Love Her or Lose Her Book Review

I didn’t love this book and I wish the series could lose it out of the line-up.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey follows Rosie Vega who has been having issues in her marriage with her high school sweetheart, Dominic. Frustrated by their lack of communication, Rosie decides to leave Dominic and only agrees to try and repair their relationship if he goes to counseling with her.

Love Her and Lose Her would have to be my least favorite book out of all the books within this companion series. For me, this book had a lot of potential, but it fell flat in many areas of the plot and character development. While I consider this series to be generally fun, there were several aspects of how characters and situations played out that made me feel more uncomfortable than anything else.

Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered, #2)

Usually with the books in this series, I am generally like the leads about the same. However, in this book, I strongly liked Rosie a lot more than Dominic. I think Rosie acted a lot more realistically than Dominic, particularly during therapy when she realized that she also played a role in the broken marriage between her and Dominic.

On the other hand, there were many aspects of Dominic that I didn’t really like. I thought Dominic’s backstory was interesting: he is an army veteran. I thought this would be a large part of their story and explain a lot of Dominic’s current behavior, unfortunately, this aspect wasn’t really explored in the book. There were some aspects of Dominic’s behavior that I did not enjoy and made me uncomfortable. Dominic definitely exudes “alpha male” behavior, which I thought was often excused as him being protective. For example, Dominic paid for a security officer at the mall where Rosie worked to make sure she got into her safely and didn’t tell her. This is presented as being his love language which is “acts of service.” He even bought a house, without telling Rosie, and kept it a secret from her for several years. There are other instances, like when Rosie is trying to leave and tells Dominic multiple times, but he still tries to get her to engage in intimate aspects of their relationship. Due to several instances that left me uncomfortable, I was not sold with Dominic as a romantic lead.

Another aspect of this book that fell short for me was the character and plot development. Around the same time that I read this book, I read The Bromance Book Club, which is also about another struggling marriage. In that book, I felt like the characters showed a lot of development emotionally, so it was natural how they progressed back into a relationship that was different than before, but still loving. In this book, the pacing and scenes were all off for me. I thought the therapy sessions would be a big deal, but they ended about halfway through the book. Most of the scenes in this book just reiterated how the couple didn’t have healthy communication, but were just so physically attracted to each other. For the most part, the characters just started doing thing for the other’s “love language.” However, even these scenes were few and far between. By the end of the book, it was difficult for me to believe that they made any significant changes to their relationship.

Overall, Love Her and Lose Her wasn’t the fun romance that I expected. For a romance book to work, you have to see the romantic leads and compatible and believe that they could work off the page which I found to be lacking in this book. I give this book one out of five stars.

Fix Her Up Book Review

This book just needed a few renovations to be perfect.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey follows Georgette “Georgie” Castle who fake dates former baseball player and childhood crush Travis Ford so people will think she is more mature and to help him score a commentating job. While the two agree to keep the fake relationship casual, the situation becomes more confusing when the two start to develop feelings for each other.

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered, #1)

For me, Georgie was a very relatable character. Even though Georgie is grown up and has her own job, people in her family don’t take her seriously and can’t see her as anything but a little girl. Georgie is generally a likable character, although some readers may find her over bubbly personality a little bit annoying at times. The other lead, Travis, is similar to Georgie. I didn’t mind him (except when he kept calling Georgie pet names), but there isn’t anything that makes him necessarily stand out from other romantic leads for me. I wish the author would have dived a little bit more into his backstory.

As for the story, the beginning was strong for me, but the end needed a little “fixing up.” I have noticed a pattern within books by Tessa Bailey which sometimes irritates me, but after reading several of her books, I have come to expect it. Once the characters admit their feelings for each other, it seems like there is only is a large emphasis on the physical aspect of the relationship and the characters start to become more one dimensional. The “all is lost” moment is the story is usually isn’t as large or dramatic as I would expect and then the recovery from the all is lost moment always feels rushed to me.

