*UPDATED Ultimate Beach Reads 2023 is HERE*
We realize that the idea of going to the beach probably sounds like something that will not happen in the foreseeable future. But, summer is our favorite time to read, and even though most of us may not make it to the beach this summer, that doesn’t mean that we cannot read some great books.
We made of list of our favorite books of the year keeping in mind that we didn’t want anything too “heavy”. Every one of these books is easy to get into and will keep you enthralled until the very last page. We divided the books into genres so you can look through the entire list or skip to your favorite genres. We have fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction, romance, fantasy, thrillers, mystery, non-fiction, and YA.
So dig in, no pun intended, and enjoy the ultimate beach reads 2020!
Or check out Ultimate Beach Reads 2021 here.
*This post may contain affiliate links. We get a small commission if you purchase an item from an affiliate.*
I absolutely loved this story about Oona who at the stroke of midnight on her 19th birthday she finds herself in her 51-year-old body. She is greeted by a stranger who is waiting for her in her home and tells her that every year, she will jump to another point in her life- she will live her life out of order. This is an emotional, well-written story that will not only keep you quickly turning pages but make you think about the small things in life that we take for granted.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
There is something about this book that makes it so easy to read and easy to love. Every character in this book is perfectly flawed. They are funny and relatable. When Astrid Strick witnesses an accident, her life gets turned upsidedown. She starts to think about her life, her children, and her parenting. She questions if she has inadvertently ruined the life of her three grown children who all have issues in their own ways. This book is not all light and funny- it deals with some heavier topics. But, it is the perfect mix of life that makes it so easy to read.
This is another perfect pick from our favorite Indie bookstore. Main Point Books in Wayne did a fabulous job of matching me up with this book that I might not have read otherwise. I needed something with a great story. that would make me feel good and this was perfect. This is the story of two sisters, one farm and the lives that they share. I loved this book for its great story, quirky subject, and great writing. I sat down with this book and had read over a hundred pages before I looked up.
Thanks to NetGalley and Hogarth Press or my free review copy. All opinions are my own. Why did I wait so long to read this book? Because it was so hyped and the premise seemed meh to me. Here’s the thing about Normal People – on the surface it seemed like it might be boring. The son of a housekeeper secretly befriends the daughter of the owner of the house his mother cleans. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a coming-of-age tale. It’s a story of how love really is; how it hurts, how it disappoints, what unsaid things and miscommunications can do to a relationship.
It felt really real. And the way the story was told… it was almost clinical in it’s telling, leaving the reader to pick up on the undercurrents and tensions without having them slammed in your face. I didn’t know whether I wanted them to be together or apart, but I was enthralled the whole time. This was just shy of 5 stars for me and damn close to making our best of the year list. I truly can not wait to see this book be adapted by The BBC.
Ponzi schemes, ghosts, cargo ships, weird-sibling dynamics. Sounds the game I play with my kids where I ask them to name a few random things I turn them into a story. Except this story is way better (and makes way more sense) than any story I could come up with. This tale had me captivated. It’s a dark, honest look at human nature. This was my first experience with Emily St. John Mandel, but now I want to go read Station 11.
Who else loves book recs from indie booksellers? I was so happy to get a recommendation for this book by Kevin Wilson from Main Point Books in Wayne. They promised that it is well written, funny and is a perfect “feel good” book. I was not disappointed at all. I loved this book so much, that it made our list of top books for 2019! The story is about a woman who becomes a nanny for two children who start on fire when they get mad. There is wonderful humor in this book that is centered around strong and beautiful relationships. It is such a well-written and wonderful book I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This contemporary fiction story had been on my TBR for a long time now. When my hold came through from the library, I dove right into this tale of surrogacy and modern parenting. The story isn’t based on a real place but it easily could be. The ethical questions that came up in this book would make for an interesting book club discussion.
Thanks to Libro.Fm and Flatiron for my copy. All opinions are my own.I was blown away by the Cruz’s latest novel which explores her Dominican roots. 15-year-old Ana dreams of moving to America, envisioning a life of glamour, wealth, and freedom. She accepts the hand of a husband twice her age to fulfill her dreams but is in for quite an awakening when she makes it to the Bronx. Her immigrant story was filled with strength and courage as over the course of a year-and-a-half meek Ana is molded into a strong woman. Miserable in her life, Ana is forced to choose between duty to her family and her dreams.
I heard so many mixed reviews and I finally decided to read it and then kicked myself for waiting so long. The story is about sexual harassment in its various forms – mostly around the workplace – and how women handle that harassment in different ways. A lot of the negative reviews stem from people not liking the main characters which I take MAJOR issue with. Harassment is harassment. Character likeability should have little to do with whether or not you believe the claims. There is a lot of grey area with the handling of harassment because it’s a personal issue and no two people will respond to the same harassment in the same way. I thought the author did a great job digging into those grey areas with characters who are complex. This would be a wonderful book club choice – in fact, my IRL book club will be reading and discussing it in December!
