What I’m Currently Reading, What I Recently Finished Reading, What I Think I’ll Read Next (#19)

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! I know it’s supposed to be posted each Wednesday…but…we can pretend today is Wednesday, right?

What Are You Currently Reading?

Goodreads Syopsis of Simon Vs The Homo Sapians Agenda {Becky Albertelli}:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

This is the second book that I’ve read by Becky Albertalli. I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED What If It’s Us! If you haven’t yet read that book, I highly recommend that you do. You can read it’s synopsis and my glowing review of it HERE. Based upon that book, I have high expectations for Simon Vs The Homo Sapians Agenda! I’ll post a full review once I finish reading.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

Synopsis of One by One {Ruth Ware}:

I’ll have my review of this book posted here next week!

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

So this is a bit up in the air. If I end up loving Simon Vs The Homo Sapians Agenda, I will then read it’s sequel:

***This would be where I would normally insert the book synopsis BUT you know how much I loathe spoilers so I don’t even want to look it up. So basically I have no idea what this book is about other than it is the sequel to the book I’m currently reading, lol. Could be about zombies, could be about cupcakes, could be a romance, could be a thriller…your guess is as good as mine???***

Now if I end up finishing Simon Vs The Homo Sapians Agenda and have zero desire to read it’s sequel, I think I may read this book next:

Goodreads Synopsis of Every Last Secret {A.R. Torre}:

Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.

Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.

Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.

As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.

Sounds so good, right? I’ll let you know…

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

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

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The Most Amazing Bookstore I’ve Ever Visited (Pictures and VIDEO)!

As a book lover, a book blogger, a book reviewer, and an overall book ADDICT, I’ve been to my fair share of bookstores. I love everything about bookstores….the peaceful tranquility I feel the moment I step in the door, the delicious smell of the books, the beautiful covers of pieces of literature lining the shelves. I have been to some AMAZING bookstores but I think this gem of a bookstore might just be my most favorite.

Hiiiii!

On our recent trip to Tennessee (that would be the trip where we were trapped on top of a mountain with no power and little food…you can read that full crazy story HERE), I came across the most amazing bookstore I have ever visited in a totally random way!

My husband has a MoonPie obsession. Yes you read that correctly…MoonPies. What is a MoonPie you ask? From Wikipedia:

moon pie, stylized as MoonPie,[1] is an American confection, popular across much of the United States, which consists of two round graham cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in a flavored coating. The traditional pie is approximately 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. A smaller version, called a mini moon pie, is approximately half the size, and a double-decker moon pie of the traditional diameter features a third cookie and attendant layer of marshmallow. The five main flavors are chocolate, vanilla, banana, strawberry, and salted caramel. Orange and coconut make seasonal appearances during the Mardi Gras parading season.

Jon absolutely LOVES them.

So picture it: The 4 of us were driving along through Pigeon Forge, TN on our way back to our cabin in Gatlinburg when suddenly Jon literally yelled “MOONPIES!!!! AND A BOOK WAREHOUSE FOR MOM!!!!” and made a sharp turn into a parking lot. I looked up at the sign that caught his attention and sure enough…we were at a building which apparently housed not only MoonPies but…BOOKS?!?

I’ll admit, I didn’t have very high hopes when getting out of the car. I mean, how random! MoonPies and…books? Like, how do those 2 things even go together???

The Most Amazing Bookstore I’ve Ever Visited

Once I walked in the door of the MoonPie General Store and Book Warehouse, I was pleasantly surprised to find a LOVELY bookstore to my right! My husband found a LOVELY selection of Moon Pies to his left! A building truly made just for us 🙂 Naturally we each took a kid, said good bye to each other, and set off to explore in opposite directions 🙂

My first impression was that I was greeted with a very nice and lovely bookstore. I was happy to explore! Little did I know what I would eventually discover!

Paula Deen!
Dolly Parton is everywhere in this town!

My daughter and I walked around and happily poured through the stacks. Everything was GOOD when suddenly…

The true most hidden gem of the entire experience…

THE BASEMENT.

When I walked down those stairs, I was expecting a few shelves of clearance books. I was most definitely NOT expecting…THIS.

True or false…I gasped when I got to the bottom of the staircase. True. 100 percent true.

Oh. My.

I’m still not entirely sure how MoonPies and books go together but I’m so here for it…???

