Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work, Wireless Headphones, Barre Necessity & Fun at the Fair!

currently loving...

Checking-in:

Hello! How is your weekend going? I am sitting down with a big mug of coffee to write this and then I need to finish editing a wedding because we are leaving for MAINE tomorrow!!

Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work!

During my heavy editing season audiobooks get me through the long hours of sitting at the computer. My work is heavily creative so I am able to listen while I work which is amazing! Speaking of audiobooks, I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had this past week which I alternated reading and listening too. I shared more over on Instagram but I think it might be my favorite book ever!

Audible book

 

I also decided to go the Audible route to help finish Red, White & Royal Blue and it is amazing on audio. I am hoping to finish it today. Have you read this yet? It has had some raving reviews and I can see why.

Wireless Headphones for the Win!

I had a lot of DMs about which headphones I have after I posted about them HERE.

I have the Tao Tronic wireless headphones. I got them last year after reading a lot of reviews and not being sure if I wanted to make a huge financial commitment. These are currently on sale for $39 and are awesome! I strongly dislike earbuds(and I can’t get them to stay in my ears) and I don’t care about whether I look cool or not, so they are great!

They have many uses which include listening to audiobooks and tuning out your noisy family. I also wear them at work when I am listening to a true-crime podcast because Kristy is afraid of them, ha! I also love wearing them around the house when I am vacuuming or putting away laundry…it makes the time fly by! I also love that I can listen to something without having my phone right next to me because I get less distracted by it that way.

Busy Season:

This last week has been a lot of tying up loose ends and finished all our work projects before we took a few days off. Summer in Vermont is short but intense and that means photography work here is similar. During the summer we are in a constant cycle of editing, lots of backend communication and sending out galleries and prints, etc. This does not even include all the work Kristy does to take the photos!

I am lucky to work with someone who is so organized because it is a lot to manage. Kristy recently set up whiteboards that look similar to the patient boards they have at hospital nursing stations, and it is fabulous!

Childcare in August…

The last couple of weeks before school usually mean that summer activities have ended and beloved babysitters have headed back to college! This means we did a lot of working with kids this week which is always a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

They were at home with me, at work with Lucas, spent some time with grandparents and also came to work with us at Kristy’s. Flynn’s mismatched shoes are a good representation of this past week inside my head, ha!

Summertime Self-care:

While I haven’t been going as regularly, barre is essential to my mental well being so I have been prioritizing that as much as possible. During the school year I go on my way to work but these days I go whenever I can get there, early morning, midday, or afternoon classes.

This is probably good for me as I am a very routined person and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. I have met some new barre buddies which is always the best! I still freak out if I can’t go in my specific spot in the room though…baby steps!

Fitting in Reading:

I bring my kindle along with me during the day and read when I can but most of my reading during the summer happens in the evening. During the school year, I have a lot more chunks of alone time in between meetings, appointments, and dropping off and picking up the kids. This time of the year, I AM NEVER ALONE, ha.

Kids Books We Love…

kids books

Julia Rothman Collection

Speaking of kids and reading, I get a lot of questions about how we get our kids to love reading. I am not an expert by any means but my love of reading came from being read to as a child and always having access to books.

I vividly remember riding my bike to the library and picking out whatever books I wanted to read…and then trying to figure out how to ride home while carrying them out without the foresight to bring a bag, ha!

(Ninjago | Dog Man | Pokemon Essential Guidebook | Frog & Toad Storybook Favorites | The Julia Rothman Collection )

So we have always read with our kids and had a lot of books around. We also try to be open-minded about what they want to read, even when they are into super annoying books like Pokemon, Lego, and graphic novels like Dog Man and Hi-Lo. I know people have strong feelings about this but I a big believer in the idea that reading is reading even if some of it might not be “ideal”.

We try to enforce at least 20 minutes of reading time a day whether it is on their own or with us.  This has been a bit lax during the last couple of months but during the school year, it is a before bedtime requirement.

