Our Amazing Return Visit To Spring Lake, Michigan

2 months ago our family took the most lovely vacation to Spring Lake, Michigan. We rented a cottage literally on the lake and we spent a week frolicking in the water, playing in the sand, eating delicious food, and quarantining ourselves in the most wonderfully safe way. Before we even left, my husband had booked us a return visit over Labor Day weekend and we literally counted down the days from the second we got home until this last weekend. Read all about our first trip to Spring Lake HERE.

I mean…how could we NOT want to return when this was our backyard???

(For another video of this gorgeous view, check out my video on THIS POST)

I spent this last trip reading The Lies That Bind {Emily Giffin}(affiliate). It was the only book that I read while I was there and finished about 2 hours before we left to come home. I will have my full review posted later this week!

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I present to you…the best meal of the trip. Village Baker PERFECTION. We ate there not once, not twice, but THREE times over a 2 day span. IT’S SO DELICIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL THERE. One of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Absolutely love it there.

2 eggs, cheddar cheese, grilled Asiago cheese scone. And heaven. Little bits of heaven sprinkled in throughout. Omgggggg…..

We found a gorgeous bike trail in Hart, Michigan. Stunning bike ride AND every street sign has a heart on it?! My dream town 🙂

Back at our cottage, my husband and my kids spent hours fishing and caught so many fish! My choice: The Lies That Bind > squirming, bloody fish.

Meanwhile…

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My favorite Amazon product traveled with me!

Early morning reading by the lake while everyone else was still sleeping. THE BEST.

View from outside the kitchen window. So breathtaking, right? See that chair and table? Still set up from my reading scenario the previous day. LOVE.

Wouldn’t be a vacation without me noticing the local library as we drove past, lol.

I saw these earrings in a gorgeous beachside boutique and I think they might be the best thing I’ve ever seen. The Golden Girls! The Clintons! Donald Trump! Rebecca and Jack Pearson! Macaulay Culkin! Meghan and Harry! Justin Bieber! The cast of Friends! Justin Timberlake! Beyonce and Jay Z! Taylor Swift! Omgggggggggggg

Kim and Kayne! I WAS DYING.

Love this sign so, so much.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. IT’S NOT HARD, PEOPLE.

This was actually our 6th visit to beautiful Michigan and each time we come, we fall more and more in love with the picturesque beach towns, the gorgeous water, the friendly people, and the delicious food. 2 years ago, Jon and I came for 4 days all alone while my parents watched our kids. It was quiet, relaxing, and lovely! You can read about that trip HERE.

During that trip 2 years ago, I came across the cutest coffee mug in one of the stores in Grand Haven. I even took a picture with it:

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I’m not sure why I didn’t buy it but that mug has literally haunted me for the past 2 years. When we were shopping in downtown Grand Haven this past July, I was determined to figure out which store I found it at and to see if by some miracle they still had it! I described the store to another shop owner in the area who immediately told me where the shop was located. I was so excited! I went straight there…and discovered that half of it is now a dog products store (??) and the other half is now a toy store…and although they DID randomly have tons of mugs, none were mine. I even sat there and went through EVERY. SINGLE. MUG. BOX. in search of my special mug. Nothing. The man working gave me the name of another store down the strip which had bought lots of the goods from the store when it was divided up. So….I dragged my family to yet ANOTHER store in search of my mug. Found the store, did not find the mug. I went into a bunch of other stores on the strip in hopes that THEY might have it and…nothing. I was brokenhearted but accepted that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Fast forward 2 months later and we were in the brand new to us town of Pentwater, Michigan (side note: LOVED THIS TOWN). My daughter and I were walking through an adorably cluttered store where you literally had to look evvvvvvvvverywhere because there was so much to look at. I spy old school trolls (the BEST) on the ceiling!

So her and I were walking along when suddenly…

I grabbed her arm and just stared. She followed my eyes and exclaimed, “CUP OF HAPPY!” This mug is even more beautiful than the original and so much more “me”. Totally meant to be. SOLD. I have happily used it every single day since we’ve been back.

Best, happiest souvenir. Literally brings me such joy when I use it! Totally worth the 2 year wait.

Thank you, Michigan, for once again providing our family with the very best memories. Already trying to figure out when we can return!

I hope you had a lovely long Labor Day weekend! I’ll have my review of The Lies That Bind posted later this week!

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

Happy 2nd Birthday, Book Coffee Happy!

Today Book Coffee Happy turns TWO! Happy 2nd Birthday to my most favorite hobby!

2 years ago, I decided that it was time for me to stop only READING blogs and it was time for me to start WRITING my own blog.

Writing this blog has proven to be the creative outlet that I didn’t even know I was missing. I love writing it, researching for it, planning my posts, and thinking of the little reading community that I have built here.

I have met so many wonderful people through my little corner of the Internet. I have reconnected with old friends, made many new friends, discovered WONDERFUL books, and have found a way to share my passion of reading with so many people. All because of Book Coffee Happy.

I have allowed myself to share bits of my personal life on here which have proven to be some of my favorite posts I’ve written!

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for subscribing to my blog, following me on Facebook, following me on Instagram, following me on Twitter (I’m still not entirely sure how to use Twitter but I try, lol) and following me on YouTube.

Thank you for all of your support and most of all, thank you for all of your love!

You can read about Book Coffee Happy’s 1st birthday where I accidentally dropped a cupcake directly onto my sleeping child last year HERE.

**Note that the 1st birthday post is so much grander than the 2nd birthday post. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, we just returned from a vacation, and I haven’t been to the grocery store to buy what I was hoping would become an annual celebratory cupcake. All I’ve got here is a “2” candle because when I saw these perfect pink candles when my daughter was 1 year old…I BOUGHT ALL OF THE NUMBERS FOR HER CAKES UNTIL SHE TURNS 13. I dare you to find anyone else more Type A than I.**

Happy 2nd Birthday, Book Coffee Happy!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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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

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:

*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

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:

*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

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)*

*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

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:

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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)*

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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)*

*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

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*

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*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

What I’m Currently Reading, What I Recently Read, What I Think I’ll Read Next (WWW #14) {Book Coffee Happy}

I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate in WWW!  The Three W’s: 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!

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Synopsis of The Loyal Wife {Natalie Barelli}:

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.

I’ll post my review as soon as I’m finished reading!

What did you recently finish reading?

Synopsis of One of Us Is Lying {Karen M. 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.

I have so many thoughts on this book!  I will post my full review soon!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Synopsis of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

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.

YESSSSSSSSSSSS I have been not so patiently waiting for this book to come in for me from the library!  FINALLY it’s heeeeere!  It’s currently sitting and being quarantined for a few days and once it’s all germ free, I can’t wait to DIG IN!  **Insider Scoop…once I finish reading, I have a VERY special and exciting blog post about this book coming your way!  Stay tuned…**

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!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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