The heat index is a toasty 93 degrees today and my late-June beach vacation seems like so long ago. Yet two more months of summer stretch out before me, and that means two more months of fun in the sun with a frosty beverage and a good book or five. Whether you plan to dip your toes in the ocean, cool your heels by a mountain lake, or relax by the local pool, you, too, can catch up on your summer reading. You can travel anywhere in a book, and here are some new places to visit and people to meet (and be glad this is all fiction):
The Lioness, opens a new window by Chris Bohjalian
Set in Tanzania in 1964, A-list actress Katie Barstow and her husband David Hill decide to bring their Hollywood friends on a decadent honeymoon in the Serengeti. Envisioning fresh ice from a kerosene-powered ice maker, bathwater warmed by their Tanzanian guides, and freshly cooked dinners after days of observing giraffes and zebras, the wealthy group expects a civilized adventure. Instead, they get a kidnapping gone awry, with their guides bleeding out and a team of Russian mercenaries herding them by gunpoint from Land Rovers to abandoned huts. At this point, Katie and her friends hope to see another day.
Island Time, opens a new window by Georgia Clark
Amelia’s plan to have her extended family meet James, her almost-fiancé, on a remote island off of the coast of Queensland, Australia, goes completely awry after a volcano erupts. James doesn’t make it to the island, and Amelia, her parents, her sister Matty, Matty’s wife Parker, and Parker’s parents are all stranded on the isolated island of Mun’dai. The island’s caretaker, Liss, and a local ranger, Jarrah, are the only other people on the island. Nine big personalities are all stuck in close proximity for six weeks with a dwindling food supply. New romances are sparked between Amelia and Liss, as well as Amelia’s mother and Jarrah, while family secrets come to light. This steamy sapphic rom-com is fun yet not too fluffy, making it the perfect beach read.
The River at Night, opens a new window by Erica Ferencik
Put on your lifejacket and hang on for dear life! Despite her misgivings, cautious Wini Allen agrees to a whitewater rafting trip in rural Maine with her three best friends. What starts out as exciting turns terrifying as a freak accident leaves the women stranded without any supplies. As night falls, the women follow a fire to a hidden, run-down camp buried on the mountainside. Their fate is in the hands of an off-grid mother and son, and it quickly becomes apparent that the pair will do whatever it takes to remain concealed from the rest of the world.
All the Lonely People, opens a new window by Mike Gayle
Widower Hubert Bird appears to have the perfect life. At least, that’s what he lets his daughter Rose think. As far as Rose knows, Hubert spends his retirement socializing with innumerable friends. In reality, days pass without Hubert seeing a single person. Since Hubert is in London and Rose is in Australia, his daughter is none the wiser. Then he receives some unexpected news that will force Hubert into the world again. Rose is coming for a visit, and Hubert must make his pretend social life a reality. Thanks to a persistent neighbor and a wild community scheme that seeks to end loneliness in his town, Hubert might just be able to pull it off.
The Overnight Guest, opens a new window by Heather Gudenkauf
True crime writer Wylie Lark is practically delighted to be snowed-in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. All would be peaceful and calm were it not for the specter of the twin murders that happened in the house decades earlier hanging about. As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped literally and figuratively. When she discovers a small child in the snow just outside, Wylie brings him in and begins to search for answers. But they aren’t as alone as Wylie thought, and someone will stop at nothing to find them.
Patience Is A Subtle Thief, opens a new window by Abi Ishola-Ayodeji
The eldest daughter of Chief Kolade Adewale, Patience lives a sheltered life in Ibadan, Nigeria. Yet her father and stepmother Modupe offer no comfort, and Patience’s only ally is her sister Margaret. Patience wants to know why her father and uncle kicked her mother out of the family compound years ago and wonders if she’s even alive. When Patience gets to university in Lagos, she continues the search for her mother, managing to find some answers while connecting with her cousin Kash. Kash and his friend Emeka are small-time thieves looking to make real money. They manage to rope in Patience and Emeka’s brother Chike as partners in their daring scheme to pull off one last job before quitting their life of crime.
It’s not too late to participate in Summer Reading at Central Rappahannock Regional Library! Visit librarypoint.org/summer, opens a new window to sign up. Log all books read between June 1 and August 31 for entries to win one of many raffle prizes, including bags of books, tablets, and an iPad.
Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.