TIU Book Club ~ Karena’s Summer Reads

Hey beautiful! I just got back to Manhattan Beach after a magical trip. I feel so grateful to have spent the week relaxing in Santorini with Kat and Brian and exploring Paris with Bobby. We saw the most stunning scenery, discovered the incredible culture, had fun in the sun, and ate the best fresh local food! It was truly unforgettable and I came back feeling more inspired and energized than ever!

The trip also gave me a chance to catch up on my summer reading. You girls know how much I love to read and I’ve shared some of my fave books here and here. Before I left for vacay, I headed to the bookstore and stocked up on a bunch of new books. Plus, I packed some I’d been meaning to read. 

Today I’m sharing some of these amazing summer reads, from inspirational books, to memoirs, to fiction…and of course, one that will look familiar! ;) These are all perfect for your next summer getaway, staycation, or day at the beach or pool. 

I hope you love these books as much as I do! And share all your recommendations with me in the comments — I’m always looking for new books and I want to hear what’s on your list!



 Balanced and Beautiful 

You may have seen that Kat and I wrote a new book for you! We dreamt up this book over late night chats with our girlfriends, writing together in the mountains of Palm Springs, and sitting around Kat’s fire pit. We poured our hearts into this book and we’re so excited that it’s finally here! 

We created a 5-day guide for you that focuses on the amazing woman that you are. It includes a plan to Refresh, Motivate, Inspire, Energize, and Relax. Each chapter is filled with workouts, delicious recipes, beauty tips, a spiritual guide, and girl talk. We asked our best girlfriends and girls in the community to share their advice too. Balanced and Beautiful is the perfect summer read to feel refreshed, centered, and empowered! 

You can pre-order your book HERE! We can’t wait to see it in your hands!

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay 

All of Louise Hay’s books are incredibly powerful. I love her philosophy, “If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.” I return to this book and her affirmations often. I also love her books Heal Your Body and The Power Is Within You.

Meditation Is Not What You Think by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This book explores how meditation can be different for everyone and how taking time for yourself to practice mindfulness is truly an act of self-love. 

I’ve Been Thinking… by Maria Shriver 

Maria Shriver — such an inspiring boss babe — shares quotes, meditations, mantras, and reflections that are beautiful and empowering. This is a great gift for a girlfriend too!

One of my favorite quotes from the book ~ 

“Each day, each of us is faced with the possibility of resetting our lives. Refocusing. Reimagining. Rebooting. Every day, we can decide to change our outlook, our words, our tone, and our attitude.” — Maria

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Eagan 

This is a great one if you’re looking for a novel. It’s not about Manhattan Beach, Cali though ;) It’s a fascinating story of a young female diver in Brooklyn during World War II. It’s a mix of historical fiction and mystery (my favorite). 

The Book of She by Sarah Avant Stover 

Your heroine’s journey into the heart of feminine power. I think this is a powerful book for all women to read — it explores and celebrates all that it means to be a woman.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

This is actually a children’s book filled with bedtime stories about the lives of extraordinary women. It was illustrated by female artists from all around the world. It’s so beautiful and I think it will empower generations of women, from young girls to adults. It’s also a great gift for any young girl!

Did you pre-order your copy of Balanced & Beautiful yet?! We can’t wait for you to read it! You’ll also receive 20% off Tone It Up Organic Coconut Protein when you order your book!


  1. Thank you Karena! I’m always looking for new book recommendations! Some of my recent favorites are Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and The Handmaid’s Tale – read the book then watch to show. So good!

  2. Thanks Karena! I’m looking forward to reading these, especially Manhattan Beach! World War II historical fiction books are my favorite. I highly recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

  3. I too love “I’ve Been Thinking”, I received it as a gift from my BFF . I read a chapter every day and it’s very uplifting with a prayer.

    I also love “Eat Pretty Everyday” A daily inspiration book for nourishing beauty, inside and out . I have gifted this one to friends.

