Summer Reads For Your Beach Bag.

I have a little backlog of books that I’ve read lately that would be perfect to read whilst lounging next to a body of water this summer. Just picture it – the heat of the sun warms your skin, an icy drink makes a puddle next to you, the smell of sunscreen fills you up with nostalgia and you hear the screech of children playing nearby. Of course you need a book to go along with all this steamy summer goodness.

Honestly, I never thought the day would come where I could actually read while my kids were playing and packing a book was always a bit of a pipe dream. But it’s here! My kids are 2, 4 and 5, and I can get a few good pages in while I’m lifeguarding. Maybe you’re there too! Or maybe you need to just lay in your backyard while they nap and pretend you’re next to a body of water – that’s ok too!!

The perfect beach read to me is a little fluffy, immersive, and not 1000 pages long. Something with romance, maybe a little spice, but characters you can really connect with. A few good books that are worth tucking into your beach bag are shared below!

The Hotel Nantucket, Elin Hildebrand

The Spanish Love Deception, Elena Armas

Happy Place, Emily Henry

The Love Hypothesis, Ali Hazelwood

The Roughest Draft, Emily Wibberley

The Perfect Find, Tia Williams

Every Summer After, Carley Fortune

Heart Bones, Colleen Hoover – This book made me want to sit around and read in a swimsuit.

Any other good ones to add?? Share in the comments!

Books I Read in March.

March was a good month for reading! I was knocked DOWN by a vicious bug (not Covid! We already had that in the fall 😅) that also brought down Charlie, but our recovery gave me a couple of days in bed for reading. Then, Charlie got sick again, which meant a couple more days home for reading. Spring Break gave me a week to fly through a couple more. Of course, I’m sort of always flying through books, aren’t I?

One True Loves, by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4.5 stars – Loved it. I wept! The love story (stories!)! It was an impossible situation to reflect on and I felt like the ending fizzled out a little for me after the build up of the middle. It was a little anticlimactic after the passion, but Taylor Jenkins Reid is just such an amazing storyteller. Read it and weep. Literally.

Notes on your Sudden Disappearance, by Alison Espach – 4.5 stars – Tragic and funny much in the Sorrow and Bliss was (which I also recommend). So sad, so beautifully written. One of those books that will stay with me for years. The grief, the joy, the being in between and the being left behind to live through it all. I would skip if death of a (teenage) child or fatal car crashes are a trigger for you.

Hell Bent, by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 stars – Really good. This is the sequel to Ninth House, and it didn’t disappoint. That one ended on SUCH a cliffhanger, I couldn’t wait to read this book. I’ll be honest and tell you that much of the detail of the first book had left me, so I did have to go back and read a few summaries to remind myself. If you like fantasy, you should pick it up. I wouldn’t say it was scary, but more suspenseful. There will absolutely be a third after this one. I just think that Alex is such a badass. Love that about female fantasy main characters. They always rule the world.

The Diamond Eye, Kate Quinn – 5/5 stars – Historical fiction has to be REALLY good to hold my attention and this one did it. It’s not short, but I flew through it, staying up late into the night to read more more more. I LOVEd Mila, her story and was fascinated by the setting in Russia in WWII. The American part of the story was a little hokey to me, but Quinn pulled it all together by the end in such a nice little package. It was the kind of interesting and complex storyline that you really want in a historical fiction – with wonderful, real characters to root for and other truly despicable ones to hate. You can tell the author really did her homework on this one. So much of the story was true – including Mila herself! Have heard great things about Quinn’s other books too. Adding them all to my list!

Stepsisters, Susan Mallery – 2/5 stars – Guys it was bad. Skip it. Upon reflection, I can’t believe I finished the whole thing. There were just some parts that were…icky to me.

Dinner in One, by Melissa Clark – It’s not a cookbook that I would plan to buy, but was glad to get it from the library. I bookmarked the meatballs, a couple of the chicken recipes and the a few of the skillet meals to try. I am always looking for one pot meals, and this had some good ones if you’re looking for that too!!

That’s it for March! Can’t wait to see what April brings my shelves!

Books I Read in January.

Oh gosh, I love books. I love thinking about them, reading them, talking about them. Every month I’m going to put my book reviews here so you can easily refer back to book suggestions. Click on the title to take you to amazon to see a summary of the book but as always, check your library first!! You can read all of these for FREE, and they often have the ebook if you’re more comfortable reading on a kindle or even on your phone. I’ll also put my top pick so that if you only get to one book during the month – you have an easy choice. I also always post book reviews and books that I’m thinking about on Mondays on my Instagram account.

My top pick for the month: The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller (5/5)

I loved this one. Definitely my favorite of January. I’ve heard mixed reviews, and some definite red flags are the underlying themes of sexual abuse of minors. If you read a lot, then you know that this is common as it is in the world, but I could see why it wouldn’t be for everyone. I thought it was just such a well done story. I’d put it up there with The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both of those books have such a strong sense of place that I loved along with a family drama. Reminded me a little of Good Company – especially with the struggles of marriage and how your past and your untruths can catch up to you in the long run. Highly recommend reading this one. My favorite of the month.

It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover (5/5)

Still thinking about this book even weeks after I finished it. I’ve heard that every one of Colleen Hoover’s books are amazing. I read Verity by her last year (which I also loved) and this one is so different, but has that same feel where you are just In. The. Story. I love reading books about relationships and thinking about the human experience. She does this so well.

The Maidens, by Alex Michaelides (4/5)

I just…have a lot of thoughts on this book and I don’t want to give anything away, so if you read it – send me a message. I did love the nods to Greek mythology, so if you like that sort of thing, then you may like this. Not too scary, but definitely in the suspenseful mystery genre. I did NOT see the ending coming at all. I’ve heard that The Silent Patient is much better, so read that instead if you’re looking for this genre.

Such a Quiet Place, by Megan Miranda (3.75/5)

I enjoyed the close-knit community with secrets storyline, didn’t predict the ending, but also felt a little meh about the book overall once I finished it, and the ending was absolute garbage. Read if you like unreliable narrators with a bit of suspense/mystery.

The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner (3/5)

Suspenseful in a non-scary way. Enjoyed the chapters being told from alternate perspectives and the setting in London. But I also found myself wanting to skip some of the chapters to get to the actual action. Some of it was a little repetetive, and if you are a big historical fiction junkie, I wouldn’t call the storyline exactly believable. It was all a little too…convenience. I’ve read better books, but I did take the time to finish the whole thing, so it couldn’t have been that bad. Another note – I did try to listen to the audiobook to get through it faster and it was truly horrendous. If you are short on time, save yourself and skip this one altogether.