BOOKS FOR THE BEACH & BACKYARD: Summer 2019 Anticipated Releases

In a few recent blog posts, I’ve fangirled over the fact that I am thankful to have more reading more time with the school year over. My summer TBR will surely include the listed below summer 2019 releases, aka books being released between June and August that I cannot wait to get my hands on! Catch me with these while lounging on the beach and by the pool this season.

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (June 4)- I always hope that at least one of my favorite and go-to YA contemporary authors come out with a new book during the summer. I couldn’t be more than excited that this year it’s Sarah Dessen with The Rest of the Story. It’s crazy, but of course so lovely, that I’ve been reading her books since middle school and I still get to dive into new books from her! I’m also especially interested in this book because its Sarah Dessen’s first book with Balzer + Bray.

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura (June 4)- You may make this assumption about me based on this and another book on this list, but I find something so interesting about characters who work in flower shops! Outside from its setting, I’m super intrigued by This Time Will Be Different, as CJ’s family might be selling their store to the family who swindled her grandparents when they were sent to a Japanese-American interment camp during World War II.

Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein (June 11)- You had me with The Bold Type in its premise. I love how YA books have been increasingly featuring girls in STEM, as our three female main protagonists compete to win a dream tech internship.

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love edited by Elsie Chapman (June 18)- It’s been a while since I read a YA anthology, but I am HERE for a book centered around good. Out of the books’ many authors, I’ve only read work by Sandhya Menon, so I’m looking forward to discovering some new-to-me voices.

Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2) by Tracy Banghart- Grace and Fury unexpectedly stole my heart in 2018 and I am more than ready for the sequel to this female-driven, dystopian, fantasy world.

Maybe This Time by Kasie West (July 9)- I decided to dive into Kasie West’s books in 2019 mainly because of my interest in her upcoming release, Maybe This Time. What is there not to love about a girl working for a florist? And yes, I am a massive fan of books with protagonists who have some of my summer dream jobs.

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud (July 30)- Books about royals are on so many readers’ brains this year, including mine! How do I sign up for a summer program where I can meet a prince who wants to wisk me off as his guest at his brother’s wedding? Truly Madly Royally promises The Princess Diaries vibes—how could I not read a book that includes one of my all time favorite movies?

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker (August 6)- I still have to read K.A. Tucker’s This Simple Wild (which I have a feeling I am going to completely adore), but her upcoming release Say You Still Love Me has me similarly invested. I am all for a book about a young businesswoman who runs into her first love again.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (August 13)- I don’t think I’ve ever read historical fiction books taking place during The Gilded Age. The premise of The Downstairs Girl has me hooked. By day, Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid, but by night, she’s a newspaper advice columnist for southern women.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks (August 27)- I feel like I have been fangirling over Pumpkinheads forever now. And no worries, I won’t stop even after this graphic novel by one of my favorite author comes out. What could I not love about a graphic novel following two friends’ last season working at a pumpkin patch??

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What books are you looking forward to this summer? Share in the comments!

Cozy Read Recommendations

Do you ever crave books that make you want to curl up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate? Summer-type weather really hasn’t hit where I live yet, so I keep thinking about books that will keep me entertained on dreary weather days. When I think of cozy reads, I think of books that are perfect for days or time that you can fully dedicate to reading. For me, this varies from rainy days to snow days and nights in. Today, I’ll be discussing books that have made me have all the cozy feels.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

A classic in a Fangirl Fury recommendations post?? Yes, my bookish friends, it’s true! While it took me some time to settle into this story, I Capture the Castle is such an atmospheric read, mostly taking place in a castle!

Talking As Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls by Lauren Graham

I have a love-like relationship with many ‘celebrity’ books and memoirs, but there was just something so inviting about Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast as I Can. I usually find myself just reading the parts I’m interested in, like the Parks & Rec chapter in Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, but I read Talking As Fast as I Can from cover to cover. I’m always recommending it to my Gilmore Girls-loving friends.

 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan28372019

I think there are few things that are cozier than a bookshop, not to mention one in the Scottish Highlands. As Nina runs her bookshop on wheels, she participates in village life -including living in the guesthouse of a very handsome local farmer named Lennox.

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NEW ADULT FAVORITE: Red, White and Royal Blue Review

Summary (from the publisher): First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

If I could scream my love for only one recent read of mine, it would have to be Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue. Why? Red, White and Royal Blue delivered on absolutely every single element, from its plot to the romance to its humor and more.

Red, White and Royal Blue has received so much early hype and praise across the online book communities. What else would you expect from us fangirls when it comes to a book about rivals turned love interests, who happen to be the First Son of the President of the United States and the Prince of England? Alex and Henry’s relationship was so well-developed and craved every scene with them together. I obviously loved their in-person interactions, but their email and text chains we’re so easy to fall into. I have a love/hate relationship with digital dialogue, but I loved their online banter, including their email signatures. These excerpts also provided a lot of back story for both characters as they get to know one another.

