BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction

Book Review: “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman

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Happy Friday readers, writers, reviewers, publishers & so on!

In between trying to battle a week long losing battle with a butt-kicker of a migraine (that is still hanging on), I have been squeezing in a little reading when I get a bit of respite from the pain (via prescription pharmaceuticals). I have been a migraine sufferer for decades, & with 2 kids home 24/7, who treat being noisy like it’s their job, it’s getting more & more difficult to get rid of them in a timely fashion. I guess I’ll give it the weekend & then if it’s not better, then Monday I shall see the Doc.

Anyhow, let’s talk about “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman. (That title could seriously be the name of my biography, just saying…)

Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica & Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill”.

Jessica & Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers & Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–& two familiar enemies–Jessica & Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family & old friends along the way. Surprises & secrets threaten their relationship &, in the end, change it forever.

I am a mother to 4 boys & only 1 daughter, who it quite literally the spitting image of me in every way, shape & form. I am grateful for our friendship, conversations & candid talks now that she is a 22-yr old adult, but man, those teen years were TOUGH. I have thanked God on more than one occasion that my twins are boys, & not girls, because I honestly don’t know how I could deal with twin 14 girls & all the angst, hormones, & societal peer pressures that comes with our ever expanding technology & social media apps.

“I Was Told It Would Get Easier” (IWTIWGE from here on out) is Waxman’s 4th novel. I won “The Garden of Small Beginnings” back in 2017 & Waxman became an auto-buy author for me from then on. IWTIWGE is told from both Jessica & Emily’s POV’s & you will meet several interesting side characters along the way. I was definitely able to relate in many ways to the mother daughter relationship struggles & conflict, & even got a bit emotional a couple times as it brought back some memories both good & not-so-good.

This book is a witty, charming, touching, fantastically enjoyable read that is as insightful as it is delightful! If you are new to Abbi Waxman, you will not be disappointed & you should definitely check out her other 3 books as well.

Click HERE to add “I Was Told It Would Get Better” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “Other People’s Houses” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Garden of Small Beginnings” to your Goodreads list.

What others are saying about “I Was Told It Would Get Better“:

“Waxman shines at creating characters that feel like best friends, inspiring compassion, laughs, and cheers, and fans of Katherine Center and Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over (2019) will adore this.”Booklist, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Waxman expertly navigates the fraught shoals of college admissions in this spot-on tale…. Waxman’s alternating first-person narration from Jessica and Emily rings true, while a memorable supporting cast…provide excellent support…This sweet treat doesn’t require a college-bound child to enjoy, though anyone who has helped their offspring weather the admissions process will definitely appreciate this sharp send-up.”—Publisher’s Weekly, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Funny and insightful.”BookRiot, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“We’re forever fans of Abbi Waxman’s sweet, witty, feel-good novels. Her latest, about a mother and daughter making college visits along the East Coast, is her best yet.”HelloGiggles, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“An aptly and hilariously titled novel…Waxman again delivers with her signature wit and laugh-out-loud writing, offering us authentic characters who feel like people we’ve met and loved in our own lives — all while offering sly commentary on the roller coaster that is the college application process for parents and their college-hopefuls.”Shondaland

“This book’s strengths are the exploration of the mother-teen daughter dynamics and relationship and the author’s remarkable gift for realistic, witty dialog. VERDICT: Recommended for fans of mother-daughter fiction with both lighthearted and serious moments.”Library Journal, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Abbi Waxman’s warm, quippy novels explore familial dynamics with sarcastic wit and plenty of heart…. Being a teenager–or parenting one–is tricky territory, but Waxman steers her characters through it with compassion, snappy dialogue and the right dose of zany humor. Things may (or may not) get easier for the Burnstein women, but the ride, literal and otherwise, is highly enjoyable.”Shelf Awareness

BeachReads · Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Moonglow Sisters” by Lori Wilde

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of “The Moonglow Sisters” by Lori Wilde! (pub date 3/3).

It’s Jill Shalvis meets Susan Mallery in this gorgeous novel by NYT bestselling author Lori Wilde about three sisters, one small town, a wedding, & the summer that changes everything.

