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Check out these must-reads of the summer

Grab a real page-turner for your day in the sun! John Searles of Cosmopolitan magazine highlights the best books of the season.
/ Source: Weekend Today

With summer just around the corner, thoughts of heading to the beach or hitting the pool come to mind. And one of the first things you'll want to throw in your beach bag is a good book. John Searles, book editor at Cosmopolitan magazine and author of the novel, “Strange But True,” presents the best summer reads.

Novels
“This Book Will Save Your Life” by A.M. HomesThis is a satire set in Los Angeles, about a wealthy day-trader who struggles to find human/emotional connections after he ends up in the emergency room due to inexplicable pain. It is a novel about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you.

“Lost and Found” by Carolyn ParkhurstFocusing on the comedy and tragedy of missed connections, this book is about an “Amazing Race” type competition in which two-person teams journey from Egypt to Japan to Scandinavia. Employing a constantly shifting perspective, Parkhurst juggles a large cast of characters, with a number of competitors emerging as standouts.

“The Girls” by Lori LansensLansens' second novel is told from two viewpoints: that of Rose and Ruby Darlen, 29-year-old conjoined twins. They are about to go down in history as the oldest surviving twins to be joined at the head. A recent medical diagnosis has spurred Rose to write her autobiography, and she encourages Ruby to do the same. Between the two sections, the story of their lives is revealed, beginning with their birth to an unwed teen mother and their adoption by a local nurse. Lansens’ biggest achievement is bringing to life these two characters to such a degree that readers may forget they are reading fiction.

“Digging to America” by Anne TykerWhen Bitsy and Brad Donaldson and Sami and Ziba Yazdan both adopt Korean infant girls, their chance encounter at the Baltimore airport the day their daughters arrive marks the start of a long, intense, if sometimes, awkward friendship. Sami's mother, Maryam Yazdan, who carefully preserves her exotic “outsiderness” despite having emigrated from Iran almost 40 years earlier, is frequently perplexed by her son and daughter-in-law's ongoing relationship with the loud, opinionated, unapologetically American Donaldsons. When Bitsy's recently widowed father, Dave, endearingly falls in love with Maryam, she must come to terms with what it means to be part of a culture and a country. Though the novel's perspective shifts among characters, Maryam is at the narrative and emotional heart of the touching, humorous story, as she reluctantly realizes that there may be a place in her heart for new friends, new loves and her new country after all.

Thrillers
“Beautiful Lies”
by Lisa UngerAfter an act of heroism garners instant fame for Ridley Jones, she receives a faded photo along with a note asking, “Are you my daughter?” Shaken, she confronts her parents, who affirm she is theirs by birth. That same day, however, hot new neighbor Jake enters her life, and she's less sure. With breathless speed, Unger is off on an action-packed journey of treachery and intrigue and sex and romance. Jake turns out to have just as much at stake in discovering Ridley's past as she. Ridley and Jake uncover a chilling scheme for taking infants and toddlers from violent homes, as their relationship heats up.

“Killer Instinct” by Joseph FinderJason Steadman is a mild-mannered corporate executive working for an electronics firm called Entronics. When a fender-bender introduces him to a tow truck driver named Kurt Semko, his entire world is turned upside down. Lacking the killer instinct to close the big deal and ascend the corporate ladder, Steadman befriends Semko and soon begins picking up advice. Steadman is promoted and in return, he hooks up his newfound friend with a job as a security officer at Entronics. But Semko's continued “help” involves some highly unethical — and eventually murderous — activities; and when Steadman tries to put a stop to them, he is forced to find out if he really has the killer instinct.

Memoir
“Tabloid Love” by Bridget HarrisonThis is a memoir by Harrison, who came to the New York Post through an exchange program with a London newspaper. After breaking up with her English boyfriend, her four-month stint turned into a permanent position. Soon the metro reporter acquired a Sunday column detailing her dating mishaps — all the while nurturing a crush on one of her editors. The urban newspaper setting is a zippy backdrop for this real-life chick lit drama.

Chick lit
“Anybody Out There”
by Marian KeyesInternational bestseller Keyes is back with another quirky, heartwarming story of the Walsh sisters. Anna Walsh has returned to her family in the Dublin suburbs to recuperate from the horrendous car accident that has left her with multiple fractures and a disfiguring scar across her face. Desperate to go back to New York and resume her normal life, she soon packs up her bags and returns to her job in beauty PR. A lonely and debilitated Anna leaves e-mails and phone messages for her mysteriously absent husband, Aidan, pleading for him to reply. Meanwhile, she reminisces about their courtship and marriage while her kooky family tries to buoy her spirits. Keyes's trademark blend of humor, diverse characters and a warm but unsentimental tone strikes gold. (Audio as well)

Paperbacks
“Blue Water” by A. Manette AnsayIn Ansay's latest novel, Meg Van Dorn and her husband, Rex, struggle with the loss of their six-year-old son, Evan. He has died after their car crashed into Cindy Ann’s, Meg's best friend from high school, who was drunk at the wheel. The two file a civil suit that would financially ruin the well-off Cindy Ann, but Meg has a change of heart, given the impending marriage of Meg's older brother to Cindy Ann's sister. This is a solid and revelatory novel on themes of grief and loss.

“Indecision” by Benjamin KunkelBenjamin Kunkel's brilliantly comic debut novel concerns one of the central maladies of our time — a pathological indecision that turns abundance into an affliction and opportunity into a curse. Dwight B. Wilmerding is only twenty-eight, but he's having a midlife crisis. Encouraged by one of his roommates to try an experimental pharmaceutical meant to banish indecision, Dwight jumps at the chance and swallows the first fateful pill. Suddenly he is fired from his job and invited to Ecuador with the girl of his dreams, where he finds himself on the brink of a new life.

“50 Crap Vacations” by Dan KieranHere, in all their hideous glory, are tales of leaky caverns, dodgy campsites, and bug-infested bedrooms in “luxury” foreign hotels. We've got dysentery disasters, land-mine-littered beaches, irretrievably lost luggage, and hours of exotic tarmac-sitting at the world's top airports — not to mention Crap Vacation sex, crime, and toxic food you pay far too much for. So if you're making plans to get away from it all, make sure you're not going somewhere you'll want to get away from. Let “Crap Vacations” be your guide down that old holiday road. Getting back to the nine-to-five grind has never seemed to tempting.