Summer Reading Wrap-Up & Favorites

Summer 2018 was easily one of my best summers, with many thanks to all the books I read. As we transition from swimsuits to sweaters and iced coffee to PSL (even though I’m a hot chocolate and year-round iced coffee kind of girl), I wanted to take today to reflect on my summer reading and all the amazing books I read.

Short Summer Stats:

  • I read a total of 38: 12 in June, 15 in July & 11 in August
  • I read 17 ARCS and 21 published books
  • It’s SO hard to choose, but I think that July was my best reading month because I read some really awesome ARCs, binge-worthy books, and reread the first books in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved before trilogy (Always and Forever, Lara Jean reread  TBD).

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Love & My Language Skills: Love & Gelato Review

Summary: Lina is living in Tuscany for the summer, but not for its fairytale landscape and one million and one gelato flavors. It was her mother’s dying wish for Lina to get to know her father. That she’s never met. All Lina wants to do is go back home. But when Lina is given her mother’s journal about her own experience in Italy, Lina is suddenly uncovering secret romances, night clubs, and hidden barkeries. Along with the boy-next-door, Ren, Lina is determine to unearth a secret that’s been kept for way too long. Maybe there’s more to Italy than love and gelato after all.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

Even as I write this review, I’m still trying to figure out how I didn’t pick up Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Gelato before this summer. A summer contemporary that takes place in Italy and features SO MUCH FOOD that hadn’t previously been on my read list? While I’ve been slowly picking up more fantasy, my heart was craving a contemporary and I decided to give Love & Gelato a go.

I’ve read a few books this season that have fueled my wanderlust, and Love & Gelato is no exception. Jenna Evans Welch transports reader to the Tuscan countryside, with plenty of pasta, mozzarella, and gelato in store. I’m still in shock that Lina didn’t know what a cannoli was before coming to Italy. I guess I live in a somewhat Italian- area because cannolis are (thankfully) available in almost all of the bakeries. I think it was also really obvious how much research Jenna must have put into this book. For example. Ren and Howard often explain Florence’s history and landmarks to Lina.

While there is some romance, the book has a bigger focus on family. Lina is grieving from her mother’s death and moves to Tuscany to meet her father for the first time. I liked seeing Howard and Lina form a relationship, and the journal was a great way for Lina’s mom to have an ongoing role in the story. But I. just. wanted. Lina. to FINISH READING IT! THE ANSWERS ALWAYS LIE IN THE PAGES.

However, it was fun seeing Ren and Lina bond over figuring out her mother’s past, and their banter often made me laugh out loud:

“ “I want to try for another record tomorrow. What was the last kind I had? With the chocolate chunks?”
“Stracciatella.”
“I’m naming my first daughter after it.”
“Lucky her.” ” (173)

My four years of taking Italian between high school and college finally came to use because of Love & Gelato. Knowing Italian isn’t a must for this book, as it’s occasionally used by some of Lina’s friends and locals for smaller phrases. Most of the books I read that do feature other languages usually are in Spanish or French, so it was fun to not have to rely on Google Translate.

Overall, I loved Love & Gelato for its setting, humor, and focusing more on family than romance. I just put Love & Luck on hold from my library and I’ll be reading it as soon as it comes in!

 Have you read Love & Gelato? What’s your favorite ice cream/gelato flavor? Share in the comments!

Sweet Summer Reading: Stay Sweet Review

Summary: Working at Meade Creamery is more than just a summer job for Amelia. The ice cream stand represents a sisterhood, dating back to the WWII era when the stand first opened with an all-girl staff. It’s the place where she met her best friend, Cate, and the two can’t wait to spend their last summer before college scooping ice cream and competing for tips. As the new Head Girl, Amelia is prepared to give the girls in her charge the best summer yet. But when tragedy strikes and Molly Meade’s grand nephew comes to take over the business, Molly goes into protection mode- for the stand, her friends, and her heart.

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 Cover Lust?: Absolutely! Simon & Schuster slays the cover design game (exhibit A and B being Morgan Matson and Jenny Han’s books), and Stay Sweet is no exception. The cover gives you the perfect image of Meade Creamery, and I love how it continues from front to back.

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TBB Asks: Summer Lovin’

As many of you know, summer is my favorite season (and not just for getting to sit by the pool with a good book). I’ve been wanting to do a more lifestyle-type posts lately, and what better way to do so by  participating in The Blended Blog’s June link-up, Summer Lovin’!

Walk or Bike Ride?

Walk. I either like waking up early and getting a nice walk or run in before work or a beach day, or taking a walk later at night with my friends and family.

Favorite Picnic Food?

Watermelon

Pool or Lake?

I’ve actually never been swimming in a lake (I grew up surrounded by the ocean and pools), so pool it is!

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?

Strawberry. In a waffle cone, please!

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Flip Flips or Slides?

Flip flops!

Jean Shorts or Jean Carpis?