Welcome to Moonglow Cove, Texas, a place where your neighbors know your name & the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico lap lazily against the sands. It’s a magical spot, especially in the summertime…

Once the town was the home of the Clark sisters—brought up by their grandmother at the Moonglow Inn. Nicknamed “The Moonglow Sisters”, as children they were inseparable.  Then, a wedding-day betrayal tore them apart & they scattered across the globe & away from each other. But the sisters have at last come home…

There’s Maddie: smart, sensible, & stubborn. Shelley, who ran off to find her bliss. And Gia, a free-spirit determined to keep the peace. It’s her impending wedding that keeps them together…but Gia has a secret, & when her sisters find out all heck is going to break loose!

The Moonglow Sisters continues Lori Wilde’s trademark storytelling to create an unforgettable novel of family, betrayal, love, & second chances.

**I won this book back in very early March, then the pandemic hit & many publishers ceased mailing books out, so I didn’t receive this book until May…but it was worth the wait. This book has the perfect recipe for a summer read: atmosphere, family drama (particularly sisters), betrayal, romance, & second chances. If you are a fan of Elin Hilderbrand, Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis, or Robyn Carr, you will love this book!


I was able to completely engulf myself in this novel since I, too, live in a small, lakeside town where everyone knows everyone, & also everyone’s business (which is not always a good thing). I could totally picture people I knew in the roles of these women. “The Moonglow Sisters” is chock full of sisterly drama & petty bickering, but it is also breezy, uplifting, heartwarming (& breaking at times), lighthearted beach-read that would make a fantastic Hallmark movie. I hope this becomes a series, as I would love to read more about these sisters in the future.


Look for this one now wherever books are sold! You can also use BookStoreLink to search independent bookstores for this & any other book. Simply go to the website, type in the books title (or author) & then your city and/or state. And voila! Easy peasy! Shopping local is so much better than heading straight to the big “A” online (you know who I mean…).

Be sure to stop over to my Instagram page & show some love for my post there. It makes both the author & publisher very happy to see people showing appreciate & positive comments on their works of art.

Lori Wilde is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Publishers’ Weekly bestselling author of 88 works of romantic fiction. Her books have been translated into 26 languages, with more than four million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her breakout novel, The First Love Cookie Club, has been optioned for a TV movie.

Lori is a registered nurse with a BSN from Texas Christian University. She holds a certificate in forensics and is also a certified yoga instructor. A fifth-generation Texan, Lori lives with her husband, Bill, in the Cutting Horse Capital of the World; where they run Epiphany Orchards, a writing/creativity retreat for the care and enrichment of the artistic soul.

BeachReads · RomCom

Book review: “The Happy Camper” by Melody Carlson

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Thank you @revellbooks for my gifted copy of “The Happy Camper” by Melody Carlson! (pub 3/3)

Home is the place to heal, right? At least, that’s what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career & nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving & aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there & has taken over Dillon’s old room. After a few nights sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift–her grandfather’s run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.

But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon’s noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses… and a ring. Full of quirky characters, family drama, & sweet romance, “The Happy Camper” will have you scouring Craigslist for your own diamond-in-the-rough camper to restore & hunting your local hardware store for a handy guy to help your dreams come true.

I love the cover of this book so much, & I actually hate camping. Personally, I consider staying in a hotel a form of “glamping”. I just prefer all the amenities of home. I really loved reading about Dillon’s restoration of the vintage camper because it reminded me of a neighbor of mine (who has since passed away) that had one of these cute, little campers to travel with when she visited her kids. I think one of these vintage campers would make an amazing playhouse in our backyard.

The Happy Camper” is a very engaging, light, charmingly delightful beach read for everyone, & it’s completely PG. That’s one of the things I love about Baker Publishing & Revell Books. Enjoyable reading without all the raunchy sex or language. This is an uplifting & heartwarming novel that would make a fun screen adaptation. I would love to see a follow-up book where Dillon is a bit more matured. (That’s the mom in me coming out, I guess.)

