What I Read: July 2022

Carley Fortune: Every Summer After

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart. Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without. For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books – Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

There are some books you know you will love even before you start reading them, and this was one of those. It reminded me so much of Love and Other Words which is one of my favourite romance books ever. This book deserves every bit of hype it’s getting. More than just a good summer read this was a beautiful story about second chances and the love between two people that manages to stay intact even after not seeing each other for over a decade. Because it switches back and forth between the past and present, and a large chunk of the book is retelling the events of those six summers as teenagers, you might wonder if it’s YA. It’s not. It’s refreshingly mature, and I adored Percy and Sam, both as teens and as adults. The reason for their falling out was kept a mystery throughout the book and that made it impossible to put down! I don’t think I have enough words to describe how much I loved! Do yourself a favour and read it now!


JOHN Marrs: The vacation

How far would you run to escape your past? Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth. Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood. But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation. All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

I usually like John Marrs’ books but I’m not sure what to think of this one. I liked the premise of the novel – that characters for a variety of reasons end up in a run down hostel in Venice Beach. However, there were far too many characters. It’s fair to say that several of those were really interesting but some were too boring. Secondly, every chapter on every character you would get another chunk of the present day story and then that would halt so a bit more of their back story could be told over the last year or so. I just found the whole thing way too disjointed and irritating. I will say, though, I was impressed by the way all the puzzle pieces eventually came together. It takes a skilful author to make all the connections work, without becoming cheesy and/or implausible. Bottom line, John Marrs is an amazing author, with incredible talent, and I’ll definitely be reading his future works. I suggest you do the same.


Tessa Bailey: It happened one summer

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

I had high expectations for this book because everyone seemed to love it judging from raving reviews and the amount of hype it got, but it fell short of my expectations.This wasn’t a total miss. overall, I enjoyed this quick little romance. The plot was fun, the characters were charming, and I liked Piper’s growth throughout the story. You can clearly see how she evolved as a character, but nothing else felt special to me, unfortunately. The beginning started ok between Piper and Brendan… loved the chemistry and banter between the two. Loved the enemies to lovers vibe. But, I feel like there wasn’t enough of the enemies. We see them take off quickly with lovers vibe and we didn’t get to see more of the enemies sassy banter. I feel it was a missed opportunity for more funny moments. Also, the cheesiness…I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes through the book. So overall, fun and easy summer read but nothing amazing!


Jennifer Lynn barnes: The inheritance games

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

This had a very Knives Out vibes, it was fun, full of riddles and games, all wrapped around a mysterious inheritance. I really liked Avery, she felt relatable and smart, and I loved how she adapted to the situations thrown at her. I loved her sister Libby and their relationship, but I have to say my favourite side character was Nash. I know I am supposed to like either Grayson or Jameson, but it is Nash for me! The mystery in this was really good, I loved the twists and turns throughout the book, most of them I didn’t see coming. I loved guessing the puzzles and games alongside Avery. It’s the first book in a trilogy so I am excited to see where the next book takes us!


Lucy Score: Things we never got over

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia. Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with the niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old to take care of.There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his solitary life. At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.

I had high expectations from this book because of all the hype – but I don’t think it lived up to them entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all city-girl-moving-to-the-small-village, enemies to lovers story. It was very cute, funny, and heartwarming. I loved that it had elements of crime in it, and also telenovelas(evil twin!) so it was interesting and not completely predictable like romances are. Now, things I didn’t like…it was too long for what it actually contained! It was 500 pages long! I feel like I would skim on certain parts and miss nothing because there were so many repetitive moments of him being obsessive, protective and controlling over her yet acting like an immature prick. Lets not forget, he’s over 40!! Also the ending was too cheesy for my liking but I don’t want to spoil it. Ultimately a solid 4 star book, didn’t change my life or top my list of small town romances like I anticipated given its popularity, but still really enjoyable and I’d recommend!


lisa jewell: The family remains

Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago. Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer. After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present. As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined.

I am always a bit wary when an author writes a sequel in response to demand from fans, especially when the first book was a domestic thriller that wrapped well. I was invested in this book from the start because I wanted to know what happened to the characters but to be honest this was not needed. This book is not the same thrilling, sinister and tense thriller as the first one, it is more of a closure. There is some suspense and obviously few murders to be solved so I kept turning pages to get an answer! I love Jewell’s writing, I’m always hooked from the first page! Rachel’s story arc was my favourite, likely because she was a new character with a fresh take. Also, I really missed Libby’s POV, and thought she would’ve had more of an active role in the search for her father. One thing I do think – the blurb of this book calls it a “standalone sequel” which I disagree with. I suggest reading The Family Upstairs first or if you read it read a summary to refresh your memory. Even though this book does contain reminders, there’s a lot of characterisation and backstory that would be missing here if you jumped straight into this book without reading the first.


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