Book Review – A Hundred Summers


Source: Amazon

As soon as I finished Tiny Little Thing, I jumped right into A Hundred Summers, also by Beatriz Williams. This has also been on my TBR list for a long time, and on the same shopping spree where I bought Tiny Little Thing, I bought A Hundred Summers. This one solidified Williams as a new favorite author.

A Hundred Summers takes place in the beach town of Seaview, Rhode Island, in 1938. Lily Dane has summered at Seaview for her entire life, and most of those summers were spent with her best friend growing up, Budgie Byrne. This friendship lasts through their senior year of college, until Budgie betrays Lily and Lily stops contact with her. It has been six years since Budgie and Lily’s friendship ended, and Lily is settling in for another summer at Seaview, when Budgie returns to her family’s beach cottage. She is not alone, though; she is with her new husband, and Lily’s former fiancé, Nick. As the summer goes by, Lily begins to form a new friendship with Budgie and to move on from Nick. It isn’t until the summer begins to draw to a close and the Great New England Hurricane approaches, that Lily learns that things were maybe not quite as they seemed six years ago.

I am so glad that I waited to read this book until I was at the beach! With the setting a small beach town, it was the perfect read as I listened to the waves crash – either in my beach chair in the sand, or an Adirondack chair on the porch of the house my family rents! I felt like I was in Seaview with Lily, and even more fun, like I was back in time, living in the 1930s. One thing my mom commented on as she read it (at my suggestion as soon as I finished it!), was how she wanted to have the same drinks the characters were drinking throughout the books. The details and descriptions drew me in so completely, so I knew exactly what she meant. Just like Tiny in Tiny Little Thing, I found Lily very easy to relate to and sympathize with. I also was a huge fan of the incorporation of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 into the storyline, and the historical note included at the end. This is something I would never have known about if I hadn’t read the book, and I was interested to learn more. I always love learning a thing or two while I’m reading a great story! A Hundred Summers was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it. But if you’re anything like me and would be depressed reading about the beach while you’re land-locked, then definitely save it until you’re on a beach trip!


Book Review – Tiny Little Thing


Source: Amazon

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams has been on my wish list and then TBR list for a while. I’d read about it on another blog or two, and I think I also saw it advertised on Goodreads. Finally, when I went on a shopping spree at the beginning of summer, I picked it up and put it aside for beach reading. I am so glad I had it with me!

Tiny Little Thing is set in the 1960s and is about Tiny Hardcastle, the wife of a Massachusetts politician, who is living the perfect life. She runs the household, including the family home on Cape Cod, and is the model housewife. But, as can be expected, Tiny has secrets. These secrets threaten to spill into the open when some photos arrive in the mail for her and her husband’s cousin returns from Vietnam.

I really loved this book, and I especially loved Tiny. The first person narration made her much more real to me, and made it easy to sympathize with her. This was another book which alternated settings and narration, and it worked so well – the secret was revealed slowly, while the current story took place. When everything came to a climax, I truly was shocked. There were plenty of instances where I thought I knew what would happen, but I never expected what actually did happen.

It’s safe to say that this book was one of my favorites that I’ve read in a long time. I was disappointed to reach the end, only because I was sad to leave Tiny and her world. Beatriz Williams is another author that I need to read more of, and I plan on making a trip to the library very soon!


I’ve already written about a perfect day, but I have to say that yesterday was even better.

For whatever reason, almost every morning when I wake up I check my phone and scan Facebook. When I saw that one of my good friends had a beach day with her close friends planned, it immediately popped into my head that I should go to the beach. If you know me, you obviously know that I don’t need much to talk me into a beach trip. I hopped out of bed and did my usual morning routine before calling my mom; we had originally planned on going for a walk in the morning. Since the weather was not walk-worthy, we decided against it and when my mom asked what I was going to do instead, I blurted out, “I think I’m gonna go to the beach!” I have a hard time keeping things in when I’m excited, and this cost me a couple hours of beach time!

My mom thought it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to drive “all the way” to LBI for the day, and of course my dad had to put his two cents in as well – they thought it would be better for me to start getting things ready for the beginning of school next week. Needless to say, they got their way while I fumed for an hour, rushing around as I went through my school things that I’m storing in my grandfather’s basement. When I returned my dad’s car to my parents’ house, I told my mom I was going to the beach anyway; the weather was supposed to be great, and why not take advantage of having the summer off? I grabbed a beach chair and towel, headed back home to put my suit on and pack my beach bag and cooler, and I was on my way!

