Well, the mercury certainly crept up the thermometers—hang on, does anyone even have a mercury thermometer anymore? Let's try that again. "Well, our weather apps are reporting heat index surges and . . ." It's getting on towards summer, dear readers, which means it is most certainly time to start with beach reading, aka "It's Too Hot To Do Anything But Sip Lemonade and Read, Thank You Very Much." Whatcha going to be reading? Well, let's get to it. 

Elin Hilderbrand is back this week with Golden Girl, a slightly supernaturally-tinged contemporary narrative about three sisters. Set in those marvelous places that Hilderbrand knows so well, Golden Girl doesn't upset the model very much, which is to say it's exactly what you're looking for. It's filled with family secrets, a little "will they or won't they?", and some to-be-expected emotional nudges. Perfect!

Meanwhile, Zakiya Dalila Harris debuts with The Other Black Girl, a sharp-tongued, sharp-edged workplace thriller. Nella and Hazel both work at a upstart book publisher in New York. One gets promoted; one gets overlooked. Then, things start getting strange and weird. This one is for those nights when it's too hot to sleep and you want an excuse to stay up really, really late. 

Meanwhile, Beatriz Williams takes it a little darker with Our Woman in Moscow. Williams, who has been writing marvelous historical novels, has apparently finished some kind of Le Carré correspondence course because Our Woman in Moscow is more than a simple historical novel. There's some daring espionage going on here as a woman tries to figure out what happened with her twin sister during the war. It has something to do with an English family who may be trapped behind the Iron Curtain . . . 

And speaking of the war, Jeff Shaara is back with the next novel in his Pacific War series. The Eagle's Claw is a novel set against the Battle of Midway, which pitted Admiral Nimitz against Admiral Yamamoto, two incredible tacticians who used the Pacific Ocean as their chess board. The Americans, however, have cracked the Japanese military encryption, which means they know what Yamamoto is planning. Will it be enough . . . ? 

Here's something a little lighter. Nathan Pyle's Strange Planet is back with The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature. That's right. Pyle's big-eyed aliens have discovered the domestic cat, and their deadpan observations are both utterly alien and completely on-the-nose. A book both kids and adults can enjoy! And you can read it to your cat, who won't give a sh*t, but that's to be expected. 

Meanwhile, Hannah Whitten offers us For the Wolf, a delightful reimagining of several childhood fables. It starts off with a whiff of "Red Riding Hood," zags into "Beauty & the Beast," zips around past the bower where Snow White sleeps, and then jaunts into the woods where it transforms into something darker. 

And speaking of dark things, here is T. L. Huchu's The Library of the Dead, a spooky novel about Ropafadzo Moyo, a plucky protagonist who ferries messages between the living and the dead. Naturally, there's a lot more to the dead than just wistful messages, and Moyo soon finds herself on the trail of something ancient and evil that is devouring the souls of children. Delightful and creepy!

And, well, we won't go so far as to call Michael Punke's books "delightful" or "creepy," but we will definitely put them on the same "OMG, I can't stop reading this" shelf. In Ridgeline, Punke fictionalizes the December massacre in 1866 when Crazy Horse and his Lakota warriors ambush eighty U. S. soldiers as part of the escalating tensions in the Wyoming territory. While this event isn't as well known as the Battle of Little Bighorn, it's part of the narrative that culminated in that bloody event, and Punke crafts a harrowing and compelling narrative. 

And while we're wandering around the Old West, here's Tom Lin's The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu. Ming has spent the last decade working as forced labor for the Central Pacific Railroad, and when he finally escapes, he sets off to find the men who enslaved him and stole his family. Along the way, Ming encounters all sorts of strange allies, including a blind prophet, a shape-shifter, and a fire-proof woman. It may seem like a pretty straight-forward revenge tale, but like all good fables, it wanders into strange territory. Recommended. 

And speaking of supernatural tales, here is A. C. Wise's Wendy, Darling, a marvelously realized update to the Peter Pan narrative. As you may recall, Wendy returned from Neverland, and over the years, she has struggled to reconcile with her knowledge of other realm. When Peter returns, intent on luring Wendy's own children off to Neverland, Wendy has to deal with, once and for all, the underlying toxicity of the "boy who never grew up." 

And finally, here is Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid's new novel following Daisy Jones and the Six. Malibu Rising follows a group of celebrity siblings as they struggle to deal with a variety of page-turning crises. Like Daisy Jones and the Six, Malibu Rising braids itself into a tangled weave that will snare you quickly and completely. Precisely what you expect from a summer read. 

Overheard At The Old Barn »»

SOREN: Hello! Hello! Hello!

ROLLO: Oh, hello. 

SOREN: I'm here as a representative of interested parties who seek to know what is making all of that clanking and banging and binging. Could you tell me? 

ROLLO: We've turned the machines on. 

SOREN: Which machines? 

ROLlO: The machines that put words on paper. 

SOREN: I see. I see. I see. 

GLOM-GLOM: Who's this? 

SOREN: OH! Uh, hello? You are very large. 

GLOM-GLOM: I'm a moose. 

ROLLO: Moose can be quite large. It's what they do. 

GLOM-GLOM: We do other things as well. 

SOREN: Me too! I'm very good at things. I can do all the things. 

ROLLO: Well, you are very eager. 

SOREN: Yes, yes! Eager. That's me. Would you make sure you put that on my evaluation? 

ROLLO: I'm sorry. What evaluation? 

SOREN: When I finish my internship. 

ROLLO: Oh, yes. Of course. 

SOREN: Could I intern here? 

ROLLO: Here? 

SOREN: Yes. Yes. Doing things. I'm very good at doing things. I can do all the things. 

ROLLO: Well . . . 

GLOM-GLOM: You are quite small, little fellow. You might disappear into one of these machines and never come out again. 

SOREN: I'm very good at tight places. Places where you—an exceptionally large moose—can't go. 

GLOM-GLOM: True, true. 

ROLLO: Yes, but . . . I don't know . . .

COLBY: Oh, so that's what is making all the racket. 

GLOM-GLOM: We got the presses working. 

COLBY: I see that. I can hear it too. 

SOREN: Hello!

COLBY: I—what? Who's this? 

ROLLO: He says he's—

SOREN: I'm very good at all sorts of things. Sorting things. Carrying things. Finding things. 

COLBY: I see. Can you collate? 

SOREN: Certainly. I can collaborate. 

COLBY: No, collate. It's not—well . . . 

ROLLO: He says he's an intern. 

COLBY: An intern? 

SOREN: I'm very good at interning. 

ROLLO: I don't know what—

COLBY: Can you run over to Tartoof's and get me a slice of Fumbleberry pie? 

SOREN: Indeed! Indeed! 

COLBY: And a—oh . . . And there he goes. 

GLOM-GLOM: He's a quick little fellow. 

COLBY: I, um, I hope you two didn't want anything . . . 


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