Summer is here!
And for those who budgeted right or are escaping no matter the cost, that means you'll be hitting the road or the skies for a vacation.
Will you be traveling abroad? Hitting the beach? Visiting a national park? The possibilities are endless, especially if you're in the good company of friends and family.
But no matter what, where or who your vacay involves, you'll likely have some downtime that should be devoted to a good book. When else during the year will you have substantial blocks of time to devote to the words of your favorite or newly discovered authors?
(Note: At A Plus, we highly encourage "binge-reading" a good tome every now and then.)
Below are some titles that cater to every tastes. You're sure to find something you can't wait to pick up.
"1986" By Morgan Parker QuoteStork Media Inc.
Morgan Parker (Violets & Violence; Hope) has penned a suspenseful novel that fuses romance with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. How?
It all starts with Allana Harrison, who "wanted to escape her painful, broken past, and enjoy a fresh start somewhere else, anywhere else. While all of the boys in high school and college promised to deliver that dream, only one man actually pulled through."
We quickly learn that Allana — who is now a young adult — has moved to Pripyat, Ukraine, with her husband. It isn't long before she meets Alex, "another American who ends up being her only friend, the one person who reminds her of what it's like to feel desired, wanted, and hungered for."
Naturally, a romance ensues, but things go bad when Alex threatens to reveal the affair to Allana's husband if she doesn't tell secrets surrounding one of the world's greatest nuclear disasters.
"Like the Titanic tragedy, we often forget about the routine human lives and individual love stories that were happening at the time," Parker says in a release. "1986 is similar in that it follows the forbidden love story of one particular character who finds herself in the wrong place, with the wrong person, at the wrong time in history."
"AIR" By Ryan Gattis Adaptive Books
Though A Plus premiered the live-action trailer for the latest from Ryan Gattis (All Involved; Kung Fu High School), the tale of one teen's quest for identity is one worth revisiting as you make your summer reading list.
AIR follows 17-year-old Grey, whose mother died tragically when he lived in Colorado, resulting in him being shipped of to live in inner-city Baltimore. It's there he meets Kurtis, who leads a group of youths that use high-octane sports as a form of social activism by posting videos of their feats on social media.
This leads to ongoing conflicts with the police, as well as admiration by locals and denizens of the internet, but it also brings about a struggle in Grey, as he tries to find balance in his newfound cause, and living on the straight-and-narrow path.
"All the Time in the World" By Caroline Angell Holt Paperbacks
Caroline Angell — who's worked as a nanny and a playwright — merges the two in her debut novel, All the Time in the World. And how do things kick off?
"Gretchen McLean dies on the first page of this novel. We won't find out how or why until falling head-over-heels in love with her family — 3-year-old George, 5-year-old Matt, and their dad Scotty — and getting a peek behind doors left slightly ajar in the loving, playful Upper East Side McLean household," a release says.
From there, we meet Charlotte — fresh out of grad school and deep into a career as a part-time babysitter for Gretchen's family that's more like becoming a stand-in for children's deceased mother. Can Charlotte handle being the glue that keeps the family together? And what exactly are the intentions of Scotty's younger brother, Patrick? There's only one way to find out, and that's by reading the adventures of Charlotte as she travels down a path of discovery to the things that matter most in her life.
"Casimir Bridge: Anghazi Series, Book 1" By Darren Beyer
The topics intersect with his latest, Casimir Bridge, in which "a manned, interstellar survey ship has gone missing. A nuclear terror plot is thwarted just outside Washington, D.C. And it's an election year," a synopsis on Beyer's website begins.
The plot gets even thicker, though, when junior reporter Mandisa Nkosi is contacted by an anonymous source with details of nuclear material being seized for a terror plot — involving time travel! Things get intriguing when Mandisa gets close to exposing the conspiracy and becomes a target in this sky-high, sci-fi thriller.
"If You Left" By Ashley Prentice Norton Mariner Books
Ashley Prentice Norton (The Chocolate Money) has penned a new novel that focuses on Althea, a 37-year-old, upper crust Manhattanite who has suffered multiple breakdowns over the last decade. As a person dealing with manic depression, she's making an effort to make a change for her husband, Oliver, and her daughter, Clem.
But things don't go according to her plan as Oliver becomes distant (maybe because he's instead getting closer to their interior decorator?) and Clem is practically independent. And with this newfound time on her hands, Althea strikes up some intriguing interactions with a house painter visiting the family abode.
The big question in this comedic tragedy is how these fractured and budding relationships will affect a family already dangerously close to splitting apart.
"Living Right" By Laila Ibrahim Flaming Chalice Press
Gay conversion therapy is the often controversial practice of trying to get those with same-sex attractions to suppress them in favor of heterosexual attractions and relationships. It's also at the center of Living Right by Laila Ibrahim (Yellow Crocus).
Jenn Henderson — whose life revolves around church and actively taking a stand against issues such as gays being able to legally marry — begins to question her values after she discovers her son is gay and she sends him to a Christian conversion therapy camp. The experience rocks the tight-knit Henderson family, and Living Right goes beyond politics to add a human touch to the practice and the experience of those involved.
"I hadn't considered the emotional and spiritual damage that was being done to parents by their very own churches, the institution they rely on for moral leadership," Ibrahim says of the sensitive topic. "In some religions parents are being told by their ministers — trusted authorities in their lives — that it's their fault their children have same-sex attractions."
"I pray that [stories about people going to conversion therapy] will help parents to move past fear for and rejection of their LGBT children to a place of acceptance and support, secure in the knowledge that God's love is that big."
"The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story" By Bill Powers
Bill Powers continues the saga that started in The Pharm House and follows Andrea, who has just graduated college — and had her life changed due to the murder of her father and her uncle.
Now, Andrea — who is running the family company — must solve the mystery of the shocking deaths, and also be wary of family friends and colleagues who may have had a hand in the murders and may be plotting hers.
Along the way, Andrea will have to navigate between those who would do her harm and those who would be her allies as she seeks to avenge her family in this page-turning thriller.