That being said, Fix Her Up is a fun and quick read. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book even though it ends up with an average overall rating for me. I give this book 3.5 stars out of five stars.

Spoiler Alert Review

Spoiler alert: This is one of the most well done fandom books that I’ve read in awhile.

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade follows April, a fan-fiction writer of a popular Greek-inspired show, who goes on a date with the leading actor, Marcus Castor-Rupp, after a tweet of her cosplay goes viral. While April and Marcus grow closer, Marcus harbors a secret that could ruin their relationship and his reputation. Marcus, like April, writes fan fiction that slams the television show that he stars in and his online persona regularly interacts with April, but she doesn’t know it.

Image result for spoiler alert book

I have read several books that involve fandom and they usually fall short for me. In most of the books, the main character harbors an unhealthy obsession with whatever book, show, or movie that they enjoy. This could include dehumanize actors in the show or using unsafe methods to find their haters in real life among many other unhealthy depictions. While fandoms can, and often do, have a dark side, I find that the positive side of fandoms are rarely featured.

Fortunately for me, this book takes an opposite approach, which was one of the aspects that I enjoyed most in this novel. While there some aspects of this book that did fall flat for me, I overall enjoyed my reading experience and I think this book has many elements that will appeal to many different readers.

As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite parts of this book was April’s involvement in her fandom. In all of April’s interactions, she never dehumanizes the actors on her favorite shows and delivers thoughtful criticisms on the shows problematic elements. For example, when April goes on her initial date with Marcus, she is open and upfront about the fan fiction that she writes. Additionally, after she meets him in person, she changes the way that she describes the appearance of his character in her work, because after interacting with him personally, she doesn’t want it to seem like she is inserting him instead of the character into her work.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the body positivity in this book. April is plus-size and receives a lot of hateful comments after her date with Marcus. However, April always stands up for herself and sets clear expectations for how she should be treated. I appreciated how this extended to her fandom as well. April feels connected to Lavinia, her favorite character from the show, who is often put down for her appearance. A lot of times in books with fandoms, I don’t understand why the main character is so attached to a book, show, or movie. However, in this book, the connection is clear and meaningful.

I also enjoyed the background that readers receive on April and Marcus, especially regarding their parents and childhood. While April was belittled by her parents for her appearance, Marcus was treated as unintelligent by his parents because he had dyslexia. As the book goes on, April and Marcus begin to set clear boundaries with their parents of what they will and will not tolerate. I don’t often see this in adult books, but it is very much part of the adult experience, so I appreciated its inclusion within this novel.

While I did enjoy aspects of this novel, there were some issues that impacted my reading experience. For me, this book moved extremely slow. I found myself putting this book down and picking it up multiple times because some of the scenes seemed to drag on way too long. Additionally, I found many of the scenes and interactions in this book extremely repetitive, so it felt like it took awhile for the story to progress. When the story finally seemed to get moving, the ending was wrapped up quickly and abruptly. Additionally, I found too much of the end to be focused on a different character, who I imagine to have their own spin-off, which has been one of my pet peeves this year in adult romance books bound to become companion series.

Overall, Spoiler Alert is a fun book with a good message and a positive depiction of fan culture. I give this book three out of five stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Events that I Would Like to Go to Someday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is book events/festivals that I would like to go to some day. Since I am a huge homebody, I don’t really like to go to huge events or festivals. Consequently, I decided to include some fictional book events/activities or author signings that I would like to visit:

  • Sarah J. Maas Author Signing
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
  • Camping in the California forests (Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett)
Starry Eyes
  • See Romeo and Juliet performed live (Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Brocka)
Always Never Yours
  • Sarah Dessen Author Signing
The Moon and More
  • Eat at Big League Burgers and Girl Cheesin’ (Tweet Cute by Emma Lord)
Tweet Cute
  • Go boating (Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett)
Chasing Lucky
  • Spend the summer at a lake house (The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen)
The Rest of the Story
  • Flip a house (Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey)
Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)
  • Go to a book signing for January and August (Beach Read by Emily Henry)
Beach Read
  • Meg Cabot Author Signing
The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)

What book events/festivals would you like to visit?

