Beach Reads: What’s Under Your Beach Umbrella?

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KathleenYbarbo.jpgBestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of over forty novels with more than one million copies of her books in print in the United States and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified family law paralegal, she was recently nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well as a Reader’s Choice Award by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen Y’Barbo has four grown children, seven bonus children, and her very own hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at

Don’t you love summer? The sun, the sand, and oh…the beach reads!

Okay, so some of us—me included—do not currently live near a beach. Still…the idea of long stretches of time curled up beneath a beach umbrella (or some other spot of blissful solitude) with nothing to do but read is so very wonderful, isn’t it? Even if none of the above scenarios are plausible in your world, finding a summer beach read is!

While my criteria for a summer beach read does not require that the book actually be set in a beach town, I do love reading about these places. As I mentioned, I am currently landlocked due to love, a story for another day (or another book!), but during my childhood and most of my adult years I lived in close proximity to the Texas Gulf Coast. Stories of life in coastal towns are not only part of my past, but they are also part of the novels that fill my bookshelf.

Because I loved to read about these locations, I decided to create a series of stories set at the beach—Vine Beach, to be precise—so I could also write about them. Working on all three of my Vine Beach books, collected under the Love Inspired series Second Time Around, has been so much fun! Plotting, planning, and finally writing about a fictional Texas Gulf Coast town nestled between a lighthouse and nearby Galveston sent me back to my days of collecting shells at McFaddin Beach with my dad, of watching fog roll in at our now-gone (thanks to Hurricane Ike) beach cabin on Crystal Beach, and of all those rides across the Galveston Ferry from Port Bolivar to the island.9780373879007

This trio of beach reads, starting with Daddy’s Little Matchmakers (January 2012) and then continuing with Her Holiday Fireman (November 2012), concludes with Their Unexpected Love (July 2014).  Each story features not only a Vine Beach, Texas setting, but also a widowed hero who finds love in the most unexpected way. While I love all the books in this series, this story of high school opposites who finally attract ten years later is one I’m so very glad I get to tell. Watching Logan (whose name was borrowed from my bonus son Logan Turner) and Pippa fall in love was like rewriting that chapter back in high school where the invisible girl finally gets noticed by the cool guy whose locker is under hers. Oh but now Logan isn’t dodging Pippa’s skateboard as it falls out of her locker anymore. Instead he’s dodging love. At the beach. Oh, yes definitely at the beach. Have I meantioned how much I love books set at the beach?

But I digress. Do you love beach reads as much as I do? Tell me your favorites so I can add to my growing list of summer reading!

Happy reading! Here’s to finding a little sand on your toes before Labor Day!


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