To me, July is a month of contrasts. It starts off with a bang (quite literally) on Canada Day on July 1, and of course, the 4th of July. It then meanders along the lazy, hot days of summer, where the heat wars with your determination to do some late summer planting in your garden.

July is all about staying cool. Growing up, we didn’t have much in the way of air conditioning, so my mother was inventive when it came to ways to cook a healthy dinner without turning on the oven. My father, being a firm believer that there was nothing you couldn’t grill, would happily experiment with whatever Mom pulled out of the refrigerator. The variety and contrasts in taste and texture he and my mother came up with kept us happily, if occasionally suprised, fed.

So much more than just hot dogs and hamburgers, there would be grilled corn, carrots, tomatoes, and my favorite, grilled peaches. To this day, the slightly smoky, slightly charred taste of grilled food takes me back to hot summer days, backyard croquet games, reading in the backyard, and day trips to the beach with friends and family.



  • 4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted, skin on
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • Honey, for drizzling
    Flaky sea salt


  1. Heat grill to medium high.
  2. Brush peaches with oil and grill cut-side down, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Flip skin-side down and grill until almost falling apart, 4 to 6 minutes more.
  4. Serve with ice cream, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.

My reading list for July is also filled with contrasts. Everything from a quick, light, entertaining but not necessarily memorable book, to best sellers, literary classics and more. Thankfully, library summer reading programs, which according to the American Library Association, began in the 1890s to help children develop the habit of reading, are more structured.  (I taught both our sons to read because they wanted to learn how to read, and am glad I enrolled my sons in various summer reading programs as they were growing up. )

Like most people, I tend to read books in certain genres such as Contemporary and Literary Fiction, and Romance.  Occasionally though, I find myself at a loss of what to read next. The Good Luck Stone, by Heather Bell Adams, was recently recommended by a bookaholic friend, and while outside my usual scope, it intrigued me enough to add it to my summer reading queue.

Her desperate decision during World War II changed everything. Now, 70 years later, her secret is unraveling.

At ninety years old, Audrey Thorpe still lives in a historic mansion on palm-tree-lined Victory Drive, determined to retain her independence. But when her health begins to fade, her family hires a part-time caretaker, Laurel. The two women seem to bond—until Audrey disappears. Unbeknownst to Laurel, Audrey has harbored a secret for 70 years, since her time as a nurse in the South Pacific during World War II. As the story moves between the verdant jungles of the war-torn Philippines and the glitter of modern-day Savannah, friendships new and old are tested. Along the way, Audrey grapples with one of life’s heart-wrenching truths: You can only outrun your secrets for so long.

I’m still writing and editing a couple of new books, in between trips to the beach and visits from family. I’m still hoping to visit with friends I haven’t seen for ages.

Piper had a hard time sitting for this photo. She loves running on the beach, especially at low tide!

Now that summer is well underway, what remains on your summer to-do list? To help you on your way, I’m giving away a $100 Amazon gift card and a copy of one of my books. U.S. only. Winner will be announced Tuesday, July 31, and has three days to respond to my email.