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Summer Reading: Some Books I've Read/Loved + The Ones I Have On My List

Summer is the time when I devour books. Sometimes my daughter can't believe how fast I breeze through stories that take me away to other places for a bit, but I love it. There is something about reading a good book that is so relaxing....whether it's in the morning with a cup of coffee, on a mid-afternoon break, or in the evening with a glass of wine. And I couldn't go back to school in the fall without telling my students that I, too, read All. Summer. Long. I've got to be a good role model, after all.

I thought it would be fun to round up a few books I've already read in the past, and some that I can't wait to dive into based on recommendations from friends and other book reviews.

What I've read and would recommend:

Verity by Colleen Hoover -- This one is sooooo good! A struggling writer accepts a job offer from the husband of a bestselling author (Verity) to complete the remaining books in her series. What goes on in that house while she is there is nuts...You won't want to put this down.

People We Met on Vacation by Emily Henry -- I just finished this one and loved it. It was a sweet love story between two friends that spans over a decade. They met in college and continue to take a vacation together every summer. To be honest, I did fast read through some of the flashback chapters, but I loved the two main characters and the relationship they shared.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand -- Anything by Elin is a two-thumbs up in my book. I always save her annual summer releases until I am sitting on the beach while on vacation. This one stole my heart. Although what goes on in the book is not the most moral situation, I always found myself rooting for the two main characters (Mallory and Jake).

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee -- A pretty, single mother in her late 30's meets the young, hot superstar boy band musician and a love story begins. Again, not the most realistic situation, but I really wanted them to work!

Gansett Island Series by Marie Force -- Ok, fair warning -- this is total chic-lit and everything is fine and dandy on the fictional Gansett Island...but, I can't stop reading. Each book in the 29 book series explores the relationship of a new couple that met in a previous book. And, all characters continue to make appearances as the series progresses. They are easy to read (I am on book 11) and all books are under $5 through Amazon via Kindle. Note - some books you can buy a bundle and save even more. (Link is for book one - Maid for Love)

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks -- I am a sucker for Sparks and this one was a good one. Two strangers fall in love on the beaches of NC, but then go about to live their lives on opposite sides of the world. Without giving away too much, this is a love story that will leave you in tears (in true Nicholas Sparks style).

The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin -- Pre- 9/11, Cecily falls for a guy in a NYC bar (Grant) who may not be who is says he is. Fast forward to 9/11 and he goes missing. Truths unfold and questions begin to pile up. There are lots of twists peppered with some mystery and a nod to the events of September 11th. This one got mixed reviews, but I liked it - hence, why it's on my list.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover -- What begins as a non-committal affair turns into something more. They have two rules: Never ask about the past and don't expect a future. Colleen's books are always riveting and fast moving, as this one was too.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher -- The tagline is "Imagine that your husband has two other wives?" Ha! Well, ok - that seems a bit nuts. This was the book my girlfriends and I read for our "Galentine's Day/Book Club" party we had last February. The end of the book will still leave you with questions about what the hell was really going on.

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones -- A Reese Witherspoon book club pick, this is one about a relationship that is affected by another woman (his mother). And she will stop at nothing. It's a borderline psychological suspense novel which had me reading to the very end.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris -- I read this book on the way to Italy two years ago, so it's been out for a bit...but I loved it. There are definitely some details about what happened at the concentration camps during WW2, which I am always yearning to learn more about, but the love story between these two people is both heartbreaking and rejuvenating.

Bright Side by Kim Holden -- Another love story, but this one has many twists. Secrets are revealed and it will leave you thinking. This is another one to grab the tissues as you read through....

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover -- Girl has a first love and moves on. Girl meets "perfect boy" and falls in love. But girl can't stop thinking about her long, lost first love. That's all I will say.

What's next on my list:

Since I didn't read these yet, I will include brief summaries that I found on each title:

** Sixth Wedding by Elin Hilderbrand -- "A sequel to 28 Summers, Jake McCloud returns to Nantucket for Labor Day weekend 2023, this time without Mallory."

** Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand -- "From the greenroom of the afterlife—make that Benjamin Moore "Parsley Snips" green—a newly dead Nantucket novelist watches life unfold without her. In her 27th novel, Hilderbrand gives herself an alter ego—beloved beach-novel author Vivian Howe—sends her out for a morning jog, and immediately kills her off." --Taken from Kirkus Reviews.

** Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- "Malibu 1983. Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of one night, each of their lives will be changed forever in this propulsive novel." --Taken from Amazon.

** Beach Read by Emily Henry -- "January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They're polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block." -- Taken from Penguin Random House.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable -- Gable imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark - and the child they may have had. Based on a real story - in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack. --Taken from Amazon.

Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams -- "In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on Winthrop Island where she is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails. But beneath the island's patrician façade, there are two castes: the summer families with their steadfast ways, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic laborers. Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse. As the summer winds to its end, he and Miranda are caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop's hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last. No longer a naive teenager, Miranda begins an impassioned quest for justice for the man she once loved. --Summary from the book

**Denotes the ones I am especially excited to read!


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