“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” – William Shakespeare
Summer is winding down. It went by so fast. In the blink of an eye, it was gone. Where did it go? So many things happened!
First, I had the good fortune to take my yearly girl's trip down to Thirty-A (the Florida Panhandle), which I excitedly look forward to every year. Nothing compares to a vacation with close friends. It's a writer's paradise, and it was very motivating to me. Both my current manuscript and my WIP (work in progress) have a special place there. I also took part in my first Instagram Live event while visiting, along with a writing colleague and friend. I was so outside my comfort zone, but I was thrilled to be included.
Later on, I enjoyed a wonderful family vacation to Sea Island, Georgia—the place where I feel at peace. My most creative inspirations have come from watching the waves break on the shoreline while seated near the Atlantic Ocean. What could be better than the sun, the beach, bowling, and bingo? This island is a gem.
After my holiday, I attended two destination weddings. They were wonderful and exquisite, yet I felt incredibly old being there because I distinctly recall going to the hospital to welcome both the bride and groom. Am I that old? Unfortunately, the answer is YES.
Then, my daughter introduced me to TikTok (check us out @Hopegibbs71). We had a blast making them. It’s harder than it looks, but under Ansley’s guidance, I think I’ve found my way. She’s a little marketing diva.
On our second family vacation in July, I had a wicked bicycle accident that my daughter promptly turned into a TikTok. She tried turning a lemon into lemonade. At that point, what I really needed was a lemon drop martini instead to dull the pain. Thankfully, no bones were broken. Just some skin and ego were taken off.
On top of all of that, I was busy trying to get my last two kids (out of five) ready for college. The empty nest has me in its cross-hairs. I cannot escape it. My garage has been full of Amazon boxes since June. Yesterday, I moved my daughter into her dorm room. I’m still in a state of denial that I’m leaving her in an unknown city with strangers. I will be moving my son on Friday!
But what’s taken up most of my summer has been my content edits for my debut novel, which will be published by Red Adept next year. I should be finished in a few weeks! Oh, and did I mention that I changed the name of my book? Yes, that gave the summer a new, little twist. It will now be known as WHERE THE GRASS GROWS BLUE. I'm so excited about it. More to come on that later.
So this season has been wonderful, painful and crazy. What did I do in my down time to relax? How did I calm myself? Reading, of course. Whenever the moment allowed, sitting next to the ocean, when I had writer’s block (that’s a real thing), exercising, avoiding the prospect of my empty nest, or recovering from my accident, I read.
We still have five weeks to go in the summer, and I have some fantastic recommendations for you (click on the arrows to read my thoughts on each book!). Look them up and enjoy!
EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES by Laura Dave
"You have to grow about eight hundred grapes to get just one bottle of wine. If that isn't an argument to finish the bottle, I don't know what is."
Wow! Such a perfect and intriguing opening for a book.
Georgia Ford is set to marry the love of her life at her parents' vineyard in Sonoma, California. But as she’s having her final dress fitting, she stumbles across something that shakes her to the core—Ben, her fiancé, has been keeping a big secret from her. One that changes everything.
Confused, heartbroken, and furious, she hightails it back home, to the vineyard she loves and the family she can always depend on. However, once she arrives, she finds their lives are in disarray too. Her parents aren’t living together, her twin brothers are at odds, and her father has sold the very place she loves. This sets up a delicious read. Did I mention, Georgia ends up in a bar wearing her wedding dress in the first ten pages?
EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES is a complex, multi-layered novel about family relationships.
Pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, curl up and enjoy this gem. I loved this one!
IN A NUTSHELL by Cindy Dorminy
"A broken heart is a tough nut to crack."
Jackie Myers, who works for a hospital corporation in Atlanta, is poised to receive a significant promotion. All she has to do is compete with a coworker for the VP position. Under the pretense of being reporters, they are dispatched to two hospitals in the area. They have one week to provide their findings on the justifications for maintaining or closing the hospitals they have been assigned to.
EMT Mitch Sorrow is living in Smithville, Georgia, trying to mend his broken heart after the woman he’s pined over for years suddenly moves away. He’s hurt, angry, and a little lost. Love is the last thing on his mind.
Naturally, Mitch is the first person Jackie encounters when she arrives in Smithville. It's not, however, a case of "love at first sight." They actually find each other intolerable. Making matters worse, if she succeeds in her career, he might not have one.
I adored this book and was thrilled to spend a little more time with these charming characters. It’s the third in a series (IN A JAM, IN A PICKLE); it can stand alone, but I highly recommend reading them all in order.
IN A NUTSHELL is the ideal book for you if you're seeking a fast-paced, small-town, fish-out-of-water, southern romance.
THERE'S A WORD FOR THAT by Sloan Tanen
Former child actress Janine now makes her home in New York City, far from the limelight of Hollywood. She stopped acting a long time ago, and her life has been going downhill ever since. She doesn't get along with her sister, Amanda, who is busy raising her twin teenage girls. She is devastated by the breakup of her marriage and the arrival of Gilbert, her husband's new partner. The sisters must band together, though, when their father, Marty, a 75-year-old former high-profile movie producer, needs a severe intervention due to a decades-long drug problem that has gotten out of hand.
London-based author Bunny Smalls has achieved enormous success, but she is battling a bad case of writer's block as well as a significant alcohol problem. Her troubled relationship with her one and only son makes matters worse.
Naturally, Marty and Bunny meet at the renowned Los Angeles recovery facility they have been sent to, and soon a series of circumstances cause the lives of their children to become intertwined. However, Marty and Bunny have already met before. Their kids are unaware that they were once married.
THERE’S A WORD FOR THAT is a multi-generational, family dysfunction saga at its finest. This is a fast-paced read with some bite that will keep you wanting more.
THE DIVORCE PARTY by Laura Dave
Told from two female characters' perspectives, this is a story about relationships. One that’s ending. One that’s beginning. Gwyn is planning a "divorce" party, celebrating the end of her three-decade union with Thomas, at their Montauk home. Maggie is Gwyn’s soon-to-be daughter-in-law, who is struggling with the revelation that she really doesn’t know her fiancé the way she thought she did.
THE DIVORCE PARTY is a fast read that keeps you guessing, especially Gwyn’s motives. This is the first book I’ve read by Laura Dave. It won’t be the last.
THE YOUNGER WIFE by Sally Hepworth
Stephen Aston, a successful heart surgeon, is getting married to Heather Wisher, his beautiful former interior decorator. Not only has Stephen insisted that his grown daughters, who are older than his new fiancé, serve as bridesmaids for the affair, but he’s also invited his former wife of thirty years to be a part of the ceremony as well. The woman he divorced only months ago in order to remarry. The mother of his children.
However, the day didn't go as planned. Minutes after the happy couple are pronounced man and wife, a shocking event takes place behind closed doors that changes everything.
THE YOUNGER WIFE is an incredible domestic thriller told from three different POVs: the two daughters, Tully and Rachel, and Heather, the new Mrs. Aston. Each character is complex and has dark secrets that they are desperate to keep hidden from the world…and one another.
FOOL ME ONCE by Ashley Winstead
Politics, competitive exes, set in Texas with a flawed main character named Stoner. What more could you ask for in a novel?
I was hooked from the first chapter, when "Stoner" sneaks out of a hotel room after a Disney-themed wedding IN Disney World, dressed as Belle. Perfection.
Buckle up for this one. It takes you on a wild ride.
Until next time…