Summer Reading Guide

My first summer reading guide is finally here and I could not be more thrilled! For years now I’ve wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite book recommendations and I finally managed to do it. Just in time too, today is the first official day of summer and I have you covered so you can fill up your online shopping carts or put those holds in at the library or maybe get your Kindle loaded before your vacation. From recent releases, to upcoming ones I’m excited about all the way to favorites from summers past there is something for everyone here. Let me know what’s on your summer TBR!

New Release Recommendations

This one is the ultimate summer read, you get to follow the main characters on several notable vacations and it’s a funny and sexy rom com as well.
The cover for this one just screams summer, right?! So does what’s inside, you can find my review here.
If you’re a fan of Dirty Dancing and family dramas this is a must, check out my review here
If you’re looking for a quirky read with great characters and a fun setting this is for you! Find my review here.
I loved the nostalgia this one brought me, and if you’re a wine drinker there’s plenty of that here too. Fans of women’s fiction with strong female leads and a side of “trashy” novels will like this.
If you like books about weddings, a large ensemble cast and are a fan of the movie Love Actually this one is a must! Find my review here.
A cross between Finlay Donovan and Crazy Rich Asians this one is hilarious! Read this when you want a silly story that will crack you up. My review is here.
This one is heartfelt, bittersweet and poignant and follows a group of lifelong friends when they reunite after some time apart.
It’s TJR, do I even have to say more? Her books are ultimate summer reads and this one is more than most, it’s a multilayered family drama with the best descriptive settings.
This is YA rom com gold and the audio version is perfection! If you like rom com movies of the past you’ll love the nods found here, find my review here .
A little dark and heavy for a summer read but I couldn’t resist adding it because I still loved it so much. The balance between heavy and light was perfect and I didn’t find it too much personally. My review is here.

Upcoming Releases

These next ones are basically my summer TBR, they’re not out yet but will be between the end of June through August.

Past Faves

I tried to really comb through my old reviews and find books that I really enjoyed in past summers in the hopes that they may be easier for everyone to get their hands on. I’ve also linked to my review when I could if you want more details.

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I’m not gonna link to my review because it has some spoilers because it was like one of the first reviews I ever wrote and I didn’t know any better but I remember absolutely loving this one!
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Review and an FYI this whole series is amazing!
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Review: The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine

Goodreads

Release date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Harper

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Addison’s about to get married, but she’s not looking forward to the big day. It’s not her fiancé; he’s a wonderful man. It’s because Addison doesn’t know who she really is. A few years ago, a kind driver found her bleeding next to a New Jersey highway and rescued her. While her physical wounds healed, Addison’s memory never returned. She doesn’t know her real name. Or how she ended up injured on the side of a road. Or why she can’t shake the notion that she may have done something very, very bad . . .

In a posh home in the Boston suburbs, Julian tries to figure out what happened to his loving, caring wife, Cassandra, who disappeared without a trace two years ago. She would never have left him and their seven-year-old daughter Valentina of her own free will—or would she?

As these two lives intersect, The Stranger in the Mirror hooks readers with riveting drama, told with Liv Constantine’s hallmark blend of glamour, tense psychological thrills, and jaw-dropping twists.

Review:

At first glance, and even for the first quarter of the book honestly, this seemed like a formulaic thriller with a path that would be very easy to follow. Things seemed so straightforward and predictable really, but there’s something about the authors writing style that never fails to grip me. Amnesia storylines have been done time and time again, but this put a new spin on things that I certainly haven’t ever seen before so it actually made it feel like a fresh read.

I think the most important thing to know about this one before you start it is that you cannot take it too seriously. It’s outlandish and ridiculous but it’s deliciously fun as well. You have to suspend all disbelief and just take it for what it is, a fun, entertaining and wild thriller that’s twisty and totally consuming. I flew through this in record time and found myself thinking about it when I did have to put it aside so there’s definitely an addictive quality to it. It was also disturbing and slightly creepy at moments, and despite a few predictable things, there were a couple unpredictable parts for me as well, so overall a fun summer thriller.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: Nothing Personal by Nancy Jo Sales

Goodreads

Release date: May 18, 2021

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis:

At forty-nine, famed Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales was nursing a broken heart and wondering, “How did I wind up alone?” On the advice of a young friend, she downloaded Tinder, then a brand-new dating app. What followed was a raucous ride through the world of online dating. Sales, an award-winning journalist and single mom, became a leading critic of the online dating industry, reporting and writing articles and making her directorial debut with the HBO documentary Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age. Meanwhile, she was dating a series of younger men, eventually falling in love with a man less than half her age.

Nothing Personal is Sales’s memoir of coming-of-middle-age in the midst of a new dating revolution. She is unsparingly honest about her own experience of addiction to dating apps and hilarious in her musings about dick pics, sexting, dating FOMO, and more. Does Big Dating really want us to find love, she asks, or just keep on using its apps?

