I Highly, Highly Recommend This Book!

My friend Jana and I refer to each other as “Book Twins”.  Not only is our taste in books so similar but we know and trust each other’s tastes enough to know that when one of us has a book to recommend to the other….it’s highly likely that it’s going to be a hit with both of us.  I had never heard of The Fire on High or of it’s author Elizabeth Acevedo.  However, as soon as Jana sent me a message a few weeks ago saying this book is now one of her favorite books of 2020…I immediately put it on hold at the library.  Thank you, Book Twin!

Goodreads Synopsis of With the Fire on High {Elizabeth Acevedo}:

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

My Review of With The Fire On High {Elizabeth Acevedo}:

(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)

Oh this book is BEAUTIFUL.  I absolutely loved everything about it!

I love a good YA (young adult) book and this one is an absolute gem.  A must read.

The characters are so well developed and each will stay with me for a very long time.  I haven’t stopped thinking of them since I finished reading the last page yesterday!  The story lines are rich in detail, description, and depth.  This book was so beautifully written.  Even the cover art is stunning!  I absolutely loved everything about this book.

My one and only complaint with this book is something that I usually love in books!  The chapters in this book are SHORT…like sometimes just 2 pages short.  While I usually do love this, I did feel at times like they were a bit TOO short and just as a story line was really taking off…the chapter abruptly ended.  However, these short chapters did make it so easy to fly through this book!  I easily could have read this entire book over the course of 1 or 2 days if I wasn’t currently quarantined with 2 young children 😉

This book is absolutely BEGGING for a sequel…so many story lines that I would love to see extended!  Fingers crossed…

My book twin did not disappoint me!  She rarely does.  Except that one time.

Bottom Line:

If you love YA, you will LOVE this book!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think? 

Have you read any of Elizabeth Acevedo’s other books?  Which would you recommend? 

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

READ. THIS. BOOK.

During this quarantine I have been continuously making sure to have books on hand to occupy myself as the library has been closed.  At first I looked at this as somewhat of a challenge to FINALLY read those books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for years.  I read one of them (whyyyyy on Earth did it take me such a long time to read that book?!?) but then I was faced with a pile of other books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long.  And despite everything else…I truly didn’t (and still don’t) have a desire to read any of them.  Ugh.  So I borrowed a book from a friend (another one that I loved) and worked my way through the pile of library books that I had previously checkout out pre-corona.

Back in May, another dear friend and neighbor of mine texted to see if I would like to do a book swap with her as by that point we were both needing some new material to keep us busy!  We texted each other pictures of books that we own and were willing to trade.  The 2 that I gave to her were these:

Eh.  Despite popular opinion (everyone else seems to love both of these), I truly didn’t love either of these books.  You can read my review of The Wives HERE and of Becoming HERE.  I happily passed both of these books along!

After looking though the pictures of the books that she was willing to offer, I chose these 2!  I had never heard of either title nor had I heard of either author.  After a bit of Internet research, both sounded great!

She put them on her front porch.  I sent my husband to grab them and replace them with the 2 that I was giving to her, and…success!  Now her and I both had some new-to-us reading material.

Book friends are the best 🙂

I chose to read The Perfect Girlfriend first and…WOW.

Book Synopsis of The Perfect Girlfriend {Karen Hamilton}:

My Book Review of The Perfect Girlfriend {Karen Hamilton}:

(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.  WAS.  GREAT.

After finishing the last book that I read and didn’t love, I was more than ready to read an awesome book, one which wouldn’t allow for me to put it down.  JACKPOT.

(Great book + Dunkin’ coffee = joy)

From page 1 until the very last sentence, I was completely hooked.  This book was CRAZY and I found myself with my hand literally covering my mouth on NUMEROUS occasions while reading….the sign of an awesome psychological thriller.  This genre is absolutely one of my very favorites, and books like this are the reason why.

Short chapters, awesome story lines, CRAZY main character who does even CRAZIER things as the book goes on….loved it all.

You must read this book!  I absolutely loved everything about it and couldn’t put it down.  Definitely one of the best books I read during the quarantine…and one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2020!  I feel bad for my friend because the 2 books that I gave to  her were NOT nearly as good as this one, lol.  Oops.  Sorry Megan!

