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Smart Summer Reads July 2020

Smart Summer Reads Six Authors and Book Covers July 2020

Sunday, July 12 marks our first SSR event. These are the authors that are attending :

Janie Chang

Julie Clark

Lian Dolan

Gina Fattore

Rufi Thorpe

Robin Wasserman

Smart Summer Reads (SSR) is how Ladies, Lunch & Literacy celebrates summer! While finding you the perfect book for this summer, we promise you one of the most fun book events of the year!

This year, Smart Summer Reads goes virtual. This is how it will work:

  • Six authors have been invited to meet you and discuss their latest book.
  • Join us at 3:00pm to see who else is attending and meet our authors. Please login at least 5 minutes early, you won't want to miss this!
  • Once the introductions are done, you will be assigned to a Breakout room. (This will be a random assignment. We are sorry that we cannot accept requests to be placed with your friends.)
  • One author will join you for 10 minutes. She will begin by talking about her book and her background and then open it up for Q&A.
  • After 10 minutes, we will move the author to another Breakout room. This will continue until you have had an opportunity to meet all 6 authors.
  • If you haven't already, purchaed your book, we encourage you to visit this page and purchase books from your favorite author(s). Please let us know if you would like us to ship the book(s) to you or if you would like to pick them up from Creating Conversations. All requests should be placed in the comment section of your order.
  • The program will wrap up around 4:30pm.

Reservations are required. Make your reservation today by cicking here..

Event Date: 
Sunday, July 12, 2020 - 3:00pm
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
The Spinster Diaries Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945551734
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Prospect Park Books - April 14th, 2020

Our heroine, a moderately successful TV writer in L.A., wants her life to be as sunny and perfect as a Hollywood rom-com: a cool job, a wacky best friend, and lots of age-appropriate hot guys just dying to date her. Instead, she's a self-described spinster who is swimming in anxiety and just might have a tiny little brain tumor. So she turns to an unlikely source for inspiration: the eighteenth-century novelist and diarist Frances Burney, who pretty much invented the chick-lit novel.
A semi-autobiographical unromantic comedy, The Spinster Diaries is a laugh-out-loud satire of both the TV business and the well-worn conventions of chick lit--as well as the true tale of the forgotten writer who inspired Jane Austen to greatness. It's an endearing and refreshingly honest testament to how one person's life can reach out across the centuries to touch another's.

The Knockout Queen: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525656784
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

A dazzling and darkly comic novel of love, violence, and friendship in the California suburbs


Bunny Lampert is the princess of North Shore⁠--beautiful, tall, blond, with a rich real-estate-developer father and a swimming pool in her backyard. Michael⁠⁠--with a ponytail down his back and a septum piercing⁠--lives with his aunt in the cramped stucco cottage next door. When Bunny catches Michael smoking in her yard, he discovers that her life is not as perfect as it seems. At six foot three, Bunny towers over their classmates. Even as she dreams of standing out and competing in the Olympics, she is desperate to fit in, to seem normal, and to get a boyfriend, all while hiding her father's escalating alcoholism. Michael has secrets of his own. At home and at school Michael pretends to be straight, but at night he tries to understand himself by meeting men online for anonymous encounters that both thrill and scare him. When Michael falls in love for the first time, a vicious strain of gossip circulates and a terrible, brutal act becomes the defining feature of both his and Bunny's futures⁠⁠--and of their friendship. With storytelling as intoxicating as it is intelligent, Rufi Thorpe has created a tragic and unflinching portrait of identity, a fascinating examination of our struggles to exist in our bodies, and an excruciatingly beautiful story of two humans aching for connection.

The Sweeney Sisters: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062909046
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - April 28th, 2020

An accomplished storyteller returns with her biggest, boldest, most entertaining novel yet--a hilarious, heartfelt story about books, love, sisterhood, and the surprises we discover in our DNA that combines the wit of Jonathan Tropper with the heart of Susan Wiggs.

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother's death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren't quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor--Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena's chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney--one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William's literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he's stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister--a blond among redheads--fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration--a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family.

The Library of Legends: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062851505
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 12th, 2020

“Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are…”

China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the student refugees who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.

Her family’s past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.

On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. Learning Shao and Sparrow’s true identities compels Lian to confront her feelings for Shao. But there are broader consequences too, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits to embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country’s fate forever.

Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.

The Last Flight Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728215723
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - June 23rd, 2020

Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he's not above using his staff to track Claire's every move, making sure she's living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn't know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets -- Claire taking Eva's flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it's no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva's identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

For fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine, The Last Flight is the story of two women -- both alone, both scared -- and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

Mother Daughter Widow Wife: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982139490
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - July 7th, 2020


From the author of Girls on Fire comes a psychologically riveting novel centered around a woman with no memory, the scientists invested in studying her, and the daughter who longs to understand.


Who is Wendy Doe? The woman, found on a Peter Pan Bus to Philadelphia, has no money, no ID, and no memory of who she is, where she was going, or what she might have done. She's assigned a name and diagnosis by the state: Dissociative fugue, a temporary amnesia that could lift at any moment--or never at all. When Dr. Benjamin Strauss invites her to submit herself for experimental observation at his Meadowlark Institute for Memory Research, she feels like she has no other choice.


To Dr. Strauss, Wendy is a female body, subject to his investigation and control. To Strauss's ambitious student, Lizzie Epstein, she's an object of fascination, a mirror of Lizzie's own desires, and an invitation to wonder: once a woman is untethered from all past and present obligations of womanhood, who is she allowed to become?


To Alice, the daughter she left behind, Wendy Doe is an absence so present it threatens to tear Alice's world apart. Through their attempts to untangle the mystery of Wendy's identity--as well as Wendy's own struggle to construct a new self--Wasserman has crafted a jaw-dropping, multi-voiced journey of discovery, reckoning, and reclamation.


Searing, propulsive, and compassionate, Mother Daughter Widow Wife is an ambitious exploration of selfhood from an expert and enthralling storyteller.

Dear Fang, with Love: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101911570
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 18th, 2017

The Girls from Corona del Mar (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
Not Available
ISBN: 9780804170079
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - June 9th, 2015

You're the Best: A Celebration of Friendship Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938849589
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Prospect Park Books - October 27th, 2015

Elizabeth the First Wife Cover Image
Not Available
ISBN: 9781938849053
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Prospect Park Books LLC - Prospect Park Books - May 7th, 2013

Helen of Pasadena Cover Image
ISBN: 9780984410224
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Prospect Park Books LLC - Prospect Park Books - October 15th, 2010

Dragon Springs Road: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062388957
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - January 10th, 2017

Three Souls: A Novel Cover Image
Not Available
ISBN: 9780062293190
Availability: Backordered
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 25th, 2014

The Ones We Choose Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501184475
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - May 8th, 2018

Girls on Fire: A Novel Cover Image
Not Available
ISBN: 9780062417145
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Harper Perennial - February 14th, 2017