“Same Time Next Summer” is the Beach Read You Need This Year

When I saw that Annabel Monaghan had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. I adored Nora Goes Off Script.

Monaghan’s new novel, Same Time Next Summer, tells the story of Sam and her first love, Wyatt. After their devastating breakup, Sam tried to build a life that would protect her from ever feeling that desperate and lost again. She’s avoided the summer home where the two fell in love and found a stable relationship with a man who lives by the rules. Then, her parents convince them to come check out a potential wedding venue, and Sam finds herself colliding with the person she used to be… and the man she used to love.

I fully admit that this kind of setup, where a woman is engaged and has to choose between her current partner and a past love, isn’t my favorite. It’s hard to do well, and that made me a bit worried about this one. However, I absolutely loved this book and found myself tearing through it! Let’s take a closer look at why this book is another home run for me.

What I Liked

The writing just flows so beautifully and draws you in from the first page. The story is told in present-day first person from Sam’s perspective, with past chapters in third person from both Sam and Wyatt’s POV. This is a tricky move to pull off, but I felt like it worked well to give us backstory and a sense of present-day urgency.

I adored Sam’s family and how free they felt at their beach house, how they just let their art drive their lives. The were fun side characters who really shed light on who Sam is and how hard she’s worked to be different to protect herself.

The banter and ease between Sam and Wyatt is also great. You can really feel that longterm friendship-to-lovers connection between them even as adults who broke one another’s hearts.

Like many of my favorite stories, there is a lot of focus on Sam learning to accept herself and choose to do what makes her happy, rather than what makes her feel solid and safe but doesn’t bring her alive. I love that self-discovery and self-honesty being the heart of the story, even as it kind of plays out through a love triangle.

What I Didn’t Like

At times, I did feel like Sam’s fiance felt like one of those “this guy is so obviously wrong for her, ugh” kind of characters, which I hate. Yes, people do get engaged for the wrong reasons some times, but I would’ve liked to see a bit more humanity out of him at some points in the book to avoid his being a charicature of a tight-laced guy. There are some moments of that here and there, but ultimatley it did feel like he was painted in a way to make us feel no guilt about rooting for Wyatt.

I will also chant my usual refrain that things did kind of wrap up quickly at the end, though I think the foundation was laid for the ending in a way that the quickness did sort of make sense.

In all, I absolutey loved Same Time Next Summer and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good romance, a beach read with depth, and/or a story about a woman overcoming her past to embrace her true self. It comes out on June 6th, but you can put in a preorder right now.


The Best Books I Read in August 2022

It wasn’t until I saw another book blogger post their August 2022 recap that I realized it is indeed the end of another month. As predicted, August flew by in a hectic, stressful whirlwind. Nevertheless, it ended up being a pretty decent reading month, all things considered. 

I read a total of 7 books this month, which is slightly more than in either June or July. Getting back into audiobooks helped tremendously. The start of the semester at the local universities (including the one where I work) always increases my commute, since I drive through three campuses on my way home. When the students come back, so does the traffic. On the bright side, it means more audiobook time. 

Let’s take a look at the best of the best from the books I read in August! 

(Full disclosure(s): This post uses Bookshop.org affiliate links. Books with an asterisk were received as complimentary review copies in exchange for my honest opinion.) 

The Bodyguard* by Katherine Center

I was a bit dubious about The Bodyguard, but every review I read was so glowing, I decided I had to give it a try. It helped that I was approved for an audio review copy on NetGalley. 

I’m really glad I gave this one a go! It was such a fun reading experience and a unique premise, and the audio narration was on point. My full review went up earlier this month, and you can check it out here: “The Bodyguard” Caught Me By Surprise

Save Yourself* by Cameron Esposito 

I had never heard of Cameron Esposito before receiving a PR email about the paperback release of her memoir, Save Yourself. I liked the sound of the book and adored the cover, so I decided to give it a go. Shortly thereafter, Esposito gave an interview on one of the podcasts I listen to (Forever35) and I knew I had to listen to the book on audio. 

This memoir has jokes and it has heart. Some of the essays fell a little flat at the end, and some of the jokes felt a little forced in, but overall this is a powerful memoir about growing up religious and gay and learning to reconcile those identities, slowly and with a lot of missteps. I didn’t write a full review of this one because I took the side-joke comment “please don’t review this book” very seriously, on account of who I am as a person. 

Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova 

This book has lived on the bookshelf in my yoga room/home office for ages. It’s lived on many a bookshelf before I lived in a house with space for a yoga room/home office. Kitchen Table Tarot is a down-to-earth, personable guide to tarot reading and the meanings of each card in the standard Rider-Waite style deck. 

I love the way Cynova makes the cards approachable while also grounding her information in the ethics of tarot reading. This feels like an essential guide for a beginner reader and a phenomenal supplement for someone who has been reading the cards for a while. My full review is available here: Pull Up a Chair and Let’s Talk Tarot

Honorable Mentions

This month, I also read… 

In all, August was a pretty okay reading month and a pretty overwhelming work month. I’m really looking forward to cozy fall reading with candles and blankets and, of course, snuggles from my cuddle curl pup, Azula. 

Happy September and happy back to school season for those who celebrate (aka those in school, working in education, or with kiddos who go to school). I’m excited to see what reading adventures we get into this month, book friends! 

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