I had big plans to do a whole post about book suggestions that our kids love last spring and I never got around to it. I have big plans for September and I plan on sharing a more detailed post then!

Vermont Summer Living…

We have been embracing all the wonderful parts of this time of year while also looking forward to school starting again so we can get some of our regular structure back. Summer is great and school is too!

Addison County Fair & Field Days!

Speaking of embracing the wonderful parts of this year, I never posted about our trip to the fair! We visited the Addison County Fair last week which has been one of my summer traditions since I was a toddler myself. I love reminiscing about all my memories there while also seeing how much our kids love it. Lucas grew up in the big city of Burlington so he is still unsure about it all but I think it is growing on him. 😉

We planned accordingly so we could attend the Demotion Derby. We also had lots of fair food including fried Oreos. It was a pretty rainy week but this night ended up being just beautiful.

End of Summer Reading:

We have been soaking in all in and I have big reading planning to finish off our summer vacation. I am a last-minute packer but I have been thinking about what books I want to bring to Maine for weeks!! I think I have narrowed it down and I will keep you updated over at @genthebookworm.


I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend! <3

My Fall 2019 Reading List | 12 Highly-Anticipated Fall 2019 Book Releases!

Highly Anticipated Fall 2019 Book Releases

2019 Reading…

While we are still in summer mode over here, you can tell fall is around the corner. There is a chill in the air in the mornings and the start of school for the kids is under two weeks away.

I always get excited to look ahead to a new season, especially when it comes to reading. This summer has had some spectacular book releases including a book I think might be my favorite EVER!

best books of 2019

The Best Books of 2019 (so far!)

2019 has been a great reading so far, considering how many favorites I had just during the first half of it! I am excited to see what ends up being on my top reads at the end of December if any of these fall reads make their way to the list.

My Fall 2019 Reading List:

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

Genre:

Coming of Age Fiction

Book Summary:

“For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace. 

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.”

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Red at The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Publication Date:

September 17th, 2019

Genre:

Fiction/Family Life Fiction

Book Summary:

“An extraordinary new novel about the influence of history on a contemporary family, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson’s extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.”

Twice in a Blue Moon
Twice in a Blue Moom by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Publication Date:

October 22nd, 2019

Genre:

Contemporary Romance

Book Summary:

“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.”

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Publication Date:

November 5th, 2019

Genre:

Mystery, Domestic Thriller & Suspense

Book Summary:

“From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light. 

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.”

 

What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Publication Date:

October 8th, 2019

Genre:

Contemporary Fiction

Book Summary:

Secret lives and new loves emerge in the bright Caribbean sunlight, in the follow-up to national bestseller Winter in Paradise

A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a plane crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too. 

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -and death – of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives and their futures. 

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of American’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.”

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Publication Date:

October 15th, 2019

Genre:

Memoir

Book Summary:

“A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me. 
 
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.  

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.”

 

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Publication Date:

September 10th, 2019

Genre:

Non-Fiction, Communication & Sociology

Book Summary:

“Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, David and Goliath, and What the Dog Saw, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers—and why they often go wrong.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?

Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.”

If I Could Tell You

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Publication Date:

October 15th, 2019

Genre:

Fiction & Family Drama, Family Life Fiction

Book Summary:

“Hannah Beckerman pens a life-affirming novel that tells the story of a family divided and the secret that can possibly unite them—a must for fans of This Is Us.

“I loved it (even though it made me cry).”—Jojo Moyes

 A secret between two sisters.

A lifetime of lies unraveling.

Can one broken family find their way back to each other?

Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.

If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all.

Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever?”

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Publication Date:

October 25h, 2019

Genre:

Family Life Fiction

Book Summary:

“New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers.

Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine.

Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.”

 

Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher

Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher

Publication Date:

October 15th, 2019

Genre:

Fiction Short Stories

Book Summary:

“The characters in Happy Like This are smart girls and professional women—social scientists, linguists, speech therapists, plant physiologists, dancers—who search for happiness in roles and relationships that are often unscripted or unconventional.

