GIVEAWAY (12 WINNERS)! Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet {Michael Daswick}

When Michael Daswick reached out to tell me about his Zin Mignon book series, I knew this was a book series that my entire family would love! When book #1, Zin Mignon and the Secret of The Pickled Pigs’ Feet, arrived in my mailbox…I couldn’t wait to “dig in”! I’m so excited to host this amazing giveaway today where there will be 12 WINNERS!

Photo credit: Michael Daswick

Our family LOVES watching cooking competitions, especially when they involve children chefs. Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship is our absolute favorite and we have faithfully watched every single season. Over the summer, my daughter had a chance to attend a virtual cooking lesson from Valerie Bertinelli (the host of Kids Baking Championship) and it was so cool! Total once in a lifetime opportunity for her and she loved every single second. If you haven’t watched Kids Baking Championship, it’s such a wonderful show. Our other favorite is Be Our Chef on Disney Plus. Children chefs are amazing!

Best day. Valerie taught my daughter how to make an asparagus frittata!

Synopsis from Goodreads of Zin Mignon and the Secret of The Pickled Pigs’ Feet (Michael Daswick}:

11 year old genius Chef Zin Mignon is in a horrific pickle. He’s been kidnapped from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris by the mysterious Mustard Monks and spirited away to their ultra-remote mountaintop abbey. In time, he’ll be able to take their daunting Test. If he passes, he may join their secret Order and achieve the culinary success he’s always dreamed of. If he fails….

The tale of Zin Mignon begins at the bottom of a jar of pickled pigs’ feet in his father’s pathetic Brooklyn deli. A secret note sets him on a world-spinning adventure that takes him through the alleys of the homeless to the tables of billionaires, to discover who he really is and the greatness for which he is destined. As he sets the culinary world on fire, a mix of treacherous rivals feasts on the chance to make his dreams go up in smoke.

In the wildly appetizing first book of the Zin Mignon series, with the help of his family and friends, Zin is off to honor the solemn promise he made to his dad and to learn the incredible secret of his family legacy. With humor, amazing exploits and heartfelt compassion, Zin uses food and his kitchen to build a recipe that will lead him to his true identity. Can he cut the mustard, or is it all just pie in the sky?

My Thoughts on Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet {Michael Daswick}:

I absolutely loved this book and read it over the course of just a few days. I was completely engrossed in this story and in these characters.

This book has a bit of everything. A story of hard work, dedication, compassion, and patience? Check. A bit of mystery? Check. Most of all, this book has such beautiful themes… the importance of family, acceptance, having big dreams, and of always treating others with kindness and respect.

Warning #1: This book will make you HUNGRY. The food that Zin creates are nothing short of spectacular, and his ability to create these magnificant dishes from whatever ingredients he has available to him at the time is truly fantastic.

Warning #2: No matter how good of a cook you think you are, you will absolutely 100 percent doubt yourself when you witness the skills of this child chef. Seriously.

Zin Mignon is the type of book series that you can feel good about your child reading. I can’t wait for my daughter to read this! She is going to love the story, the characters, the food, and as a fun bonus she is going to love the celebrity names mentioned throughout! If I were still an elementary school teacher, I would so love to read this book to my class.

Thank you, Michael Daswick, for sharing Zin with me. I can’t wait to read book #2! I’ve got it sitting here on my desk and it looks wonderful 🙂

A Conversation with Michael Daswick, in His Own Words:

What ages would be the ideal readers for your book?

Zin has a wide crossover audience. The ZIN Series goes against publishing norms in that it’s not directed at a certain age group as much as it’s aimed at any reader who loves food and cooking, humor and mystery. Zin has readers who are eight years old, as well as many moms, dads and grammas who cook with their kids, or want to pass along the joys of food to their families. We have teachers reading these books to their third grade classroom. The books are crammed with pop culture, little jokes and references that only adults will ‘get’; but there’s also plot and many areas that junior readers will love. There’s something for everyone.

How did you create the idea for your book?

