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More Summer Reading

Cindy Burnett
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The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Set in 2025, The End of Men opens just as the first case of the virus has appeared and follows various characters (mostly women) as they deal with this mysterious virus and come to terms with a changed world. 

Several weeks ago, I wrote about summer reading and highlighted some of my favorite guides for 2023. This week, I am recommending some titles from my earlier summer reading lists for those who like to pick up backlist books. These are all entertaining reads that will be great for a vacation or a staycation. Enjoy!

Blush by Jamie Brenner – Perfect for a beach vacation, Blush will appeal to book lovers everywhere as the three Hollander women turn to books, specifically the “trashy” romance novels of the 1980s, to try and save their family vineyard and legacy. While very different, all three women, Vivien, Leah, and Sadie, bond over books written by , and others, and find inspiration and ideas for moving forward as long-buried family secrets are exposed and wounds form the past reappear. This highly entertaining book is a fun-filled and entertaining read.

Hostage by Clare MackintoshHostage is a timely and fast-paced thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Flight attendant Mina is working the inaugural flight from London to Sydney, the first time a commercial plane will fly that distance (20 hours) without stopping. Once in the air, she receives a threatening note advising her to help hostages overtake the plane or her husband and child will be killed. Told in many alternating viewpoints including Mina, her husband Adam, and numerous passengers, Hostage is clever, thought-provoking, and full of fabulous twists and turns. Advice on reading this one – do not go on Goodreads and read the reviews because important parts of the story will be spoiled; it will be a much better read if you go in blind. I highly recommend this one.

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird – Sweeney-Baird’s debut speculative fiction novel, written prior to Covid’s arrival, tackles the premise of what the world would be like if 90 percent of the men disappeared from the planet. Set in 2025, The End of Men opens just as the first case of the virus has appeared and follows various characters (mostly women) as they deal with this mysterious virus and come to terms with a changed world. Through their eyes, Sweeney-Baird chronicles how the world would be impacted by such a large gender imbalance – from the loss of husbands and sons to the changed workforce and what it now would mean to give birth to a son. The End of Men is a truly thought-provoking read that will stay with me for a long time.

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams – When the Digby family disappears from their London home without a trace in the fall of 1948, the world debates whether they were eliminated by Soviet Intelligence or whether the family defected to Moscow with American Diplomat Sasha Digby’s access to the West’s top-secret intel. Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a letter from twin sister Iris Digby asking her to come to Moscow to visit. Ruth travels to Moscow to help the Digbys defect to the United States but instead learns that everything may not be as it seems. This historical fiction tale transported me to the early years of the Cold War when the threat of communism seemed all too real.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean Tokyo Ever After is a YA book that takes place in California when it opens, and Izumi lives with her single mom. Early on, Izumi finds out that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan. She decides to visit Tokyo to meet him and from the very beginning of her visit things go awry. Izumi has a strong and independent personality, which does not sit well with the royal family. Jean brings Tokyo and Kyoto, where Izumi takes a small side trip, to life with fabulous details about the city, the food, and the culture. 

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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