Monday, June 3, 2024

Isn't It Romantic?

Seven Summer Weekends
 by Jane L. Rosen
Published by Berkley on June 4, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

A woman inherits a beach house, along with a series of weekend guests, while butting heads with the irritable (and irritatingly handsome) man next door, in this sparkling new escape from Jane L. Rosen.

When a Zoom disaster upends Addison Irwin’s decade-long career at a posh Manhattan advertising agency, things look bleak for the thirty-something mid-western transplant. But an unexpected inheritance from an aunt she barely remembers—a property on Fire Island, complete with guest house and artist’s studio—changes everything.

While debating whether to stay or sell, Addison learns that she’s also inherited her aunt’s list of eclectic guests, tying her to the island for seven summer weekends. Eager to convince Addison to keep the house rather than let a new buyer build a monstrosity in its place, the neighbors welcome her to their laid-back community. Well, all except the moody guy next door, who seems intent on glowering his way through life.

Steadfast in her path since college, Addison is determined not to let this detour on Fire Island throw her off track. But soon, between the revolving door of weekend visitors and the up-and-down relationship with her neighbor (and his adorable dog), she finds herself in unfamiliar territory. Should she try to pick up where she left off—or embrace entirely new possibilities?

After committing a HUGE Zoom faux pas, Addison finds herself without a job and without direction. Shortly thereafter, she receives news that she had inherited her estranged Aunt Gicky's home on Fire Island. Addison heads there to regroup, but she finds a lot more than just a house. Who knew a mistake would lead her to finding happiness.

I joined team Rosen right after finishing my first book by her. I found her characters delightful, her storytelling full of charm, wit, and warmth, and her books always left me happier than they found me. When I added this book to the TBR, it was based solely on my adoration of the author. You will never understand how excited I was when I started reading and realized that we were going back to the world of On Fire Island.

On Fire Island was bound to deliver some heartbreak regardless of the other elements present. It was about a husband and community grieving the loss of a woman who died way too young. There was warmth and humor and hope in that tale, but I still wondered about Ben, the husband. Apparently, Rosen knew I needed this book, and she gifted it to us readers. What a treat! It was so lovely to be back in Bay Beach, catching up with old friends while accompanying Addison on her summer of self discovery.

I have been blathering on about On Fire Island, but I believe this book can be read on its own. There is enough background woven into the story, so you will never feel lost. And as much as I loved the romantic elements and Ben's part in this story, I did feel that Addison was the star.

Addison had been plugging away at a job that would never love her back, and regardless of how it happened, she now had the time and space to find her happy. Being in Gicky's house allowed her to get to know the aunt she hardly remembered, but she also had weekend visitors who helped her learn even more. What a beautiful thing that her aunt was helping Addison from the great beyond. She had arranged so many things from her deathbed which all contributed to Addison finally finding her anchor and her path to happiness.

Overall, this was a beautiful story about new beginnings, love, family, friendship, and being true to yourself. It was told with humor and warmth with a stellar ending that had me brimming with joy.

Birding with Benefits
 by Sarah T. Dubb
Published by Gallery Books on June 4, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A divorcée embarks on her “year of yes” and crosses paths with a shy and sensitive birdwatcher who changes her life.

Newly divorced, almost-empty-nester Celeste is finally seeking adventure and putting herself first, clichés be damned. So when a friend asks her to “partner” with his buddy John for an event, Celeste throws herself into the role of his temporary girlfriend. But quiet cinnamon roll John isn’t looking for love, just birds—he needs a partner for Tucson’s biggest bird-watching contest if he’s ever going to launch his own guiding business. By the time they untangle their crossed signals, they’ve become teammates…and thanks to his meddling friends, a fake couple.

Celeste can’t tell a sparrow from a swallow, but John is a great teacher, and the hours they spend hiking in the Arizona wilderness feed Celeste’s hunger for new adventures while giving John a chance to practice his dream job. As the two spend more time together, they end up watching more than just the birds, and their chemistry becomes undeniable.

Following her divorce, Celeste embarked on a journey to recover all the parts of herself she lost in her marriage. She was determined to live out loud and alone, but a fake dating arrangement may complicate her plans.

I was hooked on this story from the very beginning. Here's Celeste thinking she was there to make John's ex jealous when what he actually needed was a partner for a birding competition. This turned into a wonderful twofer for them both, as John didn't have to face his ex alone AND Celeste was able to continue leaning into her search for new hobbies and experiences.

The friendship and romance that was born out of this situation delighted me. Here were two people with some relationship scars. People thought Celeste was "too much" while John was made to feel he was "too little", yet they seemed to see each other as just right. I loved that!

I also adored both these characters. First of all, a round of applause for a "mature" coupling. I constantly lament that all romance characters seem to be in their 20s and 30s. It's great to have a couple in a very different phase of their lives. Now, Celeste could be a bit frustrating at times, but only when it related to her quest to stay unattached. It was understandable given the damage done by her marriage, however, I couldn't help but want her and John to take that leap because they were so lovely together. And John was of the Order of the Cinnamon Roll Men. He was a quiet man with achievable dreams who was sweet and generous and excited about birds. A total gem.

Can we talk about the birding? I have never been in my life, yet I was captivated by that part of the story. Celeste and John had me excited and eager to learn more with each outing. I found the birding world quite intriguing as well. It was an original and nice touch for this stellar romance which was disseminated in just the right amount to enhance the story while allowing the romance to shine.

Overall, this fantastic debut was a hit for me. Great characters, a sweet romance, and a fun look into the world of birding had me feverishly flipping those pages with a smile on my face and lots of warmth in my heart.


Have you ever been bird watching?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Seven Summer Weekends sounds like maybe it is slightly less emotional than On Fire Island (maybe?). Seems like losing that job opened up new and unexpected opportunities.

    1. It was less intense because most of the healing had happened, but Fire Island had its fun and fabulous moments, too. It was joyful in a way.

  2. Birding with Benefit's sounds fun.

  3. Seven Summer Weekends sounds really good.

    1. I was wonderful and such a treat to get the follow up

  4. I have both books and so I'm thrilled you loved them! I have never been birding, but I do bird around my home. I have a birding book and binoculars and I note all the birds I see. I guess I'm a birder in training, lol! I'm looking forward to those bits in the story and it's part of the reason I grabbed it up.

    1. Fun! As a kid, I remember getting a book from the library, but I really didn't know what I was doing and had no adult who could guide me. You have to share some of you spottings.

  5. Once more you convinced me with your reviews Sam! I don't know how you do it but every time I want (and often do) to add all your books to my TBR! Currently I just downloaded The Fellowship of Puzzle Makers after seeing your review!

    1. That's a huge compliment. Fingers crossed you enjoy them as much as I did.