Book Review: One By One {Ruth Ware}

For the love of GOD thank goodness I didn’t read Ruth Ware’s One by One while I was stuck on that mountain in Tennessee! For REAL. It’s insane to me that I actually had it packed in my suitcase! No words can explain how thankful I am that I chose not to open the cover until I was safely back at home and not freezing and hungry while snowed in on top of that mountain. Omg. That would NOT have been a good choice. Nope, not a good choice at all. Holy hell. Once I safely returned home with heat, food, and a working vehicle was when I decided to read and review this one. Yikes!

Synopsis of One by One {Ruth Ware}:

My Review of One by One {Ruth Ware}:

Some of the characters were very well developed while some lacked some pretty big character development and as a result…I kept confusing everyone throughout the ENTIRE book! Pair this with the fact that some of the characters had some pretty unique and possibly gender neutral names (Inigo, Ani, Tiger, etc.) and I truly had no idea who anyone was while reading. This is a MAJOR con and the number one thing that I absolutely hated about this book…I couldn’t keep anyone straight! I spent the majority of this book feeling frustrated by this and wasn’t able to properly focus on the story lines because I was too busy trying to figure out who everyone was! Ugh.

There were 2 major ongoing topics in this book that I have absolutely zero background knowledge of and as a result I had to do some Googling while reading. The inner workings of a tech company? The terminology and logistics of skiing? I truly know nothing about either and my lack of background knowledge was a definite hindrance to my understanding of this book while reading. I LOVE when books teach me new things and although I DID learn a bit about these topics, unfortunately my research is what taught me, not the words in this book. If you are like me and have zero knowledge of these 2 topics, get ready to Google.

The beginning of this book and the end of this book were undoubatly the best parts. I was honestly pretty bored throughout the middle. There were absolutely times where I debated putting it down and moving on. I’m glad I stuck with it because the end was great (BUT using words like “stuck with it” should never be used when describing a book that it supposed to be enjoyable sooooo…)

I’ve now read 4 Ruth Ware books. The Woman in Cabin 10…I don’t believe I ever reviewed this on my blog? I read it years ago. I remember really liking it, not necessarily loving it? The Turn of the Key…LOVED LOVED LOVED it! You can read my review of that book HERE. In A Dark, Dark, Wood…I read this over the summer and put it down without finishing. You can read more of my thoughts on that book HERE.

Bottom Line:

I wish the whole book could have somehow just consisted of the beginning and the ending…the entire middle was pretty boring.

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:

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Book Review: The Party {Robyn Harding}

I love Robyn Harding so much. Her books are AWESOME. I’m not sure why it took me so long to read The Party but I’m so glad that I did! This book has been on my to read list for waaaaaay too long and I’m excited to share my review on the blog with you today!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Party {Robyn Harding}:

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other. 

My Review of The Party {Robyn Harding}:

Ahhhh I just love Robyn Harding!

The storylines in this book were COMPLICATED. Each character had such a rich and colorful background and I loved the different perspectives from which this story was told. The character development here was AWESOME. I’m not sure how there was enough space to properly and thoroughly describe each character AND still tell the present story but Robyn Harding absolutely succeeded.

The actual present day story made me angry and simultaneously broke my heart. The pain these characters endured (although much of the drama was self created) was heart wrenching. Reading this book as a mother made me feel angry and helpless. My kids are young…I can’t even imagine reading this book as a mother of an actual teenager, omg.

I was completely invested in this book from the very beginning and I loved the ending.

If you haven’t yet read a Robyn Harding book, here are links to my 2 favorites. Read my review of The Swap HERE (along with guest blogger Melissa Amster’s review) and The Arrangement HERE. I absolutely loved and highly recommend them both!

Bottom Line

Such a thought provoking, heartbreaking, and intriguing book…

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

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The 12 Best Books I Read in 2020 can be found HERE

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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)*

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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!*

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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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The Festive Christmas Book Tag

Book Coffee Happy was tagged in The Festive Christmas Book Tag by The Reading Addict. Thank you so much for the tag! Although I’m Jewish I ABSOLUTELY LOVE CHRISTMAS and actually have Christmas music playing as I type this 🙂 This was a fun tag to complete even if I didn’t quite understand one of the questions, lol…

The Festive Christmas Book Tag was originally created by ReadingGirl on YouTube, and you can check out her video here.

I feel like this post deserves a nice Christmasy picture inserted here but since I clearly don’t have one…here’s my menorah, lol:

The Festive Christmas Book Tag:

1) A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?

