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Boston.com Book Club’s next read is ‘Summer on the Bluffs’ by Sunny Hostin

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‘The View’ co-host’s latest novel was published May 4 and is already a New York Times bestseller.

Join the Book Club discussion on “Summer on the Bluffs” with author Sunny Hostin and Deesha Philyaw on July 28 at 6 p.m.

As we get knee deep into the surf of summer, we head out to Martha’s Vineyard for the 10th pick of the Boston.com Book Club with Sunny Hostin’s “Summer on the Bluffs”! We have a unique approach with this book that we’re very excited about. First though, let’s talk about the book.

This book, which came out on May 4 and is already a New York Times bestseller, has layers upon layers. It ping-pongs between its four principal characters, Ama – matriarch, investor, and billionaire Amelia Vaux Tanner – and her three goddaughters, Perry Soto, Olivia Jones, and Billie Hayden (with brief interludes to other characters as well). When they were children, the three sisters spent every summer on the Vineyard, but now they’re grown, and rarely make it out for more than a week or two each summer, and not always at the same time. This summer is going to be different though.

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When you’re as powerful as Ama is, you get to call in a few favors. And so it is that Perry’s law firm, Olivia’s Wall Street firm, and Billie’s Woods Hole lab have all agreed to give Ama’s goddaughters the whole summer off. So they all reconvene at Chateau Laveau, the “cottage” on Oak Bluffs – the most exclusive Black beach community in the country – that Ama and her husband Omar built 30 years ago. At the end of the summer, Ama will give the house – which has hosted American presidents, Wall Street titans, and cultural icons – to one of the goddaughters. All three want the house.

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It feels like an ending. But so much of the girls’ lives here have never been adequately explained to them. Ama has kept many secrets. Painful secrets. And the girls have a few secrets of their own. As they all come out through the course of the summer, each threatens to fracture this family unit for good. But each paints a fuller picture of the four women, and with it comes an opportunity to bask in the full glory of each character before the book ends. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself wanting more of each character even right to the end. Which is good news, because “Summer on the Bluffs” is the first book in a trilogy!

“Summer on the Bluffs” author Sunny Hostin will join the Boston.com Book Club on July 28 at 6 p.m.

While we generally pair a New England bookseller with an author for a discussion about the book, this time we’re calling in a ringer. Deesha Philyaw is not a bookseller nor a New Englander, but she is a featured author at the upcoming Martha’s Vinyard Book Festival. She is one of the 21 authors featured at the festival this year because her book, “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies,” was one of the biggest phenomenons of 2020. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won the Pen/Faulkner Award, the Story Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other accolades. Oh, and it was the very first project that actress Tessa Thompson chose to produce for HBO when she started her production company earlier this year. We thought it would be great to highlight this festival, and there’s no one we’d rather have do that than Philyaw.

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Speaking of production deals, Hostin recently landed her own, and in partnership with ABC/Disney and actress Octavia Spencer, will be turning “Summer on the Bluffs” into a TV show of its own, which is beyond exciting. Of course, Hostin is no stranger to the television spotlight herself. As one of the co-hosts of “The View,” – ABC’s popular daytime talk show – you can see her on TV just about every day of the year, not to mention on ABC News as their senior legal correspondent. A federal prosecutor, Hostin has also hosted shows or appeared on Court TV, Fox News, Food Network, and Investigation Discovery.

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Beyond their books themselves, the backdrops of being Black creators, making the literary world and TV more diverse, and Martha’s Vineyard and its upcoming festival should make for a fascinating discussion. “Summer on the Bluffs” was called “aspirational escapism” and “summer incarnate” by The New York Times Book Review, and earned praise from Publishers Weekly, The Boston Herald, Essence, Shondaland, and Kirkus Reviews, among others, and as previously mentioned, has already landed on the NYT bestseller list.


Join our virtual Book Club discussion

Join the Boston.com Book Club Wednesday, July 28 at 6 p.m. for a virtual discussion with Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival featured author Deesha Philyaw featured guest Sunny Hostin on her novel, “Summer on the Bluffs.”

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Register to join Hostin and Philyaw on Wednesday, July 28 at 6 p.m.

Buy “Summer on the Bluffs” from: Bookshop | Bunch of Grapes

Learn more about the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival here.

