2022 Summer Reading Guide

It’s time for my second annual summer reading guide! I’ve complied a list of 60 books altogether, 30 that I’m recommending and 30 I’m looking forward to reading this summer. Below you can find collages of my picks and I’ll leave review links to the ones I’ve read with more detail. If there’s no link to a review it’s because I just rated it either 4 or 5 stars. Please let me know which ones you’re excited about and any other additional titles I may have missed.

Recommended reads

Reviews: The House Across the Lake The Hotel Nantucket Nora Goes Off Script How to Fake it in Hollywood Meant to Be The Summer Place Every Summer After Chef’s Kiss Summer at the Cape A Family Affair

Reviews: The No Show The Summer Getaway One of Us is Dead Cover Story Out of the Clear Blue Sky The Beach Trap Island Time The Friendship Pact Things We Do in the Dark

Reviews: The Bodyguard The Wife Before I’ll Be You The Suite Spot It Happened One Summer A Thousand Miles Mr. Wrong Number With This Fling

TBR

Audiobook Review: Here for the Drama by Kate Bromley

Goodreads

Release date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Harper Audio

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

It wouldn’t be the theater without a few theatrics…

Becoming a famous playwright is all Winnie ever dreamed about. For now, though, she’ll have to settle for assisting the celebrated, sharp-witted feminist playwright Juliette Brassard. When an experimental theater company in London, England, decides to stage Juliette’s most renowned play, The Lights of Trafalgar, Winnie and Juliette pack their bags and hop across the pond. 

But the trip goes sideways faster than you can say “tea and crumpets.” Juliette stubbornly butts heads with the play’s director and Winnie is left stage-managing their relationship. Meanwhile, Winnie’s own work seems to have stalled, and though Juliette keeps promising to read it, she always has some vague reason why she can’t. Then, Juliette’s nephew, Liam, enters stage left. He’s handsome, he’s smart, he is devastatingly British…and his family ties to Juliette pose a serious problem, forcing Winnie to keep their burgeoning relationship on the down-low. What could go wrong?

Balancing a production seemingly headed for disaster, a secret romance and the sweetest, most rambunctious rescue dog, will Winnie save the play, make her own dreams come true and find love along the way—or will the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune get the best of her?

Review:

I really enjoyed the authors debut last year and have been looking forward to her next book ever since I finished it and I’m delighted to say this was just as sweet and charming! I loved the premise with Winnie being a playwright and having to travel to London for work, a nice escape for me. I know next to nothing about the theater scene so I found the behind the scenes aspects of that interesting and I was totally charmed by Liam almost instantly. He had that dry British humor and the way he and Winnie bantered back and forth was so fun. Natalie Naudus is one of my favorite narrators so listening to her performance was amazing as always, overall a fun and light read.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: No Funny Business by Amanda Askel

Goodreads

Release date: July 12, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Two down-on-their-luck comedians embark on a road tour and find more than a few good laughs on the way.

Olivia Vincent dreams of stand-up comedy stardom. Bustling around a busy Manhattan office by day and hustling from club to club by night, she can’t catch a break. Work is falling through the cracks, and after ditching a major client to make a performance, Olivia gets the boot. 

Determined to pursue her dreams, she snags an audition in Los Angeles for a coveted spot on late-night TV. But the only way to get there is to join Nick Leto, a seasoned stand-up, on a cross-country road tour. She agrees on one condition—no funny business.

Icky comedy condos, tiny smoking nightclubs, and Nick’s incessant classic rock radio are a far cry from life on the Upper East Side. Reality sets in, and Olivia wonders if she can hack it in showbiz or if she’s just a hack. As Nick helps Olivia improve her act along the way, sparks begin to fly and ignite what they thought was an impossible flame. Maybe being stuck with Nick in a Jeep isn’t so bad. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of Olivia’s actual funny business.

Review:

I’ve never read a romance where the main characters are comedians before and that was such a fun angle! It provided a unique backdrop that I’ve never read before too and add in a cross country road trip and I was sold! As much as there is a romance developing between Olivia and Nick it almost felt like it took a backseat to Olivia and her personal growth. That was ok with me because I was invested enough in her anyway, just know this isn’t all that sexy and it’s closed door too, again Nick and Olivia both have to figure their own shit out in order to move forward both professionally and romantically. There were some great pop culture references from the 90’s and before that I loved and plenty of laughs, these two are comics after all! I really enjoyed this one and think if you know what to expect you just might too.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: All the Dirty Secrets by Aggie Blum Thompson

Goodreads

Release date: July 12, 2022

Publisher: Forge

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Set in the upscale DC private school scene, where silence can easily be bought, Aggie Blum Thompson’s All the Dirty Secretsasks how far you would go to protect your status and your family, and if some secrets should ever be revealed.

One warm summer night twenty-five years ago, Liza Gold and her friends celebrated their high school graduation with a party on the beach. It should have been the best night of their lives, only one of them never came back out of the ocean.

The tragedy haunted Liza Gold for years. Now, she’s a recently divorced working mom struggling to connect with her standoffish teenager daughter Zoe when history repeats itself. Another young woman has drowned at Beach Week, and this time the victim is Zoe’s secret best friend.

Liza begins to suspect that the two deaths are somehow related, which causes her to face hard truths and take an unflinching look at the people she’s called her closest friends for the past two decades. She must discover what really happened to both women before it’s too late.

Review:

As soon as I saw this centered on an elite private school I was already interested and then add in a dual timeline with a past mystery and I was sold. Told in both past and present and mainly from Liza and her daughter Zoe’s viewpoints I was engaged by this, both in the past and the present timelines. The author managed to craft a compelling mystery as well as add in some timely issues that are seen in the news today. The pacing was solid with most of the action happening in the last quarter of the book and while some things were predictable I still found the journey to get to the end to be both enjoyable and pretty gripping.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon

Goodreads

Release date: June 28, 2022

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Lyric Bishop feels like a fraud – she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes for a successful long-term relationship, only she can’t seem to figure it out in her own dating life. The science is sound, but how can she give her expert opinion with no real-world experience? In order to complete her doctoral thesis, she must crack the Sizzle Paradox – it seems the more sexually attractive she finds a guy, the less likely it is to come with an emotional connection; but why? – and to do that she must get the help she desperately needs.

Kian Montgomery, her best friend, roommate, and fellow grad student, has no trouble bringing both romance and sizzle to his own relationships. When he offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics to find a good match, she’s certain it will solve her problems, and in exchange she agrees to set long-term-commitment-averse Kian up with someone different to give his romantic life a much-needed shakeup.

But once the two progress with their “tutoring sessions,” they start to feel less like the academic exercise they were supposed to be as real feelings develop. Which is a problem, because Lyric and Kian are best friends and absolutely, irrefutably nothing else… Right?

Review:

This being marketed as The Kiss Quotient meets Love Potion No. 9 and I have to say, that’s a pretty dang accurate mash up in terms of describing this book. The author used a couple of different tropes in her last book and she does it again here too, and does it pretty well might I add. You have friends to lovers with a side of fake dating and fake dating is one of my faves so I was happy to see it here. Despite Lyric being a woman in STEM, which I love and always find interesting, she isn’t portrayed as the best scientist around. She’s talked about as being super smart but her actions (both romantically and having to do with her research) don’t really match up to what was being said about who she is. It didn’t bother me too much, just something I found odd and wanted to mention. My overall experience here was good, I have to give credit to the audio narrators performances because I truly enjoyed listening to both Brittany Pressley and Abhay Ahulwalia and felt like they elevated things for me.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Meant to Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein

Goodreads

Release date: June 7, 2022

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

What if you knew exactly when you’d meet the love of your life? Edie Meyer knows. When her Grandma Gloria was a young woman, she had a vision of the exact day she would meet her soul mate—and then Grandpa Ray showed up.

Since then, Gloria has accurately predicted the day every single member of the family has met their match. Edie’s day arrives on June 24, 2022, when she’s twenty-nine years old. She has been waiting for it half her life. That morning, she boards an airplane to her twin sister’s surprise engagement, and when a handsome musician sits beside her, she knows it’s meant to be.

But fate comes with more complications than Edie expected and she can’t fight the nagging suspicion that her perfect guy doesn’t have perfect timing. After a tragedy and a shocking revelation rock Edie’s carefully constructed world, she’s forced to consider whether love chooses us, as simple as destiny, or if we choose it ourselves.

