What a Beachy Good Time!

Ah. It’s summertime and the weather’s fine (if you like this kind of weather, which I mostly don’t) but who can say they’ve had a satisfying summer without reading an officially suggested “beach book?” Don’t let it be you! No, you don’t have to read these books on a sandy patch of earth or near a large-ish body of water, you just have to be willing to add one more title to your list of books! Who can’t do that? And so, here come nine more for your ever growing list:

Evelyn: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. Things go wrong from the start when sisters Sophie and Amy Dempsey arrive in the small town of Temptation, Ohio to film a comeback documentary video for an aging movie star–especially since they run a stop sign and crash into the mayor’s car! Soon the word is out among the locals that they are secretly making a porn flick. Everyone should be crazy for Crusie!

Emma: The Spinster Sisters by Stacey Ballis is the story of sisters Jodi and Jill Spingold. Over the years they built an empire on radio, in bestselling books, and potentially on television helping single women thrive and find happiness. When Jill becomes engaged, Jodi is afraid their business will suffer because it might appear as though one of them is not following their own advice. Eventually all works out for the pair, but it’s a roller coaster process.

Dori: Castle Waiting by Linda Medley is a graphic novel about a group of eccentric characters who find a home and haven in a castle deserted by its princess. Inspired by folklore and fairy tales, Medley weaves together the lives of these quirky folk, creating a witty, warm and imaginative tale that’s the perfect summer read.

Donna: Just Like Heaven is the latest historical romance paperback by Julia Quinn, and the first book in a planned series featuring the Smythe-Smith family. Like all of Quinn’s romances, Just Like Heaven has two likeable, charming main characters with loads of witty and humorous dialogue between the two to make this a fun, entertaining read not only for a few hours of great escape reading on a hot, summer afternoon but also to take along to the beach! Marcus is Honoria’s older brother’s best friend and they have known each other since childhood. While caring for Marcus after he is injured, Honoria begins to realize that what she feels for him is more than friendship. Could Marcus have more than sisterly feelings for her too? The reader knows that the ending will be happy for all but getting to the last page is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable ride.

Rosemary: The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly is absolute perfection. What reader could ask for more? Lulu Atwater is the great-great granddaughter of Jo March of “Little Women” fame. When Lulu’s mother asks her to fetch something from the attic of their London home, she stumbles upon a treasure trove of letters from Jo March to her sisters. The letters help Lulu accept her own quirky personality. Author Donnelly is spot on in her depictions of sisterly relationships.

Chris: Hollywood Divorces by Jackie Collins presents three Hollywood wives—a star, a starlet and a writer/director—all unhappily married. Shelly really loves her husband, but can’t abide his alcoholism or cheating; Lola didn’t marry the man she loves, but a tennis pro who bores her but generates great PR; and Cat married a rock star, Jump, who takes womanizing to new heights. But you can count on Jackie Collins to give these woman back their power and their happy endings.

Julie: Want a fun book with engaging characters and a lovely happy ending? Then try Summer in the City by Robyn Sisman. When their advertising firm sponsors a job swap, Lloyd and Suze exchange jobs — she moves to New York and he to London. Their impressions of each other from living in each other’s apartment is that they are exact opposites, but when Suze catches wind of a plot to have Lloyd fired, they start communicating and find they might be exactly right for each other. Relax and enjoy!

Carol: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was my beach read of choice. Because it is set in the lush climate of the Brazilian Amazon, while I was reading this novel during 90 degree weather, I truly felt like a minor character along for the ride in this suspenseful novel of self discovery. When her colleague is reported dead, Dr. Marina Singh, a pharmaceutical research scientist, travels deep into the Amazon to find out what killed him there. After making the difficult journey, Marina becomes immersed in the research being done on a primitive tribe of people whose way of life is both far more challenging and magical than Marina could have ever imagined. Reader, pick up this book and prepare to be left in awe.

Stacey: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall is the third book in the series, and it’s just as amazingly fun to read as the first two! Rosalind, the oldest Penderwick daughter, is vacationing on the Jersey Shore with a friend while her three younger sisters, the family dog Hound, and neighbor boy Jeffery, are spending the summer in a rental house on the coast of Maine with their Aunt Claire. Things get off to a rocky start, but nothing can keep the Penderwicks down for long and in the end becomes the kind of unforgettable summer vacation that is talked about for years to come!

Next up? We’re going to delve into the world of science fiction where the exploration of traditional ideas in non-traditional settings can be more easily explored. Often set in alternate worlds, these stories can range from the “hard” science fiction, more focused on technology and physical sciences, to the “soft” science fiction, more focused on the social sciences. Which will you be reading?

— Stacey

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