    I also love “Heart Thoughts “ by Louise Hay. It is a beautiful book to leave out on your table with great inspiring messages!

  4. I love historical fiction! I totally recommend “All the light we cannot see” by Anthony Doerr! Loved it!!!

  5. I loveeee reading murder mysteries! Sometimes I go out to eat alone at a cafe to read for an hour or two (there’s something really cool about being okay with eating alone!).

    My recs: ANYTHING by Henning Mankell (def read the Wallander series starting with Faceless Killers)
    Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, starting with Killing Floor
    Michael Connelly’s novels, starting with the Black Echo

    1. I love murder mysteries, too! I just read In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. HIGHLY recommend as a quick beach read.

      1. I second that recommendation! I LOVED that one!! I love murder mysteries too! By far my favorite genre.

    2. I really enjoyed the whole mystery series by Louise Penny. The main character is really lovely – kind, literary, deeply thoughtful.

  6. Do you think You Can Heal you Life and Meditation is Not What you Think would be good to listen to in audiobook format? I read a lot for school so I like an audiobook when possible…but I find some books are good for that and others you really need the actual pages!

  7. Thank you Karena! I have been wanting to read Manhattan Beach, so seeing it in your recs confirms it for me that I MUST! I am currently reading the High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews! Set in modern day with backstory about a group of girlfriends in the 1940’s with a little murder mystery thrown in. I’m loving it so far:)

  8. Thanks for the list! I’d definitely recommend The Light Behind The Window – Lucinda Riley. A fabulous historical novel and SO much female empowerment thrown in too! xx

  9. The Captains Daughter by Leah Fleming is a lovely historical fiction book too, it’s set on the Titanic and I loved it! And American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. Actually anything by Curtis Sittenfeld is fantastic! I’m also loving The Four Agreements (a previous Karena recommendation!) and The Buddha Walks Into A Bar by Lodro Rinzler at the moment too.

  10. FWIW, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is also available in podcast form. I listen to it sometimes with my daughters!

  11. Our TIU book club is reading a new book by TIU girl @rileycostello called Waiting at Hayden’s! Get ready to fall in love and ugly cry (think romance novel like the notebook). As if that wasn’t enough to love this book. It’s the first book where readers can SHOP the characters’ clothes too and she features lots of women entrepreneurs in it. Brining innovation to reading! 💕🙌🏼

  12. I’m a book nerd too, so thanks for the recs! I always wonder how people like to save their favorite quotes from books because I haven’t found a way to stay consistent or a system that works for me. I’d love to revisit my favorite motivating, inspiring or funny quotes. Any tips?

    1. I have a journal where I like to write down my favorite quotes and mantras that I always return to!

  13. I can’t wait to read Manhattan Beach on my upcoming summer vacation. Thanks for the awesome list!

  14. Currently reading Waiting at Hayden’s by Riley Costello and it’s AMAZING!!! Perfect summer beach read!!

  15. Thanks for this list!! As someone else mentioned, I also received ‘I’ve Been Thinking” as a gift from a friend! Maria Shriver is so down to earth and inspiring. Her Sunday paper is a great weekly subscription that I love receiving in my ‘inbox’ each Sunday :) Look forward to checking out your other recommendations, Karena. Enjoy home and your lovely holiday memories!

  16. Is Balanced & Beautiful available now? I had pre-ordered the ebook a while ago and didn’t receive notice that it was now available?

    1. It will be released on 24th of July. So probably that’s why you haven’t got anything til now

    2. It’s available July 24 so you’ll get your book next week! So excited for you to read it! xxo

  17. I love that you put a children’s book on your list! I can’t wait to check that one (and the others) out. Have you read Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal? If not, I highly recommend it! It’s so beautiful.

  18. One of my all-time favorites is The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The wording is exceptionally beautiful (if that makes sense – and it’s even translated from its original Spanish) and it happens to be historical fiction/ mystery :)

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