Many people know this story. Our daughter Sidney has special needs and uses a wheelchair. Over the years, she loved watching Emeril, Giada, and all the Food Network shows. That love for food led her to our own kitchen where she loves ‘helping’ me cook, directing traffic and making suggestions on her communication device. I’ve written stuff my entire life and one night we were all watching Food Network with Sid when it hit me: With all this interest in Food on TV, Cooking Channel, MasterChef, Chef’s Table and all that, how come there’s never been fictional Series about a 13 year genius chef? The food phenomenon is so big, how come it hasn’t spread to fiction? Well, now it has.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Food fans, kids who cook, parents and grandparents who cook (or want to cook) with their kids. Readers who watch cooking on TV. ALSO, the books are just solid humor-filled mysteries as well. Anyone who wants a good, well-written story.

Where can your book be purchased?

Amazon, Apple, Barnes n Noble, Scrib’d, Kobo, and others. All the platforms. 

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Original; Funny; Loaded with Humanity. Unexpected. 

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


While people might think a ‘food-centric’ topic is light-hearted, these are sophisticated, detailed, very well written novels with great characters who inspire and bring out the best in each other. Family is crucial throughout ZIN. I won both of Columbia’s prestigious literary awards and take the writing business very seriously. 

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of the first book in the series? I have 12 copies (yes 12!) of Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet to give away!!!

There are 2 different ways to enter this giveaway:

  • If you would like to enter to win an ebook: Click HERE and enter your email address. EVERYONE who does this will automatically receive the first 3 chapters for FREE. From those who enter, 10 of you will randomly be chosen to receive the complete ebook sent straight to your inbox! **This option is open to US as well as international readers**
  • If you would like to enter to receive a hard copy: Leave a comment below (about anything)! I will randomly choose 2 people who will receive a signed hard copy. You must comment below to be eligible for the giveaway and you must comment here on this blog post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). **This option is open to US readers only**

Both giveaway options will close tomorrow (10/20/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and all winners will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Wednesday (10/21/20).

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 you are receiving a hard copy.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

Good luck!

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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What I’m Curretly Reading, What I Recently Read, What I Think I’ll Read Next (WWW #16) {Book Coffee Happy}

I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate in WWW! The Three Ws: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words for hosting this fun weekly post!

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What Are You Currently Reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads 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.

I started reading this book 2 days ago night and I’m already over 100 pages in! I’m LOVING it so far, I can’t put it down. I’ll post a full review once I finish reading! Stay tuned…

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads of The Wife Stalker {Liv Constantine}:

Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them? 

I finished reading this book 2 days ago and am working on my review. I’ll have it posted soon!

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

Synopsis from Goodreads of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

I’ve been excited to read this one and was so happy when my copy arrived at my library! I’ve heard it’s wonderful. I’m REALLY hoping it is as good as I was wanting THIS BOOK to be (I was so disappointed in that book than I returned it’s squeal to the library without even opening the cover). Fingers crossed this book will be better!

Have you read any of these 3 books? What did you think (no spoilers)? What are you currently reading? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Be sure to check back as I’ve got some AWESOME blog posts coming up! Spoiler: I’m hosting a giveaway on Monday for a WONDERFUL book…can’t wait to share it with all of you 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

Click on the images below to order through my Amazon 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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My Thoughts on Past Seasons of The Bachelor and a Book Review: One To Watch {Kate Stayman London}

I have watched The Bachelor since season 1. The year was 2002 and I very much remember laying on the couch in my parents’ house as my mom and I watched Alex Michel attempt to find love on national tv. I remember I was eating peanut butter straight from the jar (20 years later and my obsession with peanut butter is stronger than ever…in fact, I’m drinking a spinach/banana/peanut butter smoothie as I type this, lol). 1 episode of The Bachelor and I. WAS. HOOKED. 18 years later and my love for The Bachelor remains strong. In honor of the new season of The Bachelorette premiering on TUESDAY (finnnnnnnnally), today’s blog post includes a whole bunch of my random thoughts on The Bachelor AND a book review of One to Watch by Kate Stayman London.

