Book Review: Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate}

Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours has been on my To Read list for such a long time.  It has received such high praise and due to that, I knew I wanted to read it and yet for some reason just never did.  Maybe because I knew how heavy the story was going to be?  Maybe because I’m not a huge historical fiction fan?  Whatever the reason, this book has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year.  No time like a quarantine to catch up on your To Read list!  I was so excited to finally read and review this book for the blog.

If you recall from my last WWW post, I was reading another book and was planning on reading this one next but ultimately changed my mind.  I HAD to find out why everyone loves this book so much!  I put the other book down after reading just a few chapters although I do plan on picking it back up again at another time.  The time just felt right for me to dig into this one…and I’m so glad that I finally did.

Goodreads Synopsis of Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate} :

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

My Review of Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate}:

(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)

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that on Saturday I posted the following:

After reading the comments, there was one big takeaway:  KEEP ON READING.  And so read I did.  And just like that…I couldn’t put it down.  I read on Saturday, I read on Sunday, I read yesterday.  FINISHED.

Yesterday morning’s Instagram story:

Like everyone else, I ended up truly loving this beautiful book. I LIKED it from the beginning but it wasn’t until I was about 3/4 of the way through where I couldn’t put it down.  I was expecting to feel this way from the start but unfortunately it took a bit for me to get there.  However once I got there…wow.  WHAT.  A.  STORY.

Once I finished reading, I was up until 1:00 am researching the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and Georgia Tann.  The more I researched, the more I just can’t believe that this is a piece of our country’s history.  I also can’t believe that this piece of history is not more well known.  A big kudos to Lisa Wingate for bringing this horrific part of our country’s past into the minds and hearts of readers today.  The more I read about this topic, the more disgusted and outraged I became.  HOW on Earth did Georgia Tann get away with this and for as long as she did?!? Absolutely mind blowing.

One complaint that I do have with this book is that for as much as the beautiful and complicated STORY was so incredibly well developed, I wish that the characters were as well.  There were so many characters (many with a few different names) that at times I had to remind myself who was who to keep each of them straight (especially the siblings).  I also wish we could have had more of a glimpse into life on the Arcadia at the BEGINNING of the story rather than first learning the beautiful bits and pieces throughout.

However, it is such an amazing book filled with such a detailed, complicated, messy, beautiful, and heartbreaking story.  The impression that this book has made will stay with me forever.

I highly, highly recommend this book if you haven’t yet read it.  I will absolutely be looking into reading more titles by Lisa Wingate.  I loved her writing style and she painted such clear images throughout this book.  What a talent!

…And on a side note, I’ve got my favorite seasonal candle burning next to me as I’m working on this post.  WHAT SEASON IS IT ANYMORE?!?!  #quarantinelife

Bottom Line:

This book is both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.  A must read.

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

{VIDEO} How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to Organize my Life!

Today I have a post (and a video!) for you about a different type of book…the one that keeps me organized!  If you haven’t heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner you are MISSING OUT  (I have a link to the exact planner that I SWEAR BY (and have loved since 2012) and also a VIDEO of me showing it’s features and all of the ways I use mine to organize my own life at the very bottom of this post)!

If you know me in real life, you already know that I am extremely Type A.  I like things organized, planned, and thought out from conception through conclusion.  I will always and forever use a paper planner.  No phone calendar for me!

I have owned some version of a paper planner every single year since I was in junior high school!  I vividly remember decorating the front cover of my planners with cut out pictures from magazines which represented my interests at the time.  I worked on them for HOURS making sure they looked perfect!  Even then, the aesthetics of my paper planners clearly were very important to me. 🙂  10 year old me would DIE to see the gorgeous planner that adult me uses daily!

Erin Condren Life Planner 

2011 was when I first discovered Erin Condren.  I was an elementary school teacher and was sitting in a faulty meeting when the teacher across the table from me pulled out her Erin Condren Life Planner.  One glance was all it took for me to know that I NEEDED that in my life.  I spent the remainder of that year finishing up the boring paper planner that I was using, all the while counting down the days until I could order my very first Erin Condren Life Planner.

I spent FOREVER designing my perfect cover and 8 years later it still remains one of my most favorites that I’ve ever owned:

2013: I loved the swirls and lace on this one!  I remember spending FOREVER deciding between various shades of grey and was so happy with how it turned out.  So pretty.

2014: I loved that pretty butter yellow (currently the exact shade of my iphone)!

