Summer Beach Reads - 2016

Beach, Sun, Relax, Veranda, Ocean Breezes......

Relax, Read, Relax

Summer is the ultimate time of the year to relax on the deck with a well written and memorable book that stimulates emotions.  These 5 summer sunshine fiction novels are filled with chic literature, adventure, drama, love affairs and everything that makes a book hard to put down.  This isn't the time of the year to invest in an in-depth "Game of Thrones like" saga with zillions of characters, kingdoms, languages and territories to keep straight.  No, summer requires books that are scintillating, mind catching and quick page turners that can also be set aside between swims, walks, cocktails and everything else that happens.  And, finally the books must have a happy resolution, laughter or perhaps a satisfied smile.   Here is my summer 2016 list.

All are Rated - Fabulous! Must Finish! Enjoy immensely! 

Summer Read List 

Note -  Novels Link to Amazon

HBO Miniseries Bound

Amazon Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

1.  Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty: (READ - Can't Wait for Miniseries) -  Do you secretly watch the Housewives? Are you intrigued with women drama or in fact involved in the daily antics of women that start in grade school and continue on throughout adult years? Yes, they do and don't deny it!  If so, this number is bound to capture your mind, and peak your thoughts to the dramatic and stunning "who done it" conclusion.  In fact, Big Little Lies is slated to be an HBO miniseries in 2017 starring Nicole Kidman (Celeste) and Reese Witherspoon (Madeline). Big Little Lies hits all the chic lit fiction notes.  

The 1st Book

Big Little Lies is a fun novel that is intriguing from start to finish with a juicy murder, crazy yet familiar dynamics of women friends who each have hidden secrets that are not revealed until a theatrical finale.   The story is fast paced and a page turner.  It is a Hitchcock "who done it" until the very last page.  You will not be disappointed.  And, you will be begin to wonder about life and the human condition because nothing ever changes.  Everyone has a story to tell, and many have deep dark secrets that are never shared and when they are finally professed among fellow sisters the reward is powerful and so is the connection of sisterhood.   Once women are freed from the burden of secrecy the wings spread, the oceans part and happiness ensues.  It is fascinating to ponder how others live?   Is everyone in your life who they say they are? Or are they putting on the perfect show? And if so - why and for who or whom?  Just who is authentic?  Or do we see what we want to see based on the perception carefully crafted?  Ah - the circle of life.

From Amazon - Big Little Lies

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?  
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.  

But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beach side community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

"This above all - To Thine Own Self Be True" 


Tech or Old Fashioned Book? 

Do you use a Kindle, iPad, iPhone, other Tech or read from a book?  In today's bustling world, the options are endless with technology, going to the library or purchasing a brand new copy online or at a bookstore.   During a recent excursion to a hot climate it was noted that many vacationers had the old fashioned paper back or hard copy novel planted in laps while on chaise lounge.  Even in the sunshine a book can be bookmarked, pages turned and flipped easily between pages and chapters. There is something about a book that becomes a bit waterlogged that is oh so vacation time.  Of course, the Kindle and other tech gadgets have distinct advantages from bookmarking, finding out the meaning of words and are additionally light weight to carry.  It all depends on the user's preference. Overall, on this sunny vacation the majority of readers were delving into hard copy print rather than fiddling with tech gadgets. 


The 2nd Book

Amazon Rating: Crazy Rich Asians - 4 Stars; China Rich Girlfriend - 4 Stars

2. Crazy Rich Asians & China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan (Read Both):  Are you looking for a bit of history and culture, love story, with a variety of interesting characters along with a view of old wealth versus nouveau riche? Or want to learn more about manners?  Search no more.  These two novels are fast pace, funny, over the top opulent and yet the human condition does not escape any of the main characters even with gold fairy dust sprinkled on their existence.  Both reads will keep you entranced and wanting more of this eye opening, jewel encrusted class system from Singaporians, Hong Kong and America.  Additionally, old money versus new money is spot on and very entertaining.   Those with old wealth live discreetly, grandly yet no one knows their wealth whereas new money is flashy, crass and often tasteless.  Think of the Royal family versus celebrities in America. Enough said!  The overall take of both fiction novels are wickedly zany, memorable and a summertime page turner.  By the way, Crazy Rich Asians is slotted for a movie.  Can't wait for the cinematic flick. 

From Amazon - Crazy Rich Asians:

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

"Remember every treasure comes with a price" - Kevin Kwan


The 3rd Book

Amazon Rating: 4 Stars

3. The Rumor - Elin Hilderbrand:  A great beach read that is entertaining and irresistible.  I read this book last summer and recently my girlfriend on a "girls" trip could not put the book down anticipating the end.   Have you ever heard a rumor and exclaimed - "NO, this can't be true!" And, then after analyzing the rumor or putting all the pieces together there is perhaps some truth.   Maybe this is why the National Enquirer or showbiz section in the The Daily Mail peaks interests and have a grain of truth running through the sordid tales.   The story is about two best friends who portray the perfect lives, the perfect husbands, the perfect children in Nantucket but during one particular summer the perceptions come to an end.

