Summer Reads and Mini-Reviews

Hello, and happy Saturday! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite recent reads with you.

Are you a fan of seasonal reading? I always seem to prefer certain genres or story lines during specific seasons. In the fall, I tend to read classics, especially the brooding and Gothic ones. In the winter, I find myself cosying up to historical romances. During the spring, I love to read L. M. Montgomery novels, or anything that makes me feel alive and in love with everything. And during the summer, I usually binge young adult novels or humorous romances.

Here are some of my favorite recent summer reads:

Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Shortly after her mom passes away, Jessie moves to a new town, where her school is full of bullies, her new stepmom and stepbrother aren’t very hospitable, and where loneliness threatens to choke her. The only person who seems to understand is a mysterious online penpal named Somebody Nobody, who quickly becomes Jessie’s lifeline as she copes with grief and high school.

My Thoughts: This novel is full of dark and light bursts of emotion. The penpal aspect is fun and intriguing, and Jessie is a realistic teenager, easy to relate to whether or not you’ve experienced grief like she has. Although the book opens with Jessie battling through the black holes of loneliness and grief, it ends will some uplifting feelings that left me with heart eyes for days.

Can You Keep a SecretCan You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Emma has a huge heart, a lot of secrets, and a big mouth, which unfortunately shows itself when she’s overcome with terror. During a particularly turbulent plane ride on the way back from a disastrous business trip, Emma spills all of her most embarrassing and hilarious secrets to the stranger sitting next to her. The plane is surely going to crash, so who cares, right? But then the plane lands safely and the stranger, who now knows the most private details of Emma’s life, turns out to be her boss (the CEO, actually).

My Thoughts: This book is dangerous to read in public, and not for the reasons you might suspect. You will laugh out loud until you cry. I did this so many times, my husband kept giving me strange looks. This book is hilarious, and has some great messages about being proud of who you are, knowing what you deserve, and not giving a crap about what others think of you.

The Hating Game.jpgThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Lucy hates her coworker Joshua. He’s her exact opposite in every way: he’s uptight, unlikable, and critical of everything Lucy does. The two of them play these subtle and petty games with each other, and Lucy can never seem to get an edge over her nemesis. So when Lucy and Joshua are up for the same promotion, Lucy decides to change her strategy. But soon Lucy starts to discover that hating someone can feel a lot like being in love with them.

My Thoughts: This book is real steamy, so if that’s not your cup of tea, this book is probably not for you. The office rivalry/romance makes this book a quick page turner, and Lucy’s character development is admirable. Joshua will surprise you, but you may also be rooting for Lucy to slap him. I adored Sally Thorne’s writing style; it made this book so much more than another chick lit romance.

Finding AudreyFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Audrey suffers from social anxiety disorder and depression. After being traumatically bullied at school, she can no longer leave the house or make eye contact, hence the dark sunglasses she wears even around her own family. But then her brother’s friend Linus starts writing notes to her and soon he challenges Audrey with little dares: go to Starbucks, make foot contact with someone, ask a stranger directions to the circus. It’s not long before Audrey feels ready to reenter the real world, despite her therapist’s warnings of doing too much too fast.

My Thoughts: Sophie Kinsella is officially one of my new favorite authors. Audrey’s home life will crack you up, and the sensitive way she covers mental disorders will also soften your heart. The characters in this novel were all so lovable (especially Linus), and I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of Audrey’s mother’s freak outs.

The Only Thing Worse Than MeThe Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Trixie and Ben are lifelong enemies, academic rivals, and intellectual equals (although don’t bring that up–it’s a sore point). It’s their senior year and neither of them wants to be outranked by the other. So when their best friends start dating each other, forcing Trixie and Ben to hang out together, it seems impossible that they will ever act civilized in each other’s company. Until one of them overhears a huge secret that changes everything.

My Thoughts: I didn’t realize until a few chapters in that this is a nerdy YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, my favorite Shakespearean comedy. There is plenty of witty banner, disguises, and mischievousness occurring both on and off the page that will keep you entertained. My only problem with this novel was a lack of suspense (which is really just because I loved the webseries adaptation Nothing Much To Do and how it handles the big scandal. I can’t help comparing it to every other retelling).

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The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Trouble With Destiny

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens to be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Published December 8, 2015 by Delacorte
Young Adult
Format: e-book from Netgalley for review; 272 pages
Also By This Author: Meant to BeBeing Sloane Jacobs
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

If you’re a frequent visitor to my blog, and especially if you’ve read more than one of my Top Ten Tuesday posts, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Lauren Morrill. Her freshman book Meant to Be is one of my favorite Young Adult novels and I haven’t hesitated to recommend it to several friends.

So I was especially giddy when earlier this year I received a review copy of her newest novel The Trouble with Destiny! I even held on to it until just last month so I could really rave about it before its release date :)

The Trouble with Destiny reminded me so much of myself in high school and in my first years of college. I was a lot like Liza: focused (but not always on the right things), a little boy crazy, and oblivious to a lot of the things going on around me. Reading this book made me laugh (and blush a little) in remembrance of some of the embarrassing things I did years ago.

I adore Lauren Morrill’s writing style. It’s funny but heartfelt at the same time. My two favorite things about The Trouble With Destiny were the communication mishaps and the friendships. The whole “not everything is as it seems” motif that Morrill uses often in her books is the reason she’s one of my favorite YA authors. I always want to reread her books right away to see how things really happened instead of how the main character perceived them. Also, if you’re looking for a book that values friendship over everything else, this one’s for you!

Read This Book If…

…you were a geek in high school (Liza’s a band geek, but I feel like all geeks could relate).
…you love stories where miscommunication plays a major (and funny) role.
…you want a book that will make you forget it’s currently winter (summer cruise ship? Yes, please!).
…you enjoy books that remind you of the fun (and lightly embarrassing) parts of high school.

“And after a week of false starts, miscommunications, and misdirected emotions, falling into a pool should be right up there in things that have gone wrong. But it’s perfect.”

Final Musings:

The Trouble With Destiny is a fun read that will bring out the band geek in all of us. It reminded me so much of my high school clubs and sports teams and the fun (and sometimes embarrassing) times I had with them. Also, there’s a sweet romance that’s cute but doesn’t overshadow the deeper themes about friendship and finding yourself. Definitely pick up this book for yourself or your best friend :)