A Novel Idea: Hot Book Summer

By Barbara Bellesi Zito

Whether you’re lounging by the pool, enjoying the shade under a beach umbrella, or reveling in the comfort of AC indoors, we’ve got some books to keep you company all summer long.

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“It All Comes Down to This” by Therese Anne Fowler | St. Martin’s Press 

Beck, Claire, and Sophie are about to inherit their family’s summer cottage in Maine, which they must sell and share the proceeds per their dying widowed mother’s wishes. Each are plagued by personal and professional woes, and their cherished summer home could very well be the solace they all needed. But with the passing of the family’s matriarch, everything is about to change, especially when C.J. Reynolds, an ex-con with his own secrets, comes into the picture. As the sisters come to learn that not everything in their lives is as it seems, they must rely on each other to get by.

Fowler’s writing has been likened to the works of Edith Wharton and Jane Austen.

“Be the Love: Seven Ways to Unlock Your Heart and Manifest Happiness” by Sarah Prout | St. Martin’s Essentials

The secret to happiness is within you, and all you must do is learn to unlock its power. With the guidance of manifestation expert Sarah Prout, who shares her own tumultuous journey, you’ll learn seven ways to bring about immense positive change in your life. Whether you’re searching for the freedom of forgiveness, the release of relentless comparison, or the ability to make important decisions to take charge of your own life, there are lessons and exercises here to help you achieve the love, confidence, and happiness you want and deserve.

Prout is author of “Dear Universe” and the host of the popular “Manifest” podcast.

“The Mom Friend Guide to Everyday Safety and Security: Tips from the Practical One in Your Squad” by Cathy Pedrayes | Simon Element

TikTok star Cathy Pedrayes is known as the “Mom Friend,” the one who pops into your day with clever tips and life hacks to keep you safe, whether you’re out and about in the real world or simply wondering if it’s a good idea to post that photo on social media. From what to put in your carry-on bag to what to stock in your first-aid kit, Cathy is that reliable, level-headed friend everyone needs to help them identify and avoid the red flags in life.

Cathy has 2.4 million followers on TikTok, where she posts plenty of practical tips.

“Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Tunde Oyeneyin | Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster

If you’re a Peloton member, then you already know her. But even if you don’t clip in to ride with Tunde Oyeneyin, now’s your chance to meet this fierce dynamo of a human being. As founder of SPEAK–Surrender, Power, Empathy, Authenticity, and Knowledge–Tunde shares how she has conquered obstacles and grown from grief to become someone who lives a full, purposeful life. Whatever your goal, this book is packed with “Tunde-isms” that will teach you how to be the best version of yourself.

Tunde appears on this year’s InStyle “The Badass 50” list.

“Keya Das’s Second Act” by Sopan Deb | Simon & Schuster

50-something Shantanu Das is seeking a fresh start. He’s just gone through a painful divorce, and he isn’t communicating with his eldest daughter, Mitali. He is also deeply regretful for not accepting his teenage daughter, Keya, when she came out as gay. As the anniversary of Keya’s death draws near, Shantanu uncovers a partial manuscript written by Keya and her girlfriend. The words give the grieving father insight into his daughter’s life. When Mitali’s boyfriend suggests staging the script as a play, Shantanu sees it as an opportunity to honor his daughter and make things right.

Set in a New Jersey suburb, this humorous and touching debut tells the story of a Bengali family seeking redemption.

 “The Bartender’s Cure” by Wesley Straton | Flatiron Books

When a breakup and subsequent breakdown makes Samantha Fisher decide to hold off on law school for a year, she moves to New York—to her best friend’s couch, more specifically. She starts tending bar at Joe’s Apothecary in Brooklyn for the time being, but as she gets used to slinging drinks for the locals, she finds she loves life behind the bar with her new co-workers. As the months pass by and the start of law school grows closer, Sam begins to rethink where her life is heading—especially now that she feels like she actually belongs somewhere.

This debut novel by Straton is accented by cocktail recipes and bartending tips, no doubt inspired by her experience behind the bar in Brooklyn. 

“It’s a Great Life If You Don’t Weaken: Family, Faith, and 48 Years on Television” by Dave Lopez | Cassie Abby Hallie Elaine Henry, Inc. 

Veteran Los Angeles news reporter Dave Lopez has reported countless stories for KCBS Channel 2 over his nearly 50 years in the industry. Now, the Emmy-winner gets to be the star. In this moving memoir, Dave credits his family and his upbringing for his success as one of the first Hispanic reporters for a major news station. Though his personal story is not without its own obstacles and tragedies, Dave’s faith, perseverance, and loving family are what saw him through.

What Dave hopes readers take away from his book, which he calls “a labor of love”:

“Although TV is a glamorous way to make a living, and we get paid very well, [reporters are] human beings…I hope [readers] say, ‘He had a great career, but he also enjoyed life and he cared about people.”

Sun Protection Especially for Readers

Gloves in a Bottle ($65 for a four-pack).

This lightweight moisturizer is just the ticket for super-soft hands as you page through your favorite reads this summer. Choose the SPF formulation so you can stay protected while reading out in the sun.

Remember a Beloved Sitcom for a Good Cause

“N Is for The Nanny” by Rebecca Kelly | Illustrated by Gary Chestney

What’s better than reminiscing about a beloved TV comedy? Doing so for a good cause! Rebecca Kelly’s charming book (with illustrations by Gary Chestney) is a treat for fans of “The Nanny,” who even decades later will remember all of Fran Fine and Co’s hilarious on-screen antics. Every letter of the alphabet connects to characters, jokes, and storylines of the show (available for your binge-watching pleasure on HBO Max). The book will have a limited release of 10,000 copies, and all proceeds will go to benefit Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer Movement, the non-profit charity the actress created following her own battle with cancer.

The foreword is written by none other than the woman who played “the flashy girl from Flushing,” Fran Drescher.

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