What’s On Your Nightstand? | Book Recommendations & More | Melissa

 The Book Friends Series

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Hello & Spring in Vermont:

Good morning and happy Friday! How was your week? Spring is in the air around here and yesterday we finally had one of those beautiful sunny April days we have been waiting for! Spring in Vermont can be a rollercoaster ride and it isn’t uncommon to still have a mix of winter weather like we did earlier in the week.

We are used to this but it’s tough to welcome snow with the same feelings as we did back in November…its a long 6 months! Someone asked me on Instagram yesterday why we still have baseball practice inside right now for the kids. If you haven’t been to Vermont this time of the year(you are not missing anything!) we are currently experiencing the 5th season of the year…mud season…which if you can guess from its name, is quite the mucky mess! So they try and keep everyone off the fields until it dries out a bit more and usually, by the end of April, we are in the clear, but you never know!

Welcome, Melissa!

Today I am super excited to welcome my friend Melissa to my blog! She was one of my very first book friends on Instagram and it is quite amazing how much we have realized we have in common. She is truly the most wonderful and genuine person and I am inspired by her not only as a reader but as someone who is always trying to try and grow to be the best person and parent she can be.

She also has two boys that are a bit older than my own so it is helpful to have someone who has “been there and done that” when I need some advice or perspective on parenting(which is a lot!) 😉

I hope you enjoy getting to know Melissa today and be sure to follow along on her Bookstagram Instagram feed. She posts the most amazing book chatter and recommendations and is just a lovely person to know!

Nightstand Series Introduction:

Hi, I’m Melissa. I live in Illinois with my husband, our two boys (15 and 12), our old puppy, and our two cats. I work in the field of medical documentation and you can often find me running my kids somewhere or attending one of their meets or games. Free time is a rarity, but when I have downtime I like to do something relaxing, as I tend to get overwhelmed by too much stimulation.

As an 80s kid, I devoured the typical fare of Sweet Valley and Babysitters Club books, one summer reading about 70 of the Sweet Valley High books. However, reading at that pace, you run out of books pretty quickly, so I read just about anything I could find. This included Stephen King, V.C. Andrews, and, once when I was desperate for something to read at my aunt’s house, Hollywood Wives. None of them were really appropriate for a preteen, but that never stopped me!

During college and the early years of adulthood, my reading for pleasure slowed down drastically. It wasn’t actually until my youngest was a toddler that I picked up reading anything besides parenting books and articles again. We were visiting the library and, as my kids played, I noticed someone had left an adult book in the children’s section. After realizing no one was coming back for it, I took the book, Lauren Weisberger’s Chasing Harry Winston, home with me, finished it that night, and rediscovered the thing I had loved so dearly as a child. I would love to say that my reading took off again after that, but things tend to get in the way, especially when you’re a parent, so I continued to read but probably only a dozen or so books a year.

The last couple years, as my children have gotten older, I’ve found myself with a little more free time and discovered a little corner of Instagram where people are positive, kind, and happy to geek out with you over books fondly referred to as “Bookstagram”. I quickly fell in love, started my account @readalotwritealot, made some great friends and have grown my to-be-read list exponentially!

What are you currently reading?

The books on my nightstand only represent a few of the books I’m reading in April. I began There There last fall as a library book but only made it three chapters before having to return it. I’ve since picked up my own copy and am determined to find out what happens in the rest of the book! Bird Box was a Christmas gift and my husband keeps asking if I’m ever going to get to it so he can finally watch the movie, so I know I need to read that one soon!

The Silent Patient is one I’ve only heard good things about and I’m always up for a good psychological thriller. WITCHDOCTORPOET is the only book I’ve actually started so far. April is National Poetry Month and I was gifted this copy by the author and saved it to read this month. I’m loving the poems! Last, but certainly not least, is On The Come Up. Last year, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give was one of my favorite books and I’m very excited to dive into her sophomore novel.

