Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer 2020 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books On My Summer 2020 TBR.

Some of these are new releases, some are books that I already own and just need to make a priority this summer. And I’m embarrassed to say that one of these books was on my summer 2019 TBR list, and I just never got to it.

  1. Peace Talks (Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher
  2. The Unkindest Tide (October Day, #13)  by Seanan McGuire (a reread, but hey– I need to be ready for #14 in September!)
  3. Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (my book group’s pick for July)
  4. The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut, #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal
  5. Blood of Elves (The Witcher series) by Andrzej Sapkowski
  6. Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories, #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
  7. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (I know, I know…)
  8. Alice by Christina Henry
  9. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  10. Bookish & the Beast by Ashley Poston

What are you planning to read this summer? Please share your links!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with summery titles that aren’t really summer books at all

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is  Books that Give Off Summer Vibes.

Since I just did a Top 5 Tuesday post about summer books a few weeks ago, I thought I’d switch it up a bit and instead talk about books whose titles sounds full of summer themes… even though the books themselves aren’t exactly light, beachy reads.

  1. On the Beach by Nevil Shute: On the beach? Excellent! Except not, because it’s the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust and radiation is coming to wipe out the last remaining survivors.
  2. Dune by Frank Herbert: Glorious rolling sand dunes along a beautiful beach? Sorry, nope. It’s sci-fi on a desolate world. With killer sand worms.
  3. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian: Little girls playing in the sand with their parents on a sunny day? No. This one is set during and after the Armenian genocide.
  4. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green: An epic summer romance about star-crossed lovers? Not at all. It’s about a lonely American girl and a German POW.
  5. The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff: Yes, there’s a beach! But it’s really a wartime love story with lots of sadness and loss.
  6. Sunshine by Robin McKinley: A bright sunshiny day? Ha ha. No. This is one of my very favorite vampire stories, very dark and creepy.
  7. Firefly: Big Damn Heroes by Nancy Holder: Chasing lightning bugs on a summer lawn as evening falls? Nope. A super fun sci-fi space western, but nothing to do with actual fireflies. (Or summer.)
  8. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher: A chivalric tale about knights and ladies and a summer joust, perhaps? No, it’s all about Chicago wizard Harry Dresden and the dangerous, deceptive faerie courts.
  9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: A little beach town, with a country lane leading to the shore? Sorry again. This is a terrific fantasy… but it’s not about a beach vacation.
  10. In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien: Ooh, a country get-away by a romantic lake? Well, there’s a lake, but it’s not peaceful or romantic. This is really disturbing suspense, without a hint of summer fun and relaxation.

Can you think of more books with summer-themed titles that just aren’t summery at all?

If you wrote a TTT post, please share your link with me! Tell me about your favorite books with summer vibes!

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Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Summer Reads

Once again, I’m joining in with the Top 5 Tuesday meme this week! Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Bionic Bookworm, who posts the month’s topics at the start of each month. Today’s topic is Top 5 Summer Reads. This topic could go a few different ways… book set in the summer? books to read in the summer? books I’ve read in the summer? books about beaches? I guess I’ll do a little of everything — here’s my list of five books that are great to read in the summer or that have a summer theme! 

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han: 
The story of a teen girl and the two boys she spends every summer with at their families’ shared beach house is just so perfect for reading on a beach or by a pool. It’s surprisingly deeper than you might expect, getting into family loyalties and loss and grief. (It’s the first in a trilogy, and all three are good!)

2. Beach Read by Emily Henry
I just finished this terrific love story, set in a beach cottage over the course of an eventful summer. A perfect summer read!

3. Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe
This awesome collection of robot and fairy stories includes several by favorite authors of mine (Including Seanan McGuire and John Scalzi), and maybe it’s because I took this on vacation with me a couple of years ago and read it on the beach, but I feel like it’s just so fun and entertaining and low commitment that it’s perfect for summer.

4. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
This book is sweetness and light, and so full of happiness that I can see it as a perfect summer reading option.

5. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
There’s no obvious connection to summer, but the four books of the Finishing School series are light, funny, and exciting, and feel to me like a perfect choice for reading poolside with a frosty drink in hand.

 

What do you consider summer reads? Let me know, and please share your Top 5 link if you have one!

