Return of a Book Blogger

Happy New Year! This book blogger is back after taking some lovely time off to enjoy the holiday season with my family and friends.

This is my current situation as I’m typing.  Coffee, candle, and oatmeal straight out of the (almost empty) peanut butter jar.  Absolute perfection.  My kids went back to school today and my house is too quiet.  I’m sad that they went back, it’s been so nice to have such wonderful quality family time over these past few weeks!  Side note: this candle is one of my very favorite scents from last holiday season and this year I haven’t been able to find it anywhere!  I HATE when that happens…

It’s been such a wonderful holiday season over here, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season as well.  We celebrated 8 glorious days of Hanukkah:

Our perfect homemade menorahs:

My beautiful besties and I (we missed you, Beth!):

and kicked off 2020 with our dear friends at our annual NYE Tsukasa dinner. NYE is also my friend Bari’s birthday so the night is always extra fun!

This is the 4th year in a row that we have celebrated NYE with these dear friends.  They have 2 daughters and this was the first year that we were able to put all 4 kids at one end of the hibachi table and the adults at the other end so that we could talk.  It was GREAT!  The food was delicious and the company was even better.

Happy Birthday, Bari!

 

My son fell asleep in the car before we got home.  My daughter, my husband, and I stayed up until midnight wearing party hats and throwing confetti that my daughter made with a hole puncher and colorful paper.  A perfect ending a wonderful year 🙂

At one of our family Hanukkah parties, I chose the most perfect white elephant gift: cozy reading socks!  Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly what they are meant for but obviously that’s how I’m using them.  I love them!  White elephant for the WIN!

On the reading front, I’m currently reading this:

I’ve been SO excited to read this and couldn’t wait to start.  To be honest, I’m really not loving it but I’m pushing through (for now) with the hopes that it will get better.  Have you read it?  I feel like all of the other book bloggers that I follow all loved it…??? I’m reaaaaally hoping that my very first read of 2020 won’t be a book that I don’t finish…fingers crossed it gets better…

Look at this gorgeous new addition to our local mall! How amazing is this???

Our kids had many Winter Break sleepovers on our bedroom floor. When Jon and I came up to bed 2 nights ago, we found this next to our sleeping daughter. Looks like someone read herself to sleep using Mommy’s (ghetto fabulous) book light 🙂

I have some pretty lofty goals for this blog in the coming year and I hope you will be along for the ride!  I have some great giveaways already lined up, books that I can’t wait to read already on reserve at the library, and I’m super excited to be a guest blogger on one of my favorite book blogs in the coming weeks!

One of my blog resolutions is (as always) to increase my number of followers.  Please enter your email address to be notified each time I post so you’ll never miss anything on here.  Thanks so much, XO!

Cheers to an amazing 2020!

How was your holiday season? What are you currently reading?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

Book Coffee Happy Now Has Over 300 Blog Followers/Subscribers!

Ahhhh thank you!!!

I’ll be doing a full blog recap at the very end of the month but I was too excited about this milestone to let it wait 🙂 I have had my blog for about 3 1/2 months now and couldn’t be more thankful for this support.

When you subscribe to my blog, you will receive an email each time I post so you’ll never miss anything. If you haven’t already followed/subscribed, I would be so incredibly thankful if you did 🙂

There is a place to do this right on the top of this page where you can enter your email address (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page if you are on an a mobile device). If you have already done this, THANK YOU so much!

Also, thank you so much for telling other book lovers about my blog 🙂

The more followers/subscribers I have, the more my blog will GROW!

Holiday Happiness

A very Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! I wish you a holiday filled with love, family, and memories. Next year, the first night of Hanukkah will be December 22nd so those who celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas will be able to do so at the same time! It’s always so much more fun when it works out that way. Hanukkah was entirely way too early this year. However, it was better than the year a few years ago when it fell over Thanksgiving…that was just WAY too early.  Eating turkey while playing dreidel?  Weird.

As for me, my husband is home from work until January!!! We have some awesome things planned for the kids over the next few weeks. Nothing is better than family time. Absolutely nothing. I have been waiting for months for these few weeks to get here!

On the reading front, I finished Nine Perfect Strangers (affiliate) by Liane Moriarty yesterday morning! I have lots of thoughts about this book to share with you…blog post coming soon. I started reading The Cast (affiliate) by Amy Blumenfeld last night and I’m already loving it.  Have you read either of these books?

Oh My Stars Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Lindsay, Tracy, and Renee! Please email me your mailing addresses to bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com!

Thank you to everyone who entered!  I already have some amazing giveaways lined up for 2019…stay tuned 🙂

Have a great day, friends.  Spend time with family, make some memories, and curl up with a good book!

Xo,

Jenny

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

**GIVEAWAY** (3 Copies, Open to International and US Readers) Oh My Stars {Sally Kilpatrick}

Happy Friday!

Today is my daughter’s last day of school before winter break.  I will be wearing my PTO President hat and helping with all of the classroom holiday parties!

There is nothing quite like being in a school on the last day before winter break…all of the excited energy in the air translates into very excited and happy children (and teachers)!  When I was a teacher, the last day before winter break was always one of my favorite days of the entire school year!  I’m so happy that I get to still be a part of this day by helping out at my daughter’s wonderful school.  She LOVES when I come in to help and so do I!  I am incredibly thankful that I often have the opportunity to do so. 🙂

I have such a fun and festive giveaway for you today!

This is the perfect time of year to read this holiday book. I love reading holiday books during the season in which they are occurring.  If you win a copy, I would suggest reading it right away or tucking it away to read during next year’s holiday season.  You will be glad that you did. 🙂

Synopsis from Amazon:

A heartwarming, hilarious Christmas story with a Southern twist.

Like most things in Ellery, Tennessee, this year’s Drive Thru Nativity is a little unconventional. The Dollar General parking lot doubles as a Bethlehem stable, and widowed writer Ivy Long, who’s been roped into playing Mary, sure as heck isn’t a virgin. But then comes an unexpected development: a genuine, real-life baby left in the manger, with only a brief note. And somehow, in the kerfuffle that follows, Ivy finds her life is about to change . . .

The holidays are a bittersweet time for Ivy—filled with memories of her beloved late husband and reminders that life doesn’t always offer the happily-ever-afters her readers expect. So when Ivy ends up with custody of the baby, she can only chalk it up to a Christmas miracle. She doesn’t know if it will be forever, but with help from family, she’ll make little Zuzu’s first Christmas a good one. The nativity’s Joseph, aka Gabe Ledbetter, has a pediatrics background that’s coming in mighty handy. In turn, Ivy is helping Gabe find his place in the quirky community. If that place turns out to be somewhere near Ivy, well, maybe this particular Christmas story will turn out to be merry and bright after all…

My Thoughts

Did you see my Instagram story a few weeks ago about this adorable book?  If not, here is what you missed:

Today is the day!

Being that I’m Jewish, it was fun for me to experience some parts of Christmas that I previously really didn’t know much about.  Icicles (tinsel) on the tree!  Nativity scenes!  I found myself Googling these terms to learn more.  Loved it!  So interesting to me.  Now when I drive by nativity scenes, I have an entirely new appreciation for them.

The characters in this story and the description of Ellery, Tennessee were so extremely colorful…I couldn’t help but thinking many times as I was reading what a fun movie this could be!  A perfect feel good holiday film.  Hallmark channel, perhaps?

I was especially interested in learning more about the complex relationship between Ivy and her family as well as the relationship between Gabe and his.  The great amount of history within both families and learning about how the pasts of these 2 people formed them into the people that they are today was quite interesting.

This book is adorable and such a quick, light read.  I laughed, I cried, I smiled all while reading.  You will, too!

A conversation with Sally Kilpatrick, in her own words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

My editor at the time, Peter, asked me if I would like to write a Christmas book, and I said yes because I love Christmas. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of featuring a drive-thru Nativity. I could see all of these people in the parts and a menagerie of odd animals, and then I could envision an abandoned baby and how caring for that child made the others really think about their lives in general and Christmas in particular.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

My audience seems to be predominantly women who like stories with a happy ending. Also, folks who like small town, southern stories tend to like my work–that’s where I pick up some of the guys. If you love Christmas movies, then I think you’ll love this book. It is full of references to other movies, stories, and Christmas traditions.

Where can your book be purchased?

Oh My Stars is actually in many Targets right now and Sam’s Club. It can also be ordered–either paperback or e version–from all of the major retailers. There are some signed copies at Foxtale Book Shoppe and Marietta book Exchange, too.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

quirky, heartwarming, funny

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

Oh My Stars is my 5th novel set in Ellery, Tennessee. If you enjoy it, please feel free to go back and enjoy some of my other small town southern stories. You can find me as @Superwritermom on Twitter or at sallykilpatrick.com.

***GIVEAWAY***

Would you like a chance to win a copy of this adorable story?

(For the record, I wrote how I would love to see this book become a Hallmark movie even before I received Sally’s response mentioning that if you love Christmas movies, you will love this book!  Just goes to show that if Christmas movies are your jam, this is a perfect book for you!)

I have THREE copies of Oh My Stars (An Ellery Novel) (affiliate) to give away!  THREE!

If located in the US, your autographed book will be mailed directly to you. If located internationally, an “e book” will be emailed directly to you!

  To be entered, please complete these 3 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below telling me only ONE word to describe the  holiday season

3. Be sure to also tell me in your comment if you are located internationally or in the US!

**You must complete all 3 of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway**

Giveaway will end on Monday morning a 6:00 CDT and the 3 winners will be randomly chosen and announced in Monday morning’s blog post.

Make sure you check back on Monday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

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

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

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

2 Book Reviews: Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy {Lisa See}

I asked on Facebook a few weeks ago what your “go to” book is when people ask you for a recommendation.  This book is mine 🙂

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Pearl and May are sisters, living carefree lives in Shanghai, the Paris of Asia. But when Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, they set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America.

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.

My Thoughts:

5 Stars

(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 THIS BOOK.  Everything about it is so interesting and fascinating.  I couldn’t put it down!  Extremely well written in every way.  The characters, the settings, the many story lines…all of it combines to tell a truly intricate and interesting story.

I read it (twice!) many years ago and have thought about it about a million times since. This book taught me so many things all while telling such a amazing story.  After I recommended it to a friend of mine, she told me that she felt smarter after reading it! I completely agree.  It’s so well written, so fascinating, and so brutally honest.  It will truly take you on a JOURNEY and will leave you breathless at the end.  It’s such a wonderful book and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Here is the sequel:

dreamsofjoy

I don’t want to put a synopsis or any true details here because I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t read Shanghai Girls: A Novel yet!   Dreams of Joy: A Novel (Shanghai Girls) was…good.  Not nearly as amazing as it’s predecessor.  After you read Shanghai Girls: A Novel, you will want to read this one just to learn about what happens to the characters but honestly, I found it to be just ok. I think Shanghai Girls: A Novel would have been just fine as a stand alone novel.

Bottom Line:

I sold my copy of Dreams of Joy: A Novel (Shanghai Girls) at a garage sale years ago but held on to my copy of Shanghai Girls: A Novel!

And…as I just flipped my copy of Shanghai Girls: A Novel over, I was greeted by this lovely sticker.  Can we just take a moment of silence for my all time favorite bookstore? RIP, Borders.  I really miss you, old friend.

What’s your “go to” book when people ask you for a recommendation?

Have you read either of these books?

Do you miss Borders as much as I do?

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page (www.fb.com/bookcoffeehappy),  follow me on Twitter@bookcoffeehappy, and follow me on Instagram (@bookcoffeehappy)!  

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

What’s On My Bookshelf Tag

DB61AD4E-A6DF-4192-807A-AEADA07CB3F9

I was tagged by Grace at Delightful Narratives. If you haven’t read her blog, make sure to check it out!  It’s great 🙂

RULES:

  • Link back to me so I can see everyone’s answers! (Book Coffee Happy)
  • Also link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Name one book for each category; try not to repeat books to make this more fun!
  • Tag at least 5 people

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  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

A LIBRARY BOOK

So I’ve checked this book out of the library THREE SEPARATE TIMES now…and I still haven’t read it.  I keep checking it out but other books always seem to come first for me to read and then I return it!  Does this happen to anyone else?  One day I will read this book, I think it looks great!  Have any of you actually read it???

