Posted in Books and Shows

October: What I’ve Been Reading

Hey! It’s the end of the month, so I’m sharing the three books I read in October. The Flatshare and The Guest List have been on my reading list for a long time which meant I was on the library wait list for a few months. I’d say both were worth the wait. I love Colleen Hoover’s books, but hadn’t heard of November 9 until I read about it on another blogger’s list.

So here are the three books I read this month:

The Flatshare:

The Flatshare was a sweet read with short chapters. The main characters are Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy’s boyfriend has broken up with her, so she needs a cheap place to rent. Leon works nights and knows sharing the flat will be a way for him to help his finances. So, Leon sleeps in the flat during the day while Tiffy occupies the flat the rest of the time.

Tiffy and Leon haven’t even met as his girlfriend interviewed Tiffy for the placement. So, Leon and Tiffy get to know each other with notes left as their form of communication. They do get to know the ins and outs of each other’s lives as well as other aspects of life such as crazy ex-boyfriends and the drama going on with Leon’s brother.

This was definitely a cute, at times predictable, read, but definitely one that I enjoyed.

November 9:

November 9 was a great read full of emotional moments and a twist or two as well. I really enjoy Hoover’s books, and I can say the same about this one.

Ben and Fallon meet right before Fallon plans on moving from LA to New York. They have such a great few hours together that they decide to meet each year on the same day for the next five years. While they don’t communicate the other 364 days in the year, Fallon becomes the inspiration for the novel Ben has always wanted to write.

Fallon deals with personal insecurity while Ben has family issues that complicate his life. Of course, with each passing year, there is the suspense of if each one will arrive at their agreed upon location. Then, there’s a major twist in the plot that definitely kept me turning the page.

November 9 is an important date for a few reasons in this book.

I enjoyed this book, and it was one that had me wanting to see how it ends. That being said, I’m not sure the ending was realistic for me…but I see why Hoover wrapped up the story how she did.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

  • “Why didn’t you tell me that the foundation you taught me to stand on is made from quicksand?”
  • A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside. And you are full of gifts. Selflessness, kindness, compassion. All the things that matter.”
  • Youth and beauty fade. Human decency doesn’t.”

The Guest List:

The Guest List is a Reese Witherspoon Book Club choice, and I can see why! This thriller was told through various points of view as guests gather on a coastal island in Ireland to celebrate Jules and Will’s wedding.

The first person perspective of the chapters alternate between the bride, groom, best man, bridesmaid, wedding planner, the plus one and others. Some of the wedding guests have been a part of the bride and groom’s lives for many years while others are just meeting and making connections the weekend of the wedding. The ominous setting of the rocky coastal island where it’s dangerous to be outside at night pairs well with the underlying suspense of doom. Then, during the reception, someone is found dead.

I really did enjoy this book, and I like books written with various perspectives with pretty short chapters. It was slow for me in the beginning, but the last quarter of the book was really good once pieces of the puzzled plot started falling into place.

Reese knew what she was doing by adding this book to her book club 😉

So, there’s a little recap of what I’ve been reading. Are there any books you’ve read lately that I should add to my list? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

September: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy October 1st! ….one of my most favorite days of the year. October is the real beginning of fall (in my mind) which makes it my favorite month.

Lately, I’ve been feeling “a day late and a dollar short…” and this September book review on October 1st is kind of what I’m talking about.

I do feel like I’ve had less time to read lately…and by the time my head hits the pillow, I’m out! So, I hope to get back into reading a bit more soon, but today, I’ll share with you the three books I read in September.

Wild at Heart:

Wild at Heart is the follow up to The Simple Wild which I shared about in my June What I’ve Been Reading. In Wild at Heart, Calla returns to Alaska after Jonah shows up in Toronto, and they decide to give their relationship a chance in Alaska.

The plot of this story is Calla getting acclimated to the Alaskan way of life. Jonah is a pilot, so he’s gone a lot. That leaves her home alone, trying to build relationships in the community, renovating and decorating their log cabin on a huge piece of land while also trying to grow as a couple in a new relationship.

This book, like the first, could be deemed R Rated at times. I did enjoy this book, but probably liked the first book a bit better. I felt like the plot of this one moved a little slowly at some points. That being said, there’s a third book, Forever Wild, that comes out in December, and I definitely plan on reading it as well.

In Five Years:

Listen, y’all. I’d been wanting to read In Five Years since it came out in the spring. Then, the pandemic threw everything out of whack…including the library wait list because our library closed on Friday, March 13 like so much of the world.

