My Recent Reads

So far, I’ve read three books in 2021 and I can honestly say that I feel like I’ve hit nothing but home runs with them. If you are considering buying any of these titles, please support your local bookstore!

In order of reading:

#1 The Last Flight by Julie Clark

(Sidenote, Julie Clark and I share the same publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark)

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets—Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

#2 The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (audio edition)

(I listened to this one on my commute to and from work. I thought the reading, by Carey Mulligan, was wonderfully executed.)

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

#3 The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

(A fun, fast paced Jane Eyre retelling. I finished this one in a day! This is Rachel Hawkins first novel geared toward the adult reading market.)

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

Cover Reveal: THE SECRET NEXT DOOR

Today I’m excited to share the cover for my new book, The Secret Next Door, which will be releasing from Sourcebooks on November 9th, 2021.

Subscribers to my newsletter got to see this first. If you’re not already a subscriber, please consider joining! You’ll always get my latest news first and I have special monthly giveaways (like books or gift cards to your favorite book retailers) as a special thank you for subscribing.

Here’s the sign-up form. I look forward to seeing you as a member of that community!

From my publisher:

It’s the perfect neighborhood, filled with not-so-perfect people.

Alyson Tinsdale is giving her son the childhood she never had: a stable family, loving home, and a great school in a safe neighborhood. When they move into the home of her dreams in one of Denver’s most sought-after developments, Alyson works hard to fit in and impress the other mothers.

Bonnie Sloan is the neighborhood matriarch. With her oldest son headed to Yale, and her youngest starting kindergarten, Bonnie is now pursuing her own long-held political aspirations. But it’s her middle child, Elijah, and their private family struggles, that cast a shadow over her plans.

When the open space behind some of the most expensive homes gets slated for development into an amusement facility, the neighborhood becomes deeply divided. The personal pressures and community conflicts ratchet with every passing day, but it’s when a thirteen-year-old is found dead beside the lake, that simmering tensions boil over into panic.

Gossip flows, lies are exposed, and accusations are made as cracks run through the community’s once solid foundations. The neighborhood’s faith in exterior appearances is eclipsed by the secrets every house keeps.

Rebecca Taylor, author of Her Perfect Life, returns with this fast-paced, engrossing novel that reminds us that nothing is ever as perfect as it seems.

Preorder your copy today!

Add The Secret Next Door to your Goodreads “want to read” list!

Add The Secret Next Door to your Book Bub wish list!

Update: The Secret Next Door

I’m excited to share that I have finished with the major edits for The Secret Next Door and we are now moving on to copy edits!

*happy dancing*

I have also seen the concept for the cover design and I’m thrilled to say that I will be able to share the final version within the next couple of weeks. This is the fun part when all those hours and hard work start to come together and I know I’m close to being able to hold the finished book in my hands.

And share it with my readers!

If you haven’t yet added The Secret Next Door to your Goodreads “Want To Read” list, here’s the link.

I know that the October release date seems like a long way off, but that time is really going to fly. Especially once I start working on all the marketing and promotion.

My only wish is that, this time, I’ll get to schedule and attend some in-person signing events since ALL of that got canceled for Her Perfect Life because of the pandemic.

Fingers crossed.

In personal news, it’s looking like I might be up for receiving the vaccine here in the next 1-2 weeks. I can’t wait.

6 Weeks Without Alcohol

On December 5th, 2020, I had a lovely brunch at the house of one of my very good girlfriends.

We were celebrating friendship, the holiday season, and the end of the last four, horrible years. When this group of women get together, we talk about anything and everything under the sun.

And we often drink.

That day was no exception.

If you asked past me about my drinking habits, I would have for sure classified them as “moderate” and well within those recommended dosages of 1-2 glasses 1-2 times a week.

And this was, once upon a time, the truth. Throughout my 20s and most of my early 30s, I would order a glass of wine with dinner. I would have two margaritas at that neighborhood bar-b-que. And I might nurse a beer on a Sunday watching the game.

