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

poppin' bubbles-4
Good morning! I am excited to introduce to you to my friend Emily, today! Emily and I talk regularly about books and I always love her wonderful insight. She should have a book blog because her reviews are always super in depth and she always is able to look at things from different perspectives. She is truly one of the most empathetic and understanding people I know which makes so much sense when you learn about the work she does. I hope you enjoy hearing what is on her nightstand, today.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Roar: Thirty Stories One Roar | Book Review

Book Review-20

From Goodreads.com:

“In this singular and imaginative story collection, Cecelia Ahern illuminates the myriad ways in which women overcome adversity with wit, resourcefulness and compassion. Exploring dilemmas and aspirations that women everywhere will relate to, these unforgettable tales blend magical realism and familiar scenarios with startling and often hilarious results. In matters ranging from marriage and childrearing to politics and career, the heroines of these thought-provoking stories confront problems both mysterious and mundane: one woman is tortured by sinister bite marks that appear on her skin; another is swallowed up by the floor during a mortifying presentation; yet another resolves to return and exchange her boring husband at the store where she originally acquired him. As they wrestle with obstacles of all kinds, their reality is shaped by how others perceive them–and ultimately, how they perceive the power within themselves.

By turns sly, whimsical and affecting, these 30 short stories are an inspiring examination of what it means to be a woman today.”


I really had a hard time with this book. I get where she was going but it was just so over the top that it was hard to take seriously. I loved her idea of doing short stories about everyday challenges modern day women face. Unfortunately, the transformations were so whimsical that it was hard to really look at the issues she was trying to represent which were strong enough on their own.

I love Ahern’s writing but this just didn’t work for me. I appreciate what she was trying to do here but this just fell flat for me and seemed very superficial at best. Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for gifting me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

I Owe You One | Book Review

Book Review-13.png


From Goodreads.com:

“From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?”


I have always been a big fan of Sophie Kinsella and find her books a little fluffy but super easy to get lost in, which make them the perfect relaxation reading. Unfortunately, this one was tough for me. I liked the premise but the first half of the book was just hard to stick with because the characters were all just so unlikeable. Her siblings didn’t have one redeeming quality about them and Fixie, the main character, was such a pushover that it was just hard to continue reading at points. The mom, who was the one likable character was not part of the story after the first few chapters, which was unfortunate as I found her to be the most interesting of all.

I stuck with it and the second half did pick up for me, but the changes for the characters came just too far along in the book. I love the idea of characters learning and growing but it just didn’t happen in time for this book. By the time it did, it all happened so quickly that it felt overwhelming and a bit dramatic when nothing had really happened for most of the book. I love Kinsella’s writing but this one just wasn’t my favorite. A big thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Nine Perfect Strangers | Book Review

Book Review-5

I was hesitant to read this book after seeing a lot of mixed reviews. After talking with some of my reading friends, the consensus was that it was a lot different than her other books and it didn’t have that psychological thriller component to it. It was very helpful to know this ahead of time or else I think I would have been waiting “for something to happen” the whole time. Some of her books were so enjoyable to me, specifically The Husbands Secret and Big Little Lies..and others fell flat like Truly Madly Guilty.  I love her writing style and her in-depth characters which are always a consistent theme of her books.

I went into this one with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the first half of the book. I enjoyed “getting to know” each of the nine guests and the three staff members at Tranquillum House. I also love self-help so I was intrigued by the idea of a 10-day retreat. I enjoyed hearing about what lead the guests to make a visit to this exclusive resort..some of the stories were very interesting and some were also very sad. The characters were multi-faceted and although the first half of the book was not especially fast-paced, it was very enjoyable to me.

Unfortunately, after the first half, this book just lost me. I was interested in the idea that although the guests knew they would be leaving Tranquillum House totally refreshed and changed, they didn’t quite know what they were signing up for. But the direction the “treatment” took was just comical to me and it was hard to take seriously after that. I did wade through it until the end and enjoyed the “wrap-ups” of each character but once the book went a completely different direction..it just didn’t seem believable to me.

I am happy I read it but it was a long one and I don’t think it would be one I would recommend. I am hoping her next book is a winner because so many of them have been!