Book Bites: Cool Books for Hot Weather

Could it get any hotter? (Don't answer that.) There's only one thing to do in weather like this: Pay us a visit and head home with a pile of books to read. Happily, it's a great time of the year for new releases. We've got a fresh batch of sweet picture books, adventurous middle grade, beach reads, mysteries, literary masterpieces, memoirs, and more waiting for you on our shelves. Read about a few of our new favorites, then stop in and enjoy a blast of our cranked A/C. Don't forget to pick up your Summer Reading Bingo card — it's a great time to kick back and fill in some squares. (Just maybe not "read outside.")

Ages 3-7

The Ice Cream Vanishes by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Squirrel is an expert at making acorns disappear and moves on to making other snacks disappear as well. Squirrel then enlists Bear as an assistant to make ice cream disappear. When all the animals get involved, it's ice cream bedlam! Another funny story from Julia Sarcone-Roach. 
— Cathy

Read because you're looking for a sweet chuckle.
Pass if you're lactose intolerant.
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Ages 4-8

Monster Mac and Cheese by Todd Parr

The Monsters are having a Mac and Cheese party with no humans allowed. Parr's signature illustrations capture the hilarious and disgusting mac and cheese variation that each monster brings to the party. A very fun way to remember that it's good to try new things and share meals with friends.
— Cathy

Read because Todd Parr is the master of bold, colorful fun.
Pass if you're busy working on your own disgusting mac and cheese recipe.
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Ages 8-12

Lei and the Fire Goddess by Malia Maunakea

Anna Leilani Kama'ehu spends part of her summer every year visiting her grandmother in Hawai'i, where she is tired of listening to folktales and just wants to do touristy things. When she accidentally insults Pele, the fire goddess, her best friend on the island is kidnapped and a lava flow is unleashed, and Anna must believe in the stories to rescue her friend and save her grandmother's house from Pele's wrath. A great adventure and an exploration of Hawaiian folklore from an AAPI debut author, with a sequel planned.
— Aerie

Read because this was blurbed by Auli'i Cravalo — the voice of Moana herself — so you know it's going to be great.
Pass if humor and action just sadden and bore you.
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Adult Fiction

Talking at Night by Claire Daverley

Rosie and Josh are twins in their last year of school before university, with an overbearing mother and a lackadaisical father. Rosie struggles with OCD and the pressure to do well in school but can relax and be more of herself with her best friend Marley. Josh and Will are friends through an advanced math class, which is how Rosie and Will meet — at a bonfire that Rosie tags along to with Josh. Rosie and Will are intrigued by each other, circling closer despite feeling like maybe they shouldn't, until a tragedy suddenly tears them apart. The book explores how each struggles to come to terms with their grief and figure out what they want in life while always feeling drawn back to one other. Following each through the years after high school and into adulthood, this was a beautiful book about missed opportunities and real love and two characters who can't help but come back to the one person that seems to truly understand them.
— Aerie

Read if you love beautiful, deep, and complex love stories.
Pass if you think nights are for sleeping, not chatting.
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Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall

In Regency society, life for well-bred young ladies is full of challenges. When you're hampered by a curse, it's even worse. When Maelys Mitchelmore finds herself in this situation, she must join forces with Lady Georgiana Landrake, rumored to be a witch who killed her family, to find the source of the curse and undo the vindictive magical attack. What follows is a clever, spellbinding romance full of wit and magic.
— Cathy

Read if you love the wit of Jane Austen and the drama of Greek Mythology.
Pass if you hate feeling delighted.
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Open Throat by Henry Hoke

A mountain lion prowls Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Hungry and alone, he searches for food, avoids hikers, and protectively watches over a small encampment of unhoused people. As food grows more scarce, he fantasizes more and more about human flesh — but when a human-caused wildfire tears through the park, he finds himself reliant on the help of a young self-described witch.