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Smile by Raina Telgemeier Review

The message in this book will make you smile.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier is a graphic novel memoir inspired by the author’s experience as a middle school student who received extensive dental work after an accident that took out her two front teeth. After the accient, Raina loses a lot of self-confidence, but as she grows older, she becomes more confident in herself and learns what is truly important.

Smile

I remember when this book came out around ten years ago because I literally saw it everywhere. I don’t remember graphic novels being as huge at the time, and as someone who strictly read contemporary YA at the time, I never picked it up. Now that I’m older, I have expanded my reading, and recently, I’ve been trying to pick up more books targeted for middle grade.

In the past few years, I’ve read quite a few graphic novels that I enjoyed, like El Deafo by Cece Bell and Best Friends by Shannon Hale, both of which are graphic novel memoirs. I was pleasantly surprised that Smile is also a graphic novel memoir, as I didn’t know this when it became popular so long ago. While Smile isn’t my favorite graphic novel, I still think it has a valuable message as well as relatable characters for the graphic novel’s target audience.

As someone who has never had braces, or any major dental work besides removing my wisdom teeth, I appreciated how Telgemeier explained a lot of the dental work that she received in this book. While I’ve seen other people get braces, I have never personally felt the physical pain that they can cause or how they may affect how someone feels about their appearance. I think Telgemeier’s explanations, especially regarding her emotions on her appearance, makes the book relatable to many readers. Even if you have never had braces, in middle school there are a lot of people who feel self conscious about how they look for a multitude of reasons, and it is comforting to read that you’re not the only person who felt that way.

I also enjoyed how Raina grew as a person throughout her experience with braces and as a student in middle school. At the beginning of the graphic novel, Raina’s “friends” frequently make fun of her and walk all over her. However, as she grows older and gains more confidence, she stands up for herself and becomes more comfortable in her skin. Even though this book doesn’t take place in 2020, it is still a relevant message that is important for young readers to hear.

Overall, Smile is a quick read with a relatable and positive message for young readers. While it wasn’t my favorite graphic novel, it is still a solid story, especially for the target audience. I give Smile three out of five stars and I look forward to checking out more graphic novels by this author.

Independence Day Book Tag

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American followers! Since today is Independence Day, I thought I would celebrate by completing the Independent Day Book Tag. Here are my answers (I am not sure who started this tag. If you know, please link to their social media down below so I can credit them!):

  • Show three books you have already read (one red, one white, and one blue)
Tweet Cute

How about one with all three? Tweet Cute was one of the first books that I read this year due to all the hype surrounding this 2020 contemporary release. While this book was only average for me, it has been one of the most buzzed about contemporary books this year.

Tweet Cute follows Pepper and Jack, the children of two rival food companies who start a Twitter war using their respective family’s business accounts.

  • A book with your favorite “rag-tag” band of revolutionaries
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)

A “rag tag” band of revolutionaries is one of my favorite tropes. This year, I’ve read the first two books in the Aurora Cycle which definitely features a cast of unlikely heroes who try to save the galaxy. While I loved the first book a lot more than the second book, I’m still interested to see the adventures that this group goes on in the next installment of this series.

Aurora Rising, the first book in this series, follows Aurora who wakes up 200 years after she was cryogenically frozen for a mission to space. However, when she wakes up, all the history of the colony that she was supposed to land on has been erased.

  • Show a book that takes place in one of the 13 original colonies
The Rest of the Story

All of Sarah Dessen’s books take place in fictional places in North Carolina, which is one of the 13 original colonies. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book after being disappointed by a couple of her other recent releases. This is the perfect book to read during Independence Day: it is set a lake during the summertime!

The Rest of the Story follows Emma Saylor, who visits the family on her mother’s side at the lake where the live, years after her mother passed away.

  • Show a book that takes place in England
Again, but Better

I bought this book several months ago… and still haven’t gotten around to reading it! I am always interested in picking up books by Booktubers, so I’m excited to give this one a try (eventually).

