**GIVEAWAY** Everyday Mindfulness {Melissa Steginus}

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of mindfulness is as follows: 1: the quality or state of being mindful 2: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis also: such a state of awareness. The act of mindfulness is something that I have personally been working on over the past year. A few months ago, I took a virtual mindfulness course and it was amazing. I learned so much about how to center my thoughts and actions! I even had my children take the family friendly version of the same virtual mindfulness course that I had taken and it was largely beneficial for our whole family. I think practicing mindfulness is SUCH an important skill and one that could truly benefit everyone in their daily life, regardless of age. Melissa Steginus’s Everyday Mindfulness says right on the cover that it contains “108 simple practices to empower yourself and transform your life”. If THAT doesn’t grab your attention, I’m not sure what would! Who couldn’t use THAT in their life?!? I’m so excited for this giveaway!

Goodreads Synopsis of Everyday Mindfulness {Melissa Steginus}:

“Everyday Mindfulness” guides you through the most powerful daily mindfulness practices that help you rewire your habits and rewrite your life.

With step-by-step instruction and evidence-based exercises you can do in as little as 5 minutes a day, it’s never been easier to make positive changes stick in your life.

This is a powerful personal development program cleverly disguised as a book.

Connect with Yourself and Discover Your Capacity

Most of us are so busy that we forgot to focus on how we really feel, what we truly desire, and what we need to do to move our lives in the right direction.

This book is your master manual for reconnecting with yourself and your inner resources so you can take immediate action to transform your life.

The power to change your life is in the small things you do every day. This book guides you through over 100 simple practices, in small doses, so you can discover what works best for you and build on it.

This book is designed to help you master the six areas of your life:

• Physical: Listen to your body and reconnect with yourself
• Emotional: Understand your feelings and learn to trust them
• Rational: Observe your thought patterns to gain mental clarity
• Spiritual: Explore your relationship with yourself and your truth
• Occupation: Manage your time and energy to pursue your priorities
• Network: Nourish relationships that deepen your sense of belonging

Each of the six sections has 18 exercises, complete with reflection questions, to help you reclaim, redefine, and realize your untapped potential within that area of your life.

With “Everyday Mindfulness” you will awaken to yourself, connect with your inner wisdom, and tap into your capacity for self-empowerment, fulfillment, and transformation.

It all begins with paying attention.

This book includes 108 daily mindfulness practices, explanations of the purpose behind each practice, and over 300 reflection questions that encourage profound self-exploration and transformative action.

My Thoughts on Everyday Mindfulness {Melissa Steginus}:

Back in November when I was asked if I would like to review Everyday Mindfulness on my blog I was so excited to say YES! I wanted to really take time to read this book and have the opportunity to practice it’s teachings in my own life before writing my review. I’m so glad that I did!

This book is beautiful. It outlines 108 mindful practices and breaks them down in a specific order, 1 practice to focus on each day. I actually kept this book in my closet so that each morning as I was getting dressed, I took literally 2 minutes to read about the practice that I would be focusing on for that day. Keeping it in my closet and so visible was a perfect visual reminder that this was now part of my morning routine and made it so easy to remember to read that day’s practice. At the end of each day, I again took 2 minutes as I was getting ready for bed to reflect upon the day’s practice and write a few details of how it went and what I learned.

When I first received this book, I took some random photos of a few of the pages to share with you. I made sure to do this BEFORE I filled them with my writing. Mindfulness is a deeply personal journey and as much as I love to share my thoughts and feelings with all of you, somehow this feels different and too personal to share. Here are some of the “before” photos to give you an idea of some of the simple practices (which are now all filled in with my own thoughts):

I would sum up my time working through this book as one of learning and connecting with so many aspects of my life. This book is a GIFT…it very literally gives you the tools to reset your thinking and help you to self connect.

I very highly recommend this book…for everyone. Every single person can and will benefit from the simple practices in this book. Whether you already practice mindfulness on a regular basis or this is a completely new area of exploration for you, the tools that this book will give you will be so beneficial in so many areas of your life. I’m so happy to introduce you to this lovely book!