I cannot wait to read more from this author!  Apparently this is her debut book.  If she can create a story and characters this involved and awesome right from the start, I can only imagine how amazing her other books will be!

Karen Hamilton, I’m a FAN.

Bottom Line:

Read this  book.  Stat.

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

Book Review: The Sun Down Motel {Simone St. James}

I had been wanting to read and review The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James for MONTHS.  I finally got to the point where I couldn’t wait even one more day to read it  (you can read the post where I finally broke down and bought this book HERE).

Goodreads Synopsis of The Sun Down Motel {Simone St. James}:

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

My Review of The Sun Down Motel {Simone St. James}:

(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)

Before purchasing this book, I did read peoples’ spoiler free reviews just to make sure that this was a book I would indeed want to buy.  I was BLOWN AWAY by the amount of positive reviews that everyone had!  It’s so rare to find a book where literally it seems that EVERYONE has such glowing things to say!  Reading these reviews made me even more confident in my decision to buy this book.

From my Instagram:

So what are my thoughts after reading?

First of all, this book was most definitely NOT what I was expecting.  LOTS OF TRUE CRIME, ghosts, etc.

My feelings as I was reading were ALL over the place.  Just when I was starting to like this book…suddenly I was bored.  Just when I was bored…the pace picked up and I was liking it once again.

My biggest complaint with this book was that it was told from the perspectives of 2 woman leading extremely similar lives yet 35 years apart both alongside many of the same characters.  It got CONFUSING.  So many characters, so many timelines, so many story lines. If one of these main characters had been male while the other had been female, I think that really would have helped to keep their story lines and characters straight.  If you do read this book, I would highly suggest making yourself a chart with all of the characters and story lines to reference as you read.  You’ll thank me later!

There was a large portion of this book where I literally had no idea what was going on!  Truth be told, if this was a library book there was no way I would have finished it.  HOWEVER, because I bought it…I was finishing no matter what!  It took me significantly longer to finish this book than I would have liked but I honestly just never wanted to pick it up.  Eh.

I’m glad I did finish because the last 100ish pages were the best parts of the book!  Everything finally came together and made a bit more sense.  I did figure out one major twist pretty early on (ugh) but none of my other predictions turned out to be correct!

The cover is GORGEOUS but not how the Sun Down Motel’s building, surroundings, or sign are actually described in the book???  How does that even happen???

Would I recommend this book?  If you are a true crime fan than 100 PERCENT YES!  This entire book is true crime.  If you are like me and don’t necessarily love true crime….eh….probably not the book for you.

I’m also not a huge paranormal fan and this book most definitely has paranormal elements.  I knew about this before I started reading but all of those positive reviews had me convinced that I should read something out of my normal comfort zone.  I’m glad I did….sometimes you need to read things that you normally wouldn’t read and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Thank GOD my library drive thru has reopened!  I have now purchased 2 books over the past few months and didn’t love either one (you can read about the other one that I bought HERE).  Ugh.

Bottom Line:

True crime + ghosts + too many characters + too many similarities in different story lines = not the book for me.

Xo,

Jenny

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

I didn’t love this book…but you might!  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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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

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:

*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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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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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*

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

An Older Book that I LOVED #3

I posted about one of my all time favorite books a few days ago and it got me thinking of other older books that I LOVE but for whatever reason have never been written about on my blog.  Being home and quarantined is giving me a perfect opportunity to share these special books with all you 🙂

During a time when so many of you are looking for wonderful books to read, this feels like a wonderful time to give these suggestions and a chance for me to revisit some of my very favorite titles.  Writing about these books is definitely making me want to reread them!

(I wrote this post last year but it is another example of an older book that I LOVED so I’m including it in this new blog series as well)!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

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

Oh how I loved this book!

It was so beautifully written.  Everything about this book was absolutely stunning…the storylines, the characters, the writing style….everything.  Couldn’t put it down.

I remember sitting in our library’s silent reading room 6 years ago with this book open in front of me as I DEVOURED each beautiful page.  There was a cackling fire in the fireplace, blueberry oatmeal in the tupperware container next to me, steaming hot coffee in the orange travel mug in my hand, and I remember thinking that the entire scene was the most perfect definition of the word”glorious”.

Although I never wrote about this special book on my blog until today (hoooow???), I apparently did write about it on Instagram back in 2018:

Bottom Line:

One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read.

Xo,

Jenny

Have you read The Language of Flowers?  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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How Have I NEVER Talked About This Book on Here??? One of My All Time Favorites and Here are Some Personal Reasons Why :)

How on EARTH have I not reviewed this book on here yet?!?  One of my all time favorite books and it’s so special to me for so many personal reasons.  If you haven’t yet read this book…READ.  THIS.  BOOK.

In 2010, I remember walking through Sams Club and seeing it among the other books on the table.  I had heard such great things about it and immediately tossed it into the cart (this was waaaaaay before my minimalism lifestyle started).  I immediately came home and wrote the following Facebook status:

Turns out my Facebook friends LOVED it! I couldn’t wait to start reading.

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women, mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends, view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

My Thoughts:

5,000,000 Stars

I brought this book with me to Minnesota where my husband had a work trip and I tagged along because when your husband has a work trip in the same town as the Mall of America….you tag along. Obviously.

While he was in meetings, I spent my days alone and SHOPPING (again, before the minimalism lifestyle) and when his meetings were done, him and I had the best time exploring a new (to us) city.  What started off as a work trip quickly and randomly turned into one of the most fun vacations him and I have ever taken!  The 2 of us went to fancy restaurants, international bazaars, art galleries, comedy clubs, and more.  We had the best time!  I remember laying in our hotel bed and completely immersing myself into this wonderful book throughout that special week.  I LOVE when I’m reading a great book while on vacation…

Jon and I on that 2010 Minnesota trip! We look like babies!

Fast forward 1 year later and to one of the best memories of my entire life.  I woke up, took a pregnancy test, and everything was instantly changed forever! I was going to be a MOM! Jon and I spent the whole day in complete excitement of what was happening.  Our day of celebrating together had to be cut short because I had made plans that night to go into the city with 2 of my closest friends for a fancy dinner and to hear Katheryn Stockett give a book talk all about The Help!  My friends and I had been planning this special night for MONTHS, how could I cancel on them?!?  So I went…along with my huge secret.  I remember telling the server to leave the feta cheese off of my chicken at dinner and praying that my friends wouldn’t suspect a thing because I LOVE feta cheese (they didn’t)! As much as I adore Kathryn Stockett and her beautiful book…I truly didn’t listen to a single word that she said that night 😉  I’m sure her talk was lovely!

At the book talk the day I found out that I was going to be a MOM!

When I got home that night, I found Jon reading a book of a different genre 🙂

Fast forward 4 years and my sister in law bought my daughter the most perfect shirt with the most perfect quote from the most perfect book:

LOVE IT.

Look closely at my blog’s signature picture of me reading a book and drinking coffee…I spy The Help 😉

If you haven’t read The Help, you absolutely must.  It’s such a beautifully written story!  It will make you laugh, cry, and every emotion in between.  And as a bonus…this is one of the rare circumstances where I actually think that the movie IS as good as the book!

I went to the theater to see this movie when I was 4 months pregnant with my daughter and spent the entire movie rubbing my growing belly.  Her first movie!

I loved the movie and how true it was to the book. Both the book and the movie were so well done. I was able to talk to live chat with Viola Davis (one of the stars of the movie) online after its release and was able to tell her how much I loved it! She was lovely and appreciative of my message and her and I continued to message back and forth…she was so sweet!

Obviously just thinking about this book brings up some beautiful memories for me but even without those, I would so highly recommend this gorgeously (is gorgeously a word?  If not, it should be) written book.  The messages that it sends, the lessons that it teaches, the in depth characters…and everything else.

Bottom Line

It’s an amazing book.  Read it.

Have you read The Help? I’d love to hear 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:

*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

Book Review: The Housekeeper {Natalie Barelli}

I so randomly found Natalie Barelli’s The Housekeeper on the library shelf and picked it up without knowing anything about it.  That rarely happens to me in the “New Release” section of the library!  I thought it sounded GREAT so I happily added it to my pile of books and left the library excited to start reading.  I couldn’t wait to read and review this book!

And then the world shut down and suddenly I was given plenty of time with my stack of library books 🙂  Having not loved the previous book that I read, I was more than ready to start fresh with a new book!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Claire sees Hannah Wilson at an exclusive Manhattan hair salon, it’s like a knife slicing through barely healed scars. It may have been ten years since Claire last saw Hannah, but she has thought of her every day, and not in a good way. So Claire does what anyone would do in her position—she stalks her.

Hannah is now Mrs. Carter, living the charmed life that should have been Claire’s. It’s the life Claire used to have, before Hannah came along and took it all away from her.

Back then, Claire was a happy teenager with porcelain skin and long, wavy blond hair. Now she’s an overweight, lazy drunk with hair the color of compost and skin to match. Which is why when Hannah advertises for a housekeeper, Claire is confident she can apply and not be recognized. And since she has time on her hands, revenge on her mind, and a talent for acting…

Because what better way to seek retribution—and redress—than from within the beautiful Mrs. Hannah Carter’s own home?

Except that it’s not just Claire who has secrets. Everyone in that house seems to have something to hide.

And now, there’s no way out.

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)

3.5 Stars

The Housekeeper was…good!  It held my attention from page 1 and I read through the entire book fairly quickly.  It had short chapters (MY FAVORITE) and twists (including the ending) which I didn’t see coming.

However, there were definitely elements to this book which left me feeling underwhelmed.  I found the writing to be choppy and containing so many details that it was nearly impossible to keep everything straight.  It severely lacked character development which again made parts of this story hard to follow.

The biggest problem that I have with this book was that parts were just so unrealistic.  Like…severely unrealistic.

And here’s something which I’ve never seen before.  DO NOT READ THE AUTHOR’S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AT THE END OF THE BOOK.  She somehow managed to spoil the endings of her other books in this one author’s note (insert face plant emoji here)???  For someone who HATES SPOILERS, this infuriates me and unfortunately makes me now not want to read anything else she has previously written.  Like…HOW did her editor allow that one sentence to go through?!?

Bottom Line:

Far from the best psychological thriller I’ve read but also far from the worst.

***If you are looking for some GREAT psychological thrillers (one of my favorite genres), check out THIS POST!***

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)*

*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

Looking for a book to read during the Coronavirus Quarantine? This book is a GEM.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this Coronavirus outbreak.  It’s such an unsure time for so many people.  My family is quarantined in our home and we have been spending our time doing lots of home based activities…including reading!  I have been reading for a little bit each day and so have my children.  When things in the world seem unsure…stability in routine is what always helps to ground me.  Reading and blogging are 2 parts of my routine that I have been focusing on keeping throughout this quarantine.  I hope you are finding a bit of stability in your life during this unsure time as well..and if you just so happen to be looking for a BEAUTIFUL book to read…oh do I have a lovely one for you 🙂

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she’s learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light.
Carry only what fits in a suitcase.
Toothbrush? Yes.
Socks? Yes.
Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope!
There’s no room for any additional baggage.
Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she’s free. One year to avoid anything–or anyone–that could get in her way.

Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean.

And everything changes.

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

Oh this book is so, so beautiful.  I absolutely loved it!  I fell in love with these special characters and this is a book I know will stay with me for quite some time.  I truly adore a good YA (young adult) novel and this one was so wonderfully written.  Jennifer Longo was able to convey exactly what teenagers sound/feel like through her writing and it made this story so much more real in every way.

I couldn’t wait to read more of this book each day which was a VERY welcomed feeling considering that was NOT how I felt about the last book that I read…

This intricate story is so well written and offers such a valuable perspective into a topic in which many of us are unfamiliar.  The characters were so wonderfully well developed and many of them were so lovable.  I fell in LOVE with these characters, especially Muir.  I miss each of them already (AKA the sign of a wonderful book).

As I mentioned in this post, I’m always taking pictures of quotes while reading that I love.  This lovely book had 3 quotes that really stuck out to me while reading.  I did the best I could to Photoshop the surrounding sentences in my photos…you know how I feel about spoilers!  I would never spoil a book for you!

I really just love those quotes.  So much.

Upon finishing this book, I now have 2 thoughts:

  1. This book would make such a beautiful movie!
  2. My fingers are crossed for a sequel…???

Bottom Line:

I absolutely loved this special book.  You will, too.

Stay safe and healthy, Friends.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  What book(s) are you reading while at home during the Coronavirus outbreak?

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)*

*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*