START OF SUMMER READING & NETFLIX: May 2020 Wrap Up

IMG_2733May was another month having to adjust to the new normal we live in, with plenty of books & TV and a few more life happenings. In short, I graduated from college (virtually), read a lot of books, started grad school (virtually), and started working on my summer tan!  Since my state has had one of the most severe amount of outbreaks, we’re still primarily home as some stores and business slowly start to re-open. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work from home and take graduate school courses online, so I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time still home this summer.

Since I now do monthly If We Were Having Coffee posts and Fangirl News, I’ve decided to not include the Life Happenings section in my monthly wrap ups. I’ll add some tidbits about life lately in my introduction but I’ll be getting into more detail about my life and anticipated bookish happenings in those respective posts.

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The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass | 3/5 Stars

The One was actually my least favorite book in The Selection trilogy. America annoyed me the most  out of all three books, and it threw in so many new elements that were too late, considering that this is the last book in the trilogy. I know The Heir and The Crown are considered sequels, but I’m not sure if I see myself picking them up.

 Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren | 4.5/5

 I totally now understand everyone’s love for this Chriistna Lauren favorite! Hazel is one of my new favorite protaoginsts of theirs.Read More »

SUMMER READING TO-DO: Summer 2020 Most Anticipated Releases

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year to dive into a new pile of books because it’s beach and poolside reading season! My anticipated Summer 2020 releases list is definitely different than what I had imagined it would be at the start of 2020. Many spring books got pushed back to summer, so you might see a few repeats from my Spring 2020 anticipated releases posts.If you want to refresh on what books came out this spring, I shared my anticipated adult and YA releases. Some new books that were originally scheduled to release this summer also were moved to the fall. The following books are scheduled to release from June through August 2020.

The Dare (Briar U #4) by Elle Kennedy | Release Date: June 16

Elle Kennedy made my April when she announced that there would be a fourth book in the Briar U series, The Dare! I cannot recommend the Off-Campus and spin-off series, Briar U, enough! This hockey romance follows crowd-favorite hockey player, Conor. I have all of the Briar U books in paperback, and I believe the paperback version is available for preorder on Amazon.

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai | RD: June 9

The enemies-to-lovers storyline is one of my favorites in rom-coms, which makes me even more excited for Sara Desai’s The Marriage Game. Working above her father’s restaurant, Layla is getting her new business up and running while also deciding to join the world of online dating (even though her father decides to set her up on a bunch of blind dates). CEO Sam unexpectedly ends up sharing the office space with Layla, and the two spar off over their shared space and Layla’s blind date suitors.

The Sullivan Sisters by Kathryn Ormsbee |RD: June 23

After really enjoying Kathryn Ormsbee’s Tash Hearts Tolstoy back in 2017, I was instantly intrigued by her upcoming release, The Sullivan Sisters. Painful events have kept the Sullivan sisters from confiding in each other like they used to, but a letter about their dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing causes them to work together to solve a family mystery. I’m also up for a mystery or thriller to break up my contemporary reading game!

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein | RD: June 23

I feel like we’re starting to see gymnastics more and more across genres. The one I’m most excited for? Hannah Orenstein’s Head Over Heels! After a disastrous performance that ended her hope to get into the Olympics and career, Avery is asked to help coach a young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. While sparks fly with her fellow coach, Ryan, Avery’s world is turned upside down yet again when a scandal breaks out in the sport.Read More »

WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS SOONER: Well Met Review

71mbWCWSjILSummary (from the publisher): All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Well Met had been on my TBR for forever and a half. Almost all of my blogging friends have loved this contemporary romance about a woman who finds herself wrapped up in small town life and its annual summer-long Renaissance Fair. I always wanted to pick up Well Met, so I don’t know what prevented me from picking it up before this May.. okay, maybe blame it on my irrational fear of running out of contemporary romances on my TBR. I finally bought my own copy back in March and after officially finishing all of my undergrad work, I treated myself and started reading! I ate up Well Met over one weekend and it quickly became of my favorite reads of 2020!

As soon as I began the first chapter of Well Met, I fell in love. After a bad breakup and needing to help her older sister after a bad car accident, Emily is in Willow Creek for the summer, which means volunteering with her niece to participate in the town’s Renn Faire. Emily finds herself enjoying the experience way more than expected… that is except for Simon, the fair’s organizer who seems to perpetually have a clipboard up his butt. But when Emily and Simon are in their faire chracters, Emily a tavern wench and Simon a pirate, their flirting game is on and blending the lines in their relationships as enemies vs. something more.

