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Rachel’s Reads – June 2021

It’s summer reading season! With vacations seemingly right around the corner again, the eponymous “beach read” is flying to the top of my to-be-read list. Although I feel that anything can be read at anytime of the year, something about the heat of summer calls for either a fun and frothy book, or a page-turning thriller. Here are a few of my favorite beach reads from the last few years. 

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

This fun read centers around a young woman, Danika, who agrees to fake date the man who rescued her from a fire drill gone wrong. Shenanigans ensue in this charming romantic comedy. Although this is technically the second book in the Brown Sisters series, you don’t have to have read the first to enjoy this one (although it is still a great read).  


Beach Read by Emily Henry

This “beach read” was one of my favorites last summer. It revolves around a romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer who is stuck in a rut. They decide to switch writing roles over the course of the summer to help produce their next books, and, of course, learn more about each other in the process. This is such a warm read. 


Death Notice by Zhou Haohui

Fans of page-turning thrillers will enjoy this cat-and-mouse game between a manipulative mastermind of vigilante justice and the police squad that hunts him. It has so many twists and turns and is one of China’s best-selling crime novels to date. 


Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee

A modern day, young-adult retelling of Anna Karenina set in the glitz and glamour of the wealthy teens of New York. Jenny’s writing will completely suck you in.


A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin

An NYC women-only social club has had rumors swirling around it for years, until one journalist decides she is going to get the scoop. This page-turner shows that anyone can get caught up in treacherous business, and it has a twist you probably won’t see coming. 



The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

For the fans of fantasy, this first book in a trilogy will drop you into a whole new world. It has magic, war, military school, and so much more. 


Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Billed as Get Out meets Gossip Girl, I can confirm that this book feels exactly like that. It has sex, lies, dark academia, and a great female lead. 


The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

When Sophie leaves Chicago for a small town in Texas, she soon finds herself bored and drawn to the alluring socialite Margot, who runs an elite clique called the “Hunting Wives.” This book has small town murder vibes and feels a bit like Mean Girls. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. 


Happy Reading!



Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family in 2019. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).

Bailey Pianalto Photography



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