Updated: May 31, 2022
This is the start of a new series! If you are subscribed to the newsletter you knew this new project was under way. Well, here it is! As fellow readers, one of the things we love about books is their ability to transport us to places. Whether these places are real or made up, books are our free ticket. In this new, ongoing blog series, you can expect a series of book recommendations that all take place in a specific place.
To start off the series, we will be traveling to Alaska! All of these books take place in Alaska and coincidently many are also Christmas books. Thus, I felt it was appropriate to start here. I hope you enjoy this new series and if you have any requests for future destinations don't hesitate to leave a comment, email me (email@example.com), or DM on Instagram (@riversofbooksblog). I would love to hear from you!
Lastly, make sure to check back in the future because I will be adding new recommendations as I find them!
The Seaplane on Final Approach by Rebecca Rukeyser
A libidinous young woman seeks out experience on a remote Alaskan homestead in this hilarious and sensual novel about people who belong everywhere and nowhere and the vast, unknowable wilderness of desire....
Tourists arrive all summer, by boat or seaplane, at Stu and Maureen Jenkins's Lavender Island Wilderness Lodge in the Kodiak Archipelago, expecting adventure. But the spontaneity of their authentic Alaskan wilderness experience is meticulously scripted, except when real danger rears its head. Stu and Maureen's lodge is failing, as is their marriage.
Mira has been hired for the season as the lodge's baker and housekeeper. But she's also busy gleefully nursing twin obsessions: building a working theory of what constitutes "sleaze" and pursuing a young fisherman she deems the embodiment of all things deliciously sleazy. Her plans become more perverse and elaborate, even as life on Lavender Island starts to unravel.
By midseason, it becomes clear that Stu, the jovial, predatory patriarch of the lodge, has turned his sexual attentions to another young employee. As the mood of the lodge spirals into chaos, the inhabitants realize just how isolated Lavender Island really is.
Hilarious, sensual, and charged with menace, The Seaplane on Final Approach brilliantly illuminates the mirage-thin line between the artificial and the feral. In this daring and psychologically razor-sharp debut, Rukeyser's characters tear aside the facade of good manners to reveal all of our deepest needs and naked desires.
Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber brings us to the Alaskan wilderness for a magical Christmas tale about finding love where it's least expected.
Josie and Palmer become close during the long Alaskan summer days, but Josie knows that, come fall, she'll be returning to reality and the career she's worked so hard for. Palmer, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to make Josie his wife and to keep her in Ponder. But Josie can't imagine abandoning her mother back in the Emerald City and sacrificing her career to stay in this isolated town--not even for a man she's quickly coming to love.
Fate has other plans. Josie misses the last boat out of town before winter sets in, stranding her in Ponder and putting her dream job at risk. As the holidays approach, Josie and Palmer must grapple with the complications that arise when dreams confront reality, and the Christmas magic that can happen when they put their faith in love.
The Simple Wild Series by KA Tucker
This is the first book in a three book series (+ a novella).
Calla Fletcher wasn't even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
Moose Wood Springs Series by Sarah Morgenthaler
This is the first book in the three book series.
When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled.
Crave by Tracy Wolff
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right a
bout this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
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