There has never been a more perfect time to practice mindfulness than right now. With so much uncertainty in the world, learning how to better connect with your own self is so important.

I love this book.

To learn more about Everyday Mindfulness, here are some helpful links:

Melissa Steginus’s Website: www.melissasteginus.com

TCK Publishing Website: www.tckpublishing.com

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of Everyday Mindfulness? I have 1 copy to give away (open to US only for this giveaway)!

To be entered, just leave a comment below (on this blog post)!  Your comment can be about anything!

**You must comment below to be eligible for the giveaway and you must comment here on this blog post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (1/26/21) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Wednesday (1/27/21).

Make sure you check the blog on Wednesday 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).

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

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 12 best books that I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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

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Book Review: One By One {Ruth Ware}

For the love of GOD thank goodness I didn’t read Ruth Ware’s One by One while I was stuck on that mountain in Tennessee! For REAL. It’s insane to me that I actually had it packed in my suitcase! No words can explain how thankful I am that I chose not to open the cover until I was safely back at home and not freezing and hungry while snowed in on top of that mountain. Omg. That would NOT have been a good choice. Nope, not a good choice at all. Holy hell. Once I safely returned home with heat, food, and a working vehicle was when I decided to read and review this one. Yikes!

Synopsis of One by One {Ruth Ware}:

My Review of One by One {Ruth Ware}:

Some of the characters were very well developed while some lacked some pretty big character development and as a result…I kept confusing everyone throughout the ENTIRE book! Pair this with the fact that some of the characters had some pretty unique and possibly gender neutral names (Inigo, Ani, Tiger, etc.) and I truly had no idea who anyone was while reading. This is a MAJOR con and the number one thing that I absolutely hated about this book…I couldn’t keep anyone straight! I spent the majority of this book feeling frustrated by this and wasn’t able to properly focus on the story lines because I was too busy trying to figure out who everyone was! Ugh.

There were 2 major ongoing topics in this book that I have absolutely zero background knowledge of and as a result I had to do some Googling while reading. The inner workings of a tech company? The terminology and logistics of skiing? I truly know nothing about either and my lack of background knowledge was a definite hindrance to my understanding of this book while reading. I LOVE when books teach me new things and although I DID learn a bit about these topics, unfortunately my research is what taught me, not the words in this book. If you are like me and have zero knowledge of these 2 topics, get ready to Google.

The beginning of this book and the end of this book were undoubatly the best parts. I was honestly pretty bored throughout the middle. There were absolutely times where I debated putting it down and moving on. I’m glad I stuck with it because the end was great (BUT using words like “stuck with it” should never be used when describing a book that it supposed to be enjoyable sooooo…)

I’ve now read 4 Ruth Ware books. The Woman in Cabin 10…I don’t believe I ever reviewed this on my blog? I read it years ago. I remember really liking it, not necessarily loving it? The Turn of the Key…LOVED LOVED LOVED it! You can read my review of that book HERE. In A Dark, Dark, Wood…I read this over the summer and put it down without finishing. You can read more of my thoughts on that book HERE.

Bottom Line:

I wish the whole book could have somehow just consisted of the beginning and the ending…the entire middle was pretty boring.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d 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:

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

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Book Review: The Party {Robyn Harding}

I love Robyn Harding so much. Her books are AWESOME. I’m not sure why it took me so long to read The Party but I’m so glad that I did! This book has been on my to read list for waaaaaay too long and I’m excited to share my review on the blog with you today!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Party {Robyn Harding}:

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other. 

My Review of The Party {Robyn Harding}:

Ahhhh I just love Robyn Harding!

The storylines in this book were COMPLICATED. Each character had such a rich and colorful background and I loved the different perspectives from which this story was told. The character development here was AWESOME. I’m not sure how there was enough space to properly and thoroughly describe each character AND still tell the present story but Robyn Harding absolutely succeeded.

The actual present day story made me angry and simultaneously broke my heart. The pain these characters endured (although much of the drama was self created) was heart wrenching. Reading this book as a mother made me feel angry and helpless. My kids are young…I can’t even imagine reading this book as a mother of an actual teenager, omg.

I was completely invested in this book from the very beginning and I loved the ending.

If you haven’t yet read a Robyn Harding book, here are links to my 2 favorites. Read my review of The Swap HERE (along with guest blogger Melissa Amster’s review) and The Arrangement HERE. I absolutely loved and highly recommend them both!

Bottom Line

Such a thought provoking, heartbreaking, and intriguing book…

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d 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!*

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The 12 Best Books I Read in 2020 can be found HERE

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

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Book Review: Before I Let You Go {Kelly Rimmer}

If you follow Book Coffee Happy on Facebook you know that I often ask my followers to share what they are reading. I love reading the comments on those posts and seeing how everyone interacts with each other to discover new books to read. The book community is so amazing! When I asked for everyone to share a few weeks ago, my dear friend Julie commented that she was reading Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go. As soon as I Googled the synopsis, I immediately knew that this was a book I wanted to read and review on the blog…it sounded SO GOOD. When the library called the day before we were leaving for our trip to Tennessee, I took that as a sign that this should be my vacation read. Who knew that I would eventually be stuck on that mountain with little food, no power, and our car in a ditch??? Yup if you missed that crazy story, you can read all about our trip HERE! 1 thing that I DID have up on that crazy mountain with me was a good book 🙂

Goodreads Synopsis of Before I Let You Go {Kelly Rimmer}:

The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.

My Review of Before I Let You Go {Kelly Rimmer}:

Oh this is such a beautifully written book.

I read this entire book while on my vacation in Tennessee. Couldn’t put it down!

This isn’t the usual type of book I read but I’m so glad I did. This is such a complicated topic and one that I’ll admit I’ve never given much thought to. This book really opened my eyes and gave me so much to think about.

Before I Let You Go tugged at my heart and I found myself crying at many points throughout. It was heartbreaking, beautiful, and SO wonderfully written. It was HEAVY, not a light read by any means…but it was so wonderfully written.

This is the first Kelly Rimmer book that I’ve read and I’ve already added 3 of her other books to my list to read. I absolutely love her beautiful and descriptive writing style! I’m already a huge fan and I’ve only read 1 of her books!

I finished reading this beautiful book over a week and a half ago and there hasn’t been a single day since where I haven’t thought of these characters and reflected upon their stories. Their characters and their stories will stay with me for a long, long time.

I highly recommend this one!

Bottom Line:

A beautifully written, extremely thought provoking, absolutely heartbreaking story

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d 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!*

*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.*

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

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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GIVEAWAY and Book Review: Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}

Thank you for all of your support on my last post “The 12 Best Books I’ve Read in 2020” (you can read that post HERE)! So many of you read it that it is now the most viewed post that I’ve ever written on this blog 🙂 I absolutely love sharing my book suggestions with you and I’m SO excited to share another AWESOME book with you today! Samantha M. Bailey’s Woman on the Edge had been on my to read radar for months ever since my friend Melissa read it and told me how much she had loved it (check out Melissa’s wonderful book review blog HERE). I was SUPER excited when my copy came in at the library and I immediately raced to pick it up! Once I started reading and I told Melissa how much I was enjoying it, she so kindly introduced Samantha M. Bailey and I. I’ve truly loved communicating with Samantha over the past few months…she’s not only an AMAZING writer but a super sweet person. Thank you so much, Samantha and thank you to Melissa for introducing us 🙂 I’m so excited to share Samantha’s AWESOME book debut with all of you today and to host a GIVEAWAY for it as well!

Goodreads Synopsis of Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}:

A total stranger on the subway platform whispers, “Take my baby.”

She places her child in your arms. She says your name.

Then she jumps…

In a split second, Morgan Kincaid’s life changes forever. She’s on her way home from work when a mother begs her to take her baby, then places the infant in her arms. Before Morgan can stop her, the distraught mother jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Morgan has never seen this woman before, and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life. She also can’t understand how this woman knew her name.

The police take Morgan in for questioning. She soon learns that the woman who jumped was Nicole Markham, prominent CEO of the athletic brand Breathe. She also learns that no witness can corroborate her version of events, which means she’s just become a murder suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically retraces the last days of Nicole’s life. Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia or was she in danger? When strange things start happening to Morgan, she suddenly realizes she might be in danger, too.

Woman on the Edge is a pulse-pounding, propulsive thriller about the lengths to which a woman will go to protect her baby—even if that means sacrificing her own life. 

My Review of Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}:

This book was GREAT.

As you know, short chapters are my favorite and this book was PERFECT. Chapters that are only a few pages long make it SO easy to FLY through a book that was exactly what happened here. I also appreciated that this story was only told from only 2 alternating points of view. More than that and it would have been confusing. 2 was perfection.

As someone who lived in downtown Chicago for 8 years, I absolutely LOVED all of the street references. My exact neighborhood was a major reference in this story!

This book had so many twists. Just when I would think I had the ending all figured out, something would happen to make me completely change my mind. LOVE. I was completely invested in this story and these characters. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how everything was going to end! Kept me guessing right up until the very end. I truly couldn’t put this book down.

I absolutely love the writing in this book and I am eagerly looking forward to future works by Samantha M. Bailey! This is her debut novel…and what a wonderful debut it is.

I had posted this on Instagram:

#truth.

I absolutely loved this book…you will, too!

A Conversation with Samantha M. Bailey:

As someone who lived in downtown Chicago for many years, I absolutely loved reading about the streets, neighborhoods, etc. I was shocked to learn that you live in Canada! Have you ever lived in Chicago? If not, how did you conduct your research to learn each neighborhood’s personality so perfectly?

Thank you! I’m so happy to know I got it right! I’ve never lived in Chicago, but I’ve visited, though it was when I was much younger. For my debut, I wanted an American city to reach a wider audience and because it felt too close to home to set it in Toronto, where I live. When I was thinking about which city I wanted, Chicago felt so right because it seems to have a similar landscape, architecture, diversity, and sensibility to Toronto, which helped me envision it. Because my budget didn’t extend to traveling, I relied on Google, Google Earth, and the little person who walks along the streets in Google Maps. I was also lucky that my copy editor, Erica Ferguson, lived in Chicago so she could tell me when my characters were driving into the lake.

 How did you choose the names for the characters in Woman on the Edge?

It was such a process! It always is for me. I look at baby name websites for the years my characters were born and wait for the right name to hit me. But as I revised, I changed the names of many of the characters, like Morgan, because with edits I would re-imagine who the characters are. In my next book, I’ve already changed characters’ names a few times, and I’ll probably change them again. 

This book explores many themes including mental health, motherhood, marriage, friendship, and love. Of these themes, which was the hardest for you to write? Which was the easiest? Why?

I don’t think any of the themes were easy for me, except maybe the love a mother has for her child. Even that, though, is deeply emotional for me. While I didn’t experience postpartum depression myself and depended on the struggles of my friends, ones I watched firsthand and those they generously shared with me, I definitely felt anxiety about being the best mother I could to my own two children. It’s such a sudden, shocking, beautiful, frightening life change when your baby is put in your arms for the first time. Writing about Nicole’s struggles was complex and cathartic, as was writing about suicide, loss, relationships, and family. I’m grateful to have an incredibly loving and supportive family and the best friends in the world, which helps, I think, to separate my own life from my characters’ so I can really dig deep.

Woman on the Edge was such an amazing debut, I’d love to hear more about your future literary plans. Are you working on another book? Can you tell us anything about it? If you aren’t currently working on another book, what type of book (if any) can you see yourself working on in the future?

This means so much to me. Releasing a debut is both joyous and scary, and doing so in 2020 has been a roller coaster. Besides my family and friends, what’s kept me grounded during the pandemic has been writing my next thriller. Writing is where I put my fears and worries, and it helps me handle them when I can unleash them on my characters. I’m so thankful to you, Jenny, and the entire book community for giving me the career I’ve longed for. I just finished my draft of my untitled-for-now next book, set in Canada, that is about middle-aged motherhood, obsession, addiction, neighbors, and…a dead body. It’s tentatively slated to release in late 2021, but until then, the mass market paperback of Woman on the Edge is up for pre-order and out on February 23, 2021.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win an electronic copy of Woman on The Edge? I have 1 ebook to give away (open to US and Canada only for this giveaway)!  

To be entered, just leave a comment below (on this blog post)!  Your comment can be about anything!

**You must comment below to be eligible for the giveaway and you must comment here on this blog post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (10/17/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Friday (10/18/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Friday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me which email address where you would like your ebook sent.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

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

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!*

*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 12 best books that I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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

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1 Positive Review, 1 Negative Review, 2 Book Bloggers Candidly Discuss Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}

One of the interesting aspects of being a book blogger is when you have feelings on a book you’ve read, you read another blogger’s thoughts on the same book…and you discover that they had a completely different takeaway than you did. I actually love when this happens because I find it so interesting to see others’ viewpoints which are so different than my own. Clearly this was the case when Melissa Amster and I both read Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After. One of us has a very positive review while the other one of us…unfortunately has a negative review.

Like everything else in life, people will always form opinions on books they’ve read. What may positively resonate with one reader may have the opposite effect on another reader. I love discussing books, and I REALLY love discussing opposing views on books. How boring would life be if everyone shared the same opinions all the time? Our opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints are makes make us unique.

I’m so happy to welcome back Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central to do a guest book review with me today! This is the 3rd book that Melissa and I have collaborated on reviewing but the first where our reviews are on opposite sides of the review spectrum.

Goodreads Synopsis of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Jenny Share’s Review of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

I really, really, REALLY wanted to love this book. Sadly…I did not.

It starts off SLOOOOOWLY, like, 200 pages slowly. Around page 200 was when I felt it start to pick up and then I enjoyed the last 150ish pages significantly more than the previous 200.

The biggest issue that I had with this book was its dialogue. I felt that most of what was said between characters was so unrealistic and WORDY. Not every dialogue needs to include a lengthy monologue! I hate when authors do this, it’s so completely unrealistic and takes away from the actual story.

This whole book felt like I was reading one long therapy session. I’m all for being interspective but these characters literally spent what felt like each second analyzing and reflecting on EVERYTHING. Yes, the main theme of this book is looking within and living your authentic self but it was all just too interspective for me.

Did you ever watch Dawson’s Creek? I kept thinking of comparisons to that show while reading. Great characters, great storylines, but HORRIBLE delivery! Every conversation on Dawson’s Creek included long monologues, insane dialogues, ridiculous words that real life teenagers would never use, SO much interspection, and certain situations that would be unrealistic for teenagers to be in. Exactly how this book is! The only difference being that despite all of that, I loved Dawson’s Creek and I did not love Felix Ever After.

Let me clarify that statement. While I did NOT love this book, I DID love the idea behind the story of Felix Ever After. Knowing and accepting your authentic self is a beautiful and complicated thing. I DO have a few positive things that I will say about this book.

First and foremost, I will always support ANY book which brings awareness to topics that may otherwise not receive the attention they deserve. This book is a perfect example. It’s such an important book with such beautiful messages of acceptance of complicated topics. Also, I love that it has the ability to reach such a broad audience in terms of age range. Finally, many (not all) of the storylines were wonderful and can absolutely educate people on so many different levels. I can definitely see how somebody going through the same emotions as Felix would feel such a powerful connection and understanding to this book.

However even with these few positive aspects, I just can’t recommend the actual writing or it’s delivery in this book. Nope.

Melissa Amster’s Review of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

I had bought Felix Ever After on Amazon a while back because it looked interesting to me. Then I shelved it on my Kindle for a while. When Jenny said she was reading it, I decided to give it a try, since it was something we could easily review together at her blog. 

I liked this story a lot. It was edgier than most LGBTQ novels I’ve read. There was more grit and intensity to it. It hurt me to read the transphobic messages that Felix was receiving. I know some people who are transgender and it sucks that someone would say such horrible things about anyone like that. I appreciated Felix questioning their identity throughout the story; that gender is a construct in this day and age and not everything is black and white. The story made me think of a friend who just came out as male-to-female transgender and how I had no idea they felt that way about their gender identity when they were younger.  I’m glad books like these are available for teenagers (and adults), as you never know who might pick it up one day and be able to relate. 

Kacen Callender’s use of description and details to bring the story to life made me feel like I was watching everything happen right in front of me. The emotional levels were really strong too.

 I have been watching Degrassi the Next Generation and was impressed by how they handled the topic of transgender on that show. So I was pleasantly surprised to see it referenced in the author’s note at the end of the book. I even got emotional from reading that part. Some character names made me think of the show (Declan–Keane and Coyne sound similar–and Marisol, basically), so it was on my mind while reading it. 

I look forward to reading more of Kacen’s novels and recommend this to anyone looking for a thoughtful story.

Book Coffee Happy Bottom Line :

Sooooo clearly some people love this book while others clearly do not (worst bottom line on a book review blog that’s ever been written, lol).

So…there you have it. 1 book, 2 bloggers, 2 completely different book reviews.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Melissa! I loved working with you, can’t wait to work with you again soon.

Have you read Felix Ever After? Do you agree with Melissa or myself? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

You can read the other collaborations that Melissa and I have worked on together HERE and HERE.

*If you are a blogger interested in a possible future collaboration with Book Coffee Happy, I’d love to talk! Send me an email to bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com*

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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6 Books That I Really Wanted To Read in 2020–Did I?

When 2019 was coming to an end (and the absolute craziness of 2020 was still in the future), I wrote this post highlighting 6 books being released in 2020 that I had on my radar to read. It’s always fun to go back at the end of the year and see which of those books I actually ended up reading and which I still haven’t.

Current view as I’m writing this. Love.

**Click the picture of the book covers below to order your book through my Amazon Affiliate links.  When you purchase through these links, I receive a small commission.  Xo!**

Last Couple Standing {Matthew Norman}

Release Date: March 17, 2020

Synopsis:

The Core Four have been friends since college: four men, four women, four couples. They got married around the same time, had kids around the same time, and now, fifteen years later, they’ve started getting divorced around the same time, too. With three of the Core Four unions crumbling to dust around them, Jessica and Mitch Butler take a long, hard look at their own marriage. Can it be saved? Or is divorce, like some fortysomething zombie virus, simply inescapable?

To maximize their chance at immunity, Jessica and Mitch try something radical. Their friends’ divorces mostly had to do with sex—having it, not having it, wanting to have it with other people—so they decide to relax a few things. Terms are discussed, conditions are made, and together the Butlers embark on the great experiment of taking their otherwise happy, functional marriage and breaking some very serious rules.

Jessica and Mitch are convinced they’ve hit upon the next evolution of marriage. But as lines are crossed and hot bartenders pursued, they each start to wonder if they’ve made a huge mistake. What follows is sexy, fun, painful, messy, and completely surprising to them both. Because sometimes doing something bad is the only way to get to the heart of what’s really good.

What I Had Written In 2019 On Why I Had Wanted To Read It:

“This sounds so scandalous and juicy…I can’t wait to read it :)”

Did I Read It?

Yes! You can read my review HERE.

This Is Not How It Ends {Rochelle Weinstein}

Release Date: 1/1/20

Synopsis:

When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.

Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.

As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

What I Had Written In 2019 On Why I Had Wanted To Read It:

“I was fortunate to receive an Advance Readers Copy of this book.  Spoiler Alert: I. LOVED. IT.  Full blog review (and giveaway!) coming soon! This was officially released on 1/1 so you can read it NOW! And you should.  This book was included on my list of the best books I read in 2019.”

Did I Read It?

Yes! You can read my review HERE.

Such a Fun Age {Kiley Reid}


Release Date: 12/31/19

Synopsis:

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

What I Had Written In 2019 On Why I Had Wanted To Read It:

“So TECHNICALLY this one released in 2019…but…12/31 is close enough to 2020 to be included here 🙂  This book looks so amazing!  I’ve had my name on the library hold list for months already.  I can’t wait to read this one.”

Did I Read It?

Yes! You can read my review HERE.


All Adults Here {Emma Straub}

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Synopsis:

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence?

Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is intentionally pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.

What I Had Written In 2019 On Why I Had Wanted To Read It:

“I’m conflicted.  I didn’t love Emma Straub’s The Vacationers but this new one of hers sounds so good…???”

Did I Read It?

Nope. I checked this book out of the library a few months ago…and returned it without even opening the cover. As good as this one sounds, I just can’t get excited about it considering how much I disliked The Vacationers. Maybe I will read this one at some point, but there are so many other books ahead of it on my list.

The Other Mrs. {Mary Kubica}

Release Date: 2/18/2020

Synopsis:

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor, Morgan Baines, is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie, who is terrified by the thought of a killer in her very own backyard.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. It’s their eerie old home, with its decrepit decor and creepy attic, which they inherited from Will’s sister after she died unexpectedly. It’s Will’s disturbed teenage niece Imogen, with her dark and threatening presence. And it’s the troubling past that continues to wear at the seams of their family.

As the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of Morgan’s death. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

What I Had Written In 2019 On Why I Had Wanted To Read It:

“I was fortunate to receive an Advance Readers Copy of this book.  Very unique and special full blog review coming on MONDAY!”

Did I Read It?

Yes! I actually wrote a joint review with a fellow book blogger over on her amazing book review blog. You can read both of our reviews HERE.

Destination Wedding {Diksha Basu}

Release Date: June 30, 2020

Synopsis:

Tina Das wants to belong, but she just isn’t sure where. India or America? Brooklyn or Bombay? Manhattan or Delhi? Or start from scratch in London–she still has fond memories of her one-night stand with Rocco Gallagher, the handsome Australian, as they traipsed through Covent Garden and Seven Dials, but he never called back so maybe it’s time to let that dream go, and focus on finding the next big story for her streaming network instead.

She’s hoping she’ll find it at her cousin’s lavish, weeklong Delhi wedding, and has taken her best friend Marianne Laing along for the ride to Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes. Marianne has always had international tastes, in life and in love, yet can’t help but think of sweet, steady, khaki-clad Tom back home in New York.

Also in attendance are Tina’s divorced parents: her mother, Radha, who’s bringing her American “boyfriend,” David, to the wedding, and her father, Neel, who’s using the visit to India to explore the idea of dating again, only to discover it and he have both changed completely in the decades he’s been away.

Infused with warmth, charm, and wicked humor, Destination Wedding grapples with the challenges of work, love, and finding the people who make a place feel like home.

What I Had Written In 2019 On Why I Had Wanted To Read It:

“I’ve mentioned before how I have always been drawn to learning about Indian culture throughout my entire life.  This book sounds wonderful!”

Did I Read It?

I did not…but definitely not for lack of trying! My local library doesn’t carry it no matter how many times I keep checking. I plan on asking them to order a copy but I haven’t as of yet. Stay tuned! I still think this book sounds wonderful and definitely plan on reading it. Maybe in 2021?

Have you read any of these 2020 releases this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

You can read my list of books that I wanted to read in 2019 and a mid year check in (I must not have done an end of the year check in) HERE! **I just reread that post and apparently the book that I’m currently reading is on there! Better late than never, lol**

Xo,

Jenny

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Book Review: The Guest List {Lucy Foley}

Lucy Foley’s The Guest List had been on my list to read FOREVER. The wait list for this book at my library was so looooong! Everyone seems to be reading this book! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy to read and review.

Goodreads Synopsis of The Guest List {Lucy Foley}:

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

My Review of The Guest List {Lucy Foley}:

So. Much. YES.

This book was FANTASTIC. I read it over the course of only a few days and truly could not put it down!

The setting for the story is so ominous, let alone each of the mysterious characters that it contains. Everything about this book was so mysterious and creepy and I absolutely loved it!

I will never, ever look at any wedding in the same way ever again. Holy hell.

I had about a million predictions which kept changing as I was reading as to how everything was going to play out in the end. For the most part, all of my predictions were completely wrong. I was able to guess one major twist pretty early on but other than that, I was completely shocked by all of the twists and turns! So, so good!

