Sunday, January 12, 2020

Starting over at Blueberry Creek by Annie Rains

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated aer 100% my own. 

About the book-


Firefighter Luke Marini moved to the small town of Sweetwater Springs with the highest of hopes - new town, new job, and new neighbors who know nothing of his past. And that's just how he wants to keep it. But it's nearly impossible when the gorgeous brunette next door decides to be the neighborhood welcome wagon. She's sugar, spice, and everything nice - but getting close to someone again is playing with fire.

Brenna McConnell put college on hold to raise her little sister. Now that Eve is grown, Brenna is ready to leave Blueberry Creek and finish what she started. Moving on isn't easy, however, when her gruff new neighbor gives Eve a dangerous firefighting job. And yet, even as Brenna is telling him off for putting her sister in harm's way, she can't deny the sizzling chemistry between them. She put her dreams on hold once. Is she willing to make that sacrifice again for a chance at forever?


My thoughts-

Annie Rains really tugs at my heartstrings with all of these books in the Sweetwater Springs series. I always look forward to her next book and the next couple I get to be swept away with. Starting over at Blueberry Creek had the added element of the main character's love interest being a Firefighter. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Luke and Brenna, who live next door to each other, unfold. I also enjoyed the secondary story of Brenna's sister becoming a firefighter. It is good to see a strong young woman doing what she wants in this world, no matter what anyone else thinks! I, of course, also LOVED seeing snippets of many of my favorite characters from the other series drop in to the story! I was sad when the book was over, but I saw a few little snippets of possible romance that could be future books in this series, so I will be patiently waiting for the next installment! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sweet, (mostly) innocent romance novels. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan by Liesl Clark & Rebecca Rockefeller

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated aer 100% my own. 

About the book-

In 2013, when friends Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller launched the first Facebook Buy Nothing Project group in their small town off the coast of Seattle, they never expected it to become a viral sensation. Today there are thousands of Buy Nothing groups all over the world, boasting more than a million members, and 5,000 highly active volunteers.

In their island community, Clark and Rockefeller discovered that the beaches of Puget Sound were spoiled by a daily influx of plastic items and trash washing on shore. From pens and toothbrushes to toys and straws, they wondered, where did it all come from? Of course, it comes from us—our homes, our backyards, our cars, and workplaces. And so, a rallying cry against excess stuff was born.

Inspired by the ancient practice of gift economies, where neighbors share and pool resources, The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan introduces an environmentally conscious 7-step guide that teaches us how to buy less, give more, and live generously. At once an actionable plan and a thought-provoking exploration of our addiction to stuff, this powerful program will help you declutter your home without filling landfills, shop more thoughtfully and discerningly, and let go of the need to buy new things. Filled with helpful lists and practical suggestions including 50 items you never need to buy (Ziploc bags and paper towels) and 50 things to make instead (gift cards and salad dressing), The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan encourages you to rethink why you shop and embrace a space-saving, money-saving, and earth-saving mindset of buying less and sharing more.


My thoughts-

I am a part of my local Buy Nothing group on Facebook. I always thought it was a fantastic idea so I was excited to learn more about what (and who) started the movement. I absolutely loved the book. I got some new ideas to present to my local book and some new ideas for my own giving and well being. I like that this is a step by step guide for spending less and giving more. I am so glad that the Buy Nothing Movement exists and I am hoping that this book will help it go even more viral.

To Drink and To Eat by Guillaume Long

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange from my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

If you want to take your culinary skills from cook to master chef, you’ll need to know a few things. Where can you get not just good, but the best wild garlic? What are the tried-and-true utensils every master chef’s kitchen should have? Which recipe should you have in your back pocket for preparing to perfection at a moment’s notice? What are the best wine pairings for your next dinner party? Aspiring chefs who need new tricks in the kitchen: You’re not alone. Guillaume Long has asked and answered all your culinary questions.

My thoughts-

This was a fun way to present a book about cooking. I enjoyed the comics, but more importantly I enjoyed the tips and tricks for better culinary skills and the few recipes that were included. My husband booked a trip to Paris for us this summer that he gave me for Christmas so this was a good book to kick off the relentless French and Parisian reading I will inevitably be doing for the next five months. This is definitely a cookbook for someone who enjoys books with a graphic component. I recommend it to Francophiles, Graphic Novel fans, and fans of cooking. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Everything Mediterranean Instant Pot Cookbook by Kelly Jaggers

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-


300 easy, healthy Mediterranean recipes for the most popular kitchen appliance—the Instant Pot—perfect for anyone following the Mediterranean diet!

The Mediterranean diet is celebrated all over the world for its fresh and healthy ingredients, vibrant flavors, and complex recipes. Following this diet can help you reduce inflammation, avoid disease, and lose weight, making it popular for anyone looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

The Everything Mediterranean Instant Pot Cookbook shows you how to recreate classic Mediterranean meals in under an hour using the much-loved multi-cooker, the Instant Pot. With more than 300 recipes for delicious meals, snacks, and even desserts, you’ll have everything you need to create healthy, fresh, and fast meals every day of the week.


My thoughts-

The Mediterranean diet is arguably one of the best- if not the actual best- diets in existence. There is a huge focus on vegetables and fresh ingredients. The best thing about the Mediterranean diet is the delicious meals you can make and still eat in a way that is good for your body. If you have been around this blog for a while you will know I adore my Instant Pot. It is one of my most frequently used kitchen tools and I have several cookbooks devoted to this awesome little cooker. I book marked so many recipes in this book that I absolutely can not wait to try. The dessert section at the end made me happy because there were several delicious sounding desserts that were fruit based and used natural sweeteners to make them more healthy.  There are so many recipes included here that there is definitely something for everyone! My absolute favorite find in this book is a Greek lemon chicken soup called Avgolemono. My local Greek restaurant serves this soup and it is one of my favorite things on the menu and I am excited to be able to make it at home! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys eating healthy! 

You Matter. By Matthew Emerzian

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

You matter. Not because of what you earn or how you look or what you’ve achieved, but because you are inherently valuable. Author Matthew Emerzian takes this seemingly simple premise and shows readers how truly understanding their own worth will change every aspect of their lives. You Matter is a call to empathy and a joyous celebration of the value of each and every person.
The book is structured into three sections, each of which expands the concept in ever widening ripples. In the first section, “I Matter,” readers come to terms with their own worth, in “You Matter” that awareness expands to acknowledge and celebrate the value of the people around us, and finally in “We Matter” Emerzian explores the power of a thriving community with those around us. Each chapter features exercises, journal prompts, and conversation starters to help readers dive deeper.
Author Matt Emerzian is the founder of Every Monday Matters, a not-for-profit dedicated to spreading the message of self-worth and compassion to people throughout the world. Every week 1.2 million people—from elementary school children to employees at national corporations—engage with ideas and concepts from Every Monday Matters.

My thoughts-

Self help books are hit or miss for me. I either find them incredibly dull or deeply engaging. This is the first self help book I have read in a while that I couldn't put down. I love the positive vibes throughout the book about how to make your mark in this world by doing what you can because you matter! Part memoir- I enjoyed the bits about the author's life- both about people have helped him in some way or people he has helped in some way, and it seems like these meetings always seem to end into friendships. Mr. Emerzian shows us through various stories of his how we can make differences in small ways by something as simple as striking up a conversation with a stranger in a Starbucks, as well as to search within ourselves for what comes naturally to us and use that to contribute to the world. I absolutely love the message behind this book. I recommend it to anyone trying to find their place in this world. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Seven years after her husband's death -- six since she read his final letter -- Holly Kennedy has moved on with her life. When Holly's sister asks her to tell the story of the "PS, I Love You" letters on her podcast -- to revisit the messages Gerry wrote before his death to read after his passing -- she does so reluctantly, not wanting to reopen old wounds.

But after the episode airs, people start reaching out to Holly, and they all have one thing in common: they're terminally ill and want to leave their own missives behind for loved ones. Suddenly, Holly finds herself drawn back into a world she's worked tirelessly to leave behind -- but one that leads her on another incredible, life-affirming journey.


My thoughts-

I had no idea that Cecelia Ahern was writing a sequel to P.S. I Love You until I saw it online. I was so excited and couldn't wait to read it! It was so good. It has the same heart and soul as the original and allowed us the chance to get to know Holly again seven years after she lost Gerry. There is also plenty of Gerry in this book, even some peeks into their early relationship that we didn't get in the first book which was wonderful! Postscript is both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I absolutely loved it and read it quickly since I couldn't put it down. The journey Holly finds herself on is an interesting one and if you loved the first book you will most definitely love Postscript

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Seperation Anxiety by Laura Zigman

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.
Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.
Wickedly funny and surprisingly tender, Separation Anxiety offers a frank portrait of middle-aged limbo, examining the ebb and flow of life’s most important relationships. Tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.

my thoughts-

I listened to an audio snippet of the first chapter of this book and knew I had to read the whole thing. I kind of wish there was an advanced audio copy because this would have been a fantastic book on audio and that is coming from someone who usually doesn't like fiction on audio. I am at a time in my life where my anxiety levels are extremely high and for me, humor and laughter get me through a lot, so this kind of exaggerated account not only brought out the humor for me but was actually semi-relatable on some level. There were many funny scenarios throughout the book but my favorite came at the end at the dog park. I thought in the end that this dysfunctional book was even a bit heartwarming. I recommend this book If you like a good laugh.