A BOOK I GOT AS A GIFT

Check out this photo and caption that I posted on Instagram last week!

A CHILDHOOD BOOK

I LOVED this book when I was younger!  So, so good.

A MAGICAL BOOK

If you haven’t read this book, you absolutely must.  It’s such a beautiful and magical story.

A ROMANTIC BOOK

Oh this book.  It’s WONDERFUL.  In every way.

A STEAMY BOOK

YESSSS. Read my review of this book here.

AN OLD BOOK

I read this book about a million years ago.  I loved it so much that I actually read it twice!

A BOOK THAT MAKES ME HAPPY/LAUGH

Check out my review on this post!

A BOOK THAT MADE ME EMOTIONAL

I read this on an airplane years ago.  As soon as I pulled it out of my carry on bag, the lady sitting next to me handed me a tissue!  She told me that I would be needing it.  Sure enough by the end of the flight…I was SOBBING.  Like…weeping.  Make up everywhere.  Hiccups.  The lady just looked at me, nodded once, and said, “Told you.”

A BOOK WITH AN ENDING I DISLIKE

Check out my review on this post!

A BOOK I WISH HAD ILLUSTRATIONS

Let me make this very clear: I do NOT wish that the actual childbirth section was illustrated (absolutely no need to see stuff like that when you’re pregnant…you will experience the reality of what childbirth truly looks like soon enough.  Spoiler:  it’s messy.)

However, illustrations throughout the rest of the book would have been great!  This book is HILARIOUS and a must read for any pregnant women.  If you or someone you know is pregnant and can handle allllllll the details of pregnancy in a truly funny/graphic/no topic too personal way, this book is awesome.  Jenny McCarthy is hilarious!

A BOOK OR GENRE I LOVE TO READ WHEN IT’S RAINING

Absolutely anything.  The sound of rain is one of my favorite things in the world and reading while listening to it is perfection.  Add in a delicious candle, a cup of coffee, and a sleeping child on my chest…and you have my definition of pure heaven.

NOMINATIONS

I nominate:

A Fondness for Reading

Book Serendipity

Jenniely

Never Enough Books

Keeping Up With MJ

What’s on YOUR bookshelf?  Have you read any of the books that I discussed today?

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

3 Interesting Nonfiction Books

Happy Friday!

I hope you are doing something fun this weekend.  We have 2 Hanukkah parties (one rescheduled from last weekend) and another one with more family!  We are so fortunate to have so many people to celebrate with…we get to extend the holiday for another weekend even though it technically ended last week.

My 2.5 year old son has his first soccer class this morning!  He keeps saying that he “doesn’t want to kick a ball” so this should be fun for everyone. 🙂  Good luck to his coach!

As many of you saw on Facebook, a few weeks ago I was invited to attend the Midwest Writers Association joint meeting with the Windy City Historians.  I had such a nice time!

IMG_2034

I left with new friends, new knowledge, and 3 wonderful new books.

Full disclosure: I was given copies of these 3 books to feature on my blog.  All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Mollie’s War: The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe

IMG_3019

Synoposis:

The 150,000 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps are now seen as the undersung heroes of the Second World War. This memoir describes the life of a WAC enlistee who would serve in England when it came under attack, France immediately after the Allied invasion, and Germany after VE Day. From her experience in basic training in Daytona Beach to the climactic moment when she saw the Statue of Liberty as her ship approached American shores upon her return home, this work provides a glimpse into the life of a woman in uniform during this crucial time in American history.

My Thoughts:

The discussion topic of the meeting that I attended was “expressing your passion” and how a writer discovers and applies that passion into his/her writing.  Listening to Cyndee Schaffer describe how this book came to fruition was the definition of how a writer discovers and applies her passion into her writing.

This book is made up of her mother’s stories and contains actual pictures and letters throughout.  I love how she tells the stories through these avenues, it makes for a very interesting read.

