The Festive Christmas Book Tag

Book Coffee Happy was tagged in The Festive Christmas Book Tag by The Reading Addict. Thank you so much for the tag! Although I’m Jewish I ABSOLUTELY LOVE CHRISTMAS and actually have Christmas music playing as I type this 🙂 This was a fun tag to complete even if I didn’t quite understand one of the questions, lol…

The Festive Christmas Book Tag was originally created by ReadingGirl on YouTube, and you can check out her video here.

I feel like this post deserves a nice Christmasy picture inserted here but since I clearly don’t have one…here’s my menorah, lol:

The Festive Christmas Book Tag:

1) A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?

The Quinns! Oh how I miss them this time each year. I loved Elin Hildrebrand’s Winter series so much (read more about this wonderful holiday themed series and my review of it HERE). If you haven’t yet read the Winter series, this is the very BEST time of the year to read them!

2) A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?

My husband actually bought me the cutest bookish item last week! How awesome is this candle???

LOVE!

3) A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?

Ok…Jewish girl here. Help! An elf like one who helps to make the toys? Or like the Elf on the Shelf who does naughty things? I don’t really get it. I’m over here picturing Will Ferrell? So clearly I’m not sure how to answer this question? Please someone educate this Jew…???

4) Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.

Hmmm. Well I would have to assume that Mallory and Jack from 28 Summers would agree that “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” would fit them perfectly. Read my review of 28 Summers HERE.

5) Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?

Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Truly one of the worst books I’ve ever read although somehow it WON The Goodreads Best Fiction Book of 2014?! Howwww?! I hated that book. I once wrote a blog post about it titled “One of the Worst Books I’ve Ever Read”. I got absolutely ripped apart on a Facebook book group for that post because it said such negative things and people got allll riled up saying that I shouldn’t have said them (insert eye roll here). I stand by my words…that was quite literally one of the very worst books I’ve ever read! Also, I will always give my honest opinion on the books that I read (and on everything else in life). You can read that (apparently) controversial blog post HERE.

6) A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserves to be put on the nice list?

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata! It’s such a quirky book but something about it totally sucked me in. I really loved that book! You can read it’s synopsis and my review HERE.

7) Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully christmasy feel to it.

How beautiful is this book cover???

I took this book from a Little Free Library last year and have yet to read it. Maybe this year? If you know me at all, you know that I could only read a book like this during the holiday season! If I don’t read this book this month…it will sit on my bookshelf until December 2021.

8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. It’s so amazing! I LOVED IT. Everyone should read this book! Read it’s synopsis and my (glowing) review of it HERE. American Dirt was definitely included in my 12 Best Books I Read in 2020 list that I had posted earlier in the week. You can read that post and check out the other 11 books that I LOVED reading the most this year HERE.

I tag:

LaLa’s Book Reviews

A Little Book Problem

Cup of Tea With That Book, Please

Woman On The Edge Giveaway Winner Video:

Thank you all so much for entering this giveaway!

Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is filled with love and BOOKS!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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*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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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*

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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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The 12 Best Books I Read in 2020

Today I give you my list of the 12 Best Books I Read in 2020. I read many AMAZING (and unfortunately many not so amazing) books this year but this list contains my absolute FAVORITES.

2020 has been quite the year. This year has taken away SO MUCH but luckily books has NOT been one of them. Reading has always been my favorite hobby and I’ve never been more thankful for it than I have in 2020. There is a lovely quote by Mason Cooley which states, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” How TRUE is that…especially this year?!?

We drove through an AMAZING holiday light show last week! This 2020 sign was absolutely stunning in person!

Some of these books were released this year, some were released earlier. This list was not an easy one for me to narrow down and create! If you haven’t read any of these books, I very obviously highly recommend ALL OF THEM!

If you are a regular blog reader, you know that I always include my “bottom line” on the bottom of my reviews which is a quick way for me to recap my feelings. I thought it would be fun to list these books only by the bottom line that I gave to them in my reviews. Click these bottom lines to take you directly to my review of each book (including the synopsis for each book).

In no particular order, I present to you my absolute favorite books that I’ve read in 2020 (and I have read A LOT of books this year):

The 12 Best Books I Read in 2020:

Book #1’s Bottom Line:

Truly one of the best books I’ve ever read.  If you haven’t read this one yet…it’s a MUST.

Book #2’s Bottom Line:

READ THIS.

Book #3’s Bottom Line:

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

Book #4’s Bottom Line:

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

Book #5’s Bottom Line:

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

Book #6’s Bottom Line:

Read this  book.  Stat.

Book #7’s Bottom Line:

If you love YA, you will LOVE this book!

Book #8’s Bottom Line:

This book is absolutely brilliant.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Book #9’s Bottom Line:

This book is juicy, scandalous, and AWESOME.

Book #10’s Bottom Line:

Read this book. If you are married and a mother, read this book….and then hug your husband and children a little tighter. Omg.

Book #11’s Bottom Line:

Truly one of the best books I’ve ever read. These characters will stay in my heart for a VERY long time…

Book #12’s 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.

What are the best books you have read this year? Have you read any of the books on my Top 12 list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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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

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 ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

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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

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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First Lines Friday…On A Monday :)

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

So this is a big feature that many book bloggers do each Friday. I’ve never participated but when I started reading a new book this week, the first lines JUMPED out at me and I thought this would be such a fun way to share what I’m currently reading…and the ridiculously NOT 2020 vibe those first lines gave off to me, lol.

First Line Friday Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Ok so as I mentioned above, I started reading this book over the weekend. Honestly, I never really notice first lines but these particular first lines literally JUMPED out at me. The beginning of this book takes place in 2008 and so clearly NOT in 2020, lol.

“It’s a wonder everyone who uses public ransport in winter doesn’t kneel over and die of germ overload. In the last ten minutes I’ve been coughed on and sneezed at, and if the woman in front of me shakes her dandruff my way again, I might just douse her with the dregs of the lukewarm coffee that I’m no longer able to drink because it’s full of her scalp.”

Is that the most UN 2020 paragraph you have ever read?!?

Using public transport during a pandemic…ugh.

Dying of germ overload? Yup.

Being coughed on and sneezed at? HELL NO.

Woman standing so close to you that her dandruff falls on you? Back up 6 feet!

Holding coffee in public? Not when you are wearing mask!

So now you can see why these particular first lines caught my attention, lol. Last year at this time, I wouldn’t even have thought twice about these first lines but this year I actually had to stop and reread them because they JUMPED out at me, lol.

So what book am I curently reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness. 

I’ll post a full review once I finish reading!

Have you read One Day in December? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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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Random Bookish Thoughts, Birthday Snapshots, and the Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Winner {Video}

Happy Friday! Today’s blog post will be some random bookish thoughts, snapshots from my birthday, and a video announcing my birthday Amazon gift card giveaway winner!

Random Bookish Thoughts:

My daughter did this homework over Thanksgiving and I love it so much. She said, “My teacher says it’s optional” and I replied, “Aaaaaaand your mom says it’s mandatory!” **Also, when your mom is a former teacher, she makes you complete 10 squares, not 5! **

Almost done reading this book, I’ll have my review posted ASAP!

Do you remember when I posted this review and included a picture of the fake fireplace in the Michigan cottage? I was so obsessed with reading in front of that fireplace and haven’t stopped thinking (or talking about) it since we’ve been back home. We do have a real fireplace in our family room but I REALLY wanted one of these for our living room so when I’m reading on my favorite couch, I can have the absolute perfect reading experience! My husband bought me this one for my birthday and my daughter bought me a tiny box that makes fire crackling sounds! It’s PERFECT, so warm and toast, and I’m completely 100 percent obsessed. You KNOW I read a book in front of it on the very first night and I think I smiled the entire time while reading.

Birthday Snapshots

My birthday was absolutely wonderful and included all of my favorite things: My little family, breakfast made by my daughter, a socially distanced outside visit with my amazing parents, Thai food for dinner, Culvers, decorations from my kids, a family Uno tournament, outside socially distanced visits from my best friends, and more. It was a lovely, lovely birthday and the best part was how truly loved I felt.

Swingset decorated by my son:

One of the gifts from my best friends included a gift card to enjoy my favorite drink on my special day!

If you know me in real life, you know that Culvers is my absolute most favorite dessert!

Notice the UNO cards in the above photo? Our family has had a tournament going since July with a leaderboard and everything. Guess who is currently in FIRST PLACE??? #mama

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Winner Video:

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with love and BOOKS!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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Today is My Birthday! *Amazon Gift Card Giveaway*

Birthday giveaway of an Amazon gift card for one blog reader 🙂

Today is my birthday! I bought this shirt as a birthday gift to myself 🙂

Love!

For the past 2 years, I’ve given away a small gift card on my birthday to a blog reader. It feels so good to share a bit of my birthday joy with you guys!

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Leave a comment below (on this actual blog post). I’ll randomly choose a winner and email her/him a $10.00 Amazon egift card! You can use that $10.00 and put it towards a new book or anything else that makes you feel happy. I’ll announce the winner in Friday’s blog post! You will have 48 hours from the time I post your name to email me the email address where you would like your egift card sent. If I don’t hear from you in 48 hours, I’ll choose someone else.

I hope you are all having a wonderful day! Happy birthday to ME (and also to my girl Britney Spears!)

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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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:

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

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

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

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Book I’m Currently Reading, Coffee I’m Currently Drinking, 1 Thing Currently Making Me Happy (#2)

Book Coffee Happy’s newest series where I share the book I’m currently reading, the coffee I’m currently drinking, and 1 thing that is currently making me happy!

Book I’m Currently Reading:

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.

I just started reading The Party last night although it has been on my to read list FOREVER (how have I not read this book by now?). I’ll post my full review once I finish reading! I LOVE Robyn Harding (my absolute favorite book of hers is hands down THIS BOOK, it’s a must read!!!)

Coffee I’m Currently Drinking:

Dunkin + holiday cup = PURE JOY

Currently Making Me Happy:

My 8.5 year old daughter made this cake all by herself for our family of 4 to enjoy last night! Vanilla cake, 2 layers, marshmallow vanilla frosting. She even did a crumb coat! I’m super proud and she loved watching us eat it last night. It was delicious! Thankful for my little family and although Thanksgiving looked differently this year (we miss the rest of our family so much) we still made wonderful Thanksgiving memories here. We laughed, we cooked, we ATE, we decorated, we played Uno. A wonderful Thanksgiving indeed 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

What are you currently reading?

What coffee are you currently enjoying?

What is 1 thing currently making you HAPPY?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

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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

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