Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

ten-beach-reads

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday on my blog. I feel like it’s been a while but it’s only really been two weeks… Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is beach reads.

So… I don’t really go to the beach even though Sydney has some of the most beautiful beaches. But I’ve tried to choose ten books that are either set on the beach, set in summer or just a light and quick read that you could probably read in one sitting. And I’ve tried to choose books by a variety of authors so that I’m not putting down every single Huntley Fitzpatrick book, every Morgan Matson book and every Kasie West book (though you should read them all!).

1. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This amazing book is set in a coastal town and has a very summery feel. It’s also one of my favourite contemporaries and I’ll never stop recommend this book. It’s cute and summery but also packs a punch with its themes.

2. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Another book that is cute and summery but packs a punch, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid. As with all of Sarah Ockler’s other books, it goes beyond being a contemporary romance and delves into some serious issues. The message of this book really carries through and if you’re still not convinced, there are mermaids 😀

3. SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson

All of Morgan Matson’s books are perfect for summer and the beach, but Second Chance Summer is my favourite. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend bringing this one to the beach or reading it in public since it’ll probably make you ugly-cry at some point. But it’s set at the beach and the characters are so relatable!

4. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I love Jennifer E. Smith’s books and I wanted to feature one in this list of cute and summery contemporaries. This one is also set in a coastal town and features a cute relationship with a small town girl and her penfriend, who turns out to be a Hollywood actor.

5. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

When it comes to quick and easy summer contemporary reads, Kasie West doesn’t disappoint. This is probably my favourite of her books that I’ve read. It’s got a really cute romance that kept me hooked. I finished the book in one sitting.

6. Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

This is a really recent read. It’s not really set in the summer but it’s a very quick and easy contemporary read by an Aussie author, and it feels super summery. This book is more NA than it is YA so if you a new NA book to read that isn’t completely full of sex scenes, try this one!

7. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

I thought I’d throw in a road trip book since road trips always remind me of summer. This is probably my favourite road trip book, though I do really like The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith too. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is also super quick to read. I think I read this in just one or two sittings.

8. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Another Huntley Fitzpatrick book that I love love LOVE! I’ve loved every single book that she’s ever written and this one was definitely no exception. It’s also set in a coastal town and feels very beachy. I absolutely loved the story and the characters in the book. Cass, the male love interest is just a super nice guy. Huntley Fitzpatrick is just so good at writing genuine and GOOD guys.

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Okay, this book isn’t really summery or beachy. There’s actually a lot of snow in this one… But I felt like I had to include a Stephanie Perkins book when talking about light contemporaries. This is my favourite of Stephanie Perkins’ books. Though I suppose she has a new anthology of short stories out that are summer-themed?

10. The Flywheel by Erin Gough

This is another book that isn’t really set in the summer but has a light, summery feel to it. It’s a really great LGBTQ+ book that’s set in Sydney with some really relatable characters.

Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

the-summer-of-chasing-mermaids-9781481401272_hrPublisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: June 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1481401270
Pages: 368
Goodreads || Book Depository

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them. . .

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

This is my favourite Sarah Ockler novel that I have read so far. It’s a beautiful story about finding yourself and finding ways to express yourself even when you’re not allowed to.

This story is a retelling of the Little Mermaid. It was a very well thought out story, that is deep and moving, as well as fun and romantic. A great, fast-paced summer YA read, with a great coming of age message. This book really focuses on the different kinds of relationships we have with others. It explores family, friendship and love, and the positive and negative sides of these relationships.

I really liked the romance between Christian and Elyse. I thought it developed in such a real and believable way, and I just loved the two of them together. I really liked Christian as a character – he was just so easy to fall in love with. I did feel that he was portrayed a little bit inconsistently throughout the book. He’s described as a player who sees multiple girls at the same time and can’t even remember their names. At the same time, he’s portrayed as a sweet and sensitive boy. There were times when I felt like they were two different people. Other than that, I loved all of the characters in this book. They were all unique and funny, especially little Sebastian who spends each of his summers chasing mermaids and wanting to be a mermaid.

As in all of Sarah Ockler’s books, the writing is fantastic. Elyse’s voice was so clear and easy to read throughout the whole book. One criticism that I did have was that the lip reading was a little bit unrealistic (although it was necessary for the story to work). The fact that all the characters in the book were so good at lip reading whole sentences was a little bit mind blowing. But other than these little unrealistic aspects and inconsistencies, I thought the book was stellar. Definitely one to take with you to the beach!

Review: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler

scandal-9781481401241_hrPublisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: June 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1481401246
Pages: 416
Goodreads || Book Depository

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

My first impression of this contemporary novel was that it was a mix of Mean Girls and Gossip Girl (the book also has Veronica Mars references but I haven’t seen that show so I can’t comment)…and I didn’t think it would meet my expectations. But it turned out to be quite an enjoyable and easy read. I finished this in one sitting.

This book features such a fun cast of characters. Everybody has their own unique and fun personality. We’ve got Cole, the cute and sweet boyfriend (who is totally my new book boyfriend). We’ve got a hilarious group of students who protest against the use of social media and technology. We’ve got the spunky and outgoing older sister. And of course, we’ve got the slightly shy, zombie-killing female protagonist, who everybody can relate to. I think the characters were my favourite part of this book…in particular, Cole! I kind of wish we’d gotten to see more of him.

I also appreciated the writing in this book. While it wasn’t the most sophisticated piece of writing I’ve ever read, it was easy and quick to read and had a good message. I also liked the twist near the end and that it wasn’t a predictable story. I feel like most users of social networking sites would be able to relate to this story or take something away from it in some way. There were some parts that I thought were underdeveloped or illogical, but they were things that I could turn a blind eye to.

I think readers of Sarah Ockler would like this novel and the pace of it. But I would recommend her newest release, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, over #Scandal.