Tag Archives: Meant To Be

Summer Showcase: Cute Contemporaries

summer showcase cute contemporary books

This summer I wanted to share with you a collection of posts to feature a few books that I just absolutely have to recommend to you for fantastic summer reads a well as books I plan on reading this summer myself! Summertime is a fantastic time of year for so many different kinds of books. I don’t know how many people out there are mood readers or even “season readers” but I feel like summer is the great time for epic books, cute contemps, and emotional roller coasters — basically any book you can totally and completely get lost in. Enter: feature.

Missed the first edition of Summer Showcase? Check out which blockbuster books I’m recommending for this summer (and reading myself) here!
Summer Showcase: Blockbusters


One of my favorite types of books to read in the summer are the cute contemporaries. I just LOVE a cute, summery, light read in the summertime. They’re just perfect for kicking back and relaxing, reading on the beach, chilling on the porch, or just letting your mind relax with something cute and cozy!

There’s just something about contemporary books that scream summer and I just love all the light and fluffy and/or cute and/or swoony reads paired with warm weather and cold drinks!

Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer – Emery Lord

OPEN ROAD SUMMER is the perfect summer read. I mean HELLOOOO it has the word “summer” in the title! But seriously, folks. I read this one a few months ago and I am still swooning over it. I read it, fell in love, and then immediately ordered my hardcover copy because I NEEDED this book to stay on my shelves. I already want to do a re-read. That’s how much I loved it!
What you need to know about this book is that it’s about teenage country & pop superstar Lilah Montgomery and the story spans the course of the summer during her concert tour (hence the title) but the book isn’t actually Lilah’s story. Yes, that’s a very big part of it, but OPEN ROAD SUMMER is very much Reagan’s story. Reagan and Dee (short for Delilah — Dee to her friends, Lilah to her fans) have been best friends for years and after a very rough patch in her life, Reagan spends the summer with Dee on her multi-city concert tour. It’s a story about redemption, friendship, love, and finding oneself. OPEN ROAD SUMMER is one of my top recommendations for summer reads because this book really has it all!


Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Now is the perfect time to read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS if you haven’t already with companion novel ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER coming out in August! I read ANNA a couple years ago and instantly fell in love. I really related to Anna in so many ways and she also happens to fall in love with one of my favorite book crushes of all time, Etienne St. Clair. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS takes place at a boarding school in France and not knowing much about France (and not being a Francophile like so many of my friends), I was scared I’d get lost in French culture and references… but it was just the opposite. I ended up learning a lot and quickly fell into step with Anna who also knew absolutely zip about France before she was shipped off there.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is adorable, enjoyable, and one of my favorites. Read it or start a re-read this summer! Now is the time!


Meant To Be – Lauren Morrill

MEANT TO BE actually takes place over spring break, but I think it’s a wonderful light read for summer as well. I felt like it was very reminiscent of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS when I first read it which was all positive for me! I really connected with Julia who was a total book nerd and someone who always felt like things would fall into place, especially when it came to her love life. I loved Julia’s story of figuring out that sometimes you need to work at the best things in life to make them happen and that life can be a great balance of both Fate and choice. The romance is cute and so much fun to watch develop and MEANT TO BE also has some really funny lines and slapstick comedy which I don’t always enjoy but Lauren Morrill did it just perfectly!


The Summer I Became A Nerd – Leah Rae Miller

THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD is one of the most underrated cute contemporaries that I’ve read. It’s not a bigger title and it’s from a smaller publisher so I really feel like this one really slipped under people’s radars but I absolutely loved it! The book is an almost Cinderella story in reverse… Instead of a transformation from geek to chic, we get the story of Maddie, a closet geek who slowly starts to turn from popular cheerleader into the nerd she really is. I thought the book was so much fun and it has a great nerdy-hot love interest!


On the Fence — Kasie West

ON THE FENCE was just plain adorable. Kasie West is a contemporary mastermind and this book did not disappoint me whatsoever. I loved reading about tomboy Charlie (short for Charlotte) and her day-to-day life growing up in a house full of men. The book was just plain fun and I loved the best-friend-to-boyfriend romance (I always do) between Charlie and her neighbor Braden, who’s practically a part of the family. ON THE FENCE is light, adorable, and just plain fun!



MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I KNOW. How have I not read this yet?! I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and really enjoy it. I’m constantly working my way through ARCs and review copies that my backlist copies tend to get pushed to the side but I REALLY want to read MY LIFE NEXT DOOR sometime this summer! It’s been on my list for years and it just needs to happen!


