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Lois hammock

The Fourth of July weekend means summer’s really here. And summer means beach books.

Beach books get a bad rap. They’re often dismissed as light and fluffy — entertaining enough to keep your attention between naps, but not the stuff of great literature.

I beg to differ.

To me, any book can be a beach book. As a matter of fact, I read most of these on lounge chairs or hammocks and, although they’re all fast reads, they’re also extremely well-written and worthy of sharing and discussing with your friends.

I’m actually giving away some of these in my Boxes of Books promotion so, if you’re interested, please send in your check now. I’ll be starting to send out the boxes after the holiday weekend.

Happy reading, and look for More Beach Books tomorrow!

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great ThingsOkay, this isn’t coming out until the fall but pre-order it now because it’s her best book since My Sister’s Keeper, and you’ll want to read it before someone spoils it for you. I’m going to give you the bare bones summary of this and that’s it because I knew nothing about it going in, and I gasped when I realized where it was heading. The basic premise of the story is that a White Supremist couple prohibits an African-American labor/delivery nurse from having anything to do with their newborn son. Through alternating chapters told from the points of view of the different characters, Picoult crafts an emotional and timely tale about race, power and privilege. This is a must-read, and you should consider making it your book club’s choice for October.

Blood Defense by Marcia Clark

Blood DefenseYes, this book is written by that Marcia Clark — the one who served as prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial — but it’s fiction and it’s also a killer. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Samantha Brinkman lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star and the defendant is a well-respected police officer. Sam jumps at the chance to take the case which she’s sure will catapult her to success. Her investigation leads her to the shocking realization that she’s more personally connected to the case than she knew. This is a real page-turner that will keep you guessing — talk about reasonable doubt! — and Sam is a strong and relatable character who I’m looking forward to following in this welcome new legal thriller series.

If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

If I Forget YouThis is the kind of book that wouldn’t normally be considered “beach reading” because it’s so beautifully written and you want to slowly savor each sentence and lose yourself in its haze of romance. A story of lost love, Harry Gold and Margot Fuller are star-crossed lovers from completely different backgrounds. They meet in college, fall madly in love and then disappear from each other’s lives until they randomly run into each other two decades later. Greene’s writing is so vivid, you experience every one of Harry and Margot’s emotions — passion, heartbreak, grief — on a visceral level that’s impossible to shake. Just gorgeous.

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Those GirlsThis thriller is also impossible to shake but for a totally different reason: it’s terrifying. Jess, Courtney and Dani are sisters who live on a ranch with their abusive father in a remote part of Canada. One night, after a particularly violent fight, they run away, only to have their truck break down, leading to a series of events even more horrifying than what they left. It’s difficult to read some of these scenes, which are deeply disturbing, and Stevens captures a sense of place that is lonely and ominous and all-too-real. It’s the sisters’ love for and loyalty to each other, though, that takes a starring role. It’s a cautionary tale but also a powerful story of redemption and the strength of the human spirit.

Saving Abby by Steena Holmes

Saving AbbyKeep the tissues handy for this smart, emotional and thought-provoking novel. Claire Turner is a successful children’s book illustrator but all she’s really ever wanted is to be a mother. After years of infertility treatments, she and her husband, Josh, are finally ready to accept the fact that they will never have a child of their own. Of course, that’s when she becomes pregnant. And, of course, that’s when she’s also given a diagnosis of her debilitating headaches that ultimately becomes a choice between saving her own life or the life of the baby she’s always dreamed of having. It’s impossible to read this without asking yourself, “What would I do?” and that’s what makes it another great book club choice.

Come back tomorrow for More Beach Books and don’t forget to order your Boxes of Books before it’s too late!


  1. Picoult, Clark and Greene look good. The other two, not so much – I read to escape. I usually read books that take me to worlds I would like to return to… any old time of the year as here in Arizona it is all beach, no ocean.

  2. The Amazon reviews for Greene’s book are all over the board. Still, I’m going to get it. Going now!

  3. I’d love to read Marcia Clark’s book. Sounds fascinating. Now I just need to get to the beach.

  4. Donna R. says:

    I can’t keep up with you, Lois. I’m still working on some of the other books you recommended……and I’m enjoying them all. Have a relaxing summer and continue to tell us what you’re reading.

  5. Yea! Have bought a couple of duds recently. These sound fabulous. I haven’t read any Jodi Piccoult for a while & I heard Marcia Clark was writing fiction!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      I hate when I buy duds! I used to finish every book I started but no more. There are so many great books, life is too short to waste time on bad ones!

  6. I dont have a lot of time for reading anymore having 5 small children at home. But once in a while Ill get an hour to myself. I’ll have to look into a couple of these for my next book

  7. I love a good light and fluffy read on the beach but these look fab! Going to check out If I Forget You and pack tissues along with sunscreen.

  8. Thanks for the fantastic new summer reading list. I am excited! Going to buy them now.

  9. My beach vacation isn’t ’til September…Montana is looming so I can’t even think about a beach book yet! These are good.

  10. I love a good beach book – nothing wrong with them in my opinion. Sometimes I just feel like not having to concentrate on details or involved stories and beach books are great for this. I love the selection in your post and particularly like Jodie Picoult – she always has a twist which I love.

  11. I am more of a romance easy beach type of reader but we are headed to a dude ranch, this might be more my pace. Writing them down and heading to Library tomorrow.

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