My Top Book Recommendations

Receiving texts asking for book recommendations was what ultimately prompted me to begin writing this blog.  I know many of you are currently quarantined at home and reading…I’ve received SO MANY texts over the past 2 weeks asking for book recommendations!  I thought it would be helpful to compile a blog post with my top book recommendations  (Warning: if you text me and ask for book recommendations from here on out, I will most likely just be responding to you with a link to this post). 🙂

This list in not all inclusive!  There are so many other books out there that I recommend in addition to these amazing titles but this is a great compilation with many of my absolute favorite books.

Grab a pencil so you can create your to-read list, grab cup of steaming hot coffee…and let’s get started (in no particular order):

 

I wrote a post last spring which includes 15 AWESOME books that I LOVED reading and highly recommend!  You can read that post HERE.

Another post with 12 amazing (and more current) books that I loved and recommend can be found in THIS POST.

5 of my most favorite psychological thrillers can be found HERE.

One of the best books I’ve ever read can be found HERE.

THIS BOOK and THIS BOOK are 2 of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.

THIS BOOK is awesome and I’m surprised it’s not more popular…??

I laughed, I sobbed, I loved THIS BOOK so much.

A lovely book about survival, friendship, and love can be found HERE.

HERE is a beautiful book about surrogacy, parenthood, and friendship.

My absolute favorite YA book can be found HERE.

Here are 5 books to read for your next book club.

One of the only books I’ve read twice can be found HERE.

Looking for a book series?  I love THIS ONE and THIS ONE.

This book is a BEAUTIFUL book about friendship that lasts through decades.

My favorite Liane Moriarty Books can be found HERE.

Looking for a nonfiction book?  I love this one!

A YA book with a beautiful but heavy topic can be found HERE.

My 2 favorite Kahled Hosseini books can be found HERE.

3 Older Books that I Recommend {Part 1}

3 Older Books That I Recommend {Part 2}

As for books that I’ve been enjoying lately, I would recommend THIS BOOK, THIS BOOK, and THIS BOOK (those are the 3 best books that I’ve read so far in 2020).

I hope all of you are healthy and safe during the Coronavirus quarantine.  This is such a strange time for everyone!  I hope these book suggestions might find you some peace and comfort during such an uncertain time.  There is a quote by Mason Cooley which says, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are” and never has that felt more true than right now.  Sending love to all of you.

Please feel free to share this post with friends, family, and on social media!

Xo,

Jenny

I would love to hear your thoughts on these book suggestions or on any other books that you would recommend in the comments!

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Why I Stopped Reading This Popular Book

This book is currently alllll over the book blogging community.  Everyone seems to be reading this popular book right now!  I was VERY excited 2.5 weeks ago when I found a lone copy sitting amongst our library’s newest releases.  It was the day before the quarantine started and I had a feeling in my gut that things were about to drastically change.  I had posted this on Facebook that day:

I left the library for the very last time that day with a huge stack of books in my hand and an uneasy feeling in my heart.

Of all of the books I brought home with me, this was the one I was most excited to read!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

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)

I didn’t finish reading it.

I LOVE reality tv….like, LOVE.  I also love Influencers, bloggers (obvi), YouTube Stars, etc.  This book topic is riiiiiiight up my alley.

So what was the problem?  Why did I stop reading?

This book toggles between 2 different time periods.  The present day (well 2015 so close enough) which discusses the makings of an influencer and gives the “behind the scenes” of how influencers are “created”.  Loved reading about this!  BUT…the other storyline takes place 35 years into the future.  Robots, devices being implanted into people so they can “see” things in their mind, etc.

Aaaaaaaaand I’m out.

Yes, the future story revolves around a reality tv star and how the world watches her every move which I loved reading about!  However, reading about all of the technical futuristic elements wasn’t for me.  In fact, it made me not want to continue reading.

Also, the author kept eluding to things without explaining them which was both frustrating and annoying.  I’m sure there would have been a big revel at some point where everything would be explained but I just wasn’t invested enough in this book to stick around and find out.

I’ve learned that the #1 reason for me to decide to not finish a book is when picking it up is something that I don’t look forward to doing.  When my favorite bobby starts to feel like a chore, that’s when I decide I’m done.  Too many good books out there!  Moving on.

