READ. THIS. BOOK.

During this quarantine I have been continuously making sure to have books on hand to occupy myself as the library has been closed.  At first I looked at this as somewhat of a challenge to FINALLY read those books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for years.  I read one of them (whyyyyy on Earth did it take me such a long time to read that book?!?) but then I was faced with a pile of other books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long.  And despite everything else…I truly didn’t (and still don’t) have a desire to read any of them.  Ugh.  So I borrowed a book from a friend (another one that I loved) and worked my way through the pile of library books that I had previously checkout out pre-corona.

Back in May, another dear friend and neighbor of mine texted to see if I would like to do a book swap with her as by that point we were both needing some new material to keep us busy!  We texted each other pictures of books that we own and were willing to trade.  The 2 that I gave to her were these:

Eh.  Despite popular opinion (everyone else seems to love both of these), I truly didn’t love either of these books.  You can read my review of The Wives HERE and of Becoming HERE.  I happily passed both of these books along!

After looking though the pictures of the books that she was willing to offer, I chose these 2!  I had never heard of either title nor had I heard of either author.  After a bit of Internet research, both sounded great!

She put them on her front porch.  I sent my husband to grab them and replace them with the 2 that I was giving to her, and…success!  Now her and I both had some new-to-us reading material.

Book friends are the best 🙂

I chose to read The Perfect Girlfriend first and…WOW.

Book Synopsis of The Perfect Girlfriend {Karen Hamilton}:

My Book Review of The Perfect Girlfriend {Karen Hamilton}:

(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.  WAS.  GREAT.

After finishing the last book that I read and didn’t love, I was more than ready to read an awesome book, one which wouldn’t allow for me to put it down.  JACKPOT.

(Great book + Dunkin’ coffee = joy)

From page 1 until the very last sentence, I was completely hooked.  This book was CRAZY and I found myself with my hand literally covering my mouth on NUMEROUS occasions while reading….the sign of an awesome psychological thriller.  This genre is absolutely one of my very favorites, and books like this are the reason why.

Short chapters, awesome story lines, CRAZY main character who does even CRAZIER things as the book goes on….loved it all.

You must read this book!  I absolutely loved everything about it and couldn’t put it down.  Definitely one of the best books I read during the quarantine…and one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2020!  I feel bad for my friend because the 2 books that I gave to  her were NOT nearly as good as this one, lol.  Oops.  Sorry Megan!

I cannot wait to read more from this author!  Apparently this is her debut book.  If she can create a story and characters this involved and awesome right from the start, I can only imagine how amazing her other books will be!

Karen Hamilton, I’m a FAN.

Bottom Line:

Read this  book.  Stat.

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:

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I Bought a Book!

Throughout this quarantine, I have been reading my way though a huge stack of library books that I had checked out before the Illinois shelter in place began, books on my bookshelf that I hadn’t yet read, and books borrowed from my dear friends. If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I am completely obsessed with my local library.  I absolutely love checking out library books and VERY rarely purchase books on my own.  However, with our local library currently being closed and with no plans of reopening any time soon (insert sobbing emoji here)…I finally bought myself a brand new, beautiful book!

On Monday, I posted the following on Facebook:

That post received SO MANY great responses and some AMAZING book suggestions!  I just love the Book Coffee Happy reader community so very much. 🙂  Some of your  suggestions were books that I’ve read (and LOVED) and others were new to me titles.  I read every single one of your comments and looked up the synopsis of every single book mentioned.  I’m VERY happy to report that my To Read list has grown thanks to that post!  Some of the books mentioned by you guys sound AMAZING.  I love, love, love book discussions.  Thank you so much to those of you who commented!  If you haven’t read that post or it’s amazing comments, you can follow my Facebook page HERE.

I gave my decision as to which book I was going to buy lots of thought.  Being the president of my daughter’s school’s PTO has been hard work…and receiving this gift card as a thank you touched my heart.  I needed to spend it wisely!  Although a few of those Facebook post suggestions reaaaaaaally got me thinking…I ultimately decided on a book that wasn’t even mentioned by any of you in that post.

I Bought A Book!

The book that I bought is a book I have been dying to read for MONTHS AND MONTHS…even before it’s release.  I’ve been on my library’s wait list forever (before the book was even released) and my name isn’t even coming close to the top (especially now, lol).  Every time I would walk into the library, I would desperately check the new release shelf in hopes of it randomly being there but it never was.  The good news is that if you are on the wait list at my local library…your name just got moved up 1 spot 🙂

I initially thought of buying this book but then decided to see if any of your suggestions would sway me into thinking that maybe I should spend my gift card on a different title instead.

So after much thought (the minimalist in me does NOT take purchases like this lightly), I ultimately went on Amazon and thanks to Prime…it arrived on my doorstep this afternoon.

