There are some amazing sales out there this weekend, including the “Get 3 for the Price of 2!” book deal over on Amazon! It is a great way to stock up on your winter TBR list, buy a gift for a friend or family member OR buy books that you loved this past year and want to add to your own collection!
With hundreds of hard copy book suggestions to choose from, it can feel a little overwhelming! I am going to share some of my own recommendations as well as some highly rated and reviewed books below.
Highly Recommended Cookbooks!
If you are feeling like cooking or just browsing through and getting inspired, these highly-rated cookbooks are part of this great sale!
All of these books were 5-star reads by some of my trusted reading sources and a few are on my TBR list as well! I am especially looking forward to Finding Chika and Atomic Habits which have raving reviews online as well!
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is one of my favorite books ever I can’t recommend it enough! If you have heard about Brene but don’t really know what she is all about, it is a great one to start with!
Illustrated Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling & Jim KayAll four of the currently available illustrated Harry Potter books are part of this sale! Our older son has been reading the first one and I used this deal to grab books 2-4 for him for Christmas and he is going to be so excited. I still haven’t read them, but his enthusiasm for them has been intriguing!
Both of our boys love the Dog Man series and Wonder is our older son’s very favorite book. Mo Willems and The First Little Readers were great early reader books for both our kids and helped us get in the routine of them reading every night!
How Do I Find Out What Other Books Qualify for This Deal?
To see if other books qualify for these savings, you can type in a book title in the search bar and then look to the right of the book where you will see a small green rectangle box with the words “savings” as pictured below…
Are These Deals For eBooks Too?
While this deal is only for hard copy books, there is a deal on eBooks where you will receive a $5 credit towards future eBook purchases when you spend $20.
I hope this post helps you find some books you love, either for yourself or to gift someone else this holiday season!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Welcome to another edition of The Nightstand Series!Kristina got us kicked off again last week and today I have another book-loving friend sharing her reading list and book recommendations!
Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Julia!
Julia and I met on #bookstagram and right away we connected over our love of the same books! When she started her own book feed, I was super excited to follow along! She has great taste in books and always has such thoughtful comments with her reading recaps.
I love that we have very similar reactions to books and also that she reads “ahead”. She is a book reviewer too so she is often reading ARCs too and is able to discuss them with me before the actual publication dates! I love that reading is an escape for her too and I am super impressed that she prioritizes it while also being IN school.
I hope you enjoy getting to know a little about Julia today!
Nightstand Series Introduction:
Hi, I’m Julia! I’m from Michigan but am currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my boyfriend of 3 years. I’m a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and I conduct aging/Alzheimer’s research. Back home in Michigan, I have 2 dogs and 1 cat who I miss very much!
Hopefully next year or the year after, my boyfriend and I will move into a house that allows pets and get a cat. When I’m not reading or doing research, I really love to bake! I show some of my baked goods (and of course, lots of books) on my #bookstagram at @booksbitesbeaches.
What Kind of Reader Are You?
I grew up in a family of readers. My brother loves fantasy and science fiction, my mom loves general adult fiction and self-help books, and my dad was always reading the newspaper so it only felt natural to me to start reading at a young age.
The first books I can remember loving were in middle school when I read the A-List series and Gossip Girl. From there, I moved onto Sarah Dessen and my love for reading only grew throughout grade-school.
I fell off the reading train a bit with undergrad because other things seemed to take priority. That all changed about a year ago, actually! I was in the process of applying to graduate school and had been dealt with my first school rejection and I turned to a book to escape.
I read The Next Person You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom in one sitting and for 2019, it was my New Years Resolution to read more! I started with a small goal – 25 books. I quickly met that and upped my goal to 50. Right now, I’m starting my 64th book and plan to set my goal for 75 next year.
What Time of Day do You do Most of Your Reading?
I do most of my reading in the early morning before I have to get out of bed with a coffee mug on my nightstand and then again at night when I’m winding down. I really love my quiet mornings and it’s a nice way to wind down in the evening.
I was recently disappointed by Not the Girl You Marry by Andie Christopher. It was essentially How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days but role reversal and in a book. It was lacking creativity and I need creativity in books! I don’t like to guess the ending 15 pages in, but sometimes a predictable romance is just what you need… it just wasn’t what I needed at the time.
What Are You Listening to?
I have never listened to an audiobook! It wasn’t until a few months ago that I finally started listening to podcasts because there’s just something about listening to other people’s voices through my headphones that can bother me.
