2020 Best of Summer Books Wrap-Up

What a year it’s been since the pandemic social isolation guidelines hit mid-March! Shopping, errand-running and entertaining ground to a halt, and reading time increased dramatically. As a result, I found my best-of-the-month book blog system a tad lob-sided.

Sometimes a book gets through the system that would not have shone as brightly amongst a different stack of books. And often, my favorite, most memorable books didn’t get the limelight they deserved.

So here’s my best of the summer wrap-up. These books are not only full of humor and happy endings, they just cry out for a beach side, margarita-drenched setting: true “summer” reading!

Waiting For Tom Hanks book cover
Best romcom within a romcom.

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey is pure pleasure, if you’re a rom com movie lover like me! Not only are the characters vivid, hilarious and well developed, but Annie, who is literally living a rom com script, sprinkles every thought and conversation with my personal rom com favorites: Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman, The Wedding Singer, Bridget Jones Diary, just to name a few…

When Annie, who’s secretly writing a screen play which will form the basis of Winfrey’s next book, Not Like In The Movies, lands a job on a movie set filming in her home town, she gets her own meet cute, prompting her to face the unrealistic expectations she has set for her ultimate “Tom Hanks” relationship. Annie brings us along on her journey to self discovery while keeping the laughter rolling and the pages turning. This book goes on my “try to write like this” book shelf! Best part was discussing the book all week with the “Chicklit Book Club” gang on InstaGram.

Beach Read book cover
Rom com and proper literature tied up with a bow.

I have spent a fair amount of time contemplating the difference between the “rom com” and “literature” genres. Well, in Emily Henry’s Beach Read, a romance author and a “literature” author make a bet that he can’t write a romance and she can’t write what he writes. It’s phenomenal! It was impossible to focus on anything else while I was reading this book. Also, I want to change my name to January now.

The Tourist Attraction book cover
Amorous moose, giant cinnamon buns, growling grizzly cocktails…

There is just so much to love about Sarah Morgenthaler’s The Tourist Attraction. As a fan of well written romantic comedies, I was coming off of a rom com disappointment and starting to focus on more serious books in early June when this one hit my radar. It surfaced in a chick lit book club discussion on Instagram and people were loving it. Still gun shy after reading some not-too-great rom coms, I read the first few pages of this book on amazon. I was so hooked! I begged my way into @thechicklitbookclub buddy read discussion, which included a webex chat session with the author.

Sarah Morgenthaler has honed her voice as a writer to create snappy, delightful dialogue, and crisply written scenes full of comical action that will keep you turning pages. The love story is adorable. If you’re looking for a rom com that’s actually funny. And well written. And full of all those feels you associate with a good romance. And adds in one of the best bestie relationships ever… This is your book. You won’t be disappointed. The author herself is smart, cheerful, a geologist self-proclaimed “rock nerd,” and gave us so much information about her own exploits in Alaska and stories-behind-the-stories, I am now a super fan!

The Hating Game book cover
This book is all the things!

Okay, I’m cheating with this one a bit, because I actually read Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game in January. And it did make my best of the month blog. Still, it’s proper place is definitely in a summer reading stack so I can’t leave it out of my Best of the Summer Wrap Up!

Here’s what I wrote on Instagram during that grim, snow-filled month: This book is all the things! Have you read The Hating Game? Tell me you’ve read this. Because if you haven’t, you are in for a treat, and I want to be the one to tell you. Read my review if you’re not convinced Josh and Lucy are the couple with 2020 staying power! (Click the link in my bio.) Sigh. I may never read another rom com again. And the writing?! Who can compete with the writing? I literally have no words… Except for the 5 things you’ll love about this book. https://maryanntippett.ca/five-reasons-to-love-the-hating-game/

Uncommon Grounds book cover
Best murder mystery of the year, and I should know!

Though I’m not a murder mystery reading regular, I plowed through a fair share of them this year as I researched how to write my own murder mystery. I was beginning to think they are either a less interesting version of life in a town called Mayberry or laden with too many wandering plot lines to hold my interest.

Sandra Balzo’s Uncommon Grounds broke the mould and put the mojo back in my murder mystery intrigue! The murder happens right away and the action never wanes. The main character is likeable. There’s a bit of a love story that keeps my rom com side happy. And although many murder mystery plots include a last minute save (where someone about to be murdered gets rescued as the powers-that-be clue in just in the nick of time to who the murderer is), this one had two last minute saves!

Hope it’s not too late for you to grab these best of the summer reads and hit the beach, but if it is, you might just grab them anyway. Somewhere mid-January, you might be craving a summery respite!

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