Here are some clues about this book:

  • It was published in February 2020…a brand new release!
  • It’s listed genres include: mystery, thriller, horror, fiction, and suspense.
  • This is the 7th book written by this author but the first one I’ve ever read.
  • The reviews on this book are INSANE….like….everyone loves it.  I searched and searched and couldn’t find a negative review!  People are LOVING this book which clearly explains why I couldn’t get my hands on a library copy.

Any guesses???

As a fun follow up to yesterday’s post where I was burning a Christmas scented candle, here is the candle currently burning next to me as I type.  Quarantine life has taught me not to wait for the correct time to burn the seasonal candles….there are no seasons in quarantine!  Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Off to rip open this Amazon box and wipe down my brand new book with these disinfecting wipes so I can start reading ASAP!

What book do you think I bought???  I’d love to hear your guesses 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:

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

 

Book Review: Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate}

Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours has been on my To Read list for such a long time.  It has received such high praise and due to that, I knew I wanted to read it and yet for some reason just never did.  Maybe because I knew how heavy the story was going to be?  Maybe because I’m not a huge historical fiction fan?  Whatever the reason, this book has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year.  No time like a quarantine to catch up on your To Read list!  I was so excited to finally read and review this book for the blog.

If you recall from my last WWW post, I was reading another book and was planning on reading this one next but ultimately changed my mind.  I HAD to find out why everyone loves this book so much!  I put the other book down after reading just a few chapters although I do plan on picking it back up again at another time.  The time just felt right for me to dig into this one…and I’m so glad that I finally did.

Goodreads Synopsis of Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate} :

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

My Review of Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate}:

(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)

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that on Saturday I posted the following:

After reading the comments, there was one big takeaway:  KEEP ON READING.  And so read I did.  And just like that…I couldn’t put it down.  I read on Saturday, I read on Sunday, I read yesterday.  FINISHED.

Yesterday morning’s Instagram story:

Like everyone else, I ended up truly loving this beautiful book. I LIKED it from the beginning but it wasn’t until I was about 3/4 of the way through where I couldn’t put it down.  I was expecting to feel this way from the start but unfortunately it took a bit for me to get there.  However once I got there…wow.  WHAT.  A.  STORY.

Once I finished reading, I was up until 1:00 am researching the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and Georgia Tann.  The more I researched, the more I just can’t believe that this is a piece of our country’s history.  I also can’t believe that this piece of history is not more well known.  A big kudos to Lisa Wingate for bringing this horrific part of our country’s past into the minds and hearts of readers today.  The more I read about this topic, the more disgusted and outraged I became.  HOW on Earth did Georgia Tann get away with this and for as long as she did?!? Absolutely mind blowing.

One complaint that I do have with this book is that for as much as the beautiful and complicated STORY was so incredibly well developed, I wish that the characters were as well.  There were so many characters (many with a few different names) that at times I had to remind myself who was who to keep each of them straight (especially the siblings).  I also wish we could have had more of a glimpse into life on the Arcadia at the BEGINNING of the story rather than first learning the beautiful bits and pieces throughout.

However, it is such an amazing book filled with such a detailed, complicated, messy, beautiful, and heartbreaking story.  The impression that this book has made will stay with me forever.

I highly, highly recommend this book if you haven’t yet read it.  I will absolutely be looking into reading more titles by Lisa Wingate.  I loved her writing style and she painted such clear images throughout this book.  What a talent!

…And on a side note, I’ve got my favorite seasonal candle burning next to me as I’m working on this post.  WHAT SEASON IS IT ANYMORE?!?!  #quarantinelife

Bottom Line:

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

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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*”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

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

Happy Friday!

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

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

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

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

Synopsis from Amazon:

A heartwarming, hilarious Christmas story with a Southern twist.

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

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

My Thoughts

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

Today is the day!

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

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

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

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

A conversation with Sally Kilpatrick, in her own words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

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

What audience would be most interested in your book?

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

Where can your book be purchased?

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

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

quirky, heartwarming, funny

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

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

***GIVEAWAY***

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

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

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

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

  To be entered, please complete these 3 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

5 Stars

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

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

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

Here is the sequel:

dreamsofjoy

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

Bottom Line:

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

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

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

Have you read either of these books?

Do you miss Borders as much as I do?

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

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

What’s On My Bookshelf Tag

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

RULES:

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

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

A LIBRARY BOOK

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

A BOOK I GOT AS A GIFT

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

A CHILDHOOD BOOK

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

A MAGICAL BOOK

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

A ROMANTIC BOOK

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

A STEAMY BOOK

YESSSS. Read my review of this book here.

AN OLD BOOK

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

A BOOK THAT MAKES ME HAPPY/LAUGH

Check out my review on this post!

A BOOK THAT MADE ME EMOTIONAL

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

A BOOK WITH AN ENDING I DISLIKE

Check out my review on this post!

A BOOK I WISH HAD ILLUSTRATIONS

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

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

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

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

NOMINATIONS

I nominate:

A Fondness for Reading

Book Serendipity

Jenniely

Never Enough Books

Keeping Up With MJ

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

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