Happy last day of May, friends! I am SO EXCITED about today’s post because I am reviewing EIGHT BOOKS THIS MONTH!!
How did I read eight?! Well, if you’ll recall, I posted my April Book Review a week early, so that bought me an extra week in May. PLUS, I went to both Mexico and Boston, so two trips, four flights, lots of time to read this month, and I’m so glad I did!
As I was typing my review up and thinking back over the batch of books I read, I decided that this isn’t just a normal book review, this is an ULTIMATE BOOK REVIEW with your 2022 summer beach book recs!
If you are giddy about tomorrow being June 1st and ready to settle into the summer season with a new book, I’m your girl and this is your guide. From memoir to thriller, self-motivation, historical fiction and of course, chick-lit, I have a book for you! Some of these books I LOVED…but I didn’t love them all, so make sure you read each review for my honest thoughts and feedback before you buy.
There is NO BETTER TIME TO READ than the summer months! As much as I love the cozy days of reading during the winter, summer books just fill my heart with extra happiness.
Here we go, the 8 books I read this month with my reviews…
Taste by Stanley Tucci
If I’m being honest, I don’t exactly know why I decided to read this book. I mean, I like movies with Stanley Tucci in them (hello, The Devil Wears Prada!), but read his memoir? Why? I don’t know exactly why I bought it, but oh my word, I’M SO GLAD I DID! You guys, I am now officially a HUGE Stanley Tucci fan! This is part memoir and part cookbook. The actor writes about everything in this book from his childhood to starting out as an actor in NYC, to working with Meryl (twice!), why he doesn’t love Hollywood life, losing his first wife to cancer and being a single dad to three very young kids, finding love again (he married actress Emily Blunt’s sister!), living in London with his family during the pandemic…all while weaving in recipes that pertain to his stories. I’m telling you, I am now smitten with Stanley. He is clever, charming, endearing, lovable, honest…this memoir was just really refreshing. He’s very human in this book. He’s very real. This book was the perfect recipe of charm, wit and deliciousness. Two big thumbs up!
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
So many of you suggested that I read this historical fiction novel based on how much I love books like The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Things We Cannot Say, and wow! I am so glad you did! You guys, I feel like I’ve already said this several times this year…but there is a VERY good chance that this novel will end up in my TOP THREE for the entire year.
This is such a powerful story of a Jewish woman in France who helps smuggle hundreds of children into Switzerland using her skills as an artist to create them fake documents. This book is powerful. I was immediately drawn into the story and rooting for the characters every single step of the way. This book deals with heavy and hard things but also intertwines a little romance, a lot of optimism and a charming little town on the French/Swiss border. I could not put it down. It has some twists. It is unexpected. It’s filled with a lot of grit and determination. I cannot rave about this one enough. I absolutely loved it and am so happy so many of you suggested I read it too!
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
Calling all thriller fans! In March, I read The Family Upstairs by Jewell and so many of you suggested I read this one next. Here’s the deal…this is my type of thriller as it’s mostly not scary it’s just the thought of scary that makes the book scary. Does that make sense? It’s not gory or graphic…it’s just very psychologically thrilling. I don’t know that I loved it, but I was entertained by it. Even though it wasn’t gory…it was a bit “much” for me (she who loves the Hallmark channel), but if you’re a thriller-book seeker, then this one is probably for you (it is a bit rated R, just FYI).
This is the story of a woman who moves to the suburbs of London with her boyfriend and well, she finds a sign in her garden that says “dig here” and as you can imagine, an entire mystery opens up about two people who had gone missing the year before in the exact same town. This fictitious tale is about this woman’s mission to figure out what happened to these two people. I’ll be honest…I didn’t see it coming and was surprised by the ending because I did find it a bit too far fetched when it was all said and done (but hey, I love the Hallmark channel so keep that in mind), but it kept me intrigued and turning the page. For me, it wasn’t my favorite thriller, but I’m not super into thrillers, so take that with a grain of salt. It was highly original and very suspenseful. I hope you thriller fans love it!
The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey
I love this author 🙂 .
Her books just make me happy. They’re always light, easy to read, happy and end well. They are basically the exact opposite of the previous book 😉 .
This is the story of several generations of women who all wear the same veil on their wedding day. The author toggles back and forth between the past and present to show where this veil came from and how it ended up in the hands of our present day bride…who just skipped out on her wedding. This book just oozes beach read to me. I was afraid I wouldn’t love a lot of the “bride from the past” portions of this book (as we all know I prefer books set present day), but I found those stories interesting too and was very invested in their lives as well. Charming and cute…what more could you want for a June book?
Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life by Shannon Ables
I believe it was the end of March when I told you all how much I love this author and her podcast! She has over 300 episodes recorded, and I absolutely love each and every one. I think some would consider her a “self-help” influencer, but I just consider her inspiring. She’s an Anglophile and a Francophile, she loves her dogs, gardening, getting dressed each day…she’s a blogger, an outdoor enthusiast…she’s basically me minus the husband and four kids 😉 . I love her podcast so much that I purchased all three of her books and am currently halfway through book #2! This book here is her first one, and I read it all month long as I sipped my coffee each morning after my quiet time. It’s just feel good. She talks about everything in the book from her capsule wardrobe to making her home cozy, her garden, her love of all things French and English, her dogs…she’s just my cup of tea.
If you want to be inspired this summer…whether that is to spruce up your yard or your lingerie drawer, this book is for you. It’s just little nuggets of positive ways you can make every day simple and yet lovely.
The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews
Ohhhhhhh! I love me some Mary Kay Andrews! I read her books every time they’re released and always love them. My only criticism to her novels are that they are often a taddddd too long. They’re quintessential beach books: strong female lead, charming town, cute boy, a little conflict, happy ever after…but they’re not short books. You will settle into this one and love it…but just know it’s a little long.
This novel was particularly cute because it’s set outside of Savannah, Georgia about a woman who owns a construction company and how she ends up on a HGTV kind of show fixing up old houses.
So cute 🙂 .
Of course, there is a bit of drama and even a mystery woven into this one (a murder! a body! oh my!) which I found unusual for this author but a little refreshing. It’s your beach book with a bonus mystery. If you need some light-hearted happiness in your life right now, read this book.
Summer Love by Nancy Thayer
Okay, you all know that I love me some Nancy Thayer and some Elin Hildebrand. Both authors almost exclusively write their novels set in Nantucket which is where my heart belongs, so I always get excited to read them. BUT Hildebrand has been letting me down lately, so where I would once call her my “favorite Nantucket author”, I’m honestly going to have to pass that baton over to Thayer now. AND Thayer has evidentially taken the baton because this novel here was her “meatiest” yet which isn’t how I typically would have described her work in the past. This cute little Nantucket summer chick lit book took a slight turn from “light and frivolous” to a bit more substantial…and I loved it!
This is the story of four friends who worked on the island one summer when they were all in their early 20s. Fast forward twenty years and they’re back on the island but this time, with their kids (who are now about the same age). The story toggles back and forth between present day and what it was like that first summer they were on the island. I loved the characters, I loved the chemistry, I thought the addition of the kids present-day was fun. The book has so many great Nantucket references that makes my ACK-loving heart smile (from shops to restaurants, neighborhoods and more). Out of all of the summer books I read this month, this one felt the most summery to me. I am SO happy about this book because I’m already not excited to read Hildebrand’s newest one. My heart needed this book. You will love it too!
The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
Annnnnd I ended the month with the newest novel from New York Times Bestseller Jennifer Weiner.
I didn’t love it.
I totally think maybe it’s a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation, but I used to LOVE her novels, but lately, I’m just not into them any more. Has anyone else read this book? The problem is that Weiner has written so many great novels in the past that, the bar has been set super high for what I expect to read when I crack one open. This one here, well, in my opinion, it was pretty boring. Please tell me I’m not alone here! This is a novel about a family who connects one summer on Cape Cod at their family home for a wedding. Each chapter is about a different character and even though it has all the bones of a “Shay book!”, I just thought it was flat. First of all, there were so many characters. I mean…so many. Second of all, I didn’t really love any of the characters. My third problem was that it was pretty boring. I thought the story moved super slow, I thought it was a tad predictable…I just could not get excited to pick this one up. When this book was finally over, I was relieved…which is probably not the reaction one needs to have after investing this much time in a book. Needless to say, this one is a “skip” for me.
And that my friends, wraps up my ultimate MAY BOOK REVIEW post!
What did you think? What are your thoughts? What should I read in June? Boss me around, please! Based on the month and what I have going on, I’m thinking I would love light-hearted, summery reads, but if you have other options for me, do share!
Also, don’t forget…
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2018 (all 61 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2019 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2020 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2021 (all 59 of them), click here.
That wraps up Book Day!
Now, last week, I told you that today I would announce the fourth and final winner of Shay’s May Giveaways!
Today, one lucky winner will receive…
…an Apple Watch Series 7!
Congratulations LINDA GEHRING! I emailed you this morning. Please email me back to claim your prize!
I hope you all had a lovely May. Sending you so much love as we make our way into June. I’ll see you tomorrow! xx