Curious what the NetGalley team is reading? Wish you could steal a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the books we’re recommending this month, and share your favorite recent reads in the comments!
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert, narrated by Ione Butler
Act Your Age, Eve Brown blew me away and felt like the perfect end to a truly special series. Eve is searching for a way to show her family (and herself) that she isn’t the mess they think she is. On her way to proving this, she accidentally hits Jacob with her car and steps in as the chef of his bed and breakfast while he heals to make things right. From a meet disaster to a grumpy hero who loves order and a sunshine chaotic heroine, everything about this book worked for me. Hibbert packed in hilarity at every single turn, but what really made this a perfect read was how Eve learned that finding the right path is all about finding the one that’s right for her, not anyone else, and reading along as Jacob learned to lower his walls and let the woman who changed his life into his heart. I listened to the audiobook (narrated by Ione Butler) and can see myself returning to it time and again as a comfort read. If you haven’t read this series yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is here and I cannot think of a more perfect summer read. This book is packed with so many things that I love: a strong focus on found family, the exploration of what it’s like to feel like you have to figure out your entire life in your 20s, a look at queer history and activism and joy, a touch of magic, and love conquering all. It follows August, who is lost and wary of being hopeful, and Jane, who is literally lost in a pocket of time and trapped on the Q train. They find the magic in each other, in the ordinary, in those they surround themselves with, and it’s impossible as a reader not to feel touched by the spell they cast. I had the absolute pleasure and honor of interviewing McQuiston as part of our One Last Stop Book Club Kit. It also includes fun goodies like further reading on queer activism, queer romances to read next, bookmarks, a recipe, and more!
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
I absolutely adored Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me in a Crown, so I knew I had to pick up Rise to the Sun and it did not disappoint. Rise to the Sun is set at a music festival in Georgia where two teen girls literally stumble into each other as they start off their jam-packed weekend. Their meet-cute is just the beginning of their adventure and they spend the weekend participating in a scavenger hunt at the festival and carefully crafting a musical act for the big competition. Olivia and Toni had no plans for falling for each other, but they can’t deny their mutual feelings. I just love how Leah Johnson writes such realistic, messy teenagers. I need all the music festival romances now!
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
As a lover of Halloween and all things witchy, I was so excited to pick up this debut novel! The publisher’s description (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word“) is spot on. Emmy Harlow returns to her magical hometown of Thistle Grove after years of avoiding her past with Gareth Blackmoore. She’s there to oversee a spellcasting tournament (and reconnect with her family and friends) but gets quickly pulled into a vengeance scheme against her terrible ex. Emmy, her best friend Linden, and the stunningly gorgeous Talia make up the witches three who aim to bring down Gareth and his whole stuck-up family. Although Emmy is supposed to be neutral in judging this competition, she can’t help but be drawn in by Talia’s flirtations.
Dune by Frank Herbert
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read Dune! With the new movie coming soon, I knew I had to pick up the book so I know the source material. (Let’s be honest, the book is always better than the movie.) This is an epic sci-fi novel with a fate-driven hero story and a fantastic desert planet. Characters are driven by loyalty and honor, or greed and power. The universe is fully fleshed out, with long-held political systems, religion, and relationships.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Six Crimson Cranes was an absolutely stunning read! The story takes place in Kiata, a world inspired by East Asian culture and folklore. Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has secret forbidden magic. On the morning of her dreaded betrothal ceremony, her magic goes a little too far, setting off a chain of events that is probably familiar to fairytale readers: Her stepmother turns Shiori’s six brothers into cranes, and for every word Shiori utters aloud, one of her brothers will die. Shiori is banished with a wooden bowl magically attached to her head so no one recognizes her. She partakes on a journey to find her brothers. On the way, Shiori interacts with a cast of interesting characters, including a mysterious dragon, her intended betrothed, and a paper bird come to life. I really enjoyed how vibrant and rich the world was. The storytelling weaved in inspiration from fairytales and had a lot of action as well as some really sweet family moments. This book is part of a planned duology, and I am eager to see what happens in the next book. Six Crimson Cranes also has a gorgeous cover and I’m so happy to see Shiori front and center!
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Twice Shy is unlike any other contemporary romance book I’ve read. There is such an honest, realistic portrayal of anxiety and Sarah Hogle does a wonderful job of focusing on mental health and developing the two main characters, Maybell and Wesley. Maybell is a dreamer who has always used her fantasies as an escape from her less-than-satisfactory real life. When she inherits a house from her great aunt, Maybell sees this as an opportunity to start a new life. She arrives and learns that she’s actually co-inherited and must share it with the groundskeeper, Wesley. Wesley is aloof and difficult to talk with, and the two have conflicting ideas over how to fix up the property. This book features a slow-burn romance that really picks up around the second half when Maybell and Wesley’s communication begins to open up and they start to learn and understand more about each other. Twice Shy was a very sweet read with interesting, relatable, and funny characters.
Educated by Tara Westover
There’s a certain category of books that I would label as “unputdownable,” and Educated by Tara Westover is the first book I’ve read in a long time that fits that category. It chronicles the life of Tara and her family of Mormon doomsdayers and all of the traumatic—and sometimes touching—events that happened over the first 25 years of her life. Until she was 17, Tara had never attended a single day of school; instead, she was forced to work in her father’s junkyard with her abusive brother and dangerous equipment. She couldn’t wear makeup or form-fitting clothes and was expected to marry at 18 and begin her life as a mother or a midwife. The book is a constant rollercoaster of injuries, life-altering accidents, and learning how to assimilate into a world that her parents actively tried to protect her from. One of the things that struck me most about this book is that I had to keep reminding myself that Tara and I are relatively close in age, and all of the things she describes in the book happened in my lifetime and not in the 1960s. It really feels like something that could only happen in an entirely different generation. If you’re like me and have had this on your TBR pile for years, I definitely recommend giving it a go!
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
There are few authors, or even artists in general, whose work resonates with me as much as Becky Albertalli’s. I came out to a family member after I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so my bar for a Becky Albertalli book is high, and she hasn’t let me down once. Her newest, Kate in Waiting, is no exception. Theater nerd Kate and her best friend Anderson are so in sync, they even crush on the same boys. But when their latest and most intense co-crush shows up at their school, his presence might throw Kate and Andy’s friendship off-script. Kate in Waiting is a witty, thoughtful, brilliant book (by a witty, thoughtful, brilliant author), one in which the central love story is a friendship. This book feels like a nice, long, consensual hug from someone you love, and I’m not ashamed to admit I hugged my copy as soon as I finished reading.