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‘An Affair to Dismember’ by Elise Sax: What’s a summer book list without a murder mystery or three thrown in to spice things up? A few laughs along the way is an added bonus and that’s were Elise Sax comes in, who really should be proclaimed the queen of beach reads. Her Matchmaker Series is one of those delicious reads that will keep you reaching for the next in the sequence. Gladie Burger has never stayed more than three months in a place. But when her Grandma Zelda, the Cannes community resident psychic, recruits her into the family’s matchmaking business, Gladie feels terribly unqualified for the job but signs on temporarily. However, things take a turn for the bizarre when Zelda’s neighbour drops dead and Gladie finds herself in the mix of things, surrounded by a dysfunctional family full of possible killers and a dreamy police chief. If the book catches your attention, then there 11 in the series, not including a prequel and a book of ‘Matchmaking Advice From Your Grandma Zelda’.
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‘Bridgerton’ series by Julia Quinn: Nothing spells summer reading than a hot summer romance. Here we pitch a whole series, the ridiculously popular ‘Bridgerton’ books by author Julia Quinn. Funnily enough, Quinn, who was in Dubai in February for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, shared a story with us about how her series ended up as a pet project of TV producer Shonda Rhimes. “What happened with me was that producer Shonda Rhimes went on vacation and she takes books with her all the time; she’s a huge reader. And this time, she ran out of books. Somehow, wherever she was, there happened to be a book of mine available and she read it and that’s how I got lucky,” Quinn revealed. The ‘Bridgerton’ series has broken record and then some on Netflix, but nothing beats going back to where it all began, in the pages of Regency romance. The series has nine books in total, starting with ‘The Duke and I’. Also, if you have seen the series, let us just tell you that the books are VERY different. Read it to believe it.
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‘The Elephant in the Womb’ by Kalki Koechlin: Ignoring the fact that the author is a Bollywood actress, the book stands on its own merit, presenting an honest and sometimes a not-so-glowing account of pregnancy. How I dearly wish this book had been published when I was pregnant with my twins. There’s no sugarcoating here, but a woman’s candid account of embracing motherhood and feeling unprepared for the job. With some incredibly personal essays that feel raw and genuine, this graphic book tells you like it is — that motherhood is hard, full of post-partum melancholy and leaves you holding the baby with buckets worth of unsolicited advice from just about everyone who claims to be a parenting expert.
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‘The Patron Saint of Second Chances’ by Christine Simon: Even if the Italian Riviera doesn’t fit into your travel plans this summer, allow Christine Simon to whisk you away into the tiny village of Prometto, population 212, where a self-appointed mayor tells a little white lie to save his home that somehow snowballs into a comedy of errors. Simon’s debut novel introduces us to Signor Speranza whose problem is a simple one: come up with 70,000 euros to fix the town’s pipes or the water commission will shut off the water to the village and all its residents will be forced to disperse. So in a bid to turn the tide on his village’s impending doom, he spreads a rumour that movie star Dante Rinaldi is filming nearby. Unfortunately, the plan works a little too well and soon the town is auditioning for a part in a movie that simply doesn’t exist. Trust us when we say this one will leave you chuckling all the way.
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‘Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up’ by Selma Blair: In this raw and profound memoir, Selma Blair rips off the Hollywood star tag to give an honest, and sometimes heartbreaking, account of growing up in the spotlight. Be warned, this memoir isn’t for the faint of heart, with the actress laying bare her battle with alcohol addiction, getting drunk aged seven and being sexually abused multiple times, the trauma of which led her to the brink of suicide. Blair, who is perhaps best remembered as the naive high school student in ‘Cruel Intentions’ (1999), started her battle with Multiple Sclerosis in 2018 and today, has risen above the pain to be the best version of herself. You can’t help but applaud this brave woman for facing her demons and coming out on top in the end.
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‘The Kiss Quotient’ by Helen Hoang: If you’re looking for a mushy romance, with a bit of angst thrown in then this book is sure to tickle your brain. It features math-loving Stella Lane, who has Asperger’s and who doesn’t know much about love. However, in an attempt to learn more about intimacy and fulfil her parents’ wish for her to be married, she takes an unusual route. She hires a stunning escort Michael Phan to show her the ropes and teach her what it means to be in a relationship. Little do they know that their little experience is going to change both their lives. The book is full of heart and you can’t help but fall in love with Stella and Michael.
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‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee: This amazing book was recently turned into an Apple TV+ series. The show has received acclaim, but we’re here to tell you the book is better. ‘Pachinko’, which is the name of a type of mechanical game, follows a fictional Korean family’s journey as they immigrate to Japan. The book is split into three sections, with the character Sunja being the main protagonist that appears throughout the novel. It’s a difficult read, not just because the author takes you through a fraught history, but because you become attached to these flawed characters and it’s heartbreaking to see them suffer. Not your typical summer read, but a satisfying and life-changing one nonetheless.
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‘Crying in H Mart’ by Michelle Zauner: Coping with grief is complex and never happens in a straight line. Zauner, an indie rock star of Japanese Breakfast fame, chronicles the loss of her mother to cancer in this emotional memoir. Apart from touching on the deep pain of her mother’s death, Zauner writes with nuance about her Korean American identity and her battles with mental health. She also manages to let readers into her life through vivid descriptions of food that connect her to her past and her mother.
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‘Honey & Spice: A Novel’ by Bolu Babalola: If you aren’t following British author and journalist Bolu Babalola on Twitter, you’re missing out on a whole lot of humour and intelligence. The writer calls herself a romcomoisseur and this comes across in the description for her enticing debut book that’s set to release on June 21. It follows sharp-tongued Kiki Banjo, the host of student radio show Brown Sugar, who — against her better judgement — ends up in a fake relationship with the charming Malakai Korede. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!
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‘The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There’ by Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer: Fans of comedy series ‘The Office’ will be delighted by this memoir by the actors who played the mean accountant Angela Martin and sweet receptionist Pam Beesly. In it, the stars who are BFFs in real life take readers behind the scenes of their popular show and into their friendship that has grown over the years. The book also feature many never-before-seen photos.
Image Credit: AP