From The Beacon: Try these beach bag-certified reads

There are few things I enjoy more than spending a day at the beach absorbed in a good book. As soon as the weather begins to warm up, I pull my beach bag from the back of the closet, stock up on sunscreen and make a list of which books will occupy my weekends over the next several months. Here are some upcoming releases that will definitely be added to my 2010 summer reading list:

"Innocent" by Scott Turow (May 4): In this long-awaited sequel to the blockbuster "Presumed Innocent," 20 years have passed and once again Rusty Samich is accused of murder. Now an appellate judge, Rusty is the prime suspect when his wife of 36 years dies in her bed. This is sure to be a page-turner which will keep you guessing right to the end.

"War" by Sebastian Junger (May 11): Junger spent a year intermittently embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley for this in-depth portrait of frontline combat. Junger witnessed firsthand the daily experiences of the unit, which range from intense firefights to brutal casualties to extreme boredom. The result should be a riveting read, illustrating how war is exhilarating, harrowing, horrifying and thrilling.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson (May 25): The conclusion to the Millennium trilogy (previous titles "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire") has already been published in Europe to rave reviews by critics and fans alike. The final installment promises to be just as suspenseful and exciting as the previous two as it finds Lisbeth Salander trying to defend herself from a false murder accusation and plotting her revenge against the man who almost killed her.

"The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" by Stephenie Meyer (June 5): Fans of the "Twilight" saga who were disappointed when the series came to an end in 2008 will be thrilled to learn that Meyer has written a spin-off of in the form of a novella due out in early June. Tanner was first introduced in "Eclipse" as a newly born vampire created by the Cullen family's nemesis, Victoria, to serve in her army. Ten days after her "birth" Bree is dead ... again. This 192-page novella tells of Bree's brief existence as a vampire battling the Cullens.

"Lowcountry Summer" by Dorothea Benton Frank (June 15): This follow-up to 2004's "Plantation" takes readers back to Tall Pines Plantation and its lively cast of characters. The author effortlessly evokes the magic and charm of the Lowcountry with a story to savor about the ever-changing dynamics of a lovable family. On a special note, Frank will be speaking and signing books at our Public Library Foundation's "Lowcountry Summer Luncheon" June 17 at Dataw Island Club; call 843-470-6526 or go to for registration information.

"Sizzling Sixteen" by Janet Evanovich (June 22): Stephanie Plum is back for another adventure in the wilds of New Jersey. This time, Vinnie, Stephanie's boss and cousin, has run up a $786,000 gambling debt and is being held by mobster Bobby Sunflower until he can repay the money. It's expected to be an uproarious adventure for Stephanie and the gang as they attempt to raise the cash, rescue Vinnie, and save Vincent Plum's Bail Bonds (and their jobs).

This is just a small sampling of the many titles that will be released over the next several months. Keep an eye out for new releases from big-name authors Charlaine Harris, Nelson DeMille, Andrew Gross, Elin Hilderbrand, Suzanne Collins, Nora Roberts and many more.