Summer’s here, and the reading is easy. Or it should be! If you’re looking for something new to while away these long summer days — maybe a thrilling beach read or an engrossing memoir to keep you occupied on a cross-country flight — we have you covered with four books that we couldn’t put down and can’t stop talking about.
■ ”The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees” by Meredith May
I am not usually a memoir reader, but I had the opportunity to hear Meredith May speak at last year’s Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show, and was compelled to give her memoir a try. I’m so glad I did.
This somewhat fictionalized memoir covers May’s childhood, after her parents’ divorce, as she and her younger brother move with her very broken mother from the East Coast to California to live with her grandmother and step-grandfather. May recounts troubling and traumatic childhood memories, but in positive, hopeful tones she juxtaposes that trauma by recounting her grandfather’s kindness and guidance while he shares his passion for beekeeping.
As May learns more and more about bees and their behavior, and experiences the patient love of her grandfather, she finds comfort and hope for a better future than the childhood she knew.
■ ”The Hollow of Fear” (“Lady Sherlock” series) by Sherry Thomas
It is hard to beat a good Sherlock Holmesian mystery, and in Sherry Thomas’ “Lady Sherlock” series you’ll get just that! In “The Hollow of Fear,” the third installment of the series, Charlotte Holmes finds herself embroiled in yet another mystery. Only this time she must use her brilliant mind in a race against Scotland Yard to clear her friend, Lord Ingram, who stands accused of murdering his wife.
The infamous Moriarty is also present in this third “Lady Sherlock,” providing even more nail-biting tension. If you find you love this series as much as I do, watch for the next title in this series, “The Art of Theft,” which will be out in October.
■ ”The Lady From the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick” by Mallory O’Meara
Mallory O’Meara’s engaging, conversational biography of Milicent Patrick, who designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon — the only woman to have designed an iconic monster — boils over with her passion for her subject.
It’s part detective story, as O’Meara shares the triumphs and dead ends of her yearslong search for information about this talented artist who has essentially been forgotten, credit for her work taken by her boss. It’s also a celebration of a remarkable woman, in addition to being a reflection on O’Meara’s own experiences in the film industry and how women are accepted and treated there.
■ ”Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim
I devoured this debut novel, which opens with the night that an experimental medical treatment ended in an explosion that left a woman and a young boy dead. It then jumps ahead a year to the resulting murder trial, where, over the course of three days, alternating narrators, testimonies, flashbacks and confrontations bring to light personal secrets and, ultimately, who caused the explosion.
“Miracle Creek” combines courtroom drama, an immigration story, marriage and the challenges of parenting children with special needs, and I could not put it down until I found out how it all ended.
• LeNee Gatton is collection development librarian and Julie Graham is assistant collection development librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. Learn more at www.yvl.org.