Beach Reads + Contemporary Romance: July Review Roundup #1 

You likely know that summer is my biggest reading season, in part that if I’m spending the day in the pool or on the beach, I have a book (or two) with me, & that I am fortunate enough to enjoy some extra time off in the summer as a teacher. I’m definitely doing the most amount of reading than I have ever done before in the summer, averaging anywhere between 4-6 books a week. I mentioned in my 10+ book mini review round up back in June that because I’m reading so much, I haven’t been necessarily writing full reviews for every single book I read & I’ve been enjoying the shorter length mini review format where I maybe don’t write as much in my traditional mini review posts and share more books that I’ve read. I have a few full length reviews planned for the next few weeks, but I definitely have a feeling I’ll be sharing another similar round-up in July! Today I’ll be sharing mini reviews forYA and adult contemporary books (including some romances of course) & a few beach reads from Elin Hilderbrand. 

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall – I LOVED The Secret Bridesmaid. This British contemporary following a woman whose hired by brides to be a bridesmaid/undercover wedding planner and is recommended to serve in a royal wedding for a diva of a bride was SO good. It was the perfect blend of self-growth, relationship development (including friendship & romance), and having such a fun story. If you’re a fan of books with some sort of wedding storyline, check this one out! My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane – My local county library branch is closed for at least the first half of July, so I’ve been visiting another local branch and I’ve loved getting to find books that my local library doesn’t have, including so many books from Mhairi McFarlane! She’s a go-to British contemporary romance author from some of my most trusted book rec sources, so I started with what feels like her most recommended book, If I Never Met You. The book uses the fake dating trope, as lawyer Laurie agrees to fake date her co-worker after her long-time boyfriend and also fellow colleague breaks up with her. I liked that the book begins with Laurie’s relationship with her ex and we see the break-up happen and unravel instead of jumping right into the fake-dating. This was overall a fun read and I’m looking forward to checking out more of her books. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Heart & Seoul by Jen Federick – I was running on the reading rush that was Axie Oh’s upcoming XOXO (review coming to the blog on Monday!) That made me want to read another book set in South Korea, leading me to Jen Frederick’s Heart & Seoul. This contemporary romance (although I think it does read more as a women’s fiction/contemporary drama) follows Hara, a Korean adoptee who decides to go to Seoul for the first time to learn more about her birth parents. I liked that the book balanced so many elements and wasn’t all about the romance or Hara’s adoption/birth story. The book puts way more focus on family than the romance, although I did like the relationship. I’ve read a few books with Korea as the setting, but this book gave such an interesting perspective on the lifestyle and customs there. I was kind’ve mixed on the ending, in the sense that I thought it would’ve been a unique ending for a contemporary romance while also wanting MORE and I was happy to find out that there will be a book #2, Soulmates, in January 2022. My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand – I’m on a slight & unexpected mission to read as many Elin Hilderbrand book as possible this year. Elin was recently interviewed on Bad on Paper Podcast, and Silver Girl came up in their conversation. I was a bit hesitant going into this one because I wasn’t super intrigued by the synopsis, as the book follows Meredith’s downfall due to her husband’s Ponzi scheme and hiding from the media with her former best friend in Nantucket for the summer. However, I became so much more addicted to this story than expected, having actually loved the focus on friendship and how the story intertwined the past & present. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

Read More »

Summer Reading Recs: Based on What I Read in 2019 Edition

My ideal summer reads are usually books that are on the lighter and fluffier side. I do delve into some heavier or longer books, but I tend to save a lot of my romance and contemporary reading for the summer time – which happen to be two of my most read genres or most read genre when you’re talking contemporary romance. I plan on having a few summer reading recommendations posts available over the summer. 

This first recommendations list will be based on the books that I read last year. I tend to end the reviews of my most loved summer reads with something along the lines of “this book is the perfect summer read,” or “make sure you bring this book along to the pool or beach,” so I wanted to create a one-stop recommendations list for those! 

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon – There’s Something About Sweetie stole my heart last June. Sandhya Menon’s Dimpleverse books all take place during the summer. The sweet romances make their summertime mood even better. While I highly recommend that you check out 10 Things I Hate About Pinky when it hits shelves on July 21st, especially for its lakeside summer vibes, There’s Something About Sweetie is my personal favorite because Sweetie and Ashish are such a cute couple. 

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen – Whenever I think of perfect YA books for summer, Sarah Dessen immediately comes to my mind. Although almost all of her books incorporate some sort of family element, The Rest of the Story is all about family, as Emma reconnects with with her grandma and cousins as she helps run the family lakeside motel. I think a fair amount of summer YA contemporaries take place at a lake, but this book felt super unique, not to mention cozy & atmospheric. 

Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills – Famous in a Small Town is often a hit-or-miss for Emma Mills fans, but it was a hit for me! While the book does involve Sophie’s determination to get a county music star to help with a fundraiser, the book is really about Sophie and her friends’ final summer together before their senior year of high school. I’ve found that Emma Mills’ books aren’t so plot heavy, but rather focus on friendship and character development instead.  

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo – Somewhere Only We Know was another hit or miss book in 2019 for readers, but I LOVED it! While Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel will forever have my heart, I loved this book’s Roman Holiday-esque adventure as romantic interests Lucky and Jack take on Hong Kong. 

Maybe This Time by Kasie West – Never have I ever devoured a Kasie West book as fast as I did with Maybe This Time. I have memories of beginning this one while floating around the pool and then staying up way past my bedtime, sitting on the couch to finish it! Maybe This Time completed nailed its synopsis, following a girl who works for the town florist and the 9 events where she keeps running into her absolute enemy. It also has one of the few unlikeable protagonists I actually like. 

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne – The Wrong Side of Right came out in 2015, but its a YA contemporary not to miss out on! I think after loving Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue (another FANTASTIC book I read in 2019 and makes for an amazing summer read), I wanted more books somewhat centered around politics. The book follows Kate’s summer on the father she never knew’s presidential campaign and developing feelings for the son of the campaign enemy. I also recommend checking out Jenn Marie Thorne’s Night Music. 

Read More »