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National Book Lovers Day: Here are the best books to read before summer ends

There’s nothing like a good book on a sunny day.

If you’re in need of a good beach read (or several – we don’t judge!), here are some of the best romantic novels, whimsical fantasies, thrilling suspense stories and more genres available at Barnes and Noble for National Book Lovers Day.

Best romance novels

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover ($14.49)

“It Ends With Us” is described as a standalone contemporary romance novel, telling the story of a younger woman and her love affair with a neurosurgeon.

The official overview by Barnes and Noble reads “Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston and started her own business. And when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life seems too good to be true.”

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry ($13.99)

“People We Meet on Vacation” was made popular on #BookTok, a series of videos from thousands of TikTokers who review books categorized within multiple genres. The book covers the relationship between Alex and Poppy, two characters who have a connection but have been led in different life paths. Reviews of the book on GoodReads call it a “second chance romance” piece that was “hard to put down.”

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas ($13.99)

“Punk 57,” according to GoodReads, is a “story about two high school seniors, Ryen and Misha, that have been friends since they were paired as pen pals by their teachers in the fifth grade. Although they only live one town away from each other, they agreed not to connect on social media or meet in person.”

The book explores what happens when they stop communicating – and if they can find one another again.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne ($8.99)

Contrary to its title, “The Hating Game is actually a romance novel. The description of the book, written on the back cover, reads “Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other…and they have no problems displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive-aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company.” Lucy and Joshua are forced to face one another when they are put up for the same promotion.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston ($13.99)

Casey McQuiston, who also authored “Red, White Royal Blue,” has another romantic comedy book on the shelves that has captivated readers across the country. The book centers on August, a young woman who recently moved to New York City, and Jane, a mysterious woman that August meets on the subway. The book delves into August’s fascination with Jane, who is described by the author as an “old school punk rocker.” August realizes that Jane is “literally displaced in time from the 1970s” and makes it her mission to help Jane find her way back.

Best sci-fi and fantasy books

Exhalation by Ted Chiang ($15)

This one is for the folks who prefer short stories. “Exhalation” questions basic activity of human life, like the air we breathe. Molding together science and philosophy, the book has garnered glowing reviews – even a nod from former President Barack Obama. He once called it “a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.”

Dune by Frank Herbert ($9.99)

If you’re looking to mentally place yourself on a desert planet, “Dune” is for you. The story centers on Paul Atreides, “who would become known as Muad’Dib – and of a great family’s ambition to bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream,” according to the book’s description.

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin ($14.99)

With New York City as the setting, N. K. Jemisin’s book “The City We Became” is another sci-fi page-turner. The story, according to, follows the avatars of New York City as they battle against the Enemy, an embodiment of racism. There are five avatars that represent a borough of the city.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec ($21.99)

While “The Witch’s Heart” is more closely aligned with the mythology genre, it is still a solid pick for a summer time read. Here’s a description of the book, provided by Barnes and Noble: “When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive national bestselling debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.”

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse ($13.99)

“Black Sun” is the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

Best mystery and crime books

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson ($14.99)

If you’re into crime books, brace yourself for this one. Taking a meta approach to crime storytelling, “Eight Perfect Murders” is from the perspective of a bookseller who “finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders,” according to GoodReads reviews.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave ($18.90)

“The Last Thing He Told Me,” according to The Bibliophile, centers on Hannah Michaels who finds out that her husband Owen is being investigated for a crime and has now gone missing. The main character is left with her 16-year-old stepdaughter, Bailey, who dislikes her. The two work together to figure out the truth behind Owen’s disappearance and the story details the secrets they find out along the way.

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten ($22.99)

“The Lost Village” is a thrilling horror novel, set in Sweden. The book, according to its description on Barnes and Noble’s site, follows documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt as she and her team go to visit The Lost Village. The village is describes as the town where her grandmother grew up and now has a haunting reputation.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict ($22.99)

This mystery book is a summer read that will keep you on your toes. The book details the investigation of Agatha Christie’s 1926 disappearance and why – to this day – the details are haunting.

Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America by Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard ($21)

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard co-author the history-based book, detailing organized crime in the United States. The book covers the time period between the 1930s to the 1980s, and while some cases were well-known, others existed under the radar at the time.

Best new releases

Billy Summers by Stephen King ($21)

“Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun.” That is the first line of the official description for “Billy Summers” by Stephen King. You can see where the story is going to go from there. The book, according to a description by Barnes and Noble, is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there.

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones ($21.99)

Shanli’s Books Reviews starts the description of “The Guilt Trip” off with “Six friends, three couples, and a picturesque wedding. What could go wrong?” The suspense piece has a lot more mystery where that came from.

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin ($13.99)

The “Who dunnit?” book of the season is here. The official description of the book reads “The discovery of a girl abandoned by the side of the road threatens to unearth the long-buried secrets of a Texas town’s legendary cold case in this superb, atmospheric novel.”

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris ($21.99)

“The Other Black Girl,” according to Barnes and Noble, centers on 26-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers who is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Naturally, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born-and-bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. When Hazel begins to get more praise at work, Nella feels “left in the dust” by her. When a threatening note is left on Nella’s desk, she starts to rethink her career – and the other forces that might be at play.

Intimacies: A Novel by Katie Kitamura ($22.99)

Described as a “haunting, precise, and morally astute novel,” “Intimacies” centers on an interpreter who has moved to a new city and needs to start making her own friends. Soon after her move, she gets herself involved with a variety of “situation-ships” and is forced to choose how she wants her life to go. The online reviews of the book have called it “intense,” “fascinating” and “unsettling.”

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