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My Mom’s Favorite Books

While I owe much of why I became a reader to Junie B. Jones, I ultimately fell in love with books because of my mom. My mom is the only other true reader in my family. She constantly goes to the library and always has a book by her side. In honor of Mother Day’s on Sunday, I’ll be discussing some of my mom’s favorite reads. The following books are a mix of her recent favorites and some older reads.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman- After reading A Man Called Ove, my mom wanted to explore some of Fredrik Backman’s other titles, including Beartown. It was the type of book she didn’t think she was going to enjoy, but ultimately didn’t want to end. It was so well-written and she had been really taken with the characters. My mom is much better than me at not staying up to read, but she said she just had to stay up late and finish this one. Unfortunately, she did not enjoy the sequel, Us Against You.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara- My mom is someone who rarely buys books for herself and would much rather borrow books from the library. However, she decided to buy a copy of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, partially because of its long library holds list and partially because she knew it would take her a while to read this 700+ page beast. While reading other books, it took her over a year to read A Little Life, but she said it was such an awesome read. It constantly left her gasping, making her reread passages to make sure what she was reading was right.

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REVISITING PARIS: Anna and the French Kiss Series Reread

Although my TBR still quite scares me, I’ve been rereading books more and more over the past two years. As discussed in my 2019 rereading goals, I want to reread some of my favorite series this year, including Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss trilogy. I am so happy to say that I read all three books in April! During a particularly stressful month at school, this trilogy was such a fun way to de-stress, transporting me to Paris, San Francisco and NYC (with some cute boys in tow). While all these books are so atmospheric to their setting, I forgot how character and relationship driven these books are. While not necessarily a bad thing, I ended up changing what book in the series is my favorite.

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Anna and the French Kiss | Reread Rating: 4/5 Stars

Anna and the French Kiss was one of my favorite reads back in 2015. I’ve discussed this before, but Anna and the French Kiss had haunted me in my library’s YA section for a while. Its original cover kept me away. Upon discovering YouTube and the book’s gorgeous paperback cover redesign, I was called away to Paris with Anna and St. Clair. The settings and atmosphere throughout the series are perfection, but nevertheless, Anna and the French Kiss made me want to book a flight directly to a French bakery ASAP. My craving and need to try caramel eclairs and chocolate and raspberry gateaus are at all time highs. Aside from the food she gets to eat, I liked Anna for her interest in film (all the protagonists in each book have their own ‘special’ interest), making me want a more realistic trip (as compared to Paris) to my local movie theater.

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Book Bait: Things That Make Me Pick Up Books

In many  my reviews and anticipated releases posts, I often say something along the lines of “I knew I had to pick up this book because of X.” From the main character’s workplace to their hobbies, there are certain elements, aka book bait, that guarantee that I will pick up said book. As I prepare my summer TBR, I’ll be keeping the following book bait in mind.

Beach Town

Many of you know that I am a beach girl myself. I love reading books with this setting because it’s one that I can easily relate to and definitely crave in the summer. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s a year round NEED.

Baking

It’s practically 100% guaranteed that I will pick up the book if the synopsis mentions something along the lines of a character who loves baking or works in a bakery or restaurant. These books have recently been among my favorite to review because I like creating a inspired recipe from the book.

Food

This may go a bit hand-in-hand with baking, but I also like books that feature characters who work in restaurants or love to cook. Recently, I’ve been enjoying seeing some foodie trends come into play, like food trucks in Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel.

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WITCHLANDS RETURN: Bloodwitch Review

Summary (from the publisher):War is sweeping the witchlands and tainted magic is destroying both friends and enemies. While the Bloodwitch Aeduan is keeping one crucial secret . . .

Here, loyalties will be tested as never before . . . The Bloodwitch Aeduan and Iseult the Threadwitch race for safety, desperate to evade the Raider King. His attempts to subdue the Witchlands are gaining momentum, as his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. Despite differing goals, Aeduan and Iseult have grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. Yet trust is a tenuous bond . . .

When Merik sacrifices himself to save his friends, he’s captured by the Fury. However, Merik isn’t one to give up easily, and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect those he loves. Then, in Marstok, Safi the Truthwitch is helping their empress uncover a rebellion. But those implicated are killed and Safi becomes desperate for freedom.

Perhaps if Safi and Iseult were united, their powers could bring peace. However, chaos is not easily tamed and war has come once more to the Witchlands. Fate’s knife will come for them all, and the Bloodwitch Aeduan can no longer hide from his past.

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

Earlier in 2019, I re-entered the world of Susan Dennard’s The Witchlands by rereading Truthwitch and then quickly moved on to Windwitch. After really enjoying the first two installments, I knew I couldn’t put off reading the third book in the series, Bloodwitch, any longer. I took about two months in between Windwitch and Bloodwitch mostly because a.) I jumped into one of my typical contemporary moods and b.) debated if I should read Sightwitch, the series’ novella about Ryber, beforehand. Although I’ve seen many great reviews for Sightwitch, I’m not the biggest novella fan and decided to just jump into Bloodwitch. As far as I can tell, having not reading Sightwitch did not affect my reading experience.

While Bloodwitch follows each member of our main cast, this book puts the much-loved Aeduan at the spotlight. I never really didn’t like Aeduan, but his role in Windwitch made me curious to see him take center stage in this installment. Although often heart-breaking, I loved the excerpts from his past. I’m also 100% on the Iseult and Aeduan train. I really liked exploring their relationship, especially with the compliment of Owl.

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