My summer reading list exploded with titles. These are great books to take to the beach or for an afternoon in the hammock. Comment below with your favorite summer reading for 2020.
I received all of these books from Netgalley. I was not paid for my review. The opinions are all my own. However, I am an Amazon Affiliate, if you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.
- The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis. For sale June 2020
Frenemies, Brynn and Kinsey, may have more in common than they think. Adversaries when they were teens at summer camp, the two women are thrown back together when Brynn ends up back in town looking to put her life back together. She rents a room in Eli’s house, who had a crush on her when they were teens. Kinsey is Eli’s best friend for life and Brynn, although attracted to Eli, is wary of beginning a relationship with Eli knowing that Kinsey comes as part of the relationship deal.
I enjoyed the banter between Brynn and Kinsey. They have a lot of friendship chemistry. The romance between Eli and Brynn is a foregone conclusion. I wished there had been a bit more tension between the two of them. The romance between Deck and Kinsey was great, but there wasn’t a lot of focus on it and I really wanted more of that dynamic.
This wasn’t Shalvis’ strongest book, but I still found it a fun book for an afternoon in the hammock.
2. Christmas in Bayberry by Jennifer Faye. Published July 2020
I am a sucker for small-town Christmas romances. While I liked the premise of this story and the characters were fine, I was hoping for a little more oomph in the book. All characters were assumed to be white, which continues to be a problem in the Hallmark movie and book world. I needed the hero and heroine to have more internal conflict, without that the romance fell flat.
I think this book is going to have a market, but I would love to see Hallmark capitalize on their success by pushing past the assumed white, small-town romance and create characters with more depth and complications.
3. ROMEmantically Challenged by Marina Adair. Published July 28, 2020
This book surprised me in a really good way. Adair writes complicated strangers-turned lovers in this romance. Emmitt doesn’t believe he deserves a permanent address and Anh doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere and according to her love life, she is only good at finding her boyfriends their one true loves.
The push and pull in this romance is sweet, occasionally spicy, and a whole lot of yearning for these two people to heal themselves so they can accept the love in front of them. I appreciated how vulnerable the hero was and how strong the heroine was. I was sold on this book from the first page and I can’t wait to read more in the Rome world.
4. Ghosting by Tash Skilton. Published May 2020
I ate this book up like candy. I love the Cyrano de Bergerac storyline with the two Dating profile ghostwriters. It was perfect. The best part of this book was that the main characters and most of the side characters were people of color. Definitely not something that is usual in a rom com or romance. T
he girl was just quirky enough without going over the top and Miles was adorably geeky and charming. This book begs to be read in a hammock with a glass of wine and dark chocolate.
5. The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock. Published July 9, 2020
Josh and Amber both live their lives under the thumb of their families. Amber is moving back with her parents after she is made redundant at her job in NYC. Josh lost a promising career in environmental design after his father dies, and his mother faces a cancer diagnosis. Now he runs the failing shop, his parents and grandparents before him owned.
Amber stops in the small village of Cranbridge to visit with her godmother before she flies on to New Zealand to figure out what her next steps in life will be. Josh and Alice immediately hit it off, but because of both of their insecurities, the romance has a slow, faltering start.
As sweet romances go, I like the storyline. Shop failing, small town, characters in love are putting together new lives. I like the village of Cranbridge and the many locals who add humor to the story. The writing is strong, and I kept reading, regardless of how frustrating the characters were. Both Josh and Amber struggled with speaking up for themselves, and what made the story enjoyable also made it hard to relate to these characters. A couple of times, I wanted to sit them down and say, “Josh likes Amber, and Amber likes Josh. Now kiss.” The tension in the romance could have been more substantial; regardless, I enjoyed the book, the setting, and the characters, so I was able to overlook the minor frustrations.