Again, But Better follows Shane, who lives a life that is way too predictable, so she decides to spend a semester abroad.

  • Time for fireworks! What book(s) end with a bang?
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

The Folk of the Air series has plenty of twists and turns, but the end of this book was the most shocking to me. I couldn’t believe that I had to wait to see how the series ended!

The Folk of the Air series, starting with The Cruel Prince, follows Jude, a human girl, who lives in a world of faeries. It angers Jude that the faeries see her as lesser than, so she will do whatever she can to get a place at court.

  • Show three books you would like to read (one red, one white, and one blue)
The Parker Inheritance

Once again, I have selected a book with all three colors! I’ve been starting to read more middle grade and I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews for The Parker Inheritance, so it definitely has a high spot on my middle grade TBR.

The Parker Inheritance follows Candice, who discovers a letter that leads to a fortune for whoever can solve the puzzle.

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Summer Book Tag

Summer is now in full swing, so it is the perfect time to complete the summer book tag! I could not find the creator of this tag, but if you know who created it, please leave their blog in the comments so I can credit them. Here are my answers:

  • What book cover makes you think of summer?
Beach Read

How could this book cover not make me think of summer? The title has beach in all capital letters with two people reading books on beach towels. The cover is also bright yellow which makes me think of the sun. While this cover isn’t exactly accurate with what lies in the book, it is definitely reminiscent of the summertime.

  • What book brightened your day?
Starry Eyes

I read through Starry Eyes in one day. If you are looking for a summer book that isn’t beach, then this one will be perfect for you! This book takes place in state parks of California and made me want to go camping this summer.

  • Find a book with yellow on the cover.
The Unhoneymooners

This book takes place in the wintertime, but also in Hawaii, so it still seems very summery to me. It also has a very yellow background with a lot of different flowers on the front which remind me of the summertime.

  • What is your favorite summer beach read?
Along for the Ride

Sarah Dessen’s books have been a summer staple of mine since high school. Colby Beach is mentioned throughout her books, but this is one of the few that primarily takes place there. I feel like this prompt was leaning towards what books do you read at the beach, but for me, it makes me think of books that take place on a beach. Reading this book makes me want to go to the beach, even if most of the book doesn’t take place directly on the water.

  • What action book had you running for the ice cream man?
Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)

Aurora Rising was a slow-moving book for many people, but I was hooked the entire time. I don’t typically read books in this genre, but there were so many twists and turns that I couldn’t stop reading. The authors of this book definitely don’t do things just to please the audience and I was constantly surprised at what happened next.

  • Sunburn! What book has a bad/painful ending?
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)

This book has both a bad and painful ending. The characters in this book are in constant jeopardy and after the first book, you know these authors aren’t going to make it easy for them or the readers which I like. On the other hand, this book lands on a major cliff hanger which really annoyed me. Even though it is part of a series, this book didn’t really have much going on until the very end and it feels like I got cheated as a reader because I still think books in a series should have their own definite end.

  • What book gave you a happy feeling when it ended?
Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

I think what made me happy about this book was the character growth in the main character, Bethany. She constantly felt pressure to be perfect and meet everyone else’s expectations, but in the end, she started to make choices based on what she wanted. I found myself very similar to Bethany in that regard, so relating to her story put a smile on m6 face.

  • What book cover reminds you of a sunset?
Four Days of You and Me

This book literally has every color of the perfect sunset. It also is about a relationship and how their high school years are winding down which makes me thinking of the sun setting on that chapter of their lives.

  • What book series do you hope to read this summer?
The Betrothed (The Betrothed, #1)

This is the first book in a new series by Kiera Cass. I bought this book when it was released, but haven’t read it yet. I am trying to get caught up on all the Kindle books that I have bought recently, so I hope to knock this one of the list this summer

What books do you hope to read by the end of the summer?

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Aurora Burning Review

Aurora Burning made me feel a little burned.