Boston.com Book Club picks:

Author: Aalto University
Read more here >>> The European Times News

Sunny Hostin Reveals The Inspiration Behind The Racy Sex Scenes

‘The View’ co-host talks to HL about celebrating Black joy, summer fun, and exploring colorism in her debut novel.

She’s often the voice of reason on The View. The one who backs her passionate takes with solid arguments, facts and receipts. But, if you leaf through Sunny Hostin’s debut novel, Summer on the Bluffs, you’ll discover something else. She knows how to write a sex scene that has the potential to make you blush and look at her with fresh eyes.

“I will tell you honestly, I blushed too,” the 52-year-old mom-of-two tells HollywoodLife. “I grew up in a very strict Catholic household, not a lot of boyfriends or anything like that. And I was having a little bit of trouble writing the sex scenes, but I wanted there to be sex scenes. And I also wanted the scenes to be centered around women and the pleasure of women, because I don’t see a lot of that. It worked for Bridgerton, right.”

Sunny Hostin
Sunny Hostin is the proud author of her first debut novel, ‘Summer on the Bluffs.’ (Miller Mobley)

But Sunny wrote Summer on the Bluffs – a novel about three African-American woman who are vacationing with their godmother Ama on Martha’s Vineyard – before the (excuse the cliché) bodice-ripping series became a Netflix hit. And she crafted her saucy sex scenes in the perfect way – with a group of her friends over a few glasses of wine.

“What I started to do when writing the book – believe it or not – is that, as I wrote groups of chapters, I invited some of my girlfriends over,” says Sunny, who also sometimes extended the invitation to her male friends. “We had almost a semi-writers’ room. I ordered food and we had wine flowing and I asked them to read the chapters.

“And one of my friends, Regina, said, ‘We should add this. How about adding this?’ Some other friends would say, ‘I don’t know. How about this?’ And that’s how the sex scenes got better and better and better. It’s sort of a group effort in many, many respects. And it was a group of women.”

Summer on the Bluffs
‘Summer on the Bluffs’ is the first part of Sunny’s three-book deal. (HarperCollins)

If the characters in Summer on the Bluffs seem familiar to readers, that’s because many of them were borrowed from Sunny’s real life. One of Ama’s goddaughters, Perry, for example, is an accomplished New York lawyer who is married to a talented doctor called Damon. As View fans know, Sunny – who is a former federal prosecutor – is happily married to Manny Hostin, an orthopedic surgeon.

However, in the book Damon has a wandering eye and a slightly roguish character. Is Manny worried that readers will confuse the two? “Oh, he’s worried,” Sunny says, chuckling. “He knows he’s not [like Damon], but he’s worried for sure.”

“It’s a fictional account,” Sunny adds. “But I definitely use my own experiences as a frame of reference for the story. So there is, if I’m being honest, just a little bit of people that I know, including my husband.”

Sunny uses Summer on the Bluffs to explore other truths in the Black and Latino communities, two worlds that she embodies as the daughter of a Puerto Rican mom and African-American dad. Like Dorothy West’s 1995 novel, The Wedding, which is set in 1950s Martha’s Vineyard, Summer shines a light on the exclusive Black beachfront community. While Black trauma appears, Black joy – affluence, professional accomplishments, art, music – is celebrated through the life experiences of the characters, starting with Ama who, in the book, is the first Black woman to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

The uncomfortable parts of African-American culture are exposed too. Colorism, for example, is something that Sunny runs to in the book, rather than hide away from, through the pain of the character Olivia; the dark-skinned goddaughter who feels that her beauty is unseen.

“You have to tell the story of the African-American community in all its complexity. And part of that story, no question, is colorism, because I see it within my own friend group,” says Sunny who confesses that in social situations men have bypassed her model-like dark-skinned friends to talk to her, a biracial, light-skinned Afro-Latina. These “personal” and “hurtful” experiences have led to “difficult discussions” that have spilled over in some form into Summer.

Sunny Hostin, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Meghan McCain
Sunny (left) with three of her fellow ‘View’ co-hosts, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Meghan McCain. (ABC)

Whilst much is revealed in this book, Sunny (who, like her characters, vacations on Martha’s Vineyard each year) is already writing the second part of what is a three-novel series. If her stories make it on to the screen, The View co-host is already toying with casting ideas. “There is definitely a place for all of my crushes,” she says of Brit actors Idris Elba and Rege-Jean Page. “And I intend to definitely send them the book.”

