Monday, July 27, 2020

By Joanne Mengel

I absolutely love summertime. My favorite way to spend a hot summer day is sitting on my porch, sipping a nice cold beverage and reading a good book (after my chores are done, of course). Nothing makes the experience more satisfying than a book that delivers the three summer-read musts: romance, idyllic setting and intrigue. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite sizzling-hot summer reads - old and new.

There are oodles of great summer reads at the Fond du Lac Public Library right now. They might be beachy or have “summer” in the title. Come in and browse. Or place holds online and take advantage of our curbside pickup. 

Relax and enjoy!

The Summer of Sunshine & Margot by Susan Mallery

The Baxter twins, Margot and Sunshine, descend from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. Sunshine has been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her and threw her away. Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year.

Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue and upheaval of the ‘60s in this bestselling historical novel. The Levin siblings have looked forward to spending summers at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket. But in 1969, Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha's Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. And 13-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in Nantucket with her out-of-touch grandmother and worried mother. Each of them hides a troubling secret. As in most all of Hilderbrand’s novels, this one brings the intriguing world of summer in Nantucket to life.

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast: peaches are ripe, the ocean is warm and the sweet tea is icy. It’s a perfect time to enjoy rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm bubbles a threat: it's also peak hurricane season. When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees to their friends’ farm. During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn't what they brought with them to the mountains. It's what they'll take with them once they leave.

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Drue Campbell's life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn't seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother's funeral after a 20-year absence. Worse, he's remarried to Drue's eighth-grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. The couple offers Drue a job. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case reopened and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there's a storm on the horizon. This book is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews' signature wit, heart and charm.

Home for the Summer by Mariah Stewart

This has been around a while but is still great reading. Some of Lucy Sinclair’s best days were spent growing up in small town St. Dennis, working at the family inn and enjoying summers filled with swimming, sailing, tennis and the company of Clay Madison, her best friend. But Lucy’s darkest day, the one that shattered her innocence with violence and fear, also happened in St. Dennis. The town she once loved became the place she gladly left behind, along with the terrible secret she’s kept for 20 years. Like a bookend to those distant days, returning this summer will be Lucy’s chance to finally confront her hidden pain, make peace with the past and plan a new future.

Talk about sizzling-hot: The books below are just out and very popular. You’ll probably have to wait for your holds, but they’ll definitely be worth it. 

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for 23andMe, she joked about uncovering a dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn't know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. Meeting these sisters might be the only way to get answers. Before the summer is over, they'll have to confront the past and determine how to move forward when everything they thought to be true was a lie.

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

New York Times bestselling author and Queen of the Beach Reads, Mary Kay Andrews really delivers in this new blockbuster. Conley Hawkins left her family's small-town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, years ago. Now, after 10 years of blood, sweat and tears, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position at a New York City newspaper. That is, until she discovers at her own going-away party that her new job is suddenly gone, disappearing overnight along with her hopes and dreams of a bright future in the big city. Conley ends up in the last place she ever wanted to be, at The Beacon, now reluctantly run by her brother Garret whose own dreams of being a lawyer were put on hold with the death of their father. Small-town life described as only this author can.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn't spoken one word to Drue in all this time; she doesn't even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media. When Drue asks Daphne if she will be her maid of honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is speechless. This is a sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship and figuring out what matters most.

Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer

Nantucket always holds the promise of romance in this sensational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer. Lisa Hudson feels more alive than she has in a long time after hiring hunky carpenter Mack Whitney to renovate her old Nantucket home. There's no denying the spark growing between them, even if Mack is 10 years her junior. But her 20-something children, Juliet and Theo, worry that the new relationship will only lead to Lisa's heartbreak. Juliet and Theo are in for tangled love stories all their own. By August, when an impending storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, everyone discovers what they can and cannot control. Nancy Thayer dazzles again with this new tale of a magical summer.

A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber

Two sisters facing challenging odds must rely on each other more than ever in this gorgeous new novel. Inseparable since their teens after the sudden loss of their mother, Willa and Harper Lakey are perfect opposites. Quiet, demure Willa always admired Harper's sense of fearlessness and adventure. Willa enjoys her peaceful routine as a cafe owner in their quaint, coastal hometown of Oceanside, Washington. When a handsome customer shows interest in Willa, Harper urges her sister to take a chance on love, something totally out of Willa's comfort zone. But just as Willa begins to explore the possibilities, Harper receives crushing news that threatens to bring everything to a screeching halt. Though the time ahead may be trying, little do Willa and Harper know that it will bring about the most beautiful of rewards.

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis

Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that's left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone. And then there's Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire 29 years, is tired of hoping for, well, anything. Kinsey is fierce, tough and she's keeping more than one bombshell of a secret from Brynn, her long-time frenemy. Brynn runs into Kinsey's best friend, Eli, renewing her childhood crush. The good news: he’s still easy-going, funny and sexy as ever. As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that's right in front of them.

One of the many things I enjoy about my library job is helping people find books they’ll love. When you just aren’t sure what to read next, come find me, and I will do my best to send you home with your next favorite read. Enjoy our beautiful summer - beat the heat, find a cool spot and read!

Joanne Mengel is a member of the Information Services team at the Fond du Lac Public Library