Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Book Club: May 2021


It's Book Club Day!!! And the first weekday all of us are on Summer Break. Hallelujah! AMEN! Pass the wine, pass the sunscreen, pass the beach reads! We are sooooo excited for a few months downtime. 

And May gave us lots of time to think about all the good books we'll be reading poolside this summer. We released our annual Best Books of Summer List for 2021, and this year it's a good one! All our favorite authors didn't let the pandemic slow them down. 

We also found our latest reading obsession - Once Upon a Book Club boxes. Listen if you want to join a book club, this is the one! Fun books + fabulous surprises = the coolest book club ever. Read about it all HERE and snag a discount code to join us or gift it to a book loving friend in your life. We already can't wait to see which one lands on our doorstep next! 

Now if we haven't given you enough reading inspiration so far for your Summer, our May book reviews will surely give you something to throw in your beach bags. We promise! 



The month of May is always such a busy one so I didn't get to read or listen to as many books as I usually do last month, but I loved the ones I did finish!  

To put me in the summer mood I started with Mary Kay Andrews' newest title, THE NEWCOMER. I loved that this was a mix of what we have come to know and love about Mary Kay Andrews, but with a little bit of a twist.  It was murder mystery meets love story meets typical small Florida tourist town complete with all the grumpy regulars who's lives are about to get shaken up a bit.  Loveable Letty arrives in town with her young niece, looking for some answers and a place to escape after finding her sister's murdered body in her expensive New York apartment.  Letty and her niece win the hearts of just about everyone at the hotel and some of the grouchy regulars even come to Letty's rescue when she needs it most of all. I loved the mystery aspect of this story and all the small beach town happenings that go along with it.  

I'm a little late to the Christina Lauren UNHONEYMOONERS party, but better late than never! This one has been on my wishlist for quite a while. I've never read a Christina Lauren book I didn't enjoy so I knew this one would be no different.   It's a story of a maid of honor and best man who end up taking the bride and groom's honeymoon after an unfortunate bit of food poisoning at their wedding. The two on the trip thought they've always hated each other, until they realized that they don't. This cute story had me laughing out loud at some parts and cheering for the characters at others.  

You would never know that May was a jam packed month because I read six (SIX?!) books again. Granted some of these are Audibles, but I do remember having my hand on physical pages more than I have in recent months. And all of my reads this month were sooooo good! They put me just in the right mood for all things Summer! So pass me a frozen cocktail, and let's chat reviews...

Mary Kay Andrews is queen of the beach read, and she is one of those authors for me that never disappoints. I know I can pick up one of her novels and instantly enjoy it from the first page. I knew THE NEWCOMER would be great - and it was! Murder + humor + quaint coastal town + a mystery that grips you from page one = a recipe for a beachside treat. From the second you realize Letty is on the run with her young niece after finding her sister Tanya dead on her New York apartment floor, you are hooked. The twist and turns along the way mixed with the lovable cast of characters made this one hard to put down! 

We aren't sure how she does it, but Kristy Woodson Harvey's novels just keep getting better and better. UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY is a stand alone novel based on childhood friends finding joy in each other again after heartbreaking losses. Parker loses the love of his life to cancer and Amelia loses her job, home, and husband all in one fell swoop. But a discovery by Amelia about Parker and his wife ties them all back together again. 

The story weaves itself together perfectly, and you realize just how beautiful a storyteller Kristy is.  With a cast of characters you just can't help but love, and a dreamy coastal setting filled with old southern home tidbits, you are smitten from page one. And that ending!! We swooned over the perfection of it and if at all possible it made us love Amelia even more. Definitely add this one to your beach bags this ASAP!

Keeping my beach theme going, I read ANCHORED HEARTS by Priscilla Oliveras next. This was such a fun novel about second chance romances. High school sweethearts went their separate ways following graduation, but after a tragic accident they are forced to come face to face again. With a little help from some meddling Cuban mothers. :) Set in the tropical paradise that is Key West, and filled with spicy family drama, Oliveras delivers a steamy romance with a touch of warmth and funny quips. I couldn't stop turning the pages to read more about Ale and Anamaria. The only thing that threw me while reading were the Spanish phrases. Oliveras does a good job explaining what they mean in the text as you are reading. Those four years of French in high school - not helpful at all. Lé sigh. 

I switched gears for my next read and grabbed this one from our Summer Reading List to listen to. This was so different than anything else I’ve read by Laura Dave. THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME was a captivating suspense story that held my attention with its twists and slow release of secrets. A woman finally finds the love of her life and lives with he and his 16 year old daughter in a floating house in Northern California. She thinks everything is perfect until one day he disappears and leaves a strange note. Mysterious money, hidden secrets, past was one of those books I just couldn’t help but wonder how it would all play out in the end. The end is a little surprising, and while I wanted a different outcome, I totally understand why the author had to end it that way for the whole story to make sense.

DIAL A FOR AUNTIES was the murder-romance I didn't know I needed in my life. I LOVED this book! Good girl, rule following Meddelin Chen accidentally kills her blind date. What is she to do? Call the police? Nope. She brings him home and calls her mom and aunties. From here you get a laugh out loud series of events, a cast of characters you can't help but love, an over the top island wedding, and a run in with "the one that got away" for one amazing page turning story. 

The story is refreshingly new, but gives you hints of over the top richness and family drama a la Crazy Rich Asian style. The story is being made into a movie for Netflix and I already can't wait to see the book brought to life!

A SUMMER TO REMEMBER gave me all the feels. I'm so glad I ended my month of reading on this book! It's a heartwarming novel about grief, loss, and finding love in the most unexpected of places. Still grieving the loss of her mom, Frankie continues to run her mother's beloved memorabilia shop in Hollywood as a way to keep that one last connection to her. But then some old photographs and letters surface from some of her mother's old possessions, and soon Frankie is headed across country to a different land of stars and fame in search of answers about her mother's past. And maybe to finally find out who her father is. 

I loved how this novel gave you a peek into old hollywood, but still gave you that summer time love vibe in a small coastal town. I loved how the story unfolded, and felt for the characters as their secrets unraveled and came to light. 

It's a romance novel, but so much more! Pack this one in your beach bags this summer for sure!



Sticking with the summer read titles I'm getting ready to start Kristy Woodson Harvey's latest, UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY. After reading Jen's review above, I can't wait to dive into this one! 


I love me a good Christina Lauren book, so I can't wait to read their latest - THE SOULMATE EQUATION! It sounds so fun and full of that romantic comedy we love about their novels. 



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  1. I read the Newcombers this month too and LOVED it! I also really enjoyed Unhoneymooners and thought it was so funny. I just started The Last Thing He Tole Me today and am really enjoying the mystery already!

  2. Thank you so much for reading Under the Southern Sky!! xoxo

  3. You guys!! I’m so flattered! Thank you soooo much for you kind words about Under the Southern Sky ❤️ I hope you enjoy it, Carrie Beth!!


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