Books I’ve Loved (So Far) This Summer

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A while back, I posted about some of my favorite books that came straight from my high school summer reading lists (you can check out that post here). Then it got me thinking: what about keeping a log of all the books I read this summer? I’ve been trying to become a more active reader once again — I used to be such a bookworm, but as life got in the way, I found myself falling out of the habit of picking up a book versus, say, my phone. That’s not to say I don’t still love to read; give me a good book, and I won’t talk to you until it’s finished. It’s just more of the habit of it all that seemed to fall to the wayside as life picked up its pace.

So, I figured that creating a log of all of the books I read this summer would both keep me accountable, and might bring some new books to light for you, dear readers, as well. initially, I was going to wait until the end of the summer and do a full book list, but then I realized, what would the point of that be? It wouldn’t give you the chance to enjoy these great summer reads, too! That in mind, I opted to highlight 5 of my favorites so far this summer.

Note: The rest of this post contains affiliate links – if you click through any of the links in the post below & make a purchase, I may receive compensation, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

The Identicals
My boss actually told me about this book last summer, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere ever since. I’m a huge fan of Elin Hilderbrand. This story of two twin sisters on the sister islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard (places I’ve never been, but must someday see), touches on the bond of sisterhood despite it all, the differences between even those we consider most alike, and the secrets behind our grief and love. I read it in about a week, though if I’d had the option to sit down on an island beach and read it straight through, I likely would have!

The Summer Girls (Lowcountry Summer)
Disclaimer: I sort of cheated with this one. I technically read the third book in this series back in December, but then I decided to reread the whole series in order. Again, it’s the story of sisters — Carson, Dora, and Harper — who come together at their grandmother’s house for the summer, just as they did when they were girls. (Apparently, I’m a sucker for stories of sisterhood.) Throughout the three books, the reader gets to know each sister, her stories and her sadness, and her shining light. We also get to know their grandmother, Mamaw, and her sweet best friend/housekeeper/confidant, Lucille. It’s a touching series that will make you laugh, smile, and cry… and wish your family had a house on Sullivan’s Island, too.

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
Okay – I’ve been waiting to read this book for AGES. I am one of the many millions who fell in love with Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit musical, Hamilton (but I have not seen it yet so… if anyone wants to surprise me with tickets, I would not be opposed ;)). Beyond just loving the musical, I’m a huge fan of historical fiction. It’s probably my favorite genre. And on top of that, I loved the first book that Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie wrote together, called America’s First Daughter. Both books are based on the letters of the women behind the Founding Fathers, and they’re fascinating. They’re technically fictionalized, but it certainly offers another perspective onto the lives of people like Thomas Jefferson and, of course, Alexander Hamilton (yes, every time I say that name, it’s to the tune of the musical). That said, I liked the Jefferson book a little bit better… but this one was still quite good. Perhaps the only reason I thought it slowed down a little in the middle was because I was waiting for Daveed Diggs to jump out and start a rap battle?

The Atomic City Girls
And here we have more historical fiction. This one, I actually did read in the span of a weekend, because I was so engrossed and because it’s fairly easy to get through. This book details the lives of the people behind the Manhattan Project — not the scientists, but the builders (and okay, one scientist). It tells the little-known story of the women who were sent to work on a secret project in Tennessee, and all that came with it. I was captivated, and recommend this to anyone who is a huge fan of history and, in particular, World War II.

What Alice Forgot
If you like Big Little Lies (the book, not the HBO series, though I’m sure if you watch you show you’ve read the book, or at least heard of it), I strongly recommend reading some of Liane Moriarty’s other books. This one is the particularly fascinating tale of a woman who hits her head in spin class and has the piece back the last 10 years of her life. The last thing she remembers is being happily married and pregnant with her first child — but now, she’s in the midst of a nasty divorce, with three kids, and has had a falling out with her sister. It’s a good story, and I’ve certainly picked up worse books for $4.99 at the airport. (Actually, I’ve never found a book that cheap at the airport. It was a steal.)

I’m sure this list will grow and change as the summer goes on, so keep your eyes peeled for an update. For now, let me know what you’re reading this summer – maybe I’ll add it to my list!

Travel Diary: Denver for a Trip Around the Sun

I am sitting at the airport as I write this and, first off, I would like to acknowledge just how much I love the airport. It holds such a sense of adventure, such a promise of what’s to come. Plus, it’s a wonderful place to people watch.

But I digress, because that’s not really what this post is about.

I am on my way home from Denver, where I just spent a lovely three days with one of my favorite humans and her two cute pups. This is becoming a bit of a tradition. Every year at the 4th of July, I fly up to the Mile High City to see my best friend. Of course, this year, the Fourth fell on a Wednesday which was mildly inconvenient, so we just bumped our timeline up a little. Which actually worked out so well, because we also have a mutual love of Kenny Chesney, who happened to be playing in Denver this past weekend.

Naturally, we went.

This was my fourth time seeing Kenny, and Jen and mine’s second Kenny concert with one another, and it was just as fun as it’s ever been. I’m the product of Parrotheads, which probably means I was destined to be a part of the No Shoes Nation, but even without that prerequisite, there’s just something about a Kenny show.

I’ve always loved water, and always felt like, eventually, I’m destined to live beside it. Every Kenny Chesney concert simply confirms that prediction. There’s a feel to him — he’s a little bit country, a little bit rock, but he’s island through and through.

Plus, there’s the fact that Kenny was my first ever concert (I don’t count the Cheetah Girls in fourth grade), and you tend to have a bit of an attachment to whoever that was, right?

Besides, in my adult years — more specifically, since my junior year of college — it’s become a bit of a tradition to see him every tour, and if you know me, I’m a huge sucker for traditions.

I love knowing that you can always have something to look forward to. I love know that every summer, I’ll buy a plane ticket to Denver (granted, next summer may be an exception as we potentially shift our annual reunion overseas… but still, you get the picture.) I love knowing that Kenny Chesney will put me in a great mood and that I’ll be whisked off to the islands no matter where I am — whether it’s in the middle of the desert, at the edge of plains, or in the foggy bay.

But most of all, I love knowing that a friend will be there. I love knowing that I can call her up in the middle of the night because she’ll answer, and not just because she’ll be awake because of her crazy producer schedule. I love knowing that I can text her about the most mundane things and she’ll at least read it even if we’re both awful at replying. I love knowing how easily we can freak people out by accidentally saying the same thing at the same time. I love knowing that there’s a person I can always go to to remind me what’s important. I love the fact that we went from random Spanish project partners to coworkers to roommates to twins.

I mean, come on. We even unintentionally matched our outfits.

Now, to be honest, I didn’t start this post with the intention of making it a note of appreciation for my Shining Twin. But, I also started this blog on the floor of the Denver airport and I’m finishing it sitting upright at my desk, so I guess intentions can change with time, right? I always fall into a post-trip funk (anyone else with me on that? Coming home is great and I love what I come home to, but there’s still an element of sadness when a trip concludes). It’s heightened, when you just leave your best friend.

Anyways. Thanks, Denver, for another incredible trip, and here’s to the next one, in (pretty much) one trip around the sun.