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5 Books to Binge Over the Holiday Weekend

by Alexandra Maravic
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This heatwave is no joke – whether you are relaxing by the pool, tanning on the beach, or staying cool in the AC, we’ve got you covered for a summer full of great reads! From historical fiction to heart-racing thrillers, read on for five great reading options to kick off the holiday weekend. 

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Suspense

The Last Thing He Told Me

Owen Michaels is a loving husband to his wife, Hannah, of one year and doting father to his teenage daughter, Bailey. To know him is to love him. When he vanishes into thin air, the only clue he leaves behind is a simple note to his wife: Protect her.  As the narrative unfolds, Hannah realizes there were many things he was keeping from her; including but not limited to a shocking scandal at work that he is being accused of being involved in and a possible connection to organized crime. 

With the FBI and US Marshals hot on her tail, Hannah knows she doesn’t have much time if she wants to find Owen before the federal government does. With Bailey’s reluctant help, Hannah begins to slowly make sense of Owen’s past with the shocking realization she didn’t know her husband as well as she thought she did. 

The Last Thing He Told Me was full of unpredictable twists that the reader will never see coming. This book is impossible to put down and a perfect read to kick off the holiday weekend!

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

Thriller/Suspense

Dark Roads

When the unexpected loss of her beloved father turns her life upside down, Hailey McBride is forced to move in with her aunt and her extremely controlling husband, who treats her like a prisoner instead of the independent teenager that her father raised her to be. In Cold Creek, British Columbia, Hailey has been surrounded by nature her entire life. She feels most at home in the woods and thanks to the valuable survival skills her father ingrained in her from a young age, she can handle being out there alone. 

Unfortunately, the Cold Creek Highway has been the last known whereabouts of various missing girls over the years. This isolated place is the perfect location to get away with kidnapping and even murder. When her uncle’s suffocating behavior crosses the line after catching her romantically involved with another girl, Hailey escapes to her true home in the mountains hoping everyone will think she simply skipped town. However, Hailey’s disappearance sends the town into a frenzy, the locals fearing that the Cold Creek Highway killer has taken the life of yet another innocent victim. 

As Hailey navigates her new life in the woods, she gets a little help from her childhood best friend and her furry accomplice. It is easy to be swept away by this exciting, thrilling adventure despite being a little out of touch with reality. The reader will definitely fall in love with Hailey and her canine companion, their bond is nothing short of inspiring. 

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Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Historical Fiction

Lost Roses

From the brilliant author that brought us Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly does it again with this incredible (and true) story about World War I told from the perspectives of three different women. Eliza is an American socialite, mourning the unexpected loss of her beloved husband. Sofya is Russian royalty, a relative of the tsar, and a good friend of Eliza’s. Varinka is a peasant girl, living in squalor with her sickly mother and abusive guardian. 

As the political climate in Europe intensifies, all three women struggle to survive the fallout. Eliza feels helpless on American soil, her best friend so far away and caught in the midst of the political unrest in Russia. When the Russian women who have escaped need help, Eliza rises to the occasion. She works to find them jobs, housing, and food while they pray for the war to end so they can return to whatever is left of their lives in Russia. As she learns of the horrific tragedies happening overseas, Eliza knows she must find Sofya before it is too late. 

Kelly does an amazing job of making these characters feel larger than life. While Eliza Ferriday is a real person, the characters of Sofya and Varinka are not; however, they are influenced by real people. The reader will instantly teleport to another place in another lifetime. The strength of these women is inspiring and will leave the reader motivated to make the world a better place. 

Back in the Burbs by Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn

Romance/Comedy

Back in the Burbs

Mallory is 35 and heading for divorce, as one does when they catch his or her husband engaged in rather compromising physical activities with his paralegal. To make matters worse, she worked for her husband so now she is jobless and husbandless. Oh, and her beloved great-aunt Maggie passed away so now she is truly alone during the darkest moment of her existence. But Mallory’s luck takes a turn when Maggie leaves her the dilapidated house with all 47 HOA violations and fines. Mallory struggles internally with the fiscally responsible decision to sell or the mildly irresponsible/selfish decision to keep her aunt’s home and restore it to its former glory. 

However, Maggie did an incredible job of keeping her extreme hoarding problem a secret and that is one more mountainous obstacle that Mallory must overcome. When Maggie’s annoyingly handsome neighbor gets all up in her grill about her renovation plans, even daring to lend a helping hand, Mallory can’t seem to get him to leave her alone. Whether he’s complaining about her overgrown lawn that might actually constitute a national rainforest at this point or telling her what she’s doing wrong, she just can’t catch a break. Back in the Burbs is the book you didn’t know you needed this summer and so much more than your average rom-com. 

See More: 9 Latinx-Authored Books to Read ASAP

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Historical Fiction

Valentine

Gloria Ramirez is a fourteen-year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her. All of that changes when she is attacked in the middle of the night in an oil field in Odessa, Texas. The brutal assault Gloria suffered left her physically and emotionally broken. The only person who showed Gloria any compassion was Mary Rose Whitehead, the pregnant woman who opened her front door to a bruised and battered Gloria that fateful February morning. 

While Mary Rose saw with her own two eyes that Gloria was the victim of a heinous crime, the entire county was quick to blame the young girl, stating that it was no one’s fault but her own. 

In a truly poignant story about the disparity between race, class, and gender in 1970s Texas, Valentine introduces strong, formidable female characters and illustrative prose that make this story feel larger than life.

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