It’s a beautiful, fascinating book written by a lovely mother daughter team.

Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago

IMG_3018

Synoposis:

Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Redlined exposes the racist lending rules that refuse mortgages to anyone in areas with even one black resident. As blacks move deeper into Chicago’s West Side during the 1960s, whites flee by the thousands. But Linda Gartz’s parents, Fred and Lil choose to stay in their integrating neighborhood, overcoming previous prejudices as they meet and form friendships with their African American neighbors. The community sinks into increasing poverty and crime after two race riots destroy its once vibrant business district, but Fred and Lil continue to nurture their three apartment buildings and tenants for the next twenty years in a devastated landscape―even as their own relationship cracks and withers.

After her parents’ deaths, Gartz discovers long-hidden letters, diaries, documents, and photos stashed in the attic of her former home. Determined to learn what forces shattered her parents’ marriage andundermined her community, she searches through the family archives and immerses herself in books on racial change in American neighborhoods. Told through the lens of Gartz’s discoveries of the personal and political, Redlined delivers a riveting story of a community fractured by racial turmoil, an unraveling and conflicted marriage, a daughter’s fight for sexual independence, and an up-close, intimate view of the racial and social upheavals of the 1960s.

During the meeting that I attended, we discussed our passions.  I explained that reading has always been a huge passion of mine, and writing this blog has given me a creative outlet to take my passion to a whole new level.  After the meeting, Linda Gartz gave me a copy of her book and when I opened the cover later, I discovered this:

IMG_3015

Love.

My Thoughts:

The biggest lesson that I learned during that meeting was to always let your passion drive your writing…and Linda Gartz did exactly that while creating this interesting book.

Filled with actual photos and relics, this book was especially interesting to me as I am from and currently reside in a suburb of Chicago.  I loved reading about the history of my city and I learned a great deal.  The personal stories she told about herself and her family were interesting and added such personality to the factual information told throughout the book.

This book would make a fantastic present for anyone who was growing up in Chicago during this time period!

Heart and Soul (Second Edition) A Psychological and Spiritual Guide to Preventing and Healing Heart Disease

IMG_3017

Synoposis:

A medical doctor argues for the importance of spiritual and psychological well-being in the battle against heart disease and outlines his five keys to healthy living and seven keys to a healthy heart.

My Thoughts:

Who among us can’t use helpful tips on managing our health?  This book outlines basic techniques you can do to improve your overall health.

It is written in 2 parts.  Part 1 (You and Your Heart) describes the basic relationships that we all need to have with ourselves and our doctors.  It goes into detail on the various components of heart health including identifying and handling stress.  Part 2 (The Spiritual Heart) discusses spirituality, God, and death.

Personally, I am always looking for ways to improve my health and find the topic of self care to be so important for anyone at any age.  This book gives simplistic, easy to follow advice that anyone would find to be beneficial.

Thank you, Midwest Writer’s Association, for inviting me to your meeting!  I had such a lovely time.

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

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


(Note: The above link of Heart and Soul is for the 1st edition)

A Book Blogger’s Instagram in an Instant

Do you follow Book Coffee Happy on Instagram?

I joined Instagram last month and I am LOVING it. So much.

I’ve always adored taking pictures and am loving being able to now share them with others.  I’ve met lovely people, joined a December “Bookmas” photo challenge, and have added about a million books to my TBR list thanks to posts by other book bloggers.

And the stories! I love doing stories! Once my very patient cousin Jessica showed me what to do, I’ve been having such fun with it. I’ve made videos of myself, made polls, asked questions, etc. It’s so much fun and definitely addicting.  My “highlights”  section has videos of my book recommendations, giveaways, etc. Check it out!

Here are a handful of photos that I’ve taken over the past month and posted to my Instagram account (see my account for photo explanations, lol).  Just like my blog, it has lots of posts about books with bits of my personal life sprinkled in. 🙂

These are just a handful of my photos but you can get the idea 🙂

Are you on Instagram? If so…head over there, follow me, and join the fun!

Xo,

Jenny

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!