Book Talk Tuesday: THE BOARDWALK BOOKSHOP

School’s ending, the temps are climbing, and readers are talking about their beach books. So Susan Mallery must have a new book ready for the tote bag, right?

She absolutely does! Two, if you count The Summer Getaway that released earlier this year.

The Boardwalk Bookshop is one of three stores sharing space on a southern California beach boardwalk. Bree owns the book store, Mikki has a gift shop, and Ashley owns the bakery in between. The women began as business partners but ended up friends, meeting on the beach after work every Friday for champagne and sharing.

Bree is widowed from a man who didn’t love her and who betrayed her. She’s resolved to never love again and will do anything to protect her heart. When Ashley’s brother moves to town, she warns both Harding and Bree that he’s headed for a broken heart if they get involved. Mikki is divorced and, after a few years, finally ready to start dating again and move on. If only her ex and his parents would get on board with her plans. Ashley is in love with the perfect man. And Seth loves her, too. The only problem is he doesn’t want to get married. Live together, happily ever after? Sure. Buy a home and have kids? Absolutely. But the paper and being legal. Not so much.

Each woman sees her friends’ issues clearly, but struggles with her own.

I’m a huge Susan Mallery fan and I’ve loved nearly everything she’s written. This book though, is not a favorite. I found Bree brittle and unlikeable. She deliberately set out to hurt Harding, a man who was nothing but kind and patient with her. She’s smart enough to realize that she was angry with a dead man and hurting only herself by holding onto the anger. But she didn’t get it and preferred to stew in her bitterness.

Mikki seemed a bit dim about her ex-husband’s intentions and even dimmer about what her friendship with him would mean to her new relationship. Ashley stewed for. EVER about what to do about Seth, but when she did make her decision, I was really proud of her for how she handled herself and him.

There’s also open door sex and a lot of talk about sex, masturbation, and vibrators, to the point where I said, “All right, I get it, you like orgasms. Sheesh.” If you’re okay with that, THE BOARDWALK BOOKSHOP is an excellent beach read for your summer vacation. But if you prefer something with a little more depth, I recommend THE SUMMER GETAWAY.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not induce me to review the book, favorably or not.

A New Book! By Me!

Isn’t she beautiful? This is my upcoming release, written with New York Times bestselling author, Rachel Hauck.

ONE FINE DAY releases May 24th, 2022.

A second chance for a first love…

Chloe Beason LaRue left Hearts Bend after high school, determined to never look back. She shed her unrequited crush on Sam Hardy, moved to Paris, went to pastry school, found a good job, fell in love, and got married. She was happy in France. Then her husband tragically died. Now, Chloe just wants to move forward…but when her mom’s health is in jeopardy, Chloe heads right back to Hearts Bend where she’s hired as head baker for Haven’s, the premier bakery in town. She has no idea that moving home will push her right into the arms of the man who broke her heart.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Sam Hardy has left Hearts Bend and not looked back. He has too many broken memories. But when he’s sidelined by an injury, he desperately needs to invest in something to safeguard his future. Haven’s Bakery is up for sale—and his business partner believes the deal is too good to pass up. He has no idea that the owners have hired the one girl he can’t seem to forget…and the last thing he expects is to be her boss.

Back in Hearts Bend for the first time in ten years and thrown together at Haven’s Bakery, Chloe and Sam have a second chance at first love. Indeed, the more time Sam spends selling donuts, the more he sees a new future. But when Paris beckons Chloe back, where does her heart belong? Can they find the recipe for leaving regrets behind and start something new?

Escape to Hearts Bend for a sweet story of romance, faith, and an unexpected happy ending.

Pre-order links: https://books2read.com/heartsbendonefineday

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Gifted to Serve

I gritted my teeth and prayed for patience to get through that Wednesday evening. I also prayed for several other Spirit fruits to invade me.

In an unprepared moment, I’d been asked to serve with the 3rd and 4th grade girls in our church’s mid-week children’s program and I regretted my lack of a handy excuse.

