I’m writing this wrap-up post on Memorial Day, which is my unofficial start to summer. I have read SO much this month – it honestly feels like the kind’ve reading I do from June through August when my schedule frees up and that makes me even more excited to see what my summer reading will be like. I also didn’t watch a ton of TV this month, but I have been really enjoying the shows that I did watch.
I did read some absolutely spectacular books this month, but it is no surprise whatsoever that my absolute favorite book was Book Lovers by Emily Henry. I’ve mentioned before and while there are a few other contenders for this title, it’s my favorite book of 2022 and possibly my favorite book ever.
Some other favorites from May include Dating Dr.Dil by Nisha Sharma, All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub, and The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz. I’m going to share a what I’ve been recently post soon with some of my latter reads that were mostly absolute GEMS.
This weekend, I had back-to-back beach days (I LOVE going to the beach on one of the first true summer-like days in May) & devoured Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I’ve been on a such an amazing reading kick lately and I’m hoping to continue this season of fantastic reads with this month’s TBR additions.
(Pictured Above: Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean, Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan, Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Read, Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese, Anna:The Biography by Amy Odell)
Are any of these books on your TBR? Have you read any of the books I shared? Share in the comments!
Summary (from the publisher): Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession…or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.
Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into f,ocus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.
But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
In a moment of insane luck, I was fortunate enough back in December to win a personalized signed advance copy of Christina Lauren’s Something Wilder! I typically try to save advance copies closer to release date, but back in March, I was craving a romance read and sunk my teeth right into this adventure romance.
Something Wilder follows Lily Wilder, daughter of notorious treasure hunter Duke Wilder who didn’t leave much for Lily aside from his hand-written maps and cryptic notes before he died years ago. Lily dreams of buying back her father’s beloved ranch, the place where she fell in love with a man named Leo years ago before he left for NYC and never came back, but she’s stuck running adventure tours in the red rock canyons of Utah to make ends meet. Leo comes back into Lily’s life in the form of his annual vacation with his best friends, until a horrible event on the tour forces Lily and Leo to work together & confront their past.
It’s mid-May and I’ve read 11 books so far! I’m back in one of those situations where I’ve been reading a ton and haven’t necessarily been writing full reviews, so I figured I would take today to talk about a few of my recent reads.
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir –All My Rage is for sure a favorite YA book of 2022. Yes, I am still hiding in shame that I still have not picked up An Ember in the Ashes (maybe one day?!), but wow, will I be picking up any more contemporary novels from Sabaa Tahir. All My Rage follows two best friends, Noor and Salahudin, living in Juniper, California, and the way their lives unfold as the two lose someone very close to them. The book explores so many themes, including hope, dreams, loss, the experience of being an Muslim American teen in a not-so diverse place, bullying and intolerance, and so much more. Definitely a gut-punch of a read, but I loved how everything came together in the end. This book is for sure going to be a staple YA contemporary or classic.
In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead – I feel like I’ve seen In My Dreams I Hold a Knife everywhere over the past few months and decided to borrow it from the library on a whim. I love college-set books, and this thriller takes on a college twist, as the book transitions between protagonist Jessica’s college years and life ten years later at her college reunion. Jessica reunites with nearly all of her college friends – one of the friends, Heather, was brutally murdered months before graduation from Duquette (which is apparently based on Duke?). I flew through this thriller, having loved unpacking each friend’s life and the events leading up to Heather’s murder. There were a few twists and I’m glad that the book wasn’t super predictable, as the suspect was not who I imagined it’d be!
Summary (from the publisher): Nora Stephens’ life is books – she’s read them all – and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away – with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again – in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow – what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Yes, you read that title right, it’s only May and I’m already declaring Book Lovers as my favorite book of 2022. I do admit that there are two upcoming books that could make their way to my #1 spot, but I’m really certain that there is no match for my love for this book. I really think this is the book from now on when a person asks me what my favorite book is, it’s Book Lovers.
I am currently writing this review on my phone with Book Lovers clutched to my chest. I devoured Book Lovers in less than 24 hours and did the thing that I do maybe once a year and starting rereading her other two books (and yes, a Book Lovers reread is definitely in the future). Also PSA that if you have not yet bought a copy of this book, I recommend getting the Target exclusive edition because it comes with the Beach Read meets People We Meet on Vacation epilogue that Emily Henry recently sent out in her newsletter. Another sidenote that I’m slightly disappointed that Book of the Month didn’t offer Book Lovers as a pick, but I LOVE this paperback & its cover – why am I about to go out and buy paperback copies of Beach Read and PWMOV?
This book is everything. Book Lovers follows Nora, a top literary agent, who has always put her youngest sister, Libby, especially since their mother died years ago. Libby is pregnant with her third child and needing a break from life in New York City, convinces Nora to take some time off and rent a cottage in the town based on Nora’s client’s bestselling book. The last person Nora expects to run into in this small North Carolina town is Charlie, the same broody book editor who wasn’t willing to take on Nora’s client’s book two years ago.
Summary (from the publisher): Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
My students have been obsessed with the Netflix adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel (and news flash, I am too!), which encouraged me to finally pick up the book . Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence (contemporary fiction prose, not graphic novel) was one of my FAVORITES back in 2017, so I was excited to jump back into her work. I’m only two episodes into the TV show so far, but I love how true it has stayed to the graphic novel so far — and I like the changes too!
The British set graphic novel series follows high school boys, Charlie and Nick. Charlie is an openly gay student at Truham Grammar School for Boys, and a change in his schedule leads him to meet Nick, a soft-spoken rugby player. As the two spend more time together, Charlie can’t help but feel chemistry between himself and Nick.
Summary (from the publisher): Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.
Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.
In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Amy Lea’s upcoming Set on You has been getting so much early praise and so many spots on anticipated books lists. I’m here to report that the hype is very much deserved!
Set on You follows curvy fitness influencer, Crystal, who has built a mini empire between her personal training sessions and large following on Instagram. Crystal unfortunately gets a ton of negative messages from Internet trolls & her family constantly questions her on her career choice & its sustainability. Crystal has had her last straw when firefighter Scott steals her favorite squat rack at the gym one day. Competition and sparks fly — even when Crystal and Scott realize at an engagement party that their grandparents are getting married. With their grandparents’ nuptials coming up, Crystal and Scott agree to work through their issues…and try to ignore their feelings for another.
Set on You was such a fun & unique read, especially given Crystal’s career and background. As a curvy and Asian influencer, Crystal gets love and even more hate on her Instagram, which ignites a ton of self-doubt about herself and even over her relationship with Scott. Set on You was the type of read that didn’t have the clearest conflict, other than Scott and Crystal trying to work out their feelings for one another, but I loved their banter and relationship development so much (& the book definitely delivers on the steam). I also loved the dynamics with their family, especially given that Crystal’s grandma and Scott’s grandfather are to be married. Crystal’s sister, Tara, is also a book influencer – do I see a companion novel following Tara coming??
Summary (from the publisher): Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.
Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.
Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.
My Rating:4.5/5 Stars
Dating Dr.Dil had been all over my bookstagram a few weeks ago, especially since it was a prevision Book of the Month selection. A recommendation from one of my favorite authors and book recommendation sources, Hannah Orenstein, was the final convincing that I needed to pick this one up, & I’m so glad I did!
Dating Dr.Dil is an enemies-to-lovers romance & follows the third person perspectives of Kareena, an attorney, and Prem, a cardiologist and medical talk show host. Kareena spends her free time working on her mother’s old BMW and house, but her world gets turned upside down when her father announces that he is selling the house and will only give Kareena the money he has set aside for her when she gets engaged (just like her youngest sister). Kareena thus goes on a hunt for a fiancé so she can get the house…until a fight with Prem on his talk show goes viral and the two can’t get anyone to invest in either one, as Prem is trying to raise money to build a community health center.
Summary (from the publisher): Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.
Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.
While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I’ve had Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s adult contemporary romance debut, The Roughest Draft, was on my TBR since its January 2022 debut. I kind’ve saved this one until this spring/warmer weather because this book’s cover just screams summer, with the two main characters lounging in the pool and writing – however, I do agree now with some reviews that I saw that this book isn’t as light and fluffy as it cover seems.
The Roughest Draft alternates between the first person perspectives of Nathan and Katrina, a bestselling author duo who haven’t spoken in four years after writing their latest book together. Within those four years, Nathan has gone on to publish a book independently (without much success) and Katrina has retired from writing and moved to LA with her fiancé, who also happens to be her agent. As a PR move for the duo, Nathan and Katrina’s team convinces them to reconvene in the same house in Florida where they wrote their first book to finish out their contract. The duo has to not only figure out how to write with another again, but also confront what led them to split up as a team in the first place.
You probably know that I am frequent library user – let’s be honest, reading would be a VERY expensive habit for me if I bought every single book that I read. My college town’s library would put the amount of money saved based on the books you borrowed this year (does anyone else’s library do the same?) and I would be so curious to see what my total would be at my county library. That being said, I plan on sharing my library holds each month. My current holds’ are a mix of recent & upcoming releases.
Have you read any of the books that I mentioned? Are you anticipating any of these upcoming releases? Share in the comments!