Some random Bachelor/Bachelorette thoughts from past seasons:

I literally do everything that I can to avoid spoilers. I stop visiting my favorite reality show websites, turn off the radio as soon as they mention the possibility of a discussion (this applied more to when I was teaching and had a commute…now I just listen to Pandora, lol), etc.. I absolutely have blocked and even unfriended people on Facebook when they post spoilers! Side note: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP POSTING TV SPOILERS ON FACEBOOK! NOT EVERYONE IS CAUGHT UP ON THE SAME TELEVISION SHOWS AS YOU ARE OR CARES TO READ ANY SPOILERS EVEN IF THEY ARE ALL CAUGHT UP! ***Insert MAJOR eye roll here***

One of my all time favorite couples EVER was Andrew Firestone and Jen Schefft. Oh they were so cute! I loved Andrew’s season, I thought he was so handsome.

My current favorite couple is Arie and Lauren (follow them on Instagram and YouTube, they are adorable)! I know, I know…his breakup with Becca was BAD but I have always loved Arie ever since Emily’s season (and I LOVED Emily’s season!)

My very favorite Bachelorette ever was Ashley although I think I might be the only person in America who feels this way.

I really don’t enjoy watching any season until about 5 episodes in. Too many guys in the beginning and too hard to remember who is who! I like it best when it’s down to the final 5-10 guys and I can start rooting for my favorites.

I feel like the caliber of the bachelors has so dramatically changed over time. In the beginning they were always wealthy, successful, gorgeous, etc. Now they…aren’t. I really started to notice this when Farmer Chris was the bachelor…Ummm he seemed nice and all but worth fighting over and quite possibly humiliating yourself on National television for? I think not.

I hate watching The Woman Tell All and also After the Final Rose (although I always do watch both). I just like watching the regular episodes, I don’t need the backstories. Except for when Arie and Becca broke up. I was legit GLUED to the screen during that aftershow! It was so amazing.

I hate, hate, hate the group dates ESPECIALLY when they have the girls play any type of sports! So boring. Side note: I think pretty much all sports are boring in real life…the LAST thing I want to watch on The Bachelor is any type of sport!

My favorite part of any season are the 2 on 1 dates where 1 person gets sent home…always the best drama during those. I also love hometowns.

Why does every season include a private concert by some weird unknown band that the lead pretends to actually know and be excited about? So weird.

I literally remember nothing about Charlie O’Connell’s season except that I remember LOVING him?

I liked Peter during his season but…Kelley? Really???

I adore Chris Harrison and I was alllll over the rumor a few years ago that once he announced his divorce that he could have been the next Bachelor. That would have been AMAZING. I also loved the Kris Jenner Bachelorette rumor 🙂

This summer felt so weird not to have a Bachelorette and I can’t wait to tune in to Claire’s season! However…Claire??? WHY IS IT NOT HANNAH ANN???

So, I read a book a few weeks ago and it was like WATCHING AN ENTIRE SEASON! If you love the Bachelor as much as I do, keep reading…I’ve got an AWESOME book for you. If you hate The Bachelor, I’m gonna just say that you will want to stop reading this post now because this book is most definitely NOT for you, lol.

Goodreads Synopsis of One to Watch {Kate Stayman-London}:

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

My Review of One to Watch {Kate Stayman-London}:

After I finished reading this book, I FELT LIKE I JUST WATCHED A ENTIRE SEASON OF THE BACHELORETTE OVER JUST A FEW DAYS! How amazing!

I loved, loved, loved the various means of telling this story. Text chains, podcasts, blogs, emails, etc. It told this story in such a creative way and it gave this story such a deeper dimension as it was told in such creative ways.

I absolutely loved all of the Bachelor references and couldn’t believe how many of them there were…Chris Harrison’s iconic phrases (told by Johnny), the rose (kiss off) ceremony, even a Reality Steve type website was mentioned!

Just like in real seasons of The Bachelor, I didn’t always agree with Bea’s choices on the men that that she was choosing 🙂

I must say…filming the season in real time is BRILLIANT. Why haven’t the Bachelor producers caught on to this yet???

AS much fun as this book was to read, I do appreciate it’s deeper message. The Bachelor absolutely DOES need to highlight ALL people….and ALL body types. I love the show so much but it’s inclusivity is definitely severely lacking.

Bottom Line:

If you LOVE The Bachelor, you will LOVE this book! It’s wonderful.

