Book Review: The Mother-In-Law {Sally Hepworth}

Before I review Sally Hepworth’s AMAZING new book, The Mother-In-Law, I want to thank all of the bloggers and vloggers who left their links to their websites in the comments on my last post!  I’m still in the process of checking them all out and I’ve already discovered some great new ones 🙂  If you haven’t added your information on that post yet, please do so!

A special welcome to all of my new readers!  I’m so glad you’re here 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links*

The Mother-in-Law was my 3rd Sally Hepworth book that I’ve read. I read The Secrets of Midwives years ago (I thought it was just eh) and last year I read The Family Next Door (you can read my review of that one HERE).  I had been waiting for months to read her newest book, The Mother-in-Law, and it was so worth the wait!

I devoured this book.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?

With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.

My Thoughts:

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

4 Stars

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

This review will be a bit difficult to write without giving anything away but I will say that this book was absolutely nothing like I was thinking it would be. Maybe it was because of the title that I just assumed it was going to be a similar read to this book? It was NOTHING like that one although I did enjoy that book as well (for completely different reasons).

I absolutely love when books contain the magic to make you think about your own experiences and relationships with others in different ways and this book absolutely did that for me. I’ve been quite reflective thinking about various relationships in my own life after finishing this book.

The Mother-In-Law had short (some just a handful of pages) chapters which is always my favorite way for books to be written.  I find it’s so much easier to read books this way as I read them at a quicker pace and they hold my attention for longer period of time!

The Mother-In-Law is a beautifully written, thought provoking, fantastic read that will make you look at all of your personal relationships in a different light. Highly recommend.  I haven’t stopped thinking about these characters and their situations since I finished reading 3 days ago.

The reason for my 4 star review was that some of the time frames were a bit confusing, a few character relationships weren’t as developed as they could have been, and the second half of the book was overall so much more captivating than the first.

Another flaw I did notice about this book is the ridiculous amount of screen time the children have! I’m most definitely NOT one of those moms who never allow TV or the iPad but truly it felt like every time a child was in a scene in this book they were attached to some device.  Play!  Talk!  Create!  There are so many things for children to do to entertain themselves…devices shouldn’t be the only answer.

(And on a side note which has nothing to do with this book…don’t even get me started on seeing children on devices while sitting at tables in restaurants and completely tuning out all of the social situations surrounding them.  MY. BIGGEST. PET. PEEVE).

I digress…

Even with the few flaws that I did find with this book, it’s overall so wonderfully written and fantastic!

A beautiful book.

Did you catch Sally Hepworth on the Today Show last week?  She’s adorable!

Bottom Line:

Read this.  Today.  And then take a step back and look carefully at how you perceive the others around you.

Be sure to check the blog on Wednesday for a GIVEAWAY of an ADORABLE book! 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

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

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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

Calling All Bloggers and Vloggers!

I have been reading blogs and watching vlogs every single day since 2007. That’s 12 years of daily checking in with my favorite bloggers and vloggers! I’m constantly finding new ones to add to my list of favorites.  I love discovering new blogs, vlogs, bloggers, and vloggers!

I read such a wide variety of blogs…healthy living blogs, book blogs, Mommy blogs, food blogs, etc.  I even read a few fitness blogs and I am NOT someone who enjoys sweating, lol.  I find that when I connect to a blogger, it’s not always about the topic as much as about the blogger her/himself.  Does that make sense?

Since starting a blog myself, I have truly learned how incredibly wonderful and helpful the blogging community really is.  I love being a part of this lovely community and I have met such kind people through my blog.  It has been amazing.

My personal blogging essentials: laptop, candle, coffee.

Calling All Bloggers and Vloggers:

If you write a blog or have a vlog, please post a link to it in the comments below! This is a great opportunity for everyone (myself included) to discover some new favorites.  Be sure to include a short description of what type of blog (or vlog!) you have.  All types of blogs (and vlogs) welcome!  Please only post your links in the comments on this post and not on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  That way everyone can see the list all together and can refer back to it when they are looking to discover something new.

I can’t wait to explore and discover some new favorite blogs (and vlogs)!  I hope you find some new favorites as well.  Make sure to subscribe to them when you do (and while you’re at it, please make sure you are also subscribed to my blog)!

Enjoy 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

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7. 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.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

Printers Row Lit Fest 2019 Recap, Date Night With My Husband, and a VLOG!

I am an only child and have always loved spending time with myself.  I literally CRAVE alone time and savor it whenever I can carve even a tiny bit of time for myself.

