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Summer is right around the corner (isn’t it?), and that means it’s time to search out books for the beach, lake, pool deck, summer cottage or back porch.

First up, there are the so-called beach reads.The “Fifty Shades of Grey” fans may have to wait for the next installment “Grey,” but in the meantime, they may want to check out the latest chapter in Jackie Collins’ "Lucky" series, titled “The Santangelos." Once again she blends a cocktail of sex, violence and general mayhem amongst Lucky and her extended family. It’s a real page-turner, and there are graphic sex scenes, so fair warning.

Dorothea Benton Frank returns to the Lowcountry of South Carolina for her summer novel, “All The Single Ladies,” the story of a nurse caring for a patient who becomes good friends with her patient’s best friends. There’s lots of female bonding here, and this is aimed at women who have lived life, and have to deal with adult children, mothers and grandmothers, too.

Shelley Noble’s novel has an actual beach setting. In “Whisper Beach,” Vanessa left her home there at age 17, when she became pregnant. Fifteen years later, she returns home for a funeral, and ends up staying for awhile to help a old friend with her failing restaurant. This one is also about friendship, lost love and coming home.

If fast-paced thrillers are more your style, Jessica Knoll’s novel “Luckiest Girl Alive” has been favorably compared to “Gone Girl.” Ani FaNelli has a glamorous job, a handsome, wealthy fiance, and the world on a string. But a secret from her past has threatened to derail all that she has worked for. Critics have been praising this debut novel from Knoll, a Hobart and William Smith Colleges graduate.

Author Charles Dubow's followup to his novel “Indiscretion” is “Girl In The Moonlight,” about Wylie, a young man who has been enchanted by Cesca, a wild, spirited, beautiful young woman. Cesura toys with Wylie over the years, destroying him in the process for any other woman. Their passionate relationship over the years takes the reader from the East Hamptons to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to Paris and Barcelona.

Judy Blume, best known for her iconic children’s books like “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” and “Forever,” has written an adult novel this year, “In The Unlikely Event.” Taking place in Elizabeth, New Jersey, it tells the story of Miri, who returns to her hometown 35 years after a series of plane crashes occurred there (which actually happened). We see how all these years later, people in the town are still haunted by the plane crashes, and Blume brings to vivid life the feelings of growing up in that place at that time in history.

If you prefer to read non-fiction, Los Angeles Times reporter Jill Leovy’s “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America” takes a look at murder in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has almost one murder every day, and many of them go unsolved because no one seems to care about the victims.

Leovy writes about the case of Bryant Tennelle, a young black man who was murdered and doomed to be an unsolved and forgotten homicide until detective John Skaggs caught the case. Skaggs doggedly pursued justice for Tennelle, and by telling this story, Levy shares how the epidemic of young black men killing each other exists and how it could be stopped.

Joseph J. Ellis, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Founding Brothers,” returns with “The Quartet: Orchestrating The Second American Revolution, 1783-1789” about the four men — George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison — who, after the American Revolution, worked to draft the Bill of Rights and ensure that the states would accept the powers of the federal government in order to create a strong national union.

Actress Kate Mulgrew has been working on TV for over 30 years, best known as Mary Ryan on the ABC soap “Ryan’s Hope,” the first female captain of a Starfleet vessel on “Star Trek: Voyager” and currently as tough prison inmate Red on “Orange Is The New Black," and she recounts her life’s story in the brilliantly written memoir, “Born With Teeth.” It’s honest and fascinating, but fans looking for gossip will be disappointed.

Whatever you read this summer, I hope you enjoy it.

Diane LaRue is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and blogs about books at You can follow her on Twitter @bookchickdi, and she can be emailed at


Features editor for The Citizen.