• Nichelle

Summer 2022 Reading Wrap-up

These are some of my favorite reads from this past summer!


General Fiction

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman


This book felt like I was sitting in the Italian countryside under a sweltering July sun, drinking my second glass of wine, while someone told me about their first love.


All I had heard about this book before I started was there was a weird scene with a peach (which is true), but mostly this is a beautiful story of a young boy’s first love and an Italian summer. The writing was sweeping and gorgeous!

Perfect for someone who wants a light academia vibe.



One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle


After her mother’s death, Katy takes a trip to Italy to discover the Positano her mother experienced (with a little help from some Italian magic).


This book had me weeping (as Rebecca Serle is known to do). Another book about Italy in the summertime (clearly, we’re sensing a theme). It was an exploration of grief and mother-daughter relationships, and it was beautiful!

Perfect for someone who loves the movie P.S. I love you and also loves Mama Mia.



This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub


On her 40th birthday, accidentally slips back in time to her sixteenth birthday. It felt like a good Christmas movie in all the best ways (despite taking place firmly in October and having absolutely nothing to do with Christmas).


Another parental death book! I love books that explore the complexities of love and grief, and this book. This is one of those books that remind you why it’s beautiful to be a human.


Perfect for someone looking for a book that’s a little sad but ultimately hopeful.


Memoir

I am I am I am by Maggie O’Farrell


This is Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir told through her close encounters with death. It explores the fragility and ultimate joy of being a person.


Perfect for someone who loved Into the Dream House but wants a slightly breezier iteration.



Fantasy

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas


The second book in SJM’s Crescent City. If my book tastes had to be described in one word, it would be basic. I almost always love the popular books that everyone else is talking about. I read the Throne of Glass series last year, which firmly cemented SJM as one of my favorite authors. So far, this has been my least favorite of her series (although I will refrain from passing final judgment until the trilogy is finished), but I CAN NOT wait for the next one.



The Bonds that Tie Series by J. Bree


This series follows Oleander, a young woman in this world in which some people have magic powers, and your soulmates can be determined by a blood test. Oleander has five soulmates (aka bonds), but she’s been running from them since she was fifteen.


I read all five books in this series in less than a week! They were so addicting, and I loved them. I have to caveat this with the fact that this series isn’t a masterpiece. The plot is a little repetitive, and the world-building is a little sloppy. Despite its messiness, I devoured these books and will be reading the sixth one the moment it’s out (later this month).


Perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Horror & Thriller

Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid


A dark fairytale (very dark! content warnings for EDs, child abuse, sexual abuse) that follows three sisters who are the daughters of the last wizard in Oblya. We follow Marlinchen, the youngest sister, as she sneaks out and meets a male ballerina who changes the way she sees her world.


Ava Reid’s prose is stunning! This book has one of my favorite vibes, which is dark, spooky, and pretty. I loved the way trauma was explored through this dark, magical world.


Perfect for someone who's looking for a darker, adult version of House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland.


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson


A classic horror novel about a family who is isolated in their manor above the town after tragedy befalls their family, told through the eyes of an eleven-year-old. Everything changes for them when a distant cousin comes to visit.


I loved the protagonist in this novel. The story is told from her perspective. *play mad woman by Taylor Swift*


Perfect for someone who wants a quick, eerie read with a lovely undercurrent of female rage.


Long Bright River by Liv Moore

This book is a slow-paced thriller about a female detective, Kacey, working and living in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia. When a string of sex workers are murdered, and her sister goes missing, Kacey tries to figure out what’s happening.


I really enjoyed the way this book explored the generational cycles of poverty and addiction with empathy. I think these topics are often grappled with in thrillers, but this book did it masterfully.


Perfect for someone who loves Celeste Ng


Romance

Addicted / Calloway Sisters Series by Kristie & Becca Ritchie


As I explained either, I’m an unabashed basic girl, so when Tiktok seems to be enamored with a romance series, I’m going to try it. These are technically two series, but they are so interconnected that I truly don’t understand how you could read them separately. It follows three sisters (they have a fourth sister, but she’s not invited to the series, and as an eldest sister, I take personal offense at this).

I’ve only finished through Thrive, so I think I have like four more, which I’m sure I’ll read eventually when I want something breezy with familiar characters.

Perfect if you want to spend a long time with the characters in your romance novels, even after the happily ever after.

Waking Olivia by Elizabeth O’Roark


A KU romance about a cross-country runner who sleep-runs (aka sleepwalking, but faster) because obviously, she has some childhood trauma. When she was forced to transfer colleges, her new coach is really grumpy, and obviously, they fall for each other.


Perfect for the Mariana Zapata lover. I would say the vibes are similar, although Waking Olivia is shorter and much faster-paced.



Forever Never by Lucy Score


Another KU romance, this one is a childhood best friend’s brother romance that takes place on Mackinac island. Lucy Score’s books are always a little silly and not the most realistic of romances, but I like that in my romances! I’m never bored!


The best part of reading this book was ending up on Mackinac Island Tiktok. Mackinac Island is this island off the coast of Michigan that doesn’t have cars and is next to impossible to reach in winter when the lake freezes. I desperately want to visit and have spent an unreasonable of time looking at Airbnbs.


Perfect for someone who loved The Casanova by TL Swan



Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman


The cover of this book is iconic! This follows the story of a journalist who is sent to interview the next James Bond and ends up spending the weekend with him. Ten years later, she sent to interview him again. Things are more complex because this is a romcom, so obviously, there was chemistry!


I read this after getting bogged down in some heavier books, and it was the perfect palate cleanser.


Perfect for anyone who has watched this clip of Chris Evans more than once



Every Summer After by Carley Fortune


This book may have been the book of the summer. Everyone and their mother was raving about these childhood friends to lovers, second-chance romance. Persephone and Sam grew up spending summers on the lake together, and then as teens, they fell in love, but years ago, something happened, and they haven’t spoken since. It alternates between the summers from their childhood and the current timeline, where both Persephone and Sam are back in town for Sam’s mother’s funeral.


Perfect for someone new to romance who wants something with summer vibes.



Under One Roof & Stuck With You by Ali Hazelwood


These books are the first two of Ali Hazelwood’s collection of Steminist novellas. Under One Roof follows a woman who inherited half a house, and her new roommate is a grumpy lawyer man. Stuck with You is about two people stuck in an elevator together after a one-night-stand turned ghosting situation.


These novellas are the perfect short and sweet little romances. There isn’t time for elaborate backstories or tons of relationship-building, but I really enjoyed them and will be reading the third one soon.


Perfect for a before-bed read that won’t keep you up until four in the morning.

Shipped by Angie Hockman

When Henley and Graeme are sent on a cruise together to compete for a promotion (they work in marketing for said cruise company), Henley has already decided she hates Graeme. But this is a romance novel, so you and I both know that it won’t last.


This book was breezy and delightful. It’s comped as The Hating Game meets the Unhoneymooners, and I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe it.

Perfect poolside read!

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