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Some Fabulous Reads for the Beach or Pool

Cindy Burnett
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First Lie Wins book

Cindy Burnett recommends going in blind to fully experience the twists and turns of First Lie Wins.

Here in Houston, we have had the craziest weather lately – terrible storms followed by extreme heat. I am sure people are wanting to sit by the pool or head to the beach to cool off, or at least read about being at the beach or pool. Here are four books that are perfect for beachside and poolside reading:

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston – This addictive, unique, and twisty thriller is a standout in the genre. Evie Porter is a con woman (and Evie is an alias) who works for Mr. Smith, her mysterious boss who communicates with her via postal boxes. He sends her the latest target with little initial knowledge about the ultimate goal, and she insinuates herself into the target’s life and then waits for her next instructions. The story is flawlessly plotted, and the twists and turns come at just the right points in the story. Every time I thought I had it figured out, the plot went in a different direction. I recommend going in blind to not have anything spoiled. First Lie Wins will be a huge hit for those who enjoy well-executed thrillers that keep the reader guessing until the very end.

The Beach Trap by Ali Brady – When Kat Steiner and Blake O’Neill meet at sleepaway camp, their connection is immediate, but the girls’ relationship ends abruptly when they realize they are half-sisters. Flash forward fifteen years, and Kat and Blake are dismayed to find that when their father died, he left them joint owners of the Destin, Florida family beach house. Blake, who supports her ailing grandfather, wants to sell the beach house, while social media influencer Kat refuses to sell because she has so many fond family memories from her time spent there. The women decide to take the summer to renovate the worn house with the agreement that by the end of the summer Kat will buy Blake out or they will sell it and split the money. As they begin to work on the house, the two women slowly get to know each other better as they come to terms with their shared past and learn what it means to be sisters. The writing duo of Ali Brady hit the ball out of the park with their debut – the story is just so well-done. The writing is vivid, and I felt like I was transported to the beach or living in the beach house. The Beach Trap is a sweet and uplifting story that had me cheering for Kat and Blake to resolve their differences and come to terms with their family’s sordid past. 

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti – NYU student Lora Ricci’s internship at ELLE Magazine introduces her to the cut throat world of fashion and the wealthy people who populate the industry. When Cat Wolff, a contributing editor to the magazine and daughter of a wealthy mogul takes Lora on as a mentee, Lora is initially thrilled. She agrees to become Cat’s ghostwriter and drops out of school to focus full time on writing. As the two begin working on the book, Lora soon realizes that all is not as it seems; Cat comes and goes at all hours, and bills seem to go unpaid. The book and its format (emails, FBI reports, diary entries and more) are fabulous, and I recommend going into it with little knowledge of the story to ensure nothing gets spoiled. It is a wild and crazy ride and just so well done.

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren – Writing duo Christina Lauren is back with a fabulous summer read. Felicity Chen, who goes by Fizzy, is a bestselling romance author who has lost her ability to write happily ever afters, partly because she feels that she will never find her own true love. When Connor Prince, a documentary filmmaker and single dad, is tasked with creating a reality dating show or face losing his job, he contacts Fizzy to star in the show – what would romance readers love more than seeing their favorite writer fall in love on national TV? Reluctantly, Fizzy agrees but includes a long list of requirements that Connor surprisingly agrees to. Chock full of fun pop culture references and focusing on our nation’s obsession with reality TV, The True Love Experiment is a sweet and engaging romance with fun banter and genuinely likeable characters.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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