I could have spent HOURS in that basement! My true version of heaven! Some of the books organized, some of the books unorganized, some books are brand new, some books are used, all of the books AMAZING. Literally THOUSANDS of treasures down in that basement. A book lover’s DREAM.

I told my daughter that she could pick any book from the store and she chose this one (from the upstairs bookstore):

I chose this one! I’ve been hunting for Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding for over a year and can’t seem to get my hands on a copy. I finally was able to find another one of her titles so I grabbed it (from the basement)! Can’t wait to read it!

And I should probably mention the other half of the massive upstairs building dedicated to…MoonPies?!?

My husband was in absolute HEAVEN and bought lots of MoonPies as souvenirs.

2 days after our initial visit, it was a very rainy day (which later turned into snow which would be how we got stuck on that mountain). What is better to do on a rainy day…than to go BACK to the hidden gem of a bookstore! You KNOW I did! However this time, I went STRAIGHT to that basement. Perfection.

I didn’t end of buying anything on that second trip but I absolutely LOVED walking around. Jon bought more MoonPies 🙂 Chocolate, chocolate mint, strawberry, and vanilla. Some full sized, some mini sized!

3 weeks later and our pantry still contains LOTS of MoonPies. He stocked up!

If you are ever in the area, this place is a MUST visit! HERE is their website where you can learn more including the many other products they carry and it’s exact Pigeon Forge address. When we go back to Tennessee (which we absolutely will one day…maaaaabye just not during the winter), I will be sure to set aside an entire afternoon to walk through this store alllllll by myself. Scratch that…I will be sure to set aside an entire afternoon to walk through THAT BASEMENT alllllll by myself!

If my husband and I ever decide to renew our wedding vows, I kind of feel like this would be the perfect venue for us amongst the Moon Pies and books, lol! It’s like this random pairing of goods was created and housed together in a building especially for the 2 of us! Perfect 🙂

Do you like MoonPies? Have any of you been to the MoonPie General Store and Book Warehouse? What is the best bookstore you have ever visited?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh this is such a beautifully written book.

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

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

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

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

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

I highly recommend this one!

Bottom Line:

A beautifully written, extremely thought provoking, absolutely heartbreaking story

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

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

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

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

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I Was Stuck On A Mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Hiiiiii!!!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. My family of 4 spent 9 days in Gatlingburg, Tennessee. We rented a log cabin on the top of a mountain. It first it was beautiful and magical…and then we got stuck on it during a blizzard!

Traveling during a pandemic can be done as long as you have clear expectations of what you are willing and are not willing to do in terms of your safety comfort level. Our family drove 12 hours (no airplane), stayed at a private log cabin (no hotel room), wiped down the entire cabin with Clorox wipes upon arrival, brought our own pillows, only ate outdoors at restaurants, didn’t do any tourist attractions, stayed away from all crowded areas, wore masks EVERYWHERE, etc.

Our 9 day trip can be broken down into 3 distinct categories: 1. Serene Mountains 2. Snowy Mountains 3. Stranded on a Mountain.

The beginning of our trip was peaceful, beautiful, and wonderful.

Our log cabin was BEAUTIFUL. It was completely private and quite literally on top of a mountain. It had an indoor pool (!!!), 2 hot tubs, a pool table, a fireplace, 2 balconies, and a Christmas tree! It was gorgeous and it smelled absolutely divine.

In the master suite. My husband refused to get in this one (!) but the kids and I loved it, lol!
Hanging on the refrigerator in our cabin!
Jon and I snuck outside to enjoy a peaceful few minutes in the rain. It was as glorious as it looks.
At one point, I looked down from our master bedroom loft and found my daughter just peacefully reading a book. PROUD MAMA.

We went on a family hike each day and saw some absolutely gorgeous sights! Hiking to the top of Laurel Falls was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip. The long hike up was BEAUTIFUL but there aren’t even words to describe seeing the waterfall at the top. Truly one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen. I cried! If you are ever in the area, this is absolutely a must do. Stunning.

When you hike to the top of a mountain, you reward yourself with a snack. Best apple of my life!

We also loved driving (and walking) through Cades Cove. Two separate times deer came right up in front of our car! Such a fun way to spend an entire morning. So much history there, we loved going into the log cabins and old churches.

