ADD THESE SUMMER READS: May 2021 Mini Reviews

I’ve been in such a great reading mood lately! I’ve been able to read 1-2 books during the week & then another book or two on the weekends. We’ve been having a few sunny Saturdays and Sundays, which means spending the day outside reading in my backyard. If you’re already preparing your summer TBR like I am, make sure you check out these 4 contemporary books below.

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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Two weekends ago on a sunny Saturday, I was craving a book that I could binge-read while sitting outside all day, which meant it was time to pick up another Elin Hilderbrand book! After loving 28 Summers back in March, I decided to pick up another one of her more recent releases, Summer of ’69. Set in, you guessed it, the summer of 1969, the book follows three daughters and their mother’s summer on Nantucket and Martha Vineyard while their brother & son has been recently deployed to Vietnam. 

I love books that place over the summer and follow the daily happenings of the main characters. Summer of ’69 exactly fits that premise, with a few secrets and minor scandals along the way. I totally admit that I was a little hesitant going into the 1960s setting, but it was so interesting getting transported to the days of the space race and the Vietnam War. There’s also commentary on women’s roles and race, between Blair’s husband’s desire for Blair to stay home & raise their family and Kirby’s relationship with a young black man. I really like Elin Hilderbrand’s books because she’s able to handle so many plot lines and conflicts while also keeping the writing style quick and easy to fly through -aka the perfect beach read. I definitely liked reading from the daughters, Blair, Kirby, and Jessie’s perspectives, more than their mother, who was a bit on the melodramatic side, but I overall loved this book!

I am SO going to read more Elin Hilderbrand books this summer – I think she’s going to be one of my go-tos when I want a book-in-a-day beach or pool read. I immediately put Elin Hilderbrand’s June release, Golden Girl, on hold after I finished reading Summer of ’69

Anna K: Away (Anna K #2) by Jenny Lee 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

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Let it be know already that I love anything having to do with Anna K because I absolutely  LOVED Anna K: Away. The sequel to Jenny Lee’s 2020 release, Anna K, the book picks up during the summer after the events of book #1, in which Anna K & co. are grieving over the loss of Anna K’s beloved (trying to avoid spoilers, but if you’ve read Anna Karenina, you can probably figure out who I’m talking about). Anna K is whisked off to Korea, Dustin, Steve, and Lolly are dealing with their own relationship troubles in NYC, and Bea is off to California for a change of pace of her own.

I just love everything about Anna K: Away so much, from Jenny Lee’s writing style to the glamour and drama of these teens’ world. Yes, it is super extravagant and probably unrealistic, but this book is the absolute perfect kind of escape. I loved all of the settings, from California to the Hamptons to South Korea. I think Anna K’s storyline was particularly my favorite because I loved the K-pop and paparazzi storyline while Anna K deals with loss and figuring out her next steps. I really like Bea as a character so it was fun following her storyline, and Lolly and Steve’s relationship always made for some fun drama. I read Anna K: Away nearly a year after reading book #1 and don’t think you necessarily need a reread to get invested in this sequel. You definitely need to read book #1 before book #2 — and should just read this series regardless because it is such a refreshing and mature take on Gossip Girl-esque YA contemporary. 

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Books I Loved & Not So Loved: YA Mini Reviews

I’ve read so many YA books this spring & summer that I can’t help but fangirl all over about (although I have had a few misses here or there). Today I’ll be sharing two books I LOVED and one I unfortunately didn’t love as much as I wish I had.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

If there’s at least one 2019 YA release that you need to catch up on, it’s Elizabeth downloadAcevedo’s With the Fire on High! With the Fire on High has received so much hype & praise from my bookish friends & fellow bloggers that I knew it was time to finally pick it up. The book follows Emoni, a high school senior living in Philadelphia who dreams of running her own kitchen. When her high school offers a culinary arts class that includes a week-long trip to Spain, Emoni is willing to do anything she can to make sure she gets into that class and go on the trip. But life has never been easy for Emoni, especially now as she raises her two year old daughter and tries to balance her life as a high school student and mother, with her abuela there to support.

Elizabeth Acevedo is so well known for her beautifully written verse. Although With the Fire on High isn’t written in verse, her writing style shines through and was so descriptive! The chapters are between 2-5 pages each, with each chapter title’s alluding to its main theme. I always feel like I blow through books with shorter chapters faster for some reason, which only added to how I could not put With the Fire on High down. Emoni was a really complex character. I think what is likely the most intriguing part of her story is that Emoni has a daughter, having had her when she was a freshman in high school.  Emoni directly disputes a lot of the stereotypes associated with her as a mother. Emoni has to make some tough decisions as a student and as a mother, but she fortunately has her grandmother and her best friend to help support her and her daughter, Emma. Growing up in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood in Philadelphia there are also somer really great discussions surrounding race, as Emoni identifies as Afro-Puerto Rican.Read More »