A SUMMER TO REMEMBER by Erika Montgomery

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ½


A SUMMER TO REMEMBER blends elements of family drama, mystery, and romance into a bittersweet story. Frankie is grieving the loss of her mother while trying to keep their Hollywood memorabilia store afloat. She comes across a couple of sealed letters, and a photograph of her mother with a pair of married movie stars taken a year before Frankie’s birth. Always curious about who her father was, Frankie heads across the country to Cape Cod where the photo was taken in hopes of finding clues to his identity.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the sense of place and the Hollywood nostalgia, and I was very curious about the family secrets surrounding Frankie’s father. The romance was lovely — two lost souls coming together. However, the pacing was slow, and I found the big reveal rather frustrating. It was unnecessary to keep this particular thing a secret for 30 years. If you can get past that hurdle, A SUMMER TO REMEMBER makes a great beach read that will leave you craving margaritas and fried clams, and wanting to dust off those old VHS movies.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

THE DEAD ROMANTICS by Ashley Poston

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem — after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead…but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

What a sweet (and bittersweet) story! I’m usually a hard sell when it comes to rom-coms, but this one I could not resist, with a ghostwriter haunted by her handsome editor’s ghost, and a quirky small town funeral parlor setting. I wasn’t sure how a phantom love interest would work, but it did.

THE DEAD ROMANTICS is a funny, unique, sad at times, and emotional romance/family drama. I loved how the book handled grief and forgiveness as the main character dealt with the death of her father. The pacing was a bit slow in the middle, but the ending was twisty and wonderful. Recommended to fans of rom-coms that will pull at your heartstrings.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

EVERY SUMMER AFTER by Carley Fortune

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek — the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books — medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her — Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic story of love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

★★★¾

This is a sweet & summery story about friendship, love, mistakes, and forgiveness. It’s told in alternating time periods — during Percy and Sam’s teenage years when they met and fell in love, and then 12 years after the end of high school, when a huge mistake drove them apart.

I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop over the course of six summers, with endearing childhood moments and angsty teen drama. I do feel like the resolution was rushed in the end, and I wish there had been more focus on them as adults working through their conflict.

The setting was amazing. A cottage by the water and lazy summer days made me nostalgic for my childhood family holidays. Lovely! Would recommend to fans of second chance romances.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

WOULD I LIE TO YOU? by Aliya Ali-Afzal

In this “total page-turner,” wife and mother Faiza is about to find what happens when you have your dream life and are about to lose it… but only if you’re caught (Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium).

At the school gates, Faiza fits in. It took a few years, but now the snobbish white mothers who mistook her for the nanny treat her as one of their own. She’s learned to crack their subtle codes, speak their language of fashion and vacations and haircuts. You’d never guess, seeing her at the trendy kids’ parties and the leisurely coffee mornings, that her childhood was spent being bullied and being embarrassed of her poor Pakistani immigrant parents.
When her husband Tom loses his job in finance, he stays calm. Something will come along, and in the meantime, they can live off their savings. But Faiza starts to unravel. Creating the perfect life and raising the perfect family comes at a cost – and the money Tom put aside has gone. Faiza will have to tell him she spent it all.

Unless she doesn’t…

It only takes a second to lie to Tom. Now Faiza has mere weeks to find $100,000. If anyone can do it, Faiza can. She’s had to fight for what she has, and she’ll fight to keep it. But as the clock ticks down and Faiza desperately tries to put things right, she has to ask herself: how much more should she sacrifice to live someone else’s idea of the dream life?

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: February 22, 2022
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

★★★★½

Would I lie to you? Umm, yes, she did. Faiza’s plight in this book was so nerve-racking!

After her husband Tom is laid off from his job in banking, Faiza finds herself in a terrible predicament. Their £75,000 savings account is empty, all of it secretly spent by Faiza to keep up with their affluent friends and neighbors. Instead of confessing her financial infidelity, she tries to find ways to cover up what she’s done, but the hole she’s in just gets deeper.

As a British Pakistani woman married to a white man, Faiza feels immense pressure to fit in with the white moms in their social circle. She wants to protect her children from the racism she faced as the child of poor immigrant parents as much as possible. Does that excuse her lying and secret spending? I was rooting for her as she attempted to make things right.

Though this book is billed as women’s contemporary fiction, it had the page-turning suspense of a thriller — fast-paced and great tension throughout. I could NOT put it down!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.