Thanks to Scribner for my review copy. Clocking in at less than 150 pages, this one sitting story packs quite the punch. 12 people are connected via flights around the globe, each brief location touching on the next character via their airport connections. As the connections circle the world, the story comes full circle. Though brief, the characters each have depth and poignancy. I wanted to spend more time with each of them – I’m lamenting how short this story was, but impressed by the achievement of how quickly character development took place. It really is a literary #loveactuallywithout the romance
Thank you so much to Atria for my copy of this book. I started reading this book and found that I had a really hard time putting it down. It is one of those books where the main character is completely imperfect and often infuriating but, will grow on you! If you loved The Rosie Project or Eleanor Oliphant then you will love this book. Germaine has lost her job at an insurance company and begins working at a helpline for senior citizens. The mayor has a side project for Germaine. She wants Germaine to help her in the feud between the golf club and the senior citizen center. Sometimes, as Germaine will find out, things are not always what they seem.
Thanks to Atria for my copy. All opinions are my own. Philippa Gregory is back with a new non-royal series. Tidelands is set in 1648 in the midst of the English civil war. The king has been overthrown and the country is in turmoil, but in the marshlands of South, the villagers are worried about survival. Alinor is a healer whose services are both respected and feared. She carefully toes the line between wise woman and witch as she struggles to feed her family. One fateful night she decides to help a catholic priest to safety without realizing the danger this secret would bring to her family. I was shocked at the end of the book and I’m eager to get my hands on the second story.
Thanks to Berkley for my advanced copy. All opinions are my own. I absolutely adored this royal read about Grace Kelly and had trouble putting it down. The storyline is split between Grace’s rise to Hollywood stardom and her future as a settled in Princess. The writing was so captivating that I found myself sneaking pages on my kindle all over town. Kerri Maher brought Grace Kelly to life in this book about her life. I had no idea about her home life struggles, her many romances, or the state of her marriage to Rainer
I loved this story as much on my reread as I did the first time I read it. It truly has it all; romance, intrigue, suspense, family secrets, Shakespeare, and Prosecco. It’s Romeo and Juliet reimagined with their modern-day descendants in a race to break the curse on their families. It’s in my top 10 of all time. This was the perfect book for our reading challenge prompt.
(Thanks to Berkley for my review copy. All opinions are my own.) What a ride!!! The Great Pretenders was not at all what I expected, but I adored it! I was expecting a light-hearted story about the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood. And I was expecting Cary Grant, Ginger and Fred, Rock Hudson and the like. I got them, but this story had meat on its bones. Roxanne is a granddaughter of a movie studio head but she decides to strike out on her own as a Hollywood agent. Upset with her grandfather’s callous treatment of his loyal writers with former communist ties (This is prime McCarthy Era) she begins representing blacklisted writers under pseudonyms. As if this plotline wasn’t compelling enough, she then begins a deep and meaningful romance with a young black journalist covering the emerging civil rights movement. The author brought to light so many issues of the time in such a thoughtful way. I had never considered how the shifting politics of the time would affect the film industry. The glamour of Hollywood was present, the book was overflowing with old movie references (which I adored), but it was the love and personal growth at the heart of this story that I found most compelling. If you are interested in a beach read that will leave you thinking, this is your book.
I started reading this book but when my audiobook library hold came in I changed over to the audiobook version. HOLY COW. The audiobook is EVEN BETTER. Seriously, I think this might have been my favorite audiobook of all time. I expect it to sweep the Audies this year for sure. The book is laid out in chronological order about the making of a band in the 70s, but the story is told in interview style from a dozen sources. The audio version has a different narrator for each character and the performances the actors give are stupendous. I was overcome with emotion numerous times while I was listening. The story itself about the rise and fall of one of the hottest bands was so utterly fabulous – it’s pure sex, drugs and rock n’ roll in all the best ways. There is a Spotify playlist that goes with it – scroll down for all the details.5 stars and a standing ovation.
(Thanks to BookSparks for my review copy. All opinions are my own.)
I was expecting a lighthearted read, but this book had more soul than I was expecting! Set in 1938 in Montauk among the glamorous world of Manhattan’s summering elite, it was full of secrets and romance. It’s sort of like a historical fiction version of an Elin Hildebrandt book with romance and personal growth as our heroine discovers true love in a sleepy beach town. I shed a few tears at the ending – which took me completely by surprise by the way! There is a short, not-so graphic rape scene – so if that’s a trigger for you, steer clear. Otherwise, I applaud this debut and recommend it for your beach bag! 3.5 stars
Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me the ARC of this fantastic historical fiction novel. I was so excited to get a copy of this story which is set against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s wedding to the Prince of Monaco. It was a second chance romance, a story of female friendship, and it was fantastic. It’s hard for me to figure out which character I loved the most – possibly Grace herself. Just know that Grace is more of a minor character in the story. I listened to parts of it on audiobook as well, and I can recommend that one too!
I had only a vague understanding of who Wallis Simpson was going into this novel, and boy was she a pistol. Cold, calculating, and selfish, I loved to hate her. It was so interesting to see her machinations from another point of view. She was ruthless in her pursuit of what she wanted. Gill Paul also wove in a mystery set in London at the time of Princess Diana’s death which I found to be well-done too. This is a great historical fiction book about the more recent parts of the British Monarchy. I highly recommend it for fans of The Crown.
