The definitive list of new beach reads for summer 2022

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Jaime Lee

Is there any greater pleasure in life that buying a new book at the airport on your way to a beach holiday? As we’re browsing titles, we imagine lying on a sun lounger, lost in the world of a page-turning novel as sand gets stuck in its spine and we sip on an ice-cold cocktail. And there’s some seriously hot new releases ready to pack in your beach bag this summer.

If you can’t make it to the beach, take to the park for a balmy afternoon on a picnic blanket, tucking into a bag of crisps and leaving grease stains on each page as you finger them. From heart-clenching romance that will make you weep, short story collections to dip in and out of and super steamy erotica guaranteed to make you squirm to can’t-put-down thrillers and fantasy fiction that will transport you to another dimension. Oh we’ve also thrown in some fascinating non-fiction and a mix of moving memoirs and iconic celebrity biographies too. Phew you’re in for a treat.

Dive into this guide to the hottest new page-turners for a #hotgirlsummer of reading… what more could you want from life? Some of this selection are already out but others are coming out throughout June, July and August – preorder through links. Happy reading…

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1

What Time is Love? by Holly Williams

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 26 May

How do you know if you’re meant to be? This debut by Holly Williams might just help you answer that question if you’re in a fledgling relationship. What Time is Love? imagines what might happen if one couple met at three different points in time: 1947, 1967 and 1987. Each time they meet, Violet and Albert are always 20 years old – but how they fall in love is shaped by their circumstances, and the changing times they’re living in. The novel charts how Violet and Albert navigate differences in class, gender, privilege and opportunity, between them and across the decades. Would you still fall in love if you met your partner in a different century?

2

Until I Met You by Amber Rose Gill

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 7 July

We’re totally here for this unexpected synergy between ex Love Islander Amber Rose Gill and iconic romance publisher Mills & Boon. This is Amber’s debut novel, and she’s written it in collaboration with Nadine Gonzalez (who has six M&B novels under her belt) – it’s all about finding love unexpectedly. Basically a travel blogger goes on holiday to her mate’s wedding and ends up finding a lover for herself. It’s pure escapism.

3

Walking on Cowrie Shells by Nana Nkweti

Graywolf Press
amazon.co.uk

A collection of stories that you’ll get completely lost in. Okay, picture the scene. A hazy summer evening, you get dressed up in an outfit that you adore, go to your local wine bar, settle yourself and get this gorgeous collection of short stories out of your handbag and order whatever you fancy. These stories are perfect for dipping in and out of as you sit and watch the world go by. Nan’s stories go from LOL funny to heartbreaking sobs, and sometimes both all at once.

4

Anonymous sex edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

amazon.co.uk

Now this is how you write erotica. And it’s delicious to read. The book features 27 tantalising horny tales, all written by different authors, who’ve unleashed their wild side under the cover of anonymity. There’s a married woman who has a BDSM encounter at a work conference; two boys explore their first stirrings of desire at a sleepover; sex in an AI-driven afterlife; a bisexual woman who cheats on her wife with a baker; and female friends who give in to repressed feelings in a shared hotel room. There will be *at least* one story that will turn you on.

5

Notes on Heartbreak by Annie Lord

Annie Lord
foyles.co.uk

Out 23 June

Notes on Heartbreak is a love story told in reverse, starting with a devastating break-up that writer Annie Lord never saw coming. It revisits all those key moments from her past, from that first spark when she knew she’d fallen head over heels, those shared in-jokes and the intertwining of lives, to the months that saw the erosion of a bond that she had thought was forever. There’s relatable tales of being ghosted, messy rebound sex and stalking your ex’s new partner on Insta that will make you realise you’re not the only one…

6

Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman

Lillian Fishman
foyles.co.uk

Out 7 July

Eve is in a long-term relationship with a girlfriend she’s getting bored of. One evening, in a moment of impulse and exhibitionism, she posts some nude photos of herself online. Through this she ends up meeting a couple, Olivia and Nathan, and embarking on a complicated and kinky three-way relationship that brings out her darkest desires. She starts to question to what extent do our desires determine who we are? Both insanely erotic and intellectually challenging, one of those books we never wanted to end.

7

Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation by Erika Krouse

amazon.co.uk

One for true crime fans. Tell Me Everything is the story of a landmark sexual assault investigation and the private investigator who helped crack it open. In 2002, Krouse accepts a new contract as a private investigator. The role seems perfect, but she soon realises she has no idea what she’s doing. Then a lawyer assigns her to investigate a sexual assault, a college student who was attacked by football players at a party a year earlier. Krouse knows she should turn the assignment down; her own history with sexual violence makes it all too personal. But she takes the job anyway, inspired by Grayson’s conviction that he could help change things forever – and maybe she could, too.

8

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola
foyles.co.uk

A super sweet rom-com is the ideal park companion. And you’ll adore main character Kiki Banjo – an expert in relationship-evasion. In fact, she has made it her mission to protect the women of Whitewell University from the dangers of players and heartbreak, supplying advice on her student radio show, Brown Sugar. And then Kiki meets handsome newcomer Malakai Korede, who threatens to tear apart the community of women she’s fought so hard to protect. Full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue, you won’t be able to put this one down.