2015 was the year I decided that I was going to try one of the Erin Condren knockoff companies and save myself some money on my precious planner.  I bought this one (a 2 year planner so it took me all the way through the end of 2016).  I.  HATED.  THIS.  PLANNER.  The cover would constantly fall off!  There wasn’t anywhere to store important papers so I bought folder inserts which made everything so heavy and bulky.  The coils on the side were MASSIVE and made turning the pages such a chore.  Literally everything would fall out all the time and made everything in my life feel so UNorganized!  The worst.

In 2017 I decided to try a DIFFERENT knockoff company.  I loved this cover but didn’t love everything inside!  I had so many issues with this planner!  The coil was better but everything else was just eh.  This one was close to an Erin Condren and yet…not quite close enough.

And yet…2018 had me thinking that I STILL could use a planner from yet a DIFFERENT knockoff company!  Whyyyyyy did I ever think this would be a good idea?!?

Albert Einstein once famously stated, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

So true, Albert.  So true.

2019 led me very happily straight back to where it all began!  Oh Erin Condren, I’m so sorry I strayed.  I learned my lesson.  Yes, your planners cost more than the others…FOR A REASON!  They truly are the very best there is!  I will never, ever stray again.  Erin Condren Life Planner for LIFE.  Here is my current 18 month planner.  Gorgeous, functional, and perfect in every single way.

All of my planners since 2012!  Makes me smile to think of all of the amazing memories written within these covers.  I love looking back and seeing my day to day life throughout the years!

The official Erin Condren Launch Day is a VERY big day for loyal Erin Condren fans.  It happens each spring and it’s the day where all of the new cover designs are revealed!  True Erin Condren fans literally count down to this special day and obsessively check the website each day leading up to it’s release. I ordered my new planner as soon as it debuted!

I’ve tried all types of planners…January-December, July-June, even July-December of the following year!  After many trials, I’ve determined that the planner that makes the most sense for me in the season of life that I’m currently in is 12 months July-June.  I LOVE being able to see my childrens’ school schedules all together in one planner!  I sit at the very beginning of the school year and fill in the entire year’s events (days off, PTO meetings, PTO events, half days, conferences, etc.).  ***NERD ALERT:  I may or may not light a candle and play music while I’m doing this to make it a special event.***  It makes me feel so much more organized than only writing in the events until December and then having to sit down in January to fill in the rest of the school year!  I suspect this will change one day as my children get older but for now…my life and my planner are completely tailored around their schools’ schedules.

And….drum roll please….my newest Erin Condren Life Planner!  It arrived this morning and it’s GORGEOUS!  I also use this video as a tutorial as to how I organize my own planner to organize my entire life.  I discuss exactly how I use each section and why.  Enjoy 🙂

If you have never heard of Erin Condren or her AMAZING life planners, here is link directly to her website.  FYI this is not an affiliate link, just a link to the very best planner out there.

Do you use a paper planner?  Have you ever had an Erin Condren Life Planner?

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

What I’m Currently Reading, What I Recently Finished Reading, What I Think I’ll Read Next (WWW #8) {Book Coffee Happy}

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly post! I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate!  The Three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Book Synopsis From Goodreads:

Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks.

When Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person – and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle.

Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall but 24 hours later she is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.

What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth – for better or worse – about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer?

I have gone 2 whole days without picking up a book and I’m going through withdrawl, lol.  I’m still not 100 percent sure, but I think I might start reading this one today?  Have any of you read it?

What did you recently finish reading?

Book Synopsis From Goodreads:

Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.

The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving.

I posted my review of this book yesterday!  I have lots of thoughts.  You can read my review HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Book Synopsis From Goodreads:

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

I think I might be one of the very last people on the planet to read this book!  I got it so long ago (along with the book from above that I’m about to start reading today) and still haven’t read it…I’m thinking possibly after I finish reading that one?  Have any of you read it?

Have you read any of these books?  What are you currently reading?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Book Review: The Other’s Gold {Elizabeth Ames}

When I randomly picked up The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames on the library shelf, the synopsis gave off the same type of vibe as THIS BOOK which I absolutely loved.  I couldn’t wait to read it and write a review!  I hadn’t heard of this book or this author but obviously the subject of 4 best friends who met in college sucked me right in.

Goodreads Synopsis of The Other’s Gold {Elizabeth Ames}:

Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.

The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving.

My Book Review:

(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

The beginning of this book was written on a path aimed directly into my heart.  4 best friends who met freshman year of college and INSTANTLY became soulmates???  Their instant connection?  Their immediate bond?  The fact that 4 strangers could immediately become FAMILY? It was insane. It was US. I texted my 3 best friends and told them that I was currently reading a book that written about US.

