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) πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

Happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

Watching & Reading

Happy Wednesday, y’all. We are trying to get in our new routine of a little bit of home school while I work from home as well this week. I’m at least making sure my kids read, practice math, and complete at least one other assignment as well each day. And…we are trying to get some fresh air when the weather allows!

So, since we are home pretty much 24/7, I thought I’d share some of the books I plan in reading as well as some of the shows I hope to watch on Netflix.

On Friday, I headed to the library after school to pick up two books I had on hold. As I walked into the library, I saw the sign that said they were closing at 6:00 until at least April 6. So, I picked up my on hold books and wandered the aisles looking for books that interested me. To be honest, it had been forever since I just casually hung out at the library! I usually place holds for books online and just go pick up the books when they are available.

The librarian helped me find a book I was looking for and said, “Honey, you know you can get up to 50 books? You might as well grab as many as you can!” So. I. Did. πŸ˜‰

Here’s my stash!

On my Kindle, I’m currently reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

Also, one of my friends shared on Facebook a post from author Colleen Hoover. The post said (in part), “I think authors will be hurting the least when it comes to the financial impact this is going to have on the world. Because when people are stuck at home with nothing to do, boredom sets in and people buy ebooks. But I don’t want you guys to buy mine right now. Save all the bucks you can until we have a better grasp on how this will financially impact our households…”

She went on to say that for eligible books she has on Amazon, she enrolled them for free five days on those select titles.

The five days may be up soon, but the titles that are free for ebooks are: Verity, (which is SO good–I read it last summer in about two days!), Too Late, Hopeless, and Never Never series.

I’ve read All Your Perfects, It Ends with Us, and Verity by her. I’ve been wanting to read Regretting You and it was only $1.99 when I downloaded it on Monday!

I’ve had quite the Netflix list for some time. Shows friends have recommended or ideas from blogs that I’ve read. My list includes:

  • The Stranger
  • The Pharmacist
  • Murder Mystery
  • The Keepers
  • Unbelievable
  • The Innocent Man

Also, I believe that season 3 of Ozark is out now. Travis and I watch that show together, and I bet he’d love the above shows too!

Over the weekend, we completed a puzzle with my brother and sister-in-law. I will be honest, I’m not a huge fan of puzzles (mostly because I feel like we have to finish it…can’t just leave it and work on it over a few days haha), but I thought it would something fun to do since we were laying low. For Valentine’s Day, I bought this cereal puzzle for Hadley off of Amazon. It took us about an hour and a half to complete it. Although, we ended up losing two pieces along the way! (My brother found them the next day)

This puzzle should arrive today! 500 pieces will keep us busy.

So, these are just a few of the ways that I will be keeping busy with this forced time off.

Do you have any good book or Netflix recommendations? If so, let me know!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you are having a great week.

Take care,

Posted in Life Lately

Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! We are slowly getting used to the time change. Once I make the adjustment, I do like it being lighter longer, but now it’s odd to wake the kids up, and it’s dark outside. It will all start to even out as the days go on, and it will be summer before we know it!

We’ve been up to a little of this and a little of that, so thought I’d share about our life…lately!

Activities

Hadley’s volleyball session finished up, and Hayden’s baseball season officially started. Thankfully, Travis helps coach baseball, so while I always write the practice schedule on the family calendar, it’s Travis who gives up so much of his time helping with the team!

Books

I finished reading American Royals last week. 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. 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.

I finally finished The Broken Girls yesterday. 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.

Recipes

I read Andrea’s blog daily, and she shared her recipe for 7 UP biscuits. I made them last week, and they were a hit. They were easy to make and so delicious.

Homer

Newsflash: Homer has energy to burn! Travis decided to take him to a local doggy daycare on Thursday. The first session was a “Meet and Greet” session, and he stayed all day. I picked him up after school, and he was sooooo tired. Hadley was super concerned about how exhausted and well-behaved Homer was! We hope to take him a few times a month…Dogtopia wore him out…and he was able to work on his social skills! πŸ˜‰ Double bonus.

Tuckered out pooch!

Hadley

Friday evening, Hayden went to a birthday party, and Hadley and I had dinner at A&W. I thought a root beer float sounded good, and Hadley loves their chicken tenders. We had a good evening together.

