Valentine Reflections, Facebook Giveaway, and a Book Review: Convenience Store Woman {Sayaka Murata}

Happy Friday, Friends!

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day!  Mine was spent at my daughter’s classroom party (so cute) during the day.  The kids did crafts, played games, ate yummy food, and had a blast.  I love being able to experience these fun days with her and her friends and I never take for granted that I am able to do so. 🙂

Last night, we couldn’t find a babysitter so Jon and my romantic dinner was turned into a family event, lol. My daughter and I were each handed a rose from the hostess as we walked into the restaurant (my daughter LOVED that and it made her feel so fancy). The only kids in the entire restaurant belonged to us and although I wouldn’t say that dinner was romantic (Jon and I don’t typically have rock, paper, scissors tournaments when we dine alone), I would say it was definitely fun. 🙂

Our kids received giant Hershey Kisses and poop emoji stuffed toys (clearly Jon was the parent who bought the childrens’ gifts for this holiday…???)

And I received a gift card for a 90 minute massage and all I could say when I opened the envelope was “YESSSSSSSSS”. Do you get massages?  I got my first one 2 years ago when Jon and I were in Cabo and I’ve never looked back.  Since returning home from our trip, I’ve enjoyed quite a few 🙂  THE.  BEST.  I’ve only had 60 minute massages, this 90 minute one will be such a treat!  Perfection.

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday filled with lots of love…and books 🙂

Thank you to everyone who entered the Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach giveaway! Congratulations Julie and Claire F.!

Ladies, please email me at bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com with your mailing addresses and I’ll pass them along to the author to get your books sent out ASAP.

Facebook Giveaway:

Would you like another chance to win an autographed and dedicated copy of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach? 

I have 2 MORE copies to give away…this time exclusively on Facebook! Head over there for your chance to enter, it will be up within minutes of me publishing this post. Good luck!

My First Vlog

I filmed a vlog with my review of Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming.  I had too many thoughts to type. 🙂 I’m hoping to get that video posted on Monday!  Make sure you check back…

And now, a book review! Oh do I have a great one for you today…

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis–but will it be for the better?

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

5 Stars

I’ve read so many book reviews on this one and it’s been on my radar for months.  I finally picked it up at the library this week and I’m so glad that I did!

I read this entire book over 2 days.  I haven’t done that in such a long time!  Full disclosure:  this book is TINY.  Like, itty bitty. Only 163 pages and the actual book itself is about 1/2 the length of a normal book…but being able to read ANY book over 2 days when you’re a mom is a total win in my book so I’m feeling great 🙂

This book sucked me in from page 1.  It’s a bit…different…but in a good way!  It’s been translated (It was originally written in Japanese).  I was a bit nervous because the last book that I read which had been translated CLEARLY lost something in translation and was absolutely awful. Not at all the case with this book, it was great!

In my opinion, the main character in this one clearly falls somewhere on the autism spectrum and reminded me of the main characters from this book and from this book.  The biggest difference between the 3 books is that I absolutely LOATHED the other 2 books and I absolutely LOVED this one!  Man, did I hate those other 2 books (you can read my review of one of them here).

The deeper message in this story is about society and living up to the expectations that others have set for you.  It’s an interesting and thought provoking read all around.  And QUICK!  You could truly sit and read this entire book in one sitting.

Bottom Line:  

This is a little, teeny tiny gem of a book!  And…if you read it, you will never look at a convenience store in the same way ever again (in a good way).

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Have a great weekend!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on Facebook!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

***CHILDREN’S BOOK GIVEAWAY (2 Copies)*** Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach {Elizabeth Gerlach}

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

As soon as I finished reading this book with my children, I sent Elizabeth Gerlach an email which contained only 1 sentence:

“This might just be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.”

Description from Amazon:

Awarded 5-stars from both Reader’s Favorite and the award-winning “Read With Your Kids” podcast, as well as a Certified Great Read.

Meet young Benjamin who takes us on an inspiring & fun adventure to the beach in this first book in the Ben’s Adventures series. You’ll smile and be inspired as you follow Ben into his imagination and he shows us that all kids can play and dream.
 
In his first adventure, Ben imagines a perfect beach day where he builds sand castles, flies kites, plays with crabs and enjoys special moments with his family. Ben loves the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. He can dream, he can play, and he can interact and have meaningful experiences. Ben smiles, and you will too.

“Let’s build a sandcastle”, I say to my friend.
He says, “Sounds good.”
And we make our plan.
With one tower built,and two more to go.
I kick and laugh and then think “Oh No!”

