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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Great Books to Read on Your Vacation or Staycation by Fran Joyce

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I selected 10 great books… a mixed bag of romcom, summer, classics, mysteries, essays and even a grilling cookbook to help you make the most of this summer. Enjoy!

 When the Light Went by Bridget Morrissey – Five years earlier, Marley Brickett was shot to death by a gun that wasn’t supposed to be loaded. Now the surviving members of a once inseparable group of friends meet to complete the scavenger hunt Marley had planned for them. Will the only witness to the shooting and the boy who pulled the trigger find closure? Did Marley know the gun was loaded?

Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas. Kalyn returns to the small town where her father was convicted of murder as a teenager. Feelings about the murder still run so deeply she must use an assumed name to register for high school. She befriends Gus a student with cerebral palsy who’s also looking for acceptance in Samsboro. But, she quickly learns Gus not only wants people to look past his physical challenges, he also wants people to forget his father was murdered. Will they be able to remain friends when their family secrets are revealed? What happens when they begin to question the official version of the murder?

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez – Kristen is the friend everyone dreams of… she’s loyal, drama-free and has never let her life revolve around having a man. She’s the perfect catch, but she has a secret. After she undergoes a medically necessary procedure, Kristen will no longer be able to have children. She thinks she has it all under control until she falls for the best man in her friend’s wedding. Josh is her perfect match, except he wants a big family. Kristen doesn’t want to make him choose between her and being a dad, so he has to stay in the friend zone.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – Nina is an only child raised by a single mother. She’s always spent more time with her books than people. Nina has her dream job at a book store and she’s an important member of her trivia team. At home she spends cozy evenings with her books and her cat. All that changes when the father Nina never knew passes away leaving her with a big noisy family anxious to get to know her. To complicate matters, Tom her trivia nemesis is interested in her socially. Can this bookworm wriggle back into the shadows or will she stop hiding and embrace her future?

Echo Burning (Jack Reacher Book 5) by Lee Child – It’s a hot summer in Texas and Jack Reacher is thumbing his away across the desert. The real heat begins when he accepts a ride from Carmen Greer who has a wild story to share about her hometown and a plan to enlist Jack’s help.

Summer by Edith Wharton – Many critics believe Summer is one of Wharton’s strongest works. Charity Royal is a young woman living a sheltered life in rural 1800’s New England. She falls for a handsome visitor who’s sophisticated and sensual. Wharton’s powers of description bring the New England countryside and the rigid social mores of the time to life and set the tone for Charity’s struggle against her upbringing and the sexual attraction she feels for the handsome Lucius Harney.

There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange- This is the debut novel by a Native American author who is predicted to become a voice for a seldom heard from America. Twelve Native Americans are headed for the Big Oakland Powwow. Each person has their reasons for attending whether it is addiction awareness, education and opportunity, empowerment, a sense of tradition or an attempt to connect with their heritage. Orange reveals the anger, passion, spirituality and sense of humor of each of his characters while revealing the seldom seen world of Native American life…a complicated and painful history, rich culture and traditions, and secret plague of addiction, abuse and suicide.

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin – this is the first of six books about the comings and goings of the tenants at a San Francisco apartment building after the famous summer of love. Maupin’s characters are a diverse and changing group who will make you laugh, cry, and rethink every stereotype you’ve ever heard.

Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace- Do lobsters feel pain? It’s just one of the many quirky questions Foster Wallace answers with wit and humor. If you like to be surprised and want to be challenged to think outside the box, this is the book for you.

Weber's Greatest Hits: 125 Classic Recipes for Every Grill by Jamie Purviance – It’s summer why not elevate your grilling game with some delicious recipes from Chef Jamie Purviance. Read his list of the top 10 Grilling Do’s and Don’ts.














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