I look forward to reading more from Carlson in the future, as she has written over 200 books! Look for “The Happy Camper” at your local bookstore & check out some of her other novels as well!

You can use BookStoreLink to find this book & any others. Simply type in the book title or an authors name, then type in a bookstore, city or state, & all the independent stores will be listed. Some have e-commerce sales & will ship & some have curbside pickup or home delivery right now.

The indie bookstores need our sales more than that “other online giant”. Click HERE for “The Happy Camper“.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week & are staying safe out there. And Happy Camping this summer to all you camper’s out there!

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women & children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita & the Gold Medallion) & some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons & makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband & yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Giveaway

Book Review: “A Week at the Shore” and GIVEAWAY(s) reminder!

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Thank you @stmartinspress for my beautiful, gifted copy of “A Week at the Shore“! (pub date 5/19)

In her new book, New York Times bestselling author, Barbara Delinsky explores how lives & relationships are forever changed when three sisters reunite at their family Rhode Island beach house.

One phone call is all it takes to lure real estate photographer Mallory Aldiss back to her family Rhode Island beach home. It’s been 20 yrs since she’s been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents’ marriage, drove her & her two sisters apart, & crushed her relationship with her first love. But going home is fraught with emotional baggage—memories, mysteries & secrets abound.

Mal’s 13-yr-old daughter, Joy, has never been to the place where Mal’s life was shaped & is desperate to go. Fatherless, she craves family & especially wants to spend time with the grandfather she barely knows.

In just seven watershed days on the Rhode Island coast three women will test the bonds of sisterhood, friendship & family, & discover the role that love & memory plays in defining their lives.

Click HERE to add to your Goodreads list

I am always drawn to books that take place in beachy, shoreline towns since I live in one myself. Gives me more of a sense of being there, even if my shoreline is Lake Erie & this books is the ocean. This book is not a light, fluffy beach read, as it is heavier on family dysfunction, fractured sibling relationships, drama, secrets, & confronting the past. It’s around 400 pgs & a bit of a slow-burn, but it’s also engaging, well-written & captivating.

Amazing writing, atmospherically breath-taking & emotionally gripping, this is a fantastic book that is full of heart & soul! Look for this book next week everywhere books are sold, & since many indie bookstores are starting to open back up, start there first. Use BookStoreLink to find “A Week at the Shore” & any other books at a local independent bookstore. They need our sales now more than ever to stay afloat & get back on their feet.

Click HERE to go to the Instagram post

Speaking of “beach reads”, be sure to enter my HUGE 3-winner giveaway on Instagram (Click HERE) AND the 3-book thriller giveaway (Click HERE)! And keep an eye out for ANOTHER one coming soon! I’m feeling very generous this week as I clean my office out & pull more & more books from my overwhelmed home library shelves. I am in full Marie Kondo mode!

Click HERE to go to the Instagram post

Here in Ohio many businesses are starting to reopen (even though Covid #’s continue to rise.) Personally I will continue to limit my socializing & where my family & I go for the rest of the summer (probably year). No summer day camp for my autistic sons either & they LOVED going. We do have an in-ground pool, so luckily we have that to keep them occupies & happy once Mother Nature gets her act together & realizes what month it is. High 70’s one day, low 40’s to high 30’s the next…that is life in Ohio for ya!

I am having such a hard time with wearing a mask everywhere I go. I will continue to & I definitely NEED to due a compromised immune system, but man…they get so freaking hot & I am claustrophobic so I tend to start getting into anxious, panic mode after about 15 minutes in one. I really feel bad for the healthcare workers & others out there that have to wear masks (& more!) for hours at a time. I truly can’t even imagine how awful that must be for them.

Me visiting my mom recently after not seeing her for 5 mos!

As always, stay safe out there. Stay home if you can. Reach out to others online or on the phone if you are getting out of sorts, stressed, exhausted, depressed, or just need a virtual hug. Think of others with all of your actions & reactions. Just stay safe… Now go wash your hands.