Have you read this book? Do you watch The Bachelor? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click on the images below to order through my Amazon 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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Book Review: Unfollow Me {Charlotte Duckworth}

As someone who LOVES to follow influencers on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Charlotte Duckworth’s Unfollow Me literally called my name from the library shelf (I randomly came across it on my recent trip to the INSIDE of my local library). As soon as I read the synopsis on this one, I knew that I couldn’t wait to read and review this book!

Synopsis from Goodreads of Unfollow Me {Charlotte Duckworth}:

You Can’t Stop Watching Her.

Violet Young is a hugely popular journalist-turned-mummy-vlogger, with three young children, a successful husband and a million subscribers on YouTube who tune in daily to watch her everyday life unfold.

Until the day she’s no longer there.

But one day she disappears from the online world – her entire social media presence deleted overnight, with no explanation. Has she simply decided that baring her life to all online is no longer a good idea, or has something more sinister happened to her?

But do you really know who Violet is?

Told from the perspectives of her most avid fans, obsessed with finding out the truth, their search quickly reveals a web of lies, betrayal, and shocking consequences…

My Thoughts on Unfollow Me {Charlotte Duckworth}:

Oh man my throughts on this book are a bit scattered…

I LOVED the speculation surrounding Violet’s disappearance and wish the whole book could have been just that.

I wasn’t nearly as into the story lines surrounding the 2 “fans” as their lives didn’t interest me as much as Violet’s did. Unfortunately a large portion of this book surrounded around these 2 women.

There is a mystery piece to this story where the reader is given tiny bits and pieces of various story lines throughout but nothing is fully explained until the end…which frankly I found more irritating than intriguing.

There were also timelines which were confusing and characters/story lines which were unnecessary.

HOWEVER, if you are a big fan of influencers like I am…there were many parts of this book that you will find interesting. I loved the forum where “fans” could discuss their thoughts on the missing YouTuber! I wish more of this book could have focused on that forum. PS Have you ever visited any of those forums in real life??? They are crazy and speculative and mean and…wonderful. I’ve never actually posted on them but I do LOVE to read them. People are INSANE on them, it’s fantastic. **Please don’t ask me which ones I read…I do not want to give them any press…but do some Internet searching, I’m sure you can find them on your own ;)**

Another positive thing about this book is that there were definitely a few twists that I most definitely did NOT see coming! Love when that happens.

Bottom Line:

If you love following influencers, this is absolutely a book you will want to read. If you don’t follow influencers…I would skip this book.

Have you read this book? 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)*

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

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The Swap {Robyn Harding}: Guest Book Blogger Review, My Review, Author Interview with Robyn, AND GIVEAWAY (2 Signed Copies)!

Oh I am SO excited to bring you this post today!  A collaborative post with blogger Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central with her book review, MY book review, an interview with Robyn Harding, AND A GIVEAWAY (2 signed copies!) all surrounding Robyn’s newest book, The Swap!  This post is already one of my favorites and it was such fun working with these ladies during the process.

Melissa Amster’s book blog was one of the first that I ever read and it’s wonderful.  If you don’t already follow Chick Lit Central, take some time to check it out!  You’ll love it like I do.  Melissa has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my blogging journey and I’ll never be able to appropriately thank her for all of her support and advice along the way.  She’s so awesome!  When she asked if I would be interested in doing a collaborative blog post to review Robyn Harding’s newest book, I JUMPED at the chance!  Amazing!

I have been a huge Robyn Harding fan for years.  Her books are AWESOME.  Working with her on this post was the first time she and I have communicated and I’m so happy to report that she’s just as lovely and kind as I was hoping she would be!  So nice corresponding with you, Robyn!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

“No list of thrillers is complete without Robyn Harding,” proclaims Real Simple. Now the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Party delivers a riveting tale about the toxic relationship between two couples after a night of sexual shenanigans, and the manipulative teenager with an explosive secret at the center of it all.

Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

Robyn Harding brings her acclaimed storytelling, lauded as “fast-paced, thrilling, gut-wrenching” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six, to this dark and suspenseful thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Lisa Jewell.

