Mini Review: The Summer Place

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

Published May 10th 2022 by Atria Books

432 Pages

Goodreads Summary: When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house on Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.

From “the undisputed boss of the beach read” (The New York Times), The Summer Place is a testament to family in all its messy glory; a story about what we sacrifice and how we forgive. Enthralling, witty, big-hearted, and sharply observed, this is Jennifer Weiner’s love letter to the Outer Cape and the power of home, the way our lives are enriched by the people we call family, and the endless ways love can surprise us.

Mini Review: I’m sticking with a mini review on this one because it just really didn’t work for me and I ended up DNFing at 44%. I’ve read a few books by Jennifer Weiner in the past and have enjoyed them for the most part but this one was just beyond me. To say this family is dysfunctional would be an understatement and to me that doesn’t really fit the summer beach read mood. I also was not keen on the way the story was told. There are so many characters and having to go back to each character’s back story and how it fits in with the end game got really old. I also have a hard time reading books that have a lot of adultery. Multiple characters played that game in this book and I was not into it at all. There was just SO MUCH deception on all sides and it got to be more than I could handle. But like I said, this just did not work for me personally. If you’re a big fan of Jennifer Weiner or big family dramas featuring dysfunctional families with secrets galore than you might enjoy this one.

DNF @ 44%

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Bout of Books 34: Day 1 Update

Bout of Books 34 is off to a great start for me yesterday. I started off with the audiobook for Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long during the work day. It’s a high action fantasy novel taking place on a frozen tundra planet. I was able to listen to a little more than half of it. In the evening I started my advance copy of The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner. It’s a family drama with many POVs throughout the book. I’m not really sure how I feel about it yet but I was able to read 44% of it.

Day 1 Update:

Pages Read: 379

Total Pages Read: 379

Books Read From:

  • Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long
  • The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: May 3rd 2022 by Disney Press

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Merida goes on an all-new, life-changing adventure in this original YA novel set several years after the close of Brave!

What if you had one year to save everything you loved?

ONE PRINCESS. Merida of DunBroch needs a change. She loves her family—jovial King Fergus, proper Queen Elinor, the mischievous triplets— and her peaceful kingdom. But she’s frustrated by its sluggishness; each day, the same. Merida longs for adventure, purpose, challenge – maybe even, someday, love.

TWO GODS. But the fiery Princess never expects her disquiet to manifest by way of Feradach, an uncanny supernatural being tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, who appears in DunBroch on Christmas Eve with the intent to demolish the realm – and everyone within. Only the intervention of the Cailleach, an ancient entity of creation, gives Merida a shred of hope: convince her family to change within the year – or suffer the eternal consequences.

THREE VOYAGES. Under the watchful eyes of the gods, Merida leads a series of epic journeys to kingdoms near and far in an attempt to inspire revolution within her family. But in her efforts to save those she loves from ruin, has Merida lost sight of the Clan member grown most stagnant of all – herself?

FOUR SEASONS TO SAVE DUNBROCH – OR SEE IT DESTROYED, FOREVER.

Review: I loved Brave, the movie and I also love Maggie Stiefvater so combining the two had to be good, right?! So right! When I first started reading the book I was a little unsure of my mood which could potentially be a problem being a mood reader. But I didn’t need to worry about that… I was almost instantly sucked into the story.

Merida had been away from home for awhile traveling. Not long after she returned she was thrown into a mess between two gods. A bargain was struck and for the next year, Merida was to try her hardest to make changes to the stagnation that had fallen upon her home and family. If she could not prove enough change, Feradach would be forced to bring ruination to her home and family. Of course with Merida being very headstrong, she was bound to have some issues with Feradach and getting her family to change themselves without being able to tell anyone about the bargain that had been struck. I really enjoyed the banter between Merida and Feradach. There were a few things I didn’t really like about this book. It felt like a very young YA, almost bordering on middle grade. And although I knew that Maggie Stiefvater wrote it, it didn’t really feel like it. The writing was rather basic and not what I have come to love and expect from her. Overall I enjoyed this book but would have enjoyed it a bit more were it not for those two issues I had with it.

3 Stars

I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Bout of Books 34

Bout of Books 34 is coming next week! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to participate so I am really looking forward to do so for this round. Bout of Books is one of my favorite readathons. It lasts a whole week beginning on Monday and ends on the following Sunday. It is super low key but also has some fun daily challenges that you can choose to participate if you want as well as a few other things.

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 34 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Normally I like to give myself a couple of goals and a tentative TBR just so I have something to go off of. Since I am a mood reader, I don’t hold myself to the TBR if I’m not feeling it when the time comes around. Since we are a week out from the readathon, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I would like to read but that could very well change so I will stick with it being a tentative TBR.

Personal Goals for Bout of Books 34:

  • Read at least 1 hour everyday
  • Finish at least one of each of the following:
    • audiobook
    • novel
    • graphic novel
  • Daily check-in on blog and Instagram stories

My tentative TBR plan is to focus on my ARC backlog. I have a few that have already been published and a couple that will be published very soon. I am also currently working on that so my plan for next week is basically to tackle the ones I have left. I would LOVE to be able to completely get caught up but I also have quite a few that I need to get through so I will just see how things go. I don’t want to push it too hard or I will end up in a slump for feeling forced to read these books. My selection includes the following:

  • The North Wind by Alexandria Warwick (published January 13, 20022)
  • Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long (published January 11, 2022)
  • The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth (published April 5, 2022)
  • The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner (publishing May 10, 2022)
  • Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry (publishing May 10, 2022)
  • Outside by Ragnar Jonasson (publishing June 28, 2022)
  • The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang (publishing November 15, 2022)

As far as the audiobook and graphic novel go, those will depend on what I’m in the mood for at the time.

I am really looking forward to participating in this readathon after so long away from it. Are you planning to participate?

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Bellinger Sisters #2

Published March 1st 2022 by Avon Books

385 Pages

Goodreads Summary: King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

Review: Last year I read and reviews It Happened One Summer, the first book in a duology by Tessa Bailey about two sisters who must leave their posh lives in Los Angeles to prove themselves to be capable adults in a small fishing town in Washington state. I really enjoyed that first book introducing the two sisters, with the main focus on Piper, so I was really excited to get a chance to read and review book 2 in the series that focuses on Hannah. I could more easily connect with Hannah than Piper so I knew the second book would probably be even better for me than the first book. I was not disappointed.

The book opens with a text string between Hannah and Fox over the course of several months while she is back in L.A. and he is in Westport. I loved the connection between them and how music brought them even closer together. They seemed to easily understand one another even though they were both so different at the same time. Even before Hannah got back to Westport, the way they fought their growing attraction made it seem more and more that they were meant to be together. Their chemistry was absolutely undeniable throughout the book. I also really enjoyed the vulnerability that they both had. Neither had been in a serious relationship and were scared to take that step. Especially with Fox knowing how his father was and thinking that everybody basically expected him to follow suite. Even more than the romance between Hannah and Fox, I very much enjoyed Hannah’s character evolution. She started out working as a production assistant for this director and always thought of herself as an extra or sidekick character rather than the leading lady. Gradually Fox helped her to see that she can and should be the leading lady in her own life. She started to take those steps to put herself out there more and get what she wants. I enjoy romances but it makes it so much better when the female character takes charge of her own life and doesn’t just let things happen to her.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I am sad that there will not be anymore of these characters in future books. But I will definitely be checking out more books from this author in the future.

4 Stars