In the midst of their ambivalence about marriage, monogamy, and motherhood and their struggles to accept and love their bodies, they look to other women for solidarity, stability, and validation. Sometimes they find it; sometimes they don’t.

Spanning a wide range of distinct perspectives, voices, styles, and settings, the ten shimmering stories in Happy Like This offer deeply felt, often humorous meditations on the complexity of choice and the ambiguity of happiness.”

 

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Publication Date:

October 1st, 2019

Genre:

Non-Fiction, Marriage/Family, Time Management

Book Summary:

“A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long–from a woman tapped by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine as the expert on this topic for a new generation of women.

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it. 

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner. 

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.”

Before and After by Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie

Before and After by Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate

Publication Date:

October 22nd, 2019

Genre:

Non-Fiction, Women in History, Adoption & True Crime

Book Summary:

“The incredible, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In Before and After, Wingate and Christie tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with Wingate and Christie to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.”


I hope this list gives you some new reading inspiration. I would also love to hear what is on your fall reading list!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps cover some of the costs of this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support. 

 

 

You’ve Been Volunteered Blog Tour! | Q&A with Author Laurie Gelman | GIVEAWAY!

Blank Pinterest Pin-15.png

Blog Tour:

Yesterday I shared my book review for You’ve Been Volunteered, the newest book release by author Laurie Gelman. If you missed it you can see it HERE. Today I am excited to share my stop on the Blog Tour with a Q&A with Laurie Gelman herself!

Author Q&A:

There is something so special about getting to know the person behind the writing and not only did I have the chance to learn more about Gelman but I was able to ask the questions!

You've Been Volunteered

Laurie Gelman is a New York City-based writer and mother of two who spent 25 years as a broadcaster in both Canada and the US – including stints on Good Morning America, The Early Show on CBS, and The Mom Show – before trying her hand at writing novels.  Her first book, Class Mom garnered rave reviews from several places including The New York Times, People magazine, and Good Housekeeping, and it was just included in Parade’s list of books Mom will love.  Gelman’s writing has been compared to Lauren Weisberger’s, Maria Semple’s and Sophie Kinsella’s.

And on to the Questions and Answers!

Q: As a parent, is there a character you relate with most in your fiction books?

A: I guess I would have to say that I identify with Jen the most because she is my protagonist, but I think there is a little of me in all the characters…even Shirleen! Most people can identify with Jen and her quest to try to be a better person…even if she doesn’t quite get there.

Q: What were your highs and lows of having elementary-aged children?

A: You know, as you’re living through those years there seems to always be something going on at school – some project to be helped with, a stack of flashcards to go over and a birthday party to get ready for. And there are highs and lows in all those things. But if I had to pick one of each I’d say the high was watching my child present something in front of the class for the first time and the low was being told at 9PM at night that she needed a pilgrim costume for the next morning. Thank goodness for Google!

Q: How has humor helped you navigate the rollercoaster ride of parenting?

A: Well, I think it’s a defense mechanism against bursting into tears every five seconds. Anything involving your kids and OPC’s (other people’s children!) is always a minefield of emotion. If you can see the funny side of things, you can avoid a lot of explosions. But if you’re alone in finding things funny, well then I guess you write a book about it!

Thank you so much for sharing, Laurie!

GIVEAWAY TIME:

book giveway on Gen The Bookworm

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***

In celebration of the release of You’ve Been Volunteered, I am partnering with Henry Holt & Co. to offer ONE reader a giveaway of You’ve Been VolunteeredClass Mom, a fabulous “Ron’s Gym and Tan” T-shirt, and the chance for Laurie Gelman to Skype into your giveaway winner’s book club. How awesome is that?! And just in time for back to school season…

TO ENTER:

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 6.50.09 AM.png

  1. Follow along at @genthebookworm on Instagram

2. Like this post on Instagram

3. Tag a friend (up to five people)

4. For an extra TWO votes please like and follow along on my Gen The Bookworm Facebook Page… My last giveaway winner did this so it is totally worth it! 😉

The winner will be selected on Sunday, August 18th at 8:00 EST. This giveaway is limited to US Residents only due to shipping. The books and bag will be shipped directly from Henry Holt & Co. so the winner will need to be willing to share their address with both me and the publisher. This giveaway is not associated with Instagram or Facebook. 

