SUMMER READS & ANTICIPATED BOOKS: July 2021 Recent TBR Additions

If I have strong enough Internet connection near the pool, you can likely find me adding books to my Goodreads TBR when taking a reading break. I haven’t shared a recent TBR additions post since late spring, but I’ve been pretty busy with review books & library books this summer, but I of course have quiet a few to share today – if you’ve read some of my recent posts, you might know I’ve gone a slight Elin Hilderbrand kick and won’t be sharing all of her books that I want to read here. I’ve organized this post by upcoming/anticipated books and recently released or backlist titles. 

The Layover by Lacie Waldon – I love reading any kind of beach/vacation kind of book during the summer, with Lacie Waldon’s recent release, The Layover, absolutely screaming that kind of read with its cover alone. The book follows flight attendant, Ava, who gets stuck in Belize for a weekend layover with her nemesis and airplane pilot, Jack. 

When It All Lands by Jennie Wexler – Jennie Wexler’s recently released When It All Lands has gotten so much love from a few of my book blogging friends. This YA contemporary is a what-if, love triangle type contemporary, in which best friends Shane and Drew flip a coin to see who gets to ask out the new girl in school, Stevie, and the book is told in a dual timeline following what would’ve happened if the coin landed heads or tails. I recently read this kind of timeline in Taylor Jenkin Reid’s Maybe In Another Life and I enjoyed it a lot. 

One Great Lie by Deb Caletti – I read a few of Deb Caletti’s books during my early/middle school YA reading days and I loved A Heart in a Body in the World a few years ago. I absolutely loved the sound of her recent release, One Great Lie. The main character gets invited to a writing workshop in Venice by a prestigious author, but the story seems to have a darker tone as her male writing instructor takes on an unnerving behavior and she unravels a family mystery about a famed poet. 

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Current Library Holds: May 2021 Edition

You probably know that I am an avid library user. Although I have been buying books a bit more & have been fortunate enough to receive books for review from publishers over the years, I’d still estimate that at least 50% of my books each year come from the library. Around this time of year, as school winds down and I have time off from work for the summer, I’m usually in my local county library branch 2-3 times a week stocking up on reads for the pool & beach. 

Since the pandemic has still slowed down the rate of new books coming in (my library is still also quarantining books for three days after they’ve been returned) & my local branch is on the smaller side, it’s been taking longer than usual for me to get copies of some new releases. That being said, I’ve been putting upcoming releases on hold extra early and making sure to get popular books on hold even sooner lately…which has led to my 10+ book holds list. I know the obvious answer would be to just buy the books myself but I do try to hold myself to a somewhat book budget, aka not buy every new shiny release on my TBR. 

Today I’ll sharing all the books on my library holds list as of this Monday morning – here’s to a few of these coming in this week.. & yes I am fearful that all of these will come in at the same time because I’ll likely only be able to have them out for 2 weeks since many of these are must-reads for the summer. I’m not going to go into too much detail on a few of a titles, since I’ll be sharing & repeating a few in my most anticipated books for Summer 2021 post on Friday and I’ve already mentioned a few of these in anticipated posts. 

Published Books

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – I put The Last Thing He Told Me on my TBR during the week of pub, when all the hype definitely pulled me in. I wanted to get it & read n time for Bad on Paper Podcast’s Book Club episode, but I unfortunately think I’m going to have to wait to listen to the episode until after its released this week. 

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – I totally admit that I thought about buying Take Me Home Tonight so I could read it sooner because I love Morgan Matson’s books so much, but I have heard some mixed reviews about this one & I only own one of her books, Save the Date. I’d probably be more tempted to buy it if I had personal copies of her other books.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren My library either gets new books as soon as they come in and have them ready on pub date or it takes a few weeks for them to come in, and the pandemic and delayed shipping seems to only lengthened the process (obviously am very grateful to have my library of course & that they even order all of these new books!). One of my summer reading goals is to read all of Christina Lauren’s standalone titles so I can finally make my rankings list, so I may try to read books like Autoboyography and My Favorite Half Night Stand in the meantime. 