I was OBSESSED with Gill Paul’s book Another Woman’s Husband when I read it earlier this year so I was eager to try another of her books. The Lost Daughter follows a similar format of skipping between two different timelines, this time exploring the Romanovs. The first tells the story of Grand Duchess Maria in 1918 and the second is set in 1973 when Val Doyle seeks to investigate her father’s dying words. Maria’s story drew me in immediately, but I floundered a bit when it skipped over to Val’s portions. I just didn’t feel a connection to her and found myself wishing it would get back to Maria’s parts. Still, it was a good story if you are interested in a lesser-known Romanov
Back when we made a round-up of books to read if you love The Crown, I mentioned that I wanted to read this book and I finally got around to it! I knew a little about Princess Margaret from what I gleaned from the show, but it was nice to focus on her as the main character. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had she been the Queen of England. She actually reminded me a lot of Wallace Simpson. She was most definitely a royal rebel. She’s still not my favorite royal but this historical fiction helped me understand her life, personality, and pressures.
She also knows that this “gift” will stand in the way of having a successful relationship because she cannot stop blurting out truths whether she wants to or not. When Vanessa’s aunt offers to bring her to Paris to hone in on her skills and get her life in order, Vanessa goes. As she finally gets to experience Paris, she wonders if she can change her destiny as well.Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s future in tea leaves and spent her entire life fighting it.
Jamie is my go-to when I want a good beach read. She relocates each summer to immerse herself in the area she’s planning to write about and it shows. This story was set in Provincetown and I was totally transported to the locations she describes. Ruth, Olivia, Elise, and the rest of the cast felt like friends by the time this story was over. I laughed, I cried, I was sad to get to the last page. It had a little bit of everything – a wonderful read for the summer season.
I love Jennifer Weiner. Her writing is always fun and completely engaging. This story was no exception. It added a twist that I did not see coming but, loved. The story has a little “more” than some of her other books and it adds to the story. In a world of Instagram and influencers, mean girls and over the top weddings this book asks the question: Can people really change? This book is coming out in May and is perfect to read on the beach or a virtual beach with some ocean sounds in the background! Thank you so much to Atria for my copy of this book.
I loved this book that has a little bit of everything. Francesca owns The Whispering Dress bridal boutique. where she matches each bride with the dress they need, not the dress they think they should wear. When she find s a one of a kind dress from the 19050’s, everything changes. She starts to break her won first rule: never covet a dress. As her own history is developed, a new possibility for a future emerges as she becomes more infatuated with the dress. I love this feel-good book. Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for my copy of this book.
Thank you so much to BookSparks for my copy of this book. As soon as I saw the description, I knew that this was a book for me and it did not disappoint at all. The story is about 3 friends who have one thing in common- Molly. When Molly dies, she requests, in her will, that her three best friends meet for Sunday brunch once a month for a year. I fell in love with each of these characters who are flawed in their own ways. This book made me feel good. It is a perfect book to remind you of the importance of friendship. In these times, I can’t think of a more perfect book,
What a refreshing book about the power of love and friendship. I sat down and read this book in one sitting easily. It is captivating from the first sentence and had me until the last page. Dannie is an ambitious lawyer with a plan. She has her life planned out until she falls asleep and spends one hour in the future. Nothing is familiar- not her house, the ring on her finger or the man by her side. When she wakes, she cannot get the images out of her head. I loved this book.
Thank you so much to Atria for sending us To Have and To Hoax. It was the perfect read for February for our reading challenge. I loved this hilarious read. Lady Violet Grey and her husband Lord James Audrey fell in love and got married in a whirlwind romance. Five years later, they barely speak because of “the Argument”. When Lady Grey receives a letter that says her husband is unconscious after being thrown from a horse, she rushes to his side only to find him awake and drinking in a tavern. She decides to teach him a lesson.
The story is a quick-moving battle of wills that will have you simultaneously rooting for them and wanting to smack some sense into them. It’s perfect for fans of Jane Austen.
Thank you so much to Netgalley for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This is such a wonderful story about Missy Carmichael. She has lived her life in a constant state of worry and regret. Now that she is alone with her thoughts, she has the time to wonder if she would have done things differently. Missy is estranged from her daughter, her son lives in Australia and the love of her life, is gone. She spends her days drinking and cleaning overcome by her loneliness, secrets, and regrets. With the help of a wonderful dog and some beautiful friendships, Missy begins to learn the power of forgiving. This is perfect for anyone who loved “A Man Called Ove.” For more books like these, check out our list of 9 Books Like A Man Called Ove
A pick for Reese’s Sunshine Bookclub, I enjoyed this story about Susan Green’s unlikely quest for love. When her mother dies and leaves her home to Susan’s brother, Susan decides to hire a lawyer and get what she thinks is owed to her. Susan also finds out that she is pregnant and she starts to lose control of her meticulously controlled life. Meet Rob, her brother’s best friend and the opposite of everything she has ever thought she liked before. This quirky story is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant.
Amy Meyerson’s newest novel has something for everyone. When their grandmother, Helen, dies she leaves the Millers an unexpected treasure. A yellow diamond so large, it can only be the famed Florentine Diamond…which has been missing since 1918. As they search for how Helen came to possess the bauble, family drama is stirred up, romances come and go, and intrigue is everywhere. It was a fast, fun read.
I just adored this book. It was such a sweet and light romance. When Evvie’s husband dies unexpectedly in a car crash, she is still staying in her house a year later. Everyone in her small town thinks that she is overcome with grief but in actuality, it is guilt. Dean is a retired major league baseball pitcher who woke up one day and was unable to throw the ball over the plate. When he moves into the apartment in the back of Evvie’s house the two become friends and agree to never talk about baseball or the dead husband. This book was an easy and enjoyable read.