My Review of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

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

So I’ll just come out and say it: I was so incredibly nervous to read this book.  I had already been in discussions with Melissa Amster AND with Robyn Harding as to how we were going to collaborate on this post.  What if I hated the book???  If you are a regular blog reader, you know that I always share my true feelings on books, both positive and negative.  I was so nervous to read this book and have to write this post.  If I hated the book, how awful would it be to have to write my negative review on a collaborative post with A) A book blogger whom I very much admire and B) THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK.  Scary.  However, my readers are always #1 to me and being honest with my thoughts remains my top priority.  The reason that I have such loyal followers is because my readers trust that I’ll always be honest with my thoughts.  I hear that from my blog readers ALL THE TIME.

So…I opened the book, holding my breath as I read page 1.

And I very quickly released my breath.  From the very first sentence I. WAS. HOOKED.  Oh how I LOVED this book (thank God)!  I read the whole book over 2 days, I truly couldn’t put it down.  Hands down my favorite Robyn Harding book that I’ve read (my review of another of her great ones can be found HERE).  I can very honestly say with 100 percent certainty that I LOVED this book.  PHEW.

This book is GREAT!  It is scandalous and juicy and messed up and AWESOME.  Not only is it one of my favorite books that I’ve read during the quarantine, but it’s absolutely one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far in 2020.  These characters felt REAL and their stories interlaced with one another so perfectly.  The result?  One twisted, dysfunctional, and AMAZING psychological thriller.  I haven’t stopped thinking of these characters or their messed up story lines since I finished reading.  AWESEOME.

The writing is fantastic, the characters are interesting, the story lines are TWISTED…a perfect psychological thriller.  I love this genre so much and this book is a perfect example as to why!

I very truly highly recommend this awesome book.  THANK GOD.  How awkward would this post have been if I hated it???  Phew…

Chick Lit Central’s Melissa Amster’s review of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

I’ve been a fan of Robyn Harding’s thrillers ever since picking up The Party a few years ago. I especially loved The Arrangement last year, so I was thrilled to get my hands on an advanced copy of The Swap, courtesy of Gallery Books. I was sucked in the moment I started reading it and I couldn’t get enough of it.

This novel was really good throughout. I had a hard time putting it down and Robyn kept me guessing the entire way through. I don’t want to say a lot as to not spoil it, but it was very twisty and messed with my head. I wish we had Freya’s perspective, but I get why it wasn’t included. I enjoyed the balance between Jamie and Low’s perspectives. Brian and Max even got a narrative at times.

I could understand Low’s point of view in terms of being a loner and craving female friendship. I wasn’t all that popular growing up and when I did form a close friendship with someone, I tended to latch on for dear life. I had a friend in high school who was really pretty and whom everyone liked (in the group I was hanging out with). Senior year, this toxic friend started stealing my friend’s attention and time and I was getting fed up with it. Eventually, my friend saw the light, but I kind of wish I had Low in my corner to get rid of the toxic friend at the time. Just saying… While I never retaliated in the way that Low did, I still will develop a burning anger and hatred towards someone on a close friend’s behalf. I have much healthier friendship attachments now, but reading this book brought some memories to mind.

When (not if!!!) you pick this book up, buckle your seatbelts because you are in for a wild ride! Don’t be surprised if you end up getting nothing else done so you can read it in one sitting.

Movie casting suggestions:

Low: Diana Silvers

Freya: Candice King

Jamie: Lyndsy Fonseca

Brian: Scott Eastwood

Max: Giulio Berruti or Jason Momoa (I was picturing Jason first, but it’s good to have backups.)

Thompson: Max Burkholder

Low’s mother: Mireille Enos

A Conversation Between Book Coffee Happy and Robyn Harding:

I love how you tackle such “taboo” subjects in your books (swapping partners in The Swap, Sugar Daddies in The Arrangement, etc.).  How do the people closest to you (family, friends, etc.) feel about you writing about such normally unmentionable topics?

I think my family and friends are quite used to it by now! My grandmother passed away a few years ago, and she did NOT like me tackling taboo subjects, or swearing, or writing about sex. I miss her dearly but there is a certain freedom in her absence.

Speaking of these unmentionable topics, how do you decide which to write about? How do you conduct the research on them to gain enough insight to create such interesting and complex stories and characters?