This book isn’t bad and I 100 percent understand the infatuation that people have with it!  The storylines were interesting, creative, and I was just beginning to see the clever way they were starting to connect…but….unfortunately, it’s just not a book for me.

Bottom Line:

If you love reality tv, influencers, and reading about the future, give this book a try!  If you don’t, this is NOT a book for you.

And just for fun, here are some of my favorite reality tv shows:

The Bachelor/Bachelorette (side note…I hate the pick for the new Bachelorette…)

Big Brother

American Idol (Jon and I used to watch this religiously but haven’t in a few years.  No better time to jump back in like when you’re quarantined!  My family has binged this entire season over this quarantine and as of yesterday we are officially all caught up.  It took a few episodes to connect to these new judges and new format but I’m ALL IN now!  It’s a perfect and fun show to watch as a family, my 8 year old daughter is loving it.)  GO CYNIAH ELISE!

Anyone remember Bridalplasty?  LOVED IT.

Fun Fact:  I used to own box sets of the entire Flavor of Love series and JUST sold them at a garage sale a few years ago 🙂

Keeping up With the Kardashians, Real Housewives, anything on Bravo (Newlyweds the First Year was AWESOME), Teen Mom, etc.

The list goes on and on and on and on….told you I’m reality tv obsessed!

Do you watch reality tv?  Which is your fave?  Have you read Followers?  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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WWW #4 {Book Coffee Happy}

How are you all doing today?  I hope you are safe and healthy.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, reading and writing Book Coffee Happy are 2 things I can do to keep some normalcy during this most UNnormal time.

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly post!

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m starting this one today!  It’s currently allllllll over the book blogging world and I’ve read that it’s AWESOME!  Have any of you read it?  If so…NO SPOILERS!!!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

What did you recently finish reading?

Oh how I LOVED this book!  You can read the book synopsis and my full review HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I know absolutely nothing about this book but it caught my eye on the shelf at the library and I think it sounds great???  Have any of you read it?  Again…NO SPOILERS if you have 😉

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Claire sees Hannah Wilson at an exclusive Manhattan hair salon, it’s like a knife slicing through barely healed scars. It may have been ten years since Claire last saw Hannah, but she has thought of her every day, and not in a good way. So Claire does what anyone would do in her position—she stalks her.

Hannah is now Mrs. Carter, living the charmed life that should have been Claire’s. It’s the life Claire used to have, before Hannah came along and took it all away from her.

Back then, Claire was a happy teenager with porcelain skin and long, wavy blond hair. Now she’s an overweight, lazy drunk with hair the color of compost and skin to match. Which is why when Hannah advertises for a housekeeper, Claire is confident she can apply and not be recognized. And since she has time on her hands, revenge on her mind, and a talent for acting…

Because what better way to seek retribution—and redress—than from within the beautiful Mrs. Hannah Carter’s own home?

Except that it’s not just Claire who has secrets. Everyone in that house seems to have something to hide.

And now, there’s no way out.

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:

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Why I Stopped Reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo {Taylor Jenkins Reid}…But You Shouldn’t!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid came to me so incredibly highly recommended but once I started reading, I knew this book was just not for me.  However…I still highly recommend it!  Keep reading to see why!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it costs–to face the truth.

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)

EVERYONE loves this book. Let me stress this…EVERYONE.

When I posted a photo of this book on both Facebook and Instagram, the responses were overwhelmingly positive!  Not ONE single person said that they didn’t like it!  How rare is that?!

So I began to read.  In fact, I read 150 pages.

Taylor Jenkins Reid has such a way with words and writing beautiful stories.  Have you read One True Loves?  If not, you should.  I adored that book!

So here’s the thing…it took me over 40 years to realize this fact about myself but now that I know it, it is such a powerful tool when it comes to book selections.

I strongly dislike memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies.

Finishing Michelle Obama’s book felt like a chore (my thoughts on her book are HERE).  The book itself was beautifully written and her story was wonderfully interesting…I just found myself so bored with all of the details.  And this is EXACTLY the way that I felt about Evelyn Hugo.

Granted this book is NOT a memoir, autobiography, or a biography….but….the entire premise is this fictitious character her telling her entire life story to someone so that person can take it and write a tell all.  So pretty much the same thing.

I tried…I did…and it’s a LOVELY book…it’s just not for me.  HOWEVER, I would highly recommend it to others!  From what I did read, it was wonderful and well written.  This is NOT a negative review!  I personally just couldn’t get excited about hearing all of the details of her life and found myself so completely disconnected from all of it.  Exactly how I would feel reading any memoir, biography, or autobiography…

Once I decided to stop reading, I Googled the book summery so I could read how the rest of the book played out.  I’ll be honest…reading all of the details of this book make me even more confident in my decision to move on.

I so wish I enjoyed this genre!  I would be allllll over Jessica Simpson’s new book if I was…have any of you read it???

Bottom Line:

Evelyn Hugo was not a book for me…but might be a book for you!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  Do you enjoy reading memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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

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

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

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

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I SO Wish Authors Would Stop Doing This {Part 2}

I love authors and I have an incredible amount of respect for all they do.

However, there are certain things that I so wish they would stop doing!  You can read Part 1 of this series HERE.

Part 2 of this series will focus onnnn….drumroll please…

TOO MANY CHARACTERS!

Omg this is SUCH a pet peeve of mine.

I would so rather read a book with a handful of well developed characters than a book with so many characters that none of them are developed or even mentioned enough to make significant contributions to the story.

I hate, hate, HATE when I have to flip back through pages (I only read paper books) to try to figure out who a character is because there were just too many to keep straight.

I find this especially frustrating while reading thrillers.  I get it…there needs to be a fair amount of characters introduced so the “who done it” isn’t completely obvious.  However, it’s more than annoying to find out that the “who done it” turns out to be a meaningless character who I never even had the chance to get to “know” in the first place.  Nothing worse than a huge plot twist at the end revolving around an insignificant character.

What do you think?  Do you agree with me?  How many characters is too many?

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

And just an FYI because a few of you have asked…yes, I’m still reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!  I usually finish reading books must faster than this…but…I’ve been spending any and all of my quiet time on a Bachelor BINGE.  I was 5 episodes behind and it was time to just sit and BINGE so I would be caught up for the finale.  I’m alllllmost caught up but not quite so until I do, Evelyn Hugo is taking a backseat.  As soon as I’m all caught up to Bachelor nation, I will finish Evelyn!  My 2 spolier free thoughts on this season:

  1. This is the first season in the history of The Bachelor that I don’t have a favorite contestant and I haven’t had one all season.
  2. Peter has made some absolutely HORRIBLE choices.  Like…throughout entire time.

Do you watch the Bachelor?  Please NO SPOILERS and NO PREDICTIONS if you do!

Winner of the Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story About Trumpeter Swans Giveaway:

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

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***GIVEAWAY***Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story about Trumpeter Swans {Barbara Renner}

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

Synopsis:

Pen and Cob Swan listen as ice pops and crackles on the lake announcing the arrival of Spring. Realizing she will be laying her eggs soon, Pen urges Cob to find a place to nest. After being shooed away from a beaver’s lodge and muskrat’s den, they hurry to build their own home before it’s too late.

Coloring pages are included so children can interact with the swans’ search for a home. Facts about Trumpeter Swans make this book educational as well as entertaining.

An audio QR code allows the reader to hear the Trumpeter Swan’s call using a QR Code Reader App. This book is appropriate for ages 3 – 7.

My Thoughts:

When Barbara Renner first reached out to ask if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of her beautiful book, the teacher in me squealed with delight!  I taught elementary school for 14 years and was always on the hunt for interesting books to help me teach various topics.  I would have LOVED to have this book in my classroom!

The story is interesting, the pictures are colorful, and the simplistic way that it teaches about trumpeter swans is perfection.  Look at these beautiful pictures!

I read this book to my 4 year old son (and took a selfie for the blog mid word, lol).

Here were his thoughts:

“I liked seeing the baby swans swim. I learned that swans could fly. Swans could make their neck twist in a weird way! Swans have nests.”

There is a QR code included in this book which allows the reader to hear the sounds of real life trumpeter swans. My son and I were both surprised to hear how the swans sound! So different than how we thought they would! For the rest of the day my son walked around making swan sounds. I love that he learned such an interesting fact and clearly thought about it after we finished reading the book. Awesome.

Coloring pages, a QR code, a glossary of terms, AND a page of “interesting facts” all included alongside an informative story with beautiful pictures?!  This book is GREAT!