I can’t explain how it feels to drive myself to the beach – to go by myself. I did it for the first time in June, and it was one of the best experiences. It’s so freeing to know that I am relying on myself and I am doing everything for myself, and that I can make it on my own. Of course, I know all these things about a single day trip to the beach, but I wouldn’t have felt so confident yesterday if I hadn’t taken a weekend at the beach by myself. Luckily, I was leaving late enough in the morning yesterday that there was hardly any traffic and I got to the beach by 1:00. I have a feeling it would have been sooner, but because I’m an idiot and forgot to bring my license, I made sure to follow the speed limit. As happy as I was to be there, I couldn’t help but feel sad that it was only for the day. The worst part was parking on the same street where our rental house is (not OUR rental house, but the house that we rent), and not being able to walk into the house because there were other people there. And they were sitting on the porch! I know it sounds silly, but it breaks my heart a little bit to see someone else at the house we stay in, because even though we only rent it, I  always think of it as “our house”. If only…

The beach was surprisingly less crowded than I expected, and I got a spot up front, plopped myself down and opened up my book…yes, I’ve read it 5 times already, but I had to throw The Bronze Horseman into my bag, and I’m so glad I brought it; it made the day even better! The weather was perfect…sunny and a good ocean breeze which kept me from getting too hot. Every so often I took a break from reading and just enjoyed the view, or took a short walk to find some shells and sea glass. By the time 6:30 rolled around, I figured it was time I start heading home. I packed up, took one last look at the ocean (it’s going to have to last me till next year), and held back my tears as I walked off the beach, down the street that feels like home, and packed up my car. A trip to Beach Haven is not complete without cream-filled doughnuts, so I stopped and bought a half dozen for my sister and I, plus one for the road. I’m good at procrastinating, so I took my extra doughnut to the park on the bay, sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the best dinner I’ve had in awhile. 🙂

Again I made sure to drive the speed limit on the way home, and once I got near the New Jersey Turnpike, I kept thinking I was seeing lightning. The clouds didn’t look very stormy so I assumed it was just heat lightning. It became more and more frequent as I got closer to PA and Philadelphia, and I began to get scared. Some bolts left me with my mouth open in shock, and I was just glad they didn’t hit the road I was on. I know that a car is the safest place to be when there’s lightning, but I would rather not be anywhere near it, period. I kept thinking to myself, please don’t let this be a tornado. I am deathly afraid of tornadoes, and I wouldn’t have known what to do if I seemed to be driving into one. I didn’t notice any funnel clouds, but it’s hard to notice a funnel cloud when it’s dark out and the only light in the sky lasts half of a second while lightning flashes. Driving into a sudden wind blast so strong that my car, my little close-to-the-ground Jetta, blew sideways, didn’t help with my tornado fear. The wind died down, but now all of a sudden I found myself in a downpour, so bad that I had my wipers on full speed and still couldn’t see very well. I, with everyone around me, slowed down to 40 miles/hour and gripped the wheel, as if holding it tighter would really keep me safe. Luckily, the storm wasn’t huge and I was out of it within ten minutes. Those ten minutes were pretty nerve-wracking, and I found myself wondering if I was going to get into an accident when I don’t have my license. Because that would be something that would happen to me.

All in all, it was a good day. Spending the day at the beach just reaffirms for me, how much I need to live there at some point in my life. If it can’t be LBI, then somewhere like it. I just have to find a way of making it happen…

The Joys of Summer

I absolutely love summer. I can deal with fall because it’s cozy and there’s football to get you through the long weeks, spring is always so refreshing, and winter means Christmas (but as soon as Christmas is over, winter should be, too). But the best season has always been summer for me.

I live for the days when I can just wake up and have a leisurely breakfast, go for a walk whenever I feel like, and spend the day at my parents’ lounging by the pool, book in hand. After dinner, why not go for an ice cream? Then come home, maybe read a little more, or maybe put a movie on – there’s no hurry to shower and get to bed!

It’s not just the daily activities that I love so much, it’s the sounds, too. As I sit on my parents’ back porch, I hear a neighbor weed-whacking, someone else hammering, birds chirping, dogs barking, the waterfall in my dad’s pond, and every so often when the breeze blows, the wind chimes in the tree. These are the sounds of my summer and have been all my life. It breaks my heart for many reasons to hear my parents talk (not too seriously yet) about selling the house, and one of those reasons is that summers wouldn’t be the same. I know that no matter what house my parents live in, they’d make it a home and make it something special, but this is the only home I’ve known. Does that make any sense?

Thinking back on summers growing up, I remember many summer days at my grandparents’ house (mom’s parents), spending the day with our Nana in the pool in their backyard. We’d often sleep over, just because we wanted to, and spend at least 10 minutes laughing hysterically for no good reason as she put us to bed. That was after my bedtime snack of Oreos and milk, of course. In the mornings, she’d make us breakfast and we’d put our bathing suits on and start the day out at the pool. Sometimes, I’d stay inside for awhile and play with my mom’s old Barbie and Midge and her Barbie Dream House (I loved it!) while my sister watched old cartoons or movies. When it was lunchtime, Nana would make us grilled cheese sandwiches cut into fourths, with chips and mini pickles, or Jimmy Dean sausage sandwiches. After the “necessary” half hour of digestion, it was back to the pool to play mermaids. This always required much discussion before play could even begin; obviously, it was extremely important to go over your entire appearance as a mermaid and your new mermaid name. ” I’m going to be Leslie and my fin is purple at the top and it turns blue at the bottom, and there are sparkles in it. And my ‘bathing suit top’ is yellow, ok?” Then you had to explain who your prince was and what he looked like! Though usually, our princes were our crushes of the moment – JTT for Erin, Troy Aikman for me (clearly I went for older men). Troy was always somehow trapped belowdecks of some ship anchored near my kingdom, and I could see him through the porthole (aka the pool light), where I promised to help him escape. Oh, the fun of childhood imagination and the joys of summer!