Each and every one of these books would be excellent reads for summer whether you’re sitting at home with a cocktail or watching the waves on the beach.

April 2021

April was a mixed bag, the book I was most excited about reading (Everything I Know About Love) turned out to be a flop and the light read I started for a mid-week bath (The Happy Ever After Playlist) had me up until 1 am finishing it! And then I found out it was a series, which I started in the middle (again!), and well the rest of the week was a write off because I was hooked! The furious finish to the month, 3 books in 2 days, made for a slow start in May as I had neglected everything else.

Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton

I really wanted to like this book, I’d heard such good things but I just couldn’t connect with her and her stories. They were funny, sure, but it felt repetitive and kind of dragged on. Although I did enjoy the MSN messenger nostalgia. I dutifully skipped all the recipes (because, why?) and satirical emails (again, why?). Really just not my thing but plenty of positive reviews out there.  

Faking It, by Portia MacIntosh

A funny rom-com with lovable characters, a quirky plotline and some unexpected emotional moments. It was a sweet story about families, the one you’re born into and the one you make for yourself. I enjoyed the Freaky Friday vibes, the love interest was delightful and the twist at the end had me in tears. It was great escapism and definitely pulls out all your emotions.   

The Friend Zone, by Abby Jimenez

The Friend Zone series, this is book 1 of 3, was amazing. I was laughing out loud for most of this book, and I cried my entire way through the end. It deals with issues of infertility so it’s not your typical light-hearted romance. It’s emotional, but it’s also a really good contemporary romance. It was heart-warming, funny and realistic. I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series. 

The Happy Ever After Playlist, by Abby Jimenez

My favourite book in the series. It was everything I could have ever wanted, and then some. All the characters were likeable and fun, the main characters are so adorable. And did I mention there’s a trouble-making dog who’s adorable! I totally recommend this one for any romance and music fans. 

Life’s Too Short, by Abby Jimenez

The final book in the series and once again it’s emotional, the main character Vanessa has spent most of her life reckoning with the 50% chance that she will develop hereditary ALS. But I was hooked right off the bat. The author’s sense of humour is excellent throughout the whole series, the nuance of the characters left me dying for more after every page. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with these characters to the point where I couldn’t sleep until I finished the book. 

May 2021

May had a slow start and then I injured my knee and was on modified bed rest for 2 weeks…the reading quickly picked up after that. I stopped and started more serious books in my library but realised what I really wanted was to escape. Escape the routine of bed, sofa, bed, sofa. So I plunged myself into easy, quick and over the top romance books. My Kindle couldn’t recommend them fast enough. By the long Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month I was ready to get back into my normal balance of genres and picked up The 5 am Club.

The Off Limits Rule, by Sarah Adams

Took a while to get into it but it’s an easy, relaxing read. I’ve really bounced around on what to rate this one. It is well-written, has some great moments and fun romance. I just didn’t quite connect to the characters like I was hoping. A good, quick beach read for the summer.

The Temporary Roomie, by Sarah Adams

Another light read from Sarah Adams. This one had me feeling lots of warm fuzzies and I took to Drew right away. The main characters have a prank war as well which I thought was funny. I binged the whole book in a single sitting and immediately downloaded her next book, such good books for when you just want to get lost in some lighthearted and easy to read. 

The Match, by Sarah Adams

If you need a relaxing read, this one is for you. The characters are very endearing; with weaknesses, but also with incredible strength. I loved the blend of romance and humour and serious issues like epileptic seizures. And of course, it’s set in the beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, so I couldn’t ask for anything more.

The Enemy, by Sarah Adams

Love or hate? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. This was another fun lighthearted read. I loved June and Ryan, and I loved them together. The book had a really good flow to it without rushing to the “I’m immediately in love” part of the storyline. It had a great build with an overall well-rounded story. Easy and quick read, perfect for the beach.

The Love Square, by Laura Jane Williams

There’s so much to admire in this book but yet I struggled a little bit with it, it was more emotional than I expected with an underlying storyline of infertility. Despite being a contemporary romance, the romance was understated, it was more of self-growth and friendships. Overall I liked this book…but I didn’t love it. I really expected more humour but it was still fun and a quick read.

The 5am Club, by Robin Sharma

I have never been a morning person but reading this made me want to try. Parts of it were very “ugh, get on with it” and I can’t honestly say I’m totally pleased or disappointed, but I do think there’s great value in the ideas and principles given. I’m slowly adding all the different ideas and concepts into my day to day and there has been an improvement in my mood and energy levels.

June 2021

June was incredibly busy which unfortunately meant there wasn’t much time for reading. I attempted to read ‘Influence’ by Sara Shepard at least ten times and I could not get into it. Not even a little bit. It’s a shame because I had a few people recommend it to me and despite getting 20% through I couldn’t bring myself to keep going.

The Road Trip, by Beth O’Leary

I couldn’t put it down. I love all of Beth O’Leary’s books so much. This book was different from her previous books though, with less warm happy vibes, but oh the beautifully complicated flawed characters she writes. The second chance romance angle is excellent and I really enjoyed seeing her create and develop significantly more complex characters and their issues.

Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell

This was my first book by Malcolm Gladwell and I can see why he’s so popular. I don’t know I agree with some of the links drawn in his conclusions but psychology mixed with anthropology, politics, criminology, even espionage – what’s not to like? The conclusion is a nice reminder that people are complex and strangers are never easy. I’m also incredibly intrigued to read everything else he’s written because despite some of the horrible details (TW: rape, paedophilia and suicide) I couldn’t put it down.