Book Review: The Dilemma {B.A. Paris} and Zin Mignon Giveaway Winners (Video)

Have you read Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris? If not…stop reading whatever you are reading and read that book! It was AWESOME. I read it years ago so the details are a bit fuzzy but I do remember that I literally could not stop reading until I found out how it ended. I absolutely loved that book and therefore couldn’t WAIT to get my hands on B.A. Paris’s newest book, The Dilemma. I picked this one of a few weeks ago on my very first trip to the INSIDE of my library during this pandemic. I couldn’t wait to read and review it! ***Giveaway winners for Michael Daswick’s Zin Mignon and The Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet video is at the bottom of this post***

Goodreads Synopsis of The Dilemma {B.A. Paris}:

It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

My Review of The Dilemma {B.A.Paris}:

The 2 main characters just may be my most hated main characters of all time. Livia was completely immature…a child! What grown woman centers herself around her own party the way that she did? And don’t even get me started on Adam. His choices continuously went from stupid to bad to REALLY stupid to REALLY bad throughout the entire book. The marriage between them felt more like a high school relationship than a marriage. 98 percent of this book focuses around the fact that they were afraid to talk to each other? Not to mention the fact that they were awful parents who CLEARLY lacked any type of respect for their own children.

In fact, the entire group of friends in this book felt like a group of high schoolers rather than a group of adults. So much he said/she said, cattiness, gossiping, etc.

Have you ever watched Three’s Company? The famously best part of that show were the times when misunderstandings between characters led to awkward conversations and actions where only the viewer was privy to understanding both sides. This is how I felt about The Dilemma…but…where watching it play out on television was hilarious, reading it in this book was annoying.

So now that I have successfully told you all of the reasons that I really didn’t like this book, allow me to share one tidbit from the other side of the coin:

I. COULDN’T. PUT. IT. DOWN.

That’s right! For all of my complaints, this book sure had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t WAIT to see what was going to happen! The writing was BRILLIANT, the chapters were so short (my favorite), and all of my guesses as to how this story would play out were wrong (love when that happens). 

So, there you have it. Hated the characters, hated the story lines, loved the writing, loved the suspense. How’s THAT for a mixed review??

Bottom Line:

NOT as good as Behind Closed Doors. Not even close.

Giveaway Winners Video for Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet {Michael Daswick}:

Congratulations to the winners! Here is a video of the hard copy winners. Michael Daswick will be emailing the winners of the ebooks 🙂

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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Our Amazing Getaway to Spring Lake, Michigan

As soon as the pandemic started, my husband immediately began researching lake houses that we could rent.  We wanted a place where we could safely socially distance from others and give our kids wonderful memories.  After months of searching online, he found us the perfect cottage located in Spring Lake, Michigan.  We booked it and immediately I started writing out my list of what to bring in my new Erin Condren planner.  I actually laughed and grabbed my phone to snap a picture when I realized what the very first items were that I had just written. These were clearly quite high on my priority list of items not to forget!  Eventually this entire page was filled with things to bring once I had those first 3 items written down, lol.

And somehow those 3 items morphed into this:

We stopped for lunch in one of our favorite towns…Saugatuck, Michigan.  (Although indoor seating was available at restaurants, we always chose to eat outside at the restaurants we went to).

We arrived at our cottage and the view from our new backyard literally took our breath away.  Perfection.

Catching frogs!

On our very first morning there, my daughter and I woke up before anyone else and snuck outside to read with a view.  I ended up doing this every single morning we were there and it was just as peaceful and blissful as it looks.

Eventually my son woke up and joined us.  American Dirt for me, Babysitters Club book #2 for my daughter, and dinosaur and Elmo books for my son.

So, so happy.

We drove past this hotel and I immediately thought of The Sun Down Hotel!  AHHHHHH!  THIS is EXACTLY how I pictured that hotel to look, even down to the sign.  Such a better image than the one on the cover of the book based upon the descriptions written.  The cover of that book is GORGEOUS but this is such a better representation of how I imagined that hotel to look as I was reading (you can read my review of The Sun Down Motel HERE).

My daughter and my husband fishing!  The view from our dining room window.  So amazing, right?!

Bike ride through a gorgeous forest…

Traveling during a global pandemic definitely was a strange experience.

