This year has been going by so fast! Technically, I’ve already started reading books that were on my summer TBR since I consider the beginning of June already summer. In the summer, I tend to read a lot of YA, contemporary romances, and thrillers. This is also the first summer since the start of the pandemic where I’m actually able to travel a bit! I have one week-long trip already planned, and another that I’m waiting to find out about. The first of these trips definitely affected my reading a bit since it came up a little unexpectedly, and I had to change which books I was planning to read based on what I was able to bring with me. In general, the summer months tend to be great reading months for me since a biweekly project that I do at work is typically off until the fall, and we also have two weeks of training and planning time with no participants, which can be less tiring (or more, depending how much conflict there is between staff). When I think of summer books, I tend to think about books that have very summer-y covers, like light colours, beaches/water, or pictures that remind me of the sun. This summer, I’m hoping to do a ton of reading!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegmund-Broka
This book was one of the first that jumped to mind because of the cover art, since I naturally associate swimming with summer. This book is this author pair’s first adult contemporary release, and it is about two authors whose partnership ended on bad terms even though they still had one book left on their contract. Forced to reunite in a tiny Florida town to try to finish this last book as quickly as possible, which also forces them to work through the reasons they’ve hated each other since their partnership fell apart. I was drawn to this book because it reminds me quite a bit of Beach Read, which is one of my all-time favourite romances. I’ve only read one of this author duo’s YA books so far, but I really enjoyed it and I have several others on my list to pick up too. I typically love books that focus on authors and the writing process, so I’m expecting to love this!
2) Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s adult contemporary romances have basically become synonymous with summer for me. I read Beach Read in August 2020 and People We Meet on Vacation in July 2021, and both immediately became favourites of the year! This book is her most recent release, and I’m so excited to pick it up this summer too. It is about a woman named Nora works as a literary agent, and agrees to go on a month-long vacation with her sister, where she finds herself constantly running into Charlie, an editor she knows from the city. The two of them have never gotten along, but the more they are thrown together, the more they start to realize they may fit well together, giving Nora the chance to finally be the heroine of her own story. Like The Roughest Draft, I’m expecting to love this one because it features characters who work in the publishing industry, and especially because I’ve loved this author’s previous two books!
3) Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
This is another series that I always associate with summer because it is set at a Renaissance Faire that spans through the summer. This one follows April, Emily’s sister who was mentioned in the first book, who decides to move away from their small town, and asks her friend Mitch to help with some home improvements to get the house ready. In return, Mitch asks April to pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner to avoid more pressure from his family to settle down and get serious about a “real” career and relationship. When the one dinner turns into a weekend trip, the line starts to blur between which parts of their relationship and which are just for show, until it all ends when the weekend is over. As the Faire returns to town for the summer, April decides to volunteer for the first time, but when Mitch’s family unexpectedly shows up, she has to keep up the pretense of their relationship and figure out if this may be her chance for something real. I’ve loved both of the previous books in this series, and I’m especially excited to see Mitch take a bigger role since he’s always been a fun character.
4) Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow
This is easily one of my most anticipated books for the year, although I’m a little nervous about it now that I’ve seen a ton of mixed reviews. It is about two teenage girls, Cherish and Farrah, who are the only two Black girls in their upper class community. When Farrah’s parents lose their home, she moves in with Cherish and her adoptive parents, both of whom are white, and decides to manipulate her way further into the family so she can stay. As strange things start to happen in Cherish’s home, Farrah begins to wonder whether the family’s motivations may be even more disturbing than her own. I’m fairly certain I originally saw a slightly different synopsis for this book because I now find it quite challenging to describe. Either way, this book sounds very creepy and absolutely fascinating, and I’m very curious to pick it up. The reviews so far definitely have not been the most encouraging, but I’m still intrigued enough to give this a chance and I hope to love it as much as I originally expected.
5) Cafe Con Lychee by Emery Lee
This book seemed so summer-y because of the colours of the cover, and for some reason I also somehow associated all the food with summer too. I very recently read Meet Cute Diary by this author and loved it, so I’m looking forward to trying this one too. This book is about a boy named Theo who wants to escape from Vermont so he can finally get away from working at his parents’ Asian American cafe and from dealing with their rival’s son Gabi, a closeted gay boy who plans to take over his parents’ Puerto Rican bakery after graduation. When a new fusion cafe opens in the town, everything changes for both of the boys, giving Theo the idea to sell food covertly at school to help earn some extra money, and he must rely on Gabi’s help after spraining his wrist, forcing the two of them to work together to save both of their parents’ shops. This book reminds me quite a bit of Tweet Cute because of the rival restaurant aspect, and it sounds absolutely adorable!
6) Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore
I always struggle a bit to summarize what Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are about, and this one is no exception. It is this author’s latest release about Bastian, who grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly land rumoured to be beneath it, and Lore, who has only seen that world under the lake once in an encounter that changed their life. As the lines begin to blur and the world from under the lake starts to drift above the surface, Bastian and Lore must work together to stop it to avoid their secrets surfacing too. However, the two of them have not spoken to each other in seven years and working together may mean trusting each other with the secrets they had been trying to hide. I always find this authors’ synopses so confusing but generally end up enjoying the books, so I’m hoping that will be the case with this one as well!
7) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I am determined to finally read this book this summer because it’s one that I keep putting off! I read and loved Circe in 2019 and I’ve heard such amazing things about this book, but for some reason I’ve never been particularly motivated to try it. I suspect it’s partially because I’m less familiar with the myth that is based on, combined with some degree of avoiding it just because it seemed overhyped. This book is a retelling of the Iliad, which follows Patroclus who was exiled from his homeland and fostered by Achilles’ father, which leads to them developing an inseparable bond, with Patroclus even following Achilles into war. I am really hoping that I love this book as much as everyone else seems to, but I’m so nervous to try it because it’s had an absolutely overwhelming amount of hype. I’m also much less familiar with Achilles than I was with Circe, but I’m hoping that doesn’t make too much of a difference.
8) The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
This is another of my most anticipated books of the year, especially because I’ve loved everything this author has written so far. Riley Sager is one of the few authors with whom I’m completely up-to-date on everything published so far. I typically seem to read most of his books closer to fall, but this one definitely seemed like a good summer book to me. This book is about an actress named Casey who has retreated to her family’s lake house to escape some bad press, where she spends her time watching the couple, Tom and Katherine, who live across the lake. When Casey saves Katherine from drowning one day, the women strike up a fast friendship that leads Casey to realize that Katherine’s marriage may not have been so perfect, especially when Katherine disappears. This book reminds me quite a bit of The Woman in the Window or The Girl on the Train, which are two of my favourite thrillers. The only reason I may not be able to get to this one within the summer is if I can’t find an affordable copy since hardcovers currently go for $36! I really wish Indigo would discount all versions of a book, not just the paperbacks.
9) Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
The cover of this book definitely screams summer to me because of the tropical vibes. This book is about a woman named Lux and her boyfriend Nico, who are hired to sail two women to a remote island. Lux is eager for the break from her job and from a recent family tragedy, and quickly bonds with their passengers. Upon arriving at the island, they are surprised to find another boat there which is owned by Jake and Eliza, who quickly befriend the group and they agree to all experience the island together. When another stranger arrives alone, the balance is disrupted, and Lux soon realizes that both their passengers and the couple may not be what they seem. When one person goes missing and another turns up dead, lux begins to wonder how many of them will make it off the island alive. This is another book that I don’t have a copy of yet, but I’m hoping to be able to get one very soon!
10) An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi
I’m not sure why exactly I associate this book with summer, but I suspect it’s because of the colour scheme of the cover since it seems to fit right in with everything else I’ve chosen here. This book is set in 2003 shortly after the US officially declared war on Iraq, the Muslim community in America is dealing with a lot of backlash. Shadi, a Muslim teenage girl, is struggling with the weight of her family’s grief after the death of her brother, as well as both parents dealing with physical and/or mental illness, and conflict with her best friend. Shadi is doing her best to just push through it all by swallowing her own pain and retreating into herself, until finally everything changes. To be honest, I don’t feel like I have a very strong grasp of what this book is about, aside from the idea that it will be extremely sad. I liked A Very Large Expanse of Sea, but didn’t love it quite as much as I expected based on how much I enjoyed Tahareh Mafi’s Shatter Me series. I’m hoping to enjoy this one since I’ve heard good things about it, and I’m planning to pick it up very soon.