A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is one of my review copy reads but I’m also really excited to get to it! I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about it and just how stinkin’ cute it is. I’m really excited to pick this one up for summer and just kick back and relax with an adorable book.

How about you? Do you love cute contemporaries for summer? Which ones are climbing to the top of your recommendations lists this year?

Pub Date [1] – Summer

Pub Date

Hi, all! Welcome to a brand-new feature called PUB DATE! A while back, I was toying with the idea of making a specific feature just to pair up beers with books. In fact, this was how Book and a Beverage was born but I knew if I wanted it to be a regular feature, I couldn’t just limit it to beers so I adapted Book and a Beverage for everyone of all ages and drink preferences… but even over a year later, I still had the desire to make a feature just to feature beers + books! After talking it out with some of my fellow beer lovers, I knew I couldn’t do it myself Estelle from Rather Be Reading, Andi from Andi’s ABCs, and Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages and I all teamed up to bring you PUB DATE!

Each week, one of us will be featuring a beer and a book of our choice, each with a different theme for that month! For our first theme, it’s only fitting that we start with SUMMER! Summer is a great time for beer (okay, any season is a great time for beer) so it should be pretty easy to come up with some fantastic pairings!


I got a little fancy this week. On our way home from work, Shane and I stopped at a liquor store that seemed like it had a lot of good craft beers. WHOA, was that an understatement! They had a LOT of beer selections which was really great! I’m always up for trying new beers and I got a little carried away with picking fancy beers this week and I ended up with Mischief from The Bruery (Placentia, CA). It’s a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and upon first opening the bottle, it smelled super hoppy but doesn’t really have an incredibly strong hop taste like IPAs do. It’s definitely present but I’d say the Belgian taste is a bit more prominent and I’m gonna go ahead and say the strong part for me was the alcohol content. HOO BOY, this beer comes in at 8.50% ABV. It doesn’t have too much of an alcoholic taste (the last fancy beer I tried TASTED like alcohol) and when I first tried it, I actually felt like it was a taste that I hadn’t tasted before! I really enjoyed this combination of flavors and it was a strong beer but very delicious!

The beer was called Mischief so naturally I had to choose a book with a mischievous character and who better to fill that role than Jason Lippencott from Lauren Morrill’s MEANT TO BE. When I read MEANT TO BE back in 2012, I immediately fell in love with it. I really enjoyed Julia’s character and how much I related to her nerdy side but I also really loved her interactions with Jason. Jason is ALL mischief. And I loved it. He’s the class clown and full of slap stick comedy so who better to choose for a mischievous theme?

Tying it all back into summer, I think BOTH of these are wonderful for summer time! The beer is light and crisp despite the higher alcohol content and ultimately refreshing. MEANT TO BE is a great summer read too! I love fun and light contemporary books for summer reads (even though technically MEANT TO BE takes place over spring break and not summer). I think this is a great pairing for a light and refreshing summer!

Review: MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill

Thanks for joining us for the launch of Pub Date! Don’t forget — each week, one of us will be pairing a book with a beer and next week, Estelle will be picking her pairing of book & brew for summer! Hope you enjoy this new feature! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

This Week’s Beers

Not a big beer drinker? Maybe Mischief was a bit ambitious to start with! Here’s a list of the other beers I’ve had this week and my current thoughts if you’re looking for a good summer beer! 

  • SKINNY DIP from New Belgium. American Blonde Ale // 4.20% ABV. Skinny Dip is a revival beer which has been incorporated into this year’s Folly Packs for New Belgium’s summer sampler cases. I really enjoy it! It’s light, crisp, and a really nice beer for summer. Great hops flavor but really not overpowering.
  • COORS LIGHT SUMMER BREW from Coors Brewing Company. Fruit Beer // 3.90% ABV. I know Andi hated Coor’s Light Summer Brew but I found it surprisingly not terribly offensive! I really enjoy fruit beers and although I much prefer Leinekugel’s for a shandy or a citrus beer, I though this one was just okay.
  • SNAPSHOT from New Belgium. American Pale Wheat Ale // 5.00% ABV. I generally love everything from New Belgium and Snapshot is a nice, easy drinker if you’re looking for a nice pale ale. It’s not too hoppy but it does have that nice pale ale taste. Nothing too overwhelming.
  • 80-ACRE HOPPY WHEAT BEER from Boulevard Brewing Co. American Pale Wheat Ale // 5.50% ABV. 80-Acre is surprisingly fantastic. We actually picked this one up because we saw a Boulevard truck on our way to work and wanted to try it. We found out in the liquor store that many Boulevard beers have really high ratings and after drinking 80-Acre, I can easily see why! The name says hoppy but it’s the perfect balance of hops and wheat flavors and they blend together really nicely! It’s such an easy drinker and I really, really enjoyed it.