I volunteered to be one the of chaperones (and drivers) for Hadley’s Girl Scout Troop field trip to COSI in Columbus, OH. COSI stands for Center of Science and Industry. I’d never heard of it until signing up to chaperone.

Hadley is so blessed to be in a troop with so many sweet girls. Some of my best mom friends are because of the moms I met when Hadley joined this troop in kindergarten.
We left Saturday afternoon and drove to Columbus, OH. The girls were participating in the COSI Camp-in that started at 6:00. Apparently, there were around 1,000 Girl Scouts there that night!

We arrived a little early, so the girls played on the playground outside the science center. Then, we checked in and were escorted to our area for the overnight. We were so lucky because we were assigned to the Simulator Room. The Simulator Room was closed for the evening, so we were able to house our belongings and had a private space to ourselves. Other troops were sleeping in the hallways, the large meeting rooms, and other nooks and crannies of the center.

After we got settled, we had dinner in the Atomic Cafe. Then, we went to the Welcome Meeting in the theater where we got our schedule and other information. From 7:30-11:00, we explored all the things. Our first stop after the Welcome Meeting was the Planetarium. This was my favorite part! I love a good planetarium πŸ˜‰ Then, we went to Progress Town where the girls explored through the different time periods and decades. They loved the news station the best at Progress Town. We also visited the Ocean exhibit, the DC Super Heroes exhibit, the Just Dance party, the Electrostatic Generator program, the Hands On gallery and much more.

They provided us with a snack at 10:00 and then the girls explored some more. Around 10:30, we went ahead and set up our sleeping area. Then, some of the girls went to the dance party from 11-11:30. They made an announcement for lights out by midnight. Someone (a guy named Jake!) came around to turn the lights off. We were all tired, so everyone pretty much fell right to sleep. Of course, with Daylight Savings Time and an early 7:00 wake up call, that meant we got about six hours of sleep…on the floor…#Imnotaboutthatlife πŸ˜‰

The lights came on at 7:00 while the “Good Morning” song played. We packed up, took our things to the car, and then came back inside for breakfast. A few of the girls were dying to ride the Tightrope Unicycle, so I stood in line with those ladies. It’s a popular attraction and each person’s turn is around 5 minutes by the time they check their height, strap them in, tell them what to do, share fun facts, and then say go! So, some girls decided not to wait any longer…and would rather explore. Again, I hung with the four girls who wanted their turn. I was proud of all of them…they were excited and then had to put on their brave face when it was their turn πŸ™‚ Hadley had a great time and was glad she did it.

After the unicycle, it was time to go, but the ladies hit up the gift shop first. Then, my group of three wanted to look at the dinosaur exhibit, so we took a quick spin through there. Then, it was time for a quick snack, and we left!

The girls were awesome in the car. Of course, they watched a movie or two, but I loved that they wanted to play “Would You Rather” or the Alphabet game. It’s good to know they don’t need technology to be entertained.

I’m not sure if they realize it, but they are certainly blessed to have such a great group of friends.

Sweet little troop
For fun, a sweet little flashback pic of the girls when they were in 1st grade. There have been a few new members as the troop as grown. So much fun to see them all together.
Top left: Welcome Show; Top right: in the news station; Bottom left: the view in our room at night; Middle: Hadley at the Electrostatic Generator; Bottom right: a couple of super heroes!
Bottom left: Hadley on the tightrope unicyle; Other pics: dinosaur exhibit

School Stuff

Springtime in education means testing–field testing, ACT, KPREP…My kids as well as students at my school took a field test a few weeks ago, and yesterday, all high schoolers took the ACT. It seems like this time of the year is test after test after test. Now that I have my own kids at the age where they are taking tests, it’s become apparent to me how early all of this starts and the pressure that kids face all too often at school!

Hayden

Hayden brought his artwork home from school yesterday. They were to draw a fruit person…Hayden drew β€œLil Fruit X” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Flashback

Facebook memories kill me! Look at little H&H prepping for Easter 2010!