Written in verse from the point of view of the lion, Open Throat is clever and feral, with an explosive and affecting circular ending. You’ll whip through this novella in one sitting, only to find yourself wishing it was longer. (Very) loosely inspired by Los Angeles’s famous puma, P-22.
— Noah

Read if you're looking for a book that will stick with you awhile.
Pass if you have a trip planned to the zoo tomorrow.
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My Murder by Katie Williams

Lou is one of five young women murdered by a serial killer and then "reborn," cloned as their original selves by the government's reclamation commission. She is missing the memories of the days surrounding her murder, and this gives her a certain amount of anxiety as she tries to live a normal life with a wonderful husband and a 9-month old daughter. When she and another of the murdered girls manage to meet with the killer in jail, he reveals that he killed only four of the girls and did not kill Lou. Technologically far removed from today's world, Lou enters a virtual world where someone has built a game about the actual serial killings. She keeps playing the game obsessively, trying to figure out who actually killed her, until she finally discovers the unexpected answers to her questions. Recommended.
— Alice

Read if you're a Black Mirror fan.
Pass if you prefer your reads predictable and flat.
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Night Will Find You by Julia Heaberlin

Vivvy's mother was a well-known psychic. And Vivvy is one now. She doesn't like to show off her powers, but the police keep asking her to help on desperate cases. She is now the target of a true crime podcaster who doesn't believe her skills. But she needs to figure out the crimes and how she is connected to them. Heaberlin does a great job of setting the scene and drawing you into the story.
— Valerie

Read because this book is an original mystery, perfectly blending science and physic powers.
Pass if you're just waiting for the already-in-development TV show to come out. (Just read the book first, it's always better!)
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I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

Two stories, one in the late 1860s and one contemporary, are tenuously connected in this tale of death, dying, and love. While at his brother's hospice bedside, Finn is called back to his hometown because of the suicide of his former lover, Lily. A high school English teacher who has recently been put on administrative leave for his unorthodox pedagogical methods, Finn visits Lily's grave and discovers that she has not quite passed over and wants him to take her to a cadaver research center. When the two pause in their journey at an old B&B in Kentucky, Finn discovers a journal from 150 years earlier in which a woman describes the death of a lodger. As in her earlier novels, Moore is a master of words, creating a world where basic human emotions are woven together with imagination and wit to create a surreal world that is entirely believable. Recommended.
— Alice

Read because the writing in this book is stunning.
Pass if you're reading Moore's previous incredible novels before diving into her new release.
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The Spectacular by Fiona Davis

New York, 1956: 19-year-old Marion lives at home with her dad and sister, teaches dance at an established studio, will probably marry her high school sweetheart, and is "satisfied" with life. She lives to dance and teaching dance to children is her consolation for not dancing publicly. When she is fired from her beloved teaching job, Marion is lost until she hears about an audition for the Rockettes. On a whim, she tries out and actually makes it! Telling her dad isn’t so easy, and Marion moves out of her childhood home into a New York boarding house for women working in the arts. Dancing and being single in the city is everything she dreamed of. Meanwhile, the Big Apple Bomber continues to leave pipe bombs at high-traffic tourist locations. When a bomb goes off during a Christmas Rockettes performance, she is determined to find this man and bring him to justice. This is Fiona Davis at her best and is not to be missed. Highly recommended!
— Christina

Read because this book is just what the title implies.
Pass if you're checking to see whether you can still do the can-can. 
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Adult Nonfiction

To Name the Bigger Lie by Sarah Viren

Amid the backdrop of the 2020 election cycle, writer and academic Sarah Viren set out to work on a coming-of-age memoir exploring the lasting impact of her enigmatic high school philosophy teacher — a magnetic presence whose teachings slowly slipped into the realm of conspiracy theories and outright falsehoods.

As Viren is digging into the very nature of truth, lies, and reality, her wife Marta is accused of sexual misconduct by an anonymous source purporting to be a graduate student at the university where they both teach. Her life is upended (as is her book) as she and Marta scramble to prove their innocence. In bringing these narratives together, Viren crafts a captivating memoir that is part philosophy class and part psychological thriller. What is it to be honest? And how is that different from being true?
— Noah

Read because this book is one-of-a-kind.
Pass if you're looking for some summer reading with simpler themes.
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