** Beer styles and alcohol content from Beer Advocate **

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Meant To Be – Lauren Morrill


The Selective Collective reads MEANT TO BE by LAUREN MORRILL

This month for The Selective Collective, we were so incredibly lucky enough to receive copies of Lauren Morrill’s debut novel, MEANT TO BE from Delacourte Press for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have the incredible pleasure to post my review for MEANT TO BE!

Meant To Be – Lauren MorrillTitle: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: November 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 11, 2012
Related Posts: Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

    Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


I absolutely, positively adored this book. This was the perfect contemporary romance and just what I needed – a nice breath of fresh air after being slightly disappointed in my last couple of reads. Lauren Morrill’s writing was fresh, fun, and real. I always get a bit worried whenever I read books that are set in places that are so foreign to me – I’ve never been across the pond to London (or off the continent of North America for that matter) – so I was a tiny bit hesitant that I would be overwhelmed with all of the unknowns that London would hold for our story. Upon reading, I found that it wasn’t the case at all. Morrill did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was on my very own vacation with the characters. Everything was beautifully described and I didn’t feel lost in a foreign country at all. Julia was a fantastic main character for me to read about. I absolutely love any character that has an utterly nerdy side because, well, I can relate! I may not have been as intensely organized as Julia, but if there was ever a nickname for me at this very moment in time, “Book Licker” could definitely be it! What I loved the most about Julia is that she not only has a life changing experience just by being over in London, but she also transforms as a person. She learns a lot about herself by breaking the rules (many, many rules) and by figuring out how to deal with her assigned buddy and current nemesis Jason. Jason was also another interesting character for me. We start off by seeing exactly how Jason and Julia conflicted with each other. Julia saw him as nothing but immature and a bully. He teases her, initiates rumors, even goes as far as sticking gum in her hair and calling her “Book Licker”. As the story goes on, we see that there’s so much more to Jason than people’s first impressions, especially Julia’s. The relationship that begins to develop between Jason and Julia once they’re forced together is a roller coaster of emotions that makes us wonder how they’ll end up once the London trip is over. I also really love the “meant to be” story line. So many times I’ve felt the same way as Julia – there’s someone out there for each one of us, a “one and only”, and I really do believe that where you end up in the end is where you’re supposed to be. What I really loved about this book is the message that Fate can only take you so far and you have to take control of your own destiny. You have to be active in your own life and you can’t just sit back and expect the world to happen around you. What I really loved is that we see Julia idolizing her parents’ MTB relationship and she expects it to happen for her. In the end, we see her come around to reality a little bit and realize that although that does happen for some people, not everyone can have this incredible, coincidental, perfect love story. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect and that really turns out to be your MTB situation. Although the final message almost appeared to be that there is no such thing as “meant to be” for everyone, what I like to take from it is that “meant to be” can happen for everyone, but it’s just not always what you expect it to be and not always what you’re looking for. character_breakdown1

Julia: Oh, Julia! I totally could see myself being best friends with Julia. Or I could see myself as Julia. I loved watching her transformation throughout this book and seeing how she discovers different bits and pieces about herself as the book progresses. It really reminded me a lot of similar situations that I went through as a teenager, figuring out what rules to break and what ideas it’s time to grow out of.
Jason: I really enjoyed watching Jason and Julia go back and forth from enemies to friends to enemies to two dewey-eyed kids falling in love. The best part about Jason’s character is that we see him as a bully, a name-caller, and immature, but that’s just what everyone sees on the surface. His character is much more deep and involved than Julia or her classmates realize. I’m really not sure if we see Jason actually grow throughout the story or if we just discover layers of him that were always buried underneath. Either way, I loved seeing his transformation through Julia’s eyes and how through these revelations, their relationship changes entirely.


These quotes are from the Advanced Reader’s Copy — Page numbers and wording may vary from published copy.

p 25-26: “I have my own e-reader, but I hardly ever use it. I need to fold down pages and flag passages with sticky notes. I need to experience books, not just read them.” (I then proceeded to tweet Lauren Morrill about how much this described me to a tee. And I flagged the passage with a sticky note)

p 29: “‘The Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed or almost twenty years. So unless her parents are visiting 1992, they’re in the Czech Republic.'”

p 152: “In fact, he has been the exact opposite of helpful (help-empty?).”

p 191: (Jason) “‘Well, either you stand here in this rainstorm, or you take a chance with me.'” (My favorite line of the entire book)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MEANT TO BE


And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of MEANT TO BE so please go visit their take on the book as well!