Okay so if you haven’t already scrolled through this list of books yet, let me be the first to point out that I clearly have been doing a lot of reading since last Summer. I would really like to chalk it up to being quarantined but honestly most of this list has been books I’ve read within the past like 5 or 6 months and I’ve gone back to work since then so I really have no excuse. My previous Summer Reading List posts are usually about 10ish books long so with this one being almost double that I clearly couldn’t put the Kindle down (not to mention this list doesn’t include any of the books I read and didn’t like or reread but have already been featured on another year’s Summer Reading List).
If you’ve never read one of my Summer reading lists before, you’re in for a treat! I usually do one of these posts a year with all of my favorite books (usually romance novels, so if that’s not your thing… sorry… kinda) that I’ve read since Summer of the previous year. These are one of my absolute favorite posts to do every year because I love sharing books with people. I almost always have to tell someone (usually my mom or best friend Anna) about a book that I love as soon as I’m finished reading it. It’s such a good feeling to share a book with someone and being able to talk about it with them when they end up loving it too! So let’s get on to the list so I can hopefully help yall find a new favorite book or at the very least give you a good read while you’re lounging on the beach this Summer!
Side Note: Does anyone else around here get “book hangovers”. I once heard it called that and I was shook at how accurate that name was for this feeling. So if you’ve never heard of this before it is the feeling you get when you finish a book (usually a fiction book) and you can’t seem to stop thinking about the fictional world and characters you just read about. I know this is kind of a weird thing to admit but I swear I almost get trapped in the lives of these completely fake characters and I almost have to read a whole new book to even get out of that “book hangover”. It’s really a never ending cycle. But anyways, I just thought I would see if anyone else experiences this since sometimes it makes me feel crazy!
My Summer 2021 Reading List
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…
Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
…and it’s going to be oh so good
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.
(Personal Opinion: This book was, at least for me, an easy read. I think I randomly found it on my recommended page and bought it to use as something to get over my last book hangover (see above for explanation). It was actually really good, so much so I ended up reading the entire series, which I loved and would recommend any of the books for you to read but I think this one was the one that drew me in the most. I do want to note, I love most sports so I’ve always been drawn to sports related romance novels, but I have really never been much of a hockey guy (although we did used to frequently go to hockey games growing up) so when I realized that this is the third series I have read based around hockey players I was a little shocked and now I’m wondering if I’m officially a hockey fan?!?)
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
(Personal Opinion: I’m not even going to lie to y’all, I was OBSESSED with this book (honestly the whole series) during quarantine. I think I’ve reread it at least five or six times and I’m still not tired of it. This book is the perfect combination of After by Anna Todd and Loving Bad by Regan Ure, which are two of my all time favorite books so finding this book was a real treat. I think one of my favorite things about this book/series is that there were a few very unrealistic plot lines in this book which sounds weird that I would like that but I find that helps me get over my book hangover a little and when I love a book as much as I did this one, I need all the help I can get getting my head out of that world. )
The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward
When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the Become a Jetsetter contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can’t seem to find a partner; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday. Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young, when she was a single mother who meant everything to them.
When she wins the contest, the family packs their baggage—both literal and figurative—and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso. As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed and old wounds are reopened, forcing the Perkins family to confront the forces that drove them apart and the defining choices of their lives.
Can four lost adults find the peace they’ve been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back together? In the vein of The Nest and The Vacationers, The Jetsetters is a delicious and intelligent novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood.
(Personal Opinion: This book started out really slow in my opiny. Like so slow that I almost didn’t finish the book because I was honestly a little bored. But I trust my girl Reese and she probs could tell me to go jump off a bridge and I’d do it with a smile on my face, so if she saw something in this book then I knew I would too. I’ve read quite a few books off her book club and have never been disappointed so I kept on reading and ended up really liking this book. There was a whole lot of family drama and a few plot twists towards the end that really kept me guessing. Overall this book was a bit different from my usual read but I would definitely suggest picking this one up to read while relaxing on the beach this Summer)
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.
