So many books, so many mini reviews! My September reading as been mostly all contemporary (as always these days) with an emphasis on getting in some more beach/summer reads – fitting for my weekend September pool days! – and some contemporary romances of course.

Rock the Boat by Beck Dorey Stein – Rock the Boat immediately grabbed my attention because it was a summertime beach read set in New Jersey!! Everyone knows that I LOVE a good beach read (see all the Elin Hilderbrand books I’ve read so far this year), but most of them tend to take place in the South or on Nantucket, so I was beyond excited to finally get a beach read in my home state. Rock the Boat is split between three different perspectives and high school friends, Kate, Ziggy, & Miles. After a devastating break-up, Kate quits her PR job and moves from NYC to her sleep Jersey beach town, Sea Point. Ziggy never really left Sea Point and is now trying to put back together the family plumbing business after his father unexpectedly passed away, with his best friend Miles back to help him and also prove to his mom that he deserves to be an executive in their family business. I loved the beach town setting so much, and this book is the PERFECT summer read for it. Rock the Boat is really about transitioning into adulthood… and the next phase in adulthood after everything seems to go wrong. The book had a really fun & light tone while also dealing with relationships and grief. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – Why did I not read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill sooner?? If I had to answer, it’s probably because I got a bit scared of the hype because so many book lovers have (rightfully) adored this book following bookstore employee Nina as she just discovers the her birth father has passed away and has included her in his will & gets to meet the family she never knew. I absolutely loved the book’s plot, humor, and tone. It was so refreshing to have a protagonist who is definitely an introvert (Nina also has anxiety), but she’s still social and embraces dating and having fun with friends. My Rating: 5/5 Stars

The Charm Offensive by Allison Cochrun – Give me nearly any book inspired by The Bachelor & I’m there. I started Allison Cochrun’s The Charm Offensive last Friday night & I had it completed by Saturday afternoon. The book takes place on a Bachelor inspired show, with tech wiz Charlie starring as the show’s Prince Charming. Charlie is an introvert with little to no dating experience and struggles with OCD, leading Ever After’s show-runners to assign Dev as Charlie’s personal producer. After a breaking up with his longtime boyfriend, Dev isn’t really looking for his own happily ever at the moment, let alone with the star of the show. I loved the reality TV backdrop & the book’s humor, while also including serious conversations surrounding mental health, OCD, and depression. I flew through this one, although the book’s kind’ve stereotypical climax & conclusion left me wanting a little more, but overall was a really fun read! My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall – I feel like I’m the last person to read Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material, but so glad I finally picked up this opposites-attract contemporary romance. After a PR nightmare, Luc agrees to fake date Oliver, whose the complete opposite of Luc, but his good guy appearance is exactly what Luc needs to clean up his image. The book is definitely relationship & dialogue driven, but you can’t help but swoon for Luc & Oliver. It took me the first few chapters to settle into this one, but once I hit the 100 page mark, I was so into it. Looking forward to the sequel! My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand – Would it really be a complete reading month without another Elin Hilderbrand book or two? After loving a few of Elin’s earlier books (i.e. The Blue Bistro & The Beach Club), I decided to keep diving into her back-backlist with The Love Season, following ex-chef Marguerite and her best friend’s daughter, Renata, over 24 hours as the two meet for the first time since Renata’s mother’s death years ago. Again, I’ve been coming off the Elin Hilderbrand high still that was The Blue Bistro and grabbed this one for also having a main character who was a chef. I liked the 24 hour setting and getting both Renata and Marguerite’s perspectives. My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand – Nantucket Nights was an enjoyable read, but it wasn’t necessarily my favorite Elin Hilderbrand book and kind’ve falls towards the bottom of my favorite books by her. The book begins with friends Kayla, Antonette, and Val’s annual midnight swim party, but things go wrong quite quickly when Antonette dives into the ocean and doesn’t return, with Kayla soon being framed for Antonette’s disappearance. I wish we would have had more background on the friends – I didn’t really understand why Kayla was so invested in Antonette and Val because they kind’ve seemed disinterested in her – and all 3 weren’t very likable. I also could not stand Antonette’s mystery relationship.  My Rating: 3/5 Stars

What books have you been reading this month? Have you read any of the books above? Share in the comments! 

5 thoughts on “BEACH READS & CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: September 2021 Mini Reviews

  1. I have read and really liked Boyfriend Material and as you say I look forward to the new release too. I have The Charm Offensive waiting on me in my shelf and planned on reading it now but a new release I was anticipated showed up so I’m taking that one first since it’s a ”better” read for fall/halloween haha

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