Book Review, Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Uncategorized

Our Ten Most Anticipated Summer Reads

Summer 2019

What We Are Reading

Well, July starts in a couple of days, so it’s past time for us to talk about the books that have us most excited this summer. Bekka and I generally have similar taste in books, but I think it will be fun to see how different our lists are! In no particular order, here are five of the books that I am looking forward to reading this summer!

Beth’s Summer Must Reads

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Summer of 69 by Elin Hilderbrand

“Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changedin New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel”

There are certain authors that I can count on to release a book in the summer, and I don’t even have to know what it’s about in order to put it on my TBR list. Elin Hilderbrand is one of those authors. Her books primarily take place on Nantucket, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go but haven’t made it yet, despite the fact that my dad grew up in New England. Her books are wonderful written, moving and funny, and characters from her other books pop up from time to time. I love when authors do that! If you haven’t read her books, my favorites are The Blue Bistro, The Rumor, and Barefoot. Her Winter series is also very good. I’m especially excited to read this one, since it takes place during the summer of the year I was born.  Summer of 69 was released on June 18, 2019.

 

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Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

“From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.”

Kristin Higgins is another of the authors that I always read during the summer. She started off as a romance author, but has recently moved into women’s fiction. I enjoyed her romance books, but her past few books have been deeply moving and wonderful. She’s one of those authors that can make you laugh one minute and cry the next. I’ve read so many of her books, that I can’t even list my favorites! Life and Other Inconveniences will be released on August 6, 2019.

 

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Gin Fling (Bootleg Springs #5) by Lucy Score and Claire Kingsley

“A slow grin spread across his face and I had to turn away from the wattage. It was like staring at the sun. The handsome sun that was making my core temperature rise and causing a hormone dump in my brain. — Shelby Thompson “

In order to get the most out of this book, you would need to read the first four books in the Bootleg Springs series, but I’d definitely recommend that! This series centers around the Bodine siblings and the disappearance of a young woman, Callie Kendall, that took place years ago in their hometown of Bootleg Springs, West Virginia. Lucy Score and her writing partner, Claire Kingsley, have split up the six books in this series, each taking three of the stories. Gin Fling is Lucy’s third Bootleg Springs book, and I can’t wait to get closer to finding out what happened to Callie Kendall. This book also reveals the relationship that develops between Jonah Bodine and Shelby Thompson. Gin Fling was released on June 25, 2019 and is available on Kindle Unlimited.

 

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Superfan (Brooklyn Bruisers # 6) by Sarina Bowen

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series is about the lives of the players on a fictional hockey team. It occasionally crosses over with True North, another of Ms. Bowen’s series, but each book can be read as a standalone. I actually have a couple of books in this series that I haven’t read yet (Hard Hitter, Pipe Dreams, Overnight Sensation) so it looks like it will be a hockey summer for me! Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite authors, (her Man Hands series with Tanya Eby and her standalone titled Top Secret are amazing!)  I can’t wait to get caught up on the lives of Bruisers Patrick, Mike and Jason so I can see what trouble Silas is getting into! Superfan was released on June 25, 2019.

 

 

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Preservation (Walsh Series #7) by Kate Canterbary

Two lonely hearts. An arrangement of mutual benefit. One wild weekend. Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.

I read the first book in this 8-book series about the Walsh siblings a couple of years ago, and was excited to read the rest of them (I even bought book 2, The Space Between, right after reading the first book, Underneath it All), but other books always got in the way. When a 99 cent deal came along for Kindle Unlimited last month, I jumped on it and decided to read the rest of the Walsh family books while I had the chance. I’m so glad I did. Last week, I devoured books 3 and 5 (Necessary Restorations, and Restored, which were both about Tiel and Sam) and am currently reading (and listening to!) book 4 (The Cornerstone, which is Shannon and Will’s story). I am eagerly anticipating getting to Preservation, which is about the youngest Walsh sibling, Riley, but I’m not going to rush through the rest of the series because it’s way too good for that! The Walsh series is available on Kindle Unlimited.

 

Bekka’s Summer Must Reads

Every Spring I spend quite a bit of time combing through summer reading lists and “season’s best beach reads” to develop the perfect list. I talk to friends, I scour Amazon editor picks, Good Reads “summer” shelves, and popular magazine most-anticipated lists. Here’s what I’m reading this summer!!!

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

The New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and The Good Luck Charm delivers a Hollywood happily-ever-after where a famous heartthrob falls for his ultimate fangirl.
 
“As charming as its title, but it’s also so much more… Fans of Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date and Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient will love Meet Cute.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books
Read my review here.

