Check It Out: Summer stories to toss into your tote

We are well into the summer months, and if you're looking for an added bonus to throw into your beach bag, consider some of the following fun frolics.

Fiction author Francesca Sewell is having a serious case of writer's block in Louise Shaffer's "Looking for a Love Story." Coming off the success of her debut novel, Francesca struggles to find the right story that will live up to her first bestseller. Meanwhile, her husband leaves her and now she's even more desperate to land some work. To pay the bills she settles for a freelance writing assignment working for the elderly Chicky. Francesca finds herself writing the memoirs of Chicky's parents, and the two women collaborate to discover a romantic love story.

In Paula Froelich's debut, "Mercury in Retrograde," Penelope, Lena and Dana form an unlikely bond when fate brings them together and they end up living in the same SoHo apartment building. On the brink of a promotion she's been awaiting for years, Penelope Mercury finds herself out of work after one frightful day on the job. Socialite Lena Lippencrass falls a few notches down when her parents unexpectedly cut her off from their credit and force her to leave her posh West Village condominium. And Dana Gluck is suffering through a recent divorce, after her husband leaves her for another woman. When they meet, the three women are at the low points in their lives, and together they embark on an entertaining journey to pick up the pieces.

What's summer without at least one wedding, or how about two? As a wedding planner, Sarah finds herself organizing not one but two weddings set for the same day. The first is for a major celebrity movie star. It's slated to be the wedding of the year. Unfortunately, the other bride is Sarah's own sister, who turns out to be "bridezilla." Pulled in several directions trying to organize both weddings, Sarah recruits her friends Elsa, a dressmaker, and Bron, a hairstylist, to help her with the events. Katie Fforde's "Wedding Season" is a lighthearted romantic comedy.

"The Late, Lamented Molly Marx" by Sally Koslow takes a twist on the first-person narrative. The narrator Molly Marx is dead. She recounts her life and the events leading up to her death from "The Duration," where she can revisit her earthly life, watch over her family and friends, and hear what others are thinking. The circumstances surrounding Molly's death are a mystery. Did she commit suicide? Was she involved in a freak accident? Or was she murdered? Molly follows her family and friends as they try to find out what's happened to her.

It's the end of her senior year in high school, and Jordan's looking forward to the "Beach Week" rite of passage that seniors traditionally celebrate at the end of school. Her parents, however, are having serious concerns about their daughter spending the week seaside with limited adult chaperones. Even though Jordan's parents are less than enthusiastic, they let her go. Author Susan Coll turns out a story of one wild week, while delving into a marriage in shambles, following 10 teenage girls having just graduated high school, and the trials of raising teenage daughters.

Finish off the summer with an entertaining book. Check out any of these beach reads and more at the Newport Beach Public Library.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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