I always have trouble finding jean shorts that I’m comfortable in (I’ma much bigger fan of Under Armor shorts in the summer), but I love wearing jean carpis to dinner with friends or on casual dress days.

Favorite Summer Fruit?

Pineapple! I’ve been on a bit of a pineapple-addiction lately, it’s one of my new favorite breakfast foods and dessert.

Corn on the Cob or Cutt of the Cob?

Despite the amount of floss I need after, corn on the cob always wins.

Favorite summertime song?

“Rollercoaster” by Luke Bryan

Bikini’s, tankini’s, or one pieces?

I definitely go for bikinis first, but I have a Nike one-piece that I also love wearing.

Dresses or skirts?

Dresses! I just picked up this dream summer dress from Old Navy:

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One word to describe summer?

Sunshine! While summer can have its fair share of stormy days, I love being outside during the summer, from laying out by the beach to hanging out in the pool with a good book.

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What’s your favorite summer activity, other than reading, of course? Share in the comments!

 

My Beach TBR

While you most likely know Fangirl Fury as a fangirl, I am also  a beach girl. I’ve been very fortunate enough to grow up near the shore and basically have the beach as my backyard- I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how people spend their summer not near the ocean (or that many of my hometown friends don’t like the beach..).

As you can probably guess, the beach is one of my favorite places to read during the summer. On a beach day, I often alternate between reading and going into the water- no worries, I never do both at the same time. Today I’m going to be walking you through my somewhat summer, somewhat beach TBR. Basically, these are books that I’d like to read during beach trips, days by the pool, and in between this season. I’m also going to talk about the books that I have such fond memories of reading in these same spots last summer.

My 2017 Beach TBR Included:

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia- After reading and loving Eliza and Her Monsters, I immediately needed more Francesca Zappia, which led me to Made You Up. Read while tanning on the beach, Made You Up sheds light on mental health, and not knowing what to expect kept me glued to the sand!

The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord- If I had to name my summer after an Emery Lord book, it’d be The Start of Me & My Pool Raft. I read many books floating around the pool (no books are harmed in doing so), including The Start of Me & You. Emery Lord is one of my go-to contemporary authors, and any of her books make for the perfect summer read.

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WHERE’S MY NEW BOOKSHELF? : Most Anticipated Summer 2018 Releases

Summer calls for days spent by the pool and on the beach, catching on TV and movies, and of course, reading ALL the books. Especially some of the amazing new releases lined up for Summer 2018. The books below all come out from June through August, and I actually plan on reading all of them before summer’s end! And don’t mind me while I plan out my anticipated fall releases post– make sure you get some finger workouts in this season for all of that scrolling..

Save the Date by Morgan Matson (June 5)- Save the Date is hands-down my most anticipated release for this summer. I’ve grown to absolutely adore Morgan Matson’s books, and the fact that this book is about a wedding has me ready to read. This blogger LOVES Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings on TLC, and I’m loving this wedding books in June trend continue in 2018 (2017 gave us Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All). I’ve read Morgan Matson’s other books through the library, but I decided to preorder Save the Date because I know I’m going to love it and it has an awesome preorder campaign.

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My Favorite Summer Contemporary Books

summercs.jpgContemporary books set during the summer time are among my favorite types of books. There’s just something about them that makes me want to run to the beach or spend days by the pool (which I end up doing 99.9% of the time)! Listed below are some of my favorite contemporaries set during my favorite season.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson– Frankly, any of Morgan Matson’s novels are great summer contemporaries, but I do love Second Chance Summer the most (even though it caused me to cry A LOT). After they receive devastating news, Taylor and her family decide to spend one last summer together at their lake house in the Poconos Mountains.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares– The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will always have a special place in my heart because it was one of the very first YA book series that I read. All of the books in the series take place during the summer, with the pants traveling between Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget throughout their various locations. If you’re also looking for some summery films, I definitely recommend checking out this series’ film adaptions as well.

My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Life Next Door isn’t just about a summer romance, as it really incorporates family (which I often adore in most if not all young-adult books that I read). Samantha Reed wonders what it’s like to be a member of the Garrett family, her loud and messy neighbors, until she starts dating their son, Jase. Jase and the Garretts embrace Samantha into their family, and Samantha finds herself not only in love with Jase, but the whole family.

The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han– I marathoned Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty series last summer and I’m still so happy that I did. While there’s some different vibes from her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, Jenny Han again proves that she’s one of the queens of young-adult contemporary, writing about Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad’s summers at their beach house. This series has had some really pretty cover changes, but I recommend getting the 3-book bindup from Target (bargain+super summery cover).

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord– One of my recent favorite summer contemporaries, The Names They Gave Us follows Lucy’s summer working at a summer for troubled kids and teens. Lucy is struggling herself, between her mom’s cancer coming back, her recent break-up with her longtime boyfriend, and trying to connect with her faith as her mom’s health gets worse. The Names They Gave Us is a great summer contemporary for its setting and its emotion-filled plot. I have a full review here.

What are some of your favorite summer contemporaries? Share in the comments!