Anyway, the library started curbside pickup at the end of the summer, and it was finally my turn to read this book. It’s by the same author as The Dinner List which is one of my favorite books…ever.

In Five Years is about the main character, Dannie, who is asked where she sees herself in five years during an interview. Later that night, she falls asleep and wakes up in 2025 to a different life. Then, when she wakes up again, she’s back in 2020. Dannie is very career driven and settled in her life with her longtime boyfriend. The plot of the book is the next 4 1/2 years as Dannie navigates the ups and downs of life and then finds herself meeting the man that she saw when she awoke in 2025.

This isn’t your average love story. This book is pretty short and a quick read. I loved it! I don’t want to give anything away, but I wasn’t a fan of the ending…until I was. I went from “huh?” to “ohhhh,” real quick!

From Goodreads: “Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.” Yep. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I definitely think this will be a top read for me in 2020.

Two Can Keep a Secret:

One of my friends recommended Two Can Keep a Secret. I didn’t realize until I picked it up from the library, that it’s a teen fiction novel. I actually like to read TF sometimes, so I can give recommendations to my students! Also, I didn’t realize until I picked it up that it’s written by the same author One of Us is Lying which is another teen fiction fave of mine.

Two Can Keep a Secret is set in a small town. Ellery and Ezra end up there living with their grandmother while their mother works through some personal issues back in California. Ellery and Ezra always wondered about Echo Ridge, the town their mom, Sadie, grew up in, because their mom was always hesitant to go back.

Sadie’s sister, Sarah, went missing in 1996 and Sadie left town the next year. In October 2014, another girl is killed at Murderland, an amusement park nearby. In 2019, after Ezra and Ellery arrived in Echo Ridge, they are trying to get used to small town life. Then, there are anonymous threats that something will happen at the high school homecoming…and then, you guessed it, another girl disappears.

So, much of this book is Ezra and Ellery trying to get to the bottom of the missing girls in the community. I did enjoy this book and can certainly see why teens would like this mystery. I wasn’t necessarily on the edge of my seat trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, but it was a good teen fiction read.

So…those are the three books I read this month. I’ve already picked up a book at the library to read this month and have downloaded a few to my Kindle as well. Now, let’s hope I can find a bit more time to read.

I’m taking tomorrow off, but I hope to be back with a blog post on Monday! I hope you have a great rest of the week and weekend.

Happy Reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

August: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

I started the weekend Friday afternoon with “closing my eyes for a few minutes,” to waking up from a 2.5 hour nap! There’s no tired like teacher tired at the beginning of the school year! 😉

We had a much needed slow Saturday, but Sunday was filled with the usual of cleaning the house, and picking up the groceries. Travis and Hayden got in a round of golf, and Hadley had volleyball. Now we’re ready to start our first full week of school!

For today’s post, I’m sharing the books I read in August!

Unfortunately, I feel like I haven’t had as much time to read lately, but I did read three books this month. I thought I’d only read two…but remembered I finished The Family Upstairs right after last month’s post.

I rarely read a book I don’t like. I get so many book ideas from reading other blogs and keep an ongoing list. It’s pretty rare for me to choose a random book to read (and, obviously, I’m not hanging out in books stores or libraries right now). So, I just keep checking books off my list as I can.

The three books I read this month were all so different. I liked one and loved the other two. One blew my mind. One opened my eyes and my heart. One pulled me in and tugged at my heartstrings.

This month, I read: The Family Upstairs, Maid, and 28 Summers.

The Family Upstairs:

The Family Upstairs was crrrraaaazzzy! I actually described it to someone as twisted. Twisted as in twists and turns in the plot but twisted in regards to some of the things the characters did. My mind was blown, and I often caught myself reading with my mouth open because I couldn’t believe the words on the page.

On her 25th birthday, Libby Jones is ready to find out her real identity. When she was just a baby, the police found her at home in her crib, and there were three dead bodies dressed in black downstairs next to a note. So, Libby is adopted and goes on about her life until she’s able to find out more answers after her 25th birthday.

From Goodreads: “The can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.”

Tread lightly while reading this book! It keeps you on your toes.

Maid:

I like to think of myself as an empathetic and sympathetic person. I try to consider all walks of life, be mindful of what others have going on, and keep enough perspective in my own life to know that some of my daily problems pale in comparison to those who are single parents or in a lower socioeconomic class. I mean, I see it every day with my own students who have divorced parents, a parent that lost a job, students working two jobs themselves or helping raise younger siblings. I definitely keep those factors in mind while working with my students and extending them grace when needed.

In Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid, she tells the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. This book explores poverty in America, shows what it’s like to be a single mom, as well as provide insight into what government assistance looks like.

Land lived in a homeless shelter; her daughter learns to walk there. She eventually moved into to assisted housing and then a studio apartment for herself and her daughter. While working as a maid, she applies for programs and assistance, uses her resources, saves her money, works when she’s sick, suffers at the hands of abuse, and continues to strive for a better life for herself and her daughter.

The light she sheds on government assistance programs was eye-opening. She had to be careful not to make too much money, for example, or she would lose the loan that paid for her daughter’s daycare. When she would wander the grocery store to find the right brand of food in order to use her WIC checks, I could feel her stress as she retold those stories.

She says, “Even though I really needed it, I stopped using WIC checks for milk, cheese, eggs, and peanut butter–I never seemed to get the right size, brand, or color of eggs, and correct type of juice, or the specific number of ounces of cereal anyway. Each coupon had such specific requirements in what it could be used for, and I held my breath when the cashier rang them up.”

She even applied for loans for college and continued to chip away and her credit hours toward earning a degree while working and caring for her daughter. “My only real hope was school: an education would be my token to freedom.”

Her resilience and grit amazed me from page one. She remained positive and kept the goal in mind of a better life for herself and her daughter.

“When a person is too deep in systematic poverty, there is no upward trajectory. Life is a struggle and nothing else. But for me, many of my decisions came from an assumption that things would, eventually start to improve.”

This book had been on my reading list for a while. While on a walk a couple of months ago, I saw the book in one of our neighborhood libraries. When I read this book, I marked it up. I couldn’t help myself from underlining quotes and putting a ⭐️ next to ideas that were impactful and inspiring…like this one:

“I was never out for anyone’s sympathy. Besides, they couldn’t know unless they felt the weight of poverty themselves. The desperation of pushing through because it was the only option.”

I think this book may end up as a top read for me in 2020.

28 Summers:

I saw so many people talking about this book, and I love Elin Hilderbrand books, so I actually purchased this book. It takes a lot for me to buy a book, but the library wait was very long! Also, the Kindle version was just about the same price, so I went ahead and ordered the hardback version.

This book definitely seems to be the book of the summer, and I didn’t want to miss out! #fomo

28 Summers is based of the idea from the movie, Same Time, Next Year. Mallory and Jake met in Nantucket in the summer of 1993. After their Labor Day weekend together, they vow to meet every Labor Day weekend without any communication throughout the rest of the year.

Of course, the whole “same time, next year” mentality would be a big “no no” in real life, but I was all about this book in the fictional “same time, next year” sense. The characters were charming and complex, things happened each year that made you wonder if Mallory and Jake would keep their Labor Day visit, and life gets complicated!

I loved that each summer chapter started with a recap of what was really going on in that year. For example: “What were we talking about in 2020? Covid, Kobe Bryant, Zoom, TikTok…, What were we talking about in 1995? the Macarena, Windows ’95, O.J. Simpson, found innocent by a jury of his peers…, What were we talking about in 2003? space shuttle Columbia, the Atkins Diet, Saddam Hussein and the Iraq War, pumpkin-spice latte, “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.” Those examples at the beginning of each summer were such a good reference point and actually kind of hooked the reader into making a connection to their own life during those years.

In the movie, Doris says,” I knew…that no matter what the price, I was willing to pay it.” Jake and Mallory lived that quote to the fullest, and I was in tears at the end. #shocker #imasofty.

28 Summers will most likely be another top read for me this year.

I really enjoyed this month’s books so much, and I hope one (or more!) will be of interest to you. What have you been reading lately?

Happy Reading!

Posted in Books and Shows, Currently, School

Currently…

Hello! How is your week going? This week has been filled with activities (baseball games and dance classes) as well as many hours of learning for me (online professional development). In some ways, it feels like life is kind of normal again. BUT…I know that it’s not. We are living in far from normal circumstances, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. For me, some days, that can feel overwhelming. That being said, I know the day will come where I don’t have to remind the kids to bring a mask or stress about what school will look like.

