivan brings these stories and characters together is flawless and absolutely mesmerizing. —Swapna Krishna, S. Krishna’s Books
In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods  by Matt Bell (Soho Press, June 18) In Matt Bell’s first full-length novel, an unnamed man wants a child more than anything in the world. His new wife, who has the magical ability to sing objects into being, tries to give her husband what he wants but fails many times before finally giving birth. Their son doesn’t help the couple’s bond but strains it. This allegorical tale of marriage and parenthood introduces a larger audience to Bell’s wonderful writing. —Natasha Vasillis, 1330v
The Time Between by Karen White (NAL Hardcover, June 4) The Time Between is a gorgeously written and atmospheric novel about guilt, forgiveness, and coming to terms with the past, with some World War II history thrown in for good measure. —Swapna Krishna, S. Krishna’s Books
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf, June 18) After Gretta Riordan realizes that her husband of forty years has disappeared, wiping out their bank account in the process, her three grown children return home for the first time in years. This reunion awakens a history of bitterness and betrayal, revealing a family rich with issues. In examining the situations that forced this family apart, O’Farrell portrays an insightful examination of the bonds of family, flaws and all. —Jenn Lawrence, Jenn’s Bookshelves
The Kill Room by Jeffrey Deaver (Grand Central Publishing, June 4) Fans and first-time readers alike will enjoy Deaver’s clever and cantankerous scientist and crime scene analyst Lincoln Rhyme. This tenth entry in the Rhyme series is full of tension, intrigue and complex moral issues as Rhyme and Sachs try to resolve the murder investigation of an anti-American U.S. ex-pat killed in the Bahamas. —Nicole Bonía, Linus’s Blanket
The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy (Harper, June 11) The cliché is that the world is indeed small and getting smaller. In The Illusion of Separateness, Simon Van Booy explores this phenomenon but does so subtly, drawing out each character’s story while letting the reader connect the dots. More important, his lyrical words reveal the unknown influences every person has on each other as well as the results of such unconscious interactions. For a collection of stories simply told, the message with which a reader is left is a powerful one. —Michelle Shannon, That’s What She Read
Book bloggers can submit any titles appearing in print for the first time in hard back or paperback at this page. Selections are due by the 20th of the month prior to the month of the newsletter they are submitting for (e.g., July titles must be submitted by June 20th). Bloggers needing more information should contact Jennifer Karsbaek ( Publishers may submit titles for newsletter consideration. For more information on participation, contact Nicole Bonia (
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