I hope you are having a great week. We are prepping for a visit from my dad, the Major, as well as the Homster turning O N E! Come back for Friday’s blog post…it will be all about Homer! πŸ™‚

June 8, 2019

See you back here on Friday. Take care,

Posted in Life Lately, Trader Joes

Life lately

Well, I’m off my Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule because Life Lately included both Travis and myself being sick this week. We are both on the mend and hopefully back to our normal selves ASAP. Thankfully, the kids are old enough to somewhat fend for themselves…but I joke it’s mostly Hadley doing the “fending” for both herself and for Hayden. Who else would warm up Spaghetti O’s for dinner? #Haydenwouldstillbehungry

Trader Joe’s

I stopped in to Trader Joe’s last weekend and picked up some of my regular items, but I also picked up some holiday edition items as well.

  • Chocolate peppermint cake mix (can’t wait to make this!)
  • Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s …I love getting these every year.
  • Jingle Jangle–I’ve heard so many good things about Jingle Jangle and wanted to try it for myself. It’s a mix of all kinds of chocolate-y goodness.
  • Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup
  • White Cheddar Mac and Cheese (We always have multiple boxes of this at our house!)
  • Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad (I love these bagged salads–they usually provide me with two days of lunch at school)
  • ONE bar–gingerbread flavor. I thought I’d give this flavor a try and enjoyed it.
  • Black bean and cheese burrito- I usually buy a couple of versions of these.I usually eat half of one–and give the other half to the kids.
  • Mini chicken tacos- family fave

2nd Christmas tree

For the past 4 years, we’ve purchased a real Christmas tree. This year, as we hauled decorations down from the attic, Travis mentioned that maybe we could bring down the artificial tree, and put it somewhere else in the house. I decided to try it out in our sun room because it’s about the only extra space we have, and we can see it from the kitchen. It was also a good place to put our leftover ornaments. It’s tough to get behind it to plug it in. I remembered Carmel at Our Fifth House mentioning she bought The Clapper for her tree. I found one at Walgreens…two claps and the tree turns off and on!

Homer turned 9(ish) months recently. Since he’s a rescue, we don’t know his exact birthday, but I’ve been taking monthly pics (thanks to an idea from my friend Natalie who does the same with her pup!). It’s fun to see how much he’s grown. Only a few more pics and he’ll be ONE (ish)!

Gingerbread houses

Our elf usually brings a gingerbread house for the kids to decorate. This year, one of our neighbors bought them for all the kids when our families got together last weekend. My kids weren’t there when the others decorated, so they did the decorating on their own on Sunday night. These houses were already assembled (#praisehands), so they just focused on the decorating!

Red

Speaking of our elf, Red is back! The kids still look forward to his return and finding out what he’s been up to each morning. When Hadley saw him, she said, “Mom, he shops at Trader Joe’s too!” I wasn’t sure how to take that, so I said when I saw Red had returned, I realized I had forgotten to give them the chocolate advent calendars.

Southern Lights

Monday night, we made our way to the Kentucky Horse Park to see The Southern Lights. We’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember. The kids (and adults!) love it. It’s fun to see the traditional lights (like Santa playing basketball, Keeneland, and the 12 days of Christmas), but each year they add something new. This year, they had some Star Wars lights that Hayden loved.

What I’ve been reading

At the end of November, I finished One Day in December and really loved it. It’s was such a sweet book.

Then, I started the Winter Street series and have read the first two books: Winter Street & Winter Stroll. I just started the third book, Winter Storms. I now hope to read Winter Solstice as well to wrap up the series. I’ve been enjoying the Quinn family as well as the charming Nantucket setting at Christmastime.

It’s not that I’ve had that much time to read…I technically finished One Day in December in November as we drove to KC. Then, there was the nine hour drive back!! haha. The Winter Street series books are pretty short as well. They’ve definitely been perfect reads for this time of the year.

That’s just a little bit of our life lately. Never a dull moment !

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Books and Shows

October Book Review

Happy Thursday! I feel like this month flew by! I read four very different books this month. I loved one of them and really liked the other three.

Sadie

I try to read young adult books occasionally, so I can recommend them to students. We have an awesome librarian at our school who is very enthusiastic with her book talks. She recommended this book during a book talk with one of my classes, so I added it to my list!

Sadie and her sister Mattie had a difficult childhood. When Mattie is killed, Sadie sets out to find her sister’s killer. A radio personality becomes interested in the story and discusses it on his podcast as he tries to find Sadie.

I really enjoyed the format of the book with Sadie’s point of view alternating with the podcast. This was a quick and easy read with a good ending!

Ask Again, Yes

This was a book suggested for my book club. I knew the wait would be long to check it out from the library, so I ordered it for my kindle. I loved this book. So. So. Much.!! I was immediately intrigued by the neighborly relationship of the Stanhopes and the Gleesons. The plot continued to build piece by piece with a traumatic event between the neighbors. My heart ached for one of the main characters, Peter, as he had to navigate life on his own after his parents let him down, each in their own way. Of course, there’s love in the story along with agony and major life decisions and battles. The timeline of events and character relationships are interwoven together in such a way that, as a reader, you are very invested in the plot. I couldn’t put this book down. Loved it.

The Other Woman

This is the first book I’ve read by Sandie Jones, and I liked it. The main characters, Emily and Adam, are in a relationship that is complicated in a variety of ways including dealing with Adam’s mother. There are lies, betrayal, and tense moments between all of the main characters. While it was pretty clear who “the other woman” is, there’s more to it than that, and I certainly wasn’t expecting the ending. This is in the “thriller” genre, but I didn’t necessarily think it read that way to me. I enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read…but I’ve certainly read more suspenseful books.

If Only You Knew

I listen to Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour, every once in awhile, and I enjoy listening to her. She’s full of wisdom and a woman of deep faith but doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s a mom and wife as well as podcast host, author, and motivational speaker.

If Only You Knew focuses on moments in life that you aren’t necessarily proud of or moments that others don’t know about because they didn’t know you in the past. Jamie lets her guard down while sharing her struggles, her ups and downs in life, and her failures, but encouraging her readers to know that there’s no such thing as perfection and that we are on a constant journey as people to be the best versions of ourselves. Since I read this on my kindle, it was easy to highlight some of my favorite passages. So many quotes resonated with me, and some of my favorites include:

  • “I often hear people repeat that every wound and scar in your life becomes part of your story, and as humans, we spend too much time covering our scars instead of using them as an opportunity to tell our story.”
  • “When seen through the eyes of the gospel, our stories are not obstacles to our freedom; they are actually the key to unlocking it.”
  • In reference to those who start attending church once they have kids (hits home with me), she says, “I see them as sweet parents who want something better for their children. They sense this yearning inside of them (hello, God yearning!) to build a foundation of faith that, even if they’re not so sure they believe in it for themselves, they do believe in it for their kids. It’s so amazing to see God put desires in parents that could only come from Him. On their own, they couldn’t even begin to dream up such a desire.”
  • “I had no concept of church as a place where broken people could show up, be their real selves, and still receive love.
  • And many other quotes…I could go on and on…

I feel that sometimes we read a book at just the right time in our life…and that’s how I felt about this book. Like Bread and Wine, I see this being a book I turn to occasionally when I need a reminder or two about growing as a person, accepting failures, and celebrating successes.

I hope you find a book or two that you enjoy from this list. Fingers crossed I can keep my reading streak alive this month…but November is always so hectic that my goal is to read at least two books!

See you back here tomorrow for a fun Flashback Friday.

Have a great day,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Books and Shows

September Book Review

This picture of Hadley is one of my favorites, and it recently popped up in my Facebook memories. She’s verrry serious about her reading. Thankfully, both of my kids enjoy reading…especially Hayden, but if Hadley gets into reading a series (like The Babysitters Club), she loves to read at bedtime.

This month I read four books. I enjoyed them all, and each one was very different. I read suspense, comedy, inspirational, and heartfelt…and the inspirational one was my favorite by far.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I thought The Art of Racing in the Rain was a great read. Of course, I knew it would tug at my pet lover’s heartstrings, so I kind of read it with my guard up. Besides the thoughts and actions of the pup Enzo, there’s also drama and illness within the main characters. Along with Enzo’s love for the family, the reader sees Denny, the main character, do whatever it takes to help his family.

To be honest, it did take me some time to get used to reading from the point of view of the dog…as he has some random thoughts, but once I continued reading, I didn’t find it distracting anymore. I had a friend ask if the ending was sad, and well, as a reader, you are there for Enzo’s journey through life. Therefore, I tried to prepare myself and I left the book feeling what I already know: dogs know what their owners need and are unselfish with their time here on Earth. I’d definitely recommend this book, and I’m curious how the movie is in comparison.

The Mother-in-Law

I had been on the library wait list for The Mother-in-Law for quite some time. When it arrived, I read it in a few days. I’ve read at least one other book by Sally Hepworth: The Family Next Door, and this book had the same vibe. All of the characters’ relationships with the main character Diana are different and the reader sees those relationships evolve throughout the story. Like most families, the connections and relationships are complicated and when money is involved, those relationships become even more complicated. It was definitely a good read with an unexpected (in my opinion) twist.

Bread & Wine

This book was suggested by one of the book clubs I’m in (but failingto attend). I’d never heard of it before, but I will go out on a limb and say that it’s a book that was life changing for me as I now view friendship, food, and faith in a different way.

I know food can bring people together whether it’s making a feast of appetizers for the Super Bowl, baking cookies to welcome a new neighbor, or bringing soup to a sick friend. But…the way the author, Shauna Niequist, weaves the importance of food to build relationships, soothe the soul during the ups and downs of life, or offer condolences to a friend was so powerful. Her reminder of the meaning and importance of communion while forgiving sins was also so heartfelt and inspiring.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book included:

(On making changes in your life…) “Healthy people in your life will respect those (choices). And the unhealthy people in your life will freak out, because you’re making a healthy choice they’re not currently free to make. Don’t for one second let that stop you.”

(In regards to parenting…) “It’s our job to let them grow up, to let them become big and smart and grown-up, but it’s so tempting to keep them little forever, or at least to try.”

“That’s what shame does, though. It whispers to us that everyone is as obsessed with our failings as we are…”

“When you offer peace instead of division, when you offer faith instead of fear, when you offer someone a place at your table instead of keeping them out because they’re different or messy or wrong somehow, you represent the heart of Christ.”

“We live in a world that values us for how fast we go, for how much we accomplish, for how much life we can pack into one day. But I’m coming to believe it’s in the in-between spaces that our lives change, and that the real beauty lies there.”

And I could go on. And on. And on.

This book provided an inspiring and positive outlook on life, food, relationships, and faith. I purchased it on my Kindle, and that’s my only regret. I wish I had a hardback copy to keep on hand as I know it’s one of those books I would turn to throughout my life in good times and in bad….and I know I’d make a recipe or two! (She shares so many good ones!)

Can you tell which book was my favorite this month? πŸ˜‰

You’ve Been Volunteered

When Laurie Gelman wrote her first book, Class Mom, I couldn’t wait to read it…and I loved it! The main character is named Jen, from Kansas City, and she’s very sarcastic. What’s not to love?! #itcouldhavebeenme When friends ask me what humorous book I would suggest, I always mention Class Mom.

So, needless to say, I was so excited to see that Gelman had written a second book titled You’ve Been Volunteered that I immediately requested it from the library. After a month or so on the waitlist, I finally picked up a copy of it a couple of weeks ago and read it pretty quickly. Jen’s son Max is now in third grade, and she’s class mom again. Her emails are hilarious, and some had me laughing out loud. In this plot, there’s still some family drama and her older daughters need some of her attention as she tries to juggle their needs with the needs of her aging parents. I didn’t find this book as good as Class Mom, but I would still recommend it…I just thought there were some random plot elements that seemed odd. Where I’d say Class Mom was a 10/10, this one is more like 7.5/10.

After movie night on Friday, followed by a late dinner and even later bedtime, I peeked into Hadley’s room and found her reading her newest Babysitters Club book, Boy Crazy Stacey that she bought at the book fair. Some of the BSC books have now been turned into graphic novels which has been perfect for Hadley. My two proudest accomplishments with my kids are the fact that they are generally kind and that they love to read. #myworkhereisdone right?!

I hope you enjoy at least one of these books. What have you been reading lately?

Happy reading.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Books and Shows

Vacation Reads

I read five books while on vacation…and loved them all.

I started reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand right before we left for vacation. I’ve read a few of her books, and it was what I expected in terms of the setting and the plot. Twin sisters that had been estranged for years were brought back together after a death in the family. One sister lived in Nantucket while the other lived on Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, since they are twins, that adds to the events of the plot along with other family drama. I paused this book halfway through to move on to The Silent Patient not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but it was a slower read for me. I wrapped up reading it after finishing The Silent Patient. It was definitely a great vacation read.

Perfect beach read.

The next book I read was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I read this book in two days as it gripped my interest from the first page. I’m a huge fan of thrillers as long as I have all the lights on or am reading in the daylight! I had heard a lot of hype about this one, and it definitely lived up to it. The main character, Alicia Berenson, killed her husband and it’s up to the psychotherapist to get her to hopefully open up and talk. The ending was definitely thriller-worthy and full of twists.

Page turner!

My love for suspenseful novels continued with my next read, The Breakdown, by B.A. Paris. I’ve also read Bring Me Back and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, and I’m a huge fan. This book had me feeling sympathetic for the main character, Cass, as it seemed she had no one to turn to while feeling guilt-ridden after being the last person to see Jane alive on her drive home. Also, with a family history of dementia, she was genuinely concerned that she was suffering the way her mother had. Also, she received numerous silent phone calls which also led to her feelings of madness. I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting the other characters to have such an impact on the plot, and I was definitely pleased with the ending.

I’m a huge fan of B.A. Paris books.

The next book I read was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Now, talk about hype. I’ve been hearing about this book for quite some time, and I almost felt like I was hearing so much about it that it made me not want to read it. Once summer arrived, and I had more time to read, I requested it from the public library. Well, apparently I’d have to wait as at least 200 other people were in the queue too! So many people told me I should buy it or borrow it, so I borrowed it (thanks to my friend Amy!) Let me just say I know most everyone has really enjoyed this read, but I didn’t want it to end…I pretty much fell in love with this book, and it has been awhile since I have fallen in love with a read.

First of all, there was a To Kill a Mockingbird feel to this book, and TKAM is one of all time favorite reads. (What kind of English teacher would I be if I didn’t love To Kill a Mockingbird?! Hello! I named my dog Scout! πŸ™‚ I loved the setting of North Carolina, so the masterful way the small town mixed with the swamp and marsh was described kept me wanting to read more. The world can be so cruel, and it is up to us to make choices on how to navigate the ups and downs of life, and Kya did just that. Mix in a murder and trial, and I’m sold.

I had about 50 pages to go and was up late reading, and I thought about cranking it out because of course I wanted to know how it ended…but often times, if I’m reading a book I love, I actually don’t want it to end. So, I went to bed looking forward to waking up and reading the end. I wasn’t disappointed, but dang, did I feel my heartstrings being pulled. I love the William Feather quote, “Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend.” Kya felt like my friend, one who I had some things in common with like enjoying solitude and doing whatever it takes to get through the tough times in life. This is a book I will remember forever, and certainly in my top five books I’ve read in my life. Run, don’t walk, to read this book. Even if you don’t love it like I do, I know you will connect with it on some level.

Simply put: a masterpiece

I wrapped up vacation reading Verity by Colleen Hoover. I’ve also read It Ends with Us and All Your Perfects by her as well. Verity was recommended by a book club I’ve joined (but haven’t yet met most of the people in it…haha). I started this book the last morning of vacation, read fifty percent of it on the plane ride home, and then finished within the next two days. It really was a book that could also be labeled a page turner. I actually thought the beginning was rather slow, but the plot definitely picked up the pace and kept my attention until the very end. Verity is the name of an author who can’t finish writing the rest of her series of books, so Lowen (Low) is hired to do so. This means she has to move in to Verity’s house for awhile, work in Verity’s office while also meeting her family. Their family has been struck with tragedy many times, so the reader is aware that Low should have her guard up. Low definitely ends up second guessing her own mental state while interacting with the family, meeting Verity, and living in the house. **Warning** this book would be deemed R rated in some parts. This book was full of twists and turns and most certainly a good way to wrap up my vacation reading.

Verity vs Low in this page turner

I have one more book that I’m hoping to get read before school starts back, and that’s The Art of Racing in the Rain. I know the movie is coming out soon, and I’ve been meaning to read this for awhile…plus, with my love for dogs, I know it’s a “must read” for me.

Hopefully one (or more!) of these books will be of interest to you! Happy reading.