Obsessed.

Cherry picking!

There was a swan family and a duck family who came to visit us each day.

After being in the lake all day, it felt great to take a shower and feel pretty 🙂

Fact: lobster rolls are in my top 5 favorite foods of all time.  If there is a lobster roll on a menu, I will never even consider ordering anything else.

I brought my laptop thinking that blogging by the lake would be such fun!  This picture would be the exact spot that my computer sat from the moment we arrived until the moment we left.  Never even opened the bag, lol.

Dirt road leading to our private oasis.

One afternoon we sat down to an outdoor restaurant and this was my view.  Ummm YES PLEASE.  As soon as the order was placed, my daughter and I literally JUMPED up to go and check it out!

Oh it was so lovely!  I didn’t take any pictures inside because I was trying not to touch my phone but I could have spent hours upon hours in there.  It was amazing.  We didn’t have nearly enough time but both her and I did manage to each find a treasure to buy.  I was excited to find a book by the same author as The Housekeeper which I really enjoyed (read my review HERE).  My daughter bought a present for my son which he loved!  I had such a nice conversation with the man working and I promised that I would come back!  If you are ever in the area, you need to check this place out…

Pontoonin’!  Always drinking hot coffee, even in 90 degree weather 🙂

So handsome.

I read 1 page on that boat.  Literally 1 page.

My husband took this video and I had no idea…

 

“I’m crushing this!!!” LOL

And now I present to you the most delicious meal of the trip.  Goat cheese, strawberries, walnuts, maple balsamic vinaigrette, and added grilled chicken breast.  OMG.  I loved it so much that I went back a few days later and ordered a second one to go to have for lunch the following day!  Here is a link to the restaurant if you are ever in the area.  DELICIOUS.

Lake lunch 🙂  Day 2 of THE SALAD.

Perfect magnet in a cute Grand Haven boutique.  #truth

Cutest coffee mug from one of our delicious breakfasts.

6 mile family bike ride.  Best bike ride of my life, it was so beautiful!

My family totally indulged me when I yelled “I SEE A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY!”  The 3 of them immediately pulled over to wait for me as I turned my bike around and headed straight back to this little gem:

None of the books caught my eye but for about 20 seconds I debated taking this bookmark ONLY because so many of you ALWAYS call me out for folding down the pages of books, lol.  BUT…then I remembered that I love folding those pages so I left the bookmark right where I found it to become a treasure for someone with better book manners than I 😉

After 6 miles we were SWEATY and desperately needed water.  We found a local farmer’s market and immediately asked where the water was.  The lady watched our 4 faces fall when she told us that there weren’t any vendors selling water!  We accepted our fate and started shopping for other things.  A few minutes later, she quietly told me that she had 3 bottles of water for her personal use but that I could buy them off of her!  DONE.  Wife and Mother of the year when I presented those bottles to my family!  As we were leaving the market sipping our delicious water, the farmer’s market organizer asked where we got them.  I answered “black market” 🙂

We left with fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries, honey sticks, a loaf of bread, and the most delicious water anyone has ever tasted.  Delightful.

And suddenly it was our last day of our perfect getaway.  As my husband and I sat on the beach watching our kids SO happily frolicking in the lake, he pulled out his phone and booked us a return trip for Labor Day weekend!  YESSSSSSSSS!  Best husband and father.  Countdown starts NOW!

And now…we are back home.  Breakfast on our first day back included farmer’s market blueberries and also a mug that I bought from one of my favorite restaurants that I have ever been to 🙂  If you are ever in the area, my whole family and I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant!  This beautiful mug with it’s beautiful memories will make me smile for many years to come.

Michigan cherries have been turned into Illinois muffins!  My husband and my kids say they are the best muffins they have ever had!  Mama for the WIN!  🙂 🙂 🙂

AND I have quite successfully recreated my new favorite salad down to the homemade salad dressing!  NAILED IT!

Thank you all so much for reading about our adventure!  We had the very best week filled with the very best memories.  Socially distanced perfection!

Thank you for allowing me to take a break from talking about books to share a bit of my personal life with you 🙂  As you can see I have been doing lots of reading…and I have 2 book reviews to write and publish for you ASAP!

I hope you all had a wonderful week filled with love and books!

You can read about our trip to Michigan that we took last fall (without our kids!) HERE.

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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{VIDEO} How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to Organize my Life!

Today I have a post (and a video!) for you about a different type of book…the one that keeps me organized!  If you haven’t heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner you are MISSING OUT  (I have a link to the exact planner that I SWEAR BY (and have loved since 2012) and also a VIDEO of me showing it’s features and all of the ways I use mine to organize my own life at the very bottom of this post)!

If you know me in real life, you already know that I am extremely Type A.  I like things organized, planned, and thought out from conception through conclusion.  I will always and forever use a paper planner.  No phone calendar for me!

I have owned some version of a paper planner every single year since I was in junior high school!  I vividly remember decorating the front cover of my planners with cut out pictures from magazines which represented my interests at the time.  I worked on them for HOURS making sure they looked perfect!  Even then, the aesthetics of my paper planners clearly were very important to me. 🙂  10 year old me would DIE to see the gorgeous planner that adult me uses daily!

Erin Condren Life Planner 

2011 was when I first discovered Erin Condren.  I was an elementary school teacher and was sitting in a faulty meeting when the teacher across the table from me pulled out her Erin Condren Life Planner.  One glance was all it took for me to know that I NEEDED that in my life.  I spent the remainder of that year finishing up the boring paper planner that I was using, all the while counting down the days until I could order my very first Erin Condren Life Planner.

I spent FOREVER designing my perfect cover and 8 years later it still remains one of my most favorites that I’ve ever owned:

2013: I loved the swirls and lace on this one!  I remember spending FOREVER deciding between various shades of grey and was so happy with how it turned out.  So pretty.

2014: I loved that pretty butter yellow (currently the exact shade of my iphone)!

2015 was the year I decided that I was going to try one of the Erin Condren knockoff companies and save myself some money on my precious planner.  I bought this one (a 2 year planner so it took me all the way through the end of 2016).  I.  HATED.  THIS.  PLANNER.  The cover would constantly fall off!  There wasn’t anywhere to store important papers so I bought folder inserts which made everything so heavy and bulky.  The coils on the side were MASSIVE and made turning the pages such a chore.  Literally everything would fall out all the time and made everything in my life feel so UNorganized!  The worst.

In 2017 I decided to try a DIFFERENT knockoff company.  I loved this cover but didn’t love everything inside!  I had so many issues with this planner!  The coil was better but everything else was just eh.  This one was close to an Erin Condren and yet…not quite close enough.

And yet…2018 had me thinking that I STILL could use a planner from yet a DIFFERENT knockoff company!  Whyyyyyy did I ever think this would be a good idea?!?

Albert Einstein once famously stated, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

So true, Albert.  So true.

2019 led me very happily straight back to where it all began!  Oh Erin Condren, I’m so sorry I strayed.  I learned my lesson.  Yes, your planners cost more than the others…FOR A REASON!  They truly are the very best there is!  I will never, ever stray again.  Erin Condren Life Planner for LIFE.  Here is my current 18 month planner.  Gorgeous, functional, and perfect in every single way.

All of my planners since 2012!  Makes me smile to think of all of the amazing memories written within these covers.  I love looking back and seeing my day to day life throughout the years!

The official Erin Condren Launch Day is a VERY big day for loyal Erin Condren fans.  It happens each spring and it’s the day where all of the new cover designs are revealed!  True Erin Condren fans literally count down to this special day and obsessively check the website each day leading up to it’s release. I ordered my new planner as soon as it debuted!

I’ve tried all types of planners…January-December, July-June, even July-December of the following year!  After many trials, I’ve determined that the planner that makes the most sense for me in the season of life that I’m currently in is 12 months July-June.  I LOVE being able to see my childrens’ school schedules all together in one planner!  I sit at the very beginning of the school year and fill in the entire year’s events (days off, PTO meetings, PTO events, half days, conferences, etc.).  ***NERD ALERT:  I may or may not light a candle and play music while I’m doing this to make it a special event.***  It makes me feel so much more organized than only writing in the events until December and then having to sit down in January to fill in the rest of the school year!  I suspect this will change one day as my children get older but for now…my life and my planner are completely tailored around their schools’ schedules.

