The Kids Are in Bed by Rachel Bertsche
Journalist, bestselling author of MWF Seeking BFF, and mother of two Rachel Bertsche tries to find calm among the chaos and reclaim a personal life while raising her young kids and offers solutions for how all parents can do the same, once The Kids Are in Bed.
Picture it—it’s 8:30 p.m. You close the door to your child’s room just as you hear your partner closing the dishwasher. Your home is clean (enough). You’ve dealt with all the last-minute work emails. And now it’s time for an hour or two of glorious freedom. What do you do? Read the book you’ve been waiting to crack open all day? Chat on the phone with a friend, glass of wine in hand, or go out and meet old friends and share a whole bottle? Or, like many modern parents, do you get caught up in chores, busywork, and social media black holes?
Recent time-use studies show that even working parents have as many as 30 hours of leisure time a week, yet very few people know how to actually use that time to do something— anything!—pleasurable and fulfilling. In an original survey conducted for this book, 71 percent of parents said their free time didn’t feel free at all, because they were still thinking about all the things they should be doing for their kids, their jobs, and their households.
Rachel Bertsche constantly found herself in exactly that bind. Using a combination of memoir, interviews with scientists and parenting experts, and input from moms and dads all over the country, Rachel figured out how to transform her own patterns and reconnect to her pre-kids life. In The Kids Are in Bed, other parents can learn how to do the same, and truly enjoy the time after lights out.
January 7th, 2020
The Kids Are in Bed was my first book by Rachel Bertsche. In a society where people (and especially parents) are feeling more burnt out than ever before, I love the idea of rethinking the time that we DO have. The Kids Are in Bed shared some proactive ideas for parents about not getting “stuck” in every day (sometimes very monotonous) family life grind and utilizing the downtime that you do have in your daily/weekly/monthly schedules.
I thought Bertsche really succeeded at sharing helping everyday tips and hack to not falling into the trap of not having enough time for ourselves, our marriage, friendships, etc. While life may look a lot different than it did “before kids” and the “downtime” we have may well be less, when we look at our habits and chunks of time, it can help us adjust the way we utilize it.
I did find that the stories in The Kids Are In Bed were primarily about her own very specific situation (with fairly young children), and although she did share ideas cited directly from other sources, I would have loved for there to be a bigger variety of examples of family life, especially with different aged children.
The challenges vary so much as you move through the life stages of having kids at home from babies to teens…all with their own set of positives and challenges. I think this would open this book up to a larger audience and also help broaden the perspective beyond her own immediate experiences.
Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
Recipe For a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
“In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.
When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.
Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.”
January 21, 2020 (You can pre-order HERE)
Domestic Life Fiction
Wow!! Recipe for a Perfect Wife was a surprise hit for me and I just enjoyed it so much. This was my first book by Karma Brown and it definitely won’t be my last! I loved the format of the dual timelines and I became very immersed with both of the main characters.
Brown introduces us to Alice, who has recently moved out of the city to a fixer-upper with her husband. As her roles are shifting in her own home life, Alice discovers a cookbook and magazines from the previous homeowner. This discovery introduces us to the other main character in this book, Nellie.
The storyline then goes back and forth between present-day Alice and Nellie a “housewife” in the 1950s. I loved how Brown took us back to that era and really dove into what life was like for women and the expectations there was of Nellie as a wife in that time period.
The story shifts between Nellie’s narrative, and Alice’s discovery of Nellie’s past while also learning more about her own marriage. Each chapter started with quotes from marital advice from the (not so distant) past and it really helped set the scene for how different life was in the early and mid-1900s.
Brown keeps you super involved in both storylines and I loved that while it was a completely engaging read, it took on some powerful and timely topics. The twists at the end were satisfying, clever and bold. Recipe For A Perfect Wife will definitely stick with me and it would make a wonderful book club discussion.
Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for an advanced copy.
On Being Human by Jen Pastiloff
“Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.
Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”
Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.”
June 4th, 2019
On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff…but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff’s life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way.
I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner.
I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough.
Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you “achieve”. She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before.
I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn’t exactly a “self-help” book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout.
“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”
“ There will always be the one who doesn’t like you, the one who says, ‘No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck’. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.”
Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can’t put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn’t sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is one I won’t forget as a reader.
Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
July is HERE!
I know everyone is saying it, but I can’t believe it is July. Summer always flies by after this and we had a later arrival of warm weather this year, it really seems hard to believe! I am a little behind on posting this week because life got in the way. I love sharing new book releases and Tuesdays are the release day each week. Just like June, there are a lot of great books being released this month!!
Reese’s Book Club Selections & Books With Lots Buzz
Do you follow Reese’s Book Club Hello Sunshine? I enjoy seeing her selections each month even if I don’t always agree. I love reading new releases and being able to be part of discussions about books that have a lot of buzz and her book choices always create a lot of that!
This month she selected Whisper Network, which was released yesterday. I read an ARC copy back in April, and unfortunately, it was only so-so for me. BUT so many of my reading friends have just loved it. I think when there is a book written that has a very timely topic, I get very high expectations…does this happen to you? But even if I don’t love a book, it can still make for a great conversation starter.
My Review of Whisper Network…⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was very excited to read this book as it seemed focused around such an important and timely topic especially during the #metoo movement…office politics, the expectations, the way women are treated differently in professional situations and sexual harassment.
I initially struggled through the beginning of this book and felt many of the characters and plot line were hard to differentiate between. This was definitely a slow burn and although there is a mystery element to this story, where it shined the most was through the personal stories of these strong women.
I would have loved for the author to go a bit deeper in some of these situations because some of them were glossed over in order to keep the story flowing. I do appreciate that Baker was able to take on such a powerful and important topic with her engaging storytelling. This would be a great pick for a summer beach read or a great book club conversation. (You can read my full review HERE)
Is Whisper Network on your reading list? Have you already read it? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Another book with big buzz is Lock Every Door. This is another July 2nd release that has been anticipated by fans of Riley Sager for months. As many of you know, I have been on the quest for a summer thriller that I LOVE and this one makes that list!! His books are suspenseful, detailed and always page-turners. I talked more about my love for The Last Time I Lied HERE. I am excited to share my full review of Lock Every Door soon!