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: May 19, 2020
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. 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.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really. 

Sometimes you pick up a book and it’s exactly what you need in that moment. And for me, Beach Read was it this week — as evidenced by the fact that I read it in about a day and a half, ignoring the real-world obligations nagging for my attention.

Beach Read is sweet and uplifting, but also a little heavier than you might guess from the title and the cover.

Main character January is a young, successful romance writer. She’s known for her swoony love stories and happy ending. However, she’s been thrown for a loop, and isn’t able to summon her inner belief in the power of true love — and her looming book deadline isn’t helping at all.

January’s father recently died, so she’s dealing with the loss of her incredible dad — but on top of that, at his funeral, she met That Woman. It turns out that her father had an on-again, off-again mistress for years, including during her mother’s battle with cancer. January is shattered and angry, and feels like her foundation has been swept out from under her. After all, it was her parent’s shining love story that taught her to believe in love-story-quality love — and if that was all a lie, then what is she supposed to believe? And how can she possibly write a believable love story when she’s not sure her heart will ever be in it again?

January’s father left her a beach-side bungalow in a small-town in Michigan. With her book deadline looming and a serious lack of funds, she decides to spend her summer writing at the cottage, while also cleaning, sorting, and getting it ready for sale. And the fact that this was her father’s place with That Woman is not helping in the slightest.

Also distracting is her next door neightbor, who turns out to be the revered young writer Augustus Everett — whom January knew as Gus back in their college days, when they were fierce competitors, and shared one steamy “almost” at a party.

As January and Gus reconnect, initially with resentment and animosity, they realize they’re in the same boat when it comes to lack of inspiration and dire writer’s block. Gus is battling his own inner demons and past hurts, and he can’t seem to make progress on his next book.

In the book’s central (cute) twist, they challenge each other to write each other’s genres. Gus has always mocked January’s belief in the HEA — now, he needs to find a way to see the possibility of happiness, rather than going for the gloomy conclusion. And January needs to be open to grim reality and the idea that love isn’t always perfect, that messiness and secrets and hard choices are parts of life, and that fairy tales never (rarely) come true.

Beach Read is so much fun, start to finish, but it’s not only sunshine and swooning. (But yes, there is swoon-worthy romance, to be sure.) The author has a lot to say about families and love, how the ideals of childhood can be tarnished by the realities of adulthood, how families can hurt one another but can also save one another in all sorts of different ways… and how true love doesn’t mean no one ever makes a mistakes or hurts the other person, and that sometimes love takes work, compromise, and second chances.

January and Gus have a great chemistry together, and I loved the scenes of them writing in their respective cottages, but communicating through notes held up to the window. It’s adorable — so much better than texting!

The small-town setting is charming, and there’s a wonderful bookstore, so that’s a plus! One of the central plot elements of the book is Gus and January’s series of field trips/dates, where each exposes the other to something that feels related to their own writing style and genre. So, line dancing alternates with going to the site of a tragic fire at a cult compound… and all their excursions bring them closer to each other and also give them each different insights into their own process and emotions.

The writing is cheerful and light, but the author doesn’t shy away from harder emotions. January and Gus both have baggage to deal with, and we do see their pain and confusion as they deal with the events in their lives and try to move forward.

Bonus points too for a terrific female friendship, which helps January realize that true love can also be the bond between two lifelong friends who have each other’s backs and love unconditionally.

Falling’s the part that takes your breath away. It’s the part when you can’t believe the person standing in front of you both exists and happened to wander into your path. It’s supposed to make you feel lucky to be alive, exactly when and where you are.

Beach Read is a wonderful depiction of falling in love, but also a moving exploration of the messiness that comes with growing up and facing real life and accepting the fact that parents aren’t always perfect.

As I mentioned at the start, this book came into my hands right when I needed it, and I enjoyed every minute. A great summer reading choice — and also a great way to escape our current isolation through fiction!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer 2019 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books On My Summer 2019 TBR.

I’m mixing some light reads with some dark and creepy stories, as well as a book group book and a book that’s been on my nightstand for over a year now. Plus, I’m finally planning to start a series that’s been on my TBR for far too long (The Glamourist Histories), and also plan to read a more recent book (a sequel to a book I loved) by the same author. Wheeeee! I love summer reading…

  1. Reticence (The Custard Protocol, #4) by Gail Carriger
  2. In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant
  3. The Toll by Cherie Priest
  4. Circe by Madeline Miller
  5. The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
  6. Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories, #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
  7. The Fated Stars (Lady Astronaut, #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal
  8. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
  9. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  10. What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

What are you planning to read this summer? Please share your links!

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Book Review: Summer of Lost and Found

Summer of Lost and FoundSynopsis:

(via Goodreads)

Nell Dare expected to spend her summer vacation hanging out with her friends in New York City. That is, until her botanist mom dragged her all the way to Roanoke Island for a research trip. To make matters worse, her father suddenly and mysteriously leaves town, leaving no explanation or clues as to where he went—or why.

While Nell misses the city—and her dad—a ton, it doesn’t take long for her to become enthralled with the mysteries of Roanoke and its lost colony. And when Nell meets Ambrose—an equally curious historical reenactor—they start exploring for clues as to what really happened to the lost colonists. As Nell and Ambrose’s discoveries of tantalizing evidence mount, mysterious things begin to happen—like artifacts disappearing. And someone—or something—is keeping watch over their quest for answers.

It looks like Nell will get the adventurous summer she was hoping for, and she will discover secrets not only about Roanoke, but about herself.

My thoughts:

Such fun! This is a perfect summer book – particularly if you’re looking for something to tuck into a middle-grade reader’s suitcase on the way to a family vacation. I picture reading this one on a blanket on the beach, in between dips in the ocean, maybe while munching on watermelon slices…

Nell Dare is a terrific main character. She’s a city girl through and through, and can’t think of anything more perfect than spending the summer in Manhattan with her best friend. When her dad takes off and her mother forces her to spend time on a weird island to help with research about an old vine, things are definitely not going as planned.

Nell becomes enthralled by the mysteries of Roanoke Island, famous for its lost colonists — the early settlers in the late 1500s who disappeared without a trace, a mystery unsolved to this day. Nell makes a “frenemy” of another girl her age, Lila, who’s also determined to get to the bottom of the lost colony. The race is on! Nell pursues clues with the help of a charming but slightly odd boy, learning her way around the island — but also learning how to get along without subways or taxis, enjoying the forests and dunes and learning the fine art of traveling by bicycle.

There’s a lot of heart in the story, as Nell’s summer is spent worrying about her father’s disappearance and what it means. Neither parent will tell her straight out, so Nell is left to guess and feel bad. She worries too that her best friend back in New York will replace her while she’s gone, and the speed at which texts are answered become talismans for the state of their friendship.

Finally, Nell learns a lot about finding a direction and charting her own path, asking for answers, and sticking things out.

But that’s true, right? Sometimes it’s the places we think we know the best that hold the most secrets: our streets, our backyards, and even our homes.

Nell’s summer adventure, investigating the mysteries of Roanoke, ultimately allows her to find out more about herself and her family. Along the way, she explores friendship and loneliness, and figures out that she needs to stand up and makes things happen herself.

Summer of Lost and Found is a charming middle-grade novel about a summer of discoveries — discoveries about the past, about things that are lost, and about commitment and family. Highly recommended for moms and daughters — this would make a great summer book to share!

Interested in this author? Check out my review of her previous novel, When Audrey Met Alice.

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The details:

Title: Summer of Lost and Found
Author: Rebecca Behrens
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: May 24, 2016
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Middle grade fiction
Source: Review copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List – 2015 edition

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is about reading plans for summer. What’s on my to-be-read list? As usual, it’s a mix of new releases and books from my shelves…

1) Another Day by David Levithan

another day

2) What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

What You Left Behind

3) Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Jesse's Girl

4) Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun

5) A Window Opens by Elizabeth Egan

A Window Opens

6) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (a book group pick for this summer)

All the Light

7) The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (another one for the book group)

invention of wings

8) Ross Poldark by Winston Graham (because I’m dying to watch the BBC version)

Ross Poldark

9) Depth by Lev AC Rosen

Depth

10) Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn (the sequel to After the Golden Age, which I just read and really enjoyed!)

Dreams of the Golden Age

What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

The Monday Agenda 7/8/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

I’m back, busily bustling through bunches of books (and amusing myself with alliteration, it would seem).

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

This is really a two-week check-in, since I was away (on a lovely vacation, thanks for asking!) and skipped a week of blogging. Here’s what I’ve read since my last update:

Vacation books:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: Done! Loved it. My review is here.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: Done! My review is here.

A Small Death in the Great Glen by A. D. Scott: Done! My review is here.

Post-vacation reading:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Done! Beautiful book. My review is here.

Saga, volumes 1 and 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: Amazing new graphic novel series from the author of Y: The Last Man, one of my favorites. I loved the two volumes of Saga, and can’t wait to read more.

Fresh Catch:

Well, I was away, after all, so the fresh catch collection is on the smallish side:

Saga, Volume 2When You Were HereThe Girl You Left BehindOpenly Straight

Yes, I did read Saga, volume 2 already, the second it reached my hot little hands! The other books are from a giveaway (When You Were Here — thank you, Perpetual Page-Turner!) and two ARCs that were just approved. Looking forward to all of them!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

I’ve just started Joyland by Stephen King, and I’m hooked!

Next up, one of my pending review copies, either Mist by Susan Krinard or The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold.

Mist (Mist, #1)The Book of Secrets: A Novel

Plus, I’d really love to get to more of the books on my summer TBR list!

My kiddo is safely home from an “awesome” time at summer camp, and ready to resume our nightly reading tradition. We’re continuing our Narnia quest, and will be starting The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this week. Four books down, three to go!

boy1So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

The Monday Agenda 6/24/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

True fact: I’m away and not actively blogging this week. Oh, the power and beauty of scheduling! Just because I’m off to parts known and unknown, it doesn’t mean I can’t post a Monday Agenda for this week.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler: DNF. I read about 30 pages or so, but it just never really clicked for me.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce: Done! My review is here. Warning: Contains rants and spoilers.

The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis: Done! My son and I have now read four Narnia books together, and plan to continue as soon as we’re back home. We loved The Horse and His Boy. We managed to squeeze in a quick Q&A With The Kiddo post on our Narnian adventures — you can see it here.

That’s it! It was a low-volume reading week, thanks to the typical pre-trip frenzy of packing, laundry, and last-minute dashes to the store for insect repellant and other such nonsense.

Fresh Catch:

Neil Gaiman! Plus, two paperbacks — bought cheap! — arrived from the UK this week. I’m so looking forward to reading all of these!

The Ocean at the End of the LaneRose Under FireThe 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

Yes, I’ve already read (and loved!) The 5th Wave… and now I have my own copy!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Instead of choosing my own vacation reading, I asked my blog visitors to do it for me! Based on my poll results, here’s what I’ll be reading in the next week and a half:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

A Small Death in the Great Glen by A. D. Scott

… and possibly Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, although I doubt I’ll fit all this into my not-as-long-as-I’d-like vacation.

Thank you to everyone who voted and offered an opinion (or two)! I’ll report back — when I get back!

boy1

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

Public domain image from www.public-domain-image.com

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.

This week’s theme is Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR (To-Be-Read) List. I splurged quite a bit this spring on brand new books (thanks especially to some extraordinarily well-timed gift cards — hurray for gift cards!). Unfortunately, my reading has not kept up with my buying, so most of those lovely new books are still sitting on my shelf, waiting… waiting… waiting…

I just had to buy these books — and I’m hoping to settle down with at least a few (if not all) of these this summer. Here are the top 10 books that I’m really dying to read in the coming months:

The Golem and the Jinni

1) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

2) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Life After Life

3) Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A Tale for the Time Being

4) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Firebird

5) The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Out of the Easy

6) Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Midwinterblood

7) Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Joyland

8) Joyland by Stephen King

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

9) Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain

Saga, Volume 1 (Saga #1-6)Saga, Volume 2

10) Saga, volumes 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

What’s at the top of your summer reading list?

Have you voted in my vacation reading poll yet? Rather than pick my own reading material for my upcoming trip, I thought I’d let everyone else do it for me! Here’s the link to see the options and cast your vote. Choose wisely! Whichever books get the most votes by Friday are going straight into my suitcase.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies. Thanks for stopping by!