**You can read about my relationship with my amazing besties HERE and HERE**

And then as the characters began to unfold and their stories came to light, it was ABUNDANTLY clear that this book was NOT in fact written about us.  Nope, not at all.  Not even a little bit.  How could I ever even think to compare the 4 of us to these 4 awful women?!

The girls in this book turned into 4 of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read about.  I couldn’t connect to ANY of them, their life decisions, or the way that they ultimately treated each other and at times treated their friendship.

I am ALWAYS thankful for my 3 beautiful best friends but after reading this book I am even MORE thankful that we have each other and that we are NOTHING like these awful women.  Yikes.

Warning: Parts of this book are hard to read.  The subjects (especially in the 2nd half of the book) are extremely uncomfortable.

The writing was…interesting.  Extremely descriptive, sometimes TOO descriptive.

So why am I giving this book about these horrible women 4 stars??? I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  This was the kind of book where I would sneak in a little bit of reading time anytime that I could because I HAD to know what was going to happen next.  I felt my mouth physically DROP OPEN reading about some of these decisions that these 4 were making and I found myself physically covering sections with my hand so I wouldn’t mistakenly read ahead.  I loved the tiny cliffhangers at the end of certain chapters!  Why can’t more authors master this?!  Awesome!!

My review of this book is so all over the place.  Things I loved?  YES!  Things I hated?  YES!  Able to put it down and stop reading until I finished?  NO!

Bottom Line:

I’m not sure how I can like AND recommend a book where I hate the characters and subjects…but….I do?!?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

What I’m Currently Reading, What I Recently Finished Reading, What I Think I’ll Read Next (WWW #7) {Book Coffee Happy}

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly post! I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate!  The Three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I started reading this last weekend!  I’ll post a full review once I finish.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading this one last week and I had SO many thoughts!  You can read my full review HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m honestly not 100 percent but I’m currently leaning toward this book.  Have any of you read it?  I got it so long ago and still haven’t read it…

What are you currently reading?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Book Review: The Family Upstairs {Lisa Jewell}

During the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine, one of my best friends texted me that she was dropping Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs on my front porch.  She loved it and thought that I would as well.  I couldn’t wait to start reading and to write my book review, I had heard such great things from so many people about this book!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

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

Omg I LOVED this book!

There are so many storylines and characters which I usually hate but in this book was completely necessary in order to properly tell this story.  The first half of the book set the scene for the second half of the book which I couldn’t put down!  I read the first half over the course of a week or so and the second half over the course of only 2 days.  Loved it.

Some storylines I figured out while some I did NOT.  This book is creepy, twisted, interesting, fascinating, and AWESOME.

This is the 2nd Lisa Jewell book that I’ve read (you can read my review of another one HERE) and I’m such a huge fan of her writing style.  She tells such detailed, colorful stories with the most fascinating characters!  Also, I love her short chapters as this makes it so easy to FLY through her books (more on my thoughts on this HERE).  As soon as this quarantine is over, I’ll be running to the library to check out her other books!  I’m a BIG fan!

And…apparently she’s a fan of ME too 😉

Twitter:

Instagram:

How cool is that?!  #besties

I should add here that the copy of this book that I read was a “Barnes and Noble exclusive” copy which contained a special author’s note at the end.  This piece was fascinating and added another rich layer to the already complex story.  If you can get your hands on a Barnes and Noble copy, I highly recommend it!  Lisa Jewell discusses the background on how this story came to be and even hints at a possible future project…loved reading this special addition.  It added another whole dimension to this book!

I should also add that I will be returning this book to my friend in the EXACT condition as it was when it was left on my front porch.  It was hard but I did it!  Phew 😉

Bottom Line:

Please, please, please someone make this awesome book into a movie!

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

Xo,

Jenny

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

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Why these 2 Books Are So Meaningful To Me: The Time Travelers Wife {Audrey Niffenegger} and The Sari Shop Widow {Shobhan Bantwal}

I’ve mentioned before that I take choosing books for vacations very seriously.  When packing for my honeymoon 10 years ago (!!!) I took choosing these books VERY seriously!  Jon and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary last week and in honor of this milestone anniversary, I thought I would share bits of our honeymoon with you today.

10 years ago, we left for our honeymoon approximately 28 hours after our wedding ended and I was more than READY for a relaxing, perfect week in Jamaica with my HUSBAND!

Checking into the hotel was the very first time I ever officially wrote my brand new name!

We had the best week with the best memories.  The most perfect start to our new life!

For as long as I live, I will never ever forget laying in the shallow end of this beautiful ocean while reading a book.  To this day, I’ve never in my entire life felt as peaceful as I did in that moment.  The waves all around me, the sky as perfectly blue as could be.  I would give anything to return to that beach and read just like that again one day.  Hands down one of my most favorite reading moments of my life!

So peaceful, right???

Beautiful.

We had our own private villa with our own private pool.  See those lounge chairs?  I remember laying there and reading next to my new tote bag with my brand new initials while Jon was laying in the chair next to me.  Every few pages I would glance over at that tote in pure disbelief that those initials were now MINE!

Only a true book nerd would apparently take a picture of the book she was reading while on her honeymoon, lol:

Our private villa had the most gorgeous balcony where I would wake up before sunrise and read while Jon was still sleeping (AKA still one of my favorite things to do on any vacation!  I would rather wake up early and read than sleep in any day):

Here are the 2 books that I brought with me that week:

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My Thoughts:

Omg this book.  I SOBBED in the very best way possible!  Truly one of the best and most thought provoking books I’ve read.  If you haven’t read this gem, I VERY highly recommend it.  Beautifully written characters, beautifully written story.  I’m getting teary just thinking about it.  Such a gorgeous book.  READ THIS BOOK!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents’ sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah — a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it — though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

My Thoughts:

I’ll be honest…this book didn’t leave nearly the impression on me as The Time Traveler’s Wife did.  I very much remember LIKING it…but I do not very much remember LOVING it.  Wasn’t horrible, wasn’t amazing.  This book was just a bit forgettable although clearly the EXPERIENCE of reading it for me was most definitely not!

I loved both of these books but the most special part of them isn’t the writing.  It is the fact that they are both completely water logged from the gorgeous Jamaican water!  Just looking at the ripples in these pages will forever make me smile and remember one of the best times of my entire life.  I will never, ever get rid of these books!

Aaaaand come to think of it…this would be yet another example of how I don’t take care of books, lol 🙂

Have you read either of these books?  What did you think?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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My #1 Favorite Movie of ALL TIME…But I’ve Never Read the Book!

The year was 2001.  My best friend Amy and I went to the movie theater and saw it.  WE.  LOVED.  IT.  So much so that we went back just to see it again!  We HAD TO.  And again.  And again.  Aaaaaaand when this movie finally completed it’s theatrical run, Amy and I had gone to see it together….drumroll please…

10 TIMES.

Yes, we saw this movie 10 TIMES in the movie theater.  We couldn’t get enough!  HOW was that 19 years ago???  Such a fun memory!!!

Serendipity Trailer:

***Omg.  Watching the above trailer just brought instant tears to my eyes and goosebumps up and down my arms!  BEST MOVIE! ***

Everything about this beautiful movie was (is) pure magic for us.

The CD I had playing on repeat in my car for YEARS.  I still know every single word to every single song and have been humming them while writing this post. 🙂

I haven’t watched an actual DVD in years but I will never get rid of it:

Years after the movie release, Jon and I went to New York and you KNOW what my #1 must see landmark there was:

I was obviously reaaaaaaaally excited to be there 😉  It appears I was about to knock Jon down without a care in the world 😉

Hanging inside of the restaurant:

My souvenir mug.  I should really start drinking from this!  I’ve currently got it on display in our dining room cabinet along with my bridal bouquet, our prom champagne glasses, and other important mementos.  Obviously this is one VERY important memento!

I bought Amy and I matching Serendipity tote bags that day as well.

Front:

Back:

If you haven’t seen the movie Serendipity…WATCH THE MOVIE SERENDIPITY.  No better time than during a quarantine…

Throughout the movie, there is a classic book referenced over and over again which plays a very large part of the storyline.  Of course I had to buy the book!

I’ve owned this book for 19 years…but….have never actually read it!  It’s such a huge part of my favorite movie, I’m sure I would love it and it might even make me dig deeper into the meaning of some aspects of the film.  Have any of you read it?  I’m not sure why I haven’t yet…

Book Synopsis:

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

I.  HAVE.  GOOSEBUMPS.  This book sounds amazing…I must actually read it!

It was an Oprah’s Book Club selection and she has this to say about this book:

“This is one of the greatest love stories I have ever read. … It is so beautifully written that it really takes you to another place in time and will make you ask yourself—how long could you, or would you, wait for love?” — Oprah

I already love this book because I just love this movie so much! I must read it…Why haven’t I???

But first I think I may need to watch Serendipity.  For the 500th time.

 Have you seen Serendipity?  Have you read Love in the Time of Cholera?  What are your thoughts?

Xo,

Jenny

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

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

How Do You Treat Books?

I’m currently borrowing a book from a friend and knowing that I have to give it back when I’m done reading is making me very much aware of the way I am treating it.

It’s not that I normally MIStreat books necessarily, it’s that I’m just so used to always having them next to me that I just seamlessly incorporate them into my daily life.  I toss them into my computer bag, throw them onto the seat of my car, eat while reading, etc.

Not this book.

See that safe place on top of my husband’s dresser?  The dust jacket (or book jacket…both terms are correct) has been sitting safely there since the day I began reading so I won’t accidentally tear or bend it.  Safely away from my children’s curious hands.  The ONLY times I have put it actually ON the book have been to take pictures for Instagram or Facebook, lol.

I NEVER use bookmarks…ever.  I always dog ear (fold down) the corners of my pages!  Not this time…a tiny yellow post it note has been holding my place.  Hate it.  I’ve never been one to have to read to the end of the chapter before putting the book down so I always leave off in random places.  Dog earing the pages allows me to know exactly which page I left off on!  Now I have to figure it out between 2 pages each time I pick it up which is annoying.

I LOVE to bend the spine of books as I’m reading.  I know many of you may find this weird but it actually makes me feel more connected to the book because it feels more “lived in” as I’m reading!  Here are some examples of this from my bookshelf:

The borrowed book I’m currently reading?  PERFECT SPINE.

I never realized how much I use books as coffee coasters.  Apparently it’s often!  Not this book 🙂

And a small glimpse into my life…I have written this entire blog post with a 4 year old  cuddled up to me with his favorite joke book.  The book comes with a “Whoopie Blaster” and makes various farting noises.  Some bloggers write to the sound of beautiful music while here I am sitting and writing to the sound of farts.  Lovely.

Wake of the Sadico Winner:

How do you treat books?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

***GIVEAWAY (Open to International Readers)*** Wake of the Sadico {Jo Sparkes}

I’m excited to host this international giveaway for you today!  When Jo Sparkes reached out to me last fall to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing The Wake of the Sadico, I knew that it was a book that would be quite different from the usual books I read and review.  As with everything in life, sometimes going out of your comfort zone is a good thing.  In this case, it was a VERY good thing!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest blog review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due.
Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.
Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves.
Until they find a shipwreck.

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico.
In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair.
This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

My Thoughts:

First of all, can we please take a moment to discuss how gorgeous this cover photo is?!?  STUNNING.

This book is the most perfect example of why sometimes it’s great to have new experiences and reading a book outside of my usual selections proved to be such a positive and new experience for me.  I went into reading this book with a completely open mind and I’m so happy to report that it totally sucked me right in.

Some of the underwater scenes had me literally holding my breath because they were so intense!  I couldn’t put this book down and finished almost the entire second half over the course of 2 days.

I couldn’t help but think numerous times while reading what an intense and awesome movie this book would make.  The writing was so colorful and descriptive that bringing it to the big screen would be fantastic!  One of the best parts of this book was how everything and everyone tied together to create such a complicated and twisted story.  Seeing all of that unfold on the big screen would be so amazing. I can’t even imagine how terrifyingly awesome some of those underwater scenes would be!  OMG.

One of my absolute favorite parts of writing my blog is communicating with authors and I have loved communicating with Jo Sparkes over the past few months!  She is just lovely and so is her book!  Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to read and review your book, Jo 🙂

A Conversation with Jo Sparkes, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

The book came together through 3 separate pieces.

Learning to dive with 2 instructors who loved wreck diving and a Brit who took exception to some American rules.

Spending time in the UK with my British husband and his friends. I grew fascinated with the cultural differences from the USA (my home country). Wall sprang from 3 people, though (like all characters really), he grew into his own identity.

When reincarnation sprang into my orbit – all the pieces fell together.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Those who like beach reads, supernatural thrillers, tales with ghosts and a happy ending. This plays with reincarnation a little differently.

Where can your book be purchased?

Currently on Amazon and Ingram. That should expand to other outlets in a few months.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

scary   tropical   suspenseful

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

I made up the term ‘soul pods’ – but not the concept. And while I wouldn’t label it a romance, my editor points out “but they’re literally soul-mates!”

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

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of Wake of the Sadico?
I have 1 copy to give away!  Your choice…hard copy or Kindle version!

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Make sure that you are following and/or subscribed to my blog

2.  Tell me in the comments below (on this blog post) about a time when you did something outside of your comfort zone!

**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 close tomorrow (4/17/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Saturday’s blog post (4/18/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Saturday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners 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!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE