Long plane rides. Hours baking on the sand. Days in places where the weather should be perfect. Yes, it’s almost summer, so I thought I should give you a rundown of the best new novels for relaxing by the pool, or keeping you sane during your six hour layover in Newark.

Top Secret coverTop Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (Bantam, June 17)

Any book from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series can get me through a long day at the beach. I have been known to burst out laughing so loudly that people have come from forty paces away to check on me. We’re in luck this summer, Top Secret Twenty-One hits the shelves and it promises to be as much fun as the rest. This time around Stephanie will have to contend with an assassination attempt on her mysterious protector, Ranger, which will finally reveal more about his past. On top of that, she’ll have to save Briggs, a long time pain in the butt, from his drug-dealing boss.

China Dolls cover


China Dolls by Lisa See (Random House, June 3)

For something a bit more serious, you’ll want to check out Lisa See’s China Dolls. Set in 1938 San Francisco, it explores a highly emotional time for our country through the eyes of three Asian women. Though the girls all have unique personality and come from very different backgrounds, it does not take them long to become close friends. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia runs rampant and a sudden act of betrayal changes everything for the three friends. See is known for her ability to render the complex relationships of her female protagonist and the meetings of history and fate.

TheOneandOnly coverThe One and Only by Emily Griffin (Ballantine, May 20)

Emily Giffin’sThe One and Only explores the cost of love and loyalty. The heroine, Shea Rigsby, has spent her entire life committed to the Walker, TX football program. It is only when an unexpected tragedy rocks the community that she is forced to question her life’s choices and whether or not this life can ever be enough for her. As Shea decides to give up her comfortable life, she begins to find her passion and experiences her true self for the first time.

The matchmaker cover



The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown & Co., April 28)

If you’re in the mood for romance, you’ll want to check out Elin Hilderbrand’s The Matchmaker. It’s not your conventional love story, but rather the tale of Dabney, an old Nantucket matchmaker, who is skilled at her trade for others but managed to let the love of her own life slip away. He returns after a 27-year absence and she thinks she will have a second chance. A tragedy threatens this new, old love and forces Dabney to reveal long hidden secrets to her family.

The longest ride coverThe Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing, May 6)

Finally, for tried and true summer reading, Nicholas Sparks has released The Longest Ride. In the tradition of The Notebook it looks at two couples whose lives intersect in surprising ways. Ninety-seven-year-old Ira Levinson is confronted by the image of his deceased wife after a car accident. She urges him to hold on while she recounts tales of their life together.  While just a few miles away at a bull riding contest, Sophia meets Luke, a boy very different from the ones she’s dated before. As they fall in love she feels her life being pulled far from the plans she had made for it. Though the two couples seem to have nothing in common, their lives converge to reveal that even difficult journeys can have extraordinary results.