As for Rege-Jean, she knows exactly who she wants the Bridgerton hunk to play – the character inspired by her real-life husband. “It would be incredible,” she says.

Author: Marissa Charles
This post originally appeared on Hollywood Life

The European Super League was unfathomable to anyone with common sense – could it be the ultimate exercise in calling our bluffs?

Celebrations are in full flight after the swift demise of the doomed European Super League. Can the fact that no one is any better off as a result of its failure tell us anything about the real motivations behind this fever dream?

Even by the ruthless standards of football and business, 48 hours has to go down as a rapid turnaround for a masterplan to be discarded. Fans are now celebrating after Manchester City confirmed that they would be the first club to withdraw from the European Super League (ESL), with Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all following suit and Atletico Madrid set to join them.

As a surreal two days comes to a close, it is hard to tell how an idea cartoonish in its supervillainy will be seen in the future, accelerating as it now is towards merely becoming a memory of how the most depressingly unpalatable version of the game as product was drawn up without being realized.

What are we left with? Some resignations of rich businessmen, supposed severed ties and damaged club reputations among fans they scarcely seem to care about. There is a sense of relief among those fans, perhaps akin to feeling grateful that the door of your house was kicked in rather than the roof burning down.
Also on rt.com Roman Abramovich ‘pulling Chelsea out of European Super League’ as protests stun viewers ahead of Premier League match (VIDEO)
The transformation of the Champions League, which was overshadowed by this shameful fiasco, remains. Amid the constant theatre of Monday – practically an age ago, now – the ‘Swiss system’ was confirmed, expanding the tournament to 36 teams with each playing 10 matches in the group stage.

The clubs who had jumped in to the Super League will newly see themselves as being in an emboldened position to negotiate further changes, having taken their fingers off the nuclear button of abandoning the competition entirely.

When multi-billion dollar tournaments are announced and torn up in two days, the three years until those changes come into effect might as well be three centuries away. That the Super League announcement was timed so close to those alterations to Europe’s flagship club competition is, at best, curious.
Also on rt.com ‘We saved football’: Chelsea go from villains to heroes as Abramovich set to pull team out of Super League (VIDEO)
Any business plan starts with its key stakeholders. The likes of Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel fit that parlance perfectly here, yet they say they were never consulted, discovering the developments, which were supposedly long in the making, hours before being expected to hold forth on them during duly flustered appearance in front of the media.

That made it all seem like it was never thought through and never a serious proposition, yet the much more feasible subplot appears to be that this was invented as a Sword of Damacles that could be held up at any point. That offers a window into the scheming of those involed.

Now that we are in the realms of clubs converging on secret Zoom calls away from the pesky restraints that governing bodies attempt to impose, who is to say that they have not used that tactic to plot a much subtler version of the stratospheric imbalance they have just suggested?
Also on rt.com Five remaining Premier League sides join Chelsea in withdrawing from European Super League as Man United supremo Woodward resigns
Some are warning of the need for vigilance to ensure that a similar scandal does not resurface. Whenever new deals are on the horizon, that threat will need to be remembered.

The net result among viewers is likely to be a greater idealization of the game in its current form, as if the European leagues are not almost entirely ordered by who has the most money, with rapidly descending resources given to clubs who need them most.

It should go the opposite way: worry less about making competitions more accessible to the wealthiest on and off the pitch and more about supporting the entirety of football, with purer meritocracies season by season and fans put center stage rather than treated as consumers.
Also on rt.com ‘I hope others follow their lead’: UK PM Johnson commends Chelsea and Man City as clubs set to pull out of Super League
Amid the fallcy of the ESL, the reality is that none of this needed to happen. The mega-rich can start from a granite bargaining position without risking armageddon, standing to make vast amounts of money while being sensibly run, remaining a beacon for communities and supporting the divisions below them, if only for the distinct possibility of their future talent being nurtured on pitches that are closer to cabbage patches than carpets.

Top-level football appears to have narrowly avoided the abyss, even if there is a suspicion that the edge never existed.

This whirlwind crisis is as much a moment of brief redemption as it is an exaggerated preview of what could lie ahead.
Also on rt.com Bayern chief says Klopp ‘spoke heavily against’ Liverpool joining Super League and admits German giants could pounce for Reds boss

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