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  • Sarah Skilton 2:00 pm on 2018/08/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , Fiction,   

    August’s Best New Fiction 

    This month’s best new work includes the second book of the Half-Drowned King Viking fantasy trilogy, a portrait of a Midwest town in decline, a debut roman à clef by an Iraq veteran currently imprisoned for bank robbery, and a historical about the Black Plague. And for lighter, contemporary reads, enjoy a sorority-set drama, a romance in Paris gone wrong, and an octogenarian-led cozy mystery. 

    The Masterpiece, by Fiona Davis
    In 1928, Clara Darden struggles against the restraints of the era as the lone female teacher at New York City’s Grand Central School of Art, housed in the majestic terminal of the same name. After the Great Depression hits, her career in illustration disappears, as does Clara. Fast-forward to the 1970s, when divorcée Virginia Clay takes a job at Grand Central, intrigued by the abandoned art studio there, as well as a painting she discovers—a painting that may shed light on Clara’s mysterious fate fifty years prior.

    Rush, by Lisa Patton
    Yankee Doodle Dixie author Patton has written another entertaining, Southern-set contemporary, this time pulling back the curtain on the secret lives of sorority sisters at Ole Miss. Cali Watkins hopes to earn a place with the elite Alpha Delta girls, but lacks the right pedigree and fears a long-buried family secret will tank her chances. The Advisory Board members have more power than sense, but the girls rise up against them when a beloved house staff member at Alpha Delta Beta is denied a promotion.

    Ohio, by Stephen Markley
    A searing debut about one evening in the summer of 2013, in which four ex-classmates who came of age during 9/11 reunite in New Canaan, Ohio, a town marked and marred by decline. From the opioid crises to the Great Recession to the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these Midwesterners have been affected by it all, and each seek closure from their painful pasts in this beautiful, sad, contemplative study of a rust belt town that has been hollowed out.

    The Sea Queen, by Linnea Hartsuyker
    Last summer kicked off the Half-Drowned King trilogy, a 9th-century Viking fantasy based on historical events and overflowing with political machinations and violent battles. In the new installment, six years have passed for minor king Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild, the titular Sea Queen. Their separation has evolved into opposition: While Ragnvald dedicates his life to the unification of Norway under Harald’s command, Svanhild marries the leader of the resistance and displays remarkable strength as a maritime warrior in her own right. 

    The Last Hours, by Minette Walters
    While her husband is away, a woman educated by nuns in 1348 England uses her smarts and intuition to hold the line against the Black Death when it arrives in the town of Develish. Having quarantined herself, her cruel teenage daughter, and her serfs in her moat-surrounded house, Lady Anne denies her own husband entry, correctly fearing he has brought the plague home with him. Her decision does not go over well with her progeny, Lady Eleanor, who harbors a sadistic streak.

    Three Things About Elsie, by Joanna Cannon
    A lifelong friendship between two women forms the heart of this mystery set in an assisted living facility. Our firmly independent octogenarian narrator, Florence, provides sharp commentary but finds it difficult to communicate with others, fearful her memory is failing. With a new arrival, who strongly resembles a frightening figure from Florence’s past, Florence dedicates herself to uncovering the hows and whys of the man’s reappearance. Shifting perceptions provide a bittersweet, suspenseful, and emotionally cathartic reading experience. 

    If You Leave Me, by Crystal Hana Kim
    Against the backdrop of the Korean War and its aftermath, a young woman desperate to provide for her invalid younger brother and widowed mother must choose between two cousins who love her. One is her childhood sweetheart, while the other has the financial stability necessary to save her family. A memorable, heartwrenching debut with multiple POVs that will appeal to fans of Samuel Park’s This Burns My Heart.

    Bad Man, by Dathan Auerbach
    Auerbach got his start terrifying Redditors on their NoSleep short story forum, and it’s easy to see why he proved so popular there. His second full-length novel tells the harrowing story of a young man from North Florida drowning in guilt over the role he played in his three-year-old brother’s disappearance. Five years later, now twenty, Ben decides to take a job stocking groceries at the very store where little Eric vanished. Will he find answers in this oddly creepy, disconcerting milieu, even when the local authorities could not? 

    Cherry, by Nico Walker
    PTSD, heroin addiction, bank robbing, and young-love-turned-bleak-survival are the themes of this breakneck debut by an author well-versed in all four topics. As a medic in Iraq, and a veteran of 250 combat missions, Walker returned home to find his memories incapacitating him; in a parallel to combat, the adrenaline rush he got while committing crimes was the only time he felt calm. A blisteringly authentic and timely work is the result.

