Summertime at the Jersey Shore

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from summer days at the beach. Squawking seagulls, rolling waves, ice cream men ringing their bells from the bulkhead, and lifeguard whistles comprised the soundtrack of my summers growing up. It may sound rather cliché, but through the craziness of my early 20s, I always found comfort in living – and raising my son – in the same place that held so many good memories for me. Each time I wiggled my toes in the sand, it took me back to a simpler time.

Whenever I read the opening paragraph of Chapter 1 from The Other Side of Later, I get a little pang of nostalgia. The first two sentences aren’t just true for Julia; they’re a direct reflection of my childhood as well. What’s funny is that I wrote The Other Side of Later before I had Baby D so I had no clue I would have a son someday as this opening paragraph came to life on my laptop screen. Now, the last part of the paragraph also rings true for me. I’m so happy I get to raise my son in the same place that holds so many great memories from my childhood.

As the summer goes on, I plan to share other little tidbits about The Other Side of Later and the places that provided me inspiration. I hope you enjoy reading about them, and I hope you’ll check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon.

Summer days at the beach…

Happy 4th of July!  Here at the Jersey Shore, Independence Day always signals that summer is in full swing.  The area is full of tourists – aka shoebies as us locals call them, days are warm and long, and beach days are plentiful.

The opening paragraph of Chapter 1 of The Other Side of Later always gives me a pang of nostalgia when I reread it.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from summer days at the beach.  Squawking seagulls, rolling waves, ice cream men ringing their bells from the bulkhead, and lifeguard whistles comprised the soundtrack of my summers growing up.  It may sound rather cliché, but through the craziness of my early 20s, I always found comfort in living – and raising my son – in the same place that held so many good memories for me.  Each time I wiggled my toes in the sand, it took me back to a simpler time.


If you’re looking for another book to add to your summer reading list, check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon for only 99 cents!

Summer Reading List

The start of beach season at the Jersey Shore is one of my favorite times of year!  Time spent with family and friends, walking along the water, building sandcastles with my friend’s little ones, and sometimes, relishing a solo day when I can sit back in my chair and read a new book.


With the start of Memorial Day Weekend, I thought I’d share the books I already have downloaded to my Kindle or pre-ordered and ready to download once they are released in the coming weeks.  My favorite part about all of these books is that they are written by authors that I’ve connected with via Twitter since self-publishing my first book last spring.  I’ve read books by all three of them in the past and have loved every one.  I can’t wait to start reading their newest!

The books are listed in order of their release date.

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Released 05/13/16

Synopsis via Amazon

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?


Summer at Oyster Bay: A heart-warming summer romance by Jenny Hale

To be released on 06/09/16

Synopsis via Amazon

For Emily Tate, returning to her charming childhood home Oyster Bay is like coming up for air after the fast pace of her city life. At the farm her grandfather built, surrounded by sister Rachel’s chatter, Gram’s buttermilk biscuits, and the soft, white sand, Emily is reminded of exactly who she is and what she holds most dear.

When Emily starts work at elegant Water’s Edge Inn, Charles Peterson, the handsome new owner, asks for her help. He wants to expand and needs Emily to teach him the local ways, so he can convince the planning commission. Emily vows to make him fall in love with her hometown, just the way it is.

At work, Charles is reserved and serious, yet once Emily has him kicking off his shoes in the sand and sailing across the glistening Chesapeake Bay, she sees another side to him, and their easy rapport feels like the start of something big.

But when it becomes clear Charles’s plans for the inn involve bulldozing Oyster Bay, Emily is heartbroken. Will she lose her home and Charles all at once, or can she save Oyster Bay, and give true love a chance?


The One with the Engagement Party (Bridesmaids Book 1) by Erin Lawless

To be released 06/10/16

Synopsis via Amazon

Save the Date

For fans of romantic comedies like Bridesmaids and Four Weddings & a Funeral, and bestselling authors Mhairi McFarlane and Jenny Oliver, this is a hilarious new romantic comedy series about one bride and her four best friends.


Like I said, I’ve read books by all three fantastic authors before and loved every last one.  I can’t wait for a few relaxing beach days so I can start reading their latest!  If you’re looking for books to read as you sit on the beach, by the pool, or at the lake, check these out.  I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy you did!

Also, since I’m a little bias, I’d recommend checking out my debut novel The Other Side of Later.  I’ll think you’ll find it’s good summer read too!

Simpler Times

Who else is excited for warmer days, brilliant sunshine, and spring weather?  After a little tease of spring back in March, the past few chilly weeks have had me wishing for warmer weather.  When the weather gets warmer, I always start thinking about which books I’m going to toss in my beach bag or load on my Kindle for late spring and eventually summer days on the beach.  As I’ve mentioned before, The Other Side of Later is set in a small town at the Jersey Shore, where the beach is a part of life.  I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!


Some of my favorite childhood memories are from summer days at the beach.  Squawking seagulls, rolling waves, ice cream men ringing their bells from the bulkhead, and lifeguard whistles comprised the soundtrack of my summers growing up.  It may sound rather cliché, but through the craziness of my early 20s, I always found comfort in living – and raising my son – in the same place that held so many good memories for me.  Each time I wiggled my toes in the sand, it took me back to a simpler time.

When my brother, Luke, and I were really young, weekends were family days at the beach.  Our parents, grandparents, neighbors – Mr. and Mrs. Johnson – and their children all congregated at the 17th Street beach by noon and we didn’t dream of rinsing off and packing up until well past 5.  We ate my mom’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, learned to body surf in the ocean with my dad, sat on our grandmother’s lap to get some much needed shade under her umbrella, and somehow, without fail, persuaded my grandfather to dig us a big hole to play in.