This past weekend was the Chicago Printers Row Lit Fest (read more about this special event HERE) and obviously I had to attend.  Although it’s a very family friendly event, I had visions of myself aimlessly walking amongst the books, talking with authors and publishers, and just enjoying a day alone in the company of my fellow literary lovers.  I knew from the start that this was one event I was going to enjoy allllllll alone.

And that’s exactly what I did 🙂

I had posted live stories from the event throughout the day on Instagram but this one basically summed it all up in 15 seconds:

I had planned on attending the 2 day event on Sunday but a view of my weather app told me that the rain might make that a bit tricky.  So late Friday night I made the last minute snap decision to attend on Saturday and I’m so glad that I did.  The perfect weather made for a glorious day of walking around in the most beautiful city in the world.  I love you so much, Chicago.

My daughter had a birthday party, my son had a basketball class, and my husband took care of it all so that I could head downtown and enjoy some alone time.  I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning excited for my very own city adventure!  I packed myself a healthy lunch (I’m a healthy eater and usually end up packing my lunch ahead of time when I attend events like this where I know the food will most likely not be the healthiest of choices), grabbed my coffee, and drove straight to the city.

1 hour later (I can’t remember the last time I spent an hour in the car by myself and I sang at the top of my lungs the entire way.  Loved it.) and I was there!  I found a random parking lot, paid $25.00 to park my car, and immediately headed into the endless sea of literary heaven.  All alone.  So happy.

My favorite booth of the entire fair was the Open Books booth.  They had literally THOUSANDS of books on tables for sale for $2.00-$3.00!  There were SO many people walking and picking up books to buy and as books were picked up, they were immediately restocked with different titles by the nicest lady.  Her and I had the most lovely discussion about our favorite books!  She explained how she volunteers at the warehouse now that she is retired and I told her the thought of that is basically my version of heaven.  I didn’t catch her name but she promised to check out my blog…if you are reading this, a special hello to my new friend! I actually went back to that booth THREE separate times because the stock was literally changing every second!  THE.  BEST.

A highlight of the day was meeting Francie Arenson Dickman (read my review of her wonderful  book HERE).  She’s just as sweet and adorable as I imagined she would be.  I also loved stopping by the Midwest Writers Association/Windy City Historians tent and chatting with Cyndee Schaffer (read my review of her interesting book HERE).  Cyndee, it was so nice seeing you!  It was such fun for me to be at such a big event like this one and to personally know a few of the authors.

Throughout the day, I met such lovely authors, publishers, bookstore owners, and fellow book lovers like me.  Hello and welcome to all of my new blog readers!

There was a Marie Kondo consultant helping people tidy up their lives! Read my review of her life changing book HERE!

Everyone loves the Lit Fest. Apparently even dogs…in backpacks?!? I took this picture to show my kids and expected, they loved it 🙂

I’m a HUGE advocate of breastfeeding and this book made me smile. There really was something for everyone there on Saturday.

Here is a link to a news report from Saturday night which shows highlights from the day I attended. He said there were 100,000 people there!

https://cbsloc.al/2WmvTUM

After 3 hours of walking from booth to booth, eating my healthy turkey sandwich by a beautiful fountain, and reading the backs of more books that I would have thought humanly possible…I was on my way back to the suburbs.

My husband sent a text saying that my daughter was sleeping at her friend’s house, and I immediately texted him back suggesting he find someone to watch our son so him and I could have a date night!  A special thank you to my in-laws for the last minute babysitting so Jon and I could enjoy some time together.  A lovely ending to a lovely day. As I said on Instagram, “Last night’s dinner included 3 courses, high heels, and the only food I had to cut and 1 potty break I had to take were for myself.  Love date nights with my husband.”

And now that my glorious day is behind me, I have already been Googling trying to find the exact dates for next year’s Lit Fest.  Apparently they haven’t been announced yet but whenever that weekend in 2020 will be…you’ll know where to find me 🙂

Want to see what I came home with from the fest?  Here’s a quick VLOG:

What did you do this weekend?  I hope it was a fun one!  Any of you attend Lit Fest?

Xo,

Jenny

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

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Weekend Plans: Printer’s Row Lit Fest

This weekend marks the 35th anniversary of the Printer’s Row Lit Fest and I can’t WAIT  to attend!

You can learn more about the Printer’s Row Lit Fest HERE.

The Printer’s Row Lit Fest prides itself on being the “largest free outdoor showcase in the Midwest” and it’s AWESOME.  On Sunday I will be taking myself on a special date downtown and will spend the day meeting authors, browsing books, listening to speakers, watching demonstrations, and so much more all in my very favorite city (Chicago).  I wonder what treasures I will come home with?!? As a bonus, the Midwest Writer’s Association and the Windy City Historians will have a tent and I’m excited to stop by and say hi (read about the first time I met these lovely groups of people HERE).

Check out this video to see Lit Fest highlights from 2 years ago:

The last time I attended the Printer’s Row Lit Fest was in 2004 and I absolutely loved it.  My best friend and I went specifically to listen to Julie Andrews speak about her new children’s book that had recently been released.  I am a HUGE Julie Andrews fan (The Sound of Music is hands down one of my all time favorite movies) and listening to her speak was pure magic.  I cried. 🙂 I’ll never forget the kids in the front row holding up a poster that read “Please be our nanny!”  So, so cute.

I will write a recap blog post all about the Printer’s Row Lit Fest once I’m back but if you would like to follow along on my adventure, I will be posting live to my Instagram stories throughout the day on Sunday!

I’m A Chef and My Kids Want Buttered Noodles Giveaway Winner:

Thank you to everyone who entered the I’m A Chef and My Kids Want Buttered Noodles Giveaway!

Congratulations Jana H (My absolute favorite meal is crab cakes! I’d love to check out some new recipes!)!  Please email me your mailing address to bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com!  Enjoy your new cookbook 🙂

If you didn’t win this one….fear not!  I have some wonderful giveaways scheduled throughout the summer.  Stay tuned 🙂

What are your plans this weekend?  Anything exciting?  Are any of you going to Lit Fest?  If you do and happen to see me there…please come say hi!  I’ll be the one aimlessly walking around with a gigantic smile on my face.  I’m so excited!

Xo,

Jenny

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

5. Follow me on Twitter

6. Subscribe to my YouTube channel

7. 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.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

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

Cookbook Giveaway: I’m A Chef and my Kids Want Buttered Noodles {Heath Schecter}

I have such a fun book giveaway for you today…a cookbook!

This blog has awarded me with the unique opportunity to meet so many authors.  I’ve read such lovely books and have met such lovely people.  It has been an amazing experience, that’s for sure!

But today is a brand new experience for me.  Today, I get to review my FRIEND’S book!

I’ve known Heath for years.  His sister, Becca, has been a really close friend of mine since the day we met at overnight camp.  Her and I have been through it all…side ponytails, overalls, and our favorite show “My So-Called Life”…anyone else LOVE that show as much as her and I did?!?  Becca has the cutest family…check out and subscribe to their YouTube channel HERE!  Love you so much, Becca 🙂

Heath married Becca’s sister and we now live about 2 minutes from each other.  When he first wrote his cookbook back in 2017, my husband and I bought our copy immediately!  We love it!

Fun Fact: My husband is a HUGE fan of Heath’s cooking.  For Jon’s 40th birthday, I hired Heath to come to my house and cook a 5 course MEAT dinner for Jon and his best friend.  Both men declared that dinner that Heath cooked to be one of the best meals they have ever had.  A huge success!

You can see Heath in action in this link to an awesome news segment that he filmed a few months ago:

Midday Fix: Hangover Help Recipe from Chef Heath Schecter

I’m both honored and excited to share his awesome cookbook with all of you today!

The book itself is gorgeous.  It’s filled with beautiful, colorful pictures and has so many interesting and unique recipes.  It includes starters, soups & salads, main courses, sous vide cooking, desserts, sides, sauces, seasonings, and so much more!

This chef knows his stuff.  You should have smelled my kitchen when he came over to cook for Jon and his friend…DELICIOUS.

This book would make a perfect Father’s Day gift or any gift!  It’s a fantastic addition to any kitchen.  We love our copy and know that you will, too 🙂

A Conversation with Heath Schecter, in His Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

When my photographer friend, Garry Rosenfeldt, asked to take chef pictures of me. When he did, one of the pictures looked like it would be a great photo for a book. Over the years, as a chef, I have created a lot of recipes. Over those years, my kids wouldn’t really eat most of the food I created. So, having this picture and all these recipes, I decided I’d write a cookbook. I needed a title and figured I’d create a title based off my experience of cooking all these dishes and my kids not wanting any of it, and just wanting buttered noodles, or chicken fingers, etc.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

I think the audience for my cookbook would be anyone that likes to cook. I tried to write the recipes so that anyone could reproduce them.

Where can your book be purchased?

You can find the book on Amazon

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

This isn’t a cookbook filled with recipes for kids. These are a collection of recipes I have created over the years. It is filled with a bunch of different dishes that should satisfy all palates.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 1 autographed copy of I’m a Chef and My Kids Want Buttered Noodles to give away (US only for this giveaway)!

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Make sure that you are following and/or subscribed to my blog

2. Leave a comment below describing your favorite meal!

**You must complete BOTH of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday’s blog post (6/7/19).

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 winner 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!

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

5. Follow me on Twitter

6. Subscribe to my YouTube channel

7. 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.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

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

My #1 Must Have Book Accessory

I am a true minimalist and hate owning unnecessary items (don’t even get me started on the baby industry and how many unnecessary things parents feel they need to own to care for their babies. So ridiculous).

When it comes to reading, I truly feel there are only 4 things one NEEDS to have to achieve the perfect reading experience.

1. A book (obvi)

2. A delicious cup of coffee

3. A delicious smelling candle

And….

4. A BOOKLIGHT.

Thank God for booklights.

At the end of a long day, relaxing in bed with a book is the perfect activity.  Reading calms me and helps to pave the way for a peaceful night of sleep.  Unfortunately, I am married to someone who cannot fall asleep with the light on (lame) and so booklights are an absolute necessity for me.

I am often the first person awake in my house long before the sun rises (yup…I’m often the last one to fall asleep and the first one to rise over here). Nothing better than waking up and reading a few chapters before the craziness of the day begins. Booklight to the rescue!

Whenever I go on vacation, my trusty booklight is high on my list of items to pack. I could never travel without it (apparently unless my destination is here where relaxing with a book is virtually impossible).  Late at night or first thing in the morning reading in the same hotel room as my sleeping family? Booklight for the win!

Here is my old, broken, and yet completely perfect and lovely booklight:

(Slooooowly still making my way through How to Find Love in a Bookshop.  My full review will be posted when I finally finish)!

The backing has long since broken off and the entire thing is currently being held together by painters tape. Adds to her charm 🙂

The one I have has led lights which are both a blessing and a curse. This baby is BRIGHT. As in, if it’s mistaking pointed at my sleeping husband he is immediately woken up (and momentarily blinded. Oops). It can truly light up our entire bedroom which is crazy…and yet amazing!

I bought mine on Amazon many years ago and it came in a pack of 4. I’m not sure why anybody would need 4 booklights and I gladly gave 2 of them away to 2 fellow bookloving friends of mine (Hi Julie and Beth!). I don’t believe the exact ones I bought are still available but here is one that looks awesome (AND you can apparently adjust the brightness level so you won’t momentarily blind your spouse!  Sorry Jon…)

Do you read with a booklight? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Be sure to check the blog on Wednesday…I’ve got a super fun (and different) giveaway for you!

Xo,

Jenny

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

5. Follow me on Twitter

6. Subscribe to my YouTube channel (search Book Coffee Happy)

7. 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.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

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

 

3 Free (And Amazing!) New Books

There is a local community building not far from my house which always has the best selection of free books donated by one of our wonderful local libraries.

Whenever I happen to be there, of course I always stop to browse the selection. Who on Earth could walk past free books and not stop to look through them?! Monsters.

Usually I find books I have either read or don’t have a huge interest in reading. I’ve never actually brought any of them home with me.

Until today.

There were SO many amazing titles! The first one to catch my eye was this one. Since I already own it (it’s awesome by the way), I kept looking…and quickly came across these 3 treasures!

Each one looks fantastic and 2 have been on my radar for quite some time!

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts (no spoilers please)???

But the coolest takeaway was when I opened the front cover of Pieces of Her ….and discovered that I now apparently own a SIGNED copy?!? How amazing is THAT?!?

I plan on paying it forward and donating a bunch of books to our local Little Free Library ASAP! I’m actually waiting for a time when I can bring both of my kids with me…what a perfect lesson to teach them on so many levels.

And obviously I will pass these 3 new books along as soon as I finish reading them (and post my reviews for each on my blog).  The minimalist in me will be happy to get rid of them. 🙂

Thank you, Vernon Area Public Library!  I feel blessed to live in a community which clearly values the importance of spreading literacy to all.  And no…lovely Vernon Area was NOT the local library I was talking about in this post 🙂

Do you ever pick up free books?  Where?  Which free book has been your greatest find?

Xo,

Jenny

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

5. Follow me on Twitter

6. Subscribe to my YouTube channel (search Book Coffee Happy)

7. 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.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

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