I take a kernel of an idea, something I hear about in the media, or through social circles, and play with it to see if I can build a story around it. Then I create the characters. With THE ARRANGEMENT, I did a lot of research into the sugar baby lifestyle. I talked to young women who had sugar daddies, and I set up a fake account on a sugar daddy dating site. Talk about an eye opener! For THE SWAP, I spoke to a friend who had been in an open marriage years ago, but most of it came from my imagination.

Describe The Swap using only 3 adjectives:

 Sexy, twisted, craaaaaazy

What do you hope readers will gain from reading The Swap?

I really just want to provide an escape for people right now. There is so much going on in the world, and so much to worry about, that I’m truly grateful when I can lose myself in a book. I hope I can do that for readers.

Tell me a bit about your writing process:

I use loose screenplay structure to plot out my novels, and I write profiles for all of my main characters. I’m not a dirty first draft writer. I re-read and edit as I go along so by the time I’m done, the manuscript is usually in pretty good shape.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a signed copy of The Swap?
 
I have 2 signed copies 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 (9/3/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Friday (9/4/20).

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 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!

A big thank you to Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central and to Robyn Harding for their collaborations on this post!  I had such fun working with you ladies!

Melissa and I worked on a collaborative post together a few months back reviewing Mary Kubica’s The Other Mrs.  You can check out that post over on Chick Lit Central HERE!

**If you don’t already follow Chick Lit Central or Book Coffee Happy, we would both love to have you join each of our book blog communities!  Welcome :)**

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

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! *This post contains affiliate links*

Book I’m Currently Reading:

Goodreads Synopsis of One to Watch {Kate Stayman-London}:

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

You can buy the book HERE! I will post a full review once I finish reading!

Coffee I’m Currently Drinking:

I clearly drink a large amount of coffee. While what I put IN my coffee stays pretty consistent (Splenda and half and half for the win), I DO like to switch up the brands of coffee I buy pretty regularly. I always drink medium roast but this this new to me coffee brand and it’s light roast caught my eye last week at the grocery store. The verdict? Delicious! You can buy it HERE!

And speaking of coffee, how is it that we are 6 months in and I STILL can’t get used to not trying to drink coffee while wearing a mask??? I pick up my coffee, bring it up to my lips, and…mask. Anyone else??? This would be me last week in the Portillo’s drive thru waiting for my chopped salad and just wanting to take a quick sip of coffee…Grrrrr….

Side Note: Someone apparently still hasn’t felt safe enough to get herself a salon manicure, lol….

Currently Making Me Happy:

Our gorgeous new ipad case that my 8 year old daughter picked out. What 8 year old has such beautiful taste?! Linked HERE !

Be sure to check back here on Wednesday! I have a VERY exciting post to share! A book review not only from myself but from another book blogger, a Q & A with a VERY popular and amazing author, AND A GIVEAWAY for 2 lucky readers of an AWESOME new book! Can’t wait to share 🙂

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:

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

Book Review: I Wish You All The Best {Mason Deaver}

Ok. Time to write my very first book review since this whole WordPress new editor debacle (aka how WordPress pissed off millions of bloggers). THANK YOU to the MANY of you who reached out after I wrote my last post! Apparently there are many, many, MANY of you out there who are struggling with this as well. UGH. Ok here goes post #2 in this stupid new block editor. I reaaaaally hope I can do this…I figure that the very least I can do is to choose a FANTASTIC book from the pile that I’ve been reading to apologize for not giving you a review in over 2 weeks! If you haven’t yet read Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All The Best, you must. It’s so wonderful.

Goodreads Synopsis of I Wish You All The Best {Mason Deaver}:

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

My Review of I Wish You All The Best {Mason Deaver}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics not spoilers)

Oh I loved this book. It was so beautifully written!

The characters were detailed, the story lines were easy to follow, and the overall “YA” feel was perfect (unlike the last YA book that I read). I Wish You All The Best touched my heart, made me smile, made me tear up, made me THINK, and overall made me so glad that I read it. I highly recommend this book.

I applaud ANY book which tackles topics which at times may be hard to discuss. This book brings awareness to such an important topic and really discusses it in such wonderful detail. I will admit that I learned so much from reading this book! Aside from being a wonderful story, I Wish You All The Best is a wonderful resource. ALL teenagers (and adults) would highly benefit from reading this book!

If you love YA (young adult fiction), read this.

Bottom Line:

A beautiful, important, and wonderful book.

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}

I randomly came across One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus while searching through books online (man I miss doing that in person at the library).  I thought it sounded great!  I couldn’t wait to read it and to write my review.

Goodreads Synopsis of One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}:

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Review of One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}:

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

I LOVE a good YA (young adult) book.  In fact, some of the very best books I’ve ever read have been YA (you can read my reviews on a few of these HERE, HERE, and HERE).

So this book was good.  It kept me interested enough that I wanted to see how it would end although I very much figured out the ending significantly earlier in the book then the author intended.

HOWEVER, this book was just a bit tooooooo YA for me.  Does that even make sense?  The language, the actions, the stereotypes of characters/scenarios, all of it.  I felt like I was reading a book MEANT for high schoolers which again, I understand that the typical audience of YA books is just that…young adults.  However, most YA books that I have read have been so well written and contained such deep messages that they appeal to ALL ages.  This book, however…was most definitely written for high schoolers.

Even the names of the characters just made me feel like I’m way too old to be reading this book.  Bronwyn?  Cooper?  Keely?  Maeve?  Janae?  Ashton?  I’m too old for this.

This book had a very “Gossip Girl” vibe.  I LOVED Gossip Girl…a very long time ago.

One Of Us Is Lying is the 1st in a series of 3.  Will I be reading the next 2?  Not unless they take place 25 years into the future, lol.

Bottom Line:

If I were 25 years younger, I would have LOVED this book.  Unfortunately, I’m not.

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*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 2 Books I Started Reading This Week but Never Finished.

This week I started reading 2 different books…and put both books down before I read them though to the end.  UGH.  I haaaaate when that happens.  I find that when I put 1 book down before finishing, the trend seems to follow right into the next book that I pick up as well.  Whyyyy??  Does this ever happen to anyone else??

I have been reading some GREAT books lately (I am currently working on 3 upcoming blog posts with my reviews) and then…BAM…these 2 books.

Book 1:

Goodreads Synopsis of Tell Me Everything {Cambria Brockman}:

In her first weeks at Hawthorne College, Malin is swept up into a tight-knit circle that will stick together through all four years. There’s Gemma, an insecure theater major from London; John, a tall, handsome, and wealthy New Englander; Max, John’s cousin and a shy pre-med major; Khaled, a wise-cracking prince from Abu Dhabi; and Ruby, a beautiful art history major. But Malin isn’t quite like the rest of her friends. She’s an expert at hiding her troubling past. She acts as if she is concerned with the preoccupations of those around her – boys, partying – all while using her extraordinary insight to detect their deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

By Senior Day, on the cusp of graduation, Malin’s secrets – and those of her friends – are revealed. While she scrambles to maintain her artfully curated image, her missteps set in motion a devastating chain of events that ends in a murder. And as their fragile relationships hang in the balance and close alliances start shifting, Malin will test the limits of what she’s capable of to stop the truth from coming out.

I will be the first to say that I didn’t give this book a fair chance.  At all.  I quit reading after 30ish pages ONLY because I recently finished reading THIS BOOK (review coming next week!) and these books were just so similar.  Both YA, both containing a mysterious murder, both focusing on groups of friends.  Eh.  I have a hard time reading books back to back with similar themes, genres, characters, etc.  I just couldn’t get into this one!  I really do feel that it was a matter of timing for me, though.  Had I picked this book up at a different time, I think it had the potential to be great.  The writing seemed to be ok, the characters seemed to be ok, the setting seemed to be ok, I just wasn’t invested enough to stick around to see if those “OKs” would eventually have turned into “greats”.  Have any of you read this book?

Moving on…

Book 2:

I posted this on Facebook last weekend and the comments were OVERWHELMINGLY positive about this book!  So many of you love it!  I was so excited to start reading!

I started reading and from page 1, I just really wasn’t into it.  I posted a poll on Instagram.

Aaaaaaand my result was deemed inconclusive:

I made it to page 115 before I closed the cover for good.  I just was SO BORED.

I think a big part of why I just couldn’t get into this book was the fact that I went into it literally BLIND as to what it was going to be about.  There is absolutely zero synopsis on the book cover.  Nothing on the front, nothing on the back, nothing in the inside cover.  Just this weird ominous front cover.  That’s it.

Even the Goodreads synopsis of In A Dark, Dark, Wood {Ruth Ware} is super vague:

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Not knowing what the book was about made for a very frustrating reading experience.  I kept waiting for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to happen and after 115 pages nothing really did.  There was an annoying mention of a hidden past but I was so disconnected from all of the characters that even THAT didn’t phase me.  Once I decided that I was over it, I ended up Googling the ending just to see what happened.  Reading about the ending and how everything played out leading up to it made me even more confident in my decision to stop reading.

That was very disappointing for me as I’m a BIG Ruth Ware fan.  I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED The Turn of the Key (the book synopsis and my review HERE) and I also really enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 (Amazon affiliate link HERE).

Aaaaand how incredibly random is this?!?  In doing research for this blog post, I came across this blub on Goodreads for Tell Me Everything which SO RANDOMLY compares it to In A Dark, Dark, Wood!  How weird is that?!?  No wonder I didn’t like either book, lol:

“A murder at an elite New England college tears apart a group of friends – and one of them is playing a dangerous game – in this electrifying debut in the tradition of In a Dark, Dark Wood…”

So now, here I sit, without a book to read.  I will be heading to the library drive thru today because a few books that I put on hold are waiting for me.  I have been quarantining library books in my garage for 3 days before reading.  However, I will be using disinfectant wipes to wipe these down and will start reading TONIGHT…desperate times call for desperate measures over here 🙂

Have you read either of these books?  What did you think?  I would 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!*

*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

My Gorgeous Condominium in Downtown Chicago and a Book Review: Lock Every Door {Riley Sager}

Sharing a bit about my beautiful condominium in downtown Chicago and also my review of Riley Sager’s book, Lock Every Door.

My Life in Downtown Chicago:

Before I was married, I lived alone for many years in the most beautiful city in the world…downtown Chicago.  My memories of that time in my life will forever hold such a special place in my heart.

My gorgeous condo building:

My condo was a 550 square feet studio and I was forced to listen to the hum of my refrigerator all night as my bed wasn’t far away.  I had no dishwasher, had to take the elevator down 30 stories just to switch my laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, and had to determine which groceries needed to be refrigerated and which could sit in my car overnight to avoid multiple trips up and down the elevator.

However, despite all of that…IT.  WAS.  PERFECT.

I lived on the 29th floor, had the most spectacular view of the city that I have ever seen, and an entire wall in my condo was nothing but windows.  It had valet parking, a grocery store in the building, a doorman, and a bookshelf off the lobby where the residents could leave and take books whenever they pleased.  Living there made me feel so fancy and grown up!  My entire condo was PINK, my dishes were shaped like stiletto heels, my picture frames were shaped like purses, and my microwave was concealed behind floral curtains held back with rhinestone tie backs.  I absolutely loved it and miss it so much!  A piece of my heart will forever live in that beautiful, itty bitty teeny tiny pink space.

I couldn’t help but think of my beautiful condo building as I read Lock Every Door.  Having this background knowledge made this book feel SO REAL to me…and I think freaked me out even more as I was reading.  Yikes.

Goodreads Synopsis of Lock Every Door {Riley Sager}:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent. 

My Review of Lock Every Door {Riley Sager}:

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

This book is MESSED UP.

So weird, so creepy…I liked it 😉

This was the first Riley Sager book I’ve read and I must say…I loved the writing!  This book hooked me in from the very beginning and had me guessing all the way until the very end.  Love when that happens!  The stories and characters were so detailed, I could easily see every scene of this creepy story so clearly in my mind.  And obviously I imagined some of those scenes in my very own beloved condo building which freaked me out even more 😉

This book was mysterious, it was dark, it was weird, it was GREAT!  If you are looking for a page turning psychological thriller this book really is a good one.  Such an easy read, I read it in just a few days.

Oh and pro tip:  Don’t even TRY to guess the ending.  You will be wrong.

Bottom Line:

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

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