August Reading Wrap-Up – Sock Bun Studios

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August Reading Wrap-Up

August has come and gone and all I really learned from this month is that I will do almost anything that it takes to pack up and move to Scotland in the near future after reading not one, not two, but three books by Samantha Young. Honestly, it's on me. But also, she's just *so* good at writing! There wasn't a book club pick this month, but that didn't mean I didn't make it through six books this month (you can thank two Samantha books for that rounding out the last two days of August). Let's get into them! 

Here With Me: The Adair Family Series Book 1: Samantha Young, 2021

I talked about it a few months ago in the June wrap-up podcast when I read Much Ado About You, but I love Samantha Young. I had at the time only read Fight or Flight in 2019 but then fell back in love all over with Much Ado About You. THEN I found this new family series. And when I say FIRE off the pages...read it if you like spicy, Scottish, enemies to lovers, murder mystery books! 

Meet Robyn and Lachlan. They hate each other. Robyn is traveling to Scotland for the first time in her life to reunite with her father that she hasn't seen in 16 years, and she holds a lot of animosity for his employer, the ex-Hollywood actor Lachlan Adair. Before they can reconcile the past, Mac is attacked and narrowly avoids dying. Now Robyn has another reason to stay in Scotland - finding her father's attacker. It's just a shame that Lachlan also can't seem to keep his hands off of her in the meantime. They embark on an extremely passionate, no-strings-attached, affair but can they stay that way? And what will happen when the attacker turns their attention on Robyn? 

I don't know where to start with this one. One, it's the third mystery book I've read this year and while I did spoil it for myself (it's what I do), I still think I would have been shocked yet not surprised by who the stalker is? Lachlan and Robyn absolutely HATE each other - it's a true enemies to lovers story, but the animosity that you can feel radiating off the pages quickly turns to passion and I'm not gonna lie to you, it is up there on the spicy side. But when I tell you that I couldn't put this book down! Wouldn't change a single page out of it's 528 pages. Read it. Trust me. 

There With You: The Adair Family Series Book 2: Samantha Young, 2021

Can we all send praise to Samantha for not leaving us on a cliffhanger for book two?? THANK YOU! Now, I honestly don't know who I love more, Lachlan or Thane. When I told Samantha on instagram that I was forcing myself to read my other TBR from the library first, she said she hoped Thane was worth it. HE WAS. HE ABSOLUTELY WAS. Okay. Let's discuss!

Rolling straight off the pages of the epilogue in Here With Me, we meet Regan, Robyn's younger stepsister. Regan hasn't been seen in 18 months since Robyn had been shot, and there's a lot of tension and catching up to be had. Regan meanwhile, has her own secrets and fears and she's going to do whatever it takes to make it up to Robyn. What a better way to stay and prove herself than to become Thane's, Lachlan's widowed, younger brother, new nanny and housekeeper? She immediately bonds with Eilidh and Lewis and will do anything, and I do mean anything, to protect them. There's just one, okay two, problems; Thane can't get over his past trust issues his wife Fran left him with, and he can't bear to think about the village talk surrounding the fact that Regan is 13 years his junior. But when it's true love, what can you do?

GUYS. THIS BOOK. ALL THE SHOUTY CAPITALS BECAUSE I CANNOT CONTAIN IT. I honestly, and I mean honestly, feel wrecked for reading another book the rest of this year. This is absolutely a book and a series that I could easily put on repeat until I have the words memorized. When Thane starts calling Regan "mo leannan" (spoiler alert: my beloved) I MELTED. If it weren't for the fact that no one in America would ever pronounce it right, I'd name a daughter Eilidh (pronounced A-lay) in a heartbeat. Guess that means I need to pack it up to Scotland! Also meet and marry a Scottish man, but one step at a time okay? Just...read this book. Just read it. Read Here With Me and then read this one. That's all I can say. 

On Dublin Street: Samantha Young, 2012

Just when you thought I was out of Samantha Young books to review this month! Ha! I actually read this between The Adair family books and it made getting to Thane's book even easier because I couldn't put it down! It was her first book published and it just celebrated it's 9th year so that makes this one even better for reading it now.

Meet Braden and Jocelyn. Braden is used to getting what he wants and Jocelyn is still dealing with the effects of losing her parents and baby sister eight years prior. After finally deciding to give their undeniable attraction a go, will Jocelyn take the time to repair her past damage to move on completely with her life? 

This book actually sizzles with chemistry. Braden and Joss are such a dynamic duo and I loved their chemistry and dynamic. Joss has a lot of past to push through and deal with and I think she ultimately handles everything in ways that fit her age maturity at the time. Did it make me want to rip my hair out at points? Yes. But she has a fabulous therapist that basically echos the reader's frustrations which helps. Plus, it helps that Braden is extraordinarily patient with her, especially at the end. This one is a 10/10 for me and I already requested the next book in this series which ties into the first when we dive into Jo, Joss' bartending friend's story. 

