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Beach Bag 2010

Summer Reading

Beach Bag 2010

Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck, or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." Bookreporter.com is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Sixth Annual Bookreporter.com Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 28th through September 3rd, we highlighted a different book or collection of books from these featured titles with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags were given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale - Chick Lit

From New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Honor winner Shannon Hale comes an utterly satisfying new novel that asks the question: Can a seemingly normal, happily married Mormon mother-of-four be best friends with Hollywood’s hottest (happily married) heartthrob?

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón -

David Martin, an ambitious young journalist for a local newspaper, dreams of becoming a novelist. His editor sees promise in his writing and offers him a promotion --- a series called The Mysteries of Barcelona, a Byzantine melodrama featuring gangsters, action and romantic interludes. David spends his late nights plunking out what he considers nothing better than the popular dime novels of the era. He nevertheless develops a wide readership and one day receives a fan letter that includes a cryptic invitation to appear at an address he’s never heard of.

The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi - Fiction

Penny Vincenzi is known for her sweeping, dramatic, often surprising sagas that usually focus on large families and associates, groups of people who have long-standing connections by virtue of blood or business (and sometimes both). In her latest novel, she takes a startlingly different approach. Here she uses her tried-and-true approach of focusing on intersecting lives, but the lives of random strangers intersect (sometimes literally) following a harrowing traffic accident on Britain’s M4 motorway between London and Wales.

The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell - Historical Fiction

Sixty-one-year-old Feliks is a naturalized Frenchman, a displaced Pole and former Communist --- and a curmudgeon --- who has made his living writing a yearly travel guide to the countries behind the Iron Curtain. In 1991, with the Curtain now fallen, Feliks finds his beliefs beginning to crumble around him.

Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy - Supernatural Thriller

The past Janeal thought had burned away is rising from the ashes.

Years ago, the Gypsy Kumpania where Janeal Mikkado lived was attacked by outsiders. With her best friend about to be consumed by a fire, Janeal had two options: try to save her friend --- at serious risk to her own life --- or disappear with the million dollars that she had just discovered...

Chef by Jaspreet Singh - Fiction

Mesmeric, mournful, and intensely lyrical, CHEF is a brave and compassionate debut about hope, love, and memory set against the devastatingly beautiful, war-scarred backdrop of occupied Kashmir.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan - Fiction

J. Courtney Sullivan’s celebrated debut novel is a sparkling tale of friendship and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose.

The Dark End of the Street: New Stories of Sex and Crime by Today's Top Authors by Jonathan Santlofer and S.J. Rozan - Paranormal Romance

Sex and crime: the centerpieces of some of the most compelling literature the world has ever known. The Bible. Homer. Shakespeare. Tolstoy. They can define us, motivate us, make us tower with rage or quiver with shame. And in the hands of some of today’s great writers, they get us into all sorts of trouble.

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman - Fiction

A hysterical phone call from Henry Archer's ex-wife and a familiar face in a photograph upend his well-ordered life and bring him back into contact with the child he adored, a short-term stepdaughter from a misbegotten marriage long ago.

The Go-Between: A Novel of the Kennedy Years by Frederick Turner - Fiction

One day a faded newspaperman finds the scoop of a lifetime in a Chicago basement: diaries belonging to the infamous Judith Campbell Exner. As our Narrator pieces the notebooks into a coherent story, he finds mob connections, rigged primaries, assassination plots, and trysts --- and begins to see beyond the tabloid fare to a real woman, adrift and defenseless in a dangerous world where the fates of nations are at stake.

Going in Circles by Pamela Ribon - Fiction

Charlotte Goodman has had enough surprises.

In fact, she reached her life’s quotient when her husband of five months walked out on her, only to abruptly change his mind a few weeks later and move back in. Stung by a whiplash of grief, resentment, and confusion, Charlotte calls a time-out, taking a small apartment where she can figure out what she wants. Instead, the thought of making even the simplest choices triggers an anxiety attack.