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My 5 May Must-Reads TBR 

My May has been going super well so far & I have some really exciting things going on this week – I finished my clinical internship last week for my masters program, I just started a full-time job this week (!!), & have my graduation ceremonies for my masters and undergrad degree from 2020 on Friday. With all the new changes and celebrations happening this month, my reading life has been put a little on hold, but I’m hoping to dedicate some serious time to reading on weekends. As always, while I plan on reading more than the books outlined here, I wanted to share my top 5 must-read books for May, including 3 review copies on my to-review list for June. I won’t go into too many details on a few of the books below, since I’ve mentioned at least two of them in some recent blog posts

Anna K: Away (Anna K #2) by Jenny Lee – Anna K: Away is one of my current reads. I’ve been not-so patiently waiting for this sequel since last summer when I read Anna K. The sequel picks up during the summer of book #1’s conclusion, with Anna starting off in South Korea to hide away while her friends & fellow socialites pick up the pieces of their owns scandals & drama. If you love escapist reads, I cannot recommend this series enough. 

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – If we get some nice sunny weather this weekend, I am committing to sitting outside & devouring Emily Henry’s People We Meet On Vacation. I’ve had my Book of the Month copy of this contemporary romance following two best friends, Poppy & Alex, whose relationship has been rocky for the past 2 years until Poppy convinces Alex to go on one last vacation with each other. Like Beach Read, this one screams perfect beach or poolside read. 

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ALL THE UPCOMING BOOKS: April 2021 Recent TBR Additions

As promised in my March 2021 Recent TBR Additions, I’m back with another monthly TBR additions list!  Compared to March, I thought I hadn’t been adding as many books to my TBR this month, but as evidenced by this post, I’m still hitting the ‘add to shelf’ button on Goodreads pretty frequently.  I feel like I haven’t been reading as much as I did last month so far in April – I’ve been averaging about 2 books a week – but it makes me even more excited for May when I graduate from grad school and in theory, should have some more reading time as summer kicks in. 

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher – I’ve been in a big non-fiction mood lately. I usually try to read 1 nonfiction book a month, but I think I’m actually going to be reading multiple non-fiction reads or memoirs over April and May. Given my love for Star Wars over the past year,  I can’t believe I didn’t have Carrie Fisher’s memoir, The Princess Diarist, on my TBR sooner. This one will soon be moving off my TBR, since I just picked it up from the library on Saturday.

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb – I’ve been reaching for more contemporary meets mystery books lately, which led me to one of Book of the Month’s picks, The Hunting Wives. When Sophie’s family moves to Texas, she soon finds herself befriending a socialite, Margot, and her elite clique, The Hunting Wives.  The Hunting Wives comes out on May 18th. 

Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz – Compare any book to Below Deck and I’m there. This November 2021 release follows yacht stewardess Jo and her quest to finish a bucket list of thirty things before her birthday. Things get completed turned upside down when a family tragedy occurs and Jo finds her two nieces joining her for the summer, helping her finish her list. 

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Currently Reading, Mini Life Updates, & My Spring Break TBR 

How are you doing? I’ll be completely honest, I’ve been super all over the place this past month! So many exciting things have been happening behind the scenes of the blog, both bookish and personal life wise – for example, I fortunately have quite a few spring & summer ARCs to dive into over the next few months, and I am in the home stretch of my grad school program, with graduation ahead in May. I realize I haven’t been too detailed about my grad school coursework, but you may know that I’m in a master’s in teaching program to receive my English teaching certification and I keep information about my clinical practicum super private. In the future though, I do want to write some sort of blog post about books I’d love to read with students or use in my classes.

That being said, this month has been super stressful between grad school assignments, including a major assessment that I’m so happy to be completed with but am nervously awaiting my final score, a dead car battery, and loss of a loved one in my family. Although I’ve been content with my blog content this month & I’m really excited sharing reviews for said spring releases in April & May, I feel so behind on blog post scheduling & editing and writing non-review posts. Fortunately, I’m on spring break next week, so I plan on using that time to get caught up on all the things AND read as much as possible. Today’s blog post is a bit of a ramble/life update-esque, but I wanted to talk about what I’m currently reading and what I want to read over the next 2 weeks.