    Goodbye Paris, by Anstey Harris
    When her relationship with David (who has a wife and family) comes to a difficult and public end in Paris, thirtysomething Grace Atherton is left to pick up the pieces back home in Kent, where she runs a shop making violins and cellos. Her own burgeoning career in music was derailed decades ago, and truly moving on from her broken relationship may require a hard look at the painful secrets she has been keeping from that time. Luckily, she’ll have help from people in her community, including a young shop clerk and a wise, older customer.

    The post August’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2018/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , always on, , Fiction,   

    6 Books in Which the Internet Helps Destroy the World 

    It’s remarkable how quickly the internet has moved from new innovation to simply become the way we live now. It’s possible no other technology has so deeply permeated every aspect of our lives, even television. And even still, many people are actively seeking more internet access—higher bandwidth, more data, more connected devices.

    But not everyone is sold. Even before the privacy scandals and election tampering, a few writers looked at the internet and saw the potential for worldwide chaos. In these six books, being constantly plugged in isn’t just bad for you, it’s the end of the world.

    Adjustment Day, by Chuck Palahniuk
    Palahniuk’snew novel harkens back to Fight Club, again profiling disaffected youths, a violent underground movement, and an absurd world that’s less absurd the more you think about it. The United States is moving towards war, re-instituting the draft as part of a plan to kill off Millennials before they rise up in anger. As an actor begins appearing on television and radio promising a new world order is coming, an underground movement distributes a book and whispers about a coming Adjustment Day, as an online site called The List begins compiling a database of people who threaten society. When Adjustment Day arrives, the people on The List are brutally murdered, and the world is remade in blood and chaos. The violent are elevated, everyone else is enslaved—and it all started on the internet.

    The Circle, by Dave Eggers
    When first published, Eggers’ divisive novel read almost like it was written by an alien observing internet culture from a distant star, but his story of a privacy armageddon has only grown more chilling as we find out what the real-world tech titans have long known about us—and what they’re doing with that data. The Circle sweeps the world with concepts like TruYou that make any sort of false identity impossible, pushes people to give their every moment over to pervasive cameras—to go “transparent” in the name of openness. Secrets are a thing of the past, but so is privacy. While the world doesn’t exactly end in The Circle, society is damaged and made worse, contemplating the chilling idea that someday even our private thoughts might be made public knowledge.

    American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
    Gaiman’s novel imagines that gods are brought into existence and given power through belief. Thus old gods like Odin are failing, while new and sometimes bizarre ones are rising up thanks to modern innovations. That the god of the internet—known as Technical Boy—is one of the main villains is significant, even though the gods, whether old or new, aren’t presented as good or bad in any rational sense. Technical Boy, growing more powerful as the old gods fade away, wants to not just defeat his rival deities, but to delete them from reality altogether. The idea of the internet (with an assist from the internet’s older mirror, Media) erasing all that came before is effective precisely because we’re already living in a Fake News world.

    Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
    The role of the internet in the end of the world isn’t made explicit in Atwood’s novel, but it’s clear that the violent entertainment consumed online by Crake and Jimmy is linked to the state of society pre-apocalypse, one ruled by immensely powerful biotech corporations. This future values technical capability above all else, and casually creates life in order to experiment on it, ultimately inspiring Crake to destroy the world entirely. His motivations are up for debate, but the role the internet plays in it is clear, and damning.

    Analog, by Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan
    This graphic novel kicks off with “The Great Doxxing,” as secrets hidden across the internet, are exposed. While those with truly horrifying things to hide find their lives destroyed and their connection to society severed, many people find having all their shameful secrets exposed grants them a sort of freedom. After all, once everyone knows what you do in the shadows, why not start doing it wherever you like? Whether this counts as destruction of society or an upgrade depends on your personal point of view, but consider a world where people no longer feel the need to hide things.

    Daemon, by Daniel Suarez
    Matthew A. Sobol, brilliant computer programmer and businessman, is dying of a brain tumor and worried about the future viability of the human race. His solution is to create a daemon—a computer program designed to run noiselessly in the background (the device you’re reading this on has a bunch of daemons running on it right now)—that will work to create a New World Order, by any means necessary. Using the internet, the Daemon soon takes over companies and directs their resources towards creating deadly robots, enlisting human agents, and creating a secret other internet for hidden communication. While the Daemon itself isn’t exactly the Internet, without a globally-linked system like it, Suarez’s world might not actually implode. Let’s hope ours avoids a similar fate.