And….drum roll please….my newest Erin Condren Life Planner!  It arrived this morning and it’s GORGEOUS!  I also use this video as a tutorial as to how I organize my own planner to organize my entire life.  I discuss exactly how I use each section and why.  Enjoy 🙂

If you have never heard of Erin Condren or her AMAZING life planners, here is link directly to her website.  FYI this is not an affiliate link, just a link to the very best planner out there.

Do you use a paper planner?  Have you ever had an Erin Condren Life Planner?

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

What I’m Currently Reading, What I Recently Finished Reading, What I Think I’ll Read Next (WWW #7) {Book Coffee Happy}

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly post! I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate!  The Three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I started reading this last weekend!  I’ll post a full review once I finish.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading this one last week and I had SO many thoughts!  You can read my full review HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m honestly not 100 percent but I’m currently leaning toward this book.  Have any of you read it?  I got it so long ago and still haven’t read it…

What are you currently reading?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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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

Why these 2 Books Are So Meaningful To Me: The Time Travelers Wife {Audrey Niffenegger} and The Sari Shop Widow {Shobhan Bantwal}

I’ve mentioned before that I take choosing books for vacations very seriously.  When packing for my honeymoon 10 years ago (!!!) I took choosing these books VERY seriously!  Jon and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary last week and in honor of this milestone anniversary, I thought I would share bits of our honeymoon with you today.

10 years ago, we left for our honeymoon approximately 28 hours after our wedding ended and I was more than READY for a relaxing, perfect week in Jamaica with my HUSBAND!

Checking into the hotel was the very first time I ever officially wrote my brand new name!

We had the best week with the best memories.  The most perfect start to our new life!

For as long as I live, I will never ever forget laying in the shallow end of this beautiful ocean while reading a book.  To this day, I’ve never in my entire life felt as peaceful as I did in that moment.  The waves all around me, the sky as perfectly blue as could be.  I would give anything to return to that beach and read just like that again one day.  Hands down one of my most favorite reading moments of my life!

So peaceful, right???

Beautiful.

We had our own private villa with our own private pool.  See those lounge chairs?  I remember laying there and reading next to my new tote bag with my brand new initials while Jon was laying in the chair next to me.  Every few pages I would glance over at that tote in pure disbelief that those initials were now MINE!

Only a true book nerd would apparently take a picture of the book she was reading while on her honeymoon, lol:

Our private villa had the most gorgeous balcony where I would wake up before sunrise and read while Jon was still sleeping (AKA still one of my favorite things to do on any vacation!  I would rather wake up early and read than sleep in any day):

Here are the 2 books that I brought with me that week:

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My Thoughts:

Omg this book.  I SOBBED in the very best way possible!  Truly one of the best and most thought provoking books I’ve read.  If you haven’t read this gem, I VERY highly recommend it.  Beautifully written characters, beautifully written story.  I’m getting teary just thinking about it.  Such a gorgeous book.  READ THIS BOOK!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents’ sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah — a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it — though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

My Thoughts:

I’ll be honest…this book didn’t leave nearly the impression on me as The Time Traveler’s Wife did.  I very much remember LIKING it…but I do not very much remember LOVING it.  Wasn’t horrible, wasn’t amazing.  This book was just a bit forgettable although clearly the EXPERIENCE of reading it for me was most definitely not!

I loved both of these books but the most special part of them isn’t the writing.  It is the fact that they are both completely water logged from the gorgeous Jamaican water!  Just looking at the ripples in these pages will forever make me smile and remember one of the best times of my entire life.  I will never, ever get rid of these books!

Aaaaand come to think of it…this would be yet another example of how I don’t take care of books, lol 🙂

Have you read either of these books?  What did you think?

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 ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

My #1 Favorite Movie of ALL TIME…But I’ve Never Read the Book!

The year was 2001.  My best friend Amy and I went to the movie theater and saw it.  WE.  LOVED.  IT.  So much so that we went back just to see it again!  We HAD TO.  And again.  And again.  Aaaaaaand when this movie finally completed it’s theatrical run, Amy and I had gone to see it together….drumroll please…

10 TIMES.

Yes, we saw this movie 10 TIMES in the movie theater.  We couldn’t get enough!  HOW was that 19 years ago???  Such a fun memory!!!