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff picks up where the first book in the Aurora Cycle left off. After uncovering the secrets of what’s really going on behind the GIA and being labeled intergalactic terrorists, the crew is racing against time, and Kal’s Syldrathi family who show up and want him back, no matter the cost.

When I read Aurora Rising, I was completely invested. Although Aurora Rising contained many similarities to other space books or movies, I really loved the characters and wanted more of their stories. While Aurora Burning started off strong for me, it started to fizzle out about halfway through and the problems. Many of the problems that other readers indicated that they had with the first story started to appear again, and this time, I found it not as easy to ignore them.

A lot happens in the first book and I enjoyed that the book gave a short recap of the events of the first novel in a fun way (a report by Magellan with colorful commentary). Like with Aurora Rising, I found the beginning the beginning to be interesting, especially as readers receive background on characters who aren’t as open, like Zila and Kal. In the first book, readers primarily look at the Aurora Legion, but in this book, we get to explore other groups in space and the complicated relationships that still exist even after a peace treaty was established. All of this information occurs within high-action situations or presented in a fun way (like Magellan’s report), so I didn’t feel like information was being dumped on me. However, at around the 50% mark, the story became more repetitive, and as a result, not as motivating or interesting to read.

In Aurora Burning, we are introduced to a few new characters, namely many people part of the Unbroken, the Syldrathi army who decimated its own people. However, these characters either weren’t well fleshed-out or echoed other characters that we’ve seen before in this series. In many reviews for the first book, many readers felt that many of the core characters too closely resembled each other and this remains true for other characters added to the novel. Saedii, Kal’s sister, is basically a blood-thirsty version of Cat. The Starslayer literally has a villain monologue where he practically spells out his ideology for readers. Maybe this characters will be fleshed out in the next book, similarly to how Zila and Kal’s story were expanded in this book. However, it does become frustrating when characters repeat the same lines over and over to reinforce their very one-dimensional personalities, which is particularly true of Saedii’s characters.

Another gripe that many readers had in the first book of this series is that scenes were too drawn out or very repetitive. This problem persists in Aurora Burning. I felt like some of the situations and conversations were repeated over and over again, just using slightly different words. By repeating this same scenes over and over again (especially the part where Aurora explores her powers), it made me extremely bored because it felt like the story line wasn’t progressing at all. Once I got to the halfway point, I had to put this book down for awhile (around two weeks) before I picked it up again because I just couldn’t get into the second half of this story.

There is another issue that I have complicated feelings towards in this book. One one hand, I appreciate how Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff do what is best for the story, even though it won’t appease readers. They will eliminate characters that maybe their audience loves, but it makes sense for where it occurs in the story. Characters that you may want to be in a romantic relationship won’t end up in that relationship because that’s not always realistic. At the same time, I think you need to give your audience something to root for in the story. For me personally, there wasn’t much for me to root for in this story. The good moments in this story were so few and far between that nothing was ever quite satisfying for me to read.

The final aspect of this book that irritated me was the ending. This book ends on a major cliff-hanger. Yes, this book is a part of a series and readers can expect another book. At the same time, Aurora Burning is its own book in the series and should have its own distinct beginning, middle, and end within the series. Like I mentioned earlier, the best way to describe this was simply unsatisfying.

Overall, this book was an average read for me. I really enjoyed the first half, but really struggled with the second half of this book. Although I do intend to continue this series, my expectations going into the next book will not be as high as my expectations for this one. I give Aurora Burning three stars.

What sequel has disappointed you recently?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Added to My TBR… and Forgotten Why

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books I’ve added to my TBR… and forgotten why.

  • How to Speak Boy by by Tiana Smith
How to Speak Boy

I remember seeing the cover for this book, but I can’t remember anything about the description that made me add it to my TBR. According to Goodreads, this book follows Quinn and Grayson, rivals on the debate team who somehow end up exchanging note anonymously. Looking at this description, I can now see why I added to my TBR in the first place: it contains a lot of tropes that I typically enjoy. Now that I remember why this book is on my TBR, I might have to check it out in the future!