Fiercely feminist, Nothing Personal investigates how Big Dating has overwhelmed the landscape of dating, cynically profiting off its users’ deepest needs and desires. Looking back through the history of modern courtship and her own relationships, Sales examines how sexism has always been a factor for women in dating, and asks what the future of courtship will bring, if left to the designs of Silicon Valley’s tech giants—especially in a time of social distancing and a global pandemic, when the rules of romance are once again changing.

Review:

Do you read many memoirs? I really don’t honestly, but if I do I tend to prefer to listen to them as opposed to reading them. This one caught my eye because I myself have never used a dating app before, I met my husband long before apps in general were even a thing, but they’ve always intrigued me in a, damn I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with them when I was single type of way. I’ve had friends tell me horror stories of course and then I’ve had other friends who have met the love of their life using one, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a raw, honest and vulnerable portrayal of just how exhausting being on one can be until I read this one. The author digs deep into the pitfalls of apps like Tinder and speaks about how addictive they can be and also how toxic, unhealthy and ultimately unfulfilling and damaging they can be for women. I was fascinated by some of the stories she shared and found her to be witty, insightful and honest.

My favorite audiobook narrator is Therese Plummer so imagine my utter delight when I started this one and heard her voice! She also narrated the Virgin River series which I devoured in audio format last year and she could read me the dictionary and I would be mesmerized, she’s THE best!! You know how when some female narrators try to change their voice when they’re speaking as a man? Oftentimes it sounds silly or forced but she nails this and many other inflections and accents. I’m telling y’all, she’s amazing! If you haven’t listened to her before start here, she did an excellent job of bringing Nancy Jo’s story to life.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Just Married by Kiersten Modglin

Goodreads

Release date: July 5, 2021

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

When my husband found this perfect little cabin in the woods for our honeymoon, I couldn’t wait to get away. Just us in the middle of the forest, waking up every day in the trees, ending each night in the hot tub under the stars. But now I’m not sure that I know my husband at all…

I just wish we’d gone to the police when someone left a note on the doormat saying: She’s dead, you’re next. Ryan said I was overreacting, but I don’t understand why he won’t go to the cops now things are getting worse. Can I trust my husband?

I’ve known about the terrible thing that Ryan did for years and it’s been tearing me apart. Last night I told him I would always keep his secret. But is the man I married hiding something else from me?

Now someone has cut the phone lines and we’re trapped here. Ryan swears he has no idea what’s going on and just wants to keep us safe. I’m here alone in the middle of the dark forest with the man I thought I could trust. My heart is racing and there’s no one I can call…

My husband promised till death do us part. Am I about to find out what that means?

Review:

Have you read a book by this author before? I discovered her last year and have been making my way through her books ever since. Whenever I feel kinda slumpy or when I need a guaranteed fast paced and exciting thriller I know I can grab one of her books because that’s exactly the type she consistently writes. All of that to say, if you haven’t read her before she has an extensive backlist and she comes out with new books several times a year, I swear she’s a writing machine, but I’ve totally enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read thus far!

I love an atmospheric thriller and this one delivers, the isolated cabin in the woods was eerie and then add in the creepy things that keep happening to Grace and Ryan and you have a chilling read. This was a fast read, both because it’s under 300 pages with short and snappy chapters, but also because things unfold so quickly you can’t bear to put it down. As always I didn’t see the twists coming ahead of time and I was definitely surprised by the direction this took, lots of secrets and lies and plenty of darkness as well, overall everything I want in an entertaining thriller.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: Love for Beginners by Jill Shalvis

Goodreads

Release date: June 8, 2021

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma, she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. Overwhelmed but grateful to be alive, she decides to start over from scratch. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. But she’s never been a quitter, even if she wishes she could quit rehab, where her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, puts her through the wringer. 

Desperate for a new start, Emma opens a doggy day care. Unfortunately, the only space she can afford is owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. But hey, she’s been through worse, right? She tries to roll with the punches, but a friend drops his grandpa off at the doggy day care because he can’t find senior care. On top of that, she and Ali bring the term “frenemies” to a whole new level. And then another grandparent shows up. And another. 

In the midst of all that, Emma realizes she’s accidentally fallen for her Evil PT. But the most horrifying thing of all is that Ali just might have turned into the best friend she’s ever had. And as Emma grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to learn that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.

Review:

I just adore this series and always look forward to the latest installment. I read most of the books during the height of the pandemic and they brought me so much comfort. They’re all set in the same town but can easily be read on their own as each book focuses on a new group of people so if you’re hesitant to start because it’s a series you can definitely jump in. Per usual there’s a premise that sucks you right in, Emma has just woken up from a coma and her fiancée and BFF are now together. She’s focused on her recovery with the help of her PT, Simon and the sparks are flying with these two! I loved their chemistry and found them to be a perfectly believable match right away. You also have the side romance between Emma’s frenemy Ali as well and then the snark between the two women was also really fun. There’s also plenty of family drama and the author always handles messy family dynamics in the most engaging way, another winner from one of my most trusted authors.

This was my first time listening to the audio version instead of reading the print and I loved the narrator, Erin Mallon. Jill’s books always have a ton of humor and she really brought these characters and their sarcasm to life so definitely recommend that version of you’re curious!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.