From Amazon:  The Rumor

A friendship is tested in this irresistible page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.Nantucket writer Madeline King couldn't have picked a worse time to have writer's block. Her deadline is looming, her bills are piling up, and inspiration is in short supply. Madeline's best friend Grace, is hard at work transforming her garden into the envy of the island with the help of a ruggedly handsome landscape architect. Before she realizes it, Grace is on the verge of a decision that will irrevocably change her life. Could Grace's crisis be Madeline's salvation? As the gossip escalates, and the summer's explosive events come to a head, Grace and Madeline try desperately to set the record straight--but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it. 

Elin Hilderbrand "Works magic" -   People


The 4th Book 

Amazon Rating:  4 Stars

4.  Snobs - Julian Fellows (Read):  Are you a fan of Downton Abbey?  Fellows is the creator and writer of Downton Abbey.  Snobs is an expose on the British acting community trying to hob nob with the Royals.  The class system remains alive and well with the entry into the royal elite rather slim to none no matter who are in the world.  The book is a guilty pleasure and voyeurism from the main character following the characters as they scrap and claw to be apart of an inner upper crust group. The read is funny, enlightening, witty and provides an insider look into modern England where class still matters. And, manners are still paramount.  It is bottom line a jolly good read!

From Amazon: Snobs

"The English, of all classes as it happens, are addicted to exclusivity. Leave three Englishmen in a room and they will invent a rule that prevents a fourth joining them."
The best comedies of manners are often deceptively simple, seamlessly blending social critique with character and story. In his superbly observed first novel, Julian Fellowes, creator of the Masterpiece sensation Downton Abbey and winner of an Academy Award for his original screenplay of Gosford Park, brings us an insider's look at a contemporary England that is still not as classless as is popularly supposed.
Edith Lavery, an English blonde with large eyes and nice manners, is the daughter of a moderately successful accountant and his social-climbing wife. While visiting his parents' stately home as a paying guest, Edith meets Charles, the Earl Broughton, and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield, who runs the family estates in East Sussex and Norfolk. To the gossip columns he is one of the most eligible young aristocrats around.
When he proposes. Edith accepts. But is she really in love with Charles? Or with his title, his position, and all that goes with it?
One inescapable part of life at Broughton Hall is Charles's mother, the shrewd Lady Uckfield, known to her friends as "Googie" and described by the narrator---an actor who moves comfortably among the upper classes while chronicling their foibles---"as the most socially expert individual I have ever known at all well. She combined a watchmaker's eye for detail with a madam's knowledge of the world." Lady Uckfield is convinced that Edith is more interested in becoming a countess than in being a good wife to her son. And when a television company, complete with a gorgeous leading man, descends on Broughton Hall to film a period drama, "Googie's" worst fears seem fully justified.
In Snobs, a wickedly astute portrait of the intersecting worlds of aristocrats and actors, Julian Fellowes establishes himself as an irresistible storyteller and a deliciously witty chronicler of modern manners.

"Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use" - Emily Post


The 5th Book

Rating: 4 Stars

The Magic of Old Hollywood! 

5.  A Touch of Stardust - Kate Alcott:  Gone with the Wind by author Margaret Mitchell is by far one of the most loved books in history.  After 75 years since the book publised still remains a 5 star novel that can be read over and over again.  Additionally, Gone with the Wind the movie is completely unforgettable.  Have you ever wonder how the film was created? Or all the drama behind the scenes?  Well - A Touch of Stardust covers all the human drama between Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Carole Lombard and the list goes on. The underlying theme of the read is the overview of the Carole Lombard and Clark Gable love affair.  This tale follows the story of a screenwriter arriving in Hollywood to become a famous.  The novel is hands down a terrific insight into the making of this memorable film.  You will never look at the movie the same and will have incredible respect for producer David O'Selznick and director, Victor Fleming.

Note: The author Kate Alcott (pseudonym of journalist Patricia O'Brien)  is based on stories shared by her late husband, Frank Mankiewicz, who grew up in a legendary film family, helped her bring Old Hollywood to life. 

From Amazon: A Touch of Stardust:

Julie Crawford left Fort Wayne, Indiana with dreams of being a Hollywood screenwriter. Unfortunately, her new life is off to a rocky start. Fired by the notoriously demanding director of Gone With the Wind, she’s lucky to be rescued by Carole Lombard, whose scandalous affair with the still-married Clark Gable is just heating up. 

As Carole’s assistant, Julie suddenly has a front-row seat to two of the world’s greatest love affairs. And while Rhett and Scarlett—and Lombard and Gable—make movie history, Julie is caught up in a whirlwind of out sized personalities and overheated behind-the-scenes drama … not to mention a budding romance of her own.


There you have it!  A selection of summer reads that bring pleasure, entertain and captivate all the while partaking in the beauty of sunshine! Happy Reading!

Until Next Time!

Forever Chic Style - Kim Hardwick


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