Wild turkeys just strolling along the road next to us. No big deal.
When you see a random waterfall on the road as you are driving, you pull over! Gorgeous!
Oh hi, deer.
Saw deer, immediately pulled over! So, so cool.

I found $90 cash in the bathroom at Cades Cove! I waited and waited to see if anybody was going to come back to look for it but nobody did. I was hesitant to turn it into the visitors center considering it was cash and anyone working could have taken it. My wonderful husband had the lovely idea to put it in one of the Cades Cove donation boxes and that’s exactly what we did (after already having donated our own money hours earlier). It felt great to know that the $90 went to such a wonderful cause although I so wish the owner would have come back for it. Either way it wasn’t my money to spend and it feels good to know it went to a wonderful cause 🙂

The first 6 days of our trip were spent in lovely weather. We ate outside! We hiked up mountains! We drove to Asheville and visited the Botanical Gardens!

Gatlinburg Nature Trail
Gatlinburg Nature Trail
Reading with my girl. Happy.
Paula Deen Store!
Wherever I go, I find the Dunkin’…

And then on Day 7…

SNOW.

Our loooooong and steep driveway
Grill at our cabin
Bear proof garbage cans at our cabin

Like….blizzard out of NOWHERE. I’ve never seen anything like that before. The snow just kept coming and coming! We played outside and it was honestly my favorite part of the entire trip. It was POURING on us! At one point I wrote “MOM” in the snow and 2 minutes later it was all filled in. Craaaazy. I LOVE SNOW and this snow was STUNNING. Felt like a such a bonus to have this happen while we were there…almost like 2 completely different trips in 1!

Had the weather forecast predicted this blizzard, we would have left a day or 2 earlier than planned just to ensure that we would be able to do the 12 hour drive but it legit just came out of NOWHERE.

So we played in it and sat in our hot tub on our balcony while it fell. At this point in the trip, the snow was still exciting.

Jon and I 🙂
Christmas Eve. Snowy perfection!

We went to bed that night wondering what this was going to mean for our ride home the next day ….and then in the middle of the night our power went out. IT. WAS. FREEZING. Our cabin must have been 50 degrees by early morning. It was so incredibly cold. Thank goodness for warm robes and a gas fireplace! I brushed my teeth and packed our stuff all by the light of a flashlight. The power was out for a total of 7.5 hours. The MINUTE is came on I very literally RAN to the coffee maker and made the absolute fastest pot of coffee of my entire life. I was so afraid that the power would go out again and I needed this pocket of time to make a pot of coffee! Being stuck on a mountain with no power, no car, and no food…scary. But no coffee??? TERRIFYING.

5:00 AM. FREEZING.

Our driveway was absolutely massive, steep, and covered in ice. Jon tried to back our AWD SUV down it and…this happened.

Shit.

So that’s when things started to get a bit…interesting. Our car was stuck, we were stuck, and our food supply was quickly dwindling. Instacart wasn’t delievering, restaurants weren’t delivering, local grocery stores weren’t delivering. Grubhub, Ubereats, Door Dash…NOTHING. We desperatly tried and tried to place orders but soon after they were placed, they would get canceled. Yet we kept trying because we very literally had no choice. Roadside Assistance and all local towing companies were completely backed up. Cars were literally stuck EVERYWHERE! Blocking streets, blocking mountain paths, blocking everything. We very literally couldn’t leave and had absolutely nobody who could help us. So thankful that the cabin management company allowed for us to stay an an extra night. We truly had no way to leave!

Stuck on a mountain.

We basically spent all of Saturday on our phones trying to find someone to help us with our car and trying to find ANYWHERE to deliver us food (all with a HORRIBLE Internet connection)! We placed Instacart order after Instacart order and restaurant order after restaurant order and they all would inevidbly just get canceled. At this point we were tired, hungry, and feeling pretty helpless.

Our kids…omg our kids…they were WONDERFUL through all of this! They kept themselves busy while we tried to figure all of this out. We played Go Fish, Uno, and Family Trivial Pursuit to pass the time all while still trying to find someone on our phones to help us. I taught them the quote “You can’t always control what happens but you can always control how you react”. It was a perfect time for a life lesson!

And then…HOPE! After 2 days of searching, we finally found a pizza restaurant that agreed to deliver to us! We watched and watched the GPS as the car got closer and closer to us and when it was 1 minute away…it encountered a truck blocking the street and couldn’t get through. The delivery driver turned around and we were once again left hungry, frustrated, and exhausted.