The Lies We Told by Diane Chamberlain - Romance

Maya and Rebecca Ward are both accomplished physicians, but that's where the sisters' similarities end. As teenagers, they witnessed their parents' murder, but it was Rebecca who saved Maya from becoming another of the gunman's victims. The tragedy left Maya cautious and timid, settling for a sedate medical practice with her husband, Adam, while Rebecca became the risk taker.

Light Boxes by Shane Jones - Fiction

In LIGHT BOXES, the inhabitants of one closely-knit town are experiencing perpetual February. It turns out that a god-like spirit who lives in the sky, named February, is punishing the town for flying, and bans flight of all kind, including hot air balloons and even children's kites.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir Of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen - Memoir

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of 15 years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. 

Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil - Chick Lit

Two weddings and a year after her husband's funeral, Jo Mackenzie is finally starting to get the hang of being a single parent. The boys are thriving, the yarn shop is doing well --- thanks to Jo's improvements --- and she's just about keeping her head above water.

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo - Fiction

For Griffin, all paths, all memories, converge at Cape Cod. The Cape is where he took his childhood summer vacations, where he and his wife, Joy, honeymooned, where they decided he’d leave his LA screenwriting job to become a college professor, and where they celebrated the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. But when their beloved Laura’s wedding takes place a year later, Griffin is caught between chauffeuring his mother’s and father’s ashes in two urns and contending with Joy and her large, unruly family. Both he and she have also brought dates along. How in the world could this have happened?

Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller - Fiction

Sylvia Sandon always swore she wouldn't become her mother. But one August morning, she finds herself walking the same prodigal path as the fervently religious yet faithless Elaine. . . into an affair she feels powerless to resist.

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz - Memoir

Julie Metz's life changed forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapsed on the kitchen floor and died in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a six-year-old became the young widow in her bucolic small town. But that was only the beginning. Seven months after Henry's death, just when Julie thought she was emerging from the worst of it, came the rest of it: She discovered that what had appeared to be the reality of her marriage was but a half-truth. Henry had hidden another life from her.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe - Historical Fiction

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key secreted within a 17th-century Bible.

Running Scared by Lisa Jackson - Romantic Suspense

Kate Summers needed to leave Boston. Her husband and daughter both perished in a car accident. She notified her boss of her decision, and on her final day of work, he proposed that she adopt a newborn boy. Kate listened to his reasoning and agreed to follow his advice.

That was 15 years ago.

The Season of Second Chances by Diane Meier - Women's Fiction

Joy Harkness had built a career and a safe life in New York. When offered a position at Amherst College, she impulsively leaves the city. A tumbledown Victorian house proves an unlikely choice; nevertheless, it becomes the home that changes Joy forever.

Sima's Undergarments for Women by Ilana Stanger-Ross - Fiction

In the basement of her Brooklyn apartment, Sima Goldner welcomes women of all shapes and sizes with warmth, acceptance-and a bra that gives them the support and lift they need. But Sima, regretfully childless at 60, and harboring a secret that has embittered her marriage, can't seem to do the same for herself. Then Timna, a young Israeli with enviable cleavage, arrives in search of a demi-cup and stays on to become the shop's seamstress. As they laugh, gossip, and sell lingerie, Sima finds herself awakening to hope and the possibility of happiness in this beguiling story of New York's underground sisterhood, and one woman's second chance.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas - Fiction

In this powerful and riveting novel, literary phenomenon Christos Tsiolkas unflinchingly exposes the inner- workings of domestic life, friendship and parenthood in the twenty-first century, and reminds us of the passions and malice that family loyalty can provoke.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens - Suspense

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals --- sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape --- her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

They're Watching by Gregg Hurwitz - Suspense

Patrick Davis is a man with troubles. First his Hollywood dreams crumble and then his storybook marriage hits a snag. Now, DVDs start being delivered to his house --- DVDs which show that someone is watching him and his wife, that the two of them are being stalked and recorded by cameras hidden in their house. Then the e-mails start, and someone offers to fix everything, to take the mess his life has become and make it all right. Patrick figures it’s the offer of a lifetime.

The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook - Women's Fiction

Just put one foot in front of the other. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But when Noreen Kelly takes a buyout from her job of 18 years and gets dumped by her boyfriend in one fell swoop, she finds it hard to know what that next step is-never mind take it.