As we got older, summer jobs and social lives changed the routine.  Our work schedules didn’t always allow us to be at the beach on the weekends.  We didn’t dig holes and I certainly didn’t body surf once I graduated from one piece suits to bikinis.  Instead of my mom’s peanut butter sandwiches, my friends and I would walk to Loretta’s, the neighborhood diner, for lunch, and breaks from the sun were few and far between as we took turns paddling away from shore in the Johnsons’ ocean kayaks.

The activities changed, but seagulls still squawked, waves still crashed against the sand, ice cream men still ran their bells, and the lifeguards still blew their whistles.  The sounds were exactly the same each time I climbed the steps over the bulkhead and onto the beach.

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon for only 99¢!

Labor Day at the Jersey Shore

I know.  I know.  Another post or tweet about the beach or Jersey Shore?  I promise there’s more to me and The Other Side of Later than the little southeastern corner of the Garden State that I love so much.  But it’s Labor Day weekend so you’ll have to let me indulge just one last time for the summer.

Labor Day has always marked the unofficial end of summer at the Jersey Shore.  As a kid, my grandfather would always tell me we were “locking up the beach” for the year when we left on Labor Day.  You’ll find that phrase in The Other Side of Later as well as a scene of Julia and her family and friends celebrating the unofficial end of the summer season on the beach.  It’s very much like the one my family, friends, and I create each and every Labor Day.

I’ve included a little sneak peek of Julia’s Labor Day.  I hope you enjoy it, and more importantly, I hope you enjoy your Labor Day weekend with family and friends as well!

Labor Day on the beach at the Jersey Shore was a little bit of a production. It was the unofficial last day of summer. For years, the regular beach crew would have a little party. Over time, the little party grew into a bit of an extravaganza with close to 25 people. There were plenty of snacks, a cooler of soda, and we ordered subs. When the weather cooperated, it was the perfect time to be on the beach. Early September when all of the shoebies had departed for the summer; only the locals were left to enjoy it.

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon.

Beach Reads

Did you ever wake up, realize the date, and wonder how the past several weeks just flew by? That’s how I felt this morning. I can’t believe it’s already the end of August. I feel like it was just the 4th of July, but it’s been a busy summer and the days and weeks just seemed to disappear! I had been hoping to write this post before the end of summer, but I figure it’s better late than never.

One of my favorite things to do (if I can find the time) in the summer is sit on the beach and relax with a book. Each year, I always add a few to my list of favorites and this year was no exception. I thought I’d share my three favorites I read this summer and the review I posted for each of them on Goodreads. Some of my reviews are a little shorter than other, but that’s only because I felt a few words said all that needed to be said. I truly loved all three!

The books are listed in no particular order (just alphabetical by the author’s last name).

Twenty-Five by Rachel L. Hamm

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Abigail Bronsen is sure her life is going nowhere when she turns twenty-five and realizes she hasn’t done anything on a list of goals she made for herself as a teenager. Ben Harris is looking to find “the one” after his last girlfriend cheated on him. When they crash into each other, it appears they’ve both found exactly what they wanted. A year of firsts follows: first date, first kiss, first “I love you’s.” The first fight is inevitable, but neither of them saw a breakup coming. When Abigail is offered a job overseas, they’ll discover that no relationship is perfect and even true love sometimes finds itself separated by time and distance.

My review:

5 stars!

Twenty-Five is such a beautiful story about finding yourself and love at the same time! I couldn’t put the book down until I was finished.

Just the Way You Are by Lynsey James

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Dear Ava,
How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can’t remember the last time she had a second date. It’s a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she’s in love with someone else. Someone she’s never even met.

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she’s determined to unmask Mr Writer…and find out once and for all if he’s Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!

My review:

5 stars!

Just the Way You Are is chick lit at its finest! I loved following Ava on her journey of finding Mr. Writer! The entire story was great and the ending was perfect! This is a must read for all chick lit lovers!


The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If you’re a fan of Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello or David Nicholls’ One Day, then you will love our new acquisition from contemporary romance author Erin Lawless!

Miles and Nicky are getting married. Unfortunately, their wedding party is a tangle of ex-housemates, ex-friends and ex-lovers. So this wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion. Can anything be salvaged from the past? And what really happened between them all, back at university?

Find out in this wonderful contemporary romance.

My review:

5 stars!

There were so many things I loved about The Best Thing I Never Had. But I think most importantly, I loved how real it felt. The story follows seven friends – their friendships, their love lives; the bonds that held them together, the circumstances that tore them apart.

Sometimes, I think it’s easy to overlook how vulnerable we are in our early to mid-20s. Friends become family; boundaries are sometimes non-existent; relationships are delicate. Erin Lawless characterizes this flawlessly!

From the moment I started, I couldn’t put the book down. Chick Lit lovers, The Best Thing I Never Had is one you will want to make sure you have on your to-read list!


So whether you’re heading to the beach, the lake, the pool, or just looking for a great book to read while you relax in air conditioning, I’d recommend these books to load on your e-reader and take with you!

What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this summer?  I’d love to add them to my list!

Giveaway…Take 2!

Let’s try this again!  With Memorial Day weekend just a week away, I’m lining up books for my summer reading list.  I’d love for The Other Side of Later to be on yours!  To win an ebook copy, just subscribe to my blog by entering your email on the sidebar of this page, follow me, @DK_Hamilton, on Twitter, and retweet one of my tweets that promotes this giveaway.

The contest ends at 11:59 pm Tuesday, May 19th, and I’ll announce the winner here and on Twitter the evening of Wednesday, May 20th.

Good luck!

Sneak Peek! Welcome to Sea Grass!

Originally published on Goodreads.