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Escape to the Island of Beach Reads

It is difficult to believe that just over a month ago the Southeast was being pummeled by ice, sleet, and snow. Summer has come early to the South, as it so often does, and temperatures are expected to reach the 90’s by this time next week.

Now I don’t know about you, but rising temperatures and sunny days are more than enough to put me in the mood for a trip to the beach. Can’t you just see yourself, sipping on a piña colada and watching the boats go by without a care in the world? But what’s that? It’s only April? The kids are still in school for another three months and your summer vacation isn’t until June?

Well, if you’re itching for an early summer getaway, maybe it’s time to bring the beach to you! The following book titles offer easy, relaxed reading – all with a beach or island setting.

This Spring, let your living room be your vacation destination. Bonus: No sunburns.


Beach Trip: A Novel by Cathy Holton
Laura V. Says: Beach Trip follows a group of college friends, now all in their forties, as they take a week long beach trip to regroup after a series of trials and tribulations.
Amazon Says: A reunion of four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’ s luminous new novel. Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse pat more...
Amazon Says: A reunion of four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’ s luminous new novel. Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave behind the regrets of her youth. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absentminded, whiles away her hours–and her husband’s money–on little pills that keep her happy. Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s lavish North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, these four friends learn that they must inevitably confront their shared past: a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever. Darkly comic and deeply poignant, Beach Trip is an unforgettable tale of lifelong friendship, heartbreak, and happiness. less...
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Virals by Kathy Reichs
Laura V. Says: Virals is for readers who want a healthy dose of thriller with their relaxation. Tory Brennan, niece to Temperance (of TV's Bones fame) unravels a mystery on the beaches of South Carolina with the help of her friends.
Amazon Says: Adventure is in Tory Brennan's blood. After all, she’s the grandniece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Always up for a challenge, Tory and her sci more...
Amazon Says: Adventure is in Tory Brennan's blood. After all, she’s the grandniece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Always up for a challenge, Tory and her science-geek friends spend their time exploring the marshlands of Loggerhead Island, home to the very off-limits Loggerhead Island Research Institute, where something strange is going on. After rescuing a stray wolfdog pup from a top-secret lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a rare strain of canine parvovirus, changing them--and their DNA--forever. Now they are more than friends. They are a pack. They are Virals. And they're dangerous to the core. But are they unstoppable enough to catch a cold-blooded murderer? less...
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Folly Beach: A Lowcountry Tale by Dorothea Benton Frank
Laura V. Says: Folly Beach is the story of a woman starting over after a failed marriage. Cate Cooper finds comfort in going home - to the beach of her childhood.
Amazon Says: Folly Beach, South Carolina, with its glistening beaches, laid-back Southern charm, and enticing Gullah tradition, is the land of Cate Cooper's childhood, the place where all more...
Amazon Says: Folly Beach, South Carolina, with its glistening beaches, laid-back Southern charm, and enticing Gullah tradition, is the land of Cate Cooper's childhood, the place where all the ghosts of her past roam freely. Now, thanks to a newly deceased husband whose financial and emotional perfidy has left her homeless and broke, she's returning to this lovely strip of coast. Once, another woman found comfort here: an artist, writer, and sometime colleague of the revered George Gershwin. With her beloved husband, DuBose, Dorothy Heyward enjoyed the greatest moments of her life at Folly. Though the Heywards are long gone, their passion and spirit linger in every ocean breeze. To her surprise, Cate is about to discover that you can go home again, for Folly holds the possibility of unexpected fulfillment—not just the memories of the girl she was, but the promise of the woman she's always wanted to become. . . . less...
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Laura V. Says: This is a story of lost love and tragedy set in the 1940's Pacific Theatre.
Amazon Says: A sweeping saga of long-lost love, a mysterious painting, an unspeakable tragedy and the beach bungalow at the center of it all ... In the summer of 1942, new more...
Amazon Says: A sweeping saga of long-lost love, a mysterious painting, an unspeakable tragedy and the beach bungalow at the center of it all ... In the summer of 1942, newly engaged Anne Calloway sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war. A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses--of life, and of love--that have haunted her for seventy years. less...
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Sea Change by Karen White
Laura V. Says: For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. In Sea Change, Ava seeks to find her true identity, and struggles to find happiness in love.
Amazon Says: When newlywed Ava Whalen follows her husband to his family home on St. Simons Island, she discovers a tangled web of dangerous secrets in this enthralling story from the N more...
Amazon Says: When newlywed Ava Whalen follows her husband to his family home on St. Simons Island, she discovers a tangled web of dangerous secrets in this enthralling story from the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street novels. For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-four, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia. But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future. less...
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Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
Laura V. Says: Friends Ellis, Julia, and Dorie take a much needed vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Amazon Says: Ellis questions everything she believed after losing an all-consuming job, while Julia struggles with insecurities that threaten a loving relationship and Dorie confronts a ma more...
Amazon Says: Ellis questions everything she believed after losing an all-consuming job, while Julia struggles with insecurities that threaten a loving relationship and Dorie confronts a maelstrom of problems after a shocking betrayal. By the best-selling author of The Fixer Upper. (general fiction). less...
