Lunar Love, Vatican Murders and More Summer Beach Reads

As far as we know, only two people have had sex on the moon—and the story of how that tryst came to pass makes the perfect tale for the sands of any beach in the Hamptons. Of course, so do the rest of this week’s hot summer reads from our friends at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, including a thrilling take on robots threatening the global financial system, wrenching sagas of family secrets, a Vatican murder mystery and more.

Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich

The bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House is back with the story of a college student and two female accomplices who stole moon rocks from an “impregnable” high-tech vault. The intricacies of the heist, concocted by an intern at a prestigious NASA training program, involved getting past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways—all leading to a 600-pound safe. In Sex on the Moon, Mezrich reconstructs the elaborate heist for items so valuable they were illegal to own. A true thrill ride.

Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System by Scott Patterson

The fascinating story of how global markets have been hijacked by unpredictable trading robots, Dark Pools begins with Josh Levine, a programming genius who created a computerized trading hub named Island, where small traders swapped stocks. Over time, Island morphed into a global electronic stock market—at a time when the market had been turned upside down, creating secretive exchanges called darks pools. This new species of trading machines could think, and were quickly slipping out of the control of their human masters, eventually learning to out-maneuver them. Don’t miss this in-depth account of the rise of the “bots.” 

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva

Don’t miss the latest from Daniel Silva! Early one morning, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is called to St. Peter’s Basilica to the fallen body of a beautiful woman, broken beneath Michelangelo’s magnificent dome. The Vatican police suspects suicide; Allon and Donati, Pope Paul VII’s private secretary, suspect otherwise. Fearful of public inquiry and a scandal on the Church, Donati enlists Gabriel to find the truth—without asking too many questions. Gabriel learns that the dead woman had uncovered a dangerous secret, and so begins the swift move through the cloistered chambers of the Vatican, to the ski slopes of St. Moritz, to Berlin and Vienna, all leading to a shocking climax. The Fallen Angel is a timely reminder that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Cousins Nick and Helena have grown together, sharing summers at an old family estate known as Tiger House. At the culmination of the Second World War, the two women are on the cusp of their adult lives—Helena off to Hollywood and a new marriage, and Nick reuniting with her husband who is returning from the war. But the cousins’ world soon begins to crack. Nick’s husband returns distant and curtained and Helena’s is not the man she thought he was. On the brink of the ’60s, back at Tiger House, Helena’s children discover a brutal murder, and the violence causes everything to unravel and spin out of orbit. Told from five points of view, Klaussmann’s debut novel is full of elegance and suspense. Join us at Books and Books on July 27 at 7 p.m. to meet the author and get an autographed copy.

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Marian Caldwell has it all—her dream job as a television producer in New York and a satisfying relationship. At least that’s what she’s convinced herself, until a knock on the door delivers Kirby Rose into her life. An 18-year-old girl with a key to Marian’s past, a past she thought she had sealed off forever, Kirby’s presence rattles her perfect world as well as her identity, and resurrects the ghosts of a passionate young love affair. The encounter will launch Kirby into adulthood and send the two women on a journey to fill the holes in their lives. Giffin reminds us that where we belong is often where we least expect.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

An Armenian love story, The Sandcastle Girls begins in 1915, with Elizabeth Endicott arriving in Aleppo, Syria, with a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing and the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. There Elizabeth meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo to join the British army in Egypt, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, coming to realize he has fallen in love with her. In the present day, Laura Petrosian, a novelist in suburban New York of Armenian heritage, gets a call from an old friend who saw a photo of her grandmother promoting an exhibit in a Boston museum. This call sets Laura on a journey through her family’s history that reveal a wrenching secret that had been buried for generations—a reminder that our ancestral past informs our contemporary lives.

Check out these books and more great summer reading picks at Books & Books, 130 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Call 631-998-3260 or visit online at

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