Summer is on the horizon — we can feel it! Spring is having some seventy-degree days here on the East Coast and that means that the beach is on our planner. Maybe not this month, but next month for sure. Day trips, weekend getaways, week-long relaxation fests; we are all itching for some salty air, the smell of sunscreen and a good — no, great — book to keep us riveted. I don’t know about you, but at the beach, I need a thriller. A dark, page-turning mystery to keep me guessing and fully engrossed. So (sun)block out some time, load up the Kindle or the beach bag and settle in with one (or all six!) of these new spellbinding reads.

A Million Reasons Why
by Jessica Strawser

Two estranged sisters are linked by DNA. One sister’s life is falling apart, the other’s is picture-perfect. One has the ability to save the other’s life, but in the process, will discover that everything they know about their family, themselves, and sisterhood is fundamentally flawed. This book tackles heartfelt topics with grace and stunning writing. Read BookTrib’s review here

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Girl A
by Abigail Dean

This is one of the darkest, yet most hypnotic, books I’ve read in a long time. You’ve seen them in the news; one of six siblings in the daily paper, their faces blurred after being rescued from unimaginable horrors. Girl A is less a story of abuse than one about survival and the lies we have to tell ourselves to move on from indescribable tragedy. This pick is an emotional, heart-pounding, half-thriller-half-character study with some truly beautiful prose.

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Lies We Bury
by Elle Marr

If you’re a reader who loves a good serial killer story then this one’s perfect for you. Similar to the aforementioned Girl A, in this book protagonist Marissa Mo escapes a horrific childhood prison. Both heroines are looking for redemption, normalcy, and a life. When Marissa starts working as a freelance photographer covering a string of murders in Portland, she discovers the past may not be as far behind as she’d hoped. Emotional, pulse-pounding and propulsive, Lies We Bury is the perfect beachy attention grabber! 

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She’s Too Pretty to Burn
by Wendy Heard

Set against the hot, dry sizzle of Southern California summers and the underground San Diego art scene, this story literally burns with teenage romance, reckless abandon, and later, actual fires and destruction. Everything in She’s Too Pretty to Burn keeps in theme with the title, including a bonus explosive ending. 

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Bad Habits
by Amy Gentry 

This is the book to read if you’ve ever thought, “Screw you, I can do it better” to a classmate, colleague, teacher, or professor. Bad Habits is an exceedingly fun tale about the politics of academia and the complicated layers of a revenge plot, as well as a unique take on how far a person will go to preserve themselves and succeed despite all the odds against them. Get ready for some absolutely gleeful reading here.

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Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters
by Emily Carpenter

If you’re headed south, always, always, read an Emily Carpenter book. The queen of Southern Gothic will never let you down and Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is no exception. When Eve Candler sets out to discover the truth behind her con-artist grandmother, she finds a darker underbelly of the world of evangelists in depression-era Alabama. Always atmospheric and always beautifully written, a Carpenter story will always keep your undivided attention. Read the BookTrib review here

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