  • No Judgements by Meg Cabot
No Judgements (Little Bridge Island #1)

I know that this is an adult book by Meg Cabot, but since I am not a huge fan of her adult books, I am surprised to see this one on my list. No Judgements takes place on a small island after a huge storm who tries to rescue pet on the island and somehow falls in love. Meg Cabot’s adult books tend to be extremely overdramatic which isn’t my favorite and I can just tell from the description that this character seems like many of the other characters that I didn’t enjoy from other adult novels that I’ve read by her.

  • Fan the Flame by Anna Priemaza
Fan the Fame

Once again, I remember the cover, but not what the book is about. Fan tells me this is probably about a fandom, which I don’t typically like to read in books, so I’m not sure why I would have added this to my TBR. After researching this book again, like I expected, it is about a fandom. This book follows Lainey who wants to expose someone’s hate rants that she caught on camera at a convention. This seems to have a lot of tropes that I probably wouldn’t enjoy, so I’m probably going to take it off of my TBR.

  • Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill
Within These Lines

With some of the titles above, at least the names sounded familiar. Nothing about this book sounds familiar to me, so I am unsure how it landed on my Goodreads TBR. This looks like it is a historical romance set in American after Pearl Harbor when a couple is split up after the boy, who is a Japanese immigrant, is forced into an internment camp. Reading the description, this book does sound a little bit familiar and a whole lot interesting. I rarely read historical fiction, but if I am in the mood to read historical fiction, then this sounds like a good one to pick up.

  • Comics Will Break You Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
Comics Will Break Your Heart

Just like with the fandom book above, books about comics aren’t particularly interesting to me, so I’m not sure why I added this one to my TBR. This book follows Miriam, a girl who is poor because her grandfather gave away the rights to a popular comic that he helped create. Tensions rise when the grandson of the man who took control of the comics comes to town and Miriam starts to like him. Even though I love a good enemies-to-lovers romance, I just get the vibes that this will be very overdramatic and and go towards younger YA, which tends not to be my favorite. While I am sure someone would enjoy this book if they picked it up, I can’t personally see myself picking it up in the future.

  • That’s Not What I Heard by Stephanie Kate Strohm
That's Not What I Heard

On this list, I can vaguely remember the plot of this book, which makes me question why I added it to my TBR. This book is all about rumors spiraling out of control after a couple allegedly breaks up. This definitely seems to lean towards younger YA with a lot of the ridiculous drama that goes on at that time combined with an overflow of misunderstandings. This is a book that I could see being appreciated by the target audience, but as someone who is much older, it might get really annoying. I just can’t see myself picking this book up in the future.

  • Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
Now a Major Motion Picture

From the title, I can guess this has to do with a movie. Like with some other books on this list, I don’t typically like when something like this (in this case, movies) are the focus of a book, so it’s kind of on me to be confused why I put this on my TBR. This book follows a girl who goes to Ireland to see her grandmother’s books turn into a movie adaptation. Even though I’m not a fan of books about movies, I do really love books about Ireland and this does sound interesting to me. Maybe I will have to pick this up in the future!

  • Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Honor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1)

This sounds like it is in the fantasy or sci-fi realm, which I don’t typically read, so I’m excited to read the synopsis again to see what motivated me to add it to my TBR. This book follows Zara who joins a team created by aliens set to explore the universe. Out of all the books on this list, I literally have to no idea why I added this book to my TBR (at the time). This sounds nothing like I was reading when I added this to my TBR. Now that I’ve read Aurora Rising, which contains aliens and exploring the galaxy, and enjoyed it, this does sound a little more interesting. Still, I have no idea how this ended up on my TBR in the first place.

  • A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen
A Taxonomy of Love

I have read another book by this author, so that could be why I added this book to my TBR. However, I don’t remember anything about the synopsis. This book follows two friends who could potentially fall in love as they get older.