    What’s the scariest internet novel you’ve ever read?

    The post 6 Books in Which the Internet Helps Destroy the World appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2018/07/05 Permalink
    Tags: a year in provance, chasing the sun, Fiction, one-way ticket, sag harbor,   

    10 Books To Read Instead of Taking a Vacation This Summer 

    There’s nothing rougher than listening to friends, family, or co-workers (maybe especially co-workers) chatter on about their amazing summer vacation plans if you yourself have none. Whether due to finances, work responsibilities, or simple bad luck, not everyone can plan a great trip every year, and that can make the hot summer months seem longer, sadder, and hotter than they truly are.

    Readers, of course, know a good way to go on a trip whenever they want to: all it takes is the right book. The 10 books below not only tell gripping, emotionally powerful stories—they also take you someplace you’ve likely never been, and let you revel in a foreign culture and landscape.

    Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman
    Not only is this tender love story a pure delight in terms of character and storytelling, reading it is also almost as good as an actual trip to the Italian Riviera. In-between acting on their burgeoning attraction, 17-year old Elio and 24-year old Oliver lounge around the sort of gorgeous Italian countryside and charming villas that are the stuff travel agents’ dreams are made of. If you can read this beautiful, brief novel and somehow not want to travel to the Mediterranean to drink wine and read books, we can only conclude you have no soul. That, or you already live there.

    Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
    India is big. Like, really, really big. Saying you want to “go to India” is sort of like saying you want to go to Europe, or the Moon—you really need to be more specific. That being said, despite the often grimy subject matter, Roberts’ controversial biography-as-novel introduces to an India that is equal parts overwhelming and exciting, overcrowded, hot, and beautiful, as seen through the eyes of an escaped convict on the run. You might not want to follow in the author’s supposed footsteps exactly, but reading this book is like getting off a plane in India without any money or a current passport and just diving into the country.

    Wedding Night, by Sophie Kinsella
    Underneath the farcical, bubbling story of a woman who gets fed up with a boyfriend who won’t as her to tie the knot and immediately accepts the proposal of an old flame, running off to a luxury resort in Greece to get married while her sister works behind the scenes for an annulment is a love letter to the gorgeous Greek Islands on which the story is set. Anyone who’s seen Mama Mia probably entertains a daily fantasy of moving to such a place; this book is almost as good as heading there for your own 5-star destination wedding.

    Ulysses, by James Joyce
    Yes, yes—this is an intimidating postmodern novel that scares the pants off seasoned academics and literature experts. It’s also a funny, salty tour of Dublin—granted, it’s Dublin on June 16, 1904, but you can still recognize the old bones of the city Joyce is making love to on every one of these many, many pages. Reading this classic might be more work than most books, but the end result will likely be a burning desire to visit Ireland and walk the streets that Leopold Bloom and company traversed in Joyce’s mind all those years ago.

    The Black Book, by Orhan Pamuk
    This unconventional and unexpected mystery doubles as a testament to just how awesome it is to live in Istanbul. As Galip searches for his missing wife and accidentally assumes the identity of the man he suspects she ran off with, Pamuk layers on stories about life in the ancient city, painting a picture of a beautiful, mysterious place that is equal parts modern and traditional. If you can’t get to Istanbul yourself (with or without the fraught mystery and confusing sense of reality), this book will definitely make you feel like you and the city are old friends, well met.

    Chasing the Sun, by Natalia Sylvester
    Set in Lima, Peru, this story of violence and kidnapping may not initially seem like much of an advertisement for a vacation—but once you realize that Sylvester set the story during a period of chaos and trouble that is long in the past, you can see the beauty and passion of the country peeking out around the edges. As a desperate husband works with a professional negotiator to try and get his kidnapped wife back from terrorists, Lima emerges as the sort of gorgeous spot anyone would want to explore over the course of a few lazy weeks, just taking in the lush Latin vibes. Minus the kidnapping, of course.

    Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead
    Not every amazing vacation spot is overseas, but not every New Yorker (or every American) can just jet out to the Hamptons every summer. If you are one of the many who can’t, check out Whitehead’s brilliant 2009 novel, which explores deep issues of race, culture, and capitalism while also introducing you to an intimate view of high-rolling Long Island you might not get anywhere else. You might not be able to afford the summer-long vacation the kids in this novel experience (without parental supervision, too), but you’ll definitely want to move the Hamptons up on your must-see list.

    The Hundred Foot Journey, by Richard C. Morais
    You might not need much motivation to visit the Occitanie region of France (or, you know, France), but this delightful book, focused on the rivalry between two restaurants in the region, will make you pine for a place you’ve likely never been. Many people think France is Paris, and vice versa, but France is a big place, composed of several regions that were once independent countries, and thus have their own flavor and cultural je ne sais quoi. This book will put Occitanie on your list.

    A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle
    Can’t spend a year in the south of France whipping an old villa into shape and sampling the local wines and cheeses? Well, that’s rotten luck. The good news is that this novel-like memoir is sort of like going there and doing just that. What’s great about the book is how Mayle treats the region and its people as a real, tangible place, with frustrations and problems as well as beauty and incredible food. That being said, you can’t read this and not want to head off immediately, job and responsibilities be damned.

    The Hairdresser of Harare, by Tendai Huchu
    Finally, it’s easy to get lost in African literature and come away with the idea that the continent is dangerous, unsettled place to visit. But even more so than India, Africa is a land of many different nations and even climates. Huchu’s brilliant novel presents one of them to you all its messy glory. It is set in Zimbabwe, and follows the surprising and ultimately tragic relationship between hairdressers Vimbai and Dumisani, while making country seem like the sort of place smart, adventurous people might visit.

    What books take you where you wish you could go?

    The post 10 Books To Read Instead of Taking a Vacation This Summer appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 2:00 pm on 2018/07/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , Fiction,   

    July’s Best New Fiction 

    Anglophiles, take note: this month is all about historical fiction, several of which take place in Merry Old England. Travel to London during World Wars I and II, or to the early 1800s for a Pride & Prejudice retelling that ushers Mary Bennet into the spotlight. Then cross the Atlantic for a Virginia-set Southern Gothic and a New York-to-LA road trip, or board a fast boat to China for a Shanghai family drama. 

    Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
    Taking the London Blitz as its backdrop, this historical debut focuses on female friendships as well as the possibility of finding comfort in the empathy of strangers. When upbeat, 20something Emmeline Lake answers an ad for a job at Women’s Friend magazine, she’s hoping it will launch her career as a journalist. Instead, she finds herself assisting Mrs. Bird, the magazine’s judgmental advice columnist. Mrs. Bird won’t even consider answering letters about “unpleasant” topics (doesn’t she notice there’s a war on?). Emmy decides to write back for her, offering kindness and compassion to those whose struggles have been consigned to the rubbish heap.

    The Dying of the Light, by Robert Goolrick
    Fans of Southern Gothic will lose their minds for this dramatically rich story about Diana Cooke, the most beautiful teen debutante of the 1919 season, who marries a cruel man in order to save her family’s derelict Virginia mansion. Known as Saratoga, the estate has been in the Cooke family for a century and represents much more than the lavish parties it once hosted. However, the real trouble starts when the widowed Diana’s cherished son returns home from college with his roommate in tow.

    Saving Beck, by Courtney Cole
    Though known for her psychologically gripping, bestselling romance books, Cole’s new novel takes her writing in a new direction, one informed by her own life. Using dual perspectives, Saving Beck tells the story of widowed Natalie and her eldest child, grieving, guilt-ridden Beck, who blames himself for the car crash that killed his father. When Beck’s family life falls apart, burdening him with new responsibilities, he turns to heroin for relief. This appears to be a thoughtful, extraordinarily honest look at addiction.

    The Lido, by Libby Page
    Octogenarian Rosemary has resided in Brixton, London, since birth. Twentysomething Kate is a nervous newcomer to town who’s accepted an unglamorous reporting job at the local paper. The two form an unexpected bond of friendship while attempting to save the lido, the beloved public swimming pool that’s been a constant to Rosemary her entire life, from her WWII childhood to her years of marriage. Will Rosemary’s memories of what makes the pool so important be enough to keep it open? Can Kate cast off her anxiety and self-doubt and lead the charge on Rosemary’s behalf?

    Ghosted, by Rosie Walsh
    A brief, intense, and life-changing romance between middle-aged Sarah and Eddie ends in heartache and confusion when Eddie’s promised phone call after some time apart never comes. Sarah’s friends try to convince her she’s been ghosted, but Sarah can’t bear the idea of never seeing or hearing from Eddie again. She’s convinced something has gone terribly wrong, and her instincts are correct—leading her to uncover secrets she never saw coming.

