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.

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!

Book Talk Tuesday: RIGHT HERE WAITING

Well, it’s a bittersweet day. I’m happy because I get to go back to Deep Haven, but sad because it’s the end of the Sunrise Publishing Season 1, Deep Haven Collection.

Book #6, RIGHT HERE WAITING, by Susan May Warren and Michelle Aleckson released today. I was so happy to see it appear on my e-reader this morning. I had read an advance copy, but I always like to see the final version too. Any day I get to spend in Deep Haven is a good day! The fact that in my little corner of Central California, it finally feels like Fall here, with a bit of rain, a bit of wind, and colors in the trees made it a perfect day for curling up with a book set in the freezing temperatures of Minnesota in November was a bonus.

CRAZY FOR YOU is different and the same as the other Deep Haven books.

It’s the same because it’s in Deep Haven (duh). It features believable characters on the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior. There’s a strong thread of romance and faith.

It’s different because our heroine, Jae Washington, is Korean-American. It was nice to get a glimpse of another culture in Deep Haven and how she was welcomed. We also learned about Korean food. I confess, I’m not a fan of kimchee, but I love Korean fried chicken.

I also love the movie, You’ve Got Mail, and RIGHT HERE WAITING gives a strong wink and a nod to Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox.

We met Nick Dahlquist in CRAZY FOR YOU, because he’s Peter’s cousin, that book’s hero. Now Nick gets his own book.

Nick is training his sled dog team for an upcoming race, hoping for sponsors. He needs new sponsors or he might lose not just his dogs, but his home and business.

Jae accepts a job with the new Deep Haven Crisis Response Team as the new helicopter pilot. She knows Nick from his vlog, the one that pulled her from a depression. But he has no idea that Jae is the person he’s been Direct Messaging with.

I loved this book for so many reasons. Nick and Jae felt like real characters and I never questioned their feelings for each other. I enjoyed the plot and the problems each of them faced and overcame.

Susan May Warren is a gifted writing teacher and I follow her principles. This book could be a text for her Story Equation teaching. It has all the elements she teaches. The Dark Moment Story, the Wound, the Lie, the Flaw, the (Wo)Man in the Mirror Moment, etc.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it!


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

Book Talk on a Thursday: JESUS FOLLOWERS

When your last name is Graham (or Lotz) and you’re related to the Reverend Billy Graham, people probably expect you to act and talk a certain way. You’re held to a different (and higher) standard than the rest of us mortals sinners.

In their new book, Anne Graham Lotz (Billy’s daughter) and Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright (Anne’s daughter and Billy’s granddaughter), share insights and stories about being Jesus followers, and raising children to also be Jesus followers. The subtitle is Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.

The book is arranged in various sections that include Our Witness, Our Worship, Our Walk, and Our Work. Each section opens with teaching from Anne, then there are several short stories from Rachel-Ruth illustrating the points.

Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright is honest and transparent about the difficulties she experienced, particularly in high school, growing up in a family well-known for their faith.

It’s apparent Anne and her late husband, Danny, were intentional in raising their children to be Jesus followers. They (according to the pages of this book) walked the walk they talked about.

The teaching in this book is solid, the stories are well written and overall this is an excellent addition to the library of any believer wanting to be intentional about investing in the next generation. The bottom line: Live a life of faith and don’t be shy about it.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it!

As I prepared to write this review, I did a little research on the Graham family, since the only members I knew anything about were Anne and her brother Franklin, President of Samaritan’s Purse. I’ll just say the Graham children did not grow up unscathed.


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

Book Talk Tuesday: THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING DRESS

It’s fall! That means Pumpkin Spice Lattes, a chill in the air, and Christmas books and movies! Yes, it’s time for Christmas. Decorations are appearing in stores, ads are showing telling us what to shop for, and I just read my first Christmas book.

THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING DRESS is the first in a new small town series by Susan Mallery. Mallery has given us series based in Fool’s Gold, Mischief Bay, Blackberry Island, and Happily, Inc. Now, we have Wishing Tree, Washington, a town focused on Christmas. All year long. Mallery recently released a novella, SAY YOU’LL STAY, that introduces the town and some of their traditions.

In THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING GUEST, we meet the Sommerville sisters. Dena lives in Wishing Tree. She’s a teacher and owns a local B&B. She’s given up on finding “the one,” and is having a baby via a donor and IVF. Reggie lives in Seattle, but has come back to Wishing Tree to help her parents plan their vow renewal ceremony. Last year, she was engaged and dumped in the same Thanksgiving weekend.

Micah is a grieving rock star who lost his song writing mojo when his pregnant wife was killed in a car accident last year. His friend invites him to Wishing Tree to heal and help out at his Christmas tree farm. Micah never expects the sweet and attractive owner of the bed and breakfast where he’s staying to be the inspiration to get him writing again.

Toby left Wishing Tree at eighteen, intent on leaving behind his pain, including ex-girlfriend Reggie. But circumstances brought him–and his young son–back to town. It’s too bad he and Reggie still have a spark, because his son comes first, and he won’t allow anything–or anyone–to disrupt that order.

I love Mallery’s new setting of Wishing Tree. It’s fun and quirky, just like Fool’s Gold and Happily, Inc. Her characters feel real and have real problems and real reasons why they can’t get together immediately.

There are a couple of adorable dogs, Belle and Burt, that add to the holiday fun.

I highly recommend this book!


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not. I just happen to love well-written, quirky, small town, holiday romances.