The Quinns! Oh how I miss them this time each year. I loved Elin Hildrebrand’s Winter series so much (read more about this wonderful holiday themed series and my review of it HERE). If you haven’t yet read the Winter series, this is the very BEST time of the year to read them!

2) A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?

My husband actually bought me the cutest bookish item last week! How awesome is this candle???

LOVE!

3) A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?

Ok…Jewish girl here. Help! An elf like one who helps to make the toys? Or like the Elf on the Shelf who does naughty things? I don’t really get it. I’m over here picturing Will Ferrell? So clearly I’m not sure how to answer this question? Please someone educate this Jew…???

4) Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.

Hmmm. Well I would have to assume that Mallory and Jack from 28 Summers would agree that “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” would fit them perfectly. Read my review of 28 Summers HERE.

5) Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?

Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Truly one of the worst books I’ve ever read although somehow it WON The Goodreads Best Fiction Book of 2014?! Howwww?! I hated that book. I once wrote a blog post about it titled “One of the Worst Books I’ve Ever Read”. I got absolutely ripped apart on a Facebook book group for that post because it said such negative things and people got allll riled up saying that I shouldn’t have said them (insert eye roll here). I stand by my words…that was quite literally one of the very worst books I’ve ever read! Also, I will always give my honest opinion on the books that I read (and on everything else in life). You can read that (apparently) controversial blog post HERE.

6) A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserves to be put on the nice list?

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata! It’s such a quirky book but something about it totally sucked me in. I really loved that book! You can read it’s synopsis and my review HERE.

7) Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully christmasy feel to it.

How beautiful is this book cover???

I took this book from a Little Free Library last year and have yet to read it. Maybe this year? If you know me at all, you know that I could only read a book like this during the holiday season! If I don’t read this book this month…it will sit on my bookshelf until December 2021.

8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. It’s so amazing! I LOVED IT. Everyone should read this book! Read it’s synopsis and my (glowing) review of it HERE. American Dirt was definitely included in my 12 Best Books I Read in 2020 list that I had posted earlier in the week. You can read that post and check out the other 11 books that I LOVED reading the most this year HERE.

I tag:

LaLa’s Book Reviews

A Little Book Problem

Cup of Tea With That Book, Please

Woman On The Edge Giveaway Winner Video:

Thank you all so much for entering this giveaway!

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

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*

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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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GIVEAWAY and Book Review: Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}

Thank you for all of your support on my last post “The 12 Best Books I’ve Read in 2020” (you can read that post HERE)! So many of you read it that it is now the most viewed post that I’ve ever written on this blog 🙂 I absolutely love sharing my book suggestions with you and I’m SO excited to share another AWESOME book with you today! Samantha M. Bailey’s Woman on the Edge had been on my to read radar for months ever since my friend Melissa read it and told me how much she had loved it (check out Melissa’s wonderful book review blog HERE). I was SUPER excited when my copy came in at the library and I immediately raced to pick it up! Once I started reading and I told Melissa how much I was enjoying it, she so kindly introduced Samantha M. Bailey and I. I’ve truly loved communicating with Samantha over the past few months…she’s not only an AMAZING writer but a super sweet person. Thank you so much, Samantha and thank you to Melissa for introducing us 🙂 I’m so excited to share Samantha’s AWESOME book debut with all of you today and to host a GIVEAWAY for it as well!

Goodreads Synopsis of Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}:

A total stranger on the subway platform whispers, “Take my baby.”

She places her child in your arms. She says your name.

Then she jumps…

In a split second, Morgan Kincaid’s life changes forever. She’s on her way home from work when a mother begs her to take her baby, then places the infant in her arms. Before Morgan can stop her, the distraught mother jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Morgan has never seen this woman before, and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life. She also can’t understand how this woman knew her name.

The police take Morgan in for questioning. She soon learns that the woman who jumped was Nicole Markham, prominent CEO of the athletic brand Breathe. She also learns that no witness can corroborate her version of events, which means she’s just become a murder suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically retraces the last days of Nicole’s life. Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia or was she in danger? When strange things start happening to Morgan, she suddenly realizes she might be in danger, too.

Woman on the Edge is a pulse-pounding, propulsive thriller about the lengths to which a woman will go to protect her baby—even if that means sacrificing her own life. 

My Review of Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}:

This book was GREAT.

As you know, short chapters are my favorite and this book was PERFECT. Chapters that are only a few pages long make it SO easy to FLY through a book that was exactly what happened here. I also appreciated that this story was only told from only 2 alternating points of view. More than that and it would have been confusing. 2 was perfection.

As someone who lived in downtown Chicago for 8 years, I absolutely LOVED all of the street references. My exact neighborhood was a major reference in this story!

This book had so many twists. Just when I would think I had the ending all figured out, something would happen to make me completely change my mind. LOVE. I was completely invested in this story and these characters. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how everything was going to end! Kept me guessing right up until the very end. I truly couldn’t put this book down.

I absolutely love the writing in this book and I am eagerly looking forward to future works by Samantha M. Bailey! This is her debut novel…and what a wonderful debut it is.

I had posted this on Instagram:

#truth.

I absolutely loved this book…you will, too!

A Conversation with Samantha M. Bailey:

As someone who lived in downtown Chicago for many years, I absolutely loved reading about the streets, neighborhoods, etc. I was shocked to learn that you live in Canada! Have you ever lived in Chicago? If not, how did you conduct your research to learn each neighborhood’s personality so perfectly?

Thank you! I’m so happy to know I got it right! I’ve never lived in Chicago, but I’ve visited, though it was when I was much younger. For my debut, I wanted an American city to reach a wider audience and because it felt too close to home to set it in Toronto, where I live. When I was thinking about which city I wanted, Chicago felt so right because it seems to have a similar landscape, architecture, diversity, and sensibility to Toronto, which helped me envision it. Because my budget didn’t extend to traveling, I relied on Google, Google Earth, and the little person who walks along the streets in Google Maps. I was also lucky that my copy editor, Erica Ferguson, lived in Chicago so she could tell me when my characters were driving into the lake.

 How did you choose the names for the characters in Woman on the Edge?

It was such a process! It always is for me. I look at baby name websites for the years my characters were born and wait for the right name to hit me. But as I revised, I changed the names of many of the characters, like Morgan, because with edits I would re-imagine who the characters are. In my next book, I’ve already changed characters’ names a few times, and I’ll probably change them again. 

This book explores many themes including mental health, motherhood, marriage, friendship, and love. Of these themes, which was the hardest for you to write? Which was the easiest? Why?

I don’t think any of the themes were easy for me, except maybe the love a mother has for her child. Even that, though, is deeply emotional for me. While I didn’t experience postpartum depression myself and depended on the struggles of my friends, ones I watched firsthand and those they generously shared with me, I definitely felt anxiety about being the best mother I could to my own two children. It’s such a sudden, shocking, beautiful, frightening life change when your baby is put in your arms for the first time. Writing about Nicole’s struggles was complex and cathartic, as was writing about suicide, loss, relationships, and family. I’m grateful to have an incredibly loving and supportive family and the best friends in the world, which helps, I think, to separate my own life from my characters’ so I can really dig deep.

Woman on the Edge was such an amazing debut, I’d love to hear more about your future literary plans. Are you working on another book? Can you tell us anything about it? If you aren’t currently working on another book, what type of book (if any) can you see yourself working on in the future?

This means so much to me. Releasing a debut is both joyous and scary, and doing so in 2020 has been a roller coaster. Besides my family and friends, what’s kept me grounded during the pandemic has been writing my next thriller. Writing is where I put my fears and worries, and it helps me handle them when I can unleash them on my characters. I’m so thankful to you, Jenny, and the entire book community for giving me the career I’ve longed for. I just finished my draft of my untitled-for-now next book, set in Canada, that is about middle-aged motherhood, obsession, addiction, neighbors, and…a dead body. It’s tentatively slated to release in late 2021, but until then, the mass market paperback of Woman on the Edge is up for pre-order and out on February 23, 2021.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win an electronic copy of Woman on The Edge? I have 1 ebook 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 (10/17/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Friday (10/18/20).

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 which email address where you would like your ebook sent.  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!

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!*

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

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

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First Lines Friday…On A Monday :)

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

So this is a big feature that many book bloggers do each Friday. I’ve never participated but when I started reading a new book this week, the first lines JUMPED out at me and I thought this would be such a fun way to share what I’m currently reading…and the ridiculously NOT 2020 vibe those first lines gave off to me, lol.

First Line Friday Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Ok so as I mentioned above, I started reading this book over the weekend. Honestly, I never really notice first lines but these particular first lines literally JUMPED out at me. The beginning of this book takes place in 2008 and so clearly NOT in 2020, lol.

“It’s a wonder everyone who uses public ransport in winter doesn’t kneel over and die of germ overload. In the last ten minutes I’ve been coughed on and sneezed at, and if the woman in front of me shakes her dandruff my way again, I might just douse her with the dregs of the lukewarm coffee that I’m no longer able to drink because it’s full of her scalp.”

Is that the most UN 2020 paragraph you have ever read?!?

Using public transport during a pandemic…ugh.

Dying of germ overload? Yup.

Being coughed on and sneezed at? HELL NO.

Woman standing so close to you that her dandruff falls on you? Back up 6 feet!

Holding coffee in public? Not when you are wearing mask!

So now you can see why these particular first lines caught my attention, lol. Last year at this time, I wouldn’t even have thought twice about these first lines but this year I actually had to stop and reread them because they JUMPED out at me, lol.

So what book am I curently reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness. 

I’ll post a full review once I finish reading!

Have you read One Day in December? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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

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Random Bookish Thoughts, Birthday Snapshots, and the Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Winner {Video}

Happy Friday! Today’s blog post will be some random bookish thoughts, snapshots from my birthday, and a video announcing my birthday Amazon gift card giveaway winner!

Random Bookish Thoughts:

My daughter did this homework over Thanksgiving and I love it so much. She said, “My teacher says it’s optional” and I replied, “Aaaaaaand your mom says it’s mandatory!” **Also, when your mom is a former teacher, she makes you complete 10 squares, not 5! **

Almost done reading this book, I’ll have my review posted ASAP!

Do you remember when I posted this review and included a picture of the fake fireplace in the Michigan cottage? I was so obsessed with reading in front of that fireplace and haven’t stopped thinking (or talking about) it since we’ve been back home. We do have a real fireplace in our family room but I REALLY wanted one of these for our living room so when I’m reading on my favorite couch, I can have the absolute perfect reading experience! My husband bought me this one for my birthday and my daughter bought me a tiny box that makes fire crackling sounds! It’s PERFECT, so warm and toast, and I’m completely 100 percent obsessed. You KNOW I read a book in front of it on the very first night and I think I smiled the entire time while reading.

Birthday Snapshots

My birthday was absolutely wonderful and included all of my favorite things: My little family, breakfast made by my daughter, a socially distanced outside visit with my amazing parents, Thai food for dinner, Culvers, decorations from my kids, a family Uno tournament, outside socially distanced visits from my best friends, and more. It was a lovely, lovely birthday and the best part was how truly loved I felt.

Swingset decorated by my son:

One of the gifts from my best friends included a gift card to enjoy my favorite drink on my special day!

If you know me in real life, you know that Culvers is my absolute most favorite dessert!

Notice the UNO cards in the above photo? Our family has had a tournament going since July with a leaderboard and everything. Guess who is currently in FIRST PLACE??? #mama

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Winner Video:

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with love and BOOKS!

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*

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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

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Today is My Birthday! *Amazon Gift Card Giveaway*

Birthday giveaway of an Amazon gift card for one blog reader 🙂

Today is my birthday! I bought this shirt as a birthday gift to myself 🙂

Love!

For the past 2 years, I’ve given away a small gift card on my birthday to a blog reader. It feels so good to share a bit of my birthday joy with you guys!

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Leave a comment below (on this actual blog post). I’ll randomly choose a winner and email her/him a $10.00 Amazon egift card! You can use that $10.00 and put it towards a new book or anything else that makes you feel happy. I’ll announce the winner in Friday’s blog post! You will have 48 hours from the time I post your name to email me the email address where you would like your egift card sent. If I don’t hear from you in 48 hours, I’ll choose someone else.

I hope you are all having a wonderful day! Happy birthday to ME (and also to my girl Britney Spears!)

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)*

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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

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Book Review: The Guest List {Lucy Foley}

Lucy Foley’s The Guest List had been on my list to read FOREVER. The wait list for this book at my library was so looooong! Everyone seems to be reading this book! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy to read and review.

Goodreads Synopsis of The Guest List {Lucy Foley}:

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

My Review of The Guest List {Lucy Foley}:

So. Much. YES.

This book was FANTASTIC. I read it over the course of only a few days and truly could not put it down!

The setting for the story is so ominous, let alone each of the mysterious characters that it contains. Everything about this book was so mysterious and creepy and I absolutely loved it!

I will never, ever look at any wedding in the same way ever again. Holy hell.

I had about a million predictions which kept changing as I was reading as to how everything was going to play out in the end. For the most part, all of my predictions were completely wrong. I was able to guess one major twist pretty early on but other than that, I was completely shocked by all of the twists and turns! So, so good!

This book would make an absolutely amazing movie! The setting alone would be so much fun to see on the big screen. Someone is bound to buy the movie rights for this one…??

Bottom Line:

Highly, highly recommend!

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*

*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

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