My Top 5 Reads of the Summer

Um. Excuse me. Where did summer go? And why are there only three more months of 2021? I swear the year end slide starts around July fifth, Even worse, the leaves are already changing and dropping here. It’s still in the nineties. Like, how am I supposed to take cute fall pictures when it feels like summer?

Well, as a tribute to Summer 2021, I am giving you my top five favorite books that I read. As always, I will link where you can buy the books. If you use my links, I may earn a small commission, so thank you. That helps me buy more books to read and review.

Number 5 – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

From the Amazon description –

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Two starcrossed magicians engage in a deadly game of cunning in the spellbinding New York Times bestseller that captured the world’s imagination.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

About Erin Morgenstern

ERIN MORGENSTERN is the author of The Night Circus, a number-one national best seller that has been sold around the world and translated into thirty-seven languages. She has a degree in theater from Smith College and lives in Massachusetts.

twitter & instagram: @erinmorgenstern


To learn more about the author and their other books, click here

Why I loved it – This book was so beautifully written. The language, the imagery, the emotions. My God. I would go to this circus. No animals being abused. No clowns. Sign me up. Let’s go. Can I run away with this circus? And yes, I totally made the chocolate popcorn. And it was everything I wanted it to be. I did find it a little difficult to keep track of the different points of view and the timelines. But I also listened to the audiobook at work. So, that may have contributed to some difficulty but it certainly did not take away from the joy of this book. I strongly recommend it for anyone who likes dark fantasy and magic. Five out of five broomsticks.

Number 4 – Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery Book 1) by Mia P. Manasala

From the Amazon description –

One of BuzzFeed’s Highly Anticipated Mystery Novels of 2021!

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

About Mia P. Manansala

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a writer and book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture.

A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).

Her debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, comes out May 4, 2021 with Berkley/Penguin Random House and is the first in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter

To learn more about the author and their other books, click here

To buy the full series for Kindle e-book, click here

Why I loved it – Have I mentioned that I love food? I mean, I think I’ve posted a few recipes before. And I’m about to go balls to the wall with my crockpot during Crocktober. That all being said, I love food. And this book made me want to try all the food. Aside from the food, family and love and diversity and my goodness. This was a story that absolutely could have been real. The descriptions and personalities were one hundred percent solid. These were real places and three dimensional people. Absolutely in love with this book and I can’t wait to read the next. I would recommend it to anyone who loves, mysteries, food, and books that make you feel like you belong there. Five out of five broomsticks.

Number 3 – The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

From the Amazon description –


A Good Morning America Buzz Pick

“The horror master…puts his unique spin on slasher movie tropes.”-USA Today

A can’t-miss summer read, selected by The New York Times, Oprah DailyTime, USA TodayThe Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, LitHub, BookRiot, Bustle, Popsugar and the New York Public Library

In horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives…but what happens after?

Like his bestselling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films—movies like The Texas Chainsaw MassacreA Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

About Grady Hendrix

New York Times bestselling author Grady Hendrix makes up lies and sells them to people. His novels include HORRORSTÖR about a haunted IKEA, MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM, which is basically “Beaches” meets “The Exorcist”, WE SOLD OUR SOULS, a heavy metal horror epic, THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES, and THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP, coming on July 13, 2021. He’s also the author of PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, an award-winning history of the horror paperback boom of the Seventies and Eighties. He wrote the screenplay for, MOHAWK, a horror flick about the War of 1812, and SATANIC PANIC about a pizza delivery woman fighting rich Satanists. You can discover more ridiculous facts about him at

To learn more about the author and their other books, click here

Why I loved it – There isn’t much Grady writes that I don’t like. He has a mastery of horror, humor, and Gen X nostalgia. Growing up in the eighties and nineties, slasher films were the thing. This book evokes the same feeling as watching Freddy, Jason, or Michael on the screen. I don’t know how he did it, but there are popcorn scares. In a book. Like, did you sell your soul for that talent? I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who knows Gen X is the superior generation (although our kids are doing pretty OK) and if you like movies about crazed camp counselors, creepy burned up janitors, and a guy with a serious Halloween obsession. Five out of five broomsticks.

Number 2 – The Good House: A Novel by Tananarive Due

From the Amazon description –

The Good House is the critically acclaimed story of supernatural suspense, as a woman searches for the inherited power that can save her hometown from evil forces.

The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that the townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors, and the Toussaint’s family history—and future—is dramatically transformed.

Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey’s death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela’s grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have “powers,” put a curse on the entire community?

A thrilling exploration of secrets, lies, and divine inspiration, The Good House will haunt readers long after its chilling conclusion.

To learn more about the author and their other books, click here

Why I loved it – I love a good haunted house book. And this set the bar ten feet high. This isn’t just haunted houses and ghosts. This is voodoo, generational family curses spanning decades, demons (real and mental and emotional) There is so much emotion packed in here. Grief and loss, passion and love, rage, fear. My Gods I was all over the place with this book. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves haunted houses and ghosts. Five out of five broomsticks.

Number 1 – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

From the Amazon description –


“If youre looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read.” —Bustle

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & the Six—an entrancing and “wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet” (PopSugar) as she reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

About Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as well as One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her newest novel, Malibu Rising, is out now. She lives in Los Angeles.

You can follow her on Instagram @tjenkinsreid.

To learn more about the author and their other books, click here

Why I loved it – I had a three day book hangover because of this book. Do not listen to the audiobook at work; you will not be able to answer the phone. The last few chapters just keep hitting you in the gut. This was an emotional knockout. I was already on the ropes halfway through but then I just kept getting hit over and over. The book is beautiful. The language, the struggle, the successes, the failures. I really felt Evelyn could have been an actual actress in the Golden age of Hollywood. And even though the book is about her, Harry is my favorite character. We all need a Harry in our lives. That cat is the definition of ride or die. I only put this book down when the real world demanded my attention. (Damn bills need to be paid and kids need dinner. Like can’t you see Mommy’s having an emotional breakdown over fictional people again?) I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who likes romance, and twisty endings, and strong women. Or if you just need to feel something because you’re numb from the dumpster fire that has been the last two years. Five out of five broomsticks

Well, there you have it. My favorite books from this summer. If you find a book to add to your fall to be read list, let me know. If you’ve read any of these, tell me what you think. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks, so all aboard.


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