This book would make an absolutely amazing movie! The setting alone would be so much fun to see on the big screen. Someone is bound to buy the movie rights for this one…??

Bottom Line:

Highly, highly recommend!

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d 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:

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Book Review: My Dark Vanessa {Kate Elizabeth Russell}

Another book I read during the STUPID WORDPRESS SWITCHOVER and therefore couldn’t post my review in a timely manner. I read Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa while sitting outside on a beach chair in gorgeous weather months ago. Now I’m typing this review over the Thanksgiving holiday with Christmas music playing on Pandora on my phone next to me. Ugh! Regardless of how long it took me to actually write this review, I have so many thoughts on this book to share with you!

Goodreads Synopsis of My Dark Vanessa {Kate Elizabeth Russell}:

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself. 

My Review of My Dark Vanessa {Kate Elizabeth Russell}:

This book was so disturbing…and yet…so GOOD? I had heard such mixed reviews prior to reading and I totally understand how everyone feels differently about this book. The subject is…a lot.

The topic is HEAVY and icky and weird and yet this book is GREAT. How???

The writing is fantastic, the characters are interesting, and the “unputdownable” factor is most definitely there. I FLEW through this book. It grabbed my attention from page 1 allllll the way until I closed the back cover. I didn’t want it to end.

Truly so thought provoking on so many levels. I read this book from the perspective of a mother, a daughter, a former teacher, and as a college student (how has it been so many years since that was my life when I can still relate to it so easily??).

My Dark Vanessa has deservingly made it to the final round in the fiction category of the Goodreads 2020 Choice Awards. Have you voted yet? As much as I did enjoy reading about Vanessa, THIS OTHER BOOK actually received my vote 🙂 If you haven’t read THAT book yet, I clearly highly recommend it!

I was pleasantly surprised at how different My Dark Vanessa is to THIS VILE BOOK. The 2 are nothing alike. One book makes you think, the other makes you want to throw up. I HATED THAT DISGUSTING OTHER BOOK SO, SO MUCH.

My Dark Vanessa is a wonderful beautifully disturbing book.

Bottom Line:

It feels weird to say that I loved this book because the subject is just so weird and dark…but…I loved this book.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d 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

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Book Review: Don’t Look For Me {Wendy Walker}

I read Wendy Walker’s Don’t Look for Me while on our 3rd trip to Spring Lake, MI (you can read all about our 1st and 2nd trips HERE and HERE). I still haven’t written a recap of our 3rd trip…maybe I still will even though it happened a month ago, lol? Spoiler: fall in Michigan is STUNNING.

Goodreads Synopsis of Don’t Look For Me {Wendy Walker}:

One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life. The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together. It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. She doesn’t want to be found. Or at least, that’s the story. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?

The night Molly disappeared began with a storm, running out of gas, and a man in a truck offering her a ride to town. With him is a little girl who reminds her of the daughter she lost years ago. It feels like a sign. And Molly is overcome with the desire to be home, with her family—no matter how broken it is. She accepts the ride. But when the doors are locked shut, Molly begins to suspect she has made a terrible mistake.

When a new lead comes in after the search has ended, Molly’s daughter, Nicole, begins to wonder. Nothing about her mother’s disappearance makes sense.

Nicole returns to the small, desolate town where her mother was last seen to find the truth. The locals are kind and eager to help. The innkeeper. The bartender. Even the police. Until secrets begin to reveal themselves and she comes closer to the truth about that night—and the danger surrounding her. 

My Review of Don’t Look For Me {Wendy Walker}:

Such an interesting and complicated story. I loved how the characters all fit together, the story lines were all so twisted and detailed, and how intense the whole book was. My heart was POUNDING while reading this one!

My predictions while reading were all over the place which I love. Also, I did NOT see that ending coming…

I couldn’t put this book down and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I closed the back cover.

This was the first book by Wendy Walker that I’ve read…I must add more to my to read list ASAP! Love her writing style!

Bottom Line:

Loved it!

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d 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:

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