If I bought a bottle of wine, it almost always went bad before it got finished.

My drinking really was “moderate” back then. I had even spent a stretch of years from 2010 through 2013 not drinking at all.

But in mid 2014, I had an out of the blue health scare that landed me in the ICU for a week followed by surgery and another four days in the hospital. After returning home with my newfound sense of “Thank God I’m alive!” I found that I was now also fully embracing “You only live once!”

Which is true (of this life anyway) but along with the bucket list vacations I was planning for my family and the big goals I was now taking seriously, I was also letting my teetotaling habits go.

That wine looks delicious, fill me up! You only live once, don’t you know.

I don’t think an open bottle of wine has gone bad in my house in over 7 years. Furthermore, I don’t think I could have honestly, hand to heart, described my drinking habits as “moderate” anymore.

Sure, I didn’t drink every day. And could easily go multiple days without drinking at all. But the practice was certainly several days after work (1-2 drinks) and almost always on the weekends (multiple drinks).

Alcohol came to be a way to relax after a crappy day. Process bad news. Deal with stress. A reward for making it through the workweek. And most recently, manage the rising panic that comes with living through a global pandemic.

The increase in drinking didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow progression of poor choices over the past seven years. But toward the end of the Summer in 2020, I knew I wanted to make a change.

I have a huge yearly calendar on the wall in my office. So in September of 2020, I started putting a star on every day that I didn’t drink at all. To be honest, there weren’t many stars on those first couple of weeks. But there was something about seeing that on my wall, every day, data that actually spelled out how often I was drinking–it started to wake me up.

So I would go a whole week without drinking anything Monday through Thursday. Then one week I didn’t drink for Friday Afternoon Club. Then one week, nothing over the weekend. The best way I can describe it is as a gradual diminishing spotted with days in which I would have a few glasses of wine at home and occasions when I would still make terrible, hangover level choices. But week by week, from October through the beginning of December 2020, I started to have more stars on my calendar than not.

Additionally, because I would now have long stretches of days without drinking, I now realized how terrible drinking was making me feel when I did drink. I RELISHED the mornings after several days of sobriety. My sleep was phenomenal. My skin looked amazing. And I actually felt brighter, lighter, and in a good mood!

I came to learn that even on days when I only had one glass of wine, I would often wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time going back to sleep. I would then, of course, feel sluggish and generally crappy for the rest of the day.

So by the time December 6th, 2020 rolled around, and I found myself yet again terribly hungover and feeling awful, I was more than ready for a big commitment. That was it–I wasn’t going to drink anything for the rest of December. No matter Christmas was coming. I had had enough.

And I didn’t. Every day another star got added to my calendar. Christmas came and went, another star. Cocktail night with my girlfriends, I ordered mocktails, offered to be the designated driver, and put another star on my calendar. Every day I felt better than the day before. New Year’s Eve, another star. News Years Day–I woke up feeling like a brand new me ready for a brand new year.

So December finished out, I met my goal of not drinking for the rest of the month and decided to keep going.

It has now been six weeks since my last alcoholic beverage and here is what I can tell you.

  1. I don’t miss it
  2. I sleep like a baby
  3. My acid reflux is gone
  4. I have lost a little weight (very little)
  5. My skin looks so much better
  6. I feel better and more hopeful overall
  7. I have energy
  8. My focus is greatly improved
  9. I laugh more (weird)
  10. Mocktails can be fun too

I can honestly say that now, when presented with a drinking occasion, I’m so worried about all my good feelings going away, and dreading the lack of sleep, dehydration, and crappy mood, that I don’t even want to drink.

This is why I have decided to try going the whole year of 2021 without any alcohol. It’s a big commitment, but not one I feel worried about. I’m actually pretty excited to see if there is more healing my body will do over the coming months and what other positive effects I might experience.

I will continue to update my blog with my progress and will place it under the category “My Sober Year” if you’re interested in following along.

Here’s to an amazing 2021!