Monday Musings:

The last time I posted some quick book reviews, I included what was on my TBR and promised more reviews to come. So, to recap:

On top of my TBR:

WELCOME TO BEACH TOWN by Susan Wiggs (paperback)

**I won a copy of this upcoming June 2023 release through a Goodreads giveaway.**

From the Amazon description:

Every town has its secrets…

In idyllic Alara Cove, a California beach town known for its sunny charm and chill surfer vibe, it’s graduation day at the elite Thornton Academy. At Thornton, the students are the worldly and overindulged children who live in gated enclaves with spectacular views. But the class valedictorian is Nikki Graziola, a surfer’s daughter who is there on scholarship. To the shock of everyone in the audience, Nikki veers off script while giving her commencement address and reveals a secret that breaks open the whole community. As her truth explodes into the light, Alara Cove will face a reckoning.

I’ve read and loved Susan Wiggs’ other books so I’m looking forward to this one!


I’ll post a longer review when the book releases next month, but it lived up to my expectations. Nikki fled Alara Cove right after graduation, but came back several years later to start over. She’s learned a lot in her years away and is able to rebuild her family and life. I enjoyed it!

FLYING SOLO by Linda Holmes (ebook)

Once I finish THE GOLDEN HOUR, this is next in my Kindle queue.

From the Amazon description: Smarting from her recently canceled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be ninety-three. Alongside boxes of Polaroids and pottery, a mysterious wooden duck shows up at the bottom of a cedar chest. Laurie’s curiosity is piqued, especially after she finds a love letter to the never-married Dot that ends with the line “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”

OOPS. A few other titles on my Kindle nudged this one down and I haven’t read it yet.

I have read:

JONAS by Susan May Warren. The next installment in her Minnesota Marshall series, Jonas is about Jonas Marshall, a storm chaser working in Croatia and Sibba, the woman he meets on a mountain who’s searching for her missing grandfather. I loved it. Fast paced, lots of action and emotion, and now I’m ready for NED, coming in a few weeks.

THE BEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES by Rachel Hauck. Check in tomorrow for a regular Book Talk Tuesday review of Rachel Hauck’s upcoming release.

LOVE AT FIRST by Kate Clayborn. I absolutely loved the first Kate Clayborn book I read, LOVE LETTERING, so when LOVE AT FIRST crossed my Kindle on special, I picked it up. It’s charming, and I enjoyed it, but it’s also telling that when I saw the cover on my Kindle app, I couldn’t remember the plot until I opened the book and read a couple of lines.

Next up on my TBR: an audio book, Daisy Jones and the Six, so I can watch the Amazon Prime series. Then I’m catching up on the new releases from my publisher. An Amish romance and some romantic suspense featuring fire fighters! I expect some steam and action. 😉

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:

Woe! It’s Wednesday … Catching Up on What a Year!

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything other than a book review. But I recently looked back at some of my posts from when we were traveling with the drug education trailer and I really enjoyed reading about our adventures and the people we met and the food we ate and the sights we saw and the sites we visited.

At Chihuly in Seattle

The Chihuly Gallery remains a favorite. I’d love to return there someday.

Anyway, I thought I should give an update about what we’ve been up to since we’ve been sidelined.

David took care of some long planned house projects. We put in new flooring, painted our wood-burning stove and hearth, as well as the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. We also bought some new furniture pieces and painted some others. The house feels bigger and cleaner!

Almost, but not quite done!

I kept busy with my day job working in agriculture media and pesticide safety. And I received a long-awaited and very exciting offer to sign a publishing contract with Sunrise Publishing! I’m co-writing a romance novel with Rachel Hauck, a New York Times best-selling author. It will be set in her beloved fictional town of Hearts Bend, Tennessee. We’re hard at work on it now and having a blast. I love being a part of the Sunrise family. Everyone there is a joy to work with. The book will debut in February. I’ll be releasing the name and cover on social media in the next few months.

Signing my first publishing contract!

We were able to take some trips to Yosemite and one to Hawaii. It’s been a blessing to be able to keep in contact with friends and family via Zoom, FaceTime, and WhatsApp. We mostly attended church online, but are starting to go in person again. Social media is both a blessing and a curse and I have a love/hate relationship with it.

We’re not sure when we’ll be back on the road with the drug education trailer. But I’ll keep the blog updated when we know something.

Thank you for reading this far! Talk to you soon!

Book Talk Tuesday: The Wedding Dress

I’ve had The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck on my Kindle for several months. I finally got around to it this weekend when we did some driving and I wanted something to keep me occupied on the road. The current book I’m reading is pretty intense and I knew I wanted something lighter for the road. And I wanted to just take my Kindle, not a heavy book. So I chose The Wedding Dress.

I loved it.

This is my favorite of all the Rachel Hauck books I’ve read.

It begins in present day, Birmingham, Alabama.

On an impulse, Charlotte Malone purchased a locked antique trunk.

She is engaged to Tim Rose but they can’t seem to get around to the actual nuts and bolts mints of planning a wedding. She owns a bridal shop but, with two months till the big day, hasn’t picked a dress. Ditto with Tim and his tux.

Charlotte is secretly relieved when Tim asks to delay their wedding. She calls it off.

In the midst of her grieving, Charlotte finally gets the trunk open and finds the most exquisite wedding gown. It doesn’t seem to be vintage. But it’s not new either. It’s never been altered.

One hundred years ago in Birmingham, Emily Canton is about to become engaged to Phillip. No matter that she gave her heart to Daniel. He left her to play baseball and never bothered to write. Or did he write her after all? He’s back in town and insists he did and he’s back for good, with a real job and ready to talk to Emily’s father.

The book moves from Charlotte’s story to Emily’s and interweaves two other couples’. The wedding dress is the gold thread that stitches them all together, even though it has a history of its own, dating to the Jim Crow laws in the last century.

The story is skillfully written and keeps you turning the pages. Hauck does a great job building tension without going over the top.

Highly recommended!

Book Talk Tuesday: Once Upon a Prince

I’m finally on the Rachel Hauck bandwagon.

Other writers and readers and friends have been raving about her for years. I was more in the “The books are good, not great, camp.”

But the caliber of writers who recommended Hauck’s newest book, Once Upon a Prince convinced me to give her another try. Once Upon a Prince - Rachel Hauck - Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Finally, a book I can enthusiastically and whole-heartedly recommend.

It’s delightful.

Susanna’s longtime boyfriend breaks up with her when she’s expecting a proposal. This sends her into a tailspin and she disrupts the rest of her life when she quits her job. Then her landlord asks her to move out.

The one bright spot is when she meets a nice guy, Nate Kenneth, who’s visiting her Georgia island.

What she doesn’t know is that Nate is actually Crown Prince Nathaniel from Brighton, a small European monarchy. He has familial and national responsibilities that he can’t ignore. And he’s legally forbidden to marry a foreigner.

Both Susanna and Nate have to learn some lessons and solve some problems to get to their “happily ever after.”

The story is charming and fun. Susanna and Nate struggle with real issues. There’s little of the glib dialogue that I objected to in previous Hauck novels. This one’s a winner!