Books, Books, Books!

As the delicious smell of Twisted Peppermint fills my living room, I have so many book related updates to blog about and share with you!

Last October, I was invited to attend a Midwest Writers Association meeting.  The discussion topic was “expressing your passion” and how a writer discovers and applies that passion into his/her writing.  It was such a wonderful experience (You can read about that night here). A few weeks ago, I was once again invited to attend one of their meetings as the topic of this particular meeting was blogging and using blogs to promote yourself.  I felt so honored to be included and I loved being able to share some of the knowledge that I’ve gained through writing my blog. 

The meeting was held at a local independent bookstore.  Oh how I just love local independent bookstores!

We met in their beautiful event room and I loved spending the morning in the company of such wonderful authors, bloggers, and writers.  Thank you so much for including me, Midwest Writers Association!  You can read more about this lovely group of people here.

Do you remember a few months ago when I happily took a few books from our local library book stand at one of our community buildings?  My kids and I were there dropping something off last week and of course we spent a long time looking through the current selection.

Unfortunately none of the adult books called to me so I didn’t take any for myself.  My kids, however, got some great books!

I told my kids that they were each allowed to choose 1 item.  My son chose a frog book and my daughter chose a brand new (factory sealed!) math bingo game.  I was DELIGHTED to find the first book in the Little House series for my daughter!  Oh how I LOVED this series, I can’t wait for her to read them.  I also grabbed The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby for her since it is written by the same author as her current book series obsession: Dogman!

If you follow me onInstagram, you saw that I found this classic at a Little Free Library a few days ago! I happily added this along with the Little House book to the box of classic books I’m collecting for when my daughter is a bit older.  Love.

Present for my Niece’s 10th Birthday:

She loved them. 🙂

As for me, I’m currently reading this book:

The release date isn’t until January and I feel extraordinarily lucky that I was able to receive an Advance Reader’s Copy.  I absolutely love Mary Kubica.  While you are waiting for The Other Mrs. to be released, I strongly recommend reading this one.   SO, SO GOOD. 

Check out these 2 gorgeous childrens books that have recently been sent to me. I can’t wait to read these with my kids! Full blog reviews (and giveaways!) coming to the blog soon!

And lastly, my daughter was in a play last week (she was awesome and I cried) and here are the flowers I bought for her.  They are full of glitter because she’s 7 and there’s not much cooler to a 7 year old than a bouquet of all glitter flowers.  #momwin

What are you (or your children) currently reading?  Please share in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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Book Series Review: Slightly Series {Wendy Markham}

Wendy Markham’s Slightly Series is an adorable book series.  I have my review below but first…

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?

Ours was filled with family time, pool time, and friends time.  AKA: perfection!  As I posted on Instagram, I baked these cupcakes for my besties and their families over the weekend and they were a hit!

I love baking 🙂

As I was thinking of a book to review for you today, I remembered this adorable book series that I LOVED reading many years ago.  Have you heard of this series?

There are 5 total books in Wendy Markham’s Slightly Series:

Book 1: Slightly Single

Book 2: Slightly Settled

Book 3: Slightly Engaged

Book 4: Slightly Married

Book 5: Slightly Suburban

Synopsis from Goodreads:

(This is the synopsis from Book #1: Slightly Single)

A heat wave in Manhattan is enough to drive a girl crazy, and for Tracey Spadolini, a 24-year old New York transplant who’s been “left behind” for the summer, there’s even more to sweat about. Her Slightly Significant Other, Will, will be returning from summer stock in September, to pick up where they left off. (Or will he?)

But, in the days after Will’s departure, Tracey decides it’s time for a reality check. Her un-air-conditioned East Village apartment is a dump, her entry-level ad job sucks, her thighs don’t seem to be getting any thinner, and Will seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. So, Tracey, with the help of her friends and one very attentive guy, decides to spend her summer reinventing herself . . . and taking a chance on liking the new woman she becomes.

A refreshingly honest account of universal female dilemmas, Slightly Single is an engaging story of one young woman’s search for 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)

I read this entire series over the course of a few weeks riiiiiiiight around the time I got engaged, planning my wedding, and was house hunting in suburbia while trying to sell my “single girl” condo in the city.  It was the PERFECT time to read these books and I loved going through all of the major life milestones right alongside the main character (not a spoiler…see book titles above).

My personal life was an amazing whirlwind between 2009 and 2010.  I got engaged, planned my wedding, sold my condo in Chicago, moved back home with my parents in the suburbs for 3 months, got married, went on our honeymoon, closed on our house 3 days after we returned, moved in with Jon in his apartment in Chicago, and finally…we left the city together and moved into our suburban home.  All while working full time.  It was such a crazy, stressful, exhausting, and AMAZING chapter in my life!

I LOVED reading this book series throughout that time!  I bought the first 3 books all at once knowing I was going to love them…and I so did.  The bookstore didn’t have the other 2 books in stock and so I immediately ordered them online (Fun Fact: I believe this to be my very first ever online purchase (it was 2009), lol).

Much like with this series, I do have to wonder if I would love these books as much today now that I’m in my (very early) 40’s as much as I did when I was in my (very early) 30’s???  I don’t remember specific details of these books but I believe a major part of the appeal was that the characters were experiencing all of life’s major milestones right along side me.

Bottom Line:

Light, cute, easy reads…especially if you are in the middle of these major life milestones.

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

Check back here on Wednesday….I have an INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY that I’ll be hosting for an adorable book!  Can’t wait!

Xo,

Jenny

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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





Book Reviews: Winter Series (Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, Winter Solstice) {Elin Hilderbrand}

Thank you all so much for your kind words on yesterday’s post, 4 Best Friends, 1 Alma Mater. That post came straight from my heart and it makes me so happy that many of you reached out to tell me how much you enjoyed reading it.  I loved writing it. 🙂

I’m excited to share today’s reviews with you!  I love this book series so much and it doesn’t get nearly enough of the recognition that it deserves.

There are 4 total books in the Winter Street series (need to be read in order).  Book #1: Winter Street: A Novel Book #2: Winter Stroll (Winter Street) Book #3: Winter Storms (Winter Street) Book #4: Winter Solstice (Winter Street Book 4) (affliliates).

My blog review is about the series as a whole (no spoilers given!) but the Goodreads synopsis is strictly summarizing book #1 to give you an idea of what this series is about.

winter2

Synopsis from Goodreads (Book #1: Winter Street):

In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.

Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.

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

This is going to be a strange holiday season for me without a visit with my favorite fictional family, the Quinns.  For the past 4 years, I have enjoyed the next installment of this lovely series during the month of December.  I LOVE the holiday season, and these books have become a holiday staple for me!  I waited to read each of them during December and I believe they were even more special because of it.

These books are very short, the writing is absolutely nothing award winning, there truly is zero depth into anything…BUT there is something so special about these characters and this charming little inn that had me waiting all year to return to Winter Street.

These are quick yet lovely reads and the further I read into the series, the more connected to the characters I became.  A fun surprise was a visit from a character from another of Hilderbrand’s novels which I had previously read and loved (The Rumor) in the last book of this series (Winter Solstice)!  I love when authors do that and are able to connect characters and story lines from their different works together!

When I finished the last book of this series, I felt an immediate emptiness…I was already missing spending time with the Quinns. Whether you start reading these now and finish by the holidays or whether you wait and read 1 each year during December as I did, you will absolutely fall in love with this family.

Bottom Line

Quick, easy, and delightful holiday season reads

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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