The Flatshare: Beth O'Leary, 2019

I get why The Flatshare was Beth's renowned book now (mostly because I've read it now). Having finished all three of her books over the last few months, I truly did save the best for last. The Flatshare is funny, witty, sad, hopeful - all of it all at once wrapped up like a big hug. 

Tiffy needs a new place to live. Leon needs money to help pay for his brother's lawyer after he's sent to prison under a wrongful conviction. Enter the flatshare idea. Leon works nights and is with his girlfriend on the weekend, so he'll only ever be around when Tiffy is at work. Why not share a flat and a bed? Tiffy can't afford much, so it's the perfect solution for both of them. Following her best friend, Gerty's rule number 1 of flatsharing - don't sleep together, all is well for Tiffy and Leon. They write notes back and forth about mundane everyday things and eventually bigger things, until they feel like they really know one another. That is, until they actually meet and its instant attraction. Things just got more complicated...but in a good way, they hope.

I loved this book. I actually spaced out because I didn't want it to end because I loved their story. Beth has this fantastic way of writing fun, cute stories but mixing it in with really hard topics. Tiffy's ex is a gaslighting, stalker who ultimately becomes unhinged at the thought that Tiffy really is done with his manipulations, and Leon's grief and struggle over trying to help his brother out of prison is so commendable it makes your heart swell. It had a great friend dynamic as well from supporting cast and the mixup in writing styles between Tiffy's extroverted life and Leon's "less is more" way with words kept the book entertaining. Plus all the post it notes. There's just something about the written word. 10/10. So happy that I learned about Beth this year through this reading journey. 

Make Up Break Up: Lily Menon, 2021

Make Up, Break Up by Lily Menon is her first book and personally for me a 4/5. I read it in two and a half days and found myself laughing out loud a lot. The Goodreads reviews of it were pretty harsh in my opinion, seeing as how I have several DNF books piling up now. 

What makes for a better story than rivaling app developers? Annika and Hudson are both young, both from LA, and both in the world of online dating apps. They just happen to be on opposite ends of the spectrum of said apps. Where Annika wants to bring the world together with Make Up, Hudson is set to break the world up with Break Up. After a short, week-long fling in Las Vegas the prior summer, where Annika told Hudson all about her ideas for Make Up, they meet again in the same office building this time. Only now, Hudson's app Break Up is soaring the charts and reaching record success, and Annika's? Well, it still hasn't launched yet. She can't get past his shallow app, and he'll do almost anything to make her see she was wrong for ghosting him in Vegas. 

I honestly liked the book, but realize the major plot holes of said storyline. My biggest two issues (because I can't outright love every book I ready) is that one, her app is an actual fantasy. Way too complex to ever be something viable. Two, the middle gets so drawn out that the ending is crammed into the last five pages that feels very The Hating Game and Shipped ending. Sometimes, we could do with a bit less middle story and a little more fleshed out ending. That said, I still recommend reading the book if enemies to lovers is your thing. Although, again, for me it's not true enemies to lovers because Hudson (and in this case Annika) clearly still has feelings for her through the whole book while she spends half of it trying to hate him. 

Beach Read: Emily Henry, 2020

I think we all know that People We Meet On Vacation wasn't it for me, and seeing as how that was my introduction to Emily Henry, I was pretty skeptical about Beach Read. But I shouldn't have been! Beach Read was everything I could have hoped for in it, and I find myself still thinking about it.

January is heading to Michigan for the first time in her life, to a home she's never seen, that belonged to her father...and his mistress. Reeling from his sudden death and the revelation that he had cheated on her mother while she was undergoing chemo treatments no less, has shocked romance writer January to her core. So it shouldn't be shocking that her new next door neighbor would be none other than Gus, the boy from college she almost hooked up with once, and always thought looked down on her. Because, well, he's a writer too, but not the fun romance kind. Both dealing with writer's block and deadlines, they decide to swap writing genres for the summer. Whoever sells their book first wins. There's just one rule: January isn't allowed to fall in love with Gus. 

This. Book. Josie Silver got the front cover blurb and wrote that it was "a breath of fresh air...steamy, smart, and perceptive" and she couldn't have been more accurate. I couldn't put this book down. Every page sucked me in more and by the end I was clutching my chest while metaphorically melting into a puddle because Gus makes the big grand gesture. I'm actually really happy that I read this one after PWMOV because I had no preconceived notions for it and ended up loving it. 

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