About an hour later, we received a notification that another restaurant was coming (at this point we had placed multiple orders with multiple restaurants and would have gladly accepted ALL of them if need be) and….

THEY CAME!!!!

Our excitment was short lived though. Our order was for Jon S. and we received an order for John L. At this point, all we could do was laugh and dig in to John L’s food. Let’s just say that John L. had apparently placed a VERY different order than Jon S….but by this point, nobody cared. WE HAD FOOD. I don’t eat anything spicy and I hate rye bread. Corned beef with spicy mustard on rye bread??? YES PLEASE! I literally ate every last crumb. John L. wherever you are, I hope you enjoyed my turkey on whole wheat…

Once we ate, everything seemed better. Yes we were still stuck on a mountain but we were stuck on a mountain with a bit of food and power. However, we had no toothbrushes because I had thrown them away when packing by flashlight that morning. Does anyone else do that? Every time we go on vacation, I always throw our toothbrushes (and shower loofahs) away before we return home! Usually when I do that, it’s ok because we go home the same day. This time however, I maaaaaay have done that a bit prematurily. Oops.

Garbage that we couldn’t take outside because the bear proof garbage cans were locked…and the lock froze!

The next morning the very first thing we did was to search for a restaurant to deliver us both breakfast and lunch at the same time. The roads were a bit clearer by this point, it was no longer Christmas, and we continued to put a massive tip on our order. WE FOUND A RESTAURANT TO DELIVER TO US.

1 hour later and we had ice cold scrambled eggs, soggy pancakes, brown banana slices, and strange looking meats. It was one of the most delicious meals of my entire life and I was thankful for every single bite!!! I will never, ever take food for granted ever again.

We spent the entire morning once again on our phones trying to find a towing service to come and help us to get our car out of the ditch. A few claimed that they would get to us…as soon as they could. It did not look promising. Jon spent time scraping 1/4 of the massive driveway with a tiny windshield ICE SCRAPER because there wasn’t a shovel anywhere to be found. It was nuts!

If you know me in real life you know that I always try to find the humor in every situation. The snow shaped like a penis outside of our cabin made me smile!

By this point, we were slowly starting to accept the fact that we would be spending another night when suddenly…our angel showed up. A random man who was driving around the mountain with his Jeep and a towing rope just looking for people who needed help. WE NEEDED HELP! Him and Jon worked together and somehow were able to get our car OUT. There was a tiny few seconds where we thought Jon’s car might roll over down the driveway with him inside of it but I’m skipping over that part because it was terrifying. Bottom line…the car was OUT and now safely at the BOTTOM of the driveway.

The ditch where our car was. I think our tires might have mud permanently on them from now on!

It was 3:00 pm. Jon wanted to be home for work in the morning which left us with only one option: leave as soon as possible. NOT ideal to leave at 3:00 pm when you have a 12 hour drive ahead of you but we had no choice! The kids and I scrambled to repack everything while Jon walked each piece of luggage down the sheet of ice that was our ridiculously long and steep driveway. It was insane.

Once Jon loaded the car, he had to help the kids and I make our way down the ridiculously icy driveway. It was scary.

Our car ride home was LONG. Longest car ride of my entire life. When we walked in the door of our house at 2:30 in the morning (exactly 12 hours after we left because there was a time change), I was so thankful to be safely at home.

Looking back on our time in Tennessee, I am choosing to remember the amaaaaazing 3/4 of our time there! I’m also feeling very blessed in knowing that our situation in that cabin could have been much, much worse. We had each other and that was all we needed (although heat, lights, COFFEE, and food were all very much appreciated).

Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my personal life with you today! Obviously you can tell that I spent time reading while in Tennessee. I read an AMAZING book on this trip! It was almost 400 pages, I devoured it while in that cabin, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I’ll post my full review of it here on Wednesday!

As for now, I’m currently reading this book. It’s about people who rent a luxurious cabin on top of a mountain, get snowed in without power, and then start DYING. Thank GOD I started reading this once I safely got back home, reading this while stuck on that mountain would most definitely NOT have been a good choice, lol. Crazy to think that I actually DID have it with me in my suitcase! Thankfully it remained unopened until I was safely back in my own house with lots of power and lots of food 🙂

Happy New Year!