What a fun beach read! Jackie read this one last year but I only just got around to it. Remember Emily from the Devil Wears Prada? Well, she’s back and just as blunt and outrageous as ever. This time, Emily is an image consultant relocating to Connecticut to help her latest client get out of a scandal. Fluffy and fun, don’t expect anything serious in this book.
I literally squealed with joy when I got my advanced copy of Wife after Wife from Berkley and Netgalley. It’s billed as a modern-day account of Henry VIII and his wives. Literally could not be more up my royal-loving alley. In this modernization, Harry is a media mogul and owner of Rose Corp. Obviously I know all about the wives of Henry VIII, but I had no idea that Anne would be a magazine editor or Jane would be recast as a lowly secretary. I gobbled up the details and I can say that it’s been a pure indulgence. It’s been absolutely delicious to see how the ladies go down. Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived
This was an easy-to-read book that I really enjoyed. There wasn’t anything particularly unique about the book but, I have enjoyed every book by Elin Hilderbrand that I have read. This book centers on the relationship (or lack thereof) between twins who, in the style of the Parent Trap, each grew up with one parent. I finished with a feel-good feeling
There are so many books about books. In fact, we did an entire post on them. that you can read here. Not only does this book fit into the list but, it was such an enjoyable read as well, There is character development and growth, in this story about Madeline Cullen. When she inherits her Aunt Maddie’s book shop, she questions why. As she tries to save the struggling shop, she begins to learn more about herself and her Aunt.
The Roxy Letters got me through an intense bout of spring cleaning at the onset of our state’s closure. It’s cheerful and upbeat looks at a millennial struggling to find herself in Austin, TX. I was rolling my eyes at Roxy and also laughing the whole time. This would be a wonderful beach read should we ever be allowed out of our houses again.
Thank you so much to William Morrow for my copy of this book. I love Jenny Cogan and I was so happy to have an advance copy. This book, while related to her previous book “The Bookshop on the Corner”, is not a sequel. In fact, I felt that this book was a departure from her previous work. It dealt with some issues that are definitely more serious and delved into these issues in her unique way. The book felt light and easy to read even though it had some more serious issues without trivializing them. Despite the length of the book( 400+ pages), I really wish the ending was longer. I loved the character development and wanted more. I’m hoping there is a sequel!
Allegra Cobb works as an analyst and plans to quit as soon as her bonus comes in. Her plan is to become a Yoga instructor. She lives on caffeine while trying to work 20 hours a day. When Allegra’s idol, a yoga instructor with a huge following on Instagram approaches her, Allegra wonders if she can make it to bonus day before jumping ship. The book is readable and at times hilarious. I read it quickly and enjoyed the book very much until I got to the end. For me, I was left with the feeling that a few things just did not make sense. I do not want to give any spoilers but, it seems like the book just ended and wrapped up without giving a plausible explanation. Thank you to Atria for my copy of this book
Thank you so Netgalley for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I was so excited to receive a copy of this book. What could be better than a book about a bookstore, Paris, and Christmas- especially at Christmas time? When Sarah Smith, a bookshop owner is offered a chance to do a bookshop exchange with her Parisian friend, she jumps at the chance. Her book shop has been struggling, her boyfriend is consistently away on assignment and she feels stagnant. She hopes Paris will be just what she needs. I wish the relationship between Sarah and her boyfriend was more believable. I feel like I came in without a background of why these two are together for reasons other than their chemistry. This book was a cute and easy read.
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
I am still having a really hard time reading during this “stay-at-home and homeschool three children while working” pandemic. Recently, I’ve changed up my genres a bit and I’ve been indulging in feel-good reads and Fantasy. This book was a definite feel-good book with the most fun little twist. Every chapter has a song to go with it. It’s the perfect song to go with the mood of the chapter.
I loved this book so much that I immediately read the first book in this series. Even though I read them out of order, I didn’t affect the readability for me.
Want a funny romance? You Deserve Each Other totally fits the bill. This hilarious tale of an engaged couple hit the spot for me this weekend. They don’t love each other anymore, but neither Naomi or Nick wants to be the one to call off their engagement. Whoever does, foots the bill for the whole shebang. Shenanigans ensue as they attempt to get each other to end the relationship. I was giggling so often that my kids started getting angry. It was cute, light-hearted, and utterly predictable.
Want a quick, cute read? This one is for all you Chip and Joanna Gaines fans. Imagine if behind-the-scenes a beloved TV decorating couple actually hated each other’s guts. Then imagine that they have decided to put out a book about their marriage and are heading out on tour. How to keep the trouble in paradise under wraps? Bring along a longtime female assistant and new handsome quasi-assistant to monitor the situation. Let’s just hope the assistants can stay out of each other’s pants long enough to keep their bosses out of trouble. Utterly predictable, but still charming. Not my favorite book by this duo, (still thinking about Twice in a Blue Moon ❤️) but it had me engrossed enough to keep my thoughts off of quarantine.
This is one of my favorite romances I have read in a while. This LGBTQ+ romance is so much fun and had all the romance musts. Great characters- check, royals with a steamy romance- check, check, funny sidekicks- check. I read this in two days and loved every minute.
This was a book that I totally enjoyed. I read reviews that people didn’t like Chloe. They thought she was whiny and annoying. I completely disagree. I thought that she was funny, quirky, and had more depth than I initially thought. It is a well-written romance with a little more story than I usually find in this genre. Thank you so much to Libro.fm for my copy of this book.
Thanks to Berkley for my copy. All opinions are my own. This was billed as historical fiction but it’s really historical romance. Heavy on the romance. In order to keep her scholarship to Oxford, Annabelle Archer must sway the Duke of Montgomery to her cause aka the suffrage movement which took hold of Victorian England in 1879. It’s such a heart-warming book that also taught me a bit about the British women’s suffrage movement. I learned a bit about inheritance law too, but it was FOR SURE the romance that had me flipping pages with a goofy grin on my face. The sparks between Annabelle and Sebastian were palpable. Bringing Down the Duke was a breath of fresh air for my reading stack and I thoroughly enjoyed it
This book was an absolutely perfect book to read over my break. It was so easy to read with the perfect amount of love story and animal rescue. The writing isn’t deep but it has a little more to it than I thought it would when I picked it up. This book is the perfect “rom-com”.
Thanks to NetGalley and Emara Publishing for my free review copy. All opinions are my own. Continuing with our Droughtlander coverage… now this book I loved! Some Like it Plaid jumped out at my on NetGalley for two reasons – Abs and Tartan 🥰. There is literally no shame in my Scotland game. I love a good brogue, kilt, or red head. In this story, our hunky future chieftain leaves 1st century Scotland for 2019 San Francisco to catch himself a wifey, whom he promptly teleports back to Scotland (Druid magic IDK) and shenanigans ensue. Funny, romantic, and totally cute. I loved it!
I adored Orenstein’s debut last year, so I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of Love at First Like. Luckily, my friends at Atria were happy to send me along a copy to review. I adored it. I lapped the whole thing up in one weekend at the beach. The story of a jewelry store owner who gets sloshed and posts a faux-engagement announcement to her 100k Instagram followers had me cracking up and smiling from ear-to-ear. It also had me purchasing jewelry! Good thing this Meghan Markle ring was on sale 😬
Thanks to Melanie Summers for my free review copy. All opinions are my own. I first reviewed Melanie’s The Crown Jewels trilogy a few years and I loved it. It literally had me cackling and swooning all at once, so I had to jump at the chance to review her newest series – Paradise Bay. The first book did give me a few chuckles as it set up both the new series locale (Paradise Bay Resort) and it’s owner’s love story. Here’s where the problem was for me. The owner’s name is Harrison and the female lead calls him Handsome Harrison and talks about his abs and his… well…. My brother’s name is Harrison! It’s really hard to feel gooey for a book when the only other person you know with that name is someone you NEVER want to think about like that. I had to constantly read it as Harold or something which just didn’t work well in my mind.
I did love the story, the new location, and the funny characters and I can’t wait to start the next book in the series – but I just couldn’t swoon over this particular lead. Don’t worry though, I think most of you will find Handsome Harrison quite charming. I immediately gave this book to my Harrison’s wife and I’m confident she will enjoy it.
Thanks to Libro.FM and Gallery Books for my review audiobook. All opinions are my own. Omg. Is it possible for me to give this book all the heart eyes? 😍😍😍 This was my first ever Christina Lauren book and I don’t know how I’ve held out for this long. I mean… have I been living under a rock? Sam was Tate’s first love when she fell for him on her 18th birthday trip, but he exposed her in the worst way possible. Now a big-name actress, the last person she expects to see on-set is the man who broke her heart. UGH. I loved it so much. It gave me all the feels!!! Second chance romance novels are just made for cozy fall night -especially when they are set on a farm!! Ok. Done cheesing, but you should totally read this one, guys!
So, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into when I started reading this romance. It was definitely a lot steamier than I had anticipated. When Travis Ford, an injured and retired baseball superstar, returns back home, he is in a state of depression. Georgette Castle, the best friend’s little sister, knows just how to smack some sense into him. While Georgette is able to get Travis to stop wallowing in self-pity, he decides to help her family take her more seriously. Having a job as a clown can make that difficult. It was a great romance that has many a 17 years + scene but, it is a fun summer read.
Well Met by Jen Deluca
Thanks to Berkley for my copy. All opinions are my own. Sometimes you read a book and you just want to go back and read it again. I loved Well Met!!! I never thought I would be interested in a renaissance fair but this book gave me all the feels. Emily lost her job and her boyfriend at the same time that her big sister broke her leg. Emily decides to move to Willow Creek to help her sister care for 14-year-old April, where she is promptly tricked into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire run by Simon. So now Emily is a wench…Simon is a Pirate…and obviously we know where this story is going. It’s the journey on this one, guys. It’s filled with feels, cute scenes, and romance. I couldn’t put it down. I’m pretty sure hearts actually came out of my eyes at multiple points while reading. I loved it so much!!! This book gives me total modern-day Pride and Prejudice vibes.
Are you looking for a swoon-worthy New Adult romance that is laugh-out-loud funny? I got you. I downloaded The Chase and The Risk for my plane flight because I love cheesy NA college romance books when I’m flying. They suck me in right away, keep me turning the pages, and make the flight fly by. No pun intended (but kind of intended.) I was laughing so often and so loud, that my husband told me I was embarrassing him. I couldn’t help it! Elle Kennedy kills me every single time. This series features hockey players at Briar U and the girls that they fall in love with. They are so hilarious but also swoon-worthy and there are some serious sex scenes in here – so fair warning if that’s not your jam.
Looking for your next 50 Shades style book-boyfriend? Let me introduce you to Jesse Ward. He’s rich, handsome, controlling, and an ace in the sack. His love story with Ava is all cliches and “central Jesse Cloud 9s” and I was totally into it. Look, sometimes we need a little fluffy palate cleanser and This Man is the perfect book series for that. Seriously it’s 50 shades 2.0 minus the kinky parts (well mostly.)
I loved the Disney cartoon Gargoyles when I was a little girl, so when I saw a YA Fantasy book about the creatures, I knew I needed it. I read this to help ease me out of my House of Earth and Blood book hangover and it was a perfect read. It’s actually a spin-off of one of Armentrout’s other series, which I didn’t know until after I read the story. I didn’t feel like I missed anything having read this first. Gargoyles are Wardens out to fight demons and protect humans, and one special human in particular. It’s more romance than fantasy. – 3 stars.
I started this at the beginning of the pandemic, couldn’t concentrate, had no idea what was going on and I walked away. After Jackie and I decided to buddy read it, I picked it back up and by page 69 I was ravenous for more. Jackie and I continued to stay in sync until I got to chapter 57 at which point I read the remaining 300+ pages in one sitting. I sobbed multiple times. Like legit ugly crying.
It’s an urban fantasy – which is new to me. So there were skyscrapers, cellphones, and video surveillance, but also fairies, werewolves, angels, demons, and witches with history and power. It was a wild ride. My initial turn off of too many names/places/tribes/species types was quickly overcome by the insane world-building. I cannot wait for the next book to come out
Ninth House by Leigh Brdugo is a masterfully crafted fantasy that had to be added onto top 20 of the year – so now we are at 21. As a matter of fact, it was one of only two fantasies to make the list and you all know that fantasy is my thing. I love the fact that it takes place at Yale where a number of secret societies actually exist. I felt like it could be true and that I should have gone to Yale so I could learn magic too.
This is a dark, complex fantasy that was so captivating, I listened to it in a day. I would love nothing more than to go to Yale and have Ms. BArdugo take me on a walking tour of all the places that she references in the book. The book ends on a total cliffhanger which usually makes me mad- pissed off is a more apt description. I like a clear ending. In this case, I am only a little mad because it means the story isn’t over and I cannot wait for the next book.
Once I picked up this book I could not put it down. I love a good fantasy- especially one that has great characters and a believable storyline. I mean, that’s what makes a fantasy great. If you read it and can believe that somewhere, in some other place, the story happened, the story becomes that much better. The idea of using memories as a currency is so original. I love how the story developed and the characters grew along their journey. There were a few surprises along the way as well. Thank you so much for my copy of this book. My review is entirely my own and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
This book has been in my TBR stack and I finally got a chance to read it. It is a fantasy that takes place in Paris in 1889 where coercion, magic, betrayal, and murder are the norm. Severin and his fiercely loyal friends come together to find an ancient artifact in the hope of also obtaining Serverin’s inheritance. This was a very enjoyable read .
I’ve never read a book quite like this and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is subtle, the plot is driven by character and intrigue rather than action-packed suspense. It has a feel of historical fiction about it that lovers of this genre may love this book as well. When January is seven years old, she stumbles upon a door that leads her to a different world. When she is reprimanded for lying about the door, she eventually forgets about it until she finds the book “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” years later. January becomes intrigued and the real story begins. The story alternates between the story of January and the book. The concept is such a fun way to narrate the plot. At times, the plot moved a little bit slowly as one storyline stopped and another began in the alternating chapters. While I did like the way this was done, at some points, I felt that it slowed the story down a little too much because it took time to concentrate on the alternate plot. Overall, I really liked this book. Thank you so much to NetGalley for my copy of the book.
I’m not usually a huge fantasy reader, but I’d heard such wonderful things about this book that I had to give it a try. The world-building in this book was incredible. Each detail and person was so vividly described that I felt as if I had been to the city of WEEP before. The ending left my heart pounding. What a cliff-hanger!! I immediately put myself on hold for the next book in the duology. I can’t wait to head back into this world next month.
This is one of the best mystery thrillers that I have read in a long time. I loved this book from beginning to end. Years ago, Malcolm, a bookseller, wrote a blog post that included books with the most unsolvable murders. One day, an FBI agent comes to his store to ask him about that post. She believes that someone is using it as a recipe for committing murders. The book has twists and turns and is so well-written!!!
Don’t you feel that some books are just meant to be listened to and not read? That’s how I felt about Daisy Jones & The Six, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Echo, and now Saint X. (Thanks to libro.fm for my advanced audio copy.)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Saint X. I think I was suspecting a thriller or a mystery – because the story opens with an 18-year-old girl who dies on her tropical vacation with her family. Her then 7-year-old sister, Claire, is our narrator. Now in her 20s after a chance meeting with someone connected to the case, Claire is trying to figure out exactly what happened all those years ago. The story is also peppered with accounts from a few other key people in the case. Each one of these players is a different narrator which just made the entire production feel real. But it doesn’t quite fit into one genre. It’s also a book about the relationship between sisters, even those separated for years. The other part of the story that I love is the subtle commentary on race and class that are woven through-out.
