Beach Reads

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Enjoy a good book on the beach this summer. | Photo by

Check out these books that local experts say are trending this summer.

By Ashley Ryan


Few things scream summertime quite like sunscreen, a cute bikini and chic sunglasses. But don’t forget to toss a book in your beach bag, too. Whether lounging on the sand or relaxing on a nearby patio, you can enjoy these recommendations for this summer’s perfect page-turners.


Currently Popular

“Someone Else’s Shoes” by Jojo Moyes: Storytelling at its finest is displayed in Moyes’ latest novel, which sees characters make mistakes and find promise in second chances. “Many readers will resonate with the characters of ‘Someone Else’s Shoes,’ … [which] explores female friendships,” says Jane Hanauer, owner of Laguna Beach Books.

“Pineapple Street” by Jenny Jackson: Following the story of a wealthy family, as well as someone who married into it, Hanauer says this novel is a fun, well-written book that offers plenty more than your typical beach read.


Set in Town

Orange Sunshine by Nicholas Schou“Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World” by Nicholas Schou: This nonfiction tale takes readers behind the scenes of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, with stories from former members as well as the police who chased the drug ring. “Books about the 1960s in Laguna are always popular since it was a very colorful time,” says Nadya Hickam, librarian and branch manager at Laguna Beach Library. “Although this book is somewhat older, it continues to be checked out regularly.”

“A Thousand Steps” by T. Jefferson Parker: One part thriller, one part coming-of-age story, this book—by a New York Time bestselling author—is set in the 1960s amidst the hippies, artists and surfers in small-town Laguna Beach, as the main character grows into adulthood while searching for his missing sister. “Locals and visitors alike will enjoy the mysteries in this locally themed book,”
Hanauer says.

“Hotel Laguna” by Nicola Harrison: A piece of historical fiction set here in town, this book follows a girl who leaves Kansas to head west to California and helps construct bomber planes for the military until the war is over. Then, she decides to stay and discovers the charm of Laguna Beach.

“A Laguna Kid” by Rick Balzer: More about the author than the town itself, this autobiography offers personal insight into Balzer’s life, from growing up in Laguna to building his career as a broker associate, raising children and transitioning to his later years. This title, sold in limited places, is available at Laguna Beach Books.


Highly-Anticipated Titles

“The Paris Daughter” by Kristin Harmel: Ideal for those who love historical fiction, this new novel tells the story of two friends, Elise and Juliette, who are in Paris in 1939 as the world is on the brink of World War II. “As the friends’ tragic story unfolds, readers will appreciate Harmel’s emotional acuity in this vivid and deeply researched novel,” Hickam says.

“The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder” by David Grann: This highly awaited nonfiction title is the fifth by Grann, a journalist and staff writer for The New Yorker. It tells the story of those aboard a British warship that mutinied after the ship wrecked on the coast of Chile. “[This book] is getting national attention, and [is] perfect for Father’s Day or anyone who loves history and exploration in an intense and thrilling way,” Hanauer notes.

“Zero Days” by Ruth Ware: “Ruth Ware returns with her highly anticipated new release, … an action-packed thriller, which amps up the adrenaline of the author’s previous mysteries, keeping readers on their toes until the very last page,” Hickam reveals. “Zero Days” tells the story of a woman who must clear her name following her husband’s murder.

“Palazzo” by Danielle Steel: After her parents pass away, protagonist Cosima Saverio must take care of her siblings, their Italian palazzo and her family’s leather brand. Set to release June 27, the story accents the importance of familial legacy. “Readers will cheer Cosima on as she navigates her new life, finds her footing and almost loses everything all over again, due to the complexities of family relationships,” Hickam says.

“The Collector” by Daniel Silva: Due out July 18, fans of this are sure to be eagerly awaiting the 23rd title in a series about master spy Gabriel Allon, combining international mystery with the world of luxury art collecting. “Readers can look forward to a fast-paced plot, which incorporates the contemporary geopolitical landscape,” Hickam notes.


Books by Laguna Authors

“Don’t Tell Me What To Do: The Secret Guide to Unlocking Your Power, Potential, and Purpose” by Jennifer Dunphy: A self-help book written by a local, this title offers tips on how to tap into your potential and realize a higher purpose. “This book explores how to create a life full of purpose and meaning,” Hickam says. “The book will take you on a journey of self-discovery, allowing you to explore hidden truths about yourself and craft an inspiring vision for your future.”

“girl stuff.” by Lisi Harrison: This series, which contains three books so far, is great for young girls who want to be inspired to stay true to themselves. It follows three best friends navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school. Written by the author of the popular series “The Clique,” it’s ideal for those who enjoy books like classic “The Baby-Sitters Club” series.

“Best Day Ever” by Kaira Rouda: Themes of deception and betrayal run deep in this suspense novel, which may make readers question how well they know those closest to them. “ ‘Best Day Ever’ is fantastic, by Laguna local Kaira Rouda, who specializes in diabolical main characters,” Hanauer notes.

“Loving Laguna” by Robert Skip Hellewell: Written by a Californian who first came to Laguna Beach in the 1950s to surf, this guide, which is popular amongst locals, delves into area beaches, art galleries, historic sites, restaurants and must-try activities. “ ‘Loving Laguna’ will give any visitor a great understanding of our town, along with local recommendations on everything our town offers,” Hanauer says.

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