My Girlish Whims Book Club #11

You will notice a theme with 3/4 of the books I'm sharing on this round-up...they are all pretty much summery & beachy reads because I closed out this summer with a week-long vacation to Chincoteague Island in August and that is what I felt like reading while on vacay!

Chincoteague is somewhat of a touristy beachy town in the summer, but it is also much more of a "sleepy" beach town than most beach resorts. I did a whole lot of relaxing while on our trip and not much else. Lounging in hammocks reading, drinking wine on our deck overlooking the bay...

...reading in boats while ON the bay, reading on the beach, more wine drinking, family was the perfect vacation and the perfect time to relax and get some reading done!

Here is the round-up of my three summery reads and the most recent pick for my in-person book club as well.  Just because summer is almost ending doesn't mean you still can't read some of these as well ;) and you can catch my last round-up here!

This post contains affiliate links

The Blue Bistro

By Elin Hilderbrand. Synopsis from Amazon:

Elin Hilderbrand, author of the enchanting Summer People and The Beach Club, invites you to experience the perfect getaway with her sparkling new novel.

Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket's hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business...and they share an instant attraction. But there is a mystery about their situation: what is it about Fiona, the Blue Bistro's chef, that captures Thatcher's attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether to open her heart for the first time, or move on, as she always does.

Infused with intimate Nantucket detail and filled with the warmth of passion and the breeze of doubt, The Blue Bistro is perfect summer reading.

After reading multiple Elin Hilderbrand novels, I have to say I think this is my favorite one so far! The book actually started just a little slow for me, and I wasn’t immediately infatuated with Adrienne as the protagonist.  She comes across as slightly immature and flighty at the start of the book, but I think that actually helped the storyline as we got to watch her “grow up” a little in this book and made the story a little more endearing.  Many of Elin’s novels feature a love story and this book is no different, but I actually liked that the love story was not the complete sole focus of the book.  It was a part of it, but there was so much other drama to follow in the story besides just the relationship between Adrienne and Thatcher.  Truly my favorite thing about this novel was getting an insight into how a busy and fancy restaurant operates.  The restaurant truly became a character itself that you grew to love and appreciate and wonder why and how they would ever want to close it down! I read this book while on vacation in Chincoteague Virginia and this book was finally the last push I needed to book my own trip to Nantucket! This book is actually based off of the real life restaurant “Galley Beach” in Nantucket and after reading countless Nantucket books, I finally had to book my own trip! I’m visiting at the end of September and you better believe I made dinner reservations at Galley Beach for the first night of our arrival! I can’t wait to eat in the same restaurant where this book was set.  If a book is good enough to make me actually book an entire vacation to the island and make dinner reservations somewhere wayyyy more expensive than I would normally eat…you know it’s gotta be good! This is a must read for sure!

Crazy Rich Asians

By Kevin Kwan. Synopsis from Amazon: 

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

My official book club meet-up for this book isn’t until next week, but I wanted to include this review in my round-up with these other books awhile. I have to say: this was the last choice of books that I wanted to read for my club’s September meeting, but I needed a third option to list in the poll for my club to vote on and since this movie just came out I figured I would add this one on. I was surprised at how much I actually LOVED this book! I was so glad my book club forced me into reading it. First and foremost: the book was funny. I giggled out loud during a few different scenes. There was a good mix of characters: some that provided humor just from their personalities and some that provided humor with how they dealt with certain situations in the book in such an over-the-top manor. These Asians definitely were crazy crazy rich, but the main characters that the book focused on were very down to earth and friendly and you really grew attached to them and rooted for them throughout the storyline. Humor, drama, and a love story all wrapped into one: this book gets a 10/10 from me and I’m excited to watch the movie and be able to compare if it is just as good!

A Summer Affair

By Elin Hilderbrand. Synopsis from Amazon:

Claire has a problem with setting limits. All her life she has taken on every responsibility, assumed every burden, granted every request. Claire wants it all--and in the eyes of her friends, she has it: a devoted husband, four beautiful children, even a successful career as an artist. So when she agrees to chair the committee for Nantucket's social event of the year, she knows she can handle it. Claire can handle anything.