 

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly has an unforgettable summer in this stunning start to the Summer I Turned Pretty series from the New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (soon to be a major motion picture!), Jenny Han. – Amazon

I just finished this one and it is summer-rific! Transporting you back to what it was like to be a teenager dealing with changes, hopes, possibilities. Set at a beach house, you’ll get right into the feel of summer with this one. Stay tuned for a full review.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.  – Amazon

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

I added this one because all good summer book lists have a Beatriz Williams novel on it (sorry Beth, LOL).

Beatriz Williams, the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives, is back with another hot summer read; a dazzling epic of World War II in which a beautiful young “society reporter” is sent to the Bahamas, a haven of spies, traitors, and the infamous Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  – Amazon

 

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Named a “Must-Read” by TODAY, Us Weekly, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Goodreads, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Southern Living, Book Riot, Woman’s Day, The Toronto Star, and more!

 From one of Beth and my favorite author duos comes what I anticipate to be a hilarious and satisfying summer read. Read Beth’s full review here.

 

 

 

 

Because I just can’t help myself here are others that I am planning to read or have already:

The Mister by E.L. James

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

I Think You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Ready to Fall by Daisy Prescott (Recommended by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Hunter)

Fifth Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen

Book Review, Books, New Release, Romance, Uncategorized

Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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4 of 5 original stars

I’ve blogged about my love for books by Christina Lauren in the past. I try to read their new ones as soon as they come out. I was able to snag this book pretty quickly at my library and dove into it right away. It’s an Enemies-to-Lovers story, with a bit of Vacation Fling thrown in for good measure. Enemies-to-Lovers is not my favorite trope, but since it was a CL book, I knew that I would enjoy it. And I was right.

The story begins at the wedding of Olive’s twin sister and Ethan’s brother, where suddenly the entire wedding party comes down with food poisoning, save Olive and Ethan. Since the bride and groom can’t go on their honeymoon to Maui, they insist that Olive and Ethan go instead. The problem is, they can’t stand each other, but how can they pass up a free trip to Hawaii? (It is free for Olive and Ethan, but was also free for Olive’s sister, Ami, who won it in a contest. But that’s a whole different part of the story!) They go on the trip, and are determined to keep to themselves and avoid each other at all costs, but of course, that’s not the way things end up.

If you’ve never read a CL book, I’m here to tell you that these two ladies write funny, funny stuff. I read most of this book on a bus full of middle school choir students on the way to/from an amusement park, and I kept chuckling and snorting loudly, and I do not apologize for that! My favorite ongoing joke is that at the beginning, Ethan pretends he doesn’t know Olive’s name, even though they’ve known each other for years, and calls her “Olivia” every time he sees her. But once they have gotten to know each other a little better, and like each other a little more, the two of them start calling each other by different names as more of a term of endearment than a show of disrespect. It made me laugh out loud every time. Olive and Ami’s huge, all-up-in-their-business family adds lots of hilarity, as well.

I’ve stated before that I often have an issue with the conflict a couple goes through in romance novels. A lot of the time, it arises over a stupid misunderstanding, or something that one person overhears, then proceeds to make an incorrect assumption. The conflict that Olive and Ethan go through is not only completely understandable, it’s also entirely unique to this story. (That’s the thing about a CL book: even if the trope is familiar, their treatment of it is one of a kind.) You can empathize with both characters, and see why each of them feels the way they do, and can’t figure out how the situation is going to be resolved. Again, being a CL book, I would be very surprised if ANYONE was able to guess their path to resolution!

If I’d been reading the kindle version, I would have been highlighting the crap of out this book. That’s how I know it’s an excellent story. If it were written by any other author/s, this book would have deserved 5 stars. But CL has ruined me for other books, and even their own work, as far as ratings go. It has to be a book like Roomies or Love and Other Words to earn a 5-star rating from me. While this book was original and funny, it didn’t grab at my emotions like the two aforementioned books did, (although I did cry a couple of times at the end.)

Bekka and I each have gotten an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Christina Lauren’s next book, Twice in a Blue Moon, which isn’t out until October. She’s read it already, and after I’ve read my copy, we will do a dual review. Looking forward to that!

Purchase The Unhoneymooners

Books, Romance

Review of “My Favorite Half-Night Stand” by Christina Lauren

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5 of 5 virtual stars

“I have never read anything like this.”

I say the same thing every time I finish a book by Christina Lauren.

I said it about Roomies. I said it about Beautiful Stranger. I said it about Love and Other Words.

It’s a pattern.

The premise of Half-Night Stand may be familiar to you: two people, who have been friends for years, realize that they’re in love with each other.

I have read some terrific Friends-to-Lovers books:

Head Over Heels by Serena Bell

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow

But I have never read a FtoL book like this.

