Top Five – Beach Reads

Apr 20, 2021 | Top 5

Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the chance to learn a little more about our Louisiana Tech University Family: students, staff, alumni, faculty, and friends. We’ll call it Tech Top 5. Go to for more Top 5s. #TogetherApart 

Julie Pennell

Julie PennellJulie Miller Pennell is a 2006 Louisiana Tech journalism graduate. She is the author of two novels, The Young Wives Club and Louisiana Lucky — the latter of which was published in summer 2020. She’s also a regular contributor to and is currently working on her third novel. Along with her love of writing, Julie is also an avid reader, so we asked her what books we should pack in our beach bags this summer:

  1. Adulting by Liz Talley – This new release from USA TODAY bestselling author and Louisiana Tech graduate Liz Talley follows a life coach and self-destructive actress as they each experience a journey of personal growth. Talley’s certainly got a talent for writing—there’s no doubt she picked up some of those skills during her time studying English at Tech!
  2. Under The Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey – Just in time for summer, bestselling author Kristy Woodson Harvey has a heartfelt new book about modern parenthood and self-discovery. Fans of sweet southern stories will love this author’s books. She’s one of my go-tos, and her books pair well with a tall glass of sweet tea.
  3. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam – The secret to a good beach read is one that is so engrossing you can’t put it down. And that’s exactly what this book by Rumaan Alam did to me when I read it. A family is on vacation at a rural rental home when the owners of the place knock on the door in a panic, reporting a blackout in NYC. Can they be trusted? Is the blackout something they should be worried about? The book is suspenseful and thought-provoking, and the ending will stay with you for a while.
  4. It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark – If you’re looking for a fun and charming rom-com to keep you smiling while you soak up the sun, this new book from Georgia Clark is it. Two very different women had one thing in common: their man. But when he dies and leaves his girlfriend his half of the wedding planning business he shared with his wife, things take an unexpected turn. The novel features a brilliant cast of characters and linked love stories, à la “Love Actually.”
  5. The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis – Fans of historical fiction should pack this novel by bestselling author Fiona Davis. It’s a captivating tale that centers around a series of book thefts in the New York Public Library. You’ll feel utterly transported, and really, isn’t that what vacation reading is all about?