Currently Reading: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I added this much loved high fantasy romance to my TBR last fall, but saved it for post-reading Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Silver Flames, rightfully realizing that I’d be in the mood for another fantasy read. At the time of writing this post on Thursday afternoon, I’m over 400 pages in and plan on finishing it ASAP (or hopefully even by the time this post is published). I’m going to have a full review posted on the blog sometime next week, but I have liked this book a lot so far. I feel like this book does a lot of world-building for the next two books, based on all the details and setting up, but I do admit that once I got to the Rite about halfway through, I have been absolutely HOOKED. 

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Recent TBR Additions: March 2021 Edition

I think it’s time to just make my recent TBR additions a monthly feature on the blog because I love writing these posts so much… but maybe not as much as I love adding books to my to-be-read pile apparently. Despite being busy with school and work, I think I’ve actually been on a pretty normal reading pace. According to Goodreads, I’m currently 8 books ahead of schedule to meet my Goodreads goal of reading 75 books in 2021 and on track to meet my real goal of reading at least 100 books. As we get deeper into spring release season, I’ve been finding more & more 2021 releases I want to read ASAP, including a few books featured below. 

The Flatshare and The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary – After LOVING Beth O’Leary’s The Switch last week, I added both her debut and 2021 release to my TBR. I am SO into the synopsis of The Road Trip – Addie and her sister are roadtripping to Scotland for a wedding when they’re forced to continue the journey with Addie’s ex after a car accident – and I feel like The Flatshare is such a must-read for British contemporary fans like me. The Road Trip comes out on June 1, 2021. 

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala – You probably can infer based on my taste in contemporary romances that I am such a fan of Berkley (the publisher). I’m really excited to check out a mystery from this publisher & Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo has been described as a cozy culinary mystery. Arsenic and Adobo comes out on May 4, 2021. Read More »

FINALLY GETTING TO THESE BOOKS: March 2021 TBR

I shared my March TBR last year around this time in honor of my then spring break, which ultimately became the spring break that never ended because I was sent back home from college within 48 hours at the start of the pandemic. As we all know, this March somehow looks both a lot different and similar as March 2020. Aside from continuing to live with the pandemic, I’m back at my college for my grad school program and of course still reading as much as I can between grad obligations and spending time with friends & family. I have spring break during the last week in March, in which I will be spending as much time away from my laptop as possible and eating up so many of these books & more – as per usual, I’m hoping to get to more books than the ones on this list, but the following books are my priority reads.

The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friendship Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez – I just finished reading and really enjoying Abby Jimenez’s The Friend Zone, so I’m even more excited to check out the second book, The Happy Ever After Playlist, because so many romance readers are OBSESSED with this one. 

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le – I mentioned that I recently borrowed A Pho Love Story from the library in my February 2020 book haul. I’m always ready for an enemies-to-lovers, and I’m really looking forward to diving into this one about two teens whose families own rival pho restaurants. 

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper – Unfollow is my non-fiction read for March. I’m about halfway through this book exploring Megan Phelps-Roper’s experience growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church. I really didn’t know anything about this group prior to reading her book – I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction books about religion – but I definitely see myself going down a research spiral after finishing this one. 

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I was 110% correct when I predicted that I would be in a fantasy romance book hangover after reading A Court of Silver Flames. I’m so glad I saved From Blood and Ash to dive into cure my craving for more ACOTAR like books. Read More »

Top Five Wednesday: Favorite Book Covers on my TBR

I don’t often write entire blog posts dedicated to book covers, but I couldn’t help but love this week’s Top Five Wednesday theme. I wouldn’t say I’m a reader who judges a book by its over…. but I do admit that a beautiful book cover sometimes distracts me from other books on my TBR. I’ve really been loving the illustrated book cover theme over the past few years, especially when it comes to contemporary romances. 

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about the top 5 books on our TBR that are especially screaming for our attention because of their covers. 

Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey – I will absolutely be reading this YA You’ve Got Mail inspired contemporary just for that synopsis alone, but I distinctly remember running to add Last Chance Books to my TBR just because its cover screamed bookishness. The books on the cover remind me so much of the Penguin Drop Caps. 

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian – As mentioned above, I can’t help but love illustrated covers for contemporary romances like It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake. I’m also currently in a bit of a winter rut – I’m so sick of the snow and am counting down to my first beach weekend this year – so this cover screams to my current warm weather need.

What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – This might just be my favorite Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka cover yet because I love the purple color scheme and bookshelves in the background. My absolute favorite element of the entire cover is that their other other YA books are featuring on the shelves – I can spot Time of Our Lives and If I’m Being Honest easily, and I think the female model may be holding Always Never Yours?Read More »

Popular Goodreads Romances I Haven’t Read: Romance TBR

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week has been Romance Week on Goodreads, where they shared a ton of romance recommendations. My favorite post of theirs this week was the 52 Most Popular Romances of the Past 3 Years. You may know that one of my 2021 reading goals is to catch up on popular contemporary romances, and this list definitely helped me figure out which books people have been reading and what I still need to read. I will put out a disclaimer to say that I know Goodreads generates most of their popular books list based on what users have been reading – I was happy to see that they did share an indie romance list curated by author Talia Hibbert. I have shared romance books that are on my TBR in a few posts

I’m glad to say that I’ve read 13 out of the 20 books I put on my contemporary romance TBR last March. I also did read 2 out of the 5 books I shared in a Top Five Wednesday about romance books back in September – 2 out of 3 that I haven’t yet read are actually on the Goodreads’ list, so I won’t be formally talking about them in this post (The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang at #2 and The Happily Ever After Playlist at #41). 

Back to the Most Popular Romances on Goodreads, I’ve read 25 out of the 52 books over the past few years. I also read 7 out of the top 10 most popular romances! While I won’t be adding all 27 of the other books on to my TBR, today I’ll be talking about some of the books I do plan on reading in the near future. The number after each book I list is its ranking on the Goodreads most popular list. 

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (#12) – From Blood and Ash has been highly recommended to me by one of my bookish friends IRL and so many people from the book blog community. I didn’t read much fantasy in 2020, so I’m excited to dive into this series – I’m probably going to hold off on reading until at least March when I’ll likely be in my post A Court of Silver Flames reading slump. 

The Friend Zone by Abbi Jimenz (#21) – I totally admit that I was previously more interested in reading the second book in The Friend Zone series, The Happily Ever After Playlist, because I’ve read so many rave reviews for that book, but I’m actually really intrigued by the synopsis upon this second time checking it out – the main character faces a medical procedure that would make it impossible for her to have children while developing feelings for a guy who would love to have a big family. Read More »

A BOOK CLUB PICK & NEW BOOKS: February 2021 TBR 

You probably know by now that I’m a total mood TBR type of person, but there are a few books I do want to make a point to read in February. This month’s TBR focuses on a few backlist titles I finally borrowed from the library, books for review, and potentially one of my all-time most anticipated fantasy releases. As always, I plan on hopefully being able to read more than just the books on this list. I didn’t include them on the *official* list because I don’t have my own physical copies yet, but I’m also hoping to get to You Have a Match by Emma Lord – waiting for it to come in from the library – & The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon – I’m planning on buying a copy this month. 

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha – If I Had Your Face is the Bad on Paper Podcast book club pick for February. I read at least half of their book club picks in 2020 and I’m always going back to the old book club picks, so I’m excited to join in on the February read. I decided not to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic with them in January because I wasn’t particularly in the mood for it then, but If I Had Your Face sounds like such an intriguing read. The book follows four young women in Seoul, Korea and shines light on the high beauty standards there. 

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes – Based on my 2021 reading goals, I’m going to try to read at least 1 backlist contemporary romance each month. This month I went with Evvie Drake Start Overs because I’ve heard that this is such a heartfelt and soothing read. As a huge fan of sports mixed in romance (hello Bromance Book Club), I’m also interested in the professional baseball player love interest. Read More »