The main characters are Millie and Reid. And Ed. And Alex. And Chris. A friend group that includes four guys and one girl. At first, I thought, oh no, I’ll never keep track of that many main characters. But I did!

Chris has it all together.

Alex is a player.

Ed is a 30-year-old kid who only has beer in his fridge, and answers the door in his bathrobe. (Ed is my spirit animal!)

Reid is loyal, and hard-working, and passionate.

And then there’s Millie. She’s quirky, and closed off, and not comfortable talking about her feelings. (Millie. Is. Me!)

These five friends are generally satisfied with their lives. They have jobs that they enjoy, they have a group of good friends, they have a comfortable routine. The shenanigans begin when one of them decides that they should bring a “plus-one” to an upcoming event, and figure the best way to find one is by using a dating app. This is very relevant to today’s environment, as it seems to be the only way to find a partner in this day and age. (I love that this book delves into this topic, as I’ve had some experience with online dating in the past few months, and I haven’t found many books that even bring it up as an option! People in books seem to meet other people “the old-fashioned way.”)

Each of the friends has a different experience with the dating app, called IRL. When Millie is matched with one of her best friends, she starts to look at her relationship with that friend in a different light.

I always see something new when I read Christina Lauren book. We see the group text conversations among the gang, each accompanied by an icon of each character. I’m a very visual person, so it helped my brain to have a picture to connect with each member of the friend group. This is unique, and fun, and very Christina Lauren.

With every CL book I read, I fall more in love with the style of this writing duo. They are clever, the sexy times are steamy, and they always make me cry at some point. If you haven’t read a Christina Lauren book yet, please pick one up and be sure to tell me what you think!!

Buy My Favorite Half-Night Stand on Amazon

Romance

Dual Review of “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating” by Christina Lauren

Beth’s Review 

Bekka and I have pretty similar taste in books, and often compare notes while reading the same ones. When we discovered that we were both planning on reading Christina Lauren’s newest release, “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating,” we decided that we should each write a review for the blog!

If you’re not familiar with this author, Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. They have written a couple of different series together, as well as several standalones. With the exception of their very first book, Beautiful Bastard, I have really enjoyed every single one of their books. I will even go so far as to say that they have ruined me for other authors! It is very rare for me to give another author’s work 5 stars, because most of the other books I read can’t live up to the wonderful stories written by these two ladies.

That being said, I only gave Josh and Hazel four stars. It is a best friends to lovers romance, which I love. It’s very funny and witty and clever, which is true of all of their books. I loved the zaniness of Hazel, and the way she adores her best friend, the straight-laced Josh. I liked the premise, where they want to help the other find their “person,” so they each choose someone they think the other would like, and go on double dates together. Of course, things do not go as planned, and with each disastrous date, we readers just want to shout at them, “Can’t you see you’re falling in love with each other?!?!” While I did enjoy this book, it lacked the emotional punch of Roomies, Beautiful Player, or my very favorite, Love and Other Words, (a book I still haven’t written a review for because it left me so emotionally drained!)

 

Bekka’s Review

Beth said “all the things”. These authors have raised the bar on romance reads. First things first, here are my impressions of “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating”.

I gave it 3 stars. I know, I know. I enjoyed the writing, it was so clever at times, and very very entertaining. The ebb and flow of the story line, and the seamless progression to where these two main characters end up was applaudable (I think I made that word up). She finds a guy who she considers perfect and compares all other men to. Josh who is the Yin to her Yang creates a playful and satisfying story. They become good friends and as entertainment, set each other up on double blind dates. You can always feel the undercurrent of where this was going and you root for them the whole way. Why 3 stars? There is something about when a main character is messy and very free sprited that doesn’t grab me 100%. I know its a personal preference – I most enjoy when I can connect to a main female character, with this one, I liked her, she had LOTS of “character” but I didn’t feel that personal connection. I definitely recommend it because it is an entertaining and enjoyable read.

Back to the writing duo of Christina and Lauren. My counterpart Beth gives me great recommendations for reads. The day she told me to stop everything and read “Love and Other Words” changed my lens on Romance novels. It pulled on my heart, and really had me connected. Truly, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. “Roomies” was a nice surprise, not at all what I was anticipating.  I will continue to read and post about works from this great duo.

Buy on Amazon

Book Review, Books, Romance

Review of: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other WordsI don’t give many books 5 stars. This book is SO GOOD. Wonderfully written. I was eager to find out what happened next, turning page after page.  Many great memorable quotes. My heart was heavy and my eyes were nearly tearful the entire time. At the end, tears streamed down my face. Everyone needs an Elliot :). I’m going to read this one again because it is that good.  A wonderfully rare find.

P.S. I read this digitally, and had to go get the hard copy because I needed it on my shelf.

Definitely Recommend!

Buy on Amazon