A Great Book for Introducing Special Needs or Disability to Young Children Ben’s Adventures provides a simple and subtle way to introduce special needs and disability to your child. It can easily open the discussion for what disability means. Why does someone need a wheelchair? If someone’s in a wheelchair, can they still play with me? It will help young minds recognize and understand differences among us and ACCEPT those differences. And the main character Benjamin will reinforce the important take-away that just because someone might be different or need assistance, he/she is still a kid, can be a friend, and can enjoy kids’ play.

Teach Empathy, Inclusion and Acceptance from an Early Age Kids will have as many (if not more) similarities than they have noticeable differences.It’s our job as parents to talk about these issues with our kids. Understanding and accepting others throughout our lives is learned in childhood.

Ben is a young triplet brother that shows all kids can play & dream. Ben’s Adventures was inspired by the author’s son Benjamin who had cerebral palsy. Despite Ben’s challenges in life, he smiled everyday. It’s a wonderful message that is important for typical families AND those with special needs. And it provides a good introduction of disability for any family. In writing it, Gerlach wanted to show that all kids are capable and able to do great (or even simple) things.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely, positively love this book.  So much.

The story itself is beautiful, the pictures are adorable, and the discussion that it created between my 7 year old daughter and I after we finished reading was amazing.  We discussed differences in people and even though someone might not always be able to communicate in the same way that you do…they still have feelings, thoughts, and dreams.  It was an amazing and inspiring discussion and this book was a perfect catalyst to discuss such an important topic.

It would also be a wonderful book for a classroom!  The discussions and writing assignments that could follow would be endless.  If you have any teachers in your life, their classroom would greatly benefit from this book.

I love, love, love this special book.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite books that I’ve ever reviewed on my blog.

A Conversation with Elizabeth Gerlach, in Her Own Words:

Briefly give a description of your book:

Ben’s Adventures is about a young triplet brother who has cerebral palsy. He loves his family/friends, creating memories and taking adventures! He’s in a wheelchair but shows that ALL kids can play & dream and create meaningful connections and memories.

In this first book, Ben takes us to the beach where he plays with crabs, builds sandcastles and flies with kites.

How did you create the idea for your book?

It’s inspired by my triplet son Benjamin. Ben passed away from a serious illness in 2016 at almost 4 years old. Despite his/our challenges, he always had a smile on his face and laughed quite a bit. As a family, we loved to have different experiences and adventures and just spend time together. I wanted to show that even though a child might have additional needs, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy ‘kid things’ and have fun. And I wanted to represent disability in a children’s book by creating a main character who uses a wheelchair.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Ben’s Adventures is probably most suited for Preschool through second grade. It’s a good message for any child/family (not just one with additional needs). I’ve been told it helps to introduce the concept of disability with kids that aren’t yet familiar. Families have been able to have meaningful conversations around the book.

Where can your book be purchased?

Signed/Dedicated copies are available on my website here: www.Bens-Adventures.com

But it’s also available on Amazon in both Hard Cover and Kindle format.

https://www.amazon.com/Bens-Adventures-Day-at-Beach/dp/173270340X/

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Inspirational

Sweet

Touching

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

Ben’s Adventures just received a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite and has average 5 star review on Amazon.

As a family, to honor Benjamin, we established the Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation to purchase switch-adapted toys and other devices to kids with motor challenges. www.BenSmiles.org

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 2 copies of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach to give away (US only for this giveaway)! 
Winners will receive an autographed and dedicated copy of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below telling the first name of the person you would have the author write the dedication inside the cover to if you are chosen to win a copy

**You must complete both of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will end Friday morning at 6:00 CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday morning’s blog post.

Make sure you check back on Friday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winner to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Random Thoughts From a Book Blogger

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Ours was jam packed with all the good stuff…pizza, a royal ball with princesses, a birthday party, a Father/Daughter Dance, our favorite Chinese restaurant, and trips to both Target AND Costco. If that’s not the definition of a perfect weekend, I’m not sure what is.

Our town is wonderful and I so love raising our children here. Cinderella’s Royal Ball is the cutest annual event where kids dress like royalty, see a princess show, meet the princesses, eat ice cream, have a dance party with a DJ, and then receive a Royal goodie bag. It’s precious and my kids love going every year! My daughter dressed as Cinderella and my son…well…he was a dinosaur??? No amount of persuading could change his mind to go as a king or a knight. We tried.  So in the end there were lots of beautiful princesses in attendance…and 1 adorable little dinosaur.