(Personal Opinion: This book caught my eye after falling in love with both the Crazy Rich Asians book and movie. It is by the same author and has a very similar feel to it. Like the book before this I did have a bit of a time trying to get through the first couple of chapters simply because I couldn’t really get a good read on where the story was going (also slightly because I was comparing it to Crazy Rich Asians), but once I got past that initial uncertainty I really got sucked into this book. I loved how glamorous yet realistic the main characters lives were not to mention I am a sucker for a good time jump if it is written well, and this one definitely was. If you were as much of a fan as Crazy Rich Asians as I was, I would highly suggest checking this book out. )
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend….
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other….
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want….
(Personal Opinion: So last year I had The Proposal on my Summer Reading List and when I initially read that book I didn’t know that it was not the first book in the series. So naturally when I found out that this book was actually the first book, I had to read it. I will admit I think I may have liked The Proposal a littttttle bit better but this book was extremely good. I really enjoyed the lengths the characters went to try and make their long distance relationship work. Plus how they meet is super cute so it pretty much had me hooked from the beginning.)
High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.
Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.
The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found.
(Personal Opinion: OOOOH GIRL, I honestly NEVER saw myself being a Mary Kay Andrews fan but damn does that lady know how to write a hella good beach read. I honestly didn’t realize how much of a fan of her books I was until I looked back at my previous year’s lists and noticed how many books of her I have read and loved. This one was no exception (neither is the other book of hers on this list because I couldn’t help myself when it came to Mary Kay Andrews this year). I am low key obsessed with how her stories combine my love for a good cheesy romance novel with a good old fashioned mystery. It really is the perfect combination of genres to alway keep you on your toes. I think my favorite part about this book is how well she was able to combine the past and present lives of the main characters to make a compelling story that ended up really pulling on your heart strings. Like every other MKA book I’ve read this one had some really good twists that made impossible to put the book down. )
Tequila Rose by Willow Winters
He tasted like tequila and the fake name I gave him was Rose.
Four years ago, I decided to get over one man, by getting under another. A single night and nothing more.
I found my handsome stranger with a shot glass and charming but devilish smile at the end of the bar. The desire that hit his eyes the second they landed on me ignited a spark inside me, instant and hot. He was perfect and everything I didn’t know I needed. That one night may have ended, but I left with much more than a memory.
Four years later, and with a three-year-old in tow, the man I still dream about is staring at me from across the street in the town I grew up in. I don’t miss the flash of recognition, or the heat in his gaze.
The chemistry is still there, even after all these years.
I just hope the secrets and regrets don’t destroy our second chance before it’s even begun.
(Personal Opinion: This book was a little strange. I put it on this list because I really think I did love it (I bought the second one in the series as soon as it released so clearly I wanted more) but there were parts of it that made me not sure exactly why I loved it. The story line and main characters were really cute but I think the fact that I read this story right after I read Our Finest Hour (which is also on this list) and their plots were super similar that I kept confusing myself, I’m honestly a little confused right now which story is which while writing this. But like I said before, I did really like this book I would definitely suggest reading it. It is an easy read with main characters that clearly have chemistry.)
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion…she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.
Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.
Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is…Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
(Personal Opinion: WOWOWWW, I loved this book way more than I thought I did. It showed up on my recommended page one day and I just so happened to be in between books so I figured to give it a go and I was NOT disappointed in the slightest. The whole “everyone at the wedding including the entire wedding party except Olive and her nemesis getting food poisoning” thing was a little unrealistic so I was kind of worried about the story being little cheesy or maybe even predictable but it really wasn’t. There was a really good story line that kept my attention constantly and I also love that this book goes a little beyond the “honeymoon” because after reading the back of the book I thought the whole book was going to be set on the fake “honeymoon” which didn’t seem to be as enticing for me because honestly there are only so many “problems” you can run into in a tropical paradise. )
The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews
In trouble and on the run…
After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”
With a trunkful of emotional baggage…
So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.
The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling…
And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn—or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.
(Personal Opinion: OOOOF, this book was so good. Like the other Mary Kay Andrews book on my list, this one was the perfect combo of mystery and romance. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book but that’s honestly not because I didn’t love it but more so because I don’t want to give anything away. There were definitely some plot twists that I didn’t really see coming in this book as well as great action parts. This is definitely another great beach read for you this Summer!)
Chaser by Charity Ferrell
I’m suing Trojan.
Ninety-eight percent effective, my a**.
Things I never thought would happen:
Meeting my boyfriend’s secret wife.
Finding out I’m pregnant with his baby.
Having my best friend tell my family he’s the father.
Things I never thought would happen:
Becoming best friends with a woman the total opposite of me.
Pretending to be her baby daddy.
Falling in love with her.
The more we fake it, the more we forget it’s only temporary.
If only we had known it would change everything.
(Personal Opinion: This was my most recent read and holy cow was it good. I knew before reading it that it was the third or fourth book in a series and although I haven’t read any of the other books this one realllllly drew me in so I went ahead and just read this one first. It was a super easy read and although there wasn’t a whole lot of drama (which I normally love as much drama as I can get in my romance novels), I definitely think I am going to read the rest of this series. I love how the main characters in this book started out as friends because who doesn’t love a good friends to lovers kind of story?! PS, I found this book randomly while on TikTok one day and instantly bought it so kudos to the author for making a killer TikTok about her book that ended up on my FYP and gained her at least one new reader! )
Stealing Stars by Regan Ure
Jessica has learned that the right choices are often the hardest ones to make. It takes a marriage proposal to know she’s made the wrong one.
But before she can look to her future, she’ll need to confront her past.
Three brothers. One taught her to love, one taught her the depths of friendship and one taught her the true heartache of loss.
Jessica has a secret that will tear them all apart.
Will she risk it all, even the brother who owns her heart, to do what she knows is right?
(Personal Opinion: I love Regan Ure, as I said before, her Loving Bad series is one of my favorites, so I was super excited when I saw she released a new book recently. I honestly wasn’t super sure what to think about this book at first because the back of the book description really didn’t give much away. But as I read this book, one of the things I found that I loved most was not knowing where it was going. It really made some of the story lines between the main character Jessica and the three brothers so interesting and unpredictable.)
About Tomorrow… by Abbi Glines
The first lie I told myself was that he was just an old friend. I wish it had been the only lie because the other lies would destroy us all.
I close my eyes as I hear him speak. I take one very long and deep breath hoping to calm the immediate butterflies that take flight in my stomach and hope to slow down the racing of my heart. The voice was slightly deeper but the timbre was one that was achingly familiar.
My actions did little to help, but then who was I kidding? A deep breath wasn’t going to fix the effect he had on me and my body’s inevitable reaction. Even the memories that would forever haunt me couldn’t keep my emotions from triggering at the nearness of him once again.
I used to pray that I’d find the strength to move on from him, from the pain that the end carried, from the emptiness in my chest, but ultimately move on from—the loss of Creed Sullivan and the death of his sister, Cora.
The Sullivans had been the best part of my summers in New England.
Deep down, I always knew my ache for all that I had lost was the reason I returned…
But I hadn’t expected to see him again—especially not like this.
(Personal Opinion: I say this same thing every year but would it even be my Summer Reading List if there wasn’t at least one Abbi Glines book on the list?!? She is my absolute favorite author and I was really sad when she only put out like one or two books in the past year. But it’s whatever because it gave me the opportunity to reread a lot of my faves by her. Like all of her other books, I really loved how easy it was to fall in love with the male lead and all of his broodiness (is that even a word??). The ending was really good and I’m honestly a little sad that this book isn’t going to be a series because that is usually what Abbi is known for and what I usually look forward to from her. But she did a good job at tying up loose ends to this story so I’ll just have to reread this book when I need a fix.)