Good luck!!

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman | Henry Holt & Co. | Book Review

book review of You've Been Volunteered

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

Book Summary:

“If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it―most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.”

Publication Date:

July 23rd, 2019

Book Genre:

Humorous Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

You’ve Been Volunteered is the follow up to Laurie Gelman’s first fiction novel, Class Mom. As the parent to two grade school-aged children, I find her writing hysterical and super relatable.

Parenting is hard and sometimes you just need to laugh. Humor can get you through so much and Gelman’s writing style is relatable and witty. She makes light of things that most any parent with school-aged children can relate to while also addressing general family life with kids. I enjoyed that while the book was humorous she was able to include so many very real issues that parents deal with.

You’ve Been Volunteered is a wonderful addition and sticks with Gelman’s light and quirky writing style. It is the perfect escape reading for this time of the year as summer winds down and the school year is quickly approaching.

I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for You’ve Been Volunteered thanks to Rachel at Over The River Public Relations. Tomorrow (8/16/19) I will be sharing a Q&A with Laurie Gelman and a book & t-shirt giveaway to one of my readers, so stay tuned!

Thank you to NetGalley & Henry Holt & Co. for a copy of this book. All opinion are my own. 

Dominicana by Angie Cruz | Flatiron Books { Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

book review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Book Summary:

“Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up within the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.”

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

book review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz

(I bought my own hard copy from Book of The Month and as it was available early through their August 2019 book selections. You can get your first Book of the Month book for FREE by using my referral link HERE.)

Genre:

Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Fiction & Coming of Age Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

Dominicana is a coming of age story that is set in NYC in the turbulent and bustling 1960s. Angie Cruz shares a remarkable story about a young girl named Ana. At 15, Ana was forced to marry a man twice her age and move from the Dominican Republic to America…with her family’s hope, she could achieve the “American Dream”.

Upon her arrival, Ana ends up finding herself isolated from her family and at the mercy of a husband who neither seems to care for her or her needs. While this was a heartbreaking story in many ways, it was also a tale of strength, persistence, and resilience.

I loved that Cruz chose to share this story from the point of view of Ana. While it was very clear she was a teenager in many ways, she has this introspection that made her wise beyond her years. I loved watching her learn how to exert her own independence in difficult situations when the hits just kept on coming. The connection between Ana and her doll Dominicana was just so beautiful and heartbreaking and added so much to the story for me.

This book follows her as blooms both literally and figuratively into the self-assured women she was meant to become. She is able to find joy in the darkest times and I loved the feeling of lightness she was able to find when she spent time with her brother in law. Ana was able to just be without the constraints of other’s expectations or the brutal reality of her marriage to Juan.

This was one of those books that I enjoyed reading but found it even more thought-provoking and powerful once I finished and reflected upon it. I think it would make a wonderful book club selection and I look forward to following more of Angie Cruz’ writing in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an advanced ebook copy of this book.

 

Nine Highly Rated Paperbacks for Your End of Summer Reading List | Book Recommendations

fiction summer reading list

Ready to Travel…Summer Reading:

The other day I met a friend for coffee at Target and she told she was going camping and wanted to bring along a book to read and was hoping for some suggestions. She was looking for something enjoyable and also easy to travel with…meaning she didn’t want to bring a bunch of hardcover books.

I have noticed an uptick in people asking for reading suggestions lately which makes me so happy! I thought it was the perfect time to hop on over to the book section at Target and see what was readily available if you were looking for a book to grab and go!

I do order many of my books online but there is something about being able to run into a store and pick something up last minute. All of these books are readily available at your local Target, Barnes & Noble and will be easy to find at an airport bookstore and the best part…they are all around the $10 mark!

Gen The Bookworm summer reading paperback suggestions

The Perfect Couple is one of my very favorite Elin Hilderbrand books and I have many! This one has all the elements of her quintessential Nantucket beach reading style along with a captivating murder mystery. It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

Book Summary:
“It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways, Beautiful Day, and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read.”


Gen The Bookworm summer reading suggestions

I know, I can’t stop sharing about Life and Other Inconveniences, but Kristan Higgins is truly one of my favorite summer reading authors. She has the ability to share relatable and real storylines that have both humor and heart. You can read my full review HERE.

Book Summary:

“Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley. 

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?”


book review at Gen The Bookworm

All We Ever Wanted has all the elements of Emily Giffin’s easy reading style. In addition, she shares a storyline with a thought-provoking and relevant topic that many of us will be able to relate to with the many complexities of modern life.

While this certainly isn’t literary fiction, I think that is exactly why it worked. I loved how she was able to take a timely topic and incorporate it into her accessible writing style. It was engrossing to read while also sparking discussion in a way her books haven’t done before.

Book Summary:

“Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. 

Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.”


book review and recommendation

I read Before We Were Yours on vacation a couple of years ago and I will never forget it. Lisa Wingate shares a powerful and heartbreaking story that is based on true life events with compassion while also being completely compelling as a reader.

Book Summary:

“Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.”


book recommendations

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory is on my own summer reading list and I am planning on taking it on our upcoming summer vacation to Maine.  So many of my book reviewing friends have suggested it and I have been holding off on reading it specifically because I wanted to save it for our trip.

I love a good contemporary romance that is enjoyable yet not too cheesy and Guillory excels at this. It sounds like the perfect poolside read and after loving her book The Wedding Date, I have high hopes for this one.

Book Summary:

“Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.”


book recommendation & review

The Dream Daughter is one of my favorite books ever. Diane Chamberlain’s books are so unique and she has this ability to weave storylines they are thought-provoking while also being completely engrossing. I am a details person and I love how she builds multifaceted characters and mystery and intrigue at the same time. I need to do a whole post about my favorite Diane Chamberlain books because I have many, but I loved The Stolen Marriage, Necessary Lies, Pretending to Dance and The Silent Sister.

The Dream Daughter 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. You can read my full review HERE.

Book Summary:

“When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage she never knew existed. Something that will mean an unimaginable leap of faith on Carly’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

The Dream Daughter is 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.”


book recommendations

How to Walk Away was my first book by Katherine Center book. I loved reading something that introduces me to a new author to love and anticipate their next piece of writing. While I am a fan of contemporary romance, I am quite particular about giving many a high rating.

The storyline is semi-predictable but it is the character development that Center just does so well and that makes her books so satisfying. I enjoyed watching Margaret’s journey towards healing and she had the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength that kept me rooting for her while also being relatable.

Katherine Center excels at infusing both humor and also resilience into her characters and I just enjoy her books so much. Her newest release Things You Save In a Fire is not out in paperback yet but it was a 5 star read for me which doesn’t happen a lot with this genre!

Book Summary:

“Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture the reader’s hearts with every page.”


book recommendation

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel a story about family, marriage, secrets and daily life. This book was so beautifully written and timely. I read it a couple of years ago while celebrating our own wedding anniversary and it was the perfect balance of a book that makes you think while also being completely heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time.

“Well. Usually, boys don’t wear dresses to preschool,” Rosie admitted carefully. “Or tights.”
“I’m not usually,” said Claude. This, Rosie reflected, even at the time, was true.

In a world where sexuality and society norms are a part of political discussions and also everyday life, this book is amazingly powerful and so timely. Frankel’s approachable writing not only educates but also shares a powerful message. She shares the idea of self-acceptance and allowing everyone to be who they really are while also taking into account the complexities of everyday life and just trying to do the best we can as parents and as human beings.

Book Summary:

“This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.”


book recommendations

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is a psychological thriller that ended up having the perfect amount of character complexities and suspense, which if you know my particular expectations of this type of books, you know I rarely find! I love her writing style and how she keeps me totally absorbed in the storyline.  It was gripping and kept me guessing until the end.

Book Summary:

“Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?”


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. You can read more about this HERE in my FAQs section. Thank you! 

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…August Transitions, Being a Tourist in Your Own Town & Summer Nights

currently loving...

Checking-in:

Hi everyone and happy Friday night. While I may not be drinking coffee right now, I did just have some espresso gelato, so that counts right?

IMG_8663.jpg

After a fun week of camp for the kids and work for us, it feels great to have no plans tonight. We may live in a small town but we live close to a lot of amazing food options and tonight we visited Pizza On Earth for some to-go pizza. We picked up two pies and also each had a little cup of gelato, before dinner! I know, just living on the edge over here….It was delicious and was such a good reminder of the ease of summer nights.

August Transitions:

66766616_495304787944732_2737082871930232332_n.jpg

(image from Positively Present)

August is a big time of reflection for me on what has worked so far this past year and what might need some adjusting. Now that both our kid’s schedules really follow the school calendar it really does feel like the end one of one year and the start of a new one in so many ways.

This past week the kids were in a day camp which allowed me to have a lot more work hour available since school ended back in mid-June. This time was also a great indicator of how I can work smarter once we are back to this “regular” schedule in a few weeks.

While I got a lot done, it was also a reminder of how much I have to catch up on and the “pile” seems so high right now it feels a bit overwhelming. I talked about this on Instagram the other day but I have felt like I am just treading water over here during the last couple of months.

I have a supportive partner and many helpful resources that I don’t ever want to take for granted but it still often feels like I am just trying to stay afloat instead of making progress forward. I love to share my highlights on here but there is also the reality of life with two working parents and the endless cycle of family life at this stage and it is just something in the background that we are constantly navigating.

Academic Calendar Planner:

paper planner

So with that in mind, I always follow the academic school year with my planners and it feels nice to have a “fresh start” as we transition back into more structure and routines.  I love sitting down at the beginning of the school year and penciling in all the important dates and not having to wait until I have a new planner for the “new year” in January.

I am a paper planner person all the way and I just love having a physical calendar in front of me. I have tried many brands of planners over the years(Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc), and have been the happiest with Bloom planners and they also have a great price point.

Day Designer wall calendar

In our kitchen, we also have a shared calendar which includes appointments, events, practices, etc that all of our family can refer to. The Day Designer wall calendars are wonderful for this and I love that they have so many color and print options depending on your style and preferences

It Takes a Village…

 

Swim team ended for us last week and it was the end of an intense but wonderful month and a half of daily swimming and the wonderful community that comes along with it. I think a lot about “our parenting village” and I am so grateful to have made friends in many different areas of our family life.

I could not have done so many things this summer without the help of these people and it was such an important reminder about how small things really do add up. I remember hearing about this elusive “village” when our kids were very young and feeling not quite sure how you created one.

I will say that saying just hello and finding something in common with another person can the gateway to lifelong friends.  It is also important to remember that most other people feel the same way as you and would be happy to have a new friend or just someone to chat with for a bit.

This summer I also learned about hard cider seltzer, I am always late to these things but I love how delicious and dry these are, and these tiny cans are a perfect size!

Currently Loving…Beyblades!

 

I don’t think I can talk about some of the successes of summer without giving a shout out to the ultimate friend maker & connector, BEYBLADES. The boys were introduced to these this past spring by some friends at school and it has been a “bey bonanza” since then…You don’t need a lot (and they were using a pizza pan for their “arena” in the photo above, my friend Jess is super smart!) and they are hours of fun.

IMG_8678.jpg

I had never heard of these things before but I guess they were a thing that has come back as of recently… Anyway, the kids are playing with them now as I write this and they only argue about them I’d say 50% of the time…so I would call that a win!

Speaking of the Kids Arguing…

If you talk to any other parent this time of year, they will probably say the same thing…school can start anytime now and THE KIDS NEED TO BE SEPARATED!!! Our kids truly do spend the entire summer together, so I totally get it, but oh man, the drama! So last weekend we decided to each go our own way with one of the boys, and it was BLISS!

Being a Tourist In Your Own Town/State…

There is something so fun about soaking in all the activities right where you live. Vermont is a place a lot of people visit for vacation and we are lucky to live here all the time.

Owls Head Farm PYO Blueberries…

We have an annual tradition of hitting up Owls Head Farm at our old stomping grounds in Richmond, and we were excited to go for the pick 6 quarts get a 7th free deal.

Our younger son is an amazing berry picker and he is at the perfect age to still think this is totally fun and cool(not so with the 9-year-old!) so we completed this task in under an hour. It was the most beautiful summer morning and the berries were big and delicious.

 

Swimming at Warren Falls:

 

How gorgeous and clear is this water? I drove over the Lincoln Gap with our older son and hit up the swimming holes at Warren Falls. He “snorkeled” (with his goggles) and I sat reading my book with my feet in the water. It was amazing.

 

If you don’t have Chaco Sandals, are you really a Vermonter? 😉 We also explored the area where people jump in and he went quite a few times while I watched and took some photos. My river jumping days are over(long story for another day!)but it was so fun to see him so excited about it!

Canteen Creemee Company

 

We didn’t drive all that way to not try out the Canteen Creemees and they were amazing!! I had the chocolate mint which was great but the maple creemee was out of this world!!! It was topped with maple cotton candle and while normally don’t do a lot of extra toppings (besides rainbow sprinkles) it was the perfect addition.

Currently NOT Loving…Packing Lunch!

IMG_8428-2.jpg

After packing lunches for the boys for many years, we have fully embraced hot lunch at school..so my packing skills were a little rusty when we had to break out the old Yum Boxes for camp this week. I did okay on the first day…but it went downhill from there. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding your kids at home or packing it for them, the food disappears faster than you can buy it and their opinions change on the daily…

One of my top parenting hacks is to get cafeteria lunch if your school has that option. Ours is amazing, well balanced and they have so many more options than the dismal options that were available when we were kids. It is such a time saver and also money saver as buying everything to pack in a lunch box (the two above were lunch and two snacks) is quite expensive, especially if you have big eaters.

Currently Reading…

IMG_8433-2.jpg

It has been a little slow in the social media department as this week was very work-focused for me but I have been quite doing a bit of reading in the evenings. I finished The Forever Summer which was a perfect summer read (predictable yet enjoyable) and Life and Other Inconveniences was published this past week if you are looking for another one to add to your end of summer reading list! The Wedding Party is coming up next for me, and I have heard great things.


I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding | Gallery/Scout Press | Book Review

Gen The Bookworm Book Review

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

Book Summary:

“Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates, and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him: watching him at work, spying on his wife, even befriending his daughter, who is not much younger than she is. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.”

Publication Date:

July 30th, 2019

Genre:

Domestic Thriller

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

The Arrangement was the first book I have read by Robyn Harding. I was looking for an easy and engaging summer read and this was perfect for that. We enter the world of city life, sugar daddies, obsession and murder…definitely brain candy but addicting!

The storyline was a little unrealistic but totally engrossing and while the characters weren’t totally likable I do think it worked for this storyline. Harding pulled me in and keep me curious until the very end. Sometimes you need a book that is totally unplausible in many ways but hooks you anyway.

Ws this amazing writing? Not really…but it was exactly what I needed during a more stressful time of year. It was a little racy and if you are looking for something different and definitely entertaining, you might like this too!

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 

August 6th, 2019 New Book Releases | Happy Publication Day!

August 6th, 2019 new book releases

New Book Releases!

The new books keep on coming and I don’t know about you, but my summer reading stack is getting pretty big! I have way more books than I will ever be able to read during the next few weeks but that is just how I like it…My reading tastes very much depend on my mood so I always love having a lot of choices.

Maybe it is because I am keeping better track of it, but 2019 has had so many amazing book publication already so there have been a lot of wonderful options. I recently recapped some of my favorite books of 2019 (so far!) and you can check that out HERE if you missed it.

Kristan Higgins and Berkley Publishing

Pleasure Reading…

This time of the year I am drawn to books that are engrossing and easy to get drawn into. I have been reading a lot of books that are a bit lighter but have enough depth to not be total fluff. When I think of authors that totally succeed at this kind of writing, Kristan Higgins comes to mind!

I love her books and her writing is engaging and thought-provoking while also being fun and enjoyable to read. These kinds of books work well for “escape reading” which is something I tend to look for during this more hectic time of the year. I read her newest release a few months ago and I am excited to share that it is available today!

August 6th, 2019 New Book Releases:

42166299

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences involves four generations of a family, the ties that bind and the complexities of past choices and how they affect relationships today. Higgin’s offers multidimensional characters, diverse relationships and the ability to weave real-life issues into her plotlines.

While this is a fun and engaging read, Higgins is also able to provide a level of depth that makes her writing thought-provoking and satisfying. Higgin’s ability to share these stories from multiple different perspectives allows you as the reader to see where these characters are coming from, even if you don’t always agree with their choices.

In order to move forward, we must often look back at the choices and decisions we have made and Higgins excels at presenting this story in such a powerful and multilayered way. The ending of this book is bittersweet and real, which I find much more satisfying than a “happily ever after” scenario.

You can read my full review HERE

41150385.jpg

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Keeping Lucy was my first book my T. Greenwood and 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.

You can read my full review of Keeping Lucy HERE.

42772137._SY475_.jpg

The Lemonade Life by Zack Friedman

The Lemonade Life was the perfect dose of inspiration while also being very relatable. Friedman shares advice and examples of how to live life on your own terms by being more aware of the control we have over our thoughts and emotions. This is what he calls “The Lemonade Life”.

Taking control helps give you the ability to have more positive changes in your own life. You will feel like you are in the driver’s seat instead of everyone and everything around you. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control how we respond and move forward.

I got so much out of this book and I know it is one I will refer back to again and again. While not every section was totally applicable to my own life, there was something I was able to get out of each of them. I loved the idea that The Lemonade Life isn’t a destination but a way of life. When we know ourselves, use the tools we have and work towards our own personal goals, we have the ability to live full and happy lives right where we are and as we grow.

You can read my full review of The Lemonade Life HERE

41150302

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

Because You’re Mine has all the elements of a great domestic thriller, highly detailed characters, mystery, and suspense. I think what I have been missing lately with thrillers is the ability to really get to know the characters and what happened in their pasts to play into their current situations and Frey did an amazing job with this aspect. I also loved getting to know Lee’s son Mason. His character was great and I loved what a big role he had in this book.

This book had a perfect balance of thinking I had it all figured it out and also keeping me on the edge of my seat. Her writing is edgy and this book is full of secrets. I thought I knew what was happening and I was in for a big surprise at the end.

You can read my full review of Becuase You’re Mine HERE


 

On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff | Dutton | Book Review

Jennifer Pastiloff book review

On Being Human by Jen Pastiloff

Book Summary:

“Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.

Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”   

Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.”

Publication Date:

June 4th, 2019

Genre:

Memoir

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff…but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff’s life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way.

I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner.

I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough.

Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you “achieve”. She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before.

I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn’t exactly a “self-help” book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout.

“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”

“ There will always be the one who doesn’t like you, the one who says, ‘No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck’. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.”

Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can’t put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn’t sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is one I won’t forget as a reader.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.