The only podcast I consistently listen to is My Favorite Murder! I should probably read some true-crime stories given how much I love that podcast.
What Else is on Your Nightstand?
On my nightstand, I have all my essentials! I always have my Yeti water bottle with me. It keeps my water so nice and cold and I love it so much that I even have a Yeti coffee mug. I don’t usually care much about being brand loyal but they’re great products and I’ve dropped the water bottle multiple times and it’s still in great condition.
My favorite skincare brand is Mario Badescu and this lotion is one of my favorites. I have one on my nightstand AND at my desk at work – that’s how good it is. It smells lovely and isn’t too expensive, which is important to me. I really like his products because most of them are vegan and cruelty-free and as far as skin-care goes, they’re pretty cheap!
I also have this journal, An Inspired Life, which includes prompts to reflect. It helps me reframe when I get stressed out and writing is one of my favorite forms of self-care, therefore, having this notebook close by helps me unwind in bed at night!
Lastly, an Anthropologie candle!! I try to get one of these for Christmas each year, and then treat myself once or twice throughout the year with one of these because they are the best candles out there. The volcano scents are my favorite and Nordstrom usually has them on sale.
Thank you so much for sharing today, Julia!!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
After a little hiatus, I am so excited to bring back my book friends series, What’s On Your Nightstand? If you need a little refresher, each week I invite a book-loving friend to share their recent reading lists, including what they have recently read(and loved OR didn’t love!), what they are currently reading and what’s coming up next. In addition, we get to know them as readers and get small peek into their regular lives as well.
Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Kristina!
Kristina and I met over our love our reading on Bookstagram. We bonded when we realized that we were reading a lot of the same exact books and having very similar reactions. Kristina is an amazing book reviewer and her reading genres are very in sync with mine so I can always count on her for a great recommendation or honest feedback about ones I should skip! I can’t wait for you to get to know Kristina more today, she’s wonderful.
Nightstand Series Introduction:
Hi, my name is Kristina!! I live in New Jersey with my husband and two children—-a 15-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. A month ago we adopted our 1 1/2-year-old kitty, Nala. She completes our family. I work as a Program Coordinator for a non-profit organization, working with individuals that are homeless and have a severe or persistent mental health diagnosis.
As a family, we enjoy watching movies together, traveling and exploring different places. I enjoy walking when the weather is nicer. Another hobby (besides reading) is looking up new places that we could travel to in the future.
Another hobby of mine is to write reviews for my Bookstagram. I enjoy reading others’ reviews and writing about the books I read. It’s a way to connect and build a community. My Instagram handle is: @kristinasbookishlife
What Kind of Reader Are You?
I remember learning how to read when I was about 4 years old. I would sit down with my father and try to read the comics section, while he read the newspaper. One day it just clicked. Another early memory was reading Dr. Seuss books. I have been reading since that day and only took breaks during Grad school and when my children were newborns.
What Time of Day do You do Most of Your Reading?
I enjoy reading in the early morning. I usually get about 30 minutes to read in the morning before it’s time to get up and ready. I feel that reading in the morning sets the tone for the day. I recently started listening to audiobooks so as I get ready, head into work, and on the way home, I will listen to one. When I come home, I make dinner, spend time with the family, and then will get about 2-3 hours of reading done. I’m not a person that will watch tv or movies unless it is a family movie night on a Friday. Therefore, I get a ton of reading done!
What Books Are You Currently Reading?
I am currently reading The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes.This has been on my TBR for a long time, so when @meetmeinthestacks and @lauralovestoread announced they were doing a buddy read, I said why not? This book has grasped my attention from the beginning but I have slowly been working my way through it. Looking forward to seeing how it unravels!!
I recently read Long Bright River by Liz Moore. I was lucky enough to win the book in a Goodreads giveaway. This book came on my radar a few months ago and what drew me to it was that it’s based in Philadelphia(Philly). I consider Philly my home away from home, my mother still resides there. What captured and kept my attention though was the two main characters, Mickey and Kacey. This book was so much more than a mystery.
The mystery is that Mickey is a police officer walking the same beat where her sister disappeared from. The story unfolds as she is on the search for her sister, as many women in the same section are killed. This is all in the synopsis so no spoilers!! But it’s so much more! As you see the past and present unfold you learn about the sisters and what lead them to their current path. It was an amazing read and a book that will stay with me for a long time!
