This summer vacation book review is SO different from my usual book reviews! Instead of a bunch of intense thrillers, I’ve been reading my way through some light-hearted, fluffy reading. I’ll be honest: I don’t hate this little “genre vacation” while actually on vacation! Let’s jump right in!
Summer Vacation Books
The Beach Trap
Where to begin!? The Beach Trap was SUCH a cute read.
Two girls meet at summer camp when they’re 12, and instantly hit it off… only to find out they have the same dad. Kat grew up wealthy, privileged, and with her mom and dad. Blake grew up with a single mother, who passed away when Blake was 9. Her father abandoned her, to stay with Kat and her mother. Blake was raised by her grandparents. She was well loved and happy, but she never got over the feeling of abandonment.
When their father dies, it’s discovered the money is gone. He has left the family beach house to Kat and Blake, who haven’t seen each other since they found out they shared a dad. Blake was eager to get to know Kat, and Kat instantly hated Blake.
When Blake sees the beach house for the first time, her stomach sinks. It’s not the mansion she hoped she could sell to turn a profit to pay for her ailing grandfathers medical bills – it’s in desperate need of repair. Kat sees the house as the last remaining memory of her father. As you can imagine, they get off to a rocky start.
This story had it all. Love, laughter, some steamy scenes. I got teary eyed a bit at the end, and absolutely loved the epilogue.
My copy of The Beach Trap came with an excerpt from Ali Brady’s 2023 release. I cannot wait to get my hands on that one already!
The Lies I Tell
The Lies I Tell had me hooked from the beginning!
The perspective bounces between Meg and Kat. They’re connected, though we aren’t quite sure how in the beginning, we just know there are wrongs that each of them are seeking to right. (Which immediately had me turning pages as quickly as I could!)
Meg is like the Robin Hood of female con artists, and Kat is a journalist, hoping for the story that she desperately needs to be her “big break”.
The women meet, though not by chance, and neither is who they say they are. Despite that, they form an unlikely “bond” by the end of it. Kind of reminded me of Tom Hanks and Leo in Catch Me If You Can.
The ending of The Lies I Tell was a bit predictable, and there was no huge twist or “shocking moment”, but I still enjoyed every bit of it!
Birds of California
Birds of California follows Fiona, who is hiding out after her less-than-graceful exit from Hollywood. Her show (which was canceled mostly in part due to her multiple public embarrassments and scandals) is up for a reboot. Her castmate Sam has hit a dead end in his career, and the reboot is his golden ticket.
Since Fiona isn’t eager to do the reboot, Sam is told by Jamie (their “Father” in the TV show) to convince her. The whole vibe feels wrong, and we soon learn why! The story bounces between Sam and Fiona’s perspective, and was very cute. They had a momentary “thing” in the days of their show, and have a chance to rekindle the flame, and see if this could be the real deal.
Now, I will say: Birds of California was suuuuuper predictable. I don’t even know if you’d call it a “twist”, but it wasn’t shocking at all. That said, I thought the story was cute, and I found myself wanting to read more — in fact, I read it in 1 day! This is totally Rom-Com movie material!
City of Likes
City of Likes was a super quick read! I read this in about 4 hours. This quirky story would be a solid poolside book this summer.
The story was pretty entertaining. Meg is an aspiring writer has lost herself in mom life. Everything changes when she meets Daphne: New York’s “it” mom-fluencer. Meg suddenly finds herself on a verge of being an influencer herself. But… is all the fame and free goodies worth it?! (Cue dramatic music)
I thought it was interesting how they portrayed Daphne, as an influencer. Some insight was spot on there… while others were a bit of an eye-roll.
City of Likes was basically Mean Girls meets Sex and the City. But with some girl-on-girl vibes. It was a cute story to get lost in on a summer day!
An Honest Lie
It took me about a week to read An Honest Lie (which is a long time for me). At first, the story progressed sooooo painfully slowly, it was hard for me to pick it back up after stopping. The main character Rainy has a mysterious past, but with the slow progression, I was rolling my eyes instead of desperate to turn pages…Until the ending.
An Honest Lie bounces between “then” and “now”. Then is when a little girl named Summer moves to a commune/cult with her mother. Now, is “Rainy” as an adult, trying to fit in to a Pacific NW version of desperate housewives.
Everything culminates during a girls weekend in Vegas, when Rainy has to confront her past, as Summer.
Throw in some lady drama, a cult leader, a deranged ex-cult-member-sociopath-murderer, and we’ve got ourselves a story, guys!
All that to say, it was painfully obvious who “Paul” was, but the last 70ish pages had me turning pages! There was A LOT to unpack there.
Overall, An Honest Lie was a solid read, but not Fisher’s best work IMO! 3.5 stars
It Could Be Anyone
The whole time I was reading It Could Be Anyone, I was thinking, “wow, it really could have been any one of them!!”
A group of friends’ lives are derailed as their friend, Fiona, gets engaged to a gem named Trevor. Trevor blackmails the whole group into encouraging Fiona to marry him by blackmailing them. He’s got some decent dirt on all of them, and the connection is the first big shocker.
The story starts with the murder, and then resets, finishing with the murder. I love when books do that. It lets the reader know exactly what happens… but not who, what, why, and how!
And it turns out there are lots of possible whos, and lots of possible how’s!
I thought It Could Be Anyone was great, and Allie was my absolute favorite character, and it couldn’t have had a better ending in my opinion!!
I received an ARC of Typecast for review purposes.
Let me start by saying Typecast is not my go-to genre. It’s a heartwarming story of Callie’s journey to find herself.
The timeline bounces from “before” (Callie in college) and “after” (10 years later).
Callie has been dating Ethan basically all of college. She’s become the girl you hate – the one who gets a boyfriend and falls off the face of the earth. Her whole life becomes about Ethan, and when graduation comes, and Ethan wants her to move to California with him, she doesn’t say no. Despite not wanting to go.
Fast forward 10 years, some bad decisions, and some deep secrets, and Callie has a shot at finding real love… until she finds out Ethan wrote a screenplay. And that screenplay is being turned into a HUGE motion picture, playing nationwide, with a-list stars.
What could this possibly mean? What does Callie want it to mean?
Basically, this is a story of Callie finding herself, and putting the past behind her. While I found it to move painfully slow at parts, I did think it was enjoyable and lighthearted. The ending had everything wrapped up in a nice, tidy bow.
I give Typecast a solid 3.5. I was engaged in finishing it… but I don’t think I’d rush to tell my book club friends to grab it on Pub day.
Have you read any of these titles? What was the best book you’ve read all summer?
Check out another book review here!