Until Then by Heidi McLaughlin
Rennie Wallace has it all: a boyfriend, a good job, a best friend who lives a stone’s throw away…but something’s missing. She isn’t sure what until she returns to Cape Harbor, her favorite home away from home. There, she crosses paths with an old love, Graham. Rennie’s drawn to him but senses their paths in life have wandered too far apart.
Graham Chamberlain has returned to Cape Harbor to care for his brother, the town alcoholic. Managing and serving drinks at his family’s bar, Graham can’t believe how mundane his life has become. He’s resigned himself to living for others, his own desires for adventure and romance taking a back seat to running the family business—until Rennie walks through his door.
Graham feels the weight of his small-town life; Rennie has a boyfriend and a busy life in the city. But neither can deny the rekindled spark between them. Will they find their way back to one another?
(Personal Opinion: This is the second book in a series that I read last year and I normally don’t like to put multiple books from series on my lists but both of these books were so dang good I just had to mention them. I originally wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book because when I read the first one I didn’t really connect with the two characters that ended up being the main characters of this book. But I quickly realized as I read this book that these characters were just as great as the main characters from the first book they just needed their stories to develop a little more. I absolutely loved the strained but passionate connection Rennie and Graham have as well as the intense past that they share. It all really made for a good read)
Our Finest Hour by Jennifer Millikin
Sometimes broken hearts need whiskey. Sometimes they need music. Other times, only a night with a stranger will soothe the pain.
On the night Isaac and I met, we tried all three.
When it was over, we went our separate ways.
We planned to never see each other again, but I should really know by now that plans don’t work out the way they’re supposed to.
It has been four years since that night, and it’s a bizarre twist of fate that lands me in need of help only Isaac can give.
I don’t want to be attracted to him, but I am.
I don’t want my heart to skip a beat when it sees him, but it does.
And I really don’t want him to look at me that way, but he won’t stop.
Because things aren’t like they were four years ago. And this time? We don’t have the option of parting ways when the sun comes up.
(Personal Opinion: If you read my “personal opinion” on Tequila Rose (above) you know my only dilemma with this book. It really was extremely similar as far as story lines go. I will say that if I had to pick a favorite between the two, I think this one might jussssst barley take the lead. Something about both main characters family dynamics made this book really interesting to read. Plus I love the little twist the throw at you really early into the book.)
Forever Never by Lucy Score
You don’t fall for your brother’s high school sweetheart, your boss’s daughter, or your ex-wife’s best friend. Especially when they’re all the same woman.
Under Brick Callan’s mile-wide chest beats a loyal heart with a few cracks in it. He’s the steadfast, overprotective type. Especially when it comes to the one woman he can never have. It’s a long, complicated history punctuated by fights, friendship, family, and an attraction that strains his iron willpower.
When Remi Ford returns to Mackinac Island in the dead of winter with a secret, Brick makes it his mission to find out what put the shadows in those green eyes. Even if it means breaking down the walls he’s built between them. Even if it means falling for the one girl he’ll never get over.
The free-spirited artist just needs to lay low for a few weeks so she can figure a way out of this nightmare. She’s definitely not staying. Not when the man who broke her teenage heart into splinters keeps showing up at her parents’ dinner table. Remi doesn’t need broody, bearded Brick riding to her rescue…again. Not when it will put them both in danger, costing them much more than their hearts.
(Personal Opinion: Y’all, This book came out of left field and really caught me off guard. Like I was shook at how quickly it drew me in and had me dying to turn each page. I had never head of this author before so I really didn’t know what to expect but I believe this book was a suggestion after reading a Mary Kay Andrews book and I can honestly see why. It was similar to her books in the sense that there was a good mystery and an even better love story but I honestly loved it a little more because you could tell it was written by someone that wasn’t a little stuck in her times like MKA, if that makes sense. This is a good sleeper novel that I swear you won’t regret reading this Summer!!)