Lighten up the summer with beach reads

“Beach Town” by Mary Kay Andrews
“Beach Town” by Mary Kay Andrews

Over the past few weeks, this column has offered a sampling of new fiction and nonfiction titles to get you started on the road to summertime reading.

Today we add beach reads to the mix. The model is light fiction written mostly by female authors for female readers with elements of romance, risk, mystery and adventure along with plenty of family dynamics, problem-solving and hidden secrets to be revealed. Think of them as tasty snacks to enjoy during vacation.

This sampling is arranged alphabetically by author. Publishing dates are noted for those not on sale now.

“Beach Town” by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s, $27, 448 pages): An undiscovered beach town in Florida is so perfect it draws a location scout from a Hollywood film company. Next thing the town mayor Eben knows, a movie crew has moved in, and he and studio scout Greer have eyes for each other.

“Orient” by Christopher Bollen (Harper, $27, 624 pages): A series of murders rocks a Long Island village – which is already suffering from culture shock as townies and newbies from Manhattan square off. Two strangers form an unlikely alliance to find the killer, whom “they may not be able to outsmart.”

“The Summer of Good Intentions” by Wendy Francis (Simon & Schuster, $15, 320 pages; July 7): Three sisters and their families return to the ancestral retreat in Cape Cod for another summer, but time’s passage guarantees that things can never be the same. A trauma “brings everyone together in heartbreak – and then healing.”

“All the Single Ladies” by Dorothea Benton Frank (William Morrow, $27, 368 pages): The three middle-aged women friends who live on the Isle of Palms in Carolina Lowcountry are bonding over the passing of a mutual friend. Their mourning turns into an assessment of their own lives, and a plan for new adventures is formed. Frank has appeared for the Bee Book Club.

“The Rumor” by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, $28, 384 pages; Tuesday): Is married real-estate agent Grace really having an affair with her landscape architect? Is her novelist friend, Maggie – also married – in love with him too? Well, not quite. But as rumors run amok, the two friends make plans of their own to thwart the gossip.

“I Take You” by Eliza Kennedy (Crown, $24, 320 pages): Lily is a lawyer who seems to prefer partying in Key West to committing to her fiancé. Critics call it “hilarious, sexy and boundary-pushing” – just like the Southernmost City itself.

“Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster, $25, 352 pages): Ani FaNelli has it all – designer wardrobe, perfect body and, as she puts it, “a cool job, impressive ZIP code and dreamboat fiancé.” Just one problem: She’s a psychopath with a very dark secret. If you liked “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train,” this one’s for you.

“The Rocks” by Peter Nichols (Riverhead, $28, 432 pages): A resort club on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca is the centerpiece for intrigue, romance and misunderstandings that have plagued two local families for 60 years. Lots of characters, plenty of drama.

“The Guest Cottage” by Nancy Thayer (Ballantine, $27, 336 pages): Sophie and Trevor are strangers, two lonely single parents who accidentally rent the same summer house on Massachusetts’ Nantucket Island. Though taken aback, they agree to share the cottage. What could possibly go wrong – or right?

“The Sound of Glass” by Karen White (NAL, $27, 432 pages): Merritt moves from Maine to South Carolina when she inherits the ancestral mansion bequeathed to her by her late husband’s grandmother. Problems multiply when her “too-young stepmother” and half-brother move in. Compounding the stress is her mission to unlock the family’s hidden past once and for all.