I’m a Page 1 Ambassador!

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Last week I found out that I was chosen to be a Page 1 Ambassador and I could not be any more excited! I have been curious about their subscription service for quite some time and when they opened up the program to new applicants, I jumped at the chance!

When you sign up for a Page 1 subscription, you fill out a questionnaire that asks a variety of questions to help the staff pick out the perfect book for you. The titles are hand-picked, loving chosen and wrapped, and sent out at the beginning of each month.

Here’s my favorite part: Page 1 GUARANTEES your happiness. If you don’t like the book they send you, or you’ve already read it, simply let them know and they’ll send out a replacement as soon as possible. No need to return the original book back…they just ask you to pass it along. I LOVE that policy!!

Throughout the next three months, you’ll be seeing lots of posts from me about Page 1. At some point, I’ll even be hosting a giveaway for one FREE 3-month subscription! If you’ve been curious about Page 1 for awhile, now is the time to give them a try – click here and use the promo code HAPPIEST for 10% off your first box! I hope you’ll join me!

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My Week in Books (3/11/19)

FullSizeRender(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, Scribner, Skyhorse Publishing, Get Red PR, Algonquin, and Red Lightning Books for the free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

We’re gearing up for a major blizzard around here, so thank goodness I had this post pretty much written already! The forecast is calling for 8-10″, but here’s the kicker: 60 MPH winds! If my family weren’t ranchers with cattle and mama cows having babies, I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned. In fact, I’d probably be rejoicing at the potential reading time…but, not so much in this case. I’m heading out to help my dad move his cattle into corrals and getting some grocery shopping done…checking on my 90-year-old grandparents and making sure they’re prepared with food and medicine. It’s gonna get interesting this week around here!

Last Week’s Reads:

 

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Currently Reading/Listening:

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  • A Grip of Time by: Lauren Kessler (Red Lightning Books) Pub Date: May 1, 2019
    • I started reading this one before I realized the publishing date is a little ways out there! Haha! When I realized that, I tried to pause it to read closer to May, but it’s too good for me to stop! A non-fiction book about a woman who starts a writing group in a prison, it’s an interesting look into a few prisoners’ lives. It also gives some interesting background history of the prison systems.
  • Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Random House) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I may have almost cried happy tears the day this book finally showed up on my doorstep! I read between basketball games yesterday and I’m hooked. Dang blizzard! I just wanna sit all day and finish this one! I also think the audiobook version of this one would be amazing! Stay tuned for a review as soon as possible!

Likely to Read Next:

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  • Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams (Orion Publishing) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • This one should be arriving in my mailbox today (Thank you, Book of the Month Club…here’s an affiliate link if you’d like to join and trust me – you do!) It’s been described as a mix between Americanah (hello, still haven’t read this one 🤦🏼‍♀️) and Bridgette Jones’ Diary. I’ve seen mostly positive reviews so far…it releases next Tuesday!
  • The Things We Cannot Say by: Kelly Rimmer (Graydon House) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • This one also releases next Tuesday. A WWII historical fiction novel about the Nazis moving into Russian territory. It promises secrets and love and loyalty and perseverance – all things I love in a novel!

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

February 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

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{#partner #freebook: THE LAST ROMANTICS and THE HUNTRESS (William Morrow Books via TLCBookTours), SUCH GOOD WORK (Simon & Schuster), THE BEANTOWN GIRLS (Lake Union Publishing via GetRedPR), AMERICAN SPY (Random House), LONG LIVE THE TRIBES OF FATHERLESS DAUGHTERS (Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley), THE ART OF LEAVING (HarperCollins via NetGalley), HOW TO BE LOVED (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley), VACUUM IN THE DARK (Scribner via NetGalley) All opinions are my own!}

Many of you said that January felt like it went on forever, but I’m gonna have to say that it felt like February was never-ending for me! It looks like I made it, and nonetheless, I had a good (but not great) reading month!

  • If you’re looking for a good family drama:
    • The Last Romantics by: Tara Conklin (William Morrow)
      • I loved this dramatic story about four siblings so much. It totally reminded me of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (my review here), one of my favorite books of 2017! 
  • If you’re looking for a book with a new perspective on the refugee crisis:
    • Such Good Work by: Johannes Lichtman (Simon & Schuster)
      • This book has so many interesting themes: addiction, finding yourself and your purpose, and the refugee crisis with a fresh perspective. This book challenged me to think a lot about my personal beliefs.
  • If you’re looking for a good psychological thriller (with a big twist at the end):
    • The Silent Patient by: Alex Michaelides (Celadon)
      • I don’t generally like the thriller/mystery genre, but I loved this one. It’s a great psychological thriller with several twists (one big one I missed)…and I think this book made me realize that I can handle this genre if it has that great psychological component.
  • If you’re looking for a quick and engaging read: 
    • Evidence of the Affair by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Amazon Original Stories)
      • This novella was everywhere at the end of last year. I love TJR anyway, so when I saw it while browsing Amazon, I took a chance. It’s a quick read (less than an hour) and it was amazing how concisely TJR was able to complete a full story. 
  • If you’re looking for a strong, female protagonist:
    • American Spy by: Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)
      • I wanted to love this one more than I did…and in hindsight, I like it more the further I get away from it. The concept of the story was amazing, but I wanted more of the spy story. Instead, it was more of a for her children – so they would know how things led up to their current lives should their mother die due to her occupation. It was good; it just wasn’t what I was expecting and I think that threw me off. 
  • If you’re looking for a book that talks about timely (thought-provoking) social justice issues: 
    • Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by: Stephanie Land (Hachette Books)
      • ** #unpopularopinion alert ** This wasn’t the book for me. While I appreciate the attention Land tries to bring to various social injustices, her delivery fell far short for me. Most people have appreciated this one way more than I did, so don’t let my opinion sway you from picking it up and seeing for yourself.
  • If you’re looking for a book that gives you hope that female friendships are worth the hassle:
    • How to Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship by: Eva Hagberg Fisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
      • An unexpected surprise, this book brought back so much from when my mama battled cancer. I appreciated the way Fisher was able to convey that emotion in her writing. Also, as someone that has always struggled with female relationships, this book offered a hopeful perspective towards fostering those women relationships and learning to accept help from others (something hard for me to do!).
  • If you’re looking for an incredibly engaging memoir that reads like fiction:
    • The Art of Leaving: A Memoir by: Ayelet Tsabari (HarperCollins)
      • Another unexpected surprise, but I loved this memoir of a Jewish-Yemeni woman who struggles to find her place in the world. I lived vicariously through her whimsical figure-it-out-later attitude and appreciated seeing her growth as she came of age. Tsabari is a phenomenal writer and I continually had to remind myself that this was a true story because it really read like fiction.
  • If you’re looking for an oddly humorous book:
    • Vacuum in the Dark by: Jen Beagin (Scribner)
      • Hmm…all I can say is “whoa”. This one was truly a bit much for me; it wasn’t my favorite. Had it not been a galley I most likely would have DNF’d it. This book also made me realize I need to be cautious about books that are labeled ‘humorous” because I rarely think they’re funny. Like David Sedaris? I want to love his books, but I don’t. I know I’m in the minority – and I’d love to be in the majority here – but I’m not. Oh well. Sigh. 
  • If you’re looking for a book that pulls at your heartstrings:
    • Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Daughters by: T Kira Madden (Bloomsbury Publishing)
      • Loved, loved, loved this memoir of a young girl’s coming of age story. She lives in Florida and both of her parents struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. There’s an intense chapter regarding a sexual assault she experienced at a young age, but her writing is important and, I believe, fights the social stigma surrounding victims that don’t feel safe talking about their trauma. I loved Madden’s writing style, and I still think of her story days after finishing reading it. (I’ll have my full review in March.)
  • If you’re looking for a great historical fiction novel about female bombers in WWII:
    • The Huntress by: Kate Quinn (William Morrow)
      • This one didn’t quite capture my heart like Quinn’s previous novel, The Alice Network (my review here). While I love books about WWII with strong female characters, for some reason I remained disconnected from this story. I can’t exactly pinpoint it, and I do believe I’m definitely in the minority here, because all the reviews I’ve seen so far are singing its praises. The writing is great, the characters are charming, and the story is intense. Take my opinion with a grain of salt and give this one a try if you enjoyed The Alice Network.
  • If you’re looking for a great historical fiction novel with a fresh perspective you haven’t heard before:
    • The Beantown Girls by: Jane Healey (Lake Union Publishing)
      • Just when I think I’ve heard all the angles from WWII fiction, I find a book that adds a new twist. The Beantown Girls is about women who volunteered to go overseas during WWII to boost the morale of soldiers by serving them donuts and coffee. I had never heard about the “Red Cross Clubmobile Girls”, but I’m glad I got a chance to learn about them! This book was light and sweet – a change up from the usual themes of this genre. I loved the girls and this story left my heart feeling warm. (I’ll have my full review in March.)
  • For the one who loves a healthy does of inspiration from one #badasslady:
    • Notorious RGB: The Life & Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by: Iran Carmon & Shana Knizhnik (Day Street)
      • With the current state of our country’s politics, this was an endearing read about a major female #badass that has helped forge our current laws, specifically those affecting women. RBG is a fearless female crusader and I loved reading about her life – leading up to and since – her Supreme Court appointment. #loveliveRBG
  • For the one who needs a palate cleanser and prefers the thriller genre for that purpose: 
    • Social Creature by: Tara Isabella Burton (Doubleday)
      • Holy cow, this book is creepy! If this has ever happened in real life, I’m terrified. What a wild ride this book was. The writing is quick and easy, but still keeps the reader wondering how this would wrap up. I liked the readers quick and precise writing because it kept the story moving at a fast pace and refused to let me put it down.
  • If you’re looking for a middle grade book to read with your daughter:
    • Louisiana’s Way Home by: Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
      • My 11-year-old daughter and I still love to read aloud to each other and this book was perfect. It presents themes of belonging, being true to yourself, and finding “home” – wherever that may be. My daughter definitely liked it better than me, but I appreciate the conversations this fostered for us.

