Blanche’s Book Club: 2021 Summer Reading Guide!

It’s the MOST won-der-fullll time of the year… okay, that’s debatable for some, but I love summer reading! Of course, you can read whatever books you want at any time in the year, but for me, summer is about the romances, the cruise drama, the vacation homes — anything I can read by the pool.

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Just as I did last year, this year I planned out books I wanted to read each month. In case you’re curious, they are:

Many of the books on my personal list are from the 2020 Summer Reading Guide!

Although I have these books selected for myself, I always love putting together a list of books for you all, my dear readers… these are all books I have on my TBR list, too! This year is a mix of genres, and a mix of old and new, because, well, it’s always good to shake things up. Let’s get into it:

‘One Last Stop’ by Casey McQuiston

Casey McQuiston wrote “Red, White, & Royal Blue” which I loved, so I have been waiting for this one!

In “One Last Stop,” 23-year-old August sees Jane on her train commute in NYC. August’s crush on Jane makes her question her cynical ways and she uses her past to help her move forward.

New York. Subway crush. Possible meet cute. I mean, there’s honestly not much more you could ask for in a summer novel, right?

This book has GREAT reviews on GoodReads (4+ stars!), so I’m excited to get my hands on a copy

‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hot take is that I really hated “Daisy Jones and the Six” (I know, I know) but I’ve really loved some of Reid’s other books, so I’m gonna give her the benefit of the doubt.

In “Malibu Rising,” it’s a mix of music family fame with surfer legend (I’m picturing “Blue Crush”) and a house that ends up in… literal flames.

The book description doesn’t say, but I would not be surprised if there’s touches of whodunnit here. And I would be THERE FOR IT. So, bring it on Taylor Jenkins… let’s makeup for that Daisy Jones 🙂

This one also has stellar reviews on Goodreads, with an average of 4+ stars.

‘Greenwich Park’ by Katherine Faulkner

If you’ve been here for a minute, you know that I’m a scaredy cat, so I’m not huge into thrillers, but if it sounds really good, then I’ll be brave and sleep with the lights on.

I wanted to include at least ONE for the spooky-book lovers out there and this one sounds fascinating!

Helen has *the* perfect life and she meets Rachel in a mothers-to-be class. Rachel is edgy — she does everything you’re not supposed to do when you’re pregnant — but Helen seems needy for friendship.

However, those around the two wonder what’s happening. What links these two other than friendship? That’s right, a big secret — a deadly one. 4+ stars on Goodreads… I like where this is going!

‘Pumpkin’ by Julie Murphy

Y’all, Julie Murphy is my favorite YA author. She’s a Texan, and well, I absolutely love, love, love her books (I’ve read them all)!

Pumpkin” is technically the 3rd book in the line of “Dumplin'” and “Puddin'” … but I’m not certain that you have to read those two to enjoy this one.

In “Pumpkin,” we meet Waylon, who is living undercover until he graduates high school, buutttt his plan goes to shit and he decides to try out for his favorite drag TV show. But then the audition tape leaks… and well, we’ll have to see how this ends up!

‘Sunkissed’ by Kasie West

Okayyy, maybe I’m a bad blogger, but this is the first I’m hearing of author Kasie West, and yet she’s described as a “favorite YA author.” Where the heck have I been?

But this book sounds so good!

Avery is in need of a fabulous summer, but her parents drag her and her sister off to a remote camp — there’s not even internet.

But, wait! I smell a summer romance with a camp staffer coming… 3.5+ stars on Goodreads.

‘Why We Swim’ by Bonnie Tsui

This book came out last summer, but it’s been on my list ever-since — it sounds fascinating! I actually attended an author event with Bonnie Tsui and she has swam in some impressive open waters.

Bonnie Tsui writes from the perspective of being a swimmer herself, but she interviewed Olympic swimmers to get to the heart of the matter: why do we swim?

The book is an interesting look at swimming from all angles, but it also provides a look at human nature. 4+ stars on Goodreads.

‘Better Than the Movies’ by Liz Painter

This is a YA rom-com and I don’t think I could ask for anything more.

In “Better Than the Movies,” Liz has daydreamed about her crush forever… but then he moved away. As fate would have it, though, he’s returned! Things seem to be lining up perfectly, until the boy next door inserts himself into the picture.

Could he be better than the boy of Liz’s dreams? Only time will tell! 4+ stars on Goodreads.

‘That Summer’ by Jennifer Weiner

I’ve read a handful of Jennifer Weiner books and every time I finish one I think, “Why don’t I read more of her books?” They are so good!

In “That Summer,” we meet Daisy, who seems to have a pretty normal life with typical frustrations. But when she can’t sleep, she notices she’s receiving someone else’s emails… lots of them.

This someone else — Diana — has a bit of a glamorous life, and they might even be connected in a way.

I love this plot line… I would LOVE to get someone else’s emails 🙂 4 stars on Goodreads.

‘The Road Trip’ by Beth O’Leary

In “The Road Trip,” Addie and her sister are heading off on an epic road trip to Scotland for a friend’s wedding.

But not long into the trip they slam into the back of another car… with Addie’s ex as the driver.

The ex and his friend were headed to the same wedding, but now they need a ride. We know where this is going… and I’m here for it!

There’s 300 miles to go and a car full of questions… I love this idea, even though I would absolutely never get into a car with any of my exes. 3.5+ stars on Goodreads.

‘Don’t Hate the Player’ by Alexis NeDd

In “Don’t Hate the Player,” Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend by day and an esports competitor by night. Her lives are mostly separate, until the esports competition comes to her town… and she recognizes someone from her past.

When I was looking for books for this list, I noticed that — especially in the YA area — so many books are highlighting unique character roles, whether it’s gaming, virtual technology, or even LGBTQ characters, and it’s so cool to see!

I picked this one because I liked the “Ready Player One” books. 4+ stars on Goodreads.

‘Live Your Life’ by Amanda Kloots

I followed Amanda Kloots’ story during the height of lockdown last year, when her husband, Tony-nominated Nick Cordero, was in the hospital with COVID-19.

For days, thousands, if not millions, of people around the world joined Amanda every afternoon to sing Nick’s song, “Live Your Life.” Months later, Nick passed away, leaving Amanda and his son, Elvis to live on without him.

I have continued to follow Amanda and admire her perseverance and bravery, and mostly, her openness about her grief journey.

I know this is a deviation from usual summer reads, but I know so many of us are hurting after a tough year, and figured this would be an uplifting way to cope. 4+ stars on Goodreads.

‘Shipped’ by Angie Hockman

In “Shipped” Henley is swamped between work and school, but when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, she feels like things are looking up.

But her enemy — who she’s never met in person — is also up for the job. To make the decision, the boss sends both of them on a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

And, let me guess, her so-called enemy ends up being hot AF. Ha! This book sounds a tad ridiculous, but this is the kind of book you could read while by the pool / lake / beach and have a large cocktail. 3.5+ stars on Goodreads.

Before I close out the 2021 Summer Reading Guide, I want to selfishly offer up one more option: “Oil & Ink” by yours truly. I love this book, it’s characters, and although it’s not really a seasonal book, it’s light and happy.

So, what are you reading this summer?

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Goodreads @thebitterlemon – where I share more of my book picks. Also, check out my printable bookmarks and Book Club Journal Pages in my Etsy Shop

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