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Six hot new books to read in June

From a murder mystery of two teenagers in Stalin's Russia to an intriguing memoir of a girl who grew up in northern Alberta, you'll want to pack your summer with these great escapes.
Six hot new books to read in June

Photo, Getty Images.

June books 2014

Russian intrigue

It’s 1945 and the Soviet Union is celebrating a triumphant end to the Second World War. The day of the victory parade, the streets are filled with jubilant crowds. In the midst of the festivities, though, two teenagers (children of prominent members of Stalin’s entourage) are killed while acting out a scene from one of their favourite books. What follows is a high-stakes investigation in which the lives of everyone — from the teens’ friends to high-ranking Soviet officials — are forever changed. Written by a Russian historian, this epic, loosely based on true events, deftly weaves together love and politics to illustrate how in Stalin’s Russia, anyone could be targeted, even the dictator’s own son. – Dominique Lamberton

One Night in Winter, Simon Sebag Montefiore, $32

One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Hot new trilogy

Part thriller, part thoughtful take on intimacy and trust, Louise Welsh’s first volume in the Plague Times trilogy sets up an interesting and timely dialogue around the struggle to maintain normalcy in a rapidly decaying society. When Stevie Flint’s boyfriend, Simon, stands her up on a date, she never suspects he’s lying dead in his apartment. His death is attributed to a mysterious pandemic called “The Sweats,” which is sweeping London. But when Stevie finds a letter from Simon asking her to deliver a package to one man and that man only, Stevie begins to think there might be more to Simon’s death than a devastating illness. Her fears are confirmed when she’s attacked by someone who wants the package — and is willing to do anything to get it. – Marissa Miller

A Lovely Way to Burn, Louise Welsh, $23.

A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

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Till pizza do us part

A savoury, sweet and sometimes tart memoir about new marriage from Molly Wizenberg, the creative mind behind Orangette (named best food blog in the world by the London Times) and the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life. When Molly marries Brandon, she knows it will mean embracing all of the “projects” he habitually becomes obsessed with — from violin construction to boat building. She happily indulges him. But then Brandon signs the lease on an empty building with the idea of opening a pizza restaurant, and Molly is forced to accept the fact that her husband’s hobby means a whole new way of life for her — like it or not! – Joanna Kwok

Delancey, Molly Wizenberg, $30.

Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

See me roar

The Kings clan (now led by Woodbury Kings) rule the waters around Loosewood Island with their uncanny ability to catch lobsters. The eldest of Woodbury Kings’ four children, Cordelia, longs to be named heir to the Kings throne, despite her gender. But from an early age, Cordelia knows her ascension won’t be simple — tremendous loss and sorrow are part of the Kings legacy, as is a curse. After losing her brother, Scotty, and her mother to the ocean, Cordelia becomes ever more determined to succeed, shadowing her father to master the lobster trade, earn the respect of other fishermen on the island and keep ruthless off-island rivals at bay. Alexi Zentner (born in Kitchener, Ont.) paints an exhilarating portrait of a stormy yet close-knit community and of a woman who needs a tough exterior to survive, but whose big heart tells a different story. — Katie Dupuis

The Lobster Kings, Alexi Zentner, $24.

Six hot new books to read in June

A gourmet mystery

Scrumptious food descriptions are what you’d expect from food writer (and former editor of Gourmet magazine) Ruth Reichl, and you get them by the platterful  in this charming debut novel. Billie Breslin bakes luscious gingerbread and, with the recipe (readers get it too!), lands a job at Delicious!, a celebrated food magazine. There, she uncovers a trove of Second World War letters from a young girl to famed chef James Beard. The letters capture Billie’s imagination and send her on a journey to discover just who the enterprising young writer was. While the subplots overwhelm at times, food lovers will delight in this delectable fare. – Caroline Chua

Delicious!, Ruth Reichl, $32.

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

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Wild ride

Born to a 16-year-old in the free-loving ’60s, Cea Sunrise Person grew up in a teepee in northern Alberta, next to a Native reserve (they had to ask the chief’s permission to settle there). Living with her and her mom was an eccentric extended family that included a pot-growing grandpa. It was an odd life, eating bug stew and using a pit for a toilet, but one that seemed normal to Cea — until her mom met a new man. The trio ended up in a truck full of stolen goods, raiding cabins and running from the cops, and Cea began to realize all was not well. In her memoir, North of Normal, the mother of three and former model reflects on how her childhood shaped her.

Read more about the author here.

North of Normal, Cea Sunrise Person, $23.

Six hot new books to read in June

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