9

Girlcrush by Florence Given

amazon.co.uk

Out 9 August

This is the hotly anticipated debut novel by Florence Given – and it’s seriously hot, following a bisexual woman and her steamy coming out journey. Eartha has the ick – with her whole life. Unsatisfied with her job and her BF, she’s secretly crushing on her mate, Rose, who might be the only person who’s noticed that Eartha is bisexual. After a drunken video of her coming out goes viral, a woman named E.V offers Eartha a chance to make her into the next big thing on Wonderland, a social media world where people create their dream selves. But which version of herself will she become?

10

One Last Secret by Adele Parks

Adele Parks
whsmith.co.uk

Out 7 July

One Last Secret is set in a luxurious French chateau, and it’s a dose of escapism laced with tension. The book follows Dora, a sex worker who takes one last job before she leaves the profession to marry her partner. It’s a straight-forward job – a week in a luxury chateau in France with a regular client, pretending to be his GF. When she arrives, she finds herself confronted by a man she’s never forgotten, and as old secrets surface, Dora starts to lose grip on reality, her life is at risk. There’s some insane plot twists in this one. You’ll read in one greedy gulp and come up gasping for a glass of wine.

11

The Poet by Louisa Reid

amazon.co.uk

Out 9 June

We’ve never read anything quite like this before. A powerful and almost uncomfortably raw novel that’s written in verse – although you sort of don’t notice as the poetry sings so beautifully. It’s set in Oxford academia, and is a whirlwind of emotion – you’ll be completely submerged. At uni, Emma fancies her older professor from the moment they lock eyes. She becomes entangled in a toxic relationship, and she starts to lose control. Cruel, charming Tom is idolised by his students – and he knows it. The story flits between past and present as he manipulates and undermines Emma’s every thought and act.

12

Lucie Yi Is Not A Romantic by Lauren Ho

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 23 June

A LOL story of living your life, and letting expectations follow second. Lucie Yi has decided that finding Mr Right is a myth, and Mr Right-enough-to-have-children-with is the next best option. So when she meets easy-going Collin on a platonic co-parenting website, it feels like she has found her own version of happily ever after. But when they move back home to Singapore where her traditional family and ex-fiancé await, the pressure begins to mount, and Lucie must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice…

13

How to Live When You Could Be Dead by Deborah James

bookshop.org

Out 18 August

“I’m alive when I should be dead. In another movie, I missed the sliding door and departed this wondrous life long ago. Like so many others, I’ve had to learn to live not knowing if I have a tomorrow, because, statistically, I shouldn’t have. At the age of 35, I was blindsided by incurable bowel cancer – I was given a less than 8% chance of surviving five years. More than five years later, my only option is to live in the now and to value one day at a time.”

Now that Deobrah James (AKA @bowelbabe) is sadly receiving end of life care, publication of her book has been brought forward. This moving memoir will make you question your life as if you didn’t have a tomorrow and live it in the way you want to today.

14

Wanting You to Want Me: Stories from the Secret World of Strip Clubs

foyles.co.uk

From the secret conversations that happen behind the scenes in changing rooms to the blurred boundaries between dancer and client, authors Bronwen Parker-Rhodes and Emily Dinsdale – who were themselves part of the industry – have collected together stories and intimate photographs from the women working in London strip clubs. There’s no one definitive experience of being a stripper, which is why Wanting You to Want Me presents a range of stories told from different – and sometimes conflicting – perspectives.

15

Cat Brushing by Jane Campbell

waterstone
waterstones.com

A short story collection that explores the sensual worlds of 13 older women in intimate vignettes. Susan embarks on an intense emotional affair with her young carer. Discovering a cut on her leg, Nell is plunged into recollections of an anguished girl from her past. Linda seeks out her former lover, Malik, on the banks of the Victoria Falls. Daisy finds herself at her former husband’s funeral by mistake. Martha subverts a robot designed to monitor her behaviour to exact revenge on the carer she believes killed her dog. And a woman grooms her beautiful Siamese cat and reflects on her sexual adventures.

16

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson

Juno Dawson
foyles.co.uk

Out 21 July

The first in a series and we’re here for it. Hidden among us is a secret coven of witches, they are Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. They protect crown and country from magical forces and otherworldly evil. But their greatest enemy will come from within. There are whisperings of a prophecy that will bring the coven to its knees, and five best friends are about to be caught at the centre. Life as a modern witch was never simple… but now it’s about to get apocalyptic.

17

Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

amazon.co.uk

A novel tracing three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter’s discovery that she has the power to change her family’s legacy. In the summer of 1995, 10-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s violence, seeking refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. Joan can’t change her family’s past. But she can create her future. Memphis is a celebration of the enduring strength of female bonds, of what we pass down, from mother to daughter.

18

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

Bella Mackie
waterstones.com

This was released in hardback last year, so we’re excited to see the paperback release just in time for summer. Read it in front of your family to really freak them out. It opens with the narrator, Grace, in prison: I have killed several people (some brutally, others calmly) and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit. And she then goes on to tell us what actually happened. It’s darkly funny and we couldn’t stop cackling out loud – Grace is definitely one of those characters that you love to hate. And there’s some serious plot twists too.

19

The Arena of the Unwell by Liam Konemann

404ink.com

Out 26 May

Noah moves from grotty pubs to even grottier venues in this queer coming-of-age tale. We love following Noah as he gets drunk and stumbles into secret gigs in north London, falling asleep hungover in the stockroom of the record shop he works at the following day. Then Noah meets Dylan, the hot guy who he’s never dared talk to before and he’s pulled into a toxic throuple with Dylan’s mate Fraser. Crack open a tinnie in the park and devour this book before heading to the pub.

20

Guilty Women by Melanie Blake

waterstone
waterstones.com

The cast of Ruthless Women is back – but this time they’re in trouble. Guilty Women is full of revenge, murder, sex and greed. When four TV actresses gather on a beautiful island off the English coast, their fifth member is missing and only they know why she was killed. As the secret between them threatens to come out, tensions on set run high as one of them is on the edge of spilling everything. The question is, are they all guilty?

21

The Setup by Lizzy Dent

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 9 June

One for the rom-com lovers. Mara is clinging to the idea of fate. On a solo trip to Budapest, she’s forced into impersonating a fortune teller and meets Joe, a gorgeous Austrian cellist. She invites him to her seaside town of Broadgate at the end of the summer. But back home, life is complicated, as the crumbling lido where Mara works is under threat. So begins ‘Project Mara’ – three months to turn herself into the stylish, confident woman she’s always hoped to be, before meeting Joe. But while Mara is getting ready, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is sexy as hell…

22

Tell Me Everything by Laura Kay

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 26 May

Natasha has everything under control, well her clients think so. As a therapist, she has all the answers but when it comes to her personal life, she needs to start taking her own advice. Still living with her ex-girlfriend, Natasha’s messy love life is made up of dates and one-night stands. But when Margot arrives on the scene, everything changes. Flailing between mending long broken relationships and starting new ones, Natasha’s walking the line between self-actualisation and self-destruction…

bookshop.org

Out 9 June

Yep it’s time for Becoming by Love Island’s Molly-Mae. She opens up about how she nurtured her creativity from a young age, took ownership of her body image, battled self-doubt and built a happy life. Along the way she shares the moments, relationships and life lessons that have made her who she is. From the energetic child who loved Irish dancing and pageants, to the teenager holding down a job at Boots while building her dreams at fashion school, her journey to Love Island and how she copes with fame today.

24

Milk Teeth by Jessica Andrews

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 21 July

From the author of Saltwater, this is a love story set across England, France and Spain. A girl grows up in the north of England amid the toxic culture of heroin chic, believing that she needs to make herself smaller to claim presence in the world. Years later, she meets someone who calls everything into question. Their relationship takes her from London to Barcelona and the precipice of a new life, full of sensuality. Yet she still feels an uneasiness. In the sticky Mediterranean heat, she must decide what form her adult life should take.

25

The Reunion by Polly Phillips

amazon.co.uk

Out 21 July

The Reunion follows Emily Toller, who’s tried to forget her time at uni and the events that led to her suddenly leaving. She’s done everything she can to forget the shame – and the people involved – and she has tried to focus on the life she’s made with her children and husband. But events like that can’t just be forgotten, not without someone answering for what they’ve done. When an invitation arrives to a reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan. Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?

26

Stargazer by Laurie Petrou

waterstone
waterstones.com

Out 26 June

Diana Martin has lived her life in the shadow of her sadistic brother. She quietly watches the family next door, enthralled by fashion designer Marianne Taylor and her daughter, Aurelle. She wishes she were a ‘Taylor girl’. By the summer of 1995, the two girls are at uni together, bonded by a desire to escape their families. Closer than lovers, they’re intoxicated by their own bond. But when burgeoning artist Diana has a chance at fame, cracks start to appear in their friendship. To what lengths is Diana willing to go to secure her own stardom?

27

On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi

amazon.com

Out 21 June

On Rotation is a brilliant debut rom-com following Ghanaian-American Angie Appiah, a medical school student, who’s the epitome of the Perfect Immigrant Daughter. She’s got it all: including a a handsome lawyer boyfriend, and ride-or-die friends. But what happens when everything falls apart? Her boyfriend dumps her, she bombs the most important exam of her career, and her closest mate pulls away, telling Angie she’s more wrapped up in herself than in her friends. Suddenly she starts to question everything. It’s relatable and LOL funny.

28

The Yellow Kitchen by Margaux Vialleron

waterstones.com

Out 7 July

London E17, 2019. A yellow kitchen stands as a metaphor for the lifelong friendship between three women: Claude, the baker, goal-orientated Sophie and political Guilia. They have the best kind of friendship, chasing life and careers; dating, dreaming and consuming but always returning to be reunited in the yellow kitchen. That is, until a trip to Lisbon unravels unexplored desires between Claude and Sophie. Having sex is one thing, waking up the day after is the beginning of something new…

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