Another read that I recently finished and will be pushing into friends and family’s hands is American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. From page one, you are literally thrown into the story of Lydia. A mother who experiences a horrific tragedy and is faced with the choice of giving up or doing what she can to survive. I read this book with my heart in my throat the entire time. It’s so relevant to the times we are in now. A necessary read.
What Are You Reading Next?
I am looking forward to reading Know My Name by Chanel Miller. I know it’s going to be a tough read but one that is necessary to read. I’m looking forward to reading her story as the victim and the impact it had on her. I’m looking forward to viewing her growth through the lens of a reader.
Are There Any Books You Read and Didn’t Love?
A book that I was excited for but haven’t been able to get through is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. This was my most anticipated book of the year, so imagine my disappointment!! I attempted to read it three times but am having trouble getting past the first part. It doesn’t go in order and starts basically in the middle of the story. I am having trouble reading it for this very reason. I’m finding it confusing. I often do not finish books if it’s not for me; however, I want to try to read this one. We shall see if it actually happens.
What Are You Listening to?
As stated above, I am newly into audiobooks! I’m finding them great because I can listen to them as I get ready for work, make breakfast and dinner, on the way to and from work. Basically any time I can’t have a physical book in my hand!
I’m currently listening to Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. It is amazing!! The narrator sounds great and just the overall magic of the story! It’s basically a story within a story and I am savoring every moment. I already know this will be a re-read or re-listen for me.
When I’m not listening to an audiobook, I enjoy catching up with a few different podcasts! My favorites are Sarah’s Bookshelves Live, All the Books, and What Should I Read Now.
What Else is on Your Nightstand?
Besides my basket full of books, I like to keep it pretty bare. I keep my book light on my nightstand and normally clip it to the basket that holds my books. I have many bookmarks on top and inside the nightstand (can never have too many of those)! On top of the nightstand, I keep 2 bottles of water, my Apple Watch, and phone on the charger. In the drawer, I have my nightly medications, lip balm, rings, a pen, post-its, socks, lotion, and body spray! At the bottom, where there is an open space I keep a box of tissues.
We got our nightstands from Target when we moved into our new apartment in August. My husband felt that we didn’t need them. I laughed and laughed because where’s a girl to keep her books?! Well, I still went ahead and ordered two, for each side of the bed. He now loves it just as much. His side is messier because he doesn’t have books that need protection!
Thank you so much for sharing today, Kristina! You were the perfect person to get this blog series back in action. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Are any of these books on your summer reading list? I am reading The Summer of ’69 right now and I am so enjoying Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction novel, set in, you guessed it…1969! And how gorgeous is this cover?!
If you are looking for an engrossing beach read that delves into some important issues of the late 60s…
“Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.
In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.”
In addition to Summer of ’69, here are some other new releases today…
If you are looking for a family drama to dive into:
“Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.
When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.
Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?
The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.”
If you are looking for a fast-paced domestic thriller…
“She befriended the one woman she was never supposed to meet. Now she’s the key suspect in her disappearance. For fans of The Perfect Mother and The Wife Between Us comes a gripping psychological suspense debut about two strangers, one incredible connection, and the steep price of obsession.
Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker–until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Her target? The “anonymous” egg donor she’d selected through an agency, the one who’s making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born.
Katya, a student at Columbia, is the yin to Lana’s yang, an impulsive free spirit who lives life at the edge. And for pragmatic Lana, she’s a breath of fresh air and a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby’s father. Then, just as suddenly as Katya entered Lana’s life, she disappears–and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she went missing. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya’s past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she’s unprepared for the secrets she unearths, and their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best…”
If you are looking for a suspenseful read set in the idyllic summer vacationland…
“Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.
Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.
Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.”
Now that we are almost half a year into 2019, it has been fun to reflect on my favorite books from these past 5 months. As an avid reader, so much of my reaction to books is based on my own perspective. What I love doesn’t always mean someone else will, but that is what makes reading so wonderful. We all react so differently to things because everyone has such a different and unique life experience.
When rating a book, 4.5 & 5-star books mean that I enjoyed them and kept thinking about them long after I was finished reading them, and all of these books fall into that category. When looking at them all together, they are very different in many ways.
What I love most about being part of an online reading community is the exposure to so many books I might not have previously picked out on my own. So many of these books I chose to read after hearing amazing reviews from my reading friends. I hope this diverse selection of books opens you up to some new reading genres as well!
Are you a part of Goodreads? I have been a member since 2009 and I can’t imagine being able to keep track of the books I have read and the books I want to read without it!
While I have been rating books on there for years, during the past two years I have really tried to up my reviews on there as well. I receive so much reading inspiration from other Goodreads members so I try to do my part as well.
