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A Novel Idea: Good Reads for Your R and R This Summer

Who doesn’t love a good page-turner? Whether you’re lounging by the beach or pool this summer, or just trying to survive your commute to work, these books are sure to put you in a vacation frame of mind. Happy reading!

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“Sarong Party Girls” • Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (William Morrow)

The term “sarong party girl” actually has roots in Singapore’s Colonial days, when British soldiers would have pretty sarong-wearing local girls escort them to parties. The modern-day definition closely aligns with what we’d call a gold digger, and there’s four of them in Lu-Lien Tan’s novel. Jazzy and three of her friends, all modern SPGs, as they call themselves, are on the hunt for wealthy, white ex-pat husbands who will keep them in the lap of luxury. “Chanel babies,” the name given to the coveted half-Asian, half-white babies who are status symbols in their own right, are also in their sights. Can Jazzy and her friends battle their way through gender politics and class wars to up their status in Singapore society? Lu-Lien Tan’s book, written in “Singlish,” will reel you in, just like the SPGs reel in their men.

“Santorini Sunsets”• Anita Hughes (St. Martin)

Hughes has a way of transporting us to the most exotic places with her writing. In her latest novel, we’re swept off to Santorini, an impossibly gorgeous Greek island, where Brigit, a New York socialite, is about to get married. Brigit seems to have it all, including her engagement to Hollywood hottie Blake Crawford. That is, until she finds out that her ex-husband, Nathaniel, is the reporter assigned to cover their wedding. It’s just the beginning of a bumpy road to happily-ever-after for Brigit, who will discover a secret about her fiancé that will show her being alone isn’t such a bad thing after all.

“The Girl from the Savoy” • Hazel Gaynor (HarperCollins)

War is hell, especially for Dolly Lane, an English maid who is mourning the loss of the soldier she loved. After the Great War, Dolly tries to get her life back on track by taking a job at The Savoy, a posh hotel where London’s “Bright Young Things” get their kicks. Life starts looking up when she answers an ad from a songwriter searching for a “muse,” but things are never the same once she gets swept up into the lives of actress Loretta May and her brother, Perry. Dolly’s own life is looking brighter and brighter – but what will her future happiness cost her today?

“The All-in-One Pregnancy Calendar” • Nancy J. Price (Synchronista)

Summer is normally a time to kick back and relax – that is, unless you are pregnant. In that case, you are a whirlwind of emotions and sleepless nights, worrying about everything from the health of your soon-to-be bundle of joy to whether you’re up for fitting that baby bump into a bathing suit. Price, who herself has been pregnant for over 1,000 days (four kids!) understands. As founding magazine editor-in-chief of Pregnancy and ePregnancy, Price has spoken with countless new and expectant mothers over the years. The result is this guided journal that takes you through the days, months and weeks of your pregnancy. The book is available as one complete volume, or in individual volumes for each trimester. 

“Cured by Nature: How to Heal from the Inside Out, Find Happiness and Discover Your True Self” • Tara Mackey (Skyhorse Publishing)

When life stresses us out, it’s easy to turn to medication to make us feel better. Mackey, a certified lab analyst and environmental technician, started The Organic Life Blog to show us there’s a better, more natural way to take care of ourselves. In her book, which is part how-to and part memoir, Mackey shares with readers how she pulled herself off anti-depression and anxiety medications at age 24, opting instead to transform her life and find happiness without a prescription bottle.

Empowering Our Daughters

When Photoshopped magazine covers are the norm, it can be difficult to raise young girls in ways that encourage them to be themselves. That’s why it’s great to have someone like Tara Mackey around to remind us that leading healthy, natural lives are more important than focusing on thigh gap and Botox. To her readers who are raising young daughters in our appearance-focused world, Mackey says, “I think encouraging them to be themselves and to remind them that it’s hard being a kid … that there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re not broken. They’re not flawed. They’re perfect human beings, and [it’s important] to take their actions in stride.”

Comics Take Over the Cinema

If it seems like there’s a new comic book superhero movie being released every month or so, you’re right: Comics are where it’s at when it comes to big-budget movies. This summer is no different. Riding in on the wake of “Captain America: Civil War” released by Marvel in May is Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad,” based on the group of super villains from the “Batman” comics published by DC. The aptly-named crew of misfit assassins, including Jared Leto as the psychotic Joker and Margot Robbie as the gorgeous-but-insane Harley Quinn, have been given dangerous top-secret missions in lieu of prison sentences. Will this movie have us cheering for the bad guys? Head to theaters this August to find out.

Contributed by Barbara Bellesi

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