I personally fell in love with Simon because he gave me major Ben Wyatt vibes (aka my fictional boyfriend/husband from Parks & Recreation), thanks to his appearance, organization and adorable nerdiness. While Emily is our main focus, we learn why it’s so hard for Simon to break out of his hard demeanor and why the faire means so much to him. I liked how we’re able to get to know him without having his perspective, since I liked Emily’s first person narrative so much.

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AUSTEN LOVE: The Jane Austen Society Review

Summary (from the publisher):
image002Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people–a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others–could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

 

 My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars 

 My Thoughts:

 The Jane Austen Society caught my eye for its comparisons to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – a book and Netflix movie so many of my book blogging friends have loved. Taking place in the village Jane Austen spent her last years in, the novel follows a group of people who are all struggling with loss and turn to Jane Austen’s novels for comfort. An eclectic mix of people who could not be more different, – a doctor and a movie star included – they band together to preserve Jane Austen’s last home.

The Jane Austen Society is a really cozy read that will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction meets women’s fiction type novels, although the book is set after World War II. Readers who love Jane Austen nearly as much as these characters will also eat this one up. The book follows at least eight different main characters, but Natalie Jenner provides an intimate perspective for each of them. All of the characters have experienced loss and tragedy in their own way. The novel is really about them growing through each other’s support and community. I think I preferred certain characters to others – I honestly could have a book all about Dr. Gray and Adeline and their relationship.

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Fangirl News Round Up #4: Rom Com Covers & Tons of TV

Another month, another opportunity to talk about all the book and TV news I’m excited about! While there are amazing cover reveals and new book announcements from this month, I have even more TV news!

Cover Reveals

Make Up Break Up by Lily/Sandhya Menon – Sandhya Menon revealed the cover of her first adult rom-com, Make Up Break Up. In the reveal, she also explained her decision to under the pen name Lily Menon for her adult fiction books. The cover is different than her YA covers, butI  totally understand the decision to differentiate between the two… and everyone knows that I’m a sucker for illustrated rom-com covers! Make Up Break Up comes out on February 2, 2021

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon – Another most 2021 anticipated release of mine, Rachel Lynn Solomon revealed the cover of her first adult rom-com, The Ex Talk. I love everything about this one, cover and synopsis both included! The Ex Talk is an enemies-turned-lovers rom-com set at a public radio station, available on February 9,2021.

Book News

Sneak Peek at V.E./Victoria Schwab’s Future Books

After getting a lot of questions about her next books, V.E. Schwab posted her to-write list on Instagram. The book I’m personally most excited about is the third book in the Villians series! In the caption, she confirmed that there will be three more books in Shades of Magic entitled Threads, a sequel to Vengerful, an Extraordinary Magic comic, a SFF book, a potential third Archived book, and a potential fourth Cassidy Blake installment.

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Fangirl, Vol. 1: The Magna by Rainbow Rowell & Sam Maggs and illustrated by Gabi Nam – This is some ‘older’ bookish news, but I am so mad at my past self for not including the magna adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books in a past news round up. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is being adapted into a four volume magna series by Sam Maggs and illustrated by Gabi Nam. I’ve never read magna before, but you better believe I will be buying and immediately reading this first volume when it comes out on October 13, 2020.

 

The Summer We Found Us by Hannah Reynolds – I love following debut book announcements. One that really caught my attention is Hannah Reynold’s debut, The Summer We Found Us, set to release in Summer 2021.

TV & Movies

I really thought that after the release of The Rise on Skywalker on Disney+, there wouldn’t be too many other things that I’m looked forward to on Disney+… but then Taylor Swift and Hamilton happened!

Taylor Swift’s City of Lover on Disney+ | Release Date: May 18

At the time of this post, Taylor Swift’s City of Lover concert is available for streaming on Disney+ and Hulu! The September concert in Paris aired on ABC on May 17 after the season finale of American Idol. I had been hoping to attend one of Taylor’s Lover concerts this summer, but the Lover Fest was cancelled due to the current state of the world and will be rescheduled in 2021.

