Thursday, August 3, 2023

Mini Reviews: More Beach Reads


August is here, but it's still beach read season. Keep those pumpkin spice lattes away from me! I'll be reading all things summery till Labor Day Weekend. How about you? 

Today I'm sharing two more beach reads - one that is a new release and another that is an "oldie but goodie" that I'm so glad I brought with me on vacation.

Kismet by Becky Chalsen
Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 18, 2023
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "A sun-soaked debut about love, sisterhood, and destiny, set in the glorious beach town of Kismet, Fire Island . . . Can Amy's marriage survive Jo's wedding? For as long as anyone can remember, it has been Amy, Jo, and Ben. Amy and Jo, the inseparable Sharp twins who couldn't be more different; and Ben, Amy's childhood sweetheart turned husband. But as this year's Fourth of July weekend approaches, something feels off. Jo's whirlwind engagement and wedding ceremony now eclipses the twins' long-awaited thirtieth birthday. Recent arguments between Amy and Ben have left their marriage feeling more like make-believe than ever-after. And as the family beach town transforms for Jo's wedding weekend, Amy's trusted trio will be tested by the most unexpected hurdle yet: the arrival of a handsome, mysterious newcomer in a best man suit. One with a strikingly familiar face. A face that Amy had planned to never see again. This holiday weekend, even the strongest SPF won't protect the Sharp twins from all the secrets about to take center stage."



Amy and Jo are twins and have always been thicker than thieves even when Amy started dating Ben in high school. Ben fit into their world completely and even became good friends with Jo. They have always been close until recently as they are adults now and sometimes things in life can get distracting. Amy and Ben are married now and are attending Jo and Dave's wedding on the 4th of July at their family's beach house on Fire Island. Tensions are high as the family gathers for this event, especially when they notice Dave's family really isn't warming up to Jo's. Plus, Amy and Ben, even if they seem perfect from the outside, are dealing with a lot in their marriage. When Dave's best man, Emmett, arrives this shocks Amy to her core. She has only dated two people: Ben and Emmett. She dated Emmett in college; what is he doing here? With her family....on Fire her twin's wedding. Cue the drama! The entrance of Emmett sends Amy into an existential crisis about what she wants out of life, especially when dealing with the recent issues in her marriage. What could possibly go wrong with a family wedding with this much drama on the 4th of July? Becky Chalsen's debut, Kismet, is at its heart a delightful beach read, but there are some problems with the storyline that weigh it down.

I loved the setting of Fire Island and the preparations for the wedding; they were two of the best parts of Kismet for me. However, Amy is a bit insufferable and self-absorbed. She goes through some trauma (TW: miscarriage, infidelity), but instead of working through her trauma, she uses it as a reason to behave irrationally and quite badly. This didn't really work for me. Since this was one of the driving forces of the novel, I had a hard time with it. When the story focused on family, forgiveness, and the gorgeous setting of Fire Island, I was sold. So, if you like emotional beach reads that tackle women's issues, this one is for you. 

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
Pub. Date: June 1, 2005
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: The Five-Star Weekend, Golden Girl,   
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Adrienne Dealy arrives from Aspen to the gorgeous island of Nantucket looking to start over and find a lucrative job. She has worked in hotels all her life, but once Thatcher Smith, owner of The Blue Bistro, offers her a job as assistant manager, she takes it. After a wardrobe makeover and a few tips from Thatcher, Adrienne is proving to be a valuable asset to The Blue Bistro; after all, it is their last season and they want to go out with a bang. Adrienne gets to know all the staff at the restaurant, their stories, and their background, but it takes time for her to get to know Fiona Kemp, the successful chef of the restaurant and Thatcher's longtime friend. Fiona gives no interviews and mostly hides in the kitchen. But why? She could be a cooking show star if she wanted to. Thatcher and Fiona eat dinner together every night and maintain a very close friendship; one Adrienne can't really wrap her head around. As the summer continues, sparks fly between Thatcher and Adrienne, but Fiona is someone that always seems to be in the way even though Thatcher says they aren't in a romantic relationship. Hilderbrand's mouthwatering descriptions of food, the romance, plus the beautiful setting of Nantucket make The Blue Bistro a beach read that shouldn't be missed.
Hilderbrand brings the world of seasonal restaurants to life, unlike any author I've read before. The descriptions of the food and what goes into the day-to-day of running a restaurant are truly captivating. I loved to be lost at The Blue Bistro, whether it was Adrienne's drama or the drama from one of the guests, I was hooked. The mystery surrounding Fiona was done well as it is a tough topic and even though it can be heavy at times, it didn't sink the overall story into sadness. I've heard about
The Blue Bistro for years and I am so glad I read it this summer. It's a gem of a beach read and I look forward to it coming to Hulu. *fingers crossed*
Have you read Kismet or The Blue Bistro? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. Haha, I've been ready for fall since before summer started! I've read a lot of Hilderbrand's backlist, but not this one - I like the sound of it, though!

    1. Haha. I know some people LOVE fall and I like aspects of it, but I am not ready for summer to be over. I think you'd like this Hilderbrand novel! Thanks for visiting, Angela.


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs