Once again, my monthly mini reviews is filled with contemporary books! What else am I supposed to read in the summer?
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Open Road Summer was the final published Emery Lord book I had left to read. I received the gorgeous UK edition of Emery Lord’s debut novel last summer, but decided to save it until this July because this fangirl loves having summer contemporaries saved for summer reading. Open Road Summer follows Reagan’s summer as she travels the US on tour with her country music star of a best friend, Dee. After a PR nightmare, Reagan’s plans of a summer with her best friend are soon interrupted by Matt Finch, Dee’s opening act.
Open Road Summer is a really solid summer contemporary about friendship and romance. Reagan and Matt’s relationship was sweet, but I was most invested in Dee and Reagan. It was really fun being on the road with Dee and Reagan and I loved getting to explore their friendship. No matter what, Dee and Reagan are there for each other through everything. I loved Dee and her family’s Southern charm and I wouldn’t mind some sort of spin off following her career and romance! On the other hand, while Reagan is a really complex and well developed character, I just couldn’t like her. Like a few other readers, I agree that her cattiness/ her girl-hate was way too melodramatic most of the time. While a lot of her remarks had to do with her feelings for her love interest, she sees a lot of girls as competitors and blatantly put a few of them down for not being as attractive as her or for not being ’Hollywood/celebrity’ attractive.
The Names They Gave Us remains my #1 Emery Lord book and I just love Max from The Start of Me and You way too much, but Open Road Summer definitely has a spot in my summer contemporary loving heart. Contemporary fans looking for books featuring friendship, road trips, and/or music will particularly enjoy this one.
Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Pretty Guilty Women is the perfect read for beach and binge reading. With comparisons to Big Little Lies, Pretty Guilty Women rewinds the events of a destination wedding week, as four women each confess to the same murder. The book flips between interviews with the case’s lead detective and the four women’s happenings throughout the week. Each women is dealing with some sort of issue, varying levels of seriousness. Lulu is afraid her fifth marriage won’t be her last, as her husband takes phone calls from someone named S while on vacation; Ginger is having trouble connecting with her fifteen year old daughter; while Kate seemingly has all the money in the world, there is one thing she can’t buy that is causing problems with her boyfriend; Emily finds herself unable to escape her past, including the relationship that has haunted her for over ten years and another that destroyed her friendship with Ginger.
Pretty Guilty Women is a fast-paced mystery with fluff in between. The wedding reunites college friends Emily, Kate and Ginger. I liked getting to explore their pasts and why they really weren’t friends anymore, but this book is more about resolving the women’s individual issues rather than salvaging their friendships. The plot definitely had some weaknesses when it came to the murder, between Sydney’s role and some other minor details. There’s a mini twist near the end that I wasn’t expecting, so as much as this book was fluffy, I’m glad it did surprise me. Even though there are similar themes, it is a lot different than Big Little Lies (BLL is definitely more complex and has a better writing style). Readers who enjoyed Big Little Lies and want more of a who-dunnit story and binge-ier of a read will enjoy Pretty Guilty Women.
Pretty Guilty Women comes out on September 3, 2019.
I received an advance reader’s edition in exchange for review. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.
Maybe This Time by Kasie West
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Even though at the time of reading Maybe This Time I had only read 2 other Kasie West books, her latest novel is definitely my favorite! I think I’ve mentioned this before, but part of the reason I even picked up Kasie West in 2019 is because of my excitement for Maybe This Time. The book follows Sophie, who works for her town’s florist and dreams of being a fashion designer. Maybe This Time is very unique, as the book is split into 9 events over the course of the year. Sophie finds herself at most of them working for the floral shop while also getting to spend time with Micah, the daughter of their small Alabama town’s caterer, and Andrew, the son of the celebrity chef helping out Michah’s family business.
Sophie is for sure an unlikeable protagonist. She doesn’t have the best relationship with her parents, which causes a lot of stress and anger in her life. Andrew and her don’t start off on the right foot, and much of their banter is composed of some uncalled for remarks from Sophie. However, I did enjoy Sophie’s snarkiness. Andrew isn’t afraid to be snarky right back and best friend Micah isn’t afraid to call Sophie out on her attitude. I also really liked Sophie for her interest in design and her flower knowledge! I honestly could have just read a book about what it’s like for Sophie to work for a florist. The 9 event setting, including dances, weddings, and town wide parties, really worked for this story, and again, it brought so much uniqueness to the book. Maybe This Time makes for the perfect binge read, finding myself flying through each event and needing to know what happens next (and of course what flowers were involved). With each event, we see Sophie and Andrew’s relationship change- fans of the hate-to-love trope, you won’t want to miss this one.
Have you read Maybe This Time or Open Road Summer? What contemporary books have you read this summer? Share in the comments!