Wednesday, June 2, 2021

BOOK REVIEW | APRIL & MAY 2021


Hello to all you Summer Readers!! Remember how I broke down my Ultimate Summer Reading List HERE back in April? I grabbed the top new releases that I was excited to read and compiled a list for each month so they'd be easy to narrow down. Well, I've done my best to read as many from each month's list as possible and ended up finishing 9 books. One of them didn't deserve to make the list in my opinion (Lost in Paris...just didn't like it but everyone else seemed to on the reviews so maybe it just didn't work for me) and then I added in one that WASN'T on my list but WAS a new release.
So. 

If you are like me and decisions paralyze you if there are too many choices, then let me point you in the right direction. I promise you, you cannot go wrong with any of these but maybe I can offer a little more help narrowing it down.

Sidenote: As we know, I'm an audiobook-er and all of these were great or outstanding in the narrator department, in my opinion. So no need to worry about that.

In a nutshell, every single one of these was a 5 star read for me except for one which I'd probably give a solid 4 stars.

But let's start with the thrillers. There were 2 of those in this group and both were awesome. My absolute favorite though was...



If you love twists and turns and "What in the actual (bleep) just happened?" type books, this one's for you!! I love the ones that keep me guessing and I love when I'm wrong and then WHAM it's all explained at the end. This one might be one of my favorites of the year actually. I just really enjoyed it and it kept me up late at night listening and it was the first thing I turned on every morning because I couldn't wait to hear more.

This book is about a woman who goes for a run and never comes home and then that is quickly followed by another woman and her 6yo daughter vanishing too. No one has a clue what has happened until 11 years later when the little girl (now a teenager) suddenly appears. Of course, everyone wants to know what happened to her and her mom and where she's been this whole time and that's when all the pieces to a story that someone has been trying to hide for years begins to unravel. The story goes back and forth between the years so you get to hear what went on in "real time" when it jumps back to the past and then how it's going in the present.

There are surprises until the very end. Read this!

Another thriller that was so good was...



Fern and Rose are twin sisters and super close. Rose was the responsible one while Fern was the quirky one. They grew up with a mother who was a sociopath and only Rose could see it. So she did her best to protect Fern at all times...even when Fern did something very, very bad in their childhood. Rose always kept her secret and so when Rose decides she wants to have a baby but isn't able to carry one herself, Fern takes it upon herself to help her dream come true. 

And then secrets start to come out. Fern begins to see Rose in a new light...not as a protective sister but as someone with dark secrets of her own.

This one is another 5 stars for me. I love all Sally Hepworth's books so no surprise here!

Now for Chick Lit because who doesn't love fun, funny, sweet, and sassy with a little too-good-to-be-true love thrown in! 

These are in the order I read them because I cannot for the life of me try to put them into best to worst order because they were all equally terrific. Just pick one and go for it!



Ok, this can absolutely be read as a stand alone but if you haven't read The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist, they are part of this series and their characters make cameos in each of these which is always fun. The Friend Zone is one of my all-time favorites so...highly recommend. All of her books are hilarious and sweet and you fall.in.love. with the characters.

When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn't expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn't just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn't want to take anything for granted.
 
But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from "daily adventure" to "next-level bad" (now with bonus baby vomit in hair). The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she'd be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua.
 
Now she's feeling things she's vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

Y'all. I mean, there's a precious baby who needs a mama, cranky old dog that just needs some loving, a YouTuber who's trying to live out her best life not knowing how long she'll get to do it and of course, the hottie next door who is OF COURSE, the perfect man in every way.

It's funny, its sweet, it will have you hoping and crying and laughing and all the things. Read all her books. Thank me later. ;)

Next up was...



Mary Kay Andrews is another one of my favorite authors! They are all great beach reads but all of her books have some sort of crime/mystery thrown in on top of an adorable romance. So it's like getting a 2 for 1 deal and I love it!

The Newcomer was just as good as I hoped it would be and left wanting to go buy a rundown motel on a Florida beach.

In trouble and on the run...

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic, Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me - it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.” So, Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road....

With a trunkful of emotional baggage and her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring- but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.

The No Vacancy sign is flashing and the sharks are circling And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn - or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.  

If you can't decide between chick lit and a thriller, grab this one!

And then we have another one of my favorite summer authors!



Oh goodness, y'all. This one will have you rooting for these two cuties from the get-go. I thought this story was definitely a little different than the typical boy meets girl and they fall in love scenarios and it really did give me all the feels.

Recently separated Amelia Saxton, a dedicated journalist, never expected that uncovering the biggest story of her career would become deeply personal. But when she discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned”, she’s put in the unenviable position of telling Parker - and dredging up old wounds in the process.

Parker has been unable to move forward since the loss of his beloved wife three years ago. He has all but forgotten about the frozen embryos, but once Amelia reveals her discovery, he knows that if he ever wants to get a part of Greer back, he’ll need to accept his fate as a single father and find a surrogate.

Each dealing with their own private griefs, Parker and Amelia slowly begin to find solace in one another as they navigate an uncertain future against the backdrop of the pristine waters of their childhood home, Cape Carolina. The journey of self-discovery leads them to an unforgettable and life-changing lesson: Family - the one you’re born into and the one you choose - is always closer than you think.

I mean, I feel like there are a million ways this situation could go wrong but my word, I wanted it to be so right!! You'll have to read it to see how it ends up working out.

Last year, I read Emily Henry's Beach Read and really loved it (although I remember thinking it wasn't as beachy as it sounded). But anyway, this year she's got a new one out and it's even better!



Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
 
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.
 
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
 
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Ok, you will straight up be jealous as heck when you see the relationship between Alex and Poppy. Total opposites and yet absolute best friends. The trips they take will make you have major wanderlust. You will wish you had a guy friend like that back in the day that was just your platonic friend who you could bare your soul to, be yourself with, laugh with, cry with, travel with...all the things except makeout with...even though there's a tiny part of you that wants to. ;)

So why not just BE TOGETHER, you ask?! Well, we all ask. And you'll get to see all the things play out in the book. And it will make you a little frustrated at times. And then there will be times when you're all "Duh, guys!". But that's all I'll say. ;) This was a great one.

Moving on to...



I mean, does Christina Lauren ever let us down? No. The answer is always no. We love her (them actually...they are a duo).

The Soulmate Equation was my latest read and it has a really cool storyline.

Single mom Jessica Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: one of GeneticAlly’s founders, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond Match” that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

 I'm kind of bummed this science doesn't actually exist because it would be so cool (or not??) to run the DNA of people to see who is the best match for each other! Although, I can see this getting already married couples into trouble. haha

This one is insanely sweet and you will fall in love with this cute Diamond couple.

Now. The ONLY one I gave 4 stars this time around was Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer. And I hated to do it but there was just something about it that was lacking for me or that just didn't ring true. When I finished the book, I was almost like "Did I miss a chapter somewhere in there?" 


Eleanor Sunderland loves living on the Nantucket cliffside, in a charming home that has been in her family for decades. Now widowed, she looks forward to the arrival of her children and grandchildren for an annual family reunion, eager for the life and laughter that will soon fill the air.

But Eleanor's island idyll is shattered when her money-driven children suggest she sell the house and move to a retirement community. She finds a lone ally in her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, Ari, who moves in with her for the summer. Ari longs for a change of scenery, to stray from the path her parents have set for her. What she does not expect is an electric romantic spark with a Nantucket local, Cal, whose kind heart and charisma have her absolutely smitten.

With plenty of her signature Nantucket magic, Nancy Thayer brings both Eleanor and Ari on a summer beyond their wildest imaginations, filled with exciting connections, old and new.

How gorgeous is that cover though?! Love that.

But again, there were parts of the story that were like "That would never happen." (I can't reveal them without ruining stuff for you guys.) And then there were phrases throughout that made me go check to see how old the author was (she's 78) because it just didn't sound like something a 22yo girl would say. (Like "break off". She kept saying she "broke off" with her boyfriend and I was like "Who says it like that? Maybe it's a regional thing?" Break up, yes. Broke it off, yes. But "break off" sounds like something my grandmother would have said. It wasn't a huge deal but it threw me out of the little book bubble I was in because it just seemed out of place for a young 22yo. And it clearly stuck with me! haha) But also, way to go Ms. Thayer, for rocking it out at 78 years young!

Today I'm starting...



It's just not summer without an Elin novel!! The reviews on Goodreads so far are outstanding for this one so I have high hopes!

And speaking of Goodreads, I've had a few people message me lately asking if I'm on there and I am! I don't keep up with reviews and stuff over there all that well but I do keep it up to date in terms of what I'm reading/what I've read.

You can find me HERE. :)

And that's it for today, friends! Don't forget to pin this graphic so you can find it easily when you need it and be sure to check HERE for all my book reviews!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these and to hear what you are reading right now! Let me know in the comments here and/or over on my IG post so we can chat!

Happy Reading!!


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15 comments

  1. Alexis3:04 PM

    Your book reviews are my absolute fave!! Thanks for sharing all these!
    Loved loved Life’s Too Short and have four hours left for the audiobook of Local Woman Missing. Just finished The Last Thing He Told Me and I loved it!! Such a good one. The new Elin onesie next on my list and then Christina Lauren’s. Love that we share the same taste in books! Also…love your blog even though I’m the worst at leaving comments. Your blog has been my fav for years!

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    1. Oh my gosh, thank you!! That made my day!! ❤️

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  2. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Great reviews! I have "People we Meet on Vacation" on hold at my library. Heading to the beach in 2 weeks and can't wait to crack it open!

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  3. All great choices!

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  4. June 29 is when Susan Elizabeth Phillips newest book releases. "When Stars Collide" is book 9 in the Chicago Stars series and I can't wait! I know you're a big fan of SEP books as well.

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    1. Yes!! I have it over in my Ultimate Reading List in my June releases!! I can't wait! All her books are just so good. Glad to have another SEP fan here!! https://www.thatinspiredchick.com/2021/04/the-ultimate-summer-reading-list-2021.html

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  5. I'm getting on a plane in a couple days- I might need to grab one of those thrillers! Both sound very interesting...

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  6. Ahhhh love your book reviews I’m going to the beach for two weeks and already added several of these to my kindle. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you, Dawn! And two weeks at the beach?! OMG I'm dripping with jealousy right now! Have the best time!!

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  7. So many good books. I was actually reading The Good Sister and then my loan was due, so I had to return and wait it out. I can't wait to finish it. And I just added Local Woman Missing to my library list. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  8. I thought Family Reunion was cute but just an OK book whereas I normally love Nancy's books! The Newcombers was so cute and fun though. I really enjoyed that one.

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  9. I always love your book reviews!
    Caroline @ http://dramaticinthebestway.com

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