Thursday, June 30, 2011

8 Great Beach Reads

The summer reading excitement continues with more of my favorite picks, all of which are available in paperback and are perfect for a delightful day at the beach. Throw one in your bag; add a towel and lotion and you’re good to go. (For even more summer fun there is a contest below. Good luck!) 

Promises To Keep by Jane Green

I normally shy away from novels that have at its core a story about breast cancer. But not when the author is the much beloved, Jane Green. InPromises To Keep, Jane is able to tell the story of Callie Perry’s recurrence without making this book one long sob session. There are both light hearted and realistic moments as we learn the story of Callie’s enviable and loving life and the way her family comes together to support her through her illness. Callie’s sister, Steffi, leaves her glamorous New York City world to be with her sister and realizes that perhaps her priorities can stand a bit of reorganization. The book is written in loving tribute to Jane’s dear friend, Heidi Armitage. Heidi told Jane that she’d hoped Jane would write about this experience. True to her word, she has.

 The Writing Circleby Corinne Demas

Having been involved in many writing circles, author Corinne Demas knows of what she speaks. As the writers in the fictional Leopardi Circle share their works, lives and each other, fiction often times gets confused with reality. Or is it the other way around? Either way, this novel is a lot of fun! Can you imagine a more competitive and inimidating group of people as they come together to critique each other’s work while at the same time trying for the brass ring - being published. This fast-paced read will appeal to the reader and writer in all of us.

Diamond Ruby by Joe Wallace

America's favorite past time mingles with one of mine with a heroine we can cheer for! One who isn't getting millions of dollars to play the game or switching teams as fast as you can say "free agent." It's the 1920's and Diamond Ruby is a woman way ahead of her time as she pitches her way into the reader's heart. Overcoming everything author Joe Wallace can throw at her, she is always one step ahead. Inspired by the short baseball career of Jackie Mitchell, who, after striking out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, was barred from organized baseball in1931. I absolutely loved this memorable summer novel!

Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

Imagine waking up one morning and finding out that everything you thought you knew about your life was a lie, that your photo once graced the side of a milk carton. The truth is never simple, as Lila Mack will come to find out. Ever since moving to Los Angeles with her father, at the age of eight, she has never felt like she fit in. The story takes us back and forth from Lila’s life as a young girl to present day when Lila at the age of twenty takes a job as a nude model to support herself.  Lila’s long-lost mother was an artist and this is a way to be closer to her mother’s world. As Lila’s father starts to become disoriented and forgetful, her mother re-enters their lives and brings along her side of their family story. So much of what Lila knows about herself is a lie, and she has no idea who to trust. Tish Cohen is able to find the humor and love in even the most of dysfunctional of families.

 A Pug's Taleby Alison Pace

A dog lover through and through, Pace makes sure to include these sweet little guys in all of her novels. Hope McNeill is back in this follow-up to Pace’s Pug Hill. The opening scene sets the tone for this comical mystery as it’s Pug night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The patron the museum board is attempting to schmooze for a large donation is a pug owner. In order to procure the dollars I’ve got to think the Met is breaking some sort of rule by letting in fifty of these breathing challenged pig-tailed cuties. It is soon discovered that a priceless painting is missing and this has everyone pointing fingers at each other. Meanwhile, an unlikely friendship between Hope and the targeted patron, Daphne, adds to the fun. Is Daphne helping Hope to solve the mystery or intentionally steering her in another direction? Art, NYC, pugs and the story that started it all with Hope and Ben (who is in Africa with Lawyers Without Borders. You don’t have to be a pug owner or dog lover to enjoy this book – but wouldn’t you be?

Drinking Closer To Home by Jessica Anya Blau

With a close-knit and loving if not traditional family at its core, this book made me want to both savor and yet keep turning pages so I’d know more and more of the story. At times both heartwarming and heartbreaking – I laughed out loud and felt the need to read passages to those around me. When adult siblings come home upon learning the news of their mother’s heart attack, everyone needs to put old hurts aside to live together and support their dad and each other. Secrets and agendas are dragged home and are strewn all over the place like laundry left for someone else to pick up. Maybe you can go home after all.

After You by Julie Buxbaum

At the center of this novel there is the friendship between Ellie and Lucy. When Ellie learns of the murder of her best friend, Lucy, she drops her life in the states and flies to London to look after Lucy’s daughter, Sophie. Due to the trauma of losing her mother, Lucy stops speaking. In hopes of getting the little girl to speak, Ellie chooses to readThe Secret Garden with her. This book holds special meaning for Ellie as something that helped her to get through some rough times in her own childhood. Ellie is needed in London, but she is also running away from something or someone. Sometimes the ones we set out to rescue do far more of the rescuing and Ellie learns that things may not have been what they seemed with her late friend.

 The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

I love a great debut novel and this one was one of my favorites! Murder and mystery on Cape Cod in the summer –what else do you need to know? Throw in summer love, family secrets, a suspicious bathing suit and you have the recipe for a compulsively readable story that is The Swimming Pool. This is the story of Marcella Atkinson, an exotic beauty who years earlier had had an affair with, Cecil, a member of one of the old vacationing families. Years later the family gathers at the summer home arriving with lots of baggage, some even containing clothing. Marcella begins an affair with Jed, Cecil’s son and nothing good can come of it. I enjoy a storyline that plays out through the generations as we see history repeat itself, even with all the warning signs blinking wildly.
If you’d like to hear Robin's interviews with the authors in this piece they are all up on Robin's Web site. I also have copies of the books to give away. For your chance to win one of the books please send an email to me Winners will be chosen randomly and notified by email.
Reading enthusiast and all around "book-pusher" Robin Kall can be heard live Saturday mornings from 7-8am on Reading With Robin WHJJ 920AM. This week, authors Jael McHenry (The Kitchen Daughter) and Camille Noe Pagan (The Art of Forgetting) will be her guests. Also streaming live at Follow on Twitter@robinkall, and Facebook - Reading With Robin.

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