With the Minnesota State Fair about to begin, we are understandably freaking out a bit over the thought that summer might be over before we really noticed it had begun. Maybe you are too, but don’t worry; there’s still time to enjoy the sunshine, a breeze, and the Minnesota equivalent of the beach read – the lake read. If you haven’t yet indulged in this summer book-lover’s staple, what are you waiting for? Here are some recommendations from around the store to get you started.
Standard Juicy Beach Read: Bittersweet
On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with the place, and efore she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs. But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.
Small-Town Minnesota Romance: Up At Butternut Lake
In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, Mary McNear introduces readers to the town of Butternut Lake and to the people who call it home.
It’s summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family’s cabin. She’s promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She’s promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband’s death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crosses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he’s ever known? Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances—her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop—are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself—until he takes a shine to Wyatt . . . and to Allie.
The Scandalous YA Novel: We Were Liars
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Fun, full of secrets, and by no means just for teen readers, fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars will definitely want to check out We Were Liars this season.
Series to start now and take through the Fall:
The title of the first installment, Guilty Pleasures, says it all. Laurell K. Hamilton’s series has been around since the early 90s, but with True Blood speeding towards its series finale, we know you’ll need to fill that sexy paranormal void.
Anita Blake may be small and young, but vampires call her the Executioner. Anita is a necromancer and vampire hunter in a time when vampires are protected by law–as long as they don’t get too nasty. Now someone’s killing innocent vampires and Anita agrees–with a bit of vampiric arm-twisting–to help figure out who and why. Trust is a luxury Anita can’t afford when her allies aren’t human. The city’s most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 10-year-old girl. The second most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, is interested in more than just Anita’s professional talents, but the feisty necromancer isn’t playing along…yet.
Bonus: We have both the original AND graphic novel versions of the Anita Blake books!
If you’re up for a longer project, it’s time to start Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. It’s just been adapted into a TV series by Starz, perfectly timed to tide us over between seasons of Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.
When the series begins in Outlander, the year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland fraught with war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life . . . and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire . . . and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
So take a very brief break from soaking up the late summer rays, and come in the store to pick up something to read poolside, lakeside, or even inside!