There is nothing more disappointing than getting caught with a dud on vacation. As you get comfy on your beach chair or your own backyard, you’ll want to pick up only the best for your precious time off! Check out these new releases that are guaranteed good reads. Mysteries, romance or historical fiction – whatever floats your boat!

Mary Jane
By Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane is a 14-year-old girl growing up in Baltimore. As the summer of 1970 approaches, this smart, curious girl gets a job as a nanny for a local family. Mary Jane cannot wait to escape her rigid daily routine. Although she is immediately smitten with 5-year-old Izzy Cone, the household is a complete mess. Dr. Cone is an eccentric psychiatrist, while Mrs. Cone does anything but play housewife. Dr. Cone is taking care of a famous musician and invited him and his movie star wife to stay for the summer. Mary Jane is fascinated by this family that talks openly about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Filled with music, humor and self-discovery, sink your feet into the sand with this delightful book!

Half Life
By Jillian Cantor

Marya Sklodowska grew up in Warsaw, Poland, part of the Russian Empire. When her family loses its fortune, her parents do everything possible to educate Marya and her siblings. In 1891, devastated after her fiancé Kazimierz calls off their engagement, Marya follows her sister to Paris, where she renames herself Marie. She is top of her class and the only woman studying physics at the Sorbonne. After marrying Pierre Curie, Marie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel prize, not once, but twice. In a sliding-doors scenario we see Marya waiting to board the train to Paris when Kazimierz begs forgiveness. Alternating chapters view life through Marya’s eyes — one where she boards the train and one she does not. Simply mesmerizing.

The Last Thing He Told Me
By Laura Dave

Hannah Hall is a wood-turner living in New York City. Abandoned at a young age, she is raised by her beloved grandfather, who taught her the trade. An introduction to handsome Owen Michaels throws Hannah’s world upside down. Owen has a feisty teenage daughter who makes Hannah’s life difficult but she tries to befriend the beautiful Bailey. One day they receive a note scrawled in Owen’s handwriting — Protect Her. Owen doesn’t return home from work that evening or the next. The news reports his company is under investigation. Hannah cannot imagine what led to Owen’s involvement but when the U.S. Marshal and FBI begin inquiries, Hannah does not know whom to trust. Will keep you guessing until the very last page.

When The Stars Go Dark
By Paula McLain

Detective Anna Hart leads a unit in San Francisco called Searchlight, taking on the most difficult missing children’s cases. Obsessed with work, it is only after personal tragedy that her husband asks her to take a break. Anna flees towards the town where she spent her childhood. Having been away for years, she is surprised to bump into her old friend Will, now the town sheriff. Anna is quickly pulled in to a local case of a 15-year-old girl who has disappeared. Time is of the essence as they scour a large rural area praying to find the young girl alive. Diving deep into the psychological triggers of these criminals, this is a suspenseful thriller and parent’s worst nightmare. 

Under the Southern Sky
By Kristy Woodson Harvey

Parker and Amelia grew up in idyllic Cape Carolina. Their mothers were best friends since childhood; Parker, the boy next door. Both in their 30s, fate has reconnected these two friends. Amelia, a journalist, uncovers a story regarding abandoned embryos. She locates the names of Parker and his late wife Greer on the list. Amelia must confront Parker with this painful information before the embryos are destroyed. Recently divorced, she is nursing her own tender heart and becomes immersed in her friend’s journey to keep part of Greer alive. Returning to their stomping grounds, their meddling mothers are sure it’s love, but as their feelings, grow Parker and Amelia struggle to find their sea legs. Filled with friendship, romance and the promise of new beginnings.

The Soulmate Equation
By Christina Lauren

Jess and her daughter Juno have a tidy little routine. She runs a business as a statistician while Juno is in school. But seven years as a single busy parent takes its toll. When she and Fizzy meet the hot guy in the coffee shop, they quickly sign up with his company GeneticAlly, a high tech dating service matching couples using DNA. What begins on a whim becomes complicated when Jess matches with (hot guy) Dr. River Pena attaining the highest score, 98%. Cautious with her heart and fiercely protective of her daughter, Jess capitulates as the company extends an offer she can’t refuse. She opens her heart hoping her supposed soulmate will do the same. This rom-com is too delicious.

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Karen Newfield is first and foremost a reader, she has reviewed hundreds of books on her blog And, more recently, this new Keys resident has also begun writing.