Thanks to Atria for my copy. All opinions are my own. This historical fiction novel is part mystery, part love story, and part thriller. MacNeal’s debut takes place in Victorian England during the time of The Great Exhibition. Iris dreams of learning to paint like a true artist, while she tolls away with her twin sister in a doll shop. Silas is a curiosity collector that can’t seem to get Iris out of his head after their chance meeting, and Albie is the rag-a-muffin street urchin I wanted to take home. Their stories weave together in a slow-burn until the blood pumping, heart racing conclusion.
I know so many people who LOVED this book and even though I liked it quite a bit, the ending totally ruined it for me. I felt like I didn’t get closure. Where was the ending for these characters? I want to know what happened to them 6 months later. Maybe that is the sign of a great book- wanting to know more but, I was left disappointed. I kept thinking to myself- “the book is almost done, how is it going to answer all my questions in the few pages left?” Well, it didn’t. I am mad. haha 4 stars
Thanks to Simon Books for a free review copy. This past weekend I found myself on a beach in the mood for a good thriller. I finally cracked this bad boy open (can you crack open a digital book?) and I finished it in 3 days. The story descriptions were wonderful. I could vividly picture what I was reading. I liked the way the story was told in a dual timeline, I liked the many red herrings thrown in, and I was committed to making sure the main character came out unharmed. As with any thriller, the trick to success is not being able to predict the twists. I was, unfortunately, able to come up with most of the plot points before the main character. The very, very ending took me a bit by surprise in how the climax played out, but overall, I saw the premise coming from a mile away. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book, I just never got to the point of heightened anxiety that I expect in an unpredictable thriller.
This book was heavily hyped when it first came out but having just had a baby I was not interested in reading this whopper of a book. Then in 2018, Patrick Dempsey started in a TV mini-series based on the novel. I finally decided to pick it up. The story of Marcus Goldman and his quest to learn what really happened between his mentor Harry Quebert and 15-year-old Nola Kellergan. Did Harry commit the murder he is now being accused of? Will Marcus write the great American novel? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!
A friend of mine introduced me to this series and I quickly became obsessed. I read this cozy mystery in one day. Maisie Dobbs is not your typical PI. For a start, she is a woman working as a PI in 1929. She is smart, thoughtful, and fun to read. I was looking for a great mystery series and this hit just the right spot.
Thanks to Doubleday for my free review copy. All opinions are my own. The Body Double is a dark character study of an unidentified female hired to impersonate a high-profile celebrity. The majority of the book is her inner dialogue as she studies tapes, interviews, and home videos of Rosanna. As she begins to feel as if she is Rosanna, she starts stepping out in public, going to restaurants and doing interviews. The slow-building tension of this book had me enthralled.
I love Lisa Jewell. As I read her books I find each one creepier than the last. This, the newest novel in her arsenal, starts with Libby’s 25th birthday when she inherits a multi-million dollar home. Libby knows that she was adopted at 10 months old. She does not know the truth about what happened to her family. When she inherits a mansion worth millions, she starts to investigate her strange past. She is shocked to find that the story that she was told is not what happened to her family.
25+ years ago Henry, his sister, and parents are living a very privileged life. When he is 12 years old, things change when David moves into the house with his wife and kids with no plans to leave. He is charismatic and alluring to everyone except Henry. The story moves between past and present until the two stories come together and you finally understand what happened in the house all those years ago. I really enjoyed this book. Thank you to NetGalley for my copy. My thoughts are my own.
Thanks to Crooked Lane Books for my copy. All opinions are my own. Finally! A thriller that actually thrilled me! One Little Secret is a who-dun-it murder mystery about 3 couples who sublet a house in the Hamptons for a week. When one of them turns up dead, it’s up to Detective Watkins to figure out who did it. There were secrets unveiled on almost every page, but the last 50 or so had me gasping out loud repeatedly. I totally did not see the ending coming. If you are looking for a great thriller, look no further!! This is perfect for fans of The Silent Patient and Woman in the Window.
Thanks to MacMillian for providing us with a review copy. I was so excited to read The First Mistake since Sandie Jone’s last book The Other Woman was one of my favorite thrillers of 2018. The premise had me intrigued. On the surface, Alice’s second marriage, her career, and her children are thriving, but are they? Her husband begins acting suspicious, and after what happened to Alice’s first husband, she turns to her best friend, Beth, for support. But Beth might not be the best person to turn to for help. Doesn’t it sound delicious? I thought so too, but I was able to pick out literally every plot point down to the “surprise” that’s uncovered at the big show-down. MAN. The more of these psychological thrillers I read, the more I am able to predict the ending. I hate it. I like it so much more when I am utterly surprised. Still, the writing was good, the characters were well-drawn, but there were just a few too many clues along the way.
I expected this to be a murder thriller because the premise is a mom and her two children suddenly disappearing. Really, it was a slow-burn about the aftermath of an unsolved crime. Two neighbors react very differently to the mystery and the main suspect – the soon-to-be ex-husband. This was cruising steadily at a 3 star for me until the ending – which took me completely by surprise.
