Happy Birthday to Me!

I’m in a great mood this week. I leave for my annual vacation on Friday. Plus, my birthday is next week. (I’m actually not excited about turning another year older but let’s all ignore that, shall we?)

I’ve been a very sparkly busy bee packing all the books I want to take to the beach with me this year. Since this post is all about me – because, you know, I’m the one writing it – I thought I would take this opportunity to give you all a short history of my beach reading interests.

Me looking lovely during last year's bday at the beach.

Me looking lovely during last year’s bday at the beach.

Reading on the beach is the best! I love a really good romantic suspense (hold the serial killer – they scare me) while I’m running my pedicured toes through the sand. One of my all-time favorite beach reads was one of the few Nicolas Sparks’ books that wasn’t turned into a movie, The Guardian. It featured love, suspense and a dog. Add some pizza and glitter and that would pretty much hit all my buttons.

When I was younger, my passion was The Baby-sitter’s Club series. I don’t even know how many of those books my poor parents had to buy me. But they were my all-time favorite and I devoured them. Favorite baby-sitter was Claudia. She had her own phone line and almond-shaped eyes. She also liked junk food and couldn’t spell. (Those who haven’t read the BSC books think I just went off the deep end. Those who’ve read them know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!)

As I got older, I developed an unhealthy addiction to soap operas, which segued quite naturally into Sweet Valley Twins and later, Sweet Valley High. Interestingly, I originally favored Elizabeth – her bedroom was blue and she wrote for the newspaper – but in later books I turned to Jessica and her wild ways. Jessica was a member of the Unicorns, an exclusive club founded by her rich BFF, Lila Fowler. You had to wear purple to be in it. Jessica tried to get Elizabeth in… but no go.

High school and early college life saw a slight obsession with Michael Crichton. But other than that, I was floundering. I tried some semi-intelligent books, but let’s face it. While good, The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye are not your best beach options.

Everything changed during the summer between my junior and senior year of college when my mom handed me a paperback and said, “try this one.” It was Nora Roberts’ Sea Swept and I could NOT put it down. By the next month, I’d read about 15 other Nora titles. A week later I started writing my very first romance novel. And having a Nora book, along with about twenty other romance options, at the beach is now mandatory. The rest is history….


To celebrate my birth – and really, just cuz I feel like it – I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. Here are the rules: Tell me your favorite beach book, or your favorite books from childhood, or really any era of books. In fact, just talk about some books in the comments and I’ll pick my favorite. Is it fair? Not so much. But it’s my party so you can cry if you want to. To make it really unfair, contest is only valid if more than ten people comment. (I do not count as one of these people.) So tell your friends and good luck!

20 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me!

  1. Birthday Mermaid, now I know all your buttons, mwah-ah-ah! Thanks for the tip on the Guardian, that does sound good. The thing I remember most about the Sweet Valley High books was that one of them drove a Fiat, right? I thought that was so cool. I hope you have a fantastic birthday at the beach! Hugs!!!

  2. Wow. Beach reads. As a teen, my beach reading was more “hot as hell Baldwin County, GA in August with no A/C” reads. So, my early teen summer reading was stuff I could snitch from other people: “The Thorn Birds”and “Rosemary’s Baby” were two memorables “choices.” Oh yeah, and “Summer of ’42” (sex!) and “The Godfather” (more sex! and blood!). Later, I had the Georgette Heyer oeuvre and ALL my grandma’s 1960s and 70s Harlequins, lovingly stored in paper sacks in her garage.

  3. Happy Birthday! The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon was my first romance book. My mom read it and slid it to me with the infamous words, “Don’t tell your father.” After that, she and I swapped books constantly.

  4. Happy Happy Birthday!!! I’m a firm believer that all birthdays are good no matter the age. It’s a day to celebrate yourself, what could be better? So spend the day, the week, the month, hell the year, celebrating all the beautiful wonderful things about you (glitter it up!). On that note, I have always and will always LOVE anything Jane Austen. They are classic romance stories and her character development is phenomenal to boot.

  5. Ok so you just took me wayyyyy back and I love it! I swear I almost teared up, is that crazy? Why? Because The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High were my childhood and teenage years. They introduced me to the joy of reading and I haven’t put down a book since. I was never the popular kid – sure I had lots of friends, but I was pretty shy growing up. Reading was my escape. Reading was my therapy. I remember when the Babysitter’s Club show came out and the movie! I mean I died when the movie came out LOL! I was soooo excited. I always loved Dawn and Stacey because they had lived in New York and California. When Dawn moved back to California I was heartbroken – I mean you would have thought my best friend actually moved away :)! I can remember watching Sweet Valley High as a teenager. And All My Children with my grandmother. Now of course I love my romances especially with a paranormal twist. But I will say the best beach read I ever had was a book by Wally Lamb called She’s Come Undone. To this day it is still on my top ten best reads of all time. 🙂 So…HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOLL!!!! Enjoy the beach! And thanks for this post…for a few mins there I felt 13 again 🙂

  6. Happy Birthday to Special young woman who is so talented & sweet, I wish you All the Best in the coming year. Hope your vacation is very relaxing. I enjoy reading anything from Stephen King. I love a good mystery especially if there is a twist. Bev

  7. Happy Birthday! It’s your birthday and you can do what-ever you want to do!

    As far as favorite books are concerned, I have a hard time picking one. I just finished reading “Safe Haven” and it’s on my mind a lot. Loved it because of how detailed it is, and how I felt like I was with the character. I related to “Erin/Katie” in many ways.
    I’d also like to add that the book, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” – it’s an awesome fiction story told by a dogs perspective. I listened to it on audio, and as a writer I recommend listening to it. I understood what the dog meant when he spoke of humans. I also felt like I was right there with him, watching his family live their lives. There’s a lot of emotion in the story, and it was hard to turn the audio off.

    As a kid, I loved so many books, more-so than today because I had less responsibilities and more time to get lost in a book! I loved “Are you there God, it’s me Margarit.” – -“Blubber” and so many others, I could go on and on!

    As a teen, I loved the Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley High series.

    Have fun on your vacation!

  8. Here is a voice from 2 generations before you. I LOVED the Luisa May Alcott books and re-read them a dozen times, particularly Little Women, but was always disappointed with the movie adaptations–they didn’t fit with the pictures in my mind. When Gone With the Wind came out and I was a bit older, I began reading it over and over–that movie did not disappoint me, and Clark Gable was the George Clooney of that era. I saw it several times and introduced my daughter to it. I tend to read everything my favorite authors wrote, so there is a long list in my catalogue of read and/or owned books by Barbara Kingsolver, May Sarton, E.B. White, Madeleine L’Engle, Anita Shreve, Nevada Barr, Anna Quindlen, Patricia Cornwell, and on and on, with whole bookshelves taken up with natural history treasures.

  9. Happy birthday to a fantastic chickie! I’m thinking that you’re just upset because you’re turning 22 and that’s a total drag. Just wait until you hit 30 like am this year (give or take 10 years). 😉

    Sweet Valley High was my segue way into romance. Loved those books and I do remember someone driving a Fiat as well, which was totally cool. One of my favorite beach reads (which I remember because I was reading it when I met my hubby down the ocean, hon) was Gone With the Wind. Granted, it took longer than a week’s vacation to read it, but I made it my personal mission to finish it that summer. I can’t remember the names of all the writers I had read during my vacations, but I was obsessed with pirate romances and tore through many of those books during vacations that had hot blonde pirates on the covers—which pretty much was Fabio at the time. 😛

  10. Happy one week bday! I will celebrate in Pittsburgh with The Hobbit, Pizza and a Park 🙂 I guess I can find some glitter too 🙂

    As for books, member when it took me 3 years to read Congo? SIGH!!!! I will say I have become a much better reader since knowing you – thank you! Some of my favorites: Nora Irish Trilogies are always a win, The Notebook was the first book that made me cry and I have still not watched the movie, Julie and Julia was a great book but truly did not like the movie. Discovery of Witches I highly recommend and I am in the search for a good summer read.

    Currently reading a book you let me barrow, and I can’t remember the title but it is about a witch and her vintage store, Cora’s Closet.

    Have a super time at the beach and enjoy a cupcake while listening to Paul Simon for me!!

  11. Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!! 10 commenters who are not me! That means the giveaway is on. You are all officially in the running! I will make my decision by the end of today and post the winner in the comments tomorrow morning. Tough competition so far – keep ’em coming!

  12. Hi Kerry,
    It’s always great reading your blogs especially since I remember you in High School with Catherine. Have a wonderful vacation and a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Reading this blog made me go back many years when summers were long and I was able to read my favorite series that I always checked out of the library – Nancy Drew mysteries. (Now that’s really dating myself!). How I loved reading those mystery adventures!
    Take care and God Bless!

  13. Agatha Christie! nothing like rich people murdering each other on a beautiful british countryside. Poirot to the rescue!

  14. Kerri,
    Happy Birthday Week from one Cancer to another. And I don’t mean that in an unhealthy way! 🙂
    Beach reads? Hmmmmm? I have so many. I think you can’t go wrong with a Kristan Higgins. Ever. They’re fun and emotional and sweet and romancy. Nothin’ better.
    I also loved me some Nora.
    I’m going to sound like a broken record for those who know me, but I adore Darynda Jones’s books as well. Those would be a smokin’ hot read! Literally! 🙂
    Have a great vacay! Have some fun beachy drinks with some cute umbrellas in them for me!

  15. What day next week is your birthday? Mine’s the 18th. Happy Birthday to us!!

    If you like romantic suspense, you can’t go wrong with Allison Brennan.

  16. Happy Birthday from the person who gave you your first Nora!! Would you believe I am bringing the last book from the Inn series to read at the beach!!!! See you real soon!

  17. Happy early birthday! Have fun on the beach. Beach reads have to be romanc or other genre reads. My poolside sad recently is that all the ereaders make it too hard to see what everyone is reading. I like to spy.

  18. Thank you everyone for your comments and memories – of course thank you for the birthday wishes! I really appreciate it!

    The winner of the $10 Amazon gift card is… Aimee! I loved Aimee’s comments – they even made me tear up. Congrats!!!!

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