What books have you added to your TBR and forgotten why?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Summer Vibes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books that give off summer vibes. Summer books are my favorite books because, more often than not, they are my favorite genre: contemporary. Here are some books that I love that are set during the summer:

  • The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
The Rest of the Story

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Sarah Dessen’s latest releases, however, I did enjoy her most recent release, The Rest of the Story. This book takes place on a lake during the summer which is divided into halves, one side where the locals live and the other side for the rich tourists who infiltrate the lake every year. I like how this book takes place on the lake, rather than the beach, like many other “summer” books.

The Rest of the Story follows Emma Saylor, who reconnects with the family connected to her mother, who died five years ago, at the lake where her mother grew up.

  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Unexpected Everything

This book is long, but if you are a fan of Morgan Matson, then you’ll like this book. This book has all the elements of summer fun: a job, friends, and a summer romance.

The Unexpected Everything follows Andi whose summer internship follows through after her politician father becomes involved in a scandal. As a result, Andi must walk dogs for the summer, but she just might meet a cute boy along the way.

  • Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Love, Life, and the List (Love, Life, and the List, #1)

Love, Life, and the List is one of my favorite Kasie West books. I wouldn’t say this book necessarily screams summer to me, but it does take place during the summer months. If you like art and motocross, then you might want to check out this one.

In Love, Life, and the List, Abby is denied for an art show after she is told that her art lacks experience and perspective. As a result, Abby makes a list of ten things to experience that will her improve her art along with her best friend, and long-time crush, Cooper.

  • Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Stay Sweet

Stay Sweet was an unexpected favorite for me last summer. This book primarily takes place at an ice cream stand that has for generations been run by women, but the status quo is shaken up when a boy comes in and tries to run the show.

Stay Sweet follows Amelia, who works at the ice cream stand, and tries to keep it afloat after the owner dies unexpectedly. However, she butts heads with Grady, the owner’s nephew, who comes in and tries to take over the stand.

  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever

Sarah Dessen loves to write about summer and I love to read and reread her books that take place during this time. The Truth About Forever is from the time period when Sarah Dessen’s books were my absolute favorites, and in my opinion, during her best writing period so far.

The Truth About Forever follows Macy after her father passes away and her boyfriends goes to summer camp, leaving her alone at a boring library desk job. Then, Macy meets Wish catering, a company full of lively and kids new friends who help break her out of her shell.

  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride

Another Sarah Dessen book! Along for the Ride is another one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books that takes place during the summer. While this isn’t in my top three books by this author, it is definitely in my top five. If you love close and realistic friend groups, this is a book you might want to check out.

Along for the Ride follows Auden, who spends the summer with her father, his new wife, and their new baby. Since Auden was always treated like a little adult, she never had the typical high school experience. As a result, her new friends try to introduce her to everything that she missed.

  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Since You've Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone was the second book by Morgan Matson that I read and it still remains one of my favorites. If you like summer bucket lists, this would be a great book for you to read.

Since You’ve Been Gone follows Emily, a shy high school student, who is sent a list of tasks to complete by her best friend who disappeared unexpectedly.

  • Thrill Ride by Rachel Hawthorne
Thrill Ride

I read and reread this book many times throughout high school. I’ve read a few books that take place at amusement parks, but this remains one of my favorites. If you want a different setting for summer besides the beach, this could be a book to add to your reading list.

Thrill Ride follows Megan who takes a job at a Cedar Point-like amusement park, much to her boyfriend’s disappointment.

  • The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne
The Boyfriend League

Another summer book by Rachel Hawthorne that is a fun and easy book to read is The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne. This book is all about baseball and would the perfect book for someone looking for a summer sports-themed read.

The Boyfriend League follows Dani after she convinces her parents to house one of the baseball players for the local baseball league during the summer in order to get a boyfriend.

  • The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids has beautiful writing and descriptions of the summer time, which makes it perfect to include on this list. I have read a few books by Sarah Ockler, but this one is by far my favorite.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids follows Elyse, a former singer who lost her voice in a boating accident. To get some space from her musical sisters, she decides to spend the summer with a friend where she has the opportunity to compete in a sailing competition.

What are your favorite summer books?

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