I don’t set really specific goals in the number of books I read, but I do tell to read more each year and I always find it interesting to see how they all add up at the end of December.
So with all that said, I am moving on to my top 9 books from 2019, so far! I am interested to see how these stack up at the end the year when I pick my overall favorites…
This story follows three generations of Palestinian women who live in Brooklyn and their struggle to break the mold that generations prior have set before them. We are lucky to live in a country where it’s easy for us to advocate and vocalize opinions but it is easy to forget how many people still live in oppression.
A Woman is No Man is heartbreaking and Rum’s writing gives a voice to the many women who are still struggling to find their own. This was an eye-opening read for me and it also was a powerful reminder of how hard it can be to break the cycles that have been set in families and communities for generations.
This story challenged me and opened my eyes to how important it is to remember where someone has come from because it makes a part of who they are today. It is never too late to change but sometimes the discomfort can cause this to be a much harder road than any of us might originally anticipate. This book is a thoughtful and honest portrayal of a family and the power of self-compassion and perseverance. I know this book will stick with me for years to come.
You can see my full review of A Woman Is No Man HERE.
Miracle Creek is an intricately crafted family and courtroom drama from debut novelist Angie Kim. I picked this one up after taking a self-imposed break with “suspense/thriller” books because they were all feeling rather similar and just couldn’t hold my attention.
Miracle Creek was a surprise hit, not only because it kept me guessing until the end, but because of it’s amazing depth and deep dive into so many important issues. While the courtroom drama was center stage, immigration, the hopes for experiencing the “American dream”, and caring for children with special needs was right there too. There were so many layers to Kim’s amazing storytelling. This wasn’t an easy read but it was so compelling and thought-provoking which was exactly what I had been missing lately with these “types” of books.
HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) was an entirely new concept to me and I found it added so much to the storyline. Kim was able to add so much emotion during this reading journey that I was able to connect with all the different characters perspectives, even when I couldn’t always relate to their actual experiences.
I am so impressed with Angie Kim and I look forward to reading what she comes out with next!
You can read my full review of Miracle Creek HERE.
Mrs. Everything is the highly anticipated release from women’s literature legend, Jennifer Weiner. Mrs. Everything covers the life of two sisters, Jo and Bethie, as they struggle to find their place and identity in an ever-changing America.
Weiner’s ability to transport you to a totally different time and place makes this book so engrossing There is a Judy Blume vibe in her writing that brought me right back to one of my very favorite adolescent reading favorites, Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret.
I loved the relationships and the powerful(and sometimes painful)issues that were covered. Weiners writing is always so relatable and raw and she is just such a gifted storyteller. If you are looking for a book that will inspire a great conversation with a reading friend, or are looking for your next book club pick, this is it!
You can read my full review of Mrs. Everything HERE.
I was blown away by this book. Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who shares her insights not only about her professional experience but her own journey through therapy. This book helps normalize therapy for everyone, and her ability to share the profound growth both she and her patients experienced was so honest and refreshing.
While Gottlieb includes many important psychological concepts, her writing is clear and conversational and easy for anyone to engage with. I found that there was a perfect balance with the personal stories that will also help her readers become more aware of their own obstacles and moments of growth as they move through this book.
As someone who has had therapy as part of my life since I was a child, it was amazing to see the progress and relatability of Gottlieb and her clients. Sometimes it is hard to see small changes in your own life, but as I read this, I connected with so many of the stories and struggles that were shared in such an approachable and real way.
I found I connected the most with Julie and John’s stories and their stories of loss resonated with me so so deeply even if I couldn’t relate to their exact situations. I rooted for them and I felt for them I didn’t connect as much with the other patient’s stories, but everyone has a different reaction and that was just my personal experience.
I especially enjoyed the chapter about her own therapy with Wendell and their journey together was so heartwarming and also so very real. Being able to see so many of these stories through two different lenses(therapist & patient) just made this such a masterpiece and I know I will continue to think about it for a long time to come.
As soon as I finished this ebook I order a hard copy edition to add to my personal library and I know this is one I will come back to again and again.
You can read my full review of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone HERE.
Ask Again, Yes was my first book by Mary Beth Keane. It was a wonderful introduction to her amazing writing and storytelling abilities. This book would best be described as a family sage and is told over multiple decades. Two families meet and their lives will never be the same. Many themes are introduced as Gleeson presents the lives of the Stanhope and Gleeson families and how they both intersect and collide over the years.
This was not an easy book to read and it may be triggering for some as there are many painful issues that are part of this powerful story. Friendship, loss, marriage, mental illness, alcoholism are all strong themes of this book and are exposed as the lives of these two families unfold. The past and how it affects how we move forward today, forgiveness and what makes a family were strong themes of this novel. The most powerful part of this book was the writing itself which was just amazingly done and very thought-provoking. Her character development was spot on and I felt immersed in the lives in these families while reading. I look forward to reading more of Keane’s work in the future.
You can read my full review of Ask Again, Yes HERE.
The Scent Keeper is a coming of age story with the element of incorporating the senses, in particular, the power of scent. The characters are raw and flawed, which I always find makes stories so much stronger. There are hidden secrets, self-discovery, and transformation, and the ending will leave you guessing but also feeling open to the power of your own imagination. When thinking of the genre this would fit into, it really is in a realm of its own.
If you enjoyed Where The Crawdads Sing and The Great Alone, I feel like this would be a wonderful addition to your spring and summer reading list. The Scent Keeper takes you away into a place you probably haven’t traveled to before in your reading world, and I can’t wait to read what Bauermeister comes out with next.
You can read my full review HERE and my Q&A with author Erica Bauermeister HERE.
I had been looking forward to Juliet’s School of Possibilitiessince I first heard Laura Vanderkam mention it on the Best of Both Worlds Podcast last year. I love Vanderkam’s books about time management and this is her first novella. She incorporates her knowledge and expertise into a short fable about a woman named Riley who is spread too thin.
In a society where “busy” reigns supreme, Vanderkam’s books are a wonderful reminder about how we get to choose how we spend our time and energy and this book is such a fun spin-off. We meet Juliet who shares wisdom and helps Riley rethink this balance. “Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”
You can read my full review of Juliet’s School of Possibilities HERE.
Motherhood is the hardest AND most wonderful thing I have ever done. While I am lucky to have had many conversations with the people in my personal life, never have I read something that explains the complexities of motherhood and marriage in such a profound manner until I read this book. The highs and lows of parenthood, the immense love and also the intense quest to reclaim ourselves as women and partners when our lives will never be the same are so real and valid.
To Have and to Hold spoke to me on so many levels. Millwood’s ability to write with both her voice as a professional and her voice as a mother was a perfect balance. It is relatable and real and I can’t stop thinking about it which is the sign of a 5-star book for me. If you haven’t already checked this one out I highly recommend and she was absolutely wonderful on audio.
You can read my full review of To Have and To Hold HERE.
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.
You can read my full review of I’m Fine and Neither Are You HERE.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my very favorite books from 2019. I would love to know what books have made YOUR list. <3
Do you remember the books that you read when you got into reading as an adult? I read throughout elementary school and much of high school, but reading for pleasure mostly stopped for me while I was in college.
I had a harder time just keeping up the expected reading required of my courses, so I didn’t prioritize much reading for pleasure except a bit during the summer time. When I finished school and began a regular schedule of full time work, a much quieter evening life ensued…At this time reading became a regular part of my life once again.
So many of these books I read during this time of my life and they are such wonderful reading memories for me. One of my very favorite things about books is how quickly they can bring you back to the time and place when you read them…I remember reading some of these on my bed during summer break in the early 2000s, one at my very first apartment in the “real world” and on our first trip together as a couple with my now husband.
Recently, one of my Bookstagram friends asks me for recommendations on older books that I loved. I love having a little inspiration and I had fun looking back at Goodreads to see the ones I had rated when I first started using the (then only) website more than 10 years ago. It is amazing to think how different technology was at the time, and how much it will change 10 years from now!
Below are some books that will forever stand out for me in my reading memories…
“On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House–and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.
As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek–one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie’s tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?
In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry–a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.”
“A wonderfully warm and heartfelt debut from a stunning new talent. Everyone needs a guardian angel! Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry. Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other’s sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other. Until the unthinkable happens.
Gerry’s death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He’s left her a bundle of notes, one for each of the months after his death, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed ‘PS, I Love You’. As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on.
With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing–and being braver than ever before. Life is for living, she realizes–but it always helps if there’s an angel watching over you.”
“Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket’s hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business…and they share an instant attraction.
But there is a mystery about their situation: what is it about Fiona, the Blue Bistro’s chef, that captures Thatcher’s attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether to open her heart for the first time, or move on, as she always does. Infused with intimate Nantucket detail and filled with the warmth of passion and the breeze of doubt, The Blue Bistro is perfect summer listening.”
“In the summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend.
Tully Hart seems to have it all: beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface, they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn; Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become ‘TullyandKate’ — inseparable.
So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the mainstay of their lives. For 30 years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship: jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all, until a single act of betrayal tears them apart…and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.
Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And, ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you – and knows what has the power to hurt you…and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget…one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.”
“On an icy winter night in an isolated house in rural Vermont, a seasoned midwife named Sibyl Danforth takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency cesarean section on a mother she believes has died of stroke. But what if—as Sibyl’s assistant later charges—the patient wasn’t already dead? The ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt, forcing Sibyl to face the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience. Exploring the complex and emotional decisions surrounding childbirth, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.”
“The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.”
“The sensational New York Times bestseller from Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me is a gift for readers, an enchanting, luminous novel about the accidents, both big and small, that affect our choice of friend, lover, and spouse. A story centered around three very different suburban neighbors and what it truly means to “belong” to someone, this eye-opening, unforgettable book is the perfect book club selection—beautifully written, smart and sophisticated women’s fiction that invites discussion as it touches the heart—and the ideal companion to de los Santos’s previous blockbuster, Love Walked In.”
“Four people in a small Vermont village are about to have their lives inexorably intertwined by the uncertainties of love…and the apparent absolutes of gender.
Allison Banks, the long-divorced mother of a teenager on the cusp of college, has at last fallen in love. The object of her desire? Dana Stevens, a professor at the nearby university and her instructor for a summer film and literature course. Her daughter watches with pleasure her mother’s newfound happiness, but Allison’s ex-husband, Will, the president of Vermont Public Radio, is jealous. Still secretly in love with his ex-wife, he finds himself unsettled by the prospect of Allison’s attachment to another man.
Yet Dana is unlike anyone Allison has ever been with: attentive, gentle, kind – and an exceptionally ardent lover. Moreover, it’s clear that Dana cares just as deeply for Allison. The only stumbling block? Dana has known always that in actuality he is woman and he will soon be having a sex change operation.
At first Allison runs, but overwhelmed by the depth of her passions, she returns. Can the pair’s love transcend both the biologic imperatives that are their bodies, as well as their ingrained notions of sexual preference? Moreover, can their love survive the outrage of the small community in which they live?”
“Until now, Kathryn Lyons’s life has been peaceful if unextraordinary: a satisfying job teaching high school in the New England mill town of her childhood; a picture-perfect home by the ocean; a precocious, independent-minded fifteen-year-old daughter; and a happy marriage whose occasional dull passages she attributes to the unavoidable deadening of time.
As a pilot’s wife, Kathryn has learned to expect both intense exhilaration and long periods alone – but nothing has prepared her for the late-night knock that lets her know her husband has died in a crash. As Kathryn struggles with her grief, she descends into a maelstrom of publicity stirred up by the modern hunger for the details of tragedy.
Even before the plane is located in waters off the Irish coast, the relentless scrutiny of her husband’s life begins to bring a bizarre personal mystery into focus. Could there be any truth to the increasingly disturbing rumors that he had a secret life?”
“Cannie Shapiro never wanted to be famous. The smart, sharp, plus-sized pop culture reporter was perfectly content writing about other people’s lives in the pages of the Philadelphia Examiner. But the day she opened up a national women’s magazine to find out that her ex-boyfriend has been chronicling their ex-sex life is the day her life changes forever.
Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in our world, Bruce has written. And Cannie – who never knew that Bruce saw her as a larger woman, or thought that loving her was an act of courage – is plunged into misery, and into the most amazing year of her life.
Radiant with wit, bursting with surprises, and written with bite and bittersweet humor, Jennifer Weiner reaches beyond Cannie’s story and into the heart of every woman. Gut-level real and laugh-out-loud funny, Good in Bed celebrates the courage of the human spirit and features an unbelievably funny cast of supporting characters, the strangest dog you’ll ever encounter, and a heroine you’ll never forget.”
“When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is changed forever. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography hobby and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that before he was homeless, he was a successful photographer.
As Laurel’s fascination with Bobbie’s former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a dark family secret.
In this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and compelling characters, Chris Bohjalian takes listeners on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet.”
“It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister. A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon never would have dreamed of it.
Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood.”
What about you?
Do you have books or authors that stand out for you in your reading history? I would love to hear! <3
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!