Which kids are mine?

I FINALLY finished reading this book and I have SO many thoughts. Too many to type! I actually plan on filming a video instead so I can talk my way through my review…I will get that filmed and up on the blog soon! Stay tuned 🙂

In other news, I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon this morning for more elbow x rays.  MY ELBOW IS NO LONGER BROKEN!  Still a bit sore….but HEALING!  I’m so happy 🙂

Anyway, I was quite early for my appointment so I stopped by the library for some quiet reading time first! Heavenly.

I started reading this book while at the library this morning and I’m already almost 100 pages in and LOVING IT so far!  It’s been on my TBR list for months as I’ve read so many positive reviews. Have you read this one?  It’s great so far!  I’ll write a full review once I’ve finished.

Check out my current Instagram story to see what else happened to me while I was at the library today, lol…(insert face plant emoji here)…

How are you? How was your weekend? What are you currently reading?

Be sure to stop by the blog on Wednesday for your chance to enter a GIVEAWAY for an amazing book!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Author Spotlight: Kahled Hosseini {The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And The Mountains Echoed}

Kahled Hosseini, you are one an amazing author.

The plots, characters, and settings in your 1st 2 books are truly works of art and some of the best I’ve read.

You should have stopped writing while you were ahead.

kiterunner3

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” 

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

My Thoughts:

I read this many, many years ago and the details are a bit fuzzy to me….but I do remember absolutely LOVING this book.  It’s one of the few books that my husband and I have both read and both loved. It’s an AMAZING story written by an AMAZING author, I just can’t quite remember enough details to give you a full and detailed review.

athousandsplendidsons2

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” 

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

My Thoughts:

I started reading this the same day I finished reading The Kite Runner.  After just reading that one book, I was immediately drawn to this wonderful author.  This book did not disappoint!  I remember loving it just as much as I loved The Kite Runner (how rare to love 2 books in a row so equally).  This beautiful story was so incredibly well written.  Again, the details here are a bit fuzzy for me….but I do remember absolutely LOVING everything about it.

Aaaaaaand then…..

This book.  Ugh.

andthemountainsechoed

Synopsis from Goodreads:

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one…Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Abdullah, Pari – as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named – is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand. Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways in which we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

My Thoughts:

I was beyond excited when this book was finally released.  Finally!  I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new Hosseini book for years!  I remember going to the bookstore on the day of it’s release to buy my copy.  Such a great day!

As I sat down to read, I prepared myself to feel all of the emotions I felt while reading the other 2 books.  It was obvious from the very beginning that this book was going to be quite different.

It was so LONG and SO BORING…I felt like I was reading a textbook.

I never wanted to sit down and read this book and was so unmotivated to read more than a few pages at a time when I did read.  I eventually did finish it…but…wow did it take me forever.

Here’s a fun fact about me: this book took me longer to finish reading than any other book that I’ve ever read in my life.  MONTHS.  To read ONE book.  One very long and very boring book.  Months of my life that I will never get back.  When I think of all of the amazing books I could have read over those months, my bookloving heart hurts…

Clearly this book was NOTHING at all like the other 2 books he had written.  How does this happen?!

When authors develop a fan base, their readers expect their work to be of a certain quality.  I couldn’t believe how dramatically different this book was in terms of quality from the previous 2.  Absolutely nothing about this story drew me in.  I was incredibly disappointed.  Still am.

My Bottom Line on Khaled Hosseini:

The Kite Runner: READ IT NOW.

A Thousand Splendid Suns: READ IT NEXT.

And The Mountains Echoed: SEND ME A THANK YOU NOTE FOR SAVING YOU FROM READING THIS BOOK.

*Khaled Hosseini released a short story in 2018 called Sea Prayer.  Have any of you read it?  I have not. I’m still recovering from And the Mountains Echoed.*

Xo,

Jenny

Have you read these books?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the books through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Let’s Chat: Spoilers. Love Knowing or Better Blind?

l

You’re in the middle of an amazing book.  You tell someone what you’re reading.  Without thinking, they give away the ending.

Or…

You’re in the middle of an amazing book.  You close it without bookmarking.  When you open again to find your place, you open the cover a wee bit too far and mistakenly read ahead.

Or…

You’re in the middle of an amazing (uplifting) book.  You tell someone what you’re reading.  They tell you how tragically sad the ending is and how it will make you sob.  You spend the rest of the book trying to figure out the sad twist that you never knew existed.

Or…

Someone posts something on Facebook and while innocently scrolling through your newsfeed, you now have books (AND REALITY TV) ruined for you.

THE.  WORST.

All of these situations have happened to me and I’m quite certain they have also happened for a number of you.  Admittingly, I am more sensitive to this than most people.  I absolutely HATE knowing anything ahead of time.

When I’m reading a book and the plot is getting GOOD, it’s not uncommon for me to physically put my hand over the rest of the page so I cannot mistakenly read ahead.

When I am watching reality tv (my favorite), I mute the sound and look away when Chris Harrison announces, “Tonight on the Bachelor” or “Coming up after the break”.  Scenes from next week?????? FORGET ABOUT IT.  Hell no.

I saw Hamilton without listening to a single song first although everyone told me I needed to.  I did zero historical research.  I walked into that theater completely blind and I truly think I had a better experience because of it!

Have you ever noticed the following disclaimer that I include with every book review that I  publish on my blog?

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I have heard that there are people who when they receive a book, the very first thing that they do is to read the last page of the book.  Do people like this really exist?!?

I never Google a television show for any reason unless I am 100 percent caught up in the current season.  I have blocked people on Facebook when they post status updates about current television shows so nothing will be ruined for me if I’m an episode or 2 behind.  I turn away from the magazines in the grocery store checkout aisle when they post photos of current reality tv stars.

I once told a friend how excited I was to watch the Bachelor finale that night and she responded with “Oh!  ____won!  I just read an article!”  This was roughly 3 hours before the finale aired.  And of course my friend was right.  And of course it was the girl who I NEVER thought was going to win.  It would have been such an amazing finale.

When I’m reading or watching television, I NEVER try to predict the ending.  I just enjoy the present and not give too much thought into trying to figure out what will happen next (on a side note, this is also a fantastic way to go about life…but that’s a different post for a different day).

To me, nothing beats an amazing twist that I never saw coming.  Nothing is better than a surprise ending.  When an author has the ability to make this happen, it’s brilliant.  So many specific books come to mind…but I don’t want to spoil any of them for you!

What are your thoughts on all of this?  How do you feel about spoilers?  Tell me a story about a time when someone ruined something for you!  

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why {Jay Asher}

Our kitchen is leaking, our family room is leaking, our garbage disposal is thankfully back to normal although our dishwasher still isn’t working and hasn’t worked in 3 days all because of a frozen pipeline.

Polar Vortex 2019, I loathe you.

BUT the 4 of us went to the grocery store last night and it felt great just to be out of the house!  This has been such an insane week and our poor house just couldn’t handle it.  I’m driving my daughter to and from school again today because the thought of putting her on a bus in this weather doesn’t sit well with me.  It’s better out there….but still freezing!

You know it’s been a bit chilly when you check your weather app, it says it’s currently 3 degrees, and you immediately think it’s warming up!  Omg.

Today I have a review of a book I read a while back and still think about.  It’s message was well written, powerful, and important.

thirteenreasonswhy

Synopsis from Goodreads:

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

4 Stars

Couldn’t.  Put.  It.  Down.

This book was interesting, heartbreaking, fascinating, and memorable.  I read it over the course of just a few days and would sneak in pages whenever I had a free moment.  I had to know what was going to happen next!

The entire premise of this book is piecing together the pieces of the puzzle to create the entire picture.  As more and more details begin to unfold, the reader is introduced to new characters, new situations, and new revelations.  I loved the writing style and how the author told the entire story in such a unique way and through so many different perspectives.

If you enjoy YA (young adult fiction), this is absolutely a book that you should read.

There is a Netflix series based upon this book.  I haven’t seen any of the episodes…Have you?

Bottom Line:

Loved it.  Disturbing topic but so well written.

Stay warm, everyone!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  Have you seen the Netflix series? What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Play Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

*I’ll be running a special weekend storytime this Sunday at 4:00!  It’s Whimsy Play Cafe’s 1 month anniversary and I will be doing a “whimsical” Dr. Seuss themed storytime!  I would love to see you and your little book lovers there!*

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

GREETINGS FROM THE POLAR VORTEX and a Book Review: The Light Between Oceans {M.L. Stedman}

When my husband and I were dating, I lived in a condo in downtown Chicago. One night, we had tickets to a comedy club called Zanies to see Gilbert Gottfried perform.

We walked there and it was the absolute coldest either one of us had ever been in our entire lives. I remember my legs going completely numb through my jeans as we were walking. It was probably only a 4 minute walk and by the time we got there we were both literally chilled to our bones. Our faces were bright red, we had no feeling in our fingers, and I was convinced my toes would stay numb forever. After the show, we hailed a cab and enjoyed the warm and lovely 1 minute ride back to my condo. One of the smartest financial decisions we have ever made 🙂

11 years later and my husband and I still use the term “Zanies cold” to describe the weather. As in, “It’s cold outside today! Almost Zanies cold!” or “Oh come on, it’s not that cold. It’s nowhere near Zanies cold!”

The weather we are having here today makes “Zanies cold” feel like a tropical vacation.

Greetings from the Polar Vortex!

Its absolutely crazy here. Our entire state has shut down. Schools have been called off, stores are closed, mail service has been canceled, garbage pickup has been canceled, etc.

Melting ice outside has caused water to leak into our kitchen and family room. We currently have towels everywhere, fans blowing on our carpet, and a family birthday party this weekend for both of my kids which now needs to be relocated from our home to our kids’ favorite local restaurant. Thank goodness they are able to accommodate all of us so last minute!

Yesterday my son and I ate lunch in the car after I finished leading storytime. I had packed us sliced grapes which had frozen from sitting in the car by the time we went to eat them!

Here’s a fun new fact that I learned last night:

Apparently when the temperature goes into these frigid numbers, it causes the materials used to build the house to contract.  As the heat warms the inside of the wall, it  simultaneously warms the outside of the wall and the materials inside of the wall contract.  It causes a very loud noise!

***DISCLAIMER*** I actually have no idea what I’m talking about and the above paragraph is extremely likely to be completely wrong. I read a ton of online articles about this topic somewhere around 2:00 AM and that was my takeaway…but science is not my strong suit, lol.

What I DO know is that the noises were HORRIBLE. For about 2 hours in the middle of the night, random loud BOOMS kept me awake every 10 minutes. The only thing that calmed my fears (after getting out of bed to check that everything was ok) was reading on our local town’s Facebook page about all of my neighbors experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time! I swear nobody slept in Buffalo Grove last night…except for my husband. He slept peacefully through all of it. *insert eye rolling emoji here.*

Today my kids are home from school and my husband is home from work. We are warm, we are safe, and we are together. I stuck my head outside of our back door this morning just to see what it would feel like and my lips immediately started to tingle!  Even our dishes are freezing to the touch inside of our kitchen cabinet.  This is crazy.

Current scene in our kitchen as I blog this.  Note the giant coffee next to my computer!  It will need to be refilled at some point soon.  I’m so exhausted today.

Our heat is working just fine but our EcoBee (affiliate) couldn’t even comprehend all of this madness to report it to us this morning, lol.

Yikes.

One great thing about being trapped inside of the house during temperatures like this is the ability to escape into a book.  I’m not sure how much escaping I’ll be able to do today with both of my kids here, but fingers crossed I’ll be able to read for at least a little bit later on!

I posted this on Facebook last week:

It made me think of my own question and one of my all time favorite books immediately came to mind.  This older book turned out to be one of the best books I have ever read….unfortunately with one of the most boring beginnings of any book I have ever read.

thelightbetweenoceans

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia – the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written debut novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

This book is a PERFECT example of why sometimes you just need to push through even if you’re not 100 percent in love with the book that you are reading.  I absolutely hated the beginning of this book…it was so boring.  I kept thinking, “Ok.  I’m giving this 10 more pages and then I am giving up”.  I pushed through, kept reading, and…WOW.  This book turned out to be one of the most beautifully written and moving stories I have ever read.  In my entire life.

I read this book years ago and I still think of these characters and their choices often.  As a mother, this story spoke directly to my heart.  It’s such a complicated story with so many fascinating points of view.  My feelings about certain characters completely changed as the story unfolded and I COULD.  NOT.  PUT.  THIS.  BOOK.  DOWN.

In fact, I remember I was reading this book while receiving a pedicure.  There was a television playing a very loud movie that nobody in the salon was paying attention to. I may or may not have asked the salon owner if she could please turn it off so that I could give this fascinating book the attention it so rightfully deserved.

Bottom Line:

One of the most boring beginnings of any book turned into one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful and memorable books I have ever read.  YOU MUST PUSH THROUGH.  And then thank me.

Stay safe and stay warm, local friends!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Play Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, puppets, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

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