During the first few weeks of the Covid quarantine, I finally purchased the Kindle Paperwhite that I had been eyeing for years. Thanks to my new gadget, I’ve read so many books these past 15 months that I ACTUALLY have 8 great ones to recommend to you. Rewind to 2019, and that would not have been the case. I was barely finishing 2 (adult) books a YEAR 😳 😱.
I love this Kindle so much, that I’m dedicating an entire post later this month to share all the details why! Stay tuned for, “How Buying a Kindle Changed My Life” …. seriously.
No matter what plans you have this summer, you NEED to spend some time relaxing and recharging after the insane school year that you just survived. Educators were the TRUE heroes of this pandemic 🙏🏼 , and it is time for some serious self care days!
As you start to browse through my recommended titles, you’re going to quickly figure out that I’m a sucker for a good love story 💕. To help you find a book that fits your fancy, I categorized the love stories into: fun & flirty, those with a twist and emotional rollercoasters. Plus, I found a good mystery book in case that’s your thing!
These books are in no particular order, they are just some of my favorites from my 2020-2021 reading list. Enjoy!
Fun & Flirty Love Stories
American Royals by Katharine McGee — YA Book
✨ Theme: Young Love & Sibling Rivalry
Yes, I’m coming right out of the gate with a YA book. Typical teacher move right there! But this book was ADORABLE and definitely worth a read.
American Royals is an alt-history book with the premise that America is a monarchy and has a royal family. The chapters flip back and forth and are written from the perspective of the four main female characters, the two royal sisters and two family friends. You quickly empathize with sisters Beatrice and Samantha and feel their pressures of being born into a royal family.
I loved this booked because it’s basically a PG-13 version of Bridgerton 😉 , if Bridgerton took place in the U.S. It’s filled with scandalous young love and sibling drama. I actually enjoyed this book so much that I also read the sequel Majesty.
✨ Theme: Serendipity & Intense Chemistry
The Wedding Date is a super easy read as it moves fast and is just charming. Alexa and Drew meet in a hotel elevator in San Francisco. When the elevator gets stuck, they end up sharing snacks from Alexa’s purse and begin getting to know each other. Come to find out, Drew is in town for a friend’s wedding, and he needs a date. He goes out on a limb and invites this new cute stranger to join him.
I liked this book because it had additional layers compared to your typical “meet cute” with just a fun and flirty plot. It brings you through some of the struggles that Alexa and Drew face as an interracial couple, it shows the challenges of a long distance relationship when you’re both dedicated to your careers and even touches upon body image and insecurities. I flew through this book so quickly that I ended up reading a few more books in the series 🙂 .
Note: You don’t have to read the books from the series in order. Each book following is a spin off story of Alexa and Drew’s friends/family members. The author does a nice job of introducing each set of new characters. I didn’t love the sequels as much as The Wedding Date, but they were good, quick beach reads!
Additional Books from the Wedding Party Series:
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
✨ Theme: Compassion & Courage
Red, White & Royal Blue is a rivalry turned romance between the Prince of Wales and the First Son of the United States. This book will give you a new sense of hope that you didn’t even realize you needed. From the anxiety of coming out to your family, to being in the spotlight of millions of people around the world, Alex and Henry take you on a flirty and scandalous ride.
People raved about this book, so I figured I would give it a try. Obviously I liked it enough to have it on my top list this summer, but I will warn you that the beginning was a bit slow. Once I got into it I really enjoyed the sweet and witty main characters, plus their daring sisters June and Bea and intelligent friend Nora. As you follow these five millennials through their early twenties you’re quickly reminded of how HARD it is to be your authentic self at that age. You’re trying to fit in, but dying to be true to yourself at the same time.
Love Stories with a Twist
✨ Theme: Forgiveness & Hope
In Beach Read two college classmates find themselves as neighbors twenty something years later in a small beach town. Both writers, and polar opposites, January and Gus are cautious to open up to each other as they actually never got along way back when. Although they share a love of writing, even that couldn’t be more different. January typically writing ‘happily ever after’ stories and Gus intense dramas themed around sorrow and death. When they are both suffering from writers block they decide to strike a deal to see if that can help snap them out of their creative ruts.
This is 100% the best book I’ve read so far in 2021. This book was truly a great example of the saying: don’t judge a book by it’s cover. It was SO different than I expected, and I loved every second of it. I expected a light, romantic comedy and it was anything but that. The author does a great job of juggling the topics of friendship, regrets, grief, dysfunctional families and secrets. This is a MUST read! The witty plot and relatable characters will leave you wanting more.
✨ Theme: Passion & Acceptance
28 Summers transports you to the most adorable little cottage on the beautiful island of Nantucket. Lovers Mallory and Jake spend the most magical, heart-warming, soul-filling days together for only 3 days a year. No matter what they always find each other on Labor Day Weekend. Their chemistry is like no other and as each year passes we are left wondering if this will be the very last time they see either other.
This was my very first Elin Hilderbrand novel and it did not disappoint. I love how the very first chapter is actually the very end of Mallory and Jake’s love story. Jumping back 28 years through 28 chapters, we are thrown into this passionate, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking love story that will leave you laughing, crying and swooning!
Emotional Roller Coaster Love Stories
✨ Theme: Loyalty & Unforgettable Love
The Light We Lost is written in second person as we follow Lucy’s unpredictable life through a mix of letters and internal monologue. From the very beginning we encounter intense passion, pain, betrayal and grief while realizing that life is all about the choices we make and all the what ifs we have to live with. Although we are introduced to Gabe, Lucy’s first love, and Darren, her husband, this book is SO much more than a story about the “one that got away”.
This is a MUST READ! I don’t think I’ve ever felt as emotionally invested in a book than I did this with one. Wow, it really tug on my heart strings in so many ways! This was definitely the best book I read in 2020. Jill Santopolo’s words instantly draw you in and keep you fully immersed in this complex love story.
Additional books by Jill Santopolo:
Another great book! Not as emotional as The Light We Lost.
✨ Theme: Power of Friendship & Destiny
While there is a romantic storyline throughout In Five Years, it is truly a story about loyalty and the power of friendship. Just when Dannie thinks she has her five-year plan figured out, she has a very realistic dream that she can’t seem to shake. For the next five-years different things begin to happen that make her second guess if this dream is going to come true. This book takes twists and turns that you don’t quite expect and makes you wonder about the power of destiny.
I also really, really loved this book. It was a very close second for best book of 2020! The relationships in this book felt so authentic and the writing had such a great flow that it was impossible to put down. Grab your tissues and read this book ASAP!
✨ Theme: Complex Relationships & Secrets
The Last Guest House is told in alternating timelines between the past and present. Sadie and Avery had been best friends for years when Sadie’s body was found the night after a party. The police suspected that she took her own life, though Avery never believed it and begins to search for clues to the real story. This book was filled with mystery, secrets, jealously and also forgiveness.
Just in case you aren’t as into love stories as I am, I felt like I had to share at least one mystery book this summer! As always with these kids of mysteries, things aren’t as they first appeared. I found this book very suspenseful and it had an ending that I really didn’t see coming! This had a very similar vibe to The Guest List by Lucy Foley, but I found this book much easier to get into and a lot more engaging.
Next On My Summer List
I hope you found a new book to pick up and read this summer! If you’ve read any of these books already, I encourage you to let us know in the comments and share your review. Plus, please share any additional books that are must reads this summer!
Until next time word lovers, make today meaningful 💕
Looking for more book recommendations sent right to your inbox? Join my email list and follow along with what books I’m reading and loving each month!