Cover Image: Summer Romance

Summer Romance

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Member Reviews

i loved same time next summer by monaghan so much and was looking forward to her third book. while i did quite enjoy it, it didn't have the same grab as the last book. there was too much focus on who ethan thought ali was back when they were young and that kind of made it feel like she could never live up to who she was back then. i also thought it was straight down the middle regarding the ex-husband drama. there either needed to be less or way more happening between ali and pete. the slight comment a daughter made about pete making fun of ali behind her back-that would have made such a great scene with ali getting her rage out.

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Ali Morris, soon-to-be divorced and grieving her mother's loss, meets Ethan at the dog park, sparking an instant attraction that leads to a summer romance. As they navigate newfound love, Annabel Monaghan's skillful storytelling and realistic character development shine through. Ali's journey of self-discovery, relatable struggles, and heartwarming moments are expertly woven into a captivating plot that keeps readers engaged from start to finish. Monaghan's ability to craft lifelike characters and engaging storylines makes this book a delightful and heartening read. With a perfect blend of humor, emotion, and swoon-worthy romance, "Summer Romance" is a compelling and uplifting addition to the romance genre.

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Ali’s life is a professional organizer and mom of 3, whose life is a mess. Her mom passed away 2 years ago, her husband left her last year and her home is a disaster. On the day she decides to take off her wedding ring and put on hard pants, she meets what may be the perfect guy. Now she needs to decide if she’s ready to jump feet first into a summer romance.

This was a cute read. I usually love all of Annabel Monaghan’s books but this took me a bit to get through it. I felt like it dragged a little for me. I didn’t feel connected to the characters as I usually do. There were a lot of cute parts but it was just a cute beach read for me.

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Annabel Monaghan is becoming a must-read author for me. Her books are always a blend of sweet romance and heavy, real-life issues. This book is no different. I love that Monaghan also writes about women in their 30s (often their mid/late-30s), when so many other books are often about younger women. This book tackles some heavy topics -- divorce, grief -- but still manages to be a perfect summer beach read. I knew I would love this so I saved it to read until the weather started to warm up and I'm so glad I did -- this should absolutely be on your vacation reading list this summer.

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When I pick up an Annabel Monaghan book, I know I’m in for a good time. But what I didn’t expect when I picked up her latest was to find myself completely immersed in not only a love story, but a self-help book in the best way possible.

Ali finds herself single again, the mother of three, grieving the loss of her mother and swimming in the detritus of everyday life. So, when she finds the gumption to put on “hard pants” at her best friend’s urging and take the family dog for a walk in the dog park, she’s prepared herself for the sympathetic glances and the well-wishers. What she didn’t bargain for was the dreamy man with the big shoulders who her dog decided to relieve himself on. And when she can’t stop thinking about this man, things get good. Really, really good.

This book will for sure be one of my top picks of the year. I adore the way in which Monaghan writes, folding you into the story and not letting you go until the very last pages. I absolutely loved all the characters, the way in which she brings everyone to life and the fun, delightfulness of it all. I felt like I was along for the ride in the best way possible.

What I wasn’t prepared for were the moments in which Ali was able to reflect upon her life, the loss of her mother and the downfall of her marriage. I have dealt with my fair share of loss over the past two years – fortunately, not of my mother – so I appreciated the way in which she would talk to her mom and the way she sought out guidance in small ways. I find myself doing that, too. What got to me most was the way in which Ali reflected upon herself and the ways in which she began to disappear in her marriage. Her self-reflection and ways in which she practiced self-care really spoke to me. At times I can feel myself slipping away, and Monaghan’s delicate way of exploring this helped me to reflect and name some of the feelings I had been grappling with.

This should be in everyone’s beach bag for the summer. You won’t regret it.

Thank you to Annabel Monaghan, Putnam and NetGalley for an advance e-copy of the book for an honest review.

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This was SUCH a cute book!!!

In the midst of a divorce, Ali, a personal organizer finds herself in quite a mess (ironically enough). Enter: Ethan/Scooter, her best friend’s brother who she hasn’t seen in years and doesn’t instantly recognize. All throughout this book I had the lyrics “and I’m just getting color back into my face” circling my mind because that’s what Ethan did for Ali. He brought color into her world and helped her realize her self worth. I adored the deeper themes of belonging, being taken seriously, and loss/ grief and thought the author handled them so well! Additionally, so many hilarious moments where I literally laughed out loud.

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Annabel Monaghan has done it again! She writes amazing love stories but she’s also one of the best at writing romances for women in their mid-to-late 30s. I sometimes get tired of reading romances where all the characters are in their 20s because I’m not. And Monaghan has written this beautiful love story where a woman falls in love with herself, too. And she meets a man who supports her and loves her without wanting to change her. And she has kids! But still manages to find love even though it’s hard and sometimes messy.
I was delighted with these characters. All of them. I loved Ali’s kids, too. I remember being a pre-teen girl. It’s tough and I liked seeing Greer and Ali grow together.
The small town setting was great. I want to live in Beechwood!
And Ali’s relationship with her deceased mother was handled so well. We are allowed to have complicated feelings about loved ones even after they are dead. We can love and miss them and still acknowledge they made mistakes.

From start to finish this was such a winner for me. I have loved every single one of Monaghan’s books that I have read and cannot wait to see what’s next.

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Summer Romance is more about a woman moving on from the loss of her mother and her marriage than her new relationship with Ethan. I think readers who prefer more fiction than traditional romance will enjoy this book. I will say that I enjoyed the progress Ali made throughout the summer to process her grief and heal from her past. I also enjoyed how supportive Ethan was and that he allowed her to move at her own pace. However, I didn’t feel as connected to the characters because of the writing style and I didn’t enjoy the solution to the third-act breakup.

3.5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Just when I thought nothing could top Same Time Next Summer - Annabel Monaghan does it again! Ethan and Ali from Summer Romance have my heart. I feel like I must start by saying this book has two of my favorite tropes - golden retriever MMC and best friend's brother?! Immediately yes. But Ethan is the ideal book bf, he is unwavering in his affections for Ali and the whole thing just melts my heart. Ali is going through a divorce while mourning the loss of her mother. Her story is so inspiring and I loved watching her change and grow for the better. The perfect summer vibes, the character evolutions, the sweetest love story. I could read this one over and over!

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Oh this book! I couldn’t put it down! It swung beautifully between giddy sweetness and profound grief.

I was hooked immediately by Ali. As the story opens, we learn right away that her mom died two years ago and her husband left her one year ago. The writing is stunning, putting me right there in the middle of all the feelings. Ethan is a total cinnamon roll hero. The more I learned about him as the book went on, the more I loved him.

Ali’s meet cute (meet ugly 🤣) with Ethan is so good. All their early interactions gave me honest to goodness butterflies - full on true love swoon. I was grinning like a fool at my kindle screen. The deeper emotional moments of the book had the tears flowing… but never for too long… it was perfectly balanced with well timed levity.

This book screamed summer - it made me so ready for long dinners outside and time by the water. It made me desperate to go back to Long Island. I honestly didn’t want it to end!! I’m definitely going to come back to this story. And in the meantime, I will be thinking about them.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for the chance to review an advance copy.

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I adore a good summer romance but this one really set the bar high! There was so much to truly love about this book. From the summer setting, to the characters and their backstories. I just loved it all so much!

Ali was such a relatable MC. I felt such a connection with her. It was so completely satisfying seeing her character growth while she took back ownership over her life and what she wanted. As for Ethan/Scooter-what a wonderful character and love interest he was. Both Ali and Ethan brought a level of maturity into this love story that I have come to really appreciate in my romance reads. I loved how they compromised and communicated to achieve their happily ever after. I loved Ali’s dynamic with her children-especially as a mom of 4 myself. I loved how she navigated a painful divorce with grace, especially while dealing with the loss of her mom and a frustrating ex-spouse,

All of the side characters were well done and a true delight to read about as well. The way Monaghan embedded so many layers into this story made for such a satisfying read. There were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me emotional, yet when combined, still gave me a dreamy summer romance and escape.

I can’t recommend this book enough for those looking for a romance or summer beach read with depth. I promise you will be left smiling from ear to ear after you’ve finished.

Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for my #gifted ARC

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Benefits of a summer romance: It’s always fun, always brief, and no one gets their heart broken.

Loved loved loved this book! Ali was the perfect MC and I couldn't have loved her and Ethan/Scooter more. I think I'm at the point in my life where I prefer more mature MCs and this book definitely hit its mark. They were so lovable and relatable, I couldn't get enough.

I loved seeing the growth in Ali - it's so easy to see how a woman can totally lose herself in a relationship (I feel like everyone has done this at least a little? just me?) or in motherhood, but experiencing Ali coming back to who she is at her core was a pleasure. I loved the messaging that you can still stay true to yourself while caring for others, despite the tendency to prioritize others over yourself. I also loved Ali's relationship with her teenage daughter and how she was unconditionally there for her and didn't belittle her teenage problems, as often adults do.

This book had me laughing out loud but also had me tearing up at parts. But man did I want to punch Pete the entire time! I can't recommend this one enough!

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I loved this authors Nora Goes of Script, found it utterly charming, but I didn't love Same Time, Next Year.. but I have high hopes for this author as even if I didn't love the book, I find her writing and story telling amusing and characters a lot of fun. So I was excited to get this ARC from NetGalley.! This is a 3.5 which, make no mistake, is a good review for me. I loved the characters, the humor, I actually related to the main character a lot, being in the thick of raising kids, strained father relationship, etc. Not sure why, but I found it a bit wordy at times, like skimming the page here and there, but overall its a solid fun beach read and the characters are equally as Charming as I found in Nora..

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This is a perfect summer read, especially for moms who have children. We all know people who have had difficult marriages (none of them are easy, probably!). In this case, Ali and her husband are going through a divorce. After being separated a year or so, she runs into a charming guy at the dog park and decides she likes the idea of a summer romance. Several fun surprises make it a delightful read - and since it takes place in the summer, it feels so right for the season.

I especially loved that there is a Scooter nickname. My husband is called Skooter by his family (he was called that as a child and his father has the same name he does, so it seems to be how people kept their names separate).

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Ali Morris has been motherless for two years, separated from her husband for one, and lost for a lot longer than any of that. She’s now a soon-to-be divorced mother of three kids and it’s time for a summer romance. One where it’s all fun for the summer, no one gets hurt, and no one falls in love. Easier said than done, right?

Ali and Ethan have such a hilariously awkward yet adorable meet cute at the dog park. Everything about Annabel Monaghan’s stories and characters always feels so relatable. And not because I can relate to their experiences at all. More so because they come off as extremely human and real. Not perfect in any way. Ali is awkwardly quirky in a slightly anxiety-riddled way and I constantly found myself chuckling at her inner voice and saying “Yep, I often have that thought.”

And then there’s Ethan (aka Scooter). What a complete and utter gem of a man. He’s built such a full and special life for himself after never feeling like enough. He’s reliable and thoughtful and romantic and great with kids.

This book is so so much more than just a romance. It’s about divorce and dating again. It’s about finding yourself after being hidden by a man for so long. It’s about the way our children view us. It’s about grieving the loss of a parent and coming to terms with how they parented.

Read this book for
-discussions on grief
-single parent
-best friend’s brother
-closed door
-small town
-dogs named Ferris and Brenda
-all the tears

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for my personal feedback.

Ali is in her late 30's, newly separated, and parenting 3 children with virtually no help from her estranged partner. Add on the fact that she is still dealing with grief of her mother's death, and we're left with a woman who is burnt-out and going numb. When Ali runs into Ethan at the local dog park, she was totally unaware that her new prince charming was actually her best friend's little brother. The couple's relationship progresses, and as their romance grows, so does Ali's strength and determination to get her life back in order and to stand up for herself and her family.

I loved Ethan as a character as soon as Ferris peed on his leg at the park. Ethan is quite the cinnamon roll book boyfriend, and I'm not mad about it. He is kind, compassionate, caring, and not at all overbearing like Ali's ex-husband. He didn't change Ali's life, but he really was a catalyst in Ali finding her footing again. I enjoyed the book overall, especially since the characters were closer to my age! I'd absolutely recommend this to other people.

My only complaint...shouldery shoulders. If you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about. I'm still laughing at this description.

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The Best Friend Technique and SUMMER ROMANCE by Annabel Monaghan

Cover of the book Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan used to describe the therapy skill the Best Friend Technique
Ali’s mom died two years ago. On the first anniversary of her mom’s death, Ali’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Ali, a professional organizer everywhere but her own home, grew depressed. She spent her days caring for her kids in a house that looked like a tornado hit it. It’s been a long time since Ali wore real pants.

Ali’s parents divorced when she was young, and her mom primarily raised her. Their relationship was incredibly close. Ali felt that her mom saw her for exactly who she authentically was in all the most positive ways: Mom / Best Friend. When life with kids was stressful Ali moved closer to her mom, who became part of Ali’s parenting team. Since her mom died, Ali sometimes felt like she was talking to her mom, as if her mom was coaching her.

Ali was (basically, with a twist) using a simple yet effective therapy skill, the Best Friend Technique.

Every day, we all have a running monologue going through our heads. “I don’t have time to put on real pants anymore,” “I’m too much of a hot mess for love,” and “People will judge me if they see the massive paper piles around my house.” These thoughts can be situation-dependent and mood-dependent, or they can be triggered by low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression. When our situation or mood is negative, our thoughts can become mean, angry, or dismissive towards ourselves.

The Best Friend Technique uses cognitive restructuring to re-introduce positive, confident, and loving thoughts. It’s a way for you to be as kind to yourself as your best friend would be to you or you would be to your best friend. Here’s how to alter your thoughts to change your feelings using the Best Friend Technique:

Spot: Recognize when your thoughts towards or about yourself are negative.

Engage: Decide that you will talk back to the negative thought.

Consider: Think about what your best friend would tell you, or think, “What would I tell my best friend if they were in my shoes.”

Embody: Tell yourself those messages in a best friend tone.

Re-examine: Recognize the new feelings following the positive messages.

Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Love Annabel Monaghan? Me too. Here are skills from a few of her other books:
Overgeneralization and Same Time Next Summer
Boundaries and Nora Goes Off Script

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Summer Romance.

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A Monoghan’s books give me the warm and fuzzies like no author truly can. Thank you to Annabel Monoghan, Penguin Random House, and NetGalley for the e-arc of Summer Romance.

Slight spoilers ahead.

When the story begins, we learn that it’s been two years since the death of Ali Morris’s mom and one year since her husband had asked for a divorce. She’s only worn sweatpants and has been going through the motions. That is until her dog goes rogue and pees on a cute stranger at the dog park.

That cute stranger asks Ali on a date, and when she says yes she has no idea that this stranger, Ethan, is actually her best friend’s younger brother “Scooter.” What begins as a harmless summer fling turns very serious very fast. Ali can’t risk getting burned again, for her own future and her kids. So she’ll spend the whole summer talking to her (dead) mom and trying to figure out if this will last or only be a summer romance.

I love Annabel Monaghan’s style of romance and how she writes her FMCs. Even though they’re older and maturer than other romance books, they don’t always have their life together and that will always be relatable. I finished Summer Romance on Mother’s Day this year, which happened to be my first Mother’s Day as a mom, but my mom has also been gone for a few years so it was an interesting experience. I loved how Ali’s relationship with her mom was portrayed in this story — how they loved each other fiercely but also realized how her relationship with her mom negatively impacted her marriage.

Ethan was just so smitten with Ali the entire story, I would’ve DIED for his POV even if it was just a one chapter epilogue. I do think he sometimes held Ali on a pedestal but he also lifted her up when she couldn’t do it herself.

I just loved this book and want to read it again but for the first time, over and over again!

4/5 stars
Spice is faded to black

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I cannot express how much I loved this book! The characters, the town, the whole story- it was perfection! I loved Ali and Ethan’s story but this book had so much more than that. I was so invested in the whole Hogan family too, and Phyllis’ life. I’ll be telling everyone to read this book and thinking about it for a long time.

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What an amazing read!! I first discovered Annabel Monaghan when she wrote 'Nora goes off script' and i fell in love with her ease of writing. Annabel is able to create characters that you care about, root for and loathe. I always look forward to her books and was so over the moon to be selected to read this one first.

I loved Ali and Ethan. It was a wonderful twist of their past and i rooted for them every second. I laughed, I cried and i was thrilled with this book. What a perfect summer read where I felt like i could smell the salt air and taste the food at the diner. I cant wait to recommend this!

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