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
Good morning and happy Friday! The kids don’t have school today because of parent-teacher conferences and we are expecting a larger March snow storm today and tomorrow. I have lived in Vermont almost my entire life and I still get surprised when we have snow in late March and early April…I am not sure why! Once we have that sneak peek of spring weather it is easy to forget that it doesn’t come that easily around these parts. 😉
This week’s book friend on The Nightstand Series:
Today I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Elisa! Her oldest and my youngest are in the same kindergarten classroom this year. It is always fun to have mom friends that have kids in the same situation as you so you can discuss boring details that only they truly understand. We often text each other because we forget something or feel like we dropped the ball and it is always nice to know you are not alone!
Elisa is so sweet and is always up for an outdoor adventure with or without the kids. She loves coffee as much as I do and is always up for a 4:45pm cocktail and then popping by the grocery store on our way home at 7pm..we know how to have fun and get things done!
Elisa has amazing taste and is the co-owner of a local interior design company, Corduroy + Pine Interiors. She always has a new project underway at her own house and it made me laugh out loud to find out that she painted her bedroom wall just for the photos for this series…I think she was going to do it anyway but there is nothing like a little time sensitive motivation! I hope you enjoy learning more about Elisa today!
Hey, it’s Elisa! I also live in Vermont with my husband and three kiddos – two boys (6 and 4) and a girl (almost 3). I was mostly a SAHM for the past 6 years but recently started an interior design company with a good friend. I still stay home with my two youngest a couple days a week. As a family, we love to get outside whether for a walk/hike, playing at a playground or exploring a new place. I love coffee and red wine. I prefer to drink them out of the home, but also enjoy curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. These days, I probably read food blogs more than I do books. I’m always on a search for a good new recipe for myself (vegetarian) or something the kids will actually eat.
I go through phases with reading. I’m currently in a rut (a year-long rut), but hoping the books on my nightstand pull me out of it. Before moving to Vermont in 2011, I lived in DC and started a book club with my grad school friends, after graduating of course. This was the turning point for me in regards to reading as an adult. I started with one book a month and soon found myself reading 3-4 books a month. Then we moved to Vermont, bought a house, had a baby and reading just wasn’t a priority, sleep was. Ha! About three years after moving here, I organized another book club with some friends and we went strong for 2+ years, but then life happens. So here I am looking at my nightstand and feeling excited and hopeful.
Truth be told, the books in the picture only represent half of the books on my nightstand, but they’re representative of all the books. I’m currently between two books, Becoming by Michelle Obama and Oh Crap! Potty Training. We’re getting ready to finally get my youngest out of diapers and probably a little late to the game. I bought this book when we were in the midst of training our middle child because it was not going as easily as it did with our first, particularly at night. It’s been our parenting philosophy that if we’re getting rid of diapers, then we’re getting rid of diapers which means no pull-ups. This was fine for our first, but our second was more difficult and I needed more advice on how to train for night time and this book helped so much. I’m currently re-reading sections as we get ready to train our youngest.
I love a good memoir and have so much love and respect for our former First Lady so when her book came out, I added it to my Christmas list. I ended up getting it for my birthday in early January. My husband says he ordered the large print by accident, but I’m wondering if he’s trying to tell me something. I did just turn 39, hmm… I’m loving it so far, I just wish I made more time to read it. Like a few other guest bloggers wrote, I don’t make nighttime reading a priority. By the time the kids get to bed and I finish all my other chores or work I wasn’t able to get to, I’m exhausted and/or just want to watch a show with my husband.
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain and The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin, I’m borrowing from Genevieve. She recommended these books to help me get back into reading. They both sound really fascinating. I love historical fiction novels, so I think I’m really going to enjoy The Aviator’s Wife.
The last book in the stack is The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber. I bought this about a year ago and sadly haven’t really started it, but feel strongly about this topic. As our kids get older, we want them to truly understand the value of a dollar, the importance of saving, and family value of ours, giving back. When I bought this book, I also bought each kid a give, save and spend coin bank. Maybe this will be the year I read the book. As anyone else read this? I haven’t heard any personal recommendations about this, instead, I’m trusting the reviewers on Amazon.
What’s on my Kindle?
What’s a Kindle? Kidding. But seriously, I haven’t read a book on a Kindle or other electronic device, and not sure when I will. I really enjoy holding a book, and also try to limit my screen time.
What are you currently listening to?
Like books, I go through phases with podcasts and the only audiobooks I’ve listened to are from the Magic Treehouse collection – do these count? I’m not sure I was a good pick for this blog series, ha. I’m an NPR junkie. I love to listen to it in the car when not with the kids. I’ve recently started listening to the podcast, Brave Little State, by VPR and really enjoy learning more about our state.
What else is on your nightstand?
What you see or what is really there? In the picture, you’ll see a decorative box that hides my peppermint lip balm from Beautycounter, a dollar because you never know when the tooth fairy might need to show up and some random pieces of jewelry. Also pictured is our not-so-stylish landline phone for when the school calls to cancel or when a family member needs to get ahold of me. The real reason the phone is there is that I’m a paranoid person. When my husband travels, I like the security of having a landline phone close by. Not pictured – my Fitbit charger, cell phone charger, dust bunnies, and a random sock or other articles of clothing.
My nightstand is actually a cedar chest that my grandfather had built for my grandmother as a wedding gift. It’s not the most functional nightstand since there’s no drawer and I have to remove everything off the top when I want to access the storage compartment, but it’s perfect for the spot and an heirloom.
Thanks for inviting me to write for the series, Genevieve and for the motivation to finally paint my bedroom.
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!
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.
Hello! This post is a little late because there have been a lot of other obligations that took priority over book blogging this week. I’d like to think eventually I will stockpile of some of my posts so I can schedule them in advance but for now, I am working in “real time”…so thank you for your patience. <3
Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Courtney! Courtney is another one of my mom friends who I met through school. She has all boys as well and there is something special about having some friends who are in the same boat as you. She hosted a gingerbread decorating party with 6 boys 10 and under and did it all with a smile. She has the best advice and is always up for an outside adventure. We love to walk our dogs together and catch up at the same time, its the best kind of multi-tasking.
Courtney and I loved talking about books and she especially is a big fan of audiobooks! She does a lot of her listening while driving and is such a great example of how you can still read a lot while utilizing audiobooks.
Hi! I’m Courtney, I live in Vermont with my husband and 3 boys. We also have two Goldens, Duke and Bear and a little Dachshund named Bella. I am mostly a SAHM but I also manage some rental properties that my husband and I own.
My nightstand, similar to my life is a scatterbrained pile of all of the things I would like to be working on whether for myself or my kids…The truth is, most nights by the time I get my 10yo to bed I am ready for bed myself, and I haven’t successfully figured out how to incorporate actual reading into my night time routine. If I’m lucky enough to read a little at some point during my day I like books that I can read a chapter at a time. In the meantime, I use the endless amounts of driving I do to listen to either fiction or parenting books, depending on what I am in the mood for.
Right now I am listening to The Yes Brain by Dan Siegel, I love how Dan Siegel can simplify the steps to become a person with a yes brain mentality. Something I have found my kids need to work on. Being excited to take on a new challenge or try something new, isn’t something that comes easily for at least 2 of the 3.
The Big Life Journal is a really cool little company that puts out all of these materials to help kids also cultivate a positive approach to life and the world. They also have a teen version that helps mold a teens mind to think on a large scale of what they can accomplish if they put their mind to it.
I am super into educating myself on food and the most nourishing healthy diets, that’s why a friend gave me Brodo for Christmas and I have been thumbing through the recipes in that as well as Gweneth Paltrow’s new book The Clean Plate. She has some really great interviews with some well known alternative health Docs.
Make Your Kid a Money Genius is sort of self-explanatory, I always seem to have something I’m reading to help me in raising the sort of adults I hope to be turning out. How to handle money is something my parents never taught me, and school certainly didn’t, so it’s something I am really trying to teach my kids about.
The Epstein Barr Virus Solution is one that has been in my pile for a while…its a topic that fascinates me since most of the population has EBV, and it can be the cause of so many health issues. But its not really one you can read in little bits….so it will probably be a while before it makes its way off my nightstand!
What else is on my nightstand:
I can’t go to bed without my homemade lotion on my hands and feet (I can’t seem to find anything store bought that does the trick for mine or my kid’s dry skin) as well as my eminence citrus lip balm on my lips. I am also completely obsessed with Lunaroma’s lavender oils and I love to spritz their room spray up in the air as I’m settling into my pillow at night, as well as diffuse it in the evenings so my room smells like lavender when I get my jammies on each night. Not pictured is my big hydro flask filled with Pellegrino, my water of choice. I lug that thing around with me all day because I love how fresh my bubbly water tastes in it.
Thanks for asking me to share Gen!
Thank you so much for sharing, Courtney!! I need to check out that Big Life Journal, it sounds great!