Happy happy Thursday, friends!
It’s my JULY BOOK REVIEW!
And guess what?
I got my reading groove finally figured out over here…
This month I read SIX BOOKS!
Now that the weather is much warmer and our beach days longer and more frequent, I’ve been a book reading fool. Throw in our little trip to NYC and some time by the pool and this girl was able to R-E-A-D!
A big THANK YOU in advance for your book suggestions last month because as you’ll see below, I read many of them.
Something else that I did differently this month is that a few times, I read ACTUAL books instead of my Kindle. We’ve been enjoying time in both books stores here on the island (Mitchell’s and Book Works), and I’ve wanted to support both, so I did purchase a few of these actual books to read. If I’m being totally transparent though, as much as I used to love holding and reading actual books, I MISSED MY KINDLE SO MUCH! In fact, at one point, I was reading both a real book on the beach and a second book at night on my Kindle because how on Earth does one read a real book in a dark room when their spouse is trying to sleep?
My very favorite WATERPROOF KINDLE and is apparently a must in my life because I could not wait to pick it up again. It’s so light, it holds so many books AND THE LIGHT IS PEFECT FOR BRIGHT DAYS OUTSIDE OR DARK NIGHTS INDOORS.
Anyway, just my thoughts this morning. Ready to get to the books?
Here we go with my JULY BOOK REVIEWS!
I hope you all find something you want to read next month 🙂 .
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
Well, I clearly missed the memo that this book wasn’t a light chick lit read. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this was one of the books I actually bought and I totally judged it based on the cover. The name is cute and the cover is adorable, I just assumed it was a light little chick lit book. I was wrong. I thought this book was just okay…but to be fair, had I known it was a bit heavier, I probably would have liked it more.
This is the fictional story of wealthy adult siblings in NYC and their parents/spouses whose lives all sort of revolve around the family home on Pineapple Street (where one of the sons and his wife now live). Everyone is in their own stage of life (newlywed, mom to young kids, single, etc), and the chapters go back and forth between each of them and their personal perspectives on the family/the house/life. It’s a book about family and the different dynamics that make up unique relationships inside the same family. I didn’t not like it…I just thought it was okay. It had some surprising and unexpected moments and wrapped up really well, so overall, if I were passing out stars in a 5-star system, I would probably say this one was a 3.5. Good story, quality writing, nice ending…pretty solid.
The Little Italian Hotel by Phaedra Patrick
Well this one was everything I love in a summer book! This is the fictional story of a group of strangers from England (all struggling with something in their personal lives) who stay at a charming little Italian hotel for a few weeks one summer. It was refreshingly simple without being cheesy. No bad language, no violence, no sexual content…just a sweet book.
I loved the inn keeper, I loved his inn, I loved the food, the setting, and every single one of the characters. This novel very much reminded me of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. I loved it! I think you will too.
A Little Ray of Sunshine by Kristan Higgins
I love, love, love me some Kristan Higgins, but in total transparency, I wrestled a bit with this new novel. Higgins always writes the cutest and happiest little beach reads perfect for summertime, and this was just that…except the main plot point was adoption and well…I think perhaps the story was over-simplified. I know, I know, it’s just a fictitious story, but as a mom with two adopted daughters, I had a hard time with how easy she made certain things seem in the book for this fictional family. I don’t want to give too much away with the plot (as it’s based on these relationships), but just know…I liked the book, thought it was an easy summer read…I just had a personal connection that made it hard for me to gloss over some things that, in my opinion, aren’t as simple as maybe the story makes you think they are for this family.
If you haven’t read Kristan Higgins books, you totally should. Great settings, charming towns, cute characters and happy endings.
The French Art of Living Well by Cathy Yandell
I love me a little book on French life (as you know) and have read a million (as you also know), so of course, I picked this one up too. I would say that my “typical” French lifestyle books hit on topics like skincare, makeup, hair, confidence, home building, etc, but this one went in a different direction. This was instead about French art, music, debate, language (the little nuances) and very heavy on the French culture in general instead of specific to us “women of a certain age”. I liked this side of French life and thought the book was really interesting. It’s a heavier read than my normal “French life” books.
The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams
Oh Beatriz Williams, you are one of my VERY FAVORITE AUTHORS!
If you’ve read my book reviews before, then you know that not only do I love Beatriz Williams’ books (all historical fiction) that multiple times, they’ve ended up in the TOP THREE. In 2016, A Hundred Summers was my third favorite book of the year, in 2017, The Secret Life of Violet Grant was also my third favorite book of the year. In 2020, her novel Her Last Flight very nearly made the top three, and then in 2021 Our Woman in Moscow, was MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2021!
Needless to say, I am always so excited to read a new novel by Williams. This month, I read her newest, The Beach at Summerly and very much liked it. Now, was it my favorite? No, but it was good. The story grabbed me right away, I loved that I really didn’t know exactly where it was going, and the setting (a charming island off of Block Island) was perfect for a summer beach book.
This story toggles between the year right after the boys came home from World War II and then about 8 years later. I thought it could have been a bit meatier and some of the story wasn’t flushed out enough for me to really love, but overall, great read.
If you haven’t read her other novels, make sure you do, and if you have read them, read this one too.
Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan
Last year, this author wrote Nora Goes Off Script which I declared my “second most recommended book of the year” in my 2022 BOOK REVIEW. I loved that novel so much and still think about it often. I was really excited when this author’s latest novel dropped this summer and you guys, IT’S EQUALLY JUST AS CUTE! This is a 5-Star Beach Book! If you want a chick-lit novel that isn’t cheesy (not Hallmark-y at all) with great characters, an adorable setting, a happy ending and just delicious goodness, here you go.
This is the story of a woman from NYC who goes home to her family’s summer house on Long Island only to run into the boy next door who used to be her great love…except she brought her fiancé with her. I could not put this book down. As much as I loved several books this month, by far, this was my favorite. You will read this one quickly and smile the whole way through. Love, love, loved!
And that wraps up my JULY BOOK REVIEW!
Now, I just finished another book last night, but I am going to save that review for August. It was also one of your recommendations this summer, so I’ll be excited to share my thoughts next month.
In the meantime, I would love to hear your favorite book of the summer so far. Please comment and share!
Happy BOOK DAY, friends! I hope you get a minute to sit down and read today too. xx