Kindle Book Deals | 3/10/19

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There are so many great Kindle Book Deals today! And if you haven’t read The Dream Daughter, you must! It was one of my very favorite books of 2018. Diane Chamberlain is an amazing storyteller and this one was so unique and engaging!

How to Walk Away and The Dinner List are perfect weekend reading books and I have heard great things about Milkman.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

The Dinner List by  Rebecca Serle

Milkman: A Novel by Anna Burns


If you find any other great deal, I would love to hear! <3

I’m Fine and Neither Are You | Camille Pagan | Amazon First Reads | Book Review

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I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagan was my Amazon First Reads March 2019 book selection.

“Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?”


I have always loved Camille Pagan’s relatable storytelling and this newest release is no different. I connected so much with the storyline of being a mom, wife, and friend. All of these things are wonderful and they can also feel so incredibly hard. The endless demands of parenthood, the amount of work it takes to keep a marriage humming along and also keeping up with the expectations of work can sometimes feel completely overwhelming.

When you add in friendships that can sometimes make you wonder “why does this feel so hard when everyone around me makes it look so easy?” it can be an easy path to thinking there is something wrong with you.

The thing is though, these things are hard for everyone in different ways, and we sometimes have no idea what is really going on behind the scenes. What someone presents isn’t always the reality and sometimes the people that have these “picture-perfect” lives need us more than we think.

“It takes courage to be yourself when everyone expects you to be someone else.”

I’m Fine and Neither Are You takes on some heavy topics including substance abuse, loss, family dynamics, infidelity, the struggles of long term relationships and finding your voice, all while being a completely engaging read. It was messy and real and this was the perfect book for me this week.

I highly recommend this book and if you want to check it out, it is the perfect time to do so. It is one of the March 2019 Amazon First Reads book selection which means that you can get a Kindle copy for FREE if you are a Prime member (or 1.99 if you are not) and/or the hardcopy version for $9.99.  It’s a great way to learn about new authors and try a new genre.


Have you read a Camille Pagan book before? I would love to know your thoughts!

Wednesday Randomness | What’s in my bag…

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Last October I shared a “what’s in my bag” post on my Instagram page. As you can see, not that much as changed…I do wonder where all my hair ties went though! They must have been replaced by my barre socks. 😉

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I love seeing little peeks into someone’s daily life and things like this are just so intriguing to me. I have very specific patterns and routines and I think a lot of this is because of my personality.

I am an “if it isn’t broken I don’t fix it” kind of person. I don’t get new purses, or wallets when the season changes and I don’t change my lipstick color or haircut style on a whim. If it works for me, I keep doing it the same way. And I am sure this has its pluses and minuses like everything!

I find consistency very soothing and I struggle when things are in too much of a transition. I will replace things if they stop working for me or break…for instance, my Kindle cover is updated because the fabric on my old cover starting unraveling but I have had my wallet for 12 years and I see no reason to change it because it works.


So here are some of the things that are currently in my bag…

I always have a water bottle with me, I will get out of my car and go back inside if I forget one, every time. I love the Contigo stainless steel water bottles. They don’t leak and I love the way the spout works with the little button because you can drink it with one hand.

I have always labeled all the kid’s things with Mabel’s Labels and after misplacing a few things myself this past year, I have started using them on my items. They always have great sales and they are the most adhesive and durable name stickers I have found. I always get them just with our last name (this might not work if your last name is more common) and that way any of us can use them and I put them on EVERYTHING! Coats, water bottles, Tupperware containers, and baseball bats…they work on almost any material.

I always have my planner with me and I am a paper planner person all the way.  I love the size of these planners because it is easy to fit but still has enough room to write everything I need to plan for.

I always have way too many tinted lip balms in my bag. I use the Burt’s Bees kind in either red dahlia or the rose color. They add the perfect amount of moisture and color and I never go anywhere without them! I am also a huge fan of the Beautycounter sheer lipsticks. My favorite color is orchid and my more neutral go to is current. They have the perfect pop of color and have great staying power while still being moisturizing.

I love the Acorelle roll-on perfume in the “anti-stress” divine orchid scent. Although I am not sure it actually de-stresses me, I love the way it smells.

Because barre is my workout of choice, I have many pairs of sticky socks! I always have an assortment with me either in my bag or roaming around my car. I love the Valentine’s Day collection the most every year and always get excited to get a new pair of heart socks.

My Defiant rechargeable flashlight and phone charger is a newer addition and I love having the extra backup, especially when driving around in the winter. You can charge it with a USB cord which makes it super easy.

I have the best intentions with my handbag organizer but you have to actually utilize all the pockets or else it just becomes a pit of things just like a regular purse. But when I do actually use it like it is intended, it works so well! See below…


Alright, that is all for today! I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday! <3

 

 

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…A New Photography Workshop, Green Tea & Thin Mints

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Hello! How is your week going? I always feel like the week after school break feels like a constant cycle of catch up. We are also heading into our busy season with work which means we have a lot of things coming up to plan for which is exciting and also a little nervewracking. I find the anticipation of something always much with stressful than the actual events so I just need to remember that. 🙂

We are teaching our intermediate photography class this weekend which is always so much fun and I can’t wait to see everyone again! We are also teaching another Your Life Your Memories class in April since our last one was very successful!

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It also inspired me to get caught up on my photo printing and I can’t wait for my Chatbooks order to arrive in the mail!! If you haven’t taken advantage of the discount code yet you should before it expires this week! It is code BOOKWORM for $10 off your first Chatbooks order. You can find more info HERE.


Currently listening to…

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On a semi-controversial note… I used my March Audible credit to get Girl, Stop Apologizing. Now, in all honesty, I struggle a lot with some of the actions Hollis has taken during the last year since her first book was released. I understand the controversy and have really had a change of heart about my initial (more positive)feelings I had when I read her first book, Girl, Wash Your Face at the beginning of 2018.

I did find Girl, Wash Your Face to have some inspiring moments (and some that made me cringe) but it was also written before she had the social media empire she has today. I loved how her book talked about not caring so much about what other people think, setting and working hard for your goals and not canceling on your own self-care.

Unfortunately, once I started following her on social media, this all felt like a total scam. The idea that we can all have the “American Dream” if we just work hard, is so unbelievably out of touch if privileges are not accounted for first…

It is absolutely unfair to say that you can have her “lifestyle” by working “hard” when so so many people juggle so much and are barely making it by. Are they just not working hard enough? No. I think you can still share advice but I think having some perspective is necessary. She also sets up this idea that nothing is ever enough, and we should always be striving for more which I think is a very dark path to follow.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting big dreams for yourself, but I also disagree with some of the ways she is getting herself there…These articles summarize some of my feelings in a much more eloquent way than I could so check them out if you are interested…

Girl, Get Some Footnotes: Rachel Hollis, Hustle and Plagiarism Problems 

Influencer Rachel Hollis Is Facing Accusations She is Plagiarising On Her Instagram

I am going to listen to this out of curiosity and also to have my own impression of her book. I try very hard to review books with an open mind but I also will be looking at this book through a different lens now. I hope to report back soon with my thoughts on this book.


Currently drinking…

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So much green tea! I love having caffeine all day but I am really trying to limit my coffee drinking to just the morning time…which is a work in progress. 😉 I love drinking warm tea this time of year and it is just such a cozy routine, especially when I am working from home.

Currently eating…

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Every year I say I am not going to buy them and then they appear at our house at the end of February… I am a thin mints lover and they are even better when you eat them right from the freezer. What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

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On a more healthy note…I recently became a subscriber of Care Of Vitamins. Yes, I have totally listened to way too many podcasts lately because their advertisements totally worked on me…and their $40 off your first order was a big incentive to try it out.

I am a huge vitamin lover but I also struggle with them always running out at different times and the number of bottles in my fridge is a little out of control! This is the perfect alternative for me and I loved that I was able to personalize the vitamins to my needs. I now have a monthly delivery that includes a multivitamin, probiotics, omegas and more. They will be perfect to travel with and although I love my AM/PM vitamin container but I won’t miss lugging it around in my carry on baggage. 😉

I will report back in a couple of months and share if I am still loving them!


 

Reading on a Budget | Kindle Book Deals & Amazon First Reads

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I love reading but it also is a habit that can add up quickly if you are buying all the books you are reading each month. Although I do love to buy books, I really try to be selective about what I actually buy, both for cost reasons and also because I really only want to have books in my personal collection that I truly loved.

I do a lot of research into the books I read and I am also a huge library book reader, both hard copy books and e-books through the Libby App. This allows me to read things without worrying about the guilt of buying it and then not always loving it. And when I do love it, I buy a copy and then have it to read again or share with my other book-loving friends.

I also love to find e-book deals online. One of my favorite things is to search for Kindle Book Deals over my morning coffee.  It gives me the greatest thrill when I find a book that has been on my TBR list and I like to share these on my Instagram stories so I can share the love.

Last year I learned about Amazon First Reads. It is a program that allows you early access to new book releases as a prime member.

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You are able to choose one e-book out of the six choices each month, for free! They are broken down by genre and it is a fun way to learn about new authors and have access to titles you might not have known about otherwise. Once you get the e-book it is yours to keep, so even if you don’t read it that month, it will be on your device when you are reading to read it.

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This month I chose I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagan who I have enjoyed reading in the past. Have you used Amazon First Reads? I would love to know your thoughts! <3

 

 

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

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Good morning! We are at the tail end of our week off from school and everyone survived! I didn’t get half of the things done that I had hoped to…but we had fun, visited with a lot of friends and got outside, despite the pretty frigid temperatures.

Today I am excited to introduce you to my future sister-in-law, Antonia! Antonia is a huge book fan and I always love hearing what she is reading. She is also a huge Harry Potter fan and has been reading the illustrated version with our older son and he looks forward to this time so much! She loves using the Libby App and our local library too and so it is always fun to compare notes on what we are both reading. I hope you enjoy learning more about Antonia today!