    America For Beginners, by Leah Franqui
    Pival Sengupta, a recently widowed Indian woman, travels to the U.S. for the first time via a madcap touring company, in hopes of locating her estranged son, Rahi. The road trip from New York to LA allows Pival to learn about Rahi through his adoptive homeland. Her companions include a tour guide who’s only been in America for a year, and a would-be actress. The team members find solace in each other’s journeys and viewpoints. 

    Mary B: An untold story of Pride and Prejudice, by Katherine J. Chen
    Middle child Mary Bennet, an avid reader and writer, is voted least likely to marry by her family, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to sit on the sidelines of life. In fact, in this novel of behind the scenes and offscreen moments surrounding the events of P&P, Mary reveals herself to be observant and charming, with a quiet wit. Pair it with Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2017 novel, Eligible, for the best in old school and contemporary Austen retellings.

    What We Were Promised, by Lucy Tan
    Desperate housewife and mother Lina Zhen has trouble acclimating to her new life of leisure in modern-day Shanghai, but her husband Wei’s job provides everything the family could want. Still, Lina is restless and distracted, particularly when a reunion with her true love—Wei’s brother, Qiang—looms on the horizon after a twenty-year absence. The only person who senses the hidden tumult about to erupt is Sunny, the Zhens’ long-term housekeeper, who is privy to more than a few secrets.

    Fruit of the Drunken Tree, by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
    A historical coming of age novel set in Bogotá, Colombia, during the worst years of Pablo Escobar’s narcoterrorism, Fruit’s narration comes from the POV of two girls: seven-year-old Chula and thirteen-year-old Petrona, the family maid whose own family is being destroyed by the drug war. Petrona is determined to turn things around for her loved ones, but when she puts her trust in the wrong boy, she’s not the only one who’ll pay the price.

    Eagle Crane, by Suzanne Rindell
    Harry (who is Japanese American) and Louis (who is white) were neighbors and best pals during the Depression and their barnstorming days as stunt pilots in California, but the rivalry between their respective families, as well as a romantic interest in the same woman, caused problems for the two men. Jumping ahead a few years, it appears Harry and his father have been murdered in a plane crash after escaping from an internment camp, but the FBI is convinced the case is not as cut-and-dry as it appears.

    The post July’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 8:00 pm on 2018/06/18 Permalink
    Tags: , books to get sandy, Fiction,   

    The Best New Books to Read on the Beach 

    When it comes to sticking your toes in the sand and your nose in some prose, not every book measures up. A Beach Read is a book that brings certain things to the table: it should be fast-paced, twisty, and surprising, and above all it should be the sort of book that’s capable of distracting you from the sun, the sand, and the sea for a little while. If you find yourself constantly looking up from the page to watch dogs catching Frisbees, you might be reading the wrong book.

    We got you. Here are eight books so absorbing you might need extra sunblock, because you are going to lose track of time when you’re reading them.

    The Cast, by Danielle Steel
    Steel is an expert at casually constructing stories that suck you into their gossipy, oh-no-they-didn’t drama. In The Cast, Kait Whittier is a magazine columnist who has put two marriages behind her and is in no rush to try her hand at a third, preferring instead to enjoy the company of her children and the challenge of her work. When she meets a television producer by chance, she pitches him an idea for a TV series based on her own grandmother’s remarkable life—and the producer loves it. Suddenly Kait finds herself plunged into a Hollywood production, meeting the cast and crew that will bring her grandmother’s story to the screen. Kait quickly bonds with them, from the icy director to the quietly suffering lead actress, and they become her second family—just in time to help Kait through one of the greatest personal challenges of her life.

    The Perfect Couple, by Elin Hilderbrand
    Here’s a beachy hook for your summer reading: a perfect wedding in glamorous Nantucket hits some rocks when the Maid of Honor is found dead in the ocean the morning of the big day. Hilderbrand is at the top of her game as she introduces the bride, Celeste Otis, who has a bag packed and is ready to bolt from her own wedding when social media influencer Merritt Monaco is found dead, despite the fact that her would-be husband, Benji, seems wonderful. Mixed up in everything is novelist Greer Garrison, who’s hit a bit of a midlife crisis as her publisher is asking for a complete rewrite of her latest novel. Hilderbrand is a master at combining the beachy fun of a location like Nantucket with some serious thriller and mystery chops—this is a beach read you won’t be able to put down, we promise.

    All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
    This emotionally complex story centers on a social media controversy that spirals out of control. Nina is a former middle-class girl who married rich, confident Kirk and moved to Nashville. Their son, Finch, is headed for Princeton, and life seems perfect, even as Nina begins to question her husband’s character and her own choices. Tom is a single dad raising spirited Lyla, who gets a scholarship to the exclusive Windsor Academy. When a photo of Lyla at a party, unconscious and vulnerable, hits the internet, the whole town is thrown into an uproar—especially since it seems like Finch is the one who took the photo. Giffin has a gift for making other people’s problems very real and very compelling. While all your stress drains away on the beach, nothing beats reading about other people’s stress—so bring the popcorn and your sunglasses and start turning those pages.

    Calypso, by David Sedaris
    Sometimes the beach requires bite-sized fiction you can pick up and put down without breaking the thread. If you’re sharing a beach house this summer, this one is ideal for you: Sedaris collects a whopping twenty-one essays in this volume, all centered on the beach house he purchased a few years ago and that has served as a central gathering place for his family ever since. With his usual self-deprecation and sharp wit, Sedaris chronicles the arguments, discussions, and adventures he gets into both with and without his family, and continues to fearlessly explore his mother’s death and his sister’s suicide as well as issues including whether Jesus was attractive or not. Laugh-out-loud funny in places and incredibly moving in others, Sedaris continues to prove he’s one of our greatest living essayists with this fantastic collection.

    Shelter in Place, by Nora Roberts
    Beachy reading doesn’t have to be breezy and light. Roberts spins a tense story about the survivors of a mass shooting event at the DownEast Mall. College student Reed Quartermaine managed to save a child during the chaos, and meets first responder Essie McVee, who inspires him to follow that instinct and become a police officer. High school student Simone Knox is the first to call 911 and becomes famous, and uses that fame to launch a career as an artist, honoring the victims she couldn’t save by sculpting them. Three years after the attack, Reed notices that people who were there that fateful day are being murdered—and then he’s attacked himself, by the sister of one of the shooters, or someone everyone believes to be the shooter. The truth slowly unspools as Reed risks everything to investigate, falling for Simone in the process in this fast, pulse-pounding story with a lot of heart.

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews
    If you’ve ever let your mind wander while sitting on the beach, wondering what might happen if adventure suddenly dropped into your vacay, this is the book for you. Andrews starts off her newest with an intriguing mystery, then pulls off a twist that makes it even more interesting. Brooke Trappnell is a struggling attorney and single mother, so she’s elated, if mystified, when local millionaire Josephine Warrick invites her to her island compound just off the coast of the small Georgia town they call home. Josephine, 99, is dying, and she wants her estate to go to three old friends she has been estranged from for years. Two of the self-named High Tide Club have passed away, but Brooke is charged with tracking down the last survivor and the descendants of the others and arranging for them to come to Josephine so she can make amends and change her will. Brooke knows Josephine isn’t telling her everything—and there’s an old unsolved murder in the mix—but before anything can be figured out Josephine dies without changing her will. Brooke and the High Tide Club are left scrambling to save the estate, follow her wishes, and solve the mysteries surrounding her.

    Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain
    The past is often more romantic than the present, so if your current beach experience isn’t particularly cinematic, here’s a book that’ll bring the drama you’re missing. McLain returns to Hemingway’s life with a thrilling focus on his third wife, the independent, brilliant Martha Gellhorn. Already famous in her own right for her journalistic work during the 1930s, Gellhorn meets the older Hemingway and their romance sizzles—for a time. McLain masterfully brings these historical figures to life, depicting the neediness and instability Hemingway brought to the table, traits that slowly ruin their love and marriage. Gellhorn makes her break from Hemingway in dramatic fashion, stowing away on a hospital ship bound for Normandy on D-Day, becoming the first journalist of either gender to report back from the massive invasion of Fortress Europe. The story’s twists and turns wouldn’t be believed if it wasn’t based on real people—real people unlike any you may have known.

    By Invitation Only, by Dorothea Benton Frank
    In this charming new Lowcountry story, Fred, a South Carolina farmer, and Shelby, daughter of a wealthy Chicago couple, are getting married. Fred’s mother, Diane, has lived on a small island off the coast her whole life and is planning the engagement party in her typically low-key way. When she invites Shelby’s parents, Susan and Alejandro, to attend, what follows is a collision of two worlds and two very different styles, as Susan and Diane get along like oil and water. Back in Chicago, Susan throws a second party, kicking off a struggle of wills as Susan keeps trying to make the wedding bigger and more elaborate and the kids keep trying to scale it back. A family tragedy only accelerates the pace—and anyone who has lived the stress of planning a wedding will find Frank’s delightful treatment of the two families to be extremely entertaining.

    The post The Best New Books to Read on the Beach appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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