But when planning the gala propels her into the orbit of billionaire Lock Dixon, unexpected sparks begin to fly. Lock insists on working closely with Claire--often over a bottle of wine--and before long she can't ignore the subtle touches and lingering looks. To her surprise, she can't ignore how they make her feel, either. Claire finds the gala, her life, and herself spinning out of control.

A Summer Affair captures the love, loss, and limbo of an illicit romance and unchecked passion as it takes us on a brave and breathless journey into the heart of one modern woman.

I’ve read quite a few books about affairs (I mean it is quite a common theme in chick-lit) and while it always makes for an interesting story…I always feel like you are swayed one way or another about the affair as to whether you agree with the characters committing the affair or not. I had such a hard time deciding on how I felt about this affair though because Claire was such a sweet protagonist – not the type of person that you would expect to commit adultery.  She has such a loving family and home life, and while you read about the ways her husband’s attention really was lacking towards her, and how Lock’s attention filled that gap for her, it was still a bit of a moral quandary deciding which way I was swayed in this book.  This was another good read by Elin Hilderbrand that was based on the planning of an immense gala on the island.  While I felt like the middle of the book dragged on just a bit, when the finale finally hit I did not want to put it down! There were lots of different characters involved in the book for some fun humor and extra drama and overall this is another great summer read to add to your list.    

The Island House

By Nancy Thayer. Synopsis from Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer evokes the shimmering seascape of Nantucket in a delightful novel that resonates with the heartache and hope of growing up, growing wise, and the bittersweet choices we must be brave enough to make.

Courtney Hendricks will never forget the magical summers she spent on Nantucket with her college roommate, Robin Vickerey, and Robin’s charismatic, turbulent, larger-than-life family, in their gorgeous island house. Now a college English professor in Kansas City, Courtney is determined to experience one more summer in this sun-swept paradise. Her reason for going is personal: Courtney needs to know whether Robin’s brother James shares the feelings she’s secretly had for him.

Time with the Vickerey family always involves love and laughter, and this season is no different. Vivacious matriarch Susanna Vickerey is celebrating her sixtieth birthday, but beneath the merriment, trouble is brewing. The family patriarch, Dr. Alastair Vickerey, is quiet and detached, while unspoken tension looms over oldest son Henry, a respected young surgeon. Warm and witty Robin, the most grounded of the siblings, is keeping a secret from her parents. Iris, the colorful baby of the brood, remains rudderless and in need of guidance. And the sexy, stunningly handsome, untouchable James—to Courtney’s dismay—may be in love with a beautiful and vibrant local artist. As the summer unfolds, a crisis escalates, surprising truths are revealed, and Courtney will at last find out where her heart and her future lie.

Weaving the trials and uncertainty of real life into a tapestry of passion, hope, and courage, The Island House is a beautifully told story about the ties that bind us—and how the blessings of love and family heal us in ways we never dream possible.

This was my first read from Nancy Thayer and I was excited to try another book that centered around the town of Nantucket (since I will be visiting soon!!) Maybe I’ve been jaded by how much I have loved every single novel by Elin Hilderbrand so much, but this book sort of fell flat for me. It wasn’t terrible, but I just didn’t get as invested in the story-line and the multiple different dramas each character was facing as I do in some books. The book focused on one family and their friends that would come to Nantucket each summer to visit with the family. There were a few different relationship dramas in the book and I just though the drama was…over the top? Not 100% realistic? I just wanted to smack a few of the characters and tell them to grow up and move on from the “issues” preventing them from being together. Some things in the storyline just seemed kind of cliché and I definitely was looking forward to the book being over so I could start something else! I would say I would be worried to try another book from Thayer since this was my first of hers and I really didn’t enjoy it…but I decided to give her one more try and am currently reading one of her newest novels (that also takes place on Nantucket, cause obvi haha) and I’m actually enjoying it much better so far! I’ll share my thoughts on that book in my next round-up, but I would say for now if you want to give any book a try from Nancy Thayer, this would NOT be the one I would recommend.

As always, let me know if you have read any of the same books and your thoughts on each! Crazy Rich Asians and The Blue Bistro were definitely my favorites of these 4. I leave for Nantucket in just over a week so I will be back to share some photos of my experience on the Island and dinner at Galley Beach in my next set of reviews!

No comments