Introduction:
Hi! My name is Antonia, and I live in Charlotte, Vermont with my fiance, Derek, and our (almost) four-year-old pup, Mateo. I work as an Intensive Special Needs Special Educator in a local elementary school, and I really, really love my job. Some days can be long and challenging, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I recently graduated with a master’s degree in Intensive Special Education and didn’t have much extra time to read for pleasure during those two years, but I did spend a lot of my time reading textbooks and articles! Now that I am no longer in school, I love to spend my time running, taking Mateo for walks, spending time with my family and friends, and reading as much as I can!

For me, reading is part of my daily routine. I read every evening and night before I go to sleep. I have always loved to read. In college, I majored in English and got my license to teach high school English (which is always what I thought I’d do until I found myself in the special education world!). Because I loved reading and literature so much, my English classes never felt like work. I loved the range of English classes that my college offered, and enjoyed the conversations that came from the books that we were reading. Since I don’t have classmates to talk about the books I’m reading with, my fiance tends to be the recipient of the conversations, whether he is interested or not!

What is on your nightstand for books?
First and foremost, Harry Potter is on my nightstand and is ALWAYS on my nightstand. I’m sure that some of you are rolling your eyes at me, but I absolutely love the whole series. I don’t have a favorite of the seven books because I honestly feel that J.K. Rowling did such an amazing job telling one complete story, and each of the books was an important piece of it. I tend to read the series about once each year, and every time I do there are new things that I pick up on. I find it amazing that she knew exactly what she was going to write in book seven when she was writing book one, and that she was able to create this world that felt so believable, even though it is simultaneously so unbelievable. Her underlying themes of equality, love, and trust make this series so applicable to our world today. I could go on forever about Harry Potter, but that is not the only book on my nightstand so I will move on!

I currently have Ghosted, by Rosie Walsh in my pile of books that I am reading. It starts as a love story and turns into more of a mystery when one of the characters disappears. I’m still getting into this one, but I am hopeful for an exciting ending! I also just added More Than Words, by Jill Santopolo to my nightstand. I am excited to start this book, which seems to be a part love story and part tale of self-discovery. This book seems like it will be a quick and engaging read.

The book I am spending most of my time reading is The Cases That Haunt Us, by John Douglass. This is a book that I borrowed from my best friend’s dad, who used to be a Police Chief. This book contains stories of six of the most famous unsolved mysteries. I can’t put it down! If you are a fan of “true crime” I highly recommend this, and any other book written by John Douglass.

What is on your Kindle?
Currently, on my Kindle, I have Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty. This was definitely an interesting read. It took a couple of turns that I wasn’t expecting, but I wouldn’t consider it a mystery or thriller. It is about the experience of nine strangers who go to a health retreat that uses some questionable techniques with their clients. I am currently reading All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda, which so far I am really enjoying. It is a pretty standard mystery about two girls going missing ten years apart from the same town. It is definitely keeping my interest and has me excited for what will happen next! I just finished Beartown, by Fredrik Backman and I absolutely LOVED it! The story is about a small town that loves hockey more than anything, and how that impacts the culture and the expectations that the town has for the boys who play. Even if you are not interested in sports, I highly recommend this book.

What are you listening to?
I am not yet listening to any podcasts. I do have about an hour commute to work, so it is probably something I will start doing in the near future!

What else is on your nightstand?
In addition to the books on my nightstand, I always keep my lip balm. I am currently using an EOS mint flavored one. Every night before I get in bed to read I spray an aromatherapy pillow spray on all of our pillows. It has a eucalyptus scent that I now associate with relaxation and falling asleep! I also keep a framed photograph of Derek and I the day we got engaged because it was the best day and I love having that memory close. I also keep a rosewood scented candle and rose lotion there at all times. Finally, I am a big tea drinker (mint is my favorite!), so I keep a coaster on my nightstand, which I use almost daily.


Thank you so much for sharing today, Antonia! <3

Lovely Little Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly | Sourcebooks | Book Review

Lovely Little Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly

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Book Summary:

“It is the wrong time to get sick. Speeding down the highway on the way to work, her two little girls sleeping in the back seat, medical resident Claire Rawlings doesn’t have time for the nausea overtaking her. But as the world tilts sideways, she pulls into a gas station, runs to the bathroom, and passes out. When she wakes up minutes later, her car―and her daughters―are gone.

The police have no leads, and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.

As hopeful and uplifting as it is devastating, Little Lovely Things is the story of a family shattered by unthinkable tragedy, and the unexpected intersection of heartbreak and hope.”

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My review:

Wow! Little Lovely Things is an amazing debut novel by Maureen Joyce Connolly. This book was absolutely heartbreaking, especially reading it as a parent. It was hard to read at times and it wouldn’t normally be a topic that I would choose. As upsetting as some of it was, Connolly’s storytelling was amazingly powerful and I am so glad I stuck with it. Her ability to build such detailed characters allows you to actually take on not only the perspectives of these grieving parents but also the kidnappers.

Amongst this families heartbreak, you are able to see the struggle of what becomes of a family that is torn apart, persistence and resilience in the face of the unknown and just how much of a difference a stranger’s help can make. There is so much emotion in this artfully told story and I look forward to reading much more of Connolly’s writing in the future.

A big thank you to Sourcebooks, Maureen Joyce Connolly and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.