 Hamilton on Disney+ | Release Date: July 3

A filmed version featuring the original Hamilton cast will premiere on Disney+ on July 3. I was fortunate enough to see Hamilton on Broadway back in January 2017, but the original cast had left the production by then. I recently got back into the Hamilton soundtrack while finishing up final assignments, so it will definitely stay on repeat playlist well through the summer.

The Bromance Book Club on Netflix

Lyssa Kay Adam’s The Bromance Book Club is being adapted for Netflix! There aren’t too many details just yet, but I’m so excited to see one of my favorite romance series hit the screen!

The Baby-Sitter’s Club (Netflix) | Release Date: July 3

In more streaming news about another favorite series of mine, the Netflix TV show of The Baby-Sitter’s Club is coming out July 3! I really hope the show helps introduce the series to a new generation of readers.

The Politician S2 (Netflix) | Release Date: June 19

The Politician was one of my top three favorite TV shows of 2019. With the pandemic putting film production on hold, there were rumors circulating around if The Politician had finished filming in time for it to still come out this summer. If you’re in the need of a new binge-worthy show to watch, I highly recommend checking this one out – I’ll definitely been re-watching the first season before June 19! I’m so excited to see if this season will include any song covers – I have Ben Platt’s version of “Vienna” always on repeat.

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What book and TV announcements have you been loving lately? Any book or TV recs for me? Share in the comments!

My Top 5 Sarah J. Maas Books

After reading House of Earth and Blood back in March, I started thinking about which book I consider to my favorite book by Sarah J. Maas. I considered ranking all the books across Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and now Crescent City, but I think that would require another full reread of all her books. I’ve read the first five ToG books twice and the first two ACOTAR books twice. I decided to at least rank my top five favorite SJM books in honor of the potential that ACOTAR #4 will be out in January 2021. This is unconfirmed, but as Kristin of Super Space Chick points out in her latest News & Stuff video, the book’s release date is set for January 26, 2021, on retail sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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My Top Five Sarah J. Maas Books

#5. A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2)

812Iu6GMZSLAs I was writing this post, I went on Goodreads to revisit my reviews for all of these books. I noticed that A Court of Mist and Fury is both SJM’s highest rated and most read book on Goodreads. This really isn’t a surprise to me because ACOTAR is way more well-read than Throne of Glass outside of the fantasy bookish community and/or readers who don’t normally read YA or adult fantasy and tend to read romance. ACOMAF is definitely the strongest installment in the ACOTAR trilogy. It’s obvious that this book completely sold me on Feyre and Rhysand (hellloooo Chapter 55), but it makes the series into something more than a Beauty and the Beauty retelling or what we might’ve expected after the first book.

A sidenote, by after my second reread, I realized that ACOMAF really should’ve made ACOTAR be considered as an adult or at least new adult fantasy series. You likely I am so much more of a romance reader since I reread ACOMAF – contemporary romance is my current favorite genre- but I think the genre name for this series needed to switch before ACOTAR #4, which Sarah has said will be considered adult fantasy.

#4. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)28260587

Empire of Storms could have easily been a ‘middle book’ between Queen of Shadows and Kingdom of Ash, but SJM completely nailed this one. The fifth Throne of Glass book features some of my favorite scenes and quotes in the entire series. Although it might not be a favorite amongst readers who love action in their favorite, I personally loved it because of all the plot and world-building and stage-setting for Kingdom of Ash. At the end of my reread back in 2018, I retitled this book as ‘Empire of Tears’ thanks to its ending.Read More »

SUMMERTIME READ: On Ocean Boulevard Review

MAMSummary (from the publisher):

It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the
beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

 On Ocean Boulevard immediately made my way on to my TBR for its summer contemporary-sounding synopsis. I often see Mary Alice Monroe pop up on a lot of women’s fiction summer reading lists, so I knew it was time to give this author a try. Upon reading it, I didn’t realize that On Ocean Boulevard is a sequel to Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series. However, this did not prevent me from absolutely enjoying this book!

Mary Alice Monroe effortlessly brings her readers back to Sullivan’s Island and Charleston, South Carolina. As someone who hasn’t read her books before, I felt that she thoroughly explained the characters’ background and past, making me feel like I didn’t have to read the previous Beach House novels in order to understand and enjoy this one. Readers re–enter the island with Cara’s niece, Linnea, who has returned after losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Cara is trying to prepare for her second wedding while balancing her work life with raising her young daughter…and also questioning if she wants a big wedding in the first place.

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