Book Review

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 361 pages
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 19th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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. 

A MUST FOR SUMMER.

Oh I loved this.

I’ve been in a huge reading slump. And this book managed to pull out a two-day read from me because I couldn’t put it down. I knew it was practically a 5 star from a quarter of the way through. Beach Read was just that magical to me at the right time.

I almost feel like that makes it hard to write a review, at least a fully coherent one. If things go sideways, know, I LOVED IT. And definitely would recommend across the board for an adult (low-mid steam) contemporary romance that makes you smile, laugh, and want to hug the main characters.

This book has magnetizing powers. I love the polar opposite, old college acquaintances, set-up. The chemistry between January and Gus flew off the charts from the moment the met again. I love that there was a clear dynamic between them and that the banter between them was snarky AND sweet, and never came across as downright mean. The pacing for their relationship moved in just the right ways for me and I love the way they worked on communicating together and acknowledging the things they needed to work on.

For the plot, how charming for authors to be writing books while reading a book written by an author? I could really feel Henry’s voice because I could feel the same struggles she probably went through writing her novel as January and Gus worked through theirs. The juxtaposition gave a charming flair that made for easy and enjoyable reading.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few open and close door scenes; mildly detailed
  • Trigger warnings: Gus discusses his abusive Father, multiple discussions about a fictional suicide cult (they see the site, speak with those who had family members that were apart of it); loss of a loved one, adultery, cancer, divorce

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: June 2020

Halfway through the year!

I’m really happy I read 7 books this month! Things are still moving slowly, and that’s okay. I’m getting the books read that I need too and enjoying a handful of others. Excited for the second half of the year.

Favorites of the month: Beach Read and Drums of Autumn
Least favorite this month: Dawn till Dusk

  • Time of Ours Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Damned (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Dawn till Dusk (Genesis Crystal Saga #1) by Tyffany Hackett and Becky Moynihan – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – (☆☆☆)
  • Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Art of Falling in Love by Haleigh Wenger

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 262 pages
Author: Haleigh Wenger
Publisher: Literary Crush Publishing
Expected Release Date: August 13th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Claire Haynes always spends summer vacation at her family’s beach house in Florida, sketching and dreaming of art school with her biggest fan–her Opa. But when Opa dies right before summer break, all Claire has left besides her memories is a sand-sculpting contest application with her name on it and the lingering question of why Opa filled it out in the first place. Claire has never even made a decent sandcastle, but she reluctantly turns in the entry forms, hoping the contest will help her navigate the grieving process by honoring one of Opa’s last wishes.

When she meets Foster, a teenage boy with a talent for turning recyclables into abstract sculptures, the two join forces to win the contest and salvage the Summer of Art. They spend the humid summer days shoveling sand, devouring ice cream, and exploring Florida’s art scene. Just like Opa, Foster understands Claire and her overwhelming need to create, but he has a secret that threatens to ruin everything: he’s homeless and hiding from an abusive brother who would have him believe family trumps all.

When Claire’s parents find out about Foster’s homelessness, they offer him a home along with their hearts. But even picture-perfect families like Claire’s can harbor an ugly side, especially in the aftermath of Opa’s death. When someone close to Claire spills Foster’s secret, they’re both forced to choose between love and familial obligation. If Claire can’t break through long-held beliefs and prove family is more than shared DNA, she could permanently lose Foster and a chance at the sand contest to honor Opa.

A CUTE BEACH READ WITH DEEPER CONTEXT.

I saw a friend talking about this book and when she mentioned it was free on Kindle that day, I thought, WHY NOT? Why not indeed. This was a hidden gem from a debut author (and it’s only $2.99 on Kindle now so hey! That’s cheap too).

I loved the way the relationship between Claire and Foster developed. They had a nice meet cute and then things slowly built with actual conversation and interactions with each other. Even as a summer romance nothing ever felt insta-love and I was totally wrapped up in how things were going with them. The only thing that bothered me at times was watching Claire keep trying and seeking out Foster and when he should have done the same…he didn’t. Foster eventually did take matters into his own hands, but it took him a very long time to actually do something for their relationship.

Claire had a summer of growth and learning about herself. After the loss of her grandfather she coped with it while also having to look forward to decisions about art school and what type of medium she was interested in. I felt she really came into herself and her increased confidence and decision making by the end made her a heroine to remember.

The only character that truly upset me was Claire’s sister, Livvy. I still don’t think she actually redeemed herself from the crappy choices she made out of spite. Livvy acted very immature and completely irrational more than half the time. It felt like she was only there to add some more drama, but I could have done without her.

I loved the beach setting and it made me wish I could have read this during the summer because it is the epitome of a beach read. Lots of sun, sand, love and road trips. What more could you ask for?

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: child abuse, homelessness

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