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Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Laura V. Says: Meet the Kellehers, a family full of secrets. As three generations of Kelleher women gather at their Maine beach house, each of the women struggles with her inner demons.
Amazon Says: In her best-selling debut, Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan explored the complicated and contradictory landscape of female friendship. Now, in her highly anticipated second more...
Amazon Says: In her best-selling debut, Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan explored the complicated and contradictory landscape of female friendship. Now, in her highly anticipated second novel, Sullivan takes us into even richer territory, introducing four unforgettable women who have nothing in common but the fact that, like it or not, they’re family. For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface. As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago. By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other. less...
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Swimming Lessons by Mary Alice Monroe
Laura V. Says: Toy Sooner struggles with single motherhood while working to rehabilitate a family of sea turtles.
Amazon Says: Toy Sooner has dealt with enough rough waves in her troubled past. It's only been through the enduring love of a close-knit group of women on this tiny island that she's fin more...
Amazon Says: Toy Sooner has dealt with enough rough waves in her troubled past. It's only been through the enduring love of a close-knit group of women on this tiny island that she's finally started to find her footing. But as new challenges in her career arise for this young single mother, the choices and demons of her past will catch up to her. Soon Toy will learn that, like the steadfast sea turtles she cares for, a mother must find the strength within herself to make it safely to shore. less...
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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Laura V. Says: Perhaps a stretch for some theme-wise, Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy. Much of this book takes place on the synthetic beach of the arena - driving the characters back into the fray of battle throughout the story. An action packed read.
Amazon Says: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their ha more...
Amazon Says: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. less...
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Summerland: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand
Laura V. Says: A group of Nantucket high school students take part in a summer tradition, a bonfire on the beach. After a terrible deadly car crash on the night of the bonfire, the survivors must come to terms with their grief in the aftermath.
Amazon Says: The "queen of the summer novel" explores the power of community, family, and honesty-and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow new love can take flight (Kirkus Reviews) more...
Amazon Says: The "queen of the summer novel" explores the power of community, family, and honesty-and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow new love can take flight (Kirkus Reviews). A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. What begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny's boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt--but the emotional damage is overwhelming. Questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel. As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents, the secrets kept, promises broken, and hearts betrayed. less...
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Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank
Laura V. Says: Years after her fun and carefree youth, Susan Hayes returns to her childhood home on Sullivan's Island to reevaluate her life.
Amazon Says: The New York Times Bestseller! Set in the steamy, stormy landscape of South Carolina, this is the unforgettable story of one woman’s courageous journey toward truth… more...
Amazon Says: The New York Times Bestseller! Set in the steamy, stormy landscape of South Carolina, this is the unforgettable story of one woman’s courageous journey toward truth… Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan’s Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass. But years later, she is a conflicted woman with an unfaithful husband, a sometimes resentful teenage daughter, and a heart that aches with painful, poignant memories. And as Susan faces her uncertain future, she realizes that she must go back to her past. To the beachfront house where her sister welcomes her with open arms. To the only place she can truly call home... less...
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A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Laura V. Says: Lilly Dane has returned to Seaview, Rhode Island to escape from her crazy New York City life.
Amazon Says: “Novels as masterfully done as A Hundred Summers come along only about that often.  Beatriz Williams delivers an intricately woven tale of friendship, betrayal, old fami more...
Amazon Says: “Novels as masterfully done as A Hundred Summers come along only about that often.  Beatriz Williams delivers an intricately woven tale of friendship, betrayal, old families, and closely guarded secrets.  It is what every beach book should aspire to be – smart and engrossing.”—Elin Hilderbrand, author of Beautiful Day and the bestselling Summerland“[A] fast-paced love story…the scorching sun illuminates a friend’s betrayal and reignites a romance.”  — O, The Oprah Magazine“Summer of 1938: A scandalous love triangle and a famous hurricane converge in a New England beach community. Add in a betrayal between friends, a marriage for money, and a Yankee pitcher, and it’s a perfect storm.” —Good HousekeepingOne of summer’s best beach reads, as named by People magazine, Vanity Fair, O: The Oprah Magazine and Good Housekeeping. Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview. Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations. Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever. less...
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Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
Amazon Says: For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore—and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home… A Boston lawyer, Eli has more...
Amazon Says: For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore—and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home… A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of—but never arrested for—the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife. He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall. Abra Walsh is always there, though. Whiskey Beach’s resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents—including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name. But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries—one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all… less...
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