Review:

I was SO into the premise of this one, the whole idea of fate and destiny is always interesting to me and I was excited to see what the author would do with the concept. I was immediately sucked in as it’s Edie’s day and when she meets a guy who seems like he could be the one I was so excited to see what would happen. So I was into it for at least the first half as Edie and Theo begin dating. I adored the relationship Edie had with her family, and especially with her grandparents and I really loved learning about her Jewish culture and heritage. But then things happen, I know that’s vague but I’m trying not to spoil anything and the story completely lost me. The romance elements I was expecting just didn’t pan out to my satisfaction and by the time I finished I was underwhelmed. Overall this was just ok for me in the end, I really liked so much of this but the end part of Edie’s journey just didn’t work for me at all.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: A Thousand Miles by Bridget Morrisey

Goodreads

Release date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

After a decade of silence, Dee and Ben reunite for a road trip they once promised to take. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Dee Matthews is the cohost of the smash-hit podcast Did I Forget To Tell You?, where she interviews family, friends, and past lovers. Nothing is off limits, except for one man (known on the show only as Name Redacted) who happens to be her high school best friend Ben. During their senior year spring break, Dee and Ben took a road trip to visit Ben’s grandma. They buried a time capsule in her backyard, pledging to return in ten years to open it. Then their friendship fell apart in spectacular fashion. They haven’t spoken to each other since.

Ben Porter’s life since that moment has been unexciting but comfortable, until his grandma reveals a family secret that flips his whole world upside down. Her dying wish is for him to stop doing what is safest and go after what he really wants. He starts by showing up on Dee’s doorstep with every intention of fulfilling their long-ago promise. Despite her reservations, Dee can’t say no. This trip could be her chance to give her listeners the Name Redacted interview they’ve been begging for–and finally put her unresolved feelings for Ben to rest.

As the miles fly by, Dee and Ben’s friendship reignites. But the closer they get to reaching their destination, the more apparent it becomes that their attraction to each other cannot be ignored. Their last adventure ended in disaster, and they’re about to find out if any hope of a future together is in the rear view mirror.

Review:

This is the second time in the last few months that I’ve read a second chance romance that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve always said that it’s not my favorite trope, but after two standouts I may need to quit saying and thinking that. Maybe I just need them to be really well executed to adore them and I think the author did a great job here. Dee and Ben are the real stars of the show here, I mean duh they’re the main characters, but what I mean is that the majority of the book is filled with scenes of just the two of them. This gave the book a really intimate feeling as they reconnect after ten years of total silence and have to really hash out some old issues if they want to move forward together. The road trip aspect was fun and summery and there was a real sense of nostalgia as well as they spend some time reminiscing about their high school days. Ben was the cutest most lovable hero and Dee was as well, but in a neurotic but wholly endearing way. I really enjoyed my time with these two, their connection was heavily apparent and the way they bantered back and forth showed just how true their friendship was and maybe still is.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: The Measure by Nikki Erlick

Goodreads

Release date: June 28, 2022

Publisher: Harper Audio

Genre: Dystopian

Synopsis:

It seems like any other day: You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined; pen pals finding refuge in the unknown; a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush; a doctor who cannot save himself; and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.

Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.

Review:

When I first heard about this book the premise immediately fascinated me, it’s like you cannot even imagine such a thing happening but also you kind of can. Unsettling for sure. So going into it I assumed it would be deep and maybe even heavy at times and it was, but it was also super thought provoking and insightful. The amount of questions it raises is staggering, it explores a plethora of issues and I can see this being a fantastic pick for a book club. There is SO much to be discussed here, I actually wish I had a group of people to chat with when u finished myself. I don’t wanna get too deep into the plot but you get multiple perspectives from several characters and I enjoyed hearing from each of them. You may think this one would be pretty depressing and it’s really not, yes there were sad moments but also moments of hope. It was poignant and as usual Julia Whelan gives a fantastic performance in the audio version. Definitely check it out if you want something a little meatier this summer.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Goodreads

Release date: July 19, 2022

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindgerten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Review:

Reading a new Katherine Center book is always such a delight, her books are like a ray of sunshine that always leave me feeling warm and cozy. This was just so good y’all, it had everything I needed and more. It was heartfelt and full of emotion but it was also light and super funny too. The characters were so so lovable, I adored both Hannah and Jack and thought their pairing was perfection. Fake dating is my fave so I was happy to see the trope here and the author nailed it. This is begging to be made into a rom com movie, the writing was so vivid it already played out like a movie in my head, clearly I just adored it and can highly recommend it as an addition to your summer TBR! The audio version was fantastic and narrator Patti Murin was great.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.