A Conversation with Barbara Renner, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

While visiting the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, one of the volunteers told me how the Trumpeter Swans were once on the endangered species list. In the 1980s Trumpeter Swan eggs were flown from Alaska to Minnesota to be incubated in an attempt to increase their population in that region. There are now more than 30 nesting pairs at the refuge. I thought this was fascinating and vowed to write a series of children’s book about the Trumpeter Swans.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

The target ages for my book are 3-7; however, since there are facts about Trumpeter Swans included in the book, it is a great resource for all ages, including teachers and parents who homeschool children.

Where can your book be purchased?

There are numerous stores in Minnesota that carry the Trumpeter Swan book, as well as the gift shops at Harriman State Park in Island Park, Idaho. The Barnes & Noble at Somerset Shopping Center is featuring my book at a special price from January 15 to April 15, 2020.

My book can also be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from my website, RennerWrites.com.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

I would consider my book to be entertaining, educational, and interactive.

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

I’m working on another fun Trumpeter Swan book that will be released the summer of 2020. It’s called SUMMER! TIME TO SEARCH FOR FOOD, A STORY ABOUT TRUMPETER SWANS. The main character, Cygie, is a juvenile swan, also known as a cygnet, who doesn’t want to dive for food because the water stings his nose. The story is about his quest for other sources of food without going underwater. As he encounters several obstacles, and becomes hungrier and hungrier, he finally discovers a way to dive for food without burning his nose.

I love to visit elementary schools as a guest author and facilitate writing activities. I also organize book fairs with other children’s book authors where four or five of us go into the classrooms, read our books, and present lessons.

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 signed copy of Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story of Trumpeter Swans?
I have 1 signed copy of to give away which will include the name of the child who will be receiving this book!
If you live in the US, the book will be mailed directly to your home.  If you live internationally, an electronic copy will be sent to you.

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 about the child(ren) in your life who would receive this book if you were to win (you don’t have to mention their name (s)!

**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 (2/3/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Wednesday’s blog post (2/4/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Wednesday 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!

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

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

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

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

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

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Book Review: The Wives {Tarryn Fisher}

Last week I wrote a post about how my impatience for reading this book momentarily outweighed my desire to maintain my clutter free home.  I literally couldn’t wait even 1 more day to read this one!

So I bought it.  And I read it.

Synopsis From the Back of the Book:

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life? And who is his mysterious third wife?

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)

2 Stars

This review is going to be nearly impossible to write without giving anything from the book away but I’ll just sum it up by saying this:

I really hated this book.

There is SO MUCH hype surrounding this book right now and I truly believe that it’s all due to exploring a topic which isn’t a very commonly addressed one.  I really think the hype is completely surrounding the topic and has nothing to do with this actual story.

The book synopsis sounds so amazing, right?  So here’s something that has never happened to me before…I’ve never read a book where the synopsis was SO MISLEADING as to what the book was actually about.

This book was hardly about polygamy at all!  I was looking for the juicy details behind this fascinating way some people choose to live their lives.

Side Note:  I could never be a part of a polygamist family.  I am an only child and sharing has NEVER been my strong suit.  Sharing my wonderful husband and beautiful children???  HARD NO.

If the topic of polygamy fascinates you, watch Sister Wives on TLC.  I’ve been watching it since the very beginning and it’s one of my favorite shows.  #teamchristine

Something else that has never happened to me before…I felt like that first half of this book was an entirely separate book from the second half!  Like…how does that even happen?! So weird.  For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the 1st half SIGNIFICANTLY more than the 2nd half and I didn’t even really enjoy the first half, lol.

The ONLY reason I am giving this 2 stars was that I DID enjoy Tarryn Fisher’s style of writing.  Short, easy to read chapters.  I quickly read through this one.  Also, this book DID provide a bit of thought provoking insight into the emotional aspect of polygamy…

Would any of my local readers like to own my copy of this book?  Obviously I have zero desire to read it again.  While I clearly don’t recommend it…if you would like it, it’s yours.  I can put it on my porch for you!  Just leave a comment down below on this post  telling me that you want it and I’ll randomly choose a “winner” (notice winner is in quotation marks because I truly don’t consider this book a prize, lol).  Check my post on Monday to see if you’ve “won”!

Bottom Line:

A perfect example of why some books just don’t deserve the hype they receive.

Xo,

Jenny

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

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

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