Serendipity Trailer:

***Omg.  Watching the above trailer just brought instant tears to my eyes and goosebumps up and down my arms!  BEST MOVIE! ***

Everything about this beautiful movie was (is) pure magic for us.

The CD I had playing on repeat in my car for YEARS.  I still know every single word to every single song and have been humming them while writing this post. 🙂

I haven’t watched an actual DVD in years but I will never get rid of it:

Years after the movie release, Jon and I went to New York and you KNOW what my #1 must see landmark there was:

I was obviously reaaaaaaaally excited to be there 😉  It appears I was about to knock Jon down without a care in the world 😉

Hanging inside of the restaurant:

My souvenir mug.  I should really start drinking from this!  I’ve currently got it on display in our dining room cabinet along with my bridal bouquet, our prom champagne glasses, and other important mementos.  Obviously this is one VERY important memento!

I bought Amy and I matching Serendipity tote bags that day as well.

Front:

Back:

If you haven’t seen the movie Serendipity…WATCH THE MOVIE SERENDIPITY.  No better time than during a quarantine…

Throughout the movie, there is a classic book referenced over and over again which plays a very large part of the storyline.  Of course I had to buy the book!

I’ve owned this book for 19 years…but….have never actually read it!  It’s such a huge part of my favorite movie, I’m sure I would love it and it might even make me dig deeper into the meaning of some aspects of the film.  Have any of you read it?  I’m not sure why I haven’t yet…

Book Synopsis:

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

I.  HAVE.  GOOSEBUMPS.  This book sounds amazing…I must actually read it!

It was an Oprah’s Book Club selection and she has this to say about this book:

“This is one of the greatest love stories I have ever read. … It is so beautifully written that it really takes you to another place in time and will make you ask yourself—how long could you, or would you, wait for love?” — Oprah

I already love this book because I just love this movie so much! I must read it…Why haven’t I???

But first I think I may need to watch Serendipity.  For the 500th time.

 Have you seen Serendipity?  Have you read Love in the Time of Cholera?  What are your thoughts?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

***GIVEAWAY (Open to International Readers)*** Wake of the Sadico {Jo Sparkes}

I’m excited to host this international giveaway for you today!  When Jo Sparkes reached out to me last fall to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing The Wake of the Sadico, I knew that it was a book that would be quite different from the usual books I read and review.  As with everything in life, sometimes going out of your comfort zone is a good thing.  In this case, it was a VERY good thing!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest blog review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due.
Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.
Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves.
Until they find a shipwreck.

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico.
In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair.
This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

My Thoughts:

First of all, can we please take a moment to discuss how gorgeous this cover photo is?!?  STUNNING.

This book is the most perfect example of why sometimes it’s great to have new experiences and reading a book outside of my usual selections proved to be such a positive and new experience for me.  I went into reading this book with a completely open mind and I’m so happy to report that it totally sucked me right in.

Some of the underwater scenes had me literally holding my breath because they were so intense!  I couldn’t put this book down and finished almost the entire second half over the course of 2 days.

I couldn’t help but think numerous times while reading what an intense and awesome movie this book would make.  The writing was so colorful and descriptive that bringing it to the big screen would be fantastic!  One of the best parts of this book was how everything and everyone tied together to create such a complicated and twisted story.  Seeing all of that unfold on the big screen would be so amazing. I can’t even imagine how terrifyingly awesome some of those underwater scenes would be!  OMG.

One of my absolute favorite parts of writing my blog is communicating with authors and I have loved communicating with Jo Sparkes over the past few months!  She is just lovely and so is her book!  Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to read and review your book, Jo 🙂

A Conversation with Jo Sparkes, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

The book came together through 3 separate pieces.

Learning to dive with 2 instructors who loved wreck diving and a Brit who took exception to some American rules.

Spending time in the UK with my British husband and his friends. I grew fascinated with the cultural differences from the USA (my home country). Wall sprang from 3 people, though (like all characters really), he grew into his own identity.

When reincarnation sprang into my orbit – all the pieces fell together.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Those who like beach reads, supernatural thrillers, tales with ghosts and a happy ending. This plays with reincarnation a little differently.

Where can your book be purchased?

Currently on Amazon and Ingram. That should expand to other outlets in a few months.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

scary   tropical   suspenseful

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

I made up the term ‘soul pods’ – but not the concept. And while I wouldn’t label it a romance, my editor points out “but they’re literally soul-mates!”

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

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of Wake of the Sadico?
I have 1 copy to give away!  Your choice…hard copy or Kindle version!

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

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

2.  Tell me in the comments below (on this blog post) about a time when you did something outside of your comfort zone!

**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 (4/17/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Saturday’s blog post (4/18/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Saturday 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!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

WWW #6 {Book Coffee Happy}

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly WWW (What I’m Reading) post!  I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate!

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Be careful who you let in.

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

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

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

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

I started reading this one a few days ago.  I’ve heard from so many people who loooooved it, I’m excited to see if I will feel the same way 🙂 I’ll post a full blog review once I’m finished reading!

What did you recently finish reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due.
Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.
Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves.
Until they find a shipwreck.

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico.
In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair.
This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

This book is GREAT and…I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY for it on the blog TOMORROW!!!  Be sure to check back here in the morning for your chance to win!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. The leafy green campus they move through together, the idyllic window seat they share in their suite, and the passion and ferocity that school and independence awakens in them ignites an all-encompassing love with one another. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that originate from beyond the dark forests of their childhoods, and come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.

The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving. A joyful, big-hearted book that perfectly evokes the bittersweet experience of falling in love with friendship, the experiences of Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret are at once achingly familiar and yet shine with a brilliance and depth all their own.

I’m such a sucker for novels about best friends.  And this book has FOUR best friends just like ME!  I can’t wait to start reading.  The synopsis makes me immediately think of this book.  Fingers crossed it’s similar because I LOVED that book…

What are you currently reading?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

Calling All Bloggers and Vloggers: Add Your Links Here! {Volume 4}

I love giving bloggers and vloggers a chance to publicize their blogs/vlogs and at the same time…we can all discover links to new favorite blogs/vlogs to follow!  A total win for all 🙂  Let’s support each other!

In the comments on this post, please add the link to your blog/vlog and a brief description of your blog/vlog (all topics welcome).

Let’s all discover new blogs/vlogs to follow! If you have a blog/vlog, I’d love for you to participate regardless if you participated in the past or not.  All blog/vlog topics welcome!

Please only add links to the comments on this post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to keep them all in one place.

Also, if you haven’t already added your link to the comments on the other 3 posts, feel free to do that now as well 🙂  There was some great participation on those posts!  

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Now it’s your turn!  I can’t wait to read the comments below.

Have fun and enjoy discovering some new favorite bloggers/vloggers!  While we are home and quarantined, let’s show each other some love and support.

And while you’re discovering new blogs/vlogs to follow and subscribe to, I’d so love for you to follow/subscribe to mine if you don’t already 🙂  Book Coffee Happy is a place where I write book reviews, lead book discussions, and host book giveaways (insider tip: I have a giveaway coming up this THURSDAY for an AWESOME book so make sure you check back)!

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

An Older Book that I LOVED #3

I posted about one of my all time favorite books a few days ago and it got me thinking of other older books that I LOVE but for whatever reason have never been written about on my blog.  Being home and quarantined is giving me a perfect opportunity to share these special books with all you 🙂

During a time when so many of you are looking for wonderful books to read, this feels like a wonderful time to give these suggestions and a chance for me to revisit some of my very favorite titles.  Writing about these books is definitely making me want to reread them!

(I wrote this post last year but it is another example of an older book that I LOVED so I’m including it in this new blog series as well)!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

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)

5 Stars

Oh how I loved this book!

It was so beautifully written.  Everything about this book was absolutely stunning…the storylines, the characters, the writing style….everything.  Couldn’t put it down.

I remember sitting in our library’s silent reading room 6 years ago with this book open in front of me as I DEVOURED each beautiful page.  There was a cackling fire in the fireplace, blueberry oatmeal in the tupperware container next to me, steaming hot coffee in the orange travel mug in my hand, and I remember thinking that the entire scene was the most perfect definition of the word”glorious”.

Although I never wrote about this special book on my blog until today (hoooow???), I apparently did write about it on Instagram back in 2018:

Bottom Line:

One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read.

Xo,

Jenny

Have you read The Language of Flowers?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

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

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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