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The Write Stuff: Our picks for Best Beach Books, Part Five

Man's best beast. Always.
Man's best beast. Always.
Author's collection

The summer is long.
Out Best Beach Books must-reads continue.
More write stuff.

Life is rarely easy. It’s often messy no matter how we try to control it. When our carefully crafted plans break loose, we are left at a crossroad. That was the reality for Judy Fridono and for many of the people you will read about in her book, Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions (HCI Books, $18.95). Ricochet, the beloved service dog who became the SURFice dog and now a worldwide YouTube sensation, came into Judy’s life on a wave of serendipity her life forever changed.
After suffering a life of loss, Judy Fridono began training service-dog puppies to make a positive difference in the world. Her 'puppy prodigy,' Ricochet, showed boundless potential, surpassing every milestone. But out of the blue, the puppy with so much promise completely lost her focus to train, preferring to chase birds on the beach instead. Regretfully, Judy had no choice but to release Ricochet from the service-dog program, leaving her disappointed and disheartened.

Bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews returns with another blockbuster summer novel, Save the Date (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99). With her trademark wit and gift for storytelling, Andrews delivers the perfect bouquet of intrigue and romance when Savannah florist Cara Kryzik lands the wedding of the season.
Brooke Trapnell and Harris Strayhorn, part of Savannah’s high society, hire Cara to be their wedding planner for their July wedding at Cabin Creek, the Strayhorn plantation in South Carolina. Cara kicks into high gear, relieved she will finally be able to pay off the debt she owes her father. With only six weeks to plan the wedding, Cara, along with her dependable assistant Bert, is determined to solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials.
In the midst of all the planning, Cara finds herself falling for Jack Finnerty, the “dognapper” who accidently steals her golden doodle dog Poppy when she runs out the door one hot summer morning. Recently divorced, Cara no longer believes in love and is focused on keeping her stressed-out clients happy. Until the chic new florist from Charleston, Cullen Kane, decides to open shop in Savannah and do whatever it takes to destroy her business, and in the process, her relationship with Jack.
Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.

In A Good Year for the Roses (Hyperion, $15), Gil McNeil introduces readers to charming, feisty heroine Molly Taylor. When Molly’s husband leaves her for his Personal Assistant, this now-single-mom isn’t sure how to go on. So when Molly unexpectedly inherits Harrington Hall, a crumbling manor house on the Devon coast, she ditches London for a new start.
McNeil’s keen eye for characterization and ear for dialogue will set you laughing. When Molly’s young son suggests, “‘if you tie vegetables on a string chickens can peck them and not get bored,’” Molly thinks to herself, “God forbid we’d have bored chickens.” Eccentric uncle Bertie’s cliff-top cannon and rude pet parrot always make life interesting, as does the Hall’s beautiful heritage rose garden, where Molly seeks refuge when things get too hectic.
Will Molly be able to turn Harrington Hall into a functioning Bed & Breakfast to save her windling dwindling finances? With humor, wit, and heart, Molly tackles all obstacles and the roses start to bloom . . .

With a complex multi-generational story, intriguing historical details, fascinating yet true-to-life characters and strong writing, Lauren Willig’s That Summer (St. Martin's Press $25.99), is the perfect addition to any summer reading list.
A compelling blend of present-day story and rich historical atmosphere, That Summer tells the tale of Julia Conley, who learns she’s inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, and Imogen Grantham, trapped in a loveless marriage in another era, whose high spirited stepdaughter, her only solace, becomes enthralled with a mysterious visitor.
2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it’s a joke. She hasn’t been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six, an event she remembers only in her nightmares. But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house—with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas—bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a Pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house’s shrouded history begins to open…
1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur’s collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion.

Get ready to laugh. Loudly. And often.
“I was born in Glasgow, Scotland. I weighed six and a half pounds. One hour later I weighed sixty-two pounds. Alright, maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but only about the time. My fat cells did start expanding at warp speed from the minute I exited the womb. I have no idea what was in that milk but I’ve been on a slippery slope ever since…”
And, so begins, Getting Waisted: A Survival Guide to Being Fat in a Society That Loves Thin (HCI Books, $15.95), the ultimate anti-diet book. It's a book that speaks to everyone who can identify with having struggled over and over to lose weight only to gain it back time after time.
There are so many hustlers promising the fastest fix to a better new us. “I listened and I drank their elixirs and I became tiny.” What they didn't tell the author, Monica Parker, is that it wouldn't last! An actor, writer and producer, Monica’s story is funny and painful but it’s also inspirational. She considers herself the poster woman for turning lemons into chocolate. We are all flawed, chipped and dented; which doesn’t mean we’re also not interesting, vital and sexy. “We must celebrate who we are as our mental health depends on it”. Ultimately, Getting Waisted is a funny and inspirational look at life through
society’s fun-house mirror.

Barb Schmidt believes that making subtle shifts in the day will improve inner happiness, creating a positive ripple effect on all areas of life. In her new book, The Practice (HCI Books, $12.95), Barb has structured an easy-to-implement, three-part daily routine—Waking Up, Living Present, Letting Go-that will help you look inward, cultivating the beautiful qualities of acceptance, gratitude, patience, compassion, strength, and courage. Barb provides readers with a set of practical tools that can be used throughout the day to help cultivate a peaceful mind so that readers can live their best lives filled with happiness, love, mindfulness and purpose—the magnificent life that we are all meant to live.
The Practice is a set of practical tools that can be used throughout the day to guide us along life’s path. It is a compilation of the great Truths taught by authentic teachers and masters throughout the centuries from various religious and spiritual traditions. It is for people who are looking to deepen their connection to their innermost selves.
Throughout The Practice, Barb shares with readers the timeless truths and wisdoms she has learned through her nearly thirty years of study and practice with many of the modern-day masters. Each chapter concludes with “Parting Seeds” – key takeaway points discussed in the chapter to keep in mind as you go about your day.