My favorite book of February was (hands down) THE LAST ROMANTICS…LOVED it.

What was your favorite read of February?

My Week in Books (2/25/19)

(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, Scribner, for free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

Last Week’s Reads:

  • Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Daughters: A Memoir by T Kira Madden (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
  • Vacuum in the Dark by Jen Beagin (Scribner) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019
    • I’m truly not sure how I felt about this book…I’m still trying to work through some of my thoughts. I’ll post a more comprehensive review soon, so stay tuned!
  • Louisiana’s Way Home by: Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
    • My daughter (11-years-old) and I still love to read books aloud with each other. It gives us an easy way to open up some great discussions. She liked this one a lot; it was okay to me. I’m usually a fan of middle school books, and this one has received great reviews, but I felt disconnected from it.
  • The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey (Lake Union Publishing)
    • I read this one soon for an upcoming Instagram feature via TLC Book Tours. I’ll have a full review for you later this week!
  • The Huntress by Kate Quinn (William Morrow) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019
    • I LOVED Quinn’s novel, The Alice Network, from last year so it was a no-brainer for me to pick this one up. I’m about 200 pages in and enjoying it, though it has started off slower than The Alice Network did for me. With about 300 pages to still go, I’m hoping it picks up steam! Stay tuned for a review soon!
  • Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by: Mitchell S. Jackson (Scribner) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • This is an #DNF for me at 56%. I loved Part One, felt super confused (maybe not smart enough?) for Part Two, and disinterested by Part Three. I gave it a valiant try, but it just wasn’t for me.

Currently Reading/Listening:

  • **Shameless plug** I was a guest on Sarah’s Book Shelves Live podcast last week, and I still can’t get over how much fun it was! At first I was terrified, but Sarah made it so easy and I felt like I was chatting away on the phone with a good friend. I’d love if you checked out my episode here!
  • Social Creature by: Tara Isabella Burton (Doubleday)
    • After DNFing Survival Math, I needed a palate cleanser. I usually have luck with the thriller/mystery genre. I was excited to see my digital loan from the library came in for this one. I’m about 34% in and it’s quick paced and entertaining. I’m invested enough to see how this one ends, though I have my suspicions.

Likely to Read Next (can you tell I’m a total #moodreader?):

  • The Island of Sea Girls by: Lisa See (Scribner) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I haven’t read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, but I have yet to see a bad review. It’s on my list, but in the meantime, I’m going to try this novel by See. Stay tuned!
  • Dying: A Memoir by: Cory Taylor (Text Publishing)
    • I’m a sucker for memoir, especially ones about cancer and dying. Morbid? Maybe. But I soak these up after losing my own mama to cancer five years ago. Somehow, it makes me feel closer to her as I relate some of the things back to my (our) experience. She wasn’t a writer, so this feels like I’m gaining insight to what she possibly felt/dealt with. Also, the cover of the copy I have is so good!
  • The Queen of the Night by: Alexander Chee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
    • Chee’s memoir, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, was one of my favorite books of the year last year! I’ve heard this book is phenomenal, but I had no idea how thick it is…I may only be able to “speed date” it and come back to it later if I’m enjoying it, but who knows? If I get sucked in as fast as I did with his other book, I’ll have it finished before I know it!
  • We Cast A Shadow by: Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World)
    • Yes, this is STILL on my list!! Already getting rave reviews from Liberty Hardy, I have to read this one ASAP! From the synopsis: This electrifying, suspenseful novel is at once a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story.

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

My Week in Books (2/18/19)

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(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scribner, One World, and Bloomsbury (some via NetGalley), for the free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

Last Week’s Reads:

  • Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by: Stephanie Land (Hachette Books) – Pub Date: January 22, 2019
    • I wasn’t as excited about this memoir as most people seem to be. While this book is honest and an important addition to the social injustices of economic inequality in our country, I found myself almost too annoyed with Land and some of her decisions to really be able to relate to the book. You can read my full review here.
  • How to Be Loved: A Memoir by: Eva Hagberg Fisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Pub Date: February 5, 2019
  • The Art of Leaving: A Memoir by: Ayelet Tsabari (HarperCollins) – Pub Date: February 19, 2019
    • I finished this beautiful memoir about a Jewish-Yemeni and her coming-of-age story through her two mandatory years in the Isreal Defense Forces, traveling around the world, and navigating through the grief of her father. I will have a full review posted on Tuesday!
  • Audio: My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels #1) by: Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions) – Pub Date: September 25, 2012
    • While I think this book is polarizing (you’re either really into it or really not), I started this one as an audiobook on my drive home from out of town. I was really enjoying it, but when I tried again, I couldn’t get back into it. I’m DNFing it for now, but have plans to revisit the paperback on my shelf before making a final decision. I’m hoping this is just a case of right book, wrong time.

Currently Reading/Listening:

  • Vacuum in the Dark by: Jen Beagin (Scribner) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019
    • Not gonna lie: the cover is what drew me to this one! I’m about 5% in and not quite sure if it’s for me; however, I do think it’ll be a quick read…stay tuned!
  • Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Daughters: A Memoir by: T Kira Madden (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • This one got tabled for the week as I tried to get through some other galleys that came through with earlier publishing dates. I’m excited to return to these stories because I was really enjoying them!
  • Audio: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugarby: Cheryl Strayd (Random House Audio) – Pub Date: July 10, 2012
    • Yes, I’m slow…but in my defense, I don’t have a work commute everyday and, generally speaking, my children are in the car with me when I am driving. And this book is not for kids’ ears! However, I’m LOVING it so much, I bought the paperback because there’s so much gold here, I want to be able to underline and meditate upon some of Strayd’s wisdom.

Likely to Read Next:

  • The Huntress by: Kate Quinn (William Morrow) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019
    • The Alice Network was one of my favorite books a couple years ago, so I can’t wait to see what Quinn does in this one!
  • We Cast A Shadow by: Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019
    • From the synopsis: This electrifying, suspenseful novel is at once a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. I did’t get to this one yet, but it’s still on my radar!

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?