The Beachiest Books of Summer

Summer reading is my favorite time of year! Don’t these gorgeous covers just make you want to pack up and run off to the beach with a few books in your beach bag?  Here are my selections for the beachiest books of the summer:

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. Publish date: 6/13/17. I am most excited about this one, the latest beach read from one of my favorite authors. She never disappoints. After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha (identical twin sisters who live very differently) switch islands–and lives–to save what’s left of their splintered family. The twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they’d outrun can actually travel between islands. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe. Publish date: 6/20/17. Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house. Cara Rutledge and Heather Wyatt start out as strangers, but as everything around them falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

The Salt House by Lisa Duffy. Publish date: 6/13/17. Set during a Maine summer, this book traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy. Each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.

The Beach at Painter’s Cove by Shelly Noble. Publish Date: 6/13/17.  A heartwarming story of four generations of women who reunite in their crumbling family mansion by the sea for a dramatic summer filled with love, family, secrets and sisterhood. When the Muse family gets together to restore the mansion and catalogue the massive art collection, a surprising thing happens. Despite storms and moonlight dancing, diva attacks and cat fights, trips to the beach and flights of fancy, these four generations of erratic, dramatic women may just find a way to save the Muses and reunite their family.

The Summer House by Hannah Mckinnon. Publish Date: 6/6/17.  When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel.  Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green. Publish Date: 6/6/17. Ronni Sunshine was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters, “the Sunshine sisters.”  The sisters have all went their separate ways, but are called back home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. Although Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…

Eden by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg. Available Now.   Becca Meister Fitzpatrick—wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community—is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition. When she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg, she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor. Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family—her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden.”

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner. Available Now. Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it’s paid off, but one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin’s half-sister shows up, and it’s all Marin can do not to break down completely. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother’s quaint beachside B&B in coastal New England, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin’s life forever. THE FOREVER SUMMER is a delicious page-turner and a provocative exploration of what happens when our notions of love, truth, and family are put to the ultimate test.

Honorable Mentions:

 The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

Advertisements

I Let You Go

18618323_10155005979353392_492037508_oI Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh:

In the very beginning of this book, a young boy (Jacob) is ran over by a car and killed and you are instantly invested in this emotional and chilling thriller.  The narrator immediately “makes a clean break-unable to bear the thought of living as though nothing had changed.”  She retreats to a secluded cottage on the coast of Wales, feeling that the safest thing to do is stay away.

As the book unfolds, the narrator gradually and reluctantly begins to build relationships with people in the town. She rescues a dog that she names Beau and even though she tries her hardest she is unable to prevent herself from loving him.  (I do adore books where the dog rescue the human.)  She also befriends a local women and falls for the vet in town.  The narrator lives in a constant state of fear and panic and the more you read, the more obvious it is that there is a little more to her story and a lot of secrets in her past.

In alternating chapters, we also get the point of view from the two detectives assigned to the case of finding the person who ran over Jacob and fled from the scene of the crime. Ray is having his own problems at home with a rocky marriage and a troubled son.  Kate is the new young and determined officer that has a lot of drive and reminds Ray why he wanted to become a cop in the first place.  He battles with his attraction to Kate as they search for the boy’s killer.

At the end of part one there is a huge plot twist that will make you gasp and leave you questioning everything you have read. We then start learning more about the narrator’s past and what really happened.  I can’t say more about the second part of the book without spoiling it, so I will just say, set some time aside because you will not want to put this one down!!!   Loved it!

the women in the castle

18493562_10154991322148392_349150091_oThe Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This book has been getting lots of good reviews so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! The Women in the Castle is the story of three women who come to live together in a rundown castle at the end of World War II. It reminded me very much of “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah.

The prologue starts out pre-war, where Marianne von Lingenfel promises to be “the commander/protector of the wives and children” at a secret meeting her husband, her lifetime friend, and other men are having to plan actions against Hitler. Later she is called “the widow of the resistance.”

In order to honor her promise to her husband, best friend and the other husbands (who were all caught and killed for their actions) she sets out in search of the wives and children left behind after the war.

First she locates Martin, son of her beloved, deceased friend Connie. Next she tracks down Benita (mother of Martin/wife of Connie). It is obvious they have both been deeply affected by the war.  Benita is broken, frail and withdrawn.  Martin is quiet and subdued. Their love for each other keeps them going.

Marianne then discovers another resister’s wife (Ania) and her children and brings them to live with her at the castle. Marianne, Benita and Ania develop a friendship and live together many years. Throughout all of their stories you learn about each of their struggles for survival, their damaged souls, and the horrible ordeals they have all survived.

The book exposes all the horrors of the Hitler era and the effects of war. Secrets are revealed that affect the friendships the women have forged.  Each woman has to come to terms with horrors from their past to move forward with their lives.  I can’t say much more without revealing too much about the book. It was a very good novel about war, friendship, love, the power of the past and the will to survive.   Highly recommended!!!

How to make a vision board

I recently created my very own vision board to use as a tool in my journey of personal development.  A vision board is a constant reminder of your goals and other things you want out of life. It helps me stay motivated to achieve the things I want and need to in life.  When I need a little inspiration I sit down and have a look at it.

The first thing you need to do is a little soul searching. Write all your thoughts down on paper.  These are some of the questions I asked myself when brainstorming what I wanted my board to include: What are your dreams and goals? What are the things that make you the happiest? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to go? What inspires you? What are the important things to you? Your beliefs? What fears do you want to conquer?

I narrowed my board down to seven categories which I felt were the most important: Be happy. Be creative. Be frugal. Be healthy and fit. Be always growing and improving. Be enriched.  Then I searched for images that represented these things. Some things you can use are inspiring quotes, pictures, your favorite photos, magazine cutouts, printouts from online, stickers, drawings, washi tape, or anything else your heart desires. I simply used a glue stick and piece of cardboard and colored my background with a pink sharpie.  You could also use a corkboard or canvas or poster board.   Be as creative as you would like. You can find a lot of ideas on pinterest.  Just have fun with it!

16681491_10154598240298392_6908907075886544093_n

 

 

The Historian

41eRe72tKtLTHE HISTORIAN BY ELIZABETH KOSTOVA

Yes, I am really just getting around to reading this book. “The Historian,” has been on my bookshelf for many years and I finally picked it up and read it. It seemed like it took forever to get through it. At a whopping 700 pages, this is a book you have to really be invested in and spend some time with. That being said, if the book had been shorter and not so drawn out, it would have been much better!!!!

The author is very meticulous, too meticulous really and you have to read it slowly. The gist of the book is the search for the tomb of Dracula. Was he a real person? Is he still alive? Will they discover the truth?

The author takes you to many different countries in search for clues to this mystery and her descriptions of these places really make you feel like you are there. I loved how the historians visited so many different libraries all over the world, discovering ancient books and interesting artifacts that serve as clues for their search. I wanted to visit each of these libraries myself to see the beauty the author described. The characters risk their lives and much more trying to uncover secrets from the past.

What I liked most about this book was the characters. They are the heart and soul of the book. They made all the lengthy historical details and drawn out letters worthwhile. The book has a little of everything: romance, history, suspense, mystery, vampire folklore, and the supernatural.

Even though I am not a big fan of historical fiction, I thought overall it was a good book. I recommend it for history lovers and those who are interested in Dracula or vampires. While my review may seem a little negative, I really did enjoy the book and had to read until the end so I would know what really happened. As a lover of literary fiction, I can honestly say that Kostova is an amazing and very talented writer.