Summer Reading: Our Top Five Novels

We know you'll have some time on your hands this summer so we've figured out a way to help fill it for you. Yes, we're talking books.

5. Bared to You by Sylvia Day If you've already finished Fifty Shades of Grey and you're ready for another erotic title, try Sylvia Day's Bared to You, the story of Eva Tramell, a young woman who just got a job with an advertising firm which happens to be located in a New York City skyscraper owned by millionaire billionaire Gideon Cross. Steamy and filled with sex scenes, Bared to You has the tag line "He possessed me and obsessed me..." This is the first in Day's Crossfire series, so expect more about Eva soon.

Day is a self-publishing darling, originally releasing Bared to You on her own. After the novel earned a spot on the New York Times best-seller list, it was picked up by Berkley Books. On June 12, a trade paperback edition will be released (with a whopping 500,000 first print run, which means Berkley is banking on it repeating its success in the new format).

4. City of Women by David Gillham Berlin during the Second World War serves as the setting for City of Women, out on August 7. All of the country's men are gone, leaving Berlin inhabited mostly by women like Sigrid. Doing the best she can in a nightmarish situation, Sigrid goes to work, takes care of her needy mother-in-law and juggles her ration book as best she can. All the while, she's having to turn a blind eye to the regime's unfathomable crimes. But things aren't what they seem. The man Sigrid is longing for isn't her husband, who's stationed outside Moscow. She's dreaming of her Jewish lover, who has disappeared into the battlefront.

3. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty Last summer, Liane Moriarty had a big hit with What Alice Forgot. This summer, she's hoping to repeat that success with The Hypnotist's Love Story. As you might guess, it revolves around a hypnotist who falls in love. In this case, hypnotist Ellen has fallen for single-dad Patrick. It seems like a good match until Patrick confesses that his ex-girlfriend has been stalking him. Instead of being put off, Ellen is rather intrigued. Why would a woman be so obsessed with a man, she wonders? Ellen begins to toy with the idea of meeting Patrick's stalker, not realizing that, oops, she already has.

Booklist gave Hypnotist's Love Story a starred review and called it "a witty modern love story" and "a compassionate, absorbing tale." Library Journal said it "feels fresh, with believable, likable characters."

2. All Men Are Liars by Albert Manguel The next title on our list is being touted as a "literary event," in part because it's the first release from Manguel in some years. All Men Are Liars is a fascinating puzzle. During a series of four interviews, a journalist explores the truth about the suicide of Argentine writer Alejandro Bevilacqua. It seems he jumped off the balcony of his Madrid apartment, but did he? Each of the men being interviewed has his own reasons for slanting the facts, for "remembering" things in a way that casts the speaker in the best light. How can the reporter sift through the facts, half-truths and falsehoods of the story? Especially when all men are liars?

1. The Governor's Wife by Mark Gimenez Texas author Mark Gimenez delivers another powerful thriller with his latest release, The Governor's Wife. The story can be summed up in three sentences: A Texas governor wants to be president. His wife wants a life away from him. A Mexican drug lord wants him dead.

But Gimenez, in his typical captivating style, makes The Governor's Wife much more than a sum of its plot parts. The action is set mostly in Austin, but a good deal of it also happens in a stark no-man's land just outside Laredo, on the American side of the Rio Grande River, but on the Mexican side of the border fence.

Gimenez has built a solid reputation for being a skilled storyteller, and in this latest release he kicks things up a notch, intensifying the action, increasing the emotion and going all in with a plot that twists and turns, and creating multilayered, captivating characters that are impossible not to care about.

Gimenez is busy touting his book in South Africa, where his last two titles were on the top of the best-seller lists, but he should manage to squeeze in a Houston visit soon. Look for The Governor's Wife now.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez