What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Emily

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Good morning! I am excited to introduce to you to my friend Emily, today! Emily and I talk regularly about books and I always love her wonderful insight. She should have a book blog because her reviews are always super in depth and she always is able to look at things from different perspectives. She is truly one of the most empathetic and understanding people I know which makes so much sense when you learn about the work she does. I hope you enjoy hearing what is on her nightstand, today.

The Nightstand Series Intro:
Hi, I’m Emily! I moved from Vermont to San Diego about seven months ago to join my husband who is stationed at Miramar…and, to be honest, I really haven’t missed the snow all that much (yet)! This past May I graduated with a Master’s in School Counseling and due to the move I haven’t had the opportunity to land a dreamy job (another yet!); but oh how I miss the deep conversations and connections that were fostered throughout my Master’s program. This is where reading comes in! Over the past year, I have completely indulged in reading and expanding my reading interests. It really has been delightful and I value the thought expansions, conversations, and challenges (or simply entertainment) that are gifted with each read. Much thanks to you, Gen! You have greatly impacted my reading journey!
What’s on my nightstand for books:

 

I am currently reading this book (I am about three-quarters of the way in) and I must admit that it is falling short for me thus far. I find the setup of the story to be confusing and challenging to keep up; it is set up as if I sneakily peeked at the end of the book and then began to read backward. The first chapter is being told at the current time of 5:00pm, the second goes back to 4:00pm, then 3:00pm, and so on. However, I am holding out hope that the story will wrap itself up in the end and that I will find appreciation within its pages. Here is what I can appreciate so far: 1) The topic of abortion is prominent to our culture, 2) The idea that although individuals (or groups) may have two completely opposing views, there are ways to find commonality and kindness. Sometimes I think in the middle of all arguments there exists a common goal with different perspectives that hinder our ability to see the picture as a whole. 3) Respect for this author. Picoult constantly dives into work where difficult topics are dissected and somehow she challenges my brain to find compassion in areas in which I never thought possible.

 

Okay, here’s where I need to take a detour. I’m a avid book gifter / lender / leave-a-book-with-a-friend-in-hopes-they-read-it-and gain-from-it-kind of person. So, I have a lot of favorite books that are seemingly “missing” from my nightstand that I would love to share with you!

 

This is a book that belongs on everyone’s shelf! The depth of vulnerability, acceptance, courage, and forgiveness (both of self and of others) was humbling. Doyle does not “preach” about how life “should” be lived or what the meaning is behind everything, rather she offers empathy for the struggles in which we all face in this world. She does not “push” religion onto you, rather offers insight on how she has invited religion into her own experiences throughout her life. She does not try to explain away the “whys” of her behaviors, rather she opens up to share honesty, vulnerability, and space for others to relate without judgment. This is a fluid, beautiful, raw, and original book that all souls can relate to. I adore this book so much that I can’t even remember who has my copy right now and have bought many copies to gift to loved ones!

 

This novel sent vulnerable shivers through my spine, tears to my eyes, warmth to my heart, and completely blew my mind. We so often hear the world’s events through the perspective of adults and this refreshing perspective on trauma through a young child’s existence was powerful. Navin aided in my understanding (or growth of understanding) of how young minds view and adapt the world and the experiences in which they endure. I admire the youth, their minds, imagination, and resiliency. This novel beautifully illustrates them all.

 

A perspective-changing, must-read while we are in this time of our lives where the topic/issues of race, minority status, privileged status, equality, etc. are so very prominent. As a whole, we need to be better at “leaning into” areas of discomfort and seeking out understanding of others. It is not about who is right or wrong; it is about really listening, practicing empathy, and shredding the layers of defensiveness that we may carry with us on our journey of interactions with others and view of life. Dare to not just step outside of your comfort zone, but to expand its boundaries.

 

This was a recommendation from Gen! My heart has never been so moved by a book! I was thrown back into what the beginning of finding your true love/person/ whole being felt like. Those teenage years where everything romantic is so new, fresh, exciting, scary, and tingly; what it is like to reconnect with your person after missing them for so long.
Lauren captured what true love can look like, through the good and the not-so-good. Forgiveness, growth, time and vulnerability are such prominent aspects of living. She perfectly illustrates that life and love are all about taking chances and trusting yourself; that true happiness and fulfillment doesn’t exist by settling. I am in love with this book and for all the emotional waves that came with it.

 

In addition to these, I am a mystery/thriller junkie and absolutely love anything by Harlen Coben, The Lies We Told by Camilla Way, An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, and the Amos Decker series by David Baldacci… just to name a few 🙂

 

What else is on my nightstand:
Pictures of loved ones and happy moments; I absolutely love going to bed looking at the smiling faces, happy memories, and just feeling close to my people…especially after moving across the country!

 

BODY BUTTER! I cannot and will not go to sleep without massaging this body butter into the heels of my feet and into my hands. “Ugh” to dry skin problems.

 

I also am always drinking water and am absolutely a sucker for corny/funny coasters. We must find ways to relieve ourselves from all the “seriousness” of life! (I also have an unhealthy collection of coffee mugs like this which drives my husband bonkers)!
Xo

Thank you SO much for sharing, Emily! I hope this gives you all some great reading inspiration, I know it did for me. <3

Wednesday Randomness | Podcast Recommendations by Category

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Welcome back to Wednesday Randomness! I took a little hiatus for the last few weeks with the holidays and then a snow day for the kids last week, but I am back…

Today I am discussing my favorite podcasts. I love having something to listen to but I am not a huge fan of listening to music. I do a lot of driving during the school and work week and podcasts are one of the ways I fill up that time as well as listening to audiobooks. I also listen to podcasts around our house when I am cooking or cleaning and it always makes that time so much more enjoyable.

One of the best ways I have learned about new podcasts is from my friend’s suggestions and so I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorites with you!


Reading Podcasts:

Bad on Paper

Bad books and good advice from two questionably young adults. Join 30-something YA enthusiasts Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman every other week for a book club featuring a young adult title that they promise you won’t be able to put down. In between, they’ll share their best tips for “adulting” helping you do everything from finding the right career to the perfect face serum.

Bad on Paper is super enjoyable to me because I like listening to Becca and Grace’s banter about books and their daily lives. Grace is an avid reader and has a great section of her blog that is dedicated to reading and her book reviews. You can see that here. They also just started having some really interesting guests on their podcast and I love the mix of topics.

What Should I Read Next?

What Should I Read Next? is the show for every reader who has ever finished a book and faced the problem of not knowing what to read next. Each week, Anne Bogel, of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy, interviews a reader about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they’re reading now. Then, she makes recommendations about what to read next. The real purpose of the show is to help YOU find your next read.

Anne Bogel is widely known in the reading world for both her book lists. Her podcast gives great book recommendations and she is just so wonderful to listen to.

Mom’s Don’t Have Time To Read

Zibby Owen’s podcast Mom’s Don’t Have Time To Read is one of my new favorites. She has authors as her guests and I love hearing their conversations which are always just fascinating! I just listened to her episodes with Delia Owens and Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen and I learned so much not just about their books but also their writing processes and collaborations.


News, Money & Special Topics Podcasts:

Forever 35

Kate and Doree are two friends who love to text each other about serums. On Forever35, they talk about sheet masks, serums, exercise, nutrition, meditation, anxiety and stress, Kate’s favorite drugstore mascara, Doree’s addiction to restorative yoga, and much more. And explore how it all takes on new meaning as they age. Plus, each episode features an amazing guest talking about their own self-care routines, plus tips, product recommendations, advice, experiments, and most importantly: LOLS! 

I have been listening to this podcast since the beginning and I enjoy the variety of topics Kate and Doree cover. It feels like catching up with an old friend and I especially enjoy their mini-episodes so much because they cover everyday tips and also answer listener questions.

Up First

The news can be overwhelming, especially lately. I love this small dose that you can easily consume in less than 15 minutes. It covers important US and World topics that are timely and pertinent so you can feel “up to date” without falling into the rabbit hole the endless news cycle.

Death, Sex and Money

Death, Sex and Money is an interview-style podcast hosted by Anna Sale that discusses the big questions “often left out of polite conversation.” Sale’s episodes are thought-provoking and include timely topics that are vulnerable and also so important to normalize and discuss.

Jill on Money

Host Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, tackles sometimes uncomfortable and even controversial money and investing issues, without the financial jargon, to get to the heart of what’s important for anyone to know. Jill takes listener phone calls and interviews informative and entertaining guests each week to uncover surprising insights and provide actionable information so you can make the most of your money.

I love Jill’s practical financial advice and I especially love when she takes listeners phone calls. I have learned so much from this podcast from financial planning to college savings and I highly recommend it.


Parenting Podcasts:

The Longest Shortest Time

Stories about the surprises and absurdities of raising other humans—and being raised by them. The Longest Shortest Time is an award-winning podcast about parenthood in all of its forms. But you don’t need to be a parent to listen.

I have listened to this podcast for years and it has some of the most honest discussions about parenting and I have always found it super relatable…especially the earlier episodes about Hillary’s own transition into new motherhood. The new host, Andrea, is wonderful too and she covers a wide variety of topics pertaining to parenting.

The Best of Both Worlds 

Love your career? Love your family? Best of Both Worlds is the show for you! Hosts Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It and a mom of four, and Sarah Hart-Unger, a practicing physician and mom of three discuss work/life balance, career development, parenting, time management, productivity, and making time for fun. Tune in each week for strategies to help you thrive in all spheres of life.

I have listened to every single episode of this podcast and I just enjoy it so much. I love their conversations about being working parents while still fitting in their own activities. They are positive and proactive about the challenges of raising a family while also having a career and I love that they look at the plus sides of having a career while also sharing honest advice about the things they do in their families about making it manageable (which often means they don’t do it all). They have very interesting guests that also share their own stories of motherhood in the workforce and how they “make it work” in their families. I love hearing about logistics so this one really works for me!

The Mom Hour

The most fun you’ve ever had with two moms you’ve never met. Co-hosts Meagan Francis and Sarah Powers have eight kids between them, preschool to teen. Weekly conversations offer practical tips and real-life encouragement for moms who want to enjoy motherhood more, and cut back on comparison, worry, and stress. We’re not experts, we’re moms who’ve been there. We’re not perfect, we’re real. Welcome to The Mom Hour.

This podcast is super relatable and I love that they have the perspective of having kids that are at such different ages and stages. They don’t sweat the small stuff and I always learn so much from their great and very pratical parenting advice.


Kid-friendly Podcasts:

But Why

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.

Our boys love this show and I do too! We have learned so much and also enjoy that is produced right here in Vermont. Kids call in with questions and they get the answers from experts in those fields…We listen in the car and it is a great way to help have a smooth and peaceful car ride.

Brains On

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions and go wherever the answers take us.

This is another kid questions based show and we enjoy this one too! The questions are more STEM based and answer so many of those questions that your kids ask and you go…”ummmmm?”

The Reading Bug

Let’s Fly! Reading Bug Adventures is a story podcast for kids from The Reading Bug. Each episode is a new adventure — just hop into the Reading Bug’s magic book bag, and we’ll be transported to whatever time or place is in the books inside! Join us to explore new books, new concepts and new worlds, and bring your crayons and paper along so you can color your own illustrations. Reading Bug Adventures is created, written, and produced by The Reading Bug, an independent, family-owned children’s bookstore in Northern California

Our kids love this podcast and I think it really connects with a fairly wide range of ages..our boys are 6 & 8 and I can see this also being a great fit for kids that are preschoolers and up. The stories are fun and the music is very engaging.  It also has a time where kids can reflect and color which we haven’t tried because we listen in the car but I thought it was a great idea.


True Crime Podcasts:

A Killing on the Cape

It was a crime that rocked an idyllic seaside town in Cape Cod — the 2002 murder of Christa Worthington, who was found stabbed to death with her 2-year-old daughter, unharmed at her side. What came next was a three-year search for her killer that would involve unorthodox steps by police, a lengthy list of potential suspects, and an entire town under suspicion. Christa’s trash collector, Christopher McCowen, would eventually be convicted of the crime, but his trial would raise questions about the evidence, investigative methods, and whether racial prejudice played a role. Now, ABC Radio and “20/20” take a look at all the evidence and for the first time ever, hear directly from Christopher McCowen, to examine whether the right man is behind bars.

I listened to this podcast a couple of years ago but it still sticks with me. It is a fairly short series so it’s a great one to binge on and I really hope there is another season at some point!

Broken Harts

Markis, Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Jeremiah, and Sierra Hart—six beautiful black children, ranging in age from 12 to 19—were all adopted by Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both white. On Jen’s Facebook page, it looked as if they were the perfect blended family, even earning the nickname “Hart Tribe” from friends. Then, on March 26, 2018, the family’s GMC Yukon was found belly-up on the rocks below California’s Highway 1. The news of the murder-suicide shocked their friends and made national headlines, leaving many wondering what possibly led to the fatal crash. Could these lives have been saved? Broken Harts, a new podcast from Glamour and HowStuffWorks, investigates this question with more than 30 never-before-heard interviews. Cohosts and Glamour editors Justine Harman and Elisabeth Egan and reporter Lauren Smiley follow the family’s journey from South Dakota through Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington, and finally to that 100-foot cliff in California.

I am currently listening to this podcast and while it is absolutely heartbreaking it also does a great job of looking at so many aspects of this family including foster care, adoption, and race. I am really hoping more people I know listen to this because I would love to discuss it!

Dirty John

Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.

This podcast was super disturbing but I also couldn’t stop listening! It was full of lies and deception and was a great “easy” podcast to get into. There is a show now that is based on this one though I haven’t watched it yet…


Do you have any podcasts that you would recommend? I would love to hear! <3

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Talk | Currently…My Coffee Order, Escape at Dannemora & My Favorite Sweatshirt

Coffee Talk

My Coffee Order:

Good morning! What is your coffee order? I am sipping my regular coffee with half and half right now but if I get coffee out I will almost always get a latte…and I don’t add anything to it unless they have maple syrup and then I just have to!

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I thought it would be fun to do a “what’s going on right now” post so here goes…

What are you listening to?

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I am currently up to date on the Broken Harts podcast and a new one comes out today. It is so tragic but also really great journalism and I am appreciating the full look at this heartbreaking story.

What are you watching?

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I am not watching anything currently but if you haven’t watched Escape at Dannemora, yet, you have to! We watched it over Christmas break and it was so good.

What are you eating?

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Well, I am obviously having a Perfect Bar for breakfast because I am a creature of habit..but last night we made Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) in our instant pot and it was soooo good. We rarely use our instant pot for anything else but it is still worth it because it is amazing! I am hoping to try the sous vide egg bites in there soon and I will keep you updated!

What are you wearing?

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I am so into cowl neck sweatshirts/tunics, they are cozy and are perfect to wear with jeans or yoga pants which really are the things I ever wear. Yay for a job where I can wear casual clothing!

What are you looking forward to?

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We have book club this week and we will be discussing Michelle Obama’s book Becoming! I can’t wait!
 Feel free to join in, I would love to hear your answers! <3

 

 

Happy: A Journal by Fearne Cotton | Journal Review

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From Goodreads.com:

“This book is open, and it’s all about you! It’s a retreat and a safe haven from the stresses of everyday life, a place to work through your problems and confide your worries, fears, and secrets. It offers you a chance to focus on life’s positive aspects and find the things that make you happy.

Each page of this daily journal is filled with new ideas, creative prompts, and words of wisdom that will help you write a little joy into every day of the year. The ideal place to express what’s happening in your life — bitter, sweet, and everything in between — this book promises to be your faithful friend and assist you in finding and unlocking your inner happiness.”


What a little gem! I love the idea of journaling but I struggle with knowing where to start. Happy: The Journal is a guided daily journal with thoughtful prompts to get you writing, reflecting and planning.

I immediately ordered a hard copy of this journal so I could get started. It starts in January and leads you through the year with timely journaling prompts that have a great balance between gratitude, reflection and goal setting. There is an adequate amount of space to write without it feeling overwhelming. This is a great guided journal for someone who wants to get started with daily journaling and I highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley and Dover Publishing for this copy, all opinions are my own.

What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Molly

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Happy Friday everyone! I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Molly, today. She is my first friend to share in my new book sharing series. Molly is the best! She is so smart and I love talking about books with her because she always has great opinions and also likes a wide array of genres. She has the cutest family ever and she seriously is one of the funniest people I know…I also love that she can never have too many books because I am the same way! Alright, Molly is taking over below…enjoy! <3


The Nightstand Series Intro:

Hi, I’m Molly.  I live in Vermont with my husband, two kids ages 4 and 7, and an awesome elderly labradoodle. I work in higher education administration and have always been an avid book fan and reader. I have stacks and stacks I need to read but am always on the hunt for new titles. I recently discovered the Libby library app (thanks to Gen!) and just got my first Kindle, so my reading game has totally changed for the better!

What’s on my nightstand for books:

On my Kindle: On my Kindle, I have downloaded a few books that are up next: The Other Woman, How to Walk Away and a few kids’ novels to read aloud to my daughter. It has been so nice to have access to books at all times since I don’t always have a paper book with me. I am also in love with the Libby app and it has made the most significant change to how often I read since I often will catch chunks of time here and there.

 I like to read on my phone when putting the kids to bed, waiting for appointments, etc. Highly recommend! Not pictured, but also up next, on the Libby app: I am waiting patiently “in line” for The Good Girl, The Breakdown and Then She Was Gone. I’ve been on a bit of a suspense bender!

Hard Copy Books: I always have stacks that I intend to read.  On my nightstand (which is currently a dresser so can accommodate too much stuff!):

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan:  I had read her memoir and loved her style of writing and family relationships.  Definitely, a must read … soon!

One Day in December, The Winters and And Now We Have Everything – all three were recommendations from Gen and other book blogs as well.

What else is on my nightstand: 

Stacks of books to read, my Kindle and a BKR water bottle. I also have an orange & rose hand cream by John Masters, Skin Trip coconut lotion for my dry hands (Vermont winters!), and a few of my very favorite Lunaroma products.  I love their lemon lavender spray and often use it after making the bed or just before sleep. Also pictured in the children’s novel, The Unicorn In the Barn, which we’re reading with my daughter. Highly recommend and great cover!

Not pictured:  my alarm clock!  I discovered it went missing when my kids stole it for their America Ninja Warrior reenactment game  🙂


Thank you SO much for sharing Molly!!

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain | St. Martin’s Press | Book Review

Diane Chamberlain The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

Book Summary:

“When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.”

Publication Date:

October 2nd, 2018

Genre:

Historical Fiction/Family Life Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

The Dream Daughter was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2018 and it did not disappoint. I am a huge Diane Chamberlain fan and always look forward to her new releases. Although I would probably have not chosen a book about time travel otherwise, Chamberlain rarely lets me down.

“Fantasy” kinds of books are not my thing but this was so much more than that. It was a true Diane Chamberlain book with family drama, amazing and relatable characters, all surrounding a story about moral issues. She was able to explore the mother-daughter bond, what makes a family and adoption issues in a new and amazing way.

It had me on the edge of my seat while also constantly making me think “what would I do in this situation?”. You are able to see the story from multiple viewpoints because she does such a wonderful and in-depth presentation of the main characters. This was very different from a lot of her past books with the time-traveling aspect but it stayed true to her roots with the general concept and flow of the book. It ended up being one of my favorites of hers and I have many!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

3rd Grade Book Series | Book Recommendations & Early Reading Discussion

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Do you remember when you fell in love with reading? I think it is easy to look back and feel like reading was always something that I loved but I can’t actually remember the process of learning to read. As a parent to two grade school aged children, we are still in the earlier years of having readers. With our first son, I remember being stressed in kindergarten with him learning how to read. It isn’t a process that comes naturally to everyone and we often worried that he would not love it because it sometimes was such a battle. He loves reading now, but that really didn’t happen until the past couple of years.

The hardest thing for me about parenting is you don’t know in the moment if what you are doing is working. You do your best, but so much of it is trial and error. Now that we have our younger son in kindergarten, we have that perspective that we didn’t have the first time. He will learn how to read, and most likely, he will love it too. We know that just by supporting what he is interested in, reading with him daily and exposing him to books is all we need to be doing right now.

I think it is easier to worry about how you are parenting your first child just because you haven’t done that parenting stage before. Our kids are definitely different in SO many ways but I love knowing that most things will work out with time. And if they don’t, there are so many resources and supports available to help in our schools and community, and we are so lucky to have that.

Our 8 year old is an early riser like me and often helps me with reading kids book on NetGalley and giving his feedback for my reviews. He recently decided it would be fun to recap his favorite books from last year. 2018 was the first year where he really wanted to read independently and he has really gotten into some book series from the town and school library.  He has been keeping track of his favorites and we thought it would be fun to share on here because I know it is always helpful to have some recommendations for different ages and stages of reading.

Dog Man by Dave Pilkey

The Flying Beaver Brothers by Maxwell Eaton III

The 39 Clues by Rich Riordan

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John

The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey

The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Winning Season (The Roar of the Crowd) by Rich Wallace

The Contract by Derek Jeter

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood | St. Martin’s Press | Book Review

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Keeping Lucy by  T. Greenwood

Book Summary:

“From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter. 

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on. 

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.”

Publication Date:

August 6th, 2019

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

My Review:

Wow! After reading a few books that were just “okay” I was feeling like I was in a little bit of a reading rut during these last few weeks. I started Keeping Lucy with high hopes and it was everything I hoped it would be. It was my first book by T. Greenwood and certainly won’t be my last.

I was immediately drawn into this story and the characters. Greenwood’s storytelling was wonderful and her attention to detail made me easily picture the scenes and the amazingly well-developed characters that were based in the 1960s and early 1970s. I have been wanting to read a book that just captivated me and this one did from the start.

I felt emotionally connected to the characters and was rooting for them all in different ways. Within the very powerful main storyline (that was based on real events) were smaller ones that also were very timely and powerful in their own right. Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, the last 1960s were shockingly different in many ways and I was impressed at how Greenwood could bring me there with such vividness in her writing.

This book was filled with themes of fear, persistence, friendship, hope and the most wonderful thing of all, the power that we can all learn and change. The ending of the book all came together for me in a very satisfying way and I was sad it was over which is a sign of a book you really loved.

Thanks to NetGalley, T. Greenwood, and St. Martin’s Press for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest opinions.

What’s On My Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Genevieve

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I have been very inspired by the New Year and I love using it as a reflection time of what worked last year and also what I might like to implement during this next year. I have been thinking that I really would like a regular series on here that show you not just what I am reading and loving but what my some of my friends and reading buddies are up to.

I love seeing what people’s everyday spaces look like. I am not talking about house inspiration in magazines or on Pinterest but really what people’s home look like when they live there. If this is something that fascinates you too then I think you will find this interesting.

I love making book suggestions but I also think it is helpful to see other perspectives and genres and I thought this might be a fun way to do this and also share a little more variety. I am going to share mine below and I have some friends lined up to share in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to be a part of this (and I would love that!!) please send me a message or leave a comment below.


The Nightstand Series Intro:

I am Genevieve and I live in Vermont with my husband, our two sons and our Springer Spaniel named Buzz. I am a photographer for my job and photography is also one of my very favorite hobbies. I have been a reader all of my life but really got back into it again once both of our kids slept through the night a few years ago…I love reading fiction, memoirs, self-help and personal development books the most. I primarily read on my Kindle but I love hard copy books and I will never stop buying them.

What’s on my nightstand for books:

On my Kindle: I am currently reading an advanced reader copy from NetGalley of Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood and I am loving it so far! I am enjoying her writing so much that I took out a copy of her book Rust & Stardust on my Libby App to read next. I always like having a plan for my next book even though it doesn’t always go as planned.

Hard Copy Books: I love to have books on my nightstand. It is a mixture of ones I just love a lot and like to look at (I am looking at you Brene Brown!) and ones I am planning on reading in the next month or so.

A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne. This was was my Book Of The Month selection for November. I got this before I read The Heart’s Invisible Furies and now I want to read it even more. But I also want to wait because I don’t want to compare the two, so I am trying to find the right balance…

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen. I think books like this are so important to help normalize what so many people deal with everyday.  I am so glad there there is so much more awareness of mental health issues now even compared to 5 years ago.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. I read this in December it and it was AMAZING. It is story telling at it’s finest and shares the life of Cyril Avery, both the peaks and the valleys and how life can really come full circle. It was such a satisfying read and is a book that I know I will never forget.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) by Brene Brown. This is one of my very favorite self-help books and it was life changing for me. Brene talks about and vulnerability and so many important things that a lot of people feel but don’t always want to discuss. She is real and honest and has impacted me in such a big way.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and it is the perfect time of year to read it. This will be released at the end of this month in paperback so I am hoping to read it soon so I can do a review!

What else is on my nightstand: 

I wear contacts and hardly ever wear my glasses which I really should be better about. Anyway, I am nearsighted so I mostly just use them to watch TV once we are in bed, and I don’t watch a lot of TV so they are usually just sitting there looking quite dusty…

I have to have a cup of water on my nightstand and it always has to be full before I go to sleep. I love using tumblers and I have had great success with the Simple Modern ones and this Hydroflask one which I found at Homegoods.

I love this table “tray” (I am not sure what else to call it) because it is quite heavy and so it doesn’t slip around at all. It is a great place to put smaller items that would normally fall off and get lost under our bed.

I only take one kind of medicine and for a while I could never remember if I had taken it or not… Finally I realized that that is probably what these weekly pill containers are for (besides just traveling) and all my problems went away. I fill it on Sundays and I have it on my nightstand because I know I will see it as soon as I wake up. I have a terrible memory anyway but I feel like I am the worst in the morning because there is so much to do before we leave for school at 7:30am. Now if only I got that doormat that says “did you turn off your hair straightener?” I would really be all set!

I have already talked on here about my love for Laneige lip balm(or as they call it, a sleeping mask) but i will say it again, this stuff is the best! It lasts forever, doesn’t have a strong flavor and it works so well. I use it every night and I use The Burts Bees tinted lip balm in red dahlia or rose during the day.

My jewelry dish is a soy sauce bowl (I think) but it works great! I like to take my rings and jewelry off when I am cleaning or sleeping so I like to have a specific place I put them because I would definitely lose them otherwise…

I always like to have a spare bookmark because I will totally fold the pages over otherwise and I know that makes some book lovers just cringe!

I hope you enjoyed this random glimpse into my life. <3

My Most Memorable Books from 2018 | Book Recommendations by Genre

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If you are looking for some amazing books to start off your year with, these were some of my very favorites from 2018. I rated all these 5 stars on Goodreads which means that not only did I love them but they stuck with me long after I was done reading. <3

Memoirs:

And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell

Small Animals by Kim Brooks (I listened on Audible)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (I listened on Audible)

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung ( I listened on Audible)


Fiction:

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne


Self-Help/Personal Development:

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero