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Fiction Five: Fantastic beach reads

From romantic sparks in the dog park to spicy encounters on Mediterranean beaches, you’ll find plenty of heat in this month’s new fiction releases.

A Happier Life by Kristy Woodson Harvey

book cover woman relaxing on a beach looking at a big houseA family mystery leaves room for a small-town romance in Kristy Woodson Harvey’s (The Summer of Songbirds) latest novel.

Keaton Smith is searching for a fresh start after a work disaster pushes her from the life she has built in New York City. Her mother needs someone to put Keaton’s grandparents’ home on the market — a home Keaton had never heard of until now. She jumps at the opportunity and heads to Beaufort, North Carolina, eager to learn more about the family she never met. As Keaton gets to know the locals, including a charming next-door neighbor, she begins to realize there is more to the story of her grandparents than what she’s been told.

In alternating chapters, we are transported to 1976 to meet Becks and Townsend, Keaton’s grandparents. Becks is the state’s premier hostess: invitations to her home are highly sought after. But behind the façade, Becks is facing a dilemma that may force her to make a difficult decision.

A Happier Life is the story of two women, grandmother and grandchild, connected through time by an historic house on Sunset Lane. It is a home that has seen dreams and secrets passed down from one generation to the next.

“With A Happier Life, Kristy Woodson Harvey takes us to a mysterious long-abandoned house on Sunset Lane, where family secrets whisper forth from the woodwork, summoning readers to partake of a dazzling buffet of old heartaches, friendship, family lore and yes, a second chance at love. A Happier Life is that wistful, sparkling summer song whose notes will long linger in reader's memories.” ― Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Summers at the Saint


Hot Summer by Elle Everhart

book cover two women relaxing in a pool with a microphone above themSparks fly when a young woman is cast on a reality dating show.

Cas Morgan is going nowhere working as an event host for a dating app. When her company strikes up a partnership with the dating show Hot Summer, Cas is offered a chance at a promotion if she appears as a contestant and makes it to the finals. Cas is familiar with Hot Summer. She’s been watching the show for years. All she needs to do is win over the viewers while luxuriating in exotic island locations. The promise of love will not distract her.

The moment she arrives, Cas is instantly smitten with a fellow contestant, Ada, whose sole reason for participating in the show is to discover genuine romance. Cas finds Ada beautiful and charming, and she cannot deny that Ada brings out a side of her she never knew existed. Will Cas listen to her heart? Or will she stick with her plan through the end?

Hot Summer is the perfect summer beach read, the perfect escape, and the perfect reality every romantic deserves—a book to make you believe in happily-ever-after.” ― Karelia Stetz-Walters, author of Satisfaction Guaranteed


The Summer Escape by Jill Shalvis

book cover woman and dog walking in a meadow near mountainsJill Shalvis returns to Lake Tahoe in this tale of redemption, missing treasure and love

Anna Moore’s older sister Wendy is seven months pregnant with triplets and on bed rest, but she is committed to clearing the name of their recently deceased father. He is accused of stealing a valuable collection, including a million-dollar necklace. Wendy sends out Anna, along with the ambitious and cryptic Owen Harris, to prove their beloved father’s innocence.

Owen, however, is convinced their father is guilty and wants to return the treasure to its rightful owner. Together Anna and Owen embark on a scavenger hunt for clues, with Wendy remotely supplying assistance and commentary.

Though they share opposing views and are suspicious of one another, Anna and Owen are fully aware of the chemistry that has developed between them. It’s a race against the clock to find the truth of the stolen treasure and to decide what to do about their growing feelings.

The sixth book in Shalvis’ Sunrise Cove series, The Summer Escape functions as a standalone story.

“Jill Shalvis’ books are funny, warm, charming and unforgettable.” — RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author of The Cafe at Beach End


Sandwich by Catherine Newman

book cover beach house with swimsuits on the deckRocky has always looked forward to her family’s yearly escape to Cape Cod, but this year she's buried in nostalgia and the hormonal rages and melancholies of menopause. She reflects on her half-grown kids and memories of when they were little, reliving tender and stressful moments of long-ago summers. As she mourns the loss of her own vitality and youth, Rocky cherishes the time she is given with them. When her own parents arrive, Rocky reflects on how her elderly parents view her through the same lens as she views her own children.

When events force Rocky to acknowledge her family’s history and future, she is pressured to accept she can no longer hide from the people she loves.

Sandwich is the story of family, and all the heartaches and joys that come with it.

"Sandwich is joy in book form. I laughed continuously, except for the parts that made me cry. Catherine Newman does a miraculous job reminding us of all the wonder there is to be found in life." ― Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author


Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

book cover couple holding hands with fingers crossed behind woman's backAnnabel Monaghan (Nora Goes Off Script) returns with a story about a single mother who becomes unstuck with a little help from someone from her past.

Ali Morris may be a professional organizer, but her own life is a mess. Her mom died and her husband left. A busy mother of three, Ali hasn’t felt like her joyful self in a long time.

Ironic then that the moment Ali takes off her wedding ring and dons a pair of overalls, she meets someone at the dog park. A handsome someone who has just been peed on by Ali’s dog. Ethan looks at Ali in a way she hasn’t been viewed in years, like the youthful, braver version of herself. Unfortunately, Ethan is the younger brother of a close friend, which could cause complications. The last thing Ali needs right now is to possibly add more mess to her life, but the prospect of a summer romance just might give her reason to get her life back in order.

“I loved it—brims with heart, wit, and longing.” — Carley Fortune, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A bingeable five-star read.” —Abby Jimenez, New York Times bestselling author of Just for the Summer

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