By the Book: New reads bring the beach to you

If you can’t get away to the beach this summer, the beach can come to you, via a few fun-in-the sun reads from bestselling Atlanta authors.

 

Mix up a batch of margaritas to go with Mary Kay Andrews’ latest, The Weekenders (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99). Set in fictional Belle Isle, N.C., the novel features Riley Griggs, a woman on the brink of divorce, who learns that her husband’s shady business dealings may lead the family to financial ruin. Toss in a hurricane and a hunky ex-boyfriend and you have the makings for a page-turner.

Andrews used to write mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck, and she’s re-visited her roots by slipping a murder into The Weekenders.

“My editor told me I could put a dead body in this one if I wanted,” Andrews said in a phone interview. “I didn’t know if I’d remembered how to write a mystery, but I had a character who needed killing.”

Mayhem aside, The Weekenders is Andrews’ usual mix of humor, warmth and winning characters.

 

THE QUAINT FISHING village of Apalachicola, Fla., is the setting for Karen White’s newest novel, Flight Patterns (NAL, $27). Georgia Chambers is a Limoge china expert who thought she’d left painful family memories in Florida behind. But then her job calls her to her childhood home, and she ends up spending long, sultry afternoons with her grandfather who is a beekeeper, while trying to avoid heated encounters with her estranged mother and sister.

White is known for her evocative portrayal of Southern settings, and you won’t have to leave your armchair to feel transported to a shabby chic beach town where oyster joints meet upscale boutiques.

 

“THERE’S NOTHING that a fresh coat of paint and a few glasses of wine can’t fix …” That’s the philosophy of three friends who lose their life savings in a Ponzi scheme and decide to fix up a rundown Florida beachfront hotel in Wendy Wax’s novel Sunshine Beach (Berkley, $22).

The trio opt to shoot their own independent television show about the restoration, but romantic entanglements and a decades-old unsolved murder hinder them. USA Today says of Wax’s work, “If you’re a sucker for plucky women who rise to the occasion, this is for you.”

 

BESTSELLING EMILY GIFFIN’s new novel First Comes Love (Ballantine, $28) isn’t set on the coast but it’s still beach-bag worthy. The novel is about a pair of thirty-something Atlanta sisters who lose their brother in a car accident, and find their lives colored by this tragedy many years later.

Giffin, in a press release, comments on her attraction to sister stories. “From the Quimby girls in Beezus and Ramona to the March sisters in Little Women … I am drawn to novels that explore this unique, complex and sometimes turbulent relationship.”

 

LOCAL RELEASES AND EVENTS. Augusta poet Jane Blanchard releases her first collection, Unloosed, a chapbook of 28 poems. (White Violet Press, $14). Her work has been compared to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Jennifer Reeser.

The Brothers of Baghdad by Tara Najim is the recounting of stories as told by two Iraqis that helped the U.S. Armed Forces during the war against Saddam Hussein. Najim is a recent transplant to Augusta and specializes in the field of Middle Eastern refugee crises and resettlement. The book is available from Amazon.

A special needs rooster is the main character in Anna Seigler’s children’s book Hold On To Hope. The author will sign copies of her book at Midtown Market’s First Thursday event from 5 to 8 p.m. June 2.

 

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