It’s been a bit since I’ve written a Currently post, so I thought I would do so again. These posts are a way to share what’s going on, but are also a way to to share a little bit of what’s on my heart or in my mind.

I’m Currently…

Marveling:

I’m marveling at the fact that yesterday was my blogiversary! I posted my first ever blog post on August 4, 2019. This week, I will write my 200th blog post. Writing three days a week was pretty manageable for me, but since April, I’ve been writing a post almost five days a week…Once we get back to school, I may have to scale back again, but while I can find time in the day, I’d love to write as much as possible.

In my first post, I mentioned wanting to start a blog as a way to do something for myself and have a creative outlet to share about family, recipes, books, and more. Show Me and Sweet Tea as provided me with just that…and so much more.

I’ve “met” so many people along the way. I’ve read a few blogs (Mix and Match Mama, A Little Bit of Everything, Momfessionals, Bev Cooks and more) for a few years. BUT…interacting with other bloggers, finding new blogs to follow, and reading comments on my posts from readers has been so rewarding for me.

I don’t get all caught up in the stats of my site, but WordPress makes it easy to take a peek at site activity.

  • This is my 199th post that I’ve written.
  • This year, I’ve had 12,400 visitors and 27,800 views on my site.
  • My most read post had 694 views.

My mind is just blown by those numbers. Again, I don’t get too caught up in the numbers game as there are people who have thousands of views every single day, but again, it’s just gratifying to be a part of this blogging community.

Thanks for following along on this journey!

Planning:

I’m currently thinking about and planning our back to school breakfast. I started this tradition a few years ago, and even though we start from home, virtually, on August 26th, I will still make that first morning back special for the kids.

I always luck out and find books on Amazon with the kids’ grade (5th) in the title.

Last year’s books were Fourth Grade Rats and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

This year, I found Tales of a Fifth-Grade Knight for Hayden and President of the Whole Fifth Grade for Hadley!

Reminiscing:

I’m reminiscing about the kids when they started kindergarten. How in the world will they be in the 5th grade already? That means next year is middle school. Start praying for me now, y’all.

This pic popped up in my Facebook memories…Hadley with the crossbody purse and Hadyen’s toothless grin…⚾️

I clearly remember taking them into their school, having them meet their teachers, and praying that they’d remember how to count to 20 and spell their name, so I wasn’t a total failure as a parent who is an educator 😉 Now, flash forward to today when I had to watch a You Tube video to help them with their math in their summer workbook.

Watching:

I’m watching Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi. Travis found this show, and I’m hooked. I love food and learning about other cultures and cuisine. Padma explores food and culture across the United States. It’s on Hulu and most episodes are 30-40 minutes long. I’ve seen the first few episodes which focused Mexican food in El Paso, hot dogs and German food in Milwaukee, Indian cuisine in New York, the Gullah Geechee people of South Carolina, Chinese food in San Francisco, and Persian food in Los Angeles.

Every episode is so informative, interesting, and inspiring.

Ordering:

I’m ordering baseball and dance photos. I don’t always order the photos, but I’m realizing how big my kids are getting, and I loved the pics. With that combo, it was hard to say no to placing a picture order!

Laughing:

I’m laughing at this meme that I saw on Instagram. I have a “note” on my phone where I keep a daily schedule and “to do” lists. It’s become really easy for me to move some of my least favorite “to do” items to the next day!

Trying:

I tried something new at Sonic last week. I always get a Cherry Limeade or (diet version) at Sonic. This time, I had them add in Nerds candy because Hayden and Hadley get that option in their Sonic slushies. Y’all! It tasted SO good!

Snuggling:

We are all snuggling with Homer any chance we get. I know Homer loves having us home so much!

Reading:

I’m currently reading Maid. I’ve had this book on my list for a while, and I finally started it. In Stephanie Land’s memoir, she shares about being homeless, a single mom, and working to do whatever it takes to provide for herself and her daughter. This book explores poverty in America and shines a light on the inequities of working, middle, and upper class societies.

I’m about halfway through with the book, and it’s an interesting and eye-opening read so far.

Praying:

I’ve been (worrying and) praying about the start of the school year. At this time, our district is starting with virtual learning on August 26th. Usually, our first day of school would be a week from today. Teachers will start back August 10th and prepare for the start of the year.

I’ve had to let go of some of the things I took for granted like walking my kids to school on the first day which is what we’ve done every first day of school since kindergarten. This is my kids’ last year of elementary school, and it saddens me that this year will look so different for them. Kids are resilient, but honestly, they shouldn’t have to be.

Last year, I realized all the fun privileges the intermediate grade level students receive like being in chorus, on academic team, and so much more. My kids are going to miss out on some of those opportunities, not to mention simple pleasures like lunch and recess with their friends. It hurts my heart just thinking about it.

Parents are having to make decisions about school that they never thought they’d have to make. Classmates that Hayden and Hadley have had for five years may be educated virtually when we go back to face to face instruction. Some friends may enroll in private school for this year. It’s heartbreaking to me that elementary school will look so differently for them compared to what they’ve experienced in previous years.

And, of course, there’s the weight, worry, and burden that teachers carry thinking about their students and preparing for the school year with so many unknown factors.

I’m always positive when talking about the upcoming school year with my kids, but some days it is hard to put a smile on my face, answer all their questions, or wipe away a tear when they are sad or frustrated.

That being said, I’m trying to keep this in mind moving forward…

So, that’s a bit of what’s been currently going on. As always, thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Books and Shows

July: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello! I read three books this month, so I thought I’d share a bit about each one. I loved all three books. I’m almost finished with a fourth book, but I will have to save it for next month!

Our Little Lies:

Our Little Lies was such a good thriller to read. Marianne seems to have the perfect life. She lives in a beautiful home, has three kids, and her husband, Simon, is a surgeon. There are references to Marianne’s past as the plot continues. Marianne becomes obsessed with finding out the truth behind Simon’s relationship with his colleague Caroline.

This was a quick read as the plot moved quickly, and the ending was one that all came together in a way which was unexpected as I read the book.

Ugly Love:

I’m a huge fan on Colleen Hoover books and Ugly Love did not disappoint. Ugly Love may end up as one of my favorite reads of 2020.

The theme of “ugly love” certainly applies to relationships, love and life in this book. Miles is a pilot and in a relationship was his friend’s sister, Tate. This book is definitely “R rated” due to the nature of their relationship. Miles has two rules for Tate:

  • Never ask about the past.
  • Don’t expect a future.

Of course, at times, those rules are hard to follow. Their relationship has highs and lows and there’s a dance of push and pull as they navigate their relationship. “Life and love and people can be so perfect and beautiful. Then it’s not. It’s so ugly.”

My heart broke for both Miles and Tate at different times throughout the story.

Other favorite quotes from the story are:

“…that God gives us the ugliness so we don’t take the beautiful things in life for granted.”

“It’s the beautiful moments like these that make up for the ugly love.”

Feels Like Falling:

I’ve shared about the Peachtree Bluff series by Kristy Woodson Harvey that I enjoyed very much.

Feels Like Falling was similar to those books with the picturesque setting and strong female cast. Gray and Diana are the main female leads, but Gray’s sister, Quinn, and friend, Marcy, also add to the bond that these women have.

Gray and Diana help each other through trying times while Diana lives in Gray’s guest house. Gray is going through a divorce and Diana has ended a long term relationship. Both women are very different, but grow as friends who lean on and support each other throughout the book. As Gray said, “She’d made me feel like I had somebody again, like I had a person to count on no matter what to turn to with anything…and now I knew I could trust her.”

I really loved the ending with each woman growing as they needed to but also growing closer in their friendship.

A favorite quote from the book:

And I realized that sometimes when you’re speeding through thin air, the brakes worn out and the engine shot, maybe it feels like you’re falling. But, in reality, that’s when you’re learning to fly.”

I hope one of these books is one you can add to your list! What have you been reading lately?

Weekly Recap:

Happy Reading!

Posted in Amazon, Books and Shows, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hey. Hey. Happy Friday.

This week was a mix of crossing things off my “to do” list, working on school stuff, running a few errands, going to Hayden’s baseball games and much more.

We’re glad it’s almost the weekend.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Favorite Moment:

Definitely a favorite moment this week has been seeing some of my family that we haven’t seen in months. It’s been good for all of us.

Favorite Kid Quote:

Wednesday, 8:30 am in the Starbucks Drive-thru: Hadley said she would like a hot chocolate. I looked at her kind of surprised since it was 85 degrees outside, and she said, “Well, I doubt you’ll let me get a vanilla bean Frappuccino in the morning, right?” 😂 Good point.

Favorite Homer Pic:

Homer often hops up on the stool in the kitchen. It’s like he’s bellying up to the bar. He’s so funny.

Favorite Clothing Item:

These pjs I purchased from Amazon are definitely a fave. They are lightweight, comfy, and perfect for summer! I got the “galaxy” color/style.

Speaking of tie dye, Hadley is embracing this style too. She tie dyed a t-shirt with a friend recently, and even tie dyed a pair of socks too. I’m not sure about the socks and sandals looks, but “you do you, girl!”

Favorite Book:

I finished Our Little Lies the other day. My library didn’t have it, so I purchased it from Amazon for my Kindle. I try not to buy Kindle books often, and when I do, they are less than $5. This one was $2.99 and worth every penny. Definitely a great read.

Favorite Mom Meme:

I love to cook…but I struggle with cooking motivation in the summer. This meme definitely applies to me!

Bonus Favorite: Flashback Friday

Facebook continues to bring some favorite gems in “memories.”

This pic is from July 2010. We’d visited family in KC and made it just outside of St. Louis during our car ride back to Lexington. The kids were eight months old and kind of fussy….so we got a hotel room for the night. They were so cute sitting up in the bed with their pacis. The Run DMC onsie was a gift from my brother and one of my favorites.

Then, this pic is from July 2011 when we were in South Carolina. It was the kids first time at the beach. Such a sweet pic. They definitely don’t hold hands anymore!

Weekly Recap

That’s a wrap on this week’s faves. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Have a great weekend.

Posted in Books and Shows

June: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy July 1st!! Some days, the summer seems to move at a snail’s pace, and other days, summer feels like it’s flying by!

I read 4 books this month and really enjoyed three of the four! The other one was just ok.

Little Fires Everywhere:

So, this book had been on my list for a while, but there was always a hold at the library. Then, I decided to watch the miniseries on Hulu and loved it. My Gma said she really enjoyed the book, and the Kindle version finally became available.

Anyway, I really did love this book. I honestly do think I liked the book more than the miniseries, but I did feel like miniseries did the book justice.

Quick Good Reads recap: “… riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.”

and…

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood–and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”

This book may definitely be one of my top reads of 2020.

Paper Ghosts

Paper Ghosts was a pretty quick read due to the short chapters and suspenseful plot.

The narrator’s sister was killed many years ago, and she’s convinced that Carl, a celebrated photographer, was the one who killed her sister. Carl is living in a home for those with dementia and she convinces him to take a road trip with her through their state of Texas. On the journey, she’s hoping to find answers and possibly even a confession from Carl.

While I thought the book was ok, it just didn’t hold my attention like most suspense novels do. The flashback parts of the story captured my attention more than when they were on their road trip.

The Unhoneymooners

The Unhoneymooners was a fantastic book that I read in a couple of days.

After her newlywed twin sister Ami and husband get sick, Olive goes on their honeymoon with the best man, Ethan, who she sees as her enemy. Since her sister won the all expenses paid honeymoon, Olive and Ethan have to pose as Ami and her new husband. Olive always considers herself the unlucky one compared to Ami, but hopes that her luck has turned with a new job and dream vacation.

This was a very cute and quick read…but just FYI: There were a few “R-ish” rated scenese.

The Simple Wild

The Simple Wild was another really wonderful book.

The main character, Calla, was born in Alaska, but Calla and her mother left for Toronto when she was young. Through the years, Calla lost touch with her dad, Wren, who remained in Alaska until one day, many years later, she received a phone call prompting her to go visit her dad in Alaska.

She’s a fish out of water in Alaska. While she adjusts to the frontier, she’s met with challenges, difficult relationships, and the uncertain future for herself and her dad.

This book tugged at my heartstrings and brought a tear to my eye more than once. After finishing the book, I immediately downloaded the sequel: Wild at Heart. I can’t wait to read it this month!

Well, y’all, after having this post mostly written, I did finish one more book…

One in a Million:

This was the book I picked up at curbside pick up from the library a couple of weeks ago. One in a Million was a sweet and quick read. The main character, Annie, owns a digital marketing agency. Annie has given up on love and ends up placing a bet with the ad agency across the hall that she can get 20,000 followers on Instagram in a month for anyone they choose.

Dr. Samuel Page walks in the coffee shop just as they make the bet. His character reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. Once Annie gets to know Sam, she realizes he’s in the midst of a breakup, so she tells him she will help him win back his girlfriend.

When Annie asks him what he’ll say when he sees his ex, he replies, “I’m going to tell her that I love her and I miss her…And then tell her she needs to stop being so ridiculous and that I need my hay fever medicine. I’m not paying for another prescription, they’re exorbitant these days. Also, I very much miss my cat.” haha See…very Sheldon-like.

Anyway, her quest to win the bet allows her to get to know Sam even better. While the plot was pretty predictable, I loved the London setting and the British vernacular.

So there’s a little look at what I read in the month of June.

Happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

May: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello and happy Friday! I read three books this month, so I thought I’d share those with you today!

Two Girls Down

I enjoyed Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna as it was a good mystery/thriller type read. Two sisters go missing in a strip mall, and their family hires a bounty hunter named Alice Vega who enlists the help of a former cop, Max Caplan. The two work together to try to find the girls before time runs out. Of course, there are some twists and turns as well as lies and deceit. It was definitely a page turner of a book that I enjoyed.

The Southern Side of Paradise

This book is the third and final book in the Peachtree Bluff series. I loved this series by Kristy Woodson Harvey so much. I love how the book ended, but I hate to see the series wrap up! All three books are perfect vacation/summer reads, for sure.

As with the other books, Ansley and her three adult daughters are the main characters. Ansley has found happiness and feels like life is pretty perfect, but secrets come to life and there’s a health scare with of the one daughters, Emerson. The bond of these sisters and the ups and downs in each of their lives continue to provide tension but also bring them closer together. Of course, the small town charm can’t be beat. This series, set in the south, is definitely one of my faves!

Defending Jacob

So, a friend of mine recommended Defending Jacob on Apple TV. Then, later, another friend mentioned that it’s a book as well. My library had the Kindle version available, so I downloaded the book and read it in a matter of days.

Jacob’s father, Andy Barber, is the assistant district attorney in Massachusetts and the whole town is shocked when his son, 14-year-old Jacob, is accused of killing a classmate. Andy has hidden some of his past that comes to light as his son goes to trial. The book (and the series) do keep you guessing as to if Jacob is innocent or guilty.

I was about 80% finished with the book and really wanting to find out the final verdict but then there were even more twists and turns!

Since we only recently got Apple TV, there were already five episodes of those show, and I watched them over a couple of days. A new episode is released every Friday, and I believe today’s released episode will be #8. The acting in the series is so good…the actors have me hooked! The series stays pretty close to the book which made the book an even quicker read for me. Well, I know how the book ends…so I can’t wait to see it play out on the small screen! I definitely recommend this book and this series!

Have you read any good books lately? Let me know!

I hope you have a great weekend, and happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

April: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello! I can’t believe it’s the last day of April. How is that even possible?! I read three really good books this month (while balancing out reading with watching episodes of The Crown and Tiger King) 😉 I think one (or two!) of them may end up in my top 5 of the year.

Regretting You

I’d seen Regretting You recommended on other bloggers’ reading lists, and I’ve read other Colleen Hoover books. I was on the wait list at the library for a bit before I got the chance to read it.

One of the main characters, Morgan, gets pregnant at sixteen and commits her life to her daughter and husband. Morgan is worried her daughter Clara will make the same “mistakes” she made while Clara wants nothing to do with her mother’s advice. Then, a tragic accident happens that both pushes mother and daughter apart, but also forces them to figure out life together. The accident provides a twist in the plot that provides lots of questions that drive the story line to the end.

This was definitely a great book that I couldn’t put down! It lived up to the hype.

Our New Normal

Our New Normal was book I snagged off the shelf on the last day the library was open. This book was a slow start for me, but I did end up enjoying it.

Liz has been a stay at home mom for many years. Just as she is about to send her son off to college and start a new career, her teenage daughter, Hazel, shocks her with the news that she’s pregnant. The plot centers around Liz as she juggles this new development in her life, her aging parents as well as her strained marriage. All of these factors make up her “new normal.” That being said, the ending got me. It was a beautiful wrap up of the story.

The Matchmaker

I always love Elin Hilderbrand books, and keep meaning to tell Travis I want to add Nantucket on places I want to visit!

Dabney Kimball Beech has a full time job at the Chamber of Commerce, but she is also known for being a matchmaker. Even though Dabney is married and has a grown daughter, she still can’t escape her own romance troubles. One of my favorite parts of this book is that stories of Dabney’s successful matchmaking are interwoven within the plot of her life. The Matchmaker may be one of the most touching books I’ve read…and it was certainly one that brought a tear to my eye…a time…or two!

Currently Reading:

I’m currently reading Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna and Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey. Southern Side of Paradise is the third book in the Peachtree Bluff series that I’ve mentioned before.

Speaking of Kristy Woodson Harvey. I follow her on Instagram, and she’s been sharing about her new book Feels Like Falling which came out this week! I pre-ordered it on Amazon, and I believe it will arrive today! She mentioned on Instagram those who pre-ordered a book would receive a postcard and quote card signed by her. I received these in the mail last week, and they were such a fun surprise in my mailbox. I can’t wait to read this newest book of hers!

What have you been reading? I’ve love to add more suggestions to my list!

Also, did you see my Mother’s Day Gift Idea post from yesterday? Just didn’t want you to miss out 😉

Happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

March: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy Friday, y’all! It’s the last Friday of the month, so I thought I’d share the books I’ve read over the last month or so! I definitely feel like I’m bouncing back from my “February Reading Funk.” Of course, with a little more time on my hands, I’m reading a bit more…BUT I’m also making it a priority to read more. When my kids are completing their daily 30 minutes of reading, I read too (plus other times in the day as well).

So…here are the four books I’ve read recently.

American Royals

I touched on this book in a previous post (before I had finished reading it)…

In this twist on history, the US won the revolution and Washington became king. Set in modern day, Princess Beatrice is being prepped for the throne. Of course, I’ve been watching The Crown and the parallel to that bit of history added meaning to this story. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and it was an easy read, for sure.

I think this book is technically “young adult,” but I loved it. The sequel, Majesty, comes out this fall; I can’t wait to read it too.

The Broken Girls

The story is set in Vermont with chapters taking place in 1950 and 2014. There is a girls’ home called Idlewild where girls who aren’t wanted or who are trouble makers are sent back in 1950. In the 2014 setting, journalist Fiona Sheridan is investigating the details surrounding her sister’s death twenty years earlier. Her sister’s body was found near Idelwild. When renovations begin on the property in 2014, it has Fiona wanting to learn more and put together the pieces of two different puzzles.

Small Great Things

Small Great Things was a book centered around the themes of hate and racism. The main character, Ruth, is an African American labor and delivery nurse. She cares for a newborn whose parents (Turk and Brittany Bauer) are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth caring for their child. Ruth ends up being arrested and put on trial after an emergency with the baby.

It took me some time to get into the book at first as it was difficult for me to connect with that level of hate. The title is in reference to quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

With the trial, Ruth’s relationship with her son, and the story line with the Bauers, this is certainly a story with many layers.

Another quote I loved from the book was, “Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters. It’s the sound of your voice, without anyone drowning you out. It’s having the grace to say yes, and more important, the right to say no. At the heart of freedom, hope beats: a pulse of possibility.” Freedom is another underlying theme throughout the book, and of course, freedom means something different to each character.

Again, it was a slow start for me, but I did end up enjoying this book, and it’s certainly one I will never forget.

The Secret to Southern Charm

After reading Small Great Things, I needed a lighter read. The Secret to Southern Charm is the second book in the Peachtree Bluff Series. I read the first book, Slightly South of Simple last summer and loved it.

The book picks up where the first one left off with the three sisters, Sloane, Caroline, and Emerson in a small coastal town in the south. Sloane’s husband is a POW, Caroline and her have had marital issues, and Emerson is an actress trying to figure out her next steps in life and in her career. The three girls are very close with their mother, Ansley, who is caring for her own aging mother.

Of course, there are family secrets, times of strife, and a close connection between these southern ladies.

The Secret to Southern Charm was a quick read that left me wanting to visit the south, hang out with some of my closest girlfriends, and sip a cocktail while sitting on a porch swing! I can’t wait to read the third book in the series The Southern Side of Paradise.

(**Side note: Kristy Woodson Harvey commented on my What’s Up Wednesday post, and it feels like the biggest high five of my life! Go check out the Peachtree Bluff Series. You’ll enjoy it!)

Well, that’s a wrap on what I’ve been reading and the month of March. I saw this meme yesterday, and it made me laugh!

I do feel like we got into a routine this week while continuing to find the balance between work, play, and social distancing! I will say that the highlight of this week was yesterday when the kids’ school had a Teacher Parade through the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful thing to see those teachers smiling, waving, and missing their kids…May have brought a tear or two to my eye!

I hope you have a great weekend. See you back here on Monday for a funnies with some March memes!

Take care,