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Beach Reads> July 18, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Thursday, July 17, 2014 03:26 pm

Lost Lake Lost Lake

by Sarah Addison Allen, St. Martin’s Press

This could be the “last, best summer” for visitors to Lost Lake, a remote tumbledown resort in the swamps of Georgia. Business has fallen off since a giant water park opened nearby, and the lake’s widowed owner, Eby Pim, has decided to sell and travel to Europe, where she honeymooned with her beloved husband George. First, however, Eby must do “inventory,” packing up hopes, regrets and memories as well as the accumulated stuff of a lifetime. Her French housemate Lisette is furious at the prospect of change, and declares she cannot live anywhere else. Others are simply nostalgic, including Eby’s great-niece Kate, recently widowed herself, who comes to Lost Lake with her daughter Devin; Selma and Buhladeen, a pair of comical old women who have summered at the resort for years; and Wes, Kate’s girlhood friend, who lost everything in a long-ago fire and is part of the development group intent on buying the resort. When word gets out that Eby is going to sell, a motley group of townspeople decide to throw a farewell party that just might convince her to stay. This sweet novel has moments of pure magic.

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Beach Reads> July 4, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Monday, July 07, 2014 02:50 pm

first-love First Love
by James Patterson, Little, Brown and Company
After the death of her cancer-stricken younger sister, Alexandra Moore – in remission from the same disease – is abandoned by her distraught mother and neglected by her father, who is drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Axi decides to escape with newfound friend and major crush Robinson, once a patient on the same hospital ward. Dubbing themselves Bonnie and Clyde, the teenagers “borrow” a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, then a truck, and light out from Portland, Ore., to see the USA. Driving cross-country with stops in Detroit and New York before ambling south, they fall in love, and do their best to outrun the disease that has so altered their lives. This sweet, funny novel, by Patterson and co-author Emily Raymond, has an adorable young heroine and likeable hero whose zest for adventure, droll repartee, love of bad jokes and devotion to each other illuminates this wistful journey.

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Beach Reads > June 27, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:45 pm

Sycamore Row Sycamore Row  Sycamore Row

by John Grisham, Doubleday
Mississippi businessman Seth Hubbard has end-stage lung cancer. After meticulous planning and careful documentation, he hangs himself from a row of sycamore trees on his land. Days later, down-on-his-luck lawyer Jake Brigance – who never met the deceased – gets a handwritten will in the mail and a letter instructing him to leave 90 percent of Hubbard’s fortune to the businessman’s black housemaid, Lettie Lang. Predictably, Hubbard’s grasping family, who never had much use for the old man when he was alive, declares that Lang coerced her suffering employer to sign over his multimillion-dollar estate. Lawyers descend like turkey vultures, trying to get a piece of the inheritance for themselves (and their clients). Grisham is in top form in this entertaining mystery, with its cast of preening attorneys, greedy family members, and Jake, a principled guy who is just trying to do his job.   

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Beach Reads > June 20, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Friday, June 20, 2014 05:48 pm

The Guts
by Roddy Doyle, Viking
In this sequel to 1989’s “The Commitments,” Doyle brings back members of the working-class Irish rock-n-soul band in a story that is poignant, hilarious, and sometimes unbearably touching. It’s been 30 years since Jimmy Rabbitte founded the group. Now married with children and long estranged from the band members, Jimmy has just learned he has colon cancer. Shaken to the core, he resolves to reconnect with his mates and some distant family members. Not coincidentally, he also comes up with a new way to make money, an iffy scheme based around a papal trip to Dublin, social media, and the music of 1932 (yes, they’re all linked, if only in Jimmy’s mind). Dialogue displaces narrative for much of this book, and it may take time for you to become familiar with Dubliner dialect and the characters’ peculiarly Irish sense of humor and pathos (and then there are the names, like Aoife and Caoimhe). Once you settle in, you’ll discover a group of thoroughly lovable folk: funny, profane, sentimental, and always trying to push that sentiment under the rug. “The Guts,” in Jimmy’s word, is simply “grand.”

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Ocean Galleries debuts ‘The Art of Ringo Starr’

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Written by Staff Reports Friday, June 13, 2014 12:00 am

Anyone who acquires Ringo Starr’s artwork at the exhibits will have the opportunity to meet and have their photo taken with him at a private reception Saturday, June 21 prior to the All Starr Band’s performance at Caesars. Anyone who acquires Ringo Starr’s artwork at the exhibits will have the opportunity to meet and have their photo taken with him at a private reception Saturday, June 21 prior to the All Starr Band’s performance at Caesars. STONE HARBOR - Ringo Starr achieved worldwide fame as the drummer for The Beatles, and the musician, singer, songwriter and actor will show another dimension of his artistic side when Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor hosts the exhibit “The Art of Ringo Starr” Friday through Sunday, June 13-15.

