It’s hard to believe that summer is already almost upon us, but here we are nearly finished with the month of May already. One of the many wonderful things to look forward to about summer are the fantastic romance books that will be soon be hitting the shelves. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on three more books that I read recently and really enjoyed.
The Road Trip Goodreads
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Beth O’Leary’s new novel The Road Trip hilariously combines a second chance romance with what might actually be the worst road trip ever. The story follows Addie and Dylan, who broke up two years ago and haven’t spoken to each other since but find themselves traveling to attend the same wedding. Addie is traveling with her sister, Deb, and some random, socially awkward guy named Rodney who needed a ride to the wedding. As if that isn’t awkward enough for an 8 hour car ride, almost as soon as they start out on their trip, their car is rammed from behind in traffic by none other than Dylan and his best friend, Maurice. It’s an accident of course, but Dylan and Maurice’s car is totaled. Addie and Deb reluctantly agree to give Dylan and Maurice a ride and all five adults pile into Deb’s mini Cooper and off they go!
This was a fun and quick read for me. The road trip itself was a highly entertaining comedy of errors where truly everything that could possibly go wrong did, and I loved the way the author structures the story into Now and Then timelines. The Now timeline is where all of the hilarity takes place, while the Then chapters gradually reveals the backstory between Addie and Dylan, how they met and fell in love and of course what happened to drive them apart as well as the role Maurice plays in their breakup.
The road trip is messy, and Addie and Dylan’s history is equally messy, but I couldn’t help but root for them to somehow find their way back to each other through all of the awkwardness. I won’t say that I was quite as attached to Addie and Dylan as I was to the characters in O’Leary’s last two books, The Flatshare and The Switch, but I still liked them both and thought they belonged together. I also really enjoyed the secondary cast of characters, especially Addie’s sister, Deb. Maurice was the character I loved to hate, although he grew on me over time, while Rodney might have been the biggest surprise of them all. No spoilers but keep your eye on that guy!
If you enjoy road trip stories and second chance romances, you’re going to want to add Beth O’Leary’s The Road Trip to your list of must-reads. 4 STARS.
One Last Stop Goodreads
Author: Casey McQuiston
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston is one of my favorite reads of 2021 so far. The protagonist of the story is 23-year old August, who has moved to New York City because she has become cynical about everything to do with her life and feels like New York is the perfect place for her to embrace her cynicism and go through life alone. August’s new roommates, however, have other ideas. They help her find a job, show her everything that is wonderful about New York, and basically adopt her into their little found family and it’s the cutest thing ever. Think “Friends” but with a much more diverse cast, including a drag queen who lives across the hall and a lovable extended family at the 24-hour pancake diner where August ends up working.
August is also taking college courses and encounters a young woman named Jane on the subway one morning when she spills coffee all over herself and Jane comes to her rescue. August is attracted to Jane right away and it seems like Jane feels the same way. They meet on the train every morning and evening and grow closer with each encounter. August even starts thinking that maybe she doesn’t want to be alone after all and decides to ask Jane out. Every time August asks Jane to go out, Jane tells her she can’t come. August is confused by the mixed signals Jane is sending until she finally figures out that something very strange is going on. Jane has somehow been displaced in time from the 1970s and is trapped on the subway line. She can’t go out with August because she’s literally stuck on the train. August loves Jane and is determined to figure out how to set her free, even if it means sending her back to her own timeline and never seeing her again and she calls on her roommates to help.
I don’t want to give anything away about how this all plays out, but wow, I just fell so hard for this entire lovable, quirky cast of characters and I also loved how unique the overall premise of the story is. Sometimes magical realism doesn’t work for me, but I thought McQuiston used it perfectly here. It was like Quantum Leap with a side of romance set in the subway. One Last Stop is such a refreshing and original read and I just loved every page of it. 4.5 STARS
Playing the Palace Goodreads
Author: Paul Rudnick
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Books
I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much while reading a book, but Paul Rudnick’s new romantic comedy Playing the Palace delivers nonstop laughs and kept me entertained from cover to cover. The story follows Carter Ogden, who is an event planner and an adorable hot mess whose number one skill is self-sabotage. When Carter meets Edgar, the openly gay Prince of England, their attraction is immediate and the two men decide to get to know each other better. They try to keep it lowkey with little pancake dates at the local IHOP, but it doesn’t take long for the media to figure things out and to go looking for trouble. The more nervous Carter gets about the fact that he is dating a Prince, the more his self-sabotage skills kick into high gear, resulting in one embarrassing incident after another, much to his dismay as well as that of the Royal Family.
I was invested in Carter and Edgar’s relationship from that first meeting and really wanted Carter to get his act together, although his blunders did make for hilarious reading. I also loved his encounters with Edgar’s Nana (a.k.a. the Queen of England). She gives Carter a hard time but he gives it right back to her and they are actually quite hilarious together. Add in Carter’s loud and lovable Jewish family, in particular his sister Abby who is just the absolute best, and his Aunt Miriam, who practically becomes bffs with the Queen, and the story really is just one big barrel of fun.
If you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy that is truly laugh out loud funny, Playing the Palace is the book for you. 4 STARS