I read this totally creepy psychological thriller just in time for Halloween. It was completely disturbing, to say the least. When Jules takes a job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, an ultra-exclusive building in the heart of Manhattan it couldn’t come at a better time. She has lost her job and this position is too good to pass up. She just has to follow a few rules- How hard can it be?
Thank you so much to st martins press for my copy of this book. It is a thriller that had me totally captivated from the first page. There is not a single character that I liked. Think mean girls, push-overs, and narcissists all together in an over the top boarding school. It’s Lord of the Flies in a dorm and I couldn’t put it down. The ending wasn’t surprising but, in this case, I didn’t mind knowing “ who dun it”. It didn’t ruin the book at all. A really fun read.
I was late in the game to this story, but I wanted to read it as prep for the Reading Challenge. I was enthralled by the heroics of the team. The sheer force of will and strength it takes to get in that boat and win. I thought I would be bored by the minutia of rowing, but I wasn’t. The mechanical part of it, the precision, it just made me appreciate the skill of rowing even more. The Olympic games gave me such a heightened sense of American pride. I was rooting for the team and cheering them on the whole time.
This book was utterly enthralling. I had heard mixed reviews of this book going into it but I think I figure out where the love/hate comes from. This book has a lot of graphic sex in the form of statutory rape, affairs, and swinging partners. The scenes are graphic but not designed to titillate the reader like a 50 Shades book…but rather to explain why the women felt the way they did. Why they felt power, or love, or understanding in the sexual encounters. So it feels very voyeuristic on some level because it’s so deeply personal. As I said, I thought it was outstanding but I can so easily see how it is not everyone’s cup of tea.
This very short memoir by Gary Janetti was more a collection of short stories than anything else. I read it at the car dealership in one sitting and had to stop myself from being that crazy person a few times while reading it. I knew nothing of Janetti before I got this book, but I felt like I instantly knew him as a friend. His humor is self-deprecating with a side of diva and I was utterly charmed.
I’ve been a longtime fan of the Simplified Planner so I jumped at the chance to review Emily Ley’s newest book. Thanks to @Libro.fm and @thomasnelson publishing, I got a chance to listen in advance of its release day – which had me squealing with delight since I had preordered the physical copy months ago! I started the book during a time where I was feeling particularly low and it became a balm to my heart. Here I was with a schedule so cluttered by things I “needed” to do and I wasn’t able to take care of myself leading up to a time of year that is always emotionally draining for me. The result was that my usual sadness was compounded by the burden of overwhelm. I was fried. I cried at the littlest things, I went through the motions of being ok and having things under control when inside I wanted to curl up in a ball and just be. And then… at my lowest… I got this book. And then I got inspired. Because Emily tells us it’s OK to not do all the things. That the joy of life is in being present, in making time for spontaneity, and in connecting in a meaningful way with our loved ones
I read this book as WAY advanced research for August’s reading challenge topic after it was recommended to me by Handsome Harrison’s wife. This non-fiction memoir about Beck’s life as the stenographer in the Obama White House read like a fiction book. It was like Sex and the City meets Scandal. I had no idea how juicy things got in Washington! I also appreciated how much Beck respected the Obamas and the work they did for our country.
I absolutely adored this YA romance. It is wholesome and totally appropriate for a younger audience but sweet and fun for adults as well. This book is perfect for fans of The Sun is Also a Star and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. The story looks at what happens when you can no longer depend on your sight. Tessa learns to use her other senses with the help of Weston. He is a 16-year-old boy with an outgoing personality and no legs. He is the only one who knows what it is like to lose something you depend on every day. Despite trying to push him away, Weston comes to visit Tessa and help her learn to really “see”. Even though you will guess the ending of the book (It has a very fairy tale feel to it), it is well written and I became emotional while reading it. It is a perfect book to sit and binge read.
When 17-year-old Veronica finds out that she is pregnant, she knows that she needs to get an abortion. Somehow Jenni Hendricks and Ted Caplan have written a funny book that deals with complex issues like abortion. This YA fiction is a book about love, loss, and friendship that will tug on your heart as it brings you back to those dreaded teenage years (or assures you that you are not alone if you are still loving it). I read the book in a day and a half. It was easy to read and hard to put down. Thank you to Bookspark for my copy of this book.
So, I read these three books in about 4 days. Then I had to put them down. I am not sure what is do addicting in them but they are just that- addicting. There is a little magic, a great story and a whole lot of chemistry going on in these books. These are such a great escape from reality and clearly, my summer was really all about getting a break from the everyday.
I read this book as research for the June reading challenge pick and I think I found our book club winner! This YA novel is all about Olympic Gymnasts. It follows a fiction gymnast’s quest to make the Olympic team while trying to juggle friendships, family, rivalry, and chronic pain. The book also heavily discusses sexual abuse from a Team USA coach. I think the balance was handled well for a book geared at young adults. It balances the fun of the games with the seriousness of the assault scandal quite well.
This re-telling of beauty and the beast is done so well that it feels like its own story from the beginning until the end. Harper and Rhen are the perfect reimagination of Beauty and the Beast. The details are so much darker and in-depth, for me, it brought this fairy tale to life. Although this is not a short book, it didn’t feel like a strain to get to the end. I loved it.