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)*

*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*

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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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Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}

I started reading Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me In A Crown while on our most recent trip to Michigan (you can read about our previous trips HERE and HERE). Having heard GREAT things about this book, I was excited to read and review it!

One of the best mornings of our trip was when we had a lazy morning. My husband drove to pick up our favorite breakfast and I slowly sipped coffee, read my book, and cuddled my kids in bed while we waited for him to return. Absolute vacation relaxation perfection.

Village Baker breakfast was ON POINT.

Take me baaaaaaaaack.

Goodreads Synopsis 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?

My Review of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

Reading in front of the electric fireplace in our cottage. Heaven.

So…I loved this book. I did. There’s not much NOT to love. Liz is such a lovable, wonderful character with a heartbreaking family history. Her journey to live life as her true self is filled with determination, drive, and so much more. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I loved it. I truly did. BUT…

What I DIDN’T love were all of the overly cliched high school personas. The jock? Check. The mean girl? Check. Plus so many more. While I DO agree that every high school has these types of people, their cliched personas aren’t quite as drawn as this book tells. It was even mentioned IN THE BOOK that when drawing these lines, that the lines aren’t so straight….and yet….so many cliches throughout this entire book completely disputed that statement.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the MULTIPLE hugely dramatic VERY public scenes where Liz found herself smack in the center. One scene like this? Awesome. Two? Ok fine. But SO MANY? Unrealistic.

I love YA books but I don’t love when authors make high schools sound like absolute battlegrounds. And yes, I understand to many that is exactly how high school feels…but…it would be so nice to read a YA book where high school is portrayed in a positive light. I’m VERY fortunate that I absolutely loved my high school experience! I can’t help but feel sad when authors make high schools sound like war zones with everyone out to get everyone else all the time.

And I’ll just say it. I didn’t like the ending.

BUT…

The actual story told was AWESOME. I loved it! It was deep and beautiful and tragic and heartwarming and happy and sad and wonderful.

So….that’s quite the mixed review, huh???

Bottom Line

Would I recommend this book? ALL DAY LONG. It’s a wonderful story filled with love, acceptance, and being true to your authentic self. However, as much as I loved the story…this clearly wasn’t a totally perfect read for me.

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 Review: The Loyal Wife {Natalie Barelli}

On our first 2020 trip to Michigan, you might remember that I found the most wonderful used bookstore. I could have spent HOURS in that store! I didn’t have much time that day to browse, but I did have time to find 1 book that I thought sounded great. I had read Natalie Barelli’s The Housekeeper earlier this year (you can read my review HERE) and was happy to find The Loyal Wife sitting on a shelf! **Random fact: My review of The Housekeeper continues to be one of the highest viewed blog posts I’ve ever written and I’m not entirely sure why, lol???** ANYWAY, I was so excited to discover another Natalie Barelli book and to read and review it on the blog.

The cover promises “a gripping psychological thriller with a twist”….Ummm YES please!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Loyal Wife {Natalie Barelli}:

She thought they had the perfect marriage…

Tamra never dreamed she would marry someone like Mike Mitchell: handsome, rich, a wonderful husband… until she finds out that Mike is having an affair.

But Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Mike Mitchell should have remembered that before he made a fool of her.

Because Tamra knows something about Mike. Something he did. Something evil. And she was prepared to carry the secret to her grave.

Not anymore.

To make matters worse, Mike’s daughter Madison has come to visit for a few days, and Madison doesn’t like Tamra. Well, that’s too bad, because Tamra doesn’t have time to argue. She’s too busy ruining Mike’s life while remaining, on the surface at least, the perfect, loyal wife.

But when Tamra’s plan spirals out of control, she finds that things are not what they seem.

And now, it’s too late. 

My Thoughts on The Loyal Wife {Natalie Barelli}:

Do you remember a few months back when I was trying to figure out The Great WordPress Disaster (aka Block Format)?  It took me weeks to understand it enough to be able to once again write and upload blog posts, it was so frustrating.  Something else that was frustrating during that time was that I was reading LOTS of books and therefore am STILL behind on uploading my reviews to my blog from those few weeks!  Grrrr…..

The Loyal Wife is one of the books that I was reading during that stupid, crazy time. I was so excited to read it!

So here’s the thing. It wasn’t THAT long ago and yet…I can’t really remember anything about this book, this storyline, or these characters. Not great for a book review blogger, huh?!?

I remember thinking that I LIKED this book but I didn’t LOVE this book. I also remember thinking that parts were a bit too predictable.

There are books that I read YEARS ago which have left such an impression on me that I can easily tell you details on characters, storylines, etc. A few examples would be THIS BOOK, THIS BOOK, and THIS BOOK. Clearly The Loyal Wife will not be on that list for me. The storylines and characters clearly weren’t significant enough to stick with me even just a few months later. Eh.

Bottom Line:

I’m happy that I purchased this book from a used bookstore because supporting small businesses is SO important. As for the book itself…eh…clearly not my best purchase 😉

If any local friends would like my copy, I can leave it on my front porch for you! Free to a good home 🙂 First come, first served! Maybe you’ll love it (and will remember it) more than I did?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

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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.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

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I Hate Change, WordPress!

I HATE CHANGE. I also hate technology. Combine the 2 and well…this is why I haven’t posted a new blog post in over 2 weeks. WordPress has officially launched it’s “Block Editor” to replace it’s “Classic Editor”. They have been warning of this change (note my use of the word “warning” and not “announcing”) for months but now…IT’S OFFICIALLY HERE. Clearly I’ve been ignoring this foreshadowing for months and pretending like it was never going to happen. Note to self: not the way to deal with change.

I hate the new editor. If you follow me on Instagram, I have been documenting my saga with emailing WordPress, their responses, and all that I have been doing to fight this change kicking and screaming. For those of you who are not bloggers, the “editor” is basically the entire layout of how your blog posts are written. Change the editor and basically it changes the entire way you write your posts. I SHOULD have been spending my time over the past few months researching this and trying to learn all that I could so this change wouldn’t have been so sudden. #hindsight. Instead I simply clicked the “DO NOT SHOW THE NEW EDITOR LAYOUT” button that was presented many months ago, figured I would worry about it later, and just kept blogging the only way that I knew how. Oops.

The first person at WordPress who responded to my complaint told me that I could easily go back to the old editor. Lovely! However, what he told me to do didn’t work. Dammit. The second person at WordPress who responded to my complaint told me that there isn’t a way that I can go back to the old editor and that the new editor is here to stay. He apologized for the misunderstanding. I did not accept his apology.

I immediately started thinking of a different way to word yet ANOTHER email asking to help me find a way around this new editor…and then I took a deep breath.

Change is hard, change is scary, but sometimes…change is necessary. I think it’s time for me to put on my big girl panties (that’s an expression, right? Seeing it in print is making me second guess that, lol) and figure out this technology stuff on my own. This afternoon I watched a YouTube video on how the new editor works, I googled how the new editor works, and I wrote an entire page of notes in my blog notebook on what I’ve learned. I’m so ridiculously Type A and the fact that I suddenly have no idea what I’m doing is awful for me. BUT I miss blogging! This is my favorite hobby and not doing it because I’m scared of change is silly. Time for those big girl panties…

Man do I hate technology.

Like so many other things in life, I think the only way I am going to actually learn this and feel comfortable will be to just DO IT. I somehow figured out how to start and maintain my blog all this time, right? When I started blogging, I knew NOTHING about any of this and I learned every single thing on my own. I worked so hard! I researched, I asked questions, I filled page after page in my notebook of things that I learned. It will forever be an accomplishment that I’m so proud of.

If I did it once, I can do it again….right?

So this is my “test” post to see how it goes. My first post in this stupid new editor.

Change is Hard

Although I clearly haven’t been blogging, I absolutely HAVE been reading! I have 4 book reviews for you just sitting and piling up waiting for me to blog about them. This includes a VERY exciting review of an AMAZING book with a special guest blogger’s review, my review, AND a question and answer portion with a very popular author! Truth be told, it’s that post which is killing me the most not to share and what ultimately prompted me to suck it up and just figure all of this stupid technology stuff out on my own.

My library books were so overdue that they library has been calling me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’ve debated telling them that I’m a book blogger resistant to change and I need these books to write my posts…but then I remembered that they wouldn’t care 🙂 So today, I snapped photos of each book for upcoming posts and returned the overdue books that I had already read.