There will be special receptions 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

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Beach Reads > June 6, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Tuesday, June 03, 2014 02:44 pm

 The Longest Ride The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride
by Nicholas Sparks, Grand Central Publishing
Nicholas Sparks’ newest love story, now out in paperback, tells the parallel stories of two couples: 90-something Ira Levinson and his wife, Ruth, and Sophia and Luke, a young couple from vastly different backgrounds who meet at a barn dance. As the story opens, Ira is stranded, injured after a car accident. As he slips in and out of consciousness, Ruth, long dead, visits him. Though he is aware she is only a hallucination, together they recall the many chapters of their shared history, from early romance to the struggles and joys of marriage. Meanwhile, art student Sophia, recently split from her cheating boyfriend, blows off steam by accompanying a friend to the rodeo. The cheater shows up to woo her back. When he gets too insistent, she is rescued by Luke, a handsome rodeo rider with a secret. Is their attraction a fleeting thing, or will they find true love? Hey, this is Nicholas Sparks! Parts of “The Longest Ride” recall the love story at the heart of “The Notebook.” It’s a tearjerker, but expertly done. Lay in a supply of Kleenex and enjoy.

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Art exhibit to be held at Thomas Beesley House

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Written by Staff Reports Friday, May 30, 2014 05:15 pm

 Art exhibit to be held at Thomas Beesley House Art exhibit to be held at Thomas Beesley House

GABLES of Cape May County will present the third annual GLBT Art Exhibit June 7-28 at the circa 1870 Thomas Beesley Jr. House, 605 Route 9 North, Cape May Court House.

The first half of the month will showcase the work of adult gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and a gay-friendly artists. That portion of the exhibit runs noon-4 p.m. June 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15, with an opening reception set for 1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

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Beach Reads > May 30, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Friday, May 30, 2014 04:12 pm

 Shotgun Lovesongs Shotgun Lovesongs

Shotgun Lovesongs

by Nickolas Butler, Thomas Dunne Books

This astonishing first novel details the lives of four young men from rural Little Wing, Wis. They grew up together but have taken markedly different paths in life, and each measures his worth against the others. There’s Henry, who stayed on the farm and married his boyhood sweetheart, Beth. Kip, the commodities trader who made a fortune in Chicago, came home to great fanfare to redevelop a local mill, but is secretly drowning in debt. Ronny is the onetime rodeo rider whose brain injury has left him eternally, sweetly childlike. And then there’s Lee, who rocketed to stardom as a musician, but is no happier for his fame and fortune than his three boyhood buds. Each of these characters tells his story in rotating first-person chapters, as does Beth, a pivotal figure in all their lives. “Shotgun Lovesongs” is an achingly tender portrait of friends in good times and bad, in the money and on the outs, and the indestructible bond that keeps bringing them back together. Bravo. Bravo.

 Scandal: A Manual Scandal: A Manual

Scandal: A Manual

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Beach Reads > May 9, 2014

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Written by Marjorie Preston Thursday, May 08, 2014 08:58 pm

 book_Under-My-Skin book_Under-My-Skin

I’ve Got You Under My Skin
By Mary Higgins Clark, Simon and Schuster
Clark has written a curious hybrid of old-style murder mystery and contemporary thriller. The results are uneven, implausible, and ultimately predictable. But it’s still engaging, if only as an exercise in guesswork. Twenty years ago, after a graduation party for four young women, wealthy socialite Betsy Powell was smothered in her bed. The crime was never solved. Now TV producer Laurie Moran brings back all the suspects for a reality show re-enactment. As it turns out, everyone had a reason to despise the victim, including her seemingly devoted husband and the four friends. Meanwhile, Laurie battles an unknown predator who killed her husband and has threatened her and her son. The plot defies belief at every turn, and the Agatha Christie-style ending is patently ridiculous. But it’s entertaining nonsense and passable beach fare.


 Mrs. Poe Mrs. Poe

Mrs. Poe
by Lynn Cullen, Gallery Books

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So you want to get published?

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Written by Marjorie Preston Thursday, May 08, 2014 03:21 pm

 Literary agent Sheree Bykofsky will discuss publishing trends and share tips on the art of selling a story. Literary agent Sheree Bykofsky will discuss publishing trends and share tips on the art of selling a story.

At beach writer’s retreat, authors and agents spill the secrets of great writing – and how to sell it

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter, open a vein, and bleed.”

That quote has been attributed to everyone from Ernest Hemingway to philosopher Frederick Nietzsche to sports columnist Red Smith. No matter who said it, most writers would agree that writing can be a difficult pursuit, marked by isolation, self-doubt, and lots of rejection.

While the rewards can be great – J.K. Rowling, once a struggling single mom, is now wealthier than the Queen of England – the odds of becoming rich and famous in this profession are rare. Yet writers will write, despite writer’s cramp, writer’s block, a notoriously fickle creative muse, and other occupational hazards.

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