I jumped on the e-book bandwagon when they first became popular but quickly went back to regular books and hadn’t actually read any until this year. This month I’m working on some ARCs which include Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything and Fredrik Backman’s Things My Son Needs to Know About The World as well as my Amazon Prime First Reads Pick One Word Kill. I’m rediscovering the ease of reading on a tablet and enjoying not having to wear my reading glasses!

What are you listening to?

I had never done audiobooks before last year, but it was actually at Genevieve’s suggestion that I finally started listening to them and I never looked back! I’m currently listening to The Good Neighbor which is about Fred Rogers and read by LaVar Burton. I don’t think it gets any more 80s than that! I’m also planning to listen to Glenn Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior for my book club later this month.

What else is on your nightstand?

My nightstand, which is actually a piece of furniture that used to be in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, currently looks a lot more organized than it normally does! The Hello Kitty bin holds my reading paraphernalia, favorite candy, and odds and ends. My visor is from one of my favorite vacations and my IKEA reading lamp is perfect because I can set it on the bed and it moves with me as I stretch from one reading position to another. I love to write and I don’t idle well, so notebooks and a coloring book are a must.

Also pictured is a little jewelry dish that a friend gave me. I love earrings, bracelets, and necklaces and almost always have bobby pins in my hair, so this is the easiest way to keep the cats from stealing those things. Not pictured are the million little things that are sentimental to me stashed below, the water glass I always have at night, and many oils, lotions, and lip balms. I’m a very pale girl with dry skin. Hydration and multiple applications of moisture-retaining agents are a must for me!

Thank you so much for inviting me to do this, Genevieve! You’re one of my favorite people on Bookstagram and I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know each other in real life, too! <3


Thank you so much for sharing today, Melissa!! xo

Coffee Talk Wednesday | Currently…

Coffee Talk Tuesday:

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Checking-in:

Today it’s another edition of Coffee Talk Wednesday! How is your week going? It has been a busy one work wise and I can’t believe we only have one week left of school before April break. After that, the rest of the school year flies right by…it snowed last night so it doesn’t feel like spring here in Vermont but I know warmer weather will be here eventually…

Currently Loving…

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Our local library!! I had a great meeting this morning with Susanna at the Charlotte Library and I am excited about the project we are working on together to teach more people about the Libby App. I am talking about the Libby app in my next column for the Charlotte News and we are also planning a Libby Q&A in May.

I am so grateful to our town library for making reading so accessible for our family. We may live in a small town but the library love is strong here and so many people use it and appreciate it which makes me so happy.

It is also pretty amazing how much libraries have grown with the times to accommodate the ever-changing ways we consume content and media. Hard copy books aren’t going anywhere but the Libby app is such a wonderful way to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks, for FREE! One of the things I love about reading is that is really is accessible for almost anyone, and there are so many amazing people and resources that make this possible.

Currently eating…

There is nothing that makes me feel like more of a parent than when I prepare an afterschool snack for a group of hungry kids. I wouldn’t call myself super domestic, but I can make a mean bowl of popcorn. 😉

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I love our Nordicware popcorn popper and it makes it so easy! I pop this thing in our microwave and 3 minutes later we have perfect popcorn that just needs a little salt! I like making it with oil and it reminds me of the popcorn maker we had in our high school lobby…so many memories!

Currently listening to…

Molly Millwood

I am still working my way through To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood on Audible and I am just loving it. It is so relatable and she has the perfect balance of her professional experience mixed with her own life as a parent. I am excited to share my full review soon!

Currently trying…

Green Lipstick

No this isn’t a late April fools joke…I have been trying and loving Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Frog Prince. Now before you think I have gone way out of my comfort zone, this isn’t actually a green lipstick…but it adapts according to your PH and skin tone to create the perfect rosebud pink shade!

I love tinted lip balm and lipsticks that are moisturizing and this is another one I am adding to my lipstick arsenal. Its the perfect color and I love that it feels like a balm with the perfect amount of color.


I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday! xo

Coffee Talk Wednesday | Currently…

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Coffee Talk WEDNESDAY!

Hello! Do you notice anything different around here?! I feel like I have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with having Coffee Talk Tuesday. Absolutely NO ONE cares what day I post this, but I work best by external motivators so having a day I do things keeps me accountable.

Do you have a day of the week that always feels more frantic than the others? Tuesday is that for me. It is a shorter school day which means everything else is crammed into fewer hours and this blog, as much as I love, doesn’t always end up being my top priority. And I love sharing what I am currently loving, so I am devoting an entirely new day to it!

I often end up starting these posts (or any posts on here) and needing to come back to finish it later. I have this fantasy of writing pre-scheduled posts but I don’t know… I could do that with reviews and but I really like the journaling in real time aspect of blogging like this. Maybe it is because I was a “blogger” 10 years ago too and that is how it was done! I miss those days, times were so simple. 😉

Do you still read a lot of blogs? I still follow a ton on “Bloglovin” which I don’t think is entirely user-friendly but I like that it lets me know when blogs I follow are updated. I miss Google Reader and I was so sad when they shut it down because I haven’t found anything that compares…it was the best!

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Alright, enough of that…on to what I am currently up to this week…


Currently Loving…

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First, I need to give a shout out to the 24/7 chat support at WordPress! As I have been working on making this blog more user-friendly, content heavy and sometimes just more pleasing to the eye, I have had A LOT of questions. They are so helpful! It’s so nice to have immediate help even at 5 in the morning…So if you have a WordPress blog and have no idea what you are doing too…check out the help section!

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I am also loving all the sunshine this week, it truly makes such a big difference. We have had winter weather here since November and although it doesn’t look like spring quite yet, just having the longer days and some sunny days is so good for your soul and your mental health!

Currently Watching…

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We have been watching the HBO documentary about Adnan Syed and it is totally making me want to listen to Serial again! It has been so long that is hard for me to remember all the details. Like a lot of people, it was the first podcast I ever listened to and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of content!

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We also watched The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley and now I really wanted to read Bad Blood. Have you read it? I have heard such great things!

Currently eating…

Well, I am not currently eating this but we have been on a poke bowl kick from The Scale lately and oh my gosh, it is just the best lunch ever! I have mine with salmon or tuna and Kristy likes chicken. We don’t get them a lot but is a fun lunch treat and is always so filling.

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Today I had a mozzarella burrata ball, carrot sticks, and 4 thin mints, so you can’t win them all…but it was delicious!

Currently listening to…

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I love listening to non-fiction on Audible and I am so excited to start this new book that was recommended by a reading friend. After being very disappointed by Girl, Stop Apologizing (review to come soon!),I am so excited to be moving on to something I think I will connect a lot more with.

Molly Millwood is a local psychologist and I am so looking forward to her conversation in To Have and to Hold regarding motherhood and marriage…As someone who struggled immensely during the transition to parenthood, I can so relate to how the addition of a small baby can rock your world in such a life-changing way.

“A clinical therapist’s exploration of the complexities of early motherhood, including its impact on a marriage, in a book that offers comfort, camaraderie, and practical guidance to new mothers.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for all that she would gain: an adorable baby boy, hard-won mothering skills, and a messy, chaotic, love-filled home. But she didn’t anticipate what she would lose: an identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of wellbeing. And just when she was feeling her most vulnerable, her happy marriage-long a bedrock of stability and comfort-seemed to shift in unexpected ways too, tinged by anger and resentment.

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event-she was not broken, and neither was her marriage. But without the benefit of such a perspective, many of women she saw in treatment grappled with shame, self-doubt, and fear-all the while struggling to confide in, trust, or seek comfort in their partners.

In To Have and To Hold, Molly illuminates the ways in which motherhood impacts a woman emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally-as well as how it impacts the stability and harmony of her relationship. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy comes thorny issues such as identity, control, autonomy, and dependency. And these issues are, most often, experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of complication, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time.

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s wellbeing as new mothers and the wellbeing of their relationships, she offers information and guidance to help readers reclaim their identities and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, rigorous research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and To Hold provides a lifeline to new mothers everywhere.”


That’s all for today! I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday. <3