Alright, let’s try to insert a picture….here goes nothing…

Ok I think I did it! I think it actually worked! (That photo would be the current situation at my desk. I’ve got coffee, a calming candle, and a gold sparkly notebook with my notes on how to do this post. Deep breaths).

So that’s where I have been! Thank you to those of you who have reached out asking where I’ve been. Just hiding from my computer and saying nasty things about WordPress on my Instagram stories, no big deal 🙂

How does this post look to you? Normal?

Now that I have done 1 post….maaaaaaaaybe I’ll try to attempt another one at some point this week??? I really want to get these book reviews posted for you guys because some (not all) of these books that I have been reading were so amazing.

I. HATE. CHANGE.

Do you do well with change? Clearly I do NOT 🙂 Any advice for me on how to overcome this???

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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*”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

My #2 Must Have Book Accessory

I once posted about my #1 must have book accessory of all time and I still stand by that product and statement that it is #1!  I very literally use that product EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Today I present to you my #2 must have book accessory!  I first saw this product a few weeks ago when another book blogger whom I follow was using it.  My very first thought was: what a waste of money for such an unnecessary product!

But then I bought one.  And I LOVE IT.

It’s an….interesting looking product.  I think it actually looks a bit naughty, lol.  It’s totally not! 

For YEARS I’ve struggled with reading while drying my hair.  I always wanted to but I could never get the book to lay flat enough while I was using both of my hands to dry and comb my hair.  I’ve tried to use my cell phone, other books, etc. to put weight on books but could never figure out a good solution, especially for paperback books.

Problem solved.

Eating while reading?  No problem.

The one and ONLY complaint that I have with this product is that the rubber material that it is made of seems to be made of some type of HAIR MAGNET.  If you shed thick, dark hair like I do, you might want to consider a darker color weight (this brand has various color choices).  I chose clear because I thought a big dark object on the page might be distracting….but random hairs is also proving to be quite distracting (and gross, lol).

After I finish drying my hair:

Ew.

I mention this all the time but the older I get, the more minimalistic I have become.  I believe our society is filled to the brim with unnecessary products…but this…well, turns out that this isn’t one of them.  I LOVE THIS PRODUCT SO MUCH!  The possibilities are so endless!  Cooking from a cookbook, pumping with a breast pump, eating any meal, reading while on vacation, etc.

Do you have a weighted bookmark?  When do you find yourself using yours?  I’ve had mine for a few weeks now and I’ve found that drying my hair is my absolute favorite way to use mine.  It pains me to think of all of my missed reading opportunities over the years because I couldn’t find a good hands free solution to keep the book open!

Click the image below to order the exact weighted bookmark that I have directly through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

Book Review: The Family Upstairs {Lisa Jewell}

During the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine, one of my best friends texted me that she was dropping Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs on my front porch.  She loved it and thought that I would as well.  I couldn’t wait to start reading and to write my book review, I had heard such great things from so many people about this book!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

My Thoughts:

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

4 Stars

Omg I LOVED this book!

There are so many storylines and characters which I usually hate but in this book was completely necessary in order to properly tell this story.  The first half of the book set the scene for the second half of the book which I couldn’t put down!  I read the first half over the course of a week or so and the second half over the course of only 2 days.  Loved it.

Some storylines I figured out while some I did NOT.  This book is creepy, twisted, interesting, fascinating, and AWESOME.

This is the 2nd Lisa Jewell book that I’ve read (you can read my review of another one HERE) and I’m such a huge fan of her writing style.  She tells such detailed, colorful stories with the most fascinating characters!  Also, I love her short chapters as this makes it so easy to FLY through her books (more on my thoughts on this HERE).  As soon as this quarantine is over, I’ll be running to the library to check out her other books!  I’m a BIG fan!

And…apparently she’s a fan of ME too 😉

Twitter:

Instagram:

How cool is that?!  #besties

I should add here that the copy of this book that I read was a “Barnes and Noble exclusive” copy which contained a special author’s note at the end.  This piece was fascinating and added another rich layer to the already complex story.  If you can get your hands on a Barnes and Noble copy, I highly recommend it!  Lisa Jewell discusses the background on how this story came to be and even hints at a possible future project…loved reading this special addition.  It added another whole dimension to this book!

I should also add that I will be returning this book to my friend in the EXACT condition as it was when it was left on my front porch.  It was hard but I did it!  Phew 😉

Bottom Line:

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

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

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*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