I did survive. Not just that night but the entire school year of Wednesdays. I had no passion for that ministry. I disliked the noise, chaos, confusion, noise, seeming disorganization, and above all, the noise. Two hundred laughing, screeching, chattering children set my teeth on edge.

At the end of the program year, I said goodbye with a great sigh of relief.

Funny though. All summer I kept remembering the fun I’d managed to have, in spite of the noise. By fall, I was ready again. And to my great surprise, that second year I actually enjoyed myself.

I liked interacting with the girls. It was fun to watch the organized chaos of game time and I loved seeing God’s word change lives.

I spent seven years serving. The girls I had in my groups are now grown, many of them with their own children. No one is more amazed than I, what God is able to accomplish when I come to Him on His terms, not leaning on my own strength, but completely dependent on Him.

Gal 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest.

Book Talk Tuesday: WHAT YOU WISH FOR

I discovered Katherine Center about a year ago and have been eagerly reading her books ever since. They are filled with emotion and love and laughter and tears. WHAT YOU WISH FOR has all of the above in abundance.

It also features a minor character from one of Center’s other books in a more prominent role this time. I read that book after this one and I think I recommend that order, if you have a choice. The other book is HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS. There’s also a short story, a “bridge” included in WHAT YOU WISH FOR that connects the two books.

In the author’s acknowledgements, she references another book, JOYFUL: THE SURPRISING POWER OF ORDINARY THINGS TO CREATE EXTRAORDINARY HAPPINESS. That was the second time that particular book had crossed my radar, so I bought it. Look for a review of that one in the near future.

In WHAT YOU WISH FOR, private school librarian Samantha Casey is dealing with a lot. When the school gets a new principal, she’s surprised to learn that she’s worked with him before. Duncan Carpenter was the most beloved, most inspiring, most fun teacher at Sam’s previous school. And the reason she left California for Galveston, Texas.

But Duncan is different from the fun and funny man Sam remembers. The man who rented a cotton candy machine and put it in the school cafeteria. He’s turned into a stiff, by-the-book, stern enforcer principal. As the changes he makes affect the school’s morale, Sam resolves to get Duncan to loosen up and become more of the exciting and happy guy she remembers.

I loved this book so much! As Sam and Duncan spend time together, they’re each impacted by the other and by their experiences, both shared and unique. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this is a special book. I highly recommend it!

Woe! It’s Wednesday … A personal note. Sort of.

I haven’t posted anything but book reviews here in forever. I know, I know. I get busy and other projects are marked Urgent, so blogging gets pushed down the list. I’m trying to be better.

I’m tidying up my office and one of my projects is taking a stack of old (some are really, really old) hardcopies of articles and devotionals I wrote in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and typing them into my computer.

This one only needed a bit of tweaking to make it current and I think it’s still valid.


Mentoring was a buzzword when I was homeschooling, in the last century. In business, education and social science circles, mentoring was extolled as the best way to produce intelligent and upright leaders of the next generation. The Bible speaks of mentoring also, although it’s called by another name.

Disciplining, discipling, or training are Biblical words that mean the same as mentoring.

The dictionary says a mentor is a wise and trusted teacher, guide and friend; an elderly monitor or adviser.

Isn’t that exactly what Paul tells us in Titus to do for our young women and daughters?

A mentor relationship is exactly what a mom has with her children. We’re teaching them that a mother is someone who places a great importance on raising children who will make a difference in this world for Christ. We teach them practical things also, such as running a household.

If my children had left home without knowing how to do their laundry and have it come out the same color it went in, I failed at my mentoring. If my children place greater importance on things than on people, I have failed. If my children don’t know how to prepare a meal or how to vacuum or how to shop, I have failed. If my children believe someone’s contribution to society can be measured in dollars and cents, I have failed.

Mentoring doesn’t need to be an organized program we sign up for to train and encourage young people. No matter if you’re a parent or not, you are a mentor to the young people in your life. You are a wise and trusted teacher, guide, and friend.