Being the BEST we can be!

Remember when I said a couple of weeks ago that my goal this year is to be the best I can for myself, my kids & my husband. One of my steps to accomplishing this is soaking in as much information as I can to help shift my mindset and thinking! The past couple of weeks besides listening to some podcasts as I am folding laundry I have been reading a couple books.

These two books have definitely reminded me about some things I already knew and enlightened me with some others. I definitely recommend these if you need a reminder of how amazing you are and how to just prioritize the things that mean the most to you and how to slow down!

You are a Badass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book got 4 stars from me, So much greatness! The hardest part is believing in yourself and GOD and leading that happy life! Do what you were made to do! Yes some may think, yeah ok, life doesn’t work that way, but it could, make the changes you need to if you want life to work that way, or heck…BELIEVE!

Slow Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book also got 4 stars from me. Initially it wasn’t what I was expecting but more times than not it got me thinking on how I need to slow down and let the little things happen and embrace and enjoy them. Life is too short. Our babies do not need to grow up that fast.. let them be kids and enjoy it with them…it goes so fast.

As I write this, “Our babies do not need to grow up that fast.. let them be kids” I remember how the society is also making them grow up so fast, what happened to playing in Kindergarten? My 5 year olds are coming home basically doing algebra (no joke! if you saw what my daughter was scrawling on a piece of paper you would think it was something she took from an older child, not from copying in class) and reading chapter books (or we have to read it to them, but STILL). We need to not let society and our task lists rush us through those little moments that might means so much to our littles because it just isn’t the right time.

Don’t get me wrong, I say these things all the time but as the next day comes and the hustle and bustle starts the day is over and I accomplished very little and rushed my kids and DID NOT slow down and enjoy the picture they drew me or “fully” watched or looked at what they wanted me to see. I am making it every effort to keep this in the front of my mind and be mindful of what I really want. I want to enjoy and remember the little moments, see their smile when I took the two seconds to fully look while I am trying to make dinner or check something else off that list.

I don’t know what is next, what I will listen to, what I will read, but I know each day I am trying to be aware of the things around me and try to not get wrapped up in the mundane but enjoy life, my kids, husband and all around family a little more!

I encourage you to try and be mindful of the things you rush with your kids because it is “slowing” you down, take a deep breath and SLOW DOWN. Enjoy those moments because before you know it they will be gone. My kids are 3 and 5 now and looking back, knowing who I am, I rushed and missed too much! BUT there is so much more ahead and I plan to enjoy it the best and most I can.

Thanks for reading 🙂

A Little Bit Cupid

I don’t know about you all, but I am a sucker for a good love story and when I saw this book, I was like awww cute! I had high hopes for this and I wasn’t let down (I mean look at that cute cover!!!)

This was a free kindle book and was only 84 pages but I still loved it 🙂

A Little Bit Cupid

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Goodreads: 3.48 stars

Finding love should be easy, but wedding photographer Phoebe Ward knows better. When Cupid shows up on a crazy mission to help her —and save the world in the process—Phoebe realizes love might be even more complicated than she thought. Even with Cupid showing her Mr. Right , she can’t stop thinking about his best friend, Mr. Wrong.

Cal Crawford has never had time for love, but now he’s falling for Phoebe. Which means it’s got to be just plain wrong to set her up with his best friend, right? But even though seeing Phoebe with someone else will break his heart, he can’t walk away from her.

Phoebe can’t afford to choose the wrong guy with the fate of the world at stake. But maybe Cupid has it wrong. Maybe she has to rely just a little bit on Cupid, and a whole lot more on her heart.

My Review: 5 stars!! Maybe 4.5 but definitely closer to 5!

LOVED it! Such a cute novella, I thought the cupid thing was a little weird in the beginning but I got sucked right into the story that it didn’t bother me! I loved the characters especially Cal and his charming and witty personality.
I would like to say I read this in a day but you know Mom life doesn’t always allow that, but otherwise, this is definitely a one sitting/day read! I mean who doesn’t want to find love, and maybe sometimes you aren’t meant to be with the one you think you are! There is a plan for you, be patient and enjoy life 🙂
Give it a shot, come on it is only 84 pages 😉
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July Book Club: All the Light We Cannot See

So, for July we read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

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Goodreads: 4.32 Stars

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

Book Club: 2.5 Stars

Of our 4 Book Clubbers only 2 of us (me included) finished this book. This was a 500 plus page book, which I normally veer away from because it is usually a red flag saying too much detail, in my opinion, I normally like the more simple books! This is the good and bad thing about book club though, we get all kinds of books which I enjoy but we definitely have hit and miss at times.

This book had tons of 5 star reviews but shockingly we just didn’t feel the same.

I didn’t care for the jumping back and forth between people and timezones, it made it confusing and hard to follow at times. The intertwining of the characters wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, and it was overall a letdown, you get all this build up for a not so wonderful, and short encounter. The story, just seemed slow and tended to drag at times, and I was less than please by the ending and wrap up!

Well we win some and lose some!

We will be reading The Hundred Foot Journey this month so check back in for that review.

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Book Barn Book Haul and Books I want to read!

So a couple weeks ago, before we went on vacation we went to the Book Barn and I came home with a couple books I was excited about. I didn’t get to browse as well as I normally do because you know I now have kids tagging along too lol. Yes this was their first time at the book barn and we had a great time. If you have never been to the book barn and live in CT you should go check it out, it is certainly a GEM!

I came home with:

Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer. I have heard many great things about this book and I am anxious to read it.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. I love Sarah Dessen and this is one I have not read yet and was happy to find here!

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. This is her most recent book and I was shocked to find it here, but don’t get me wrong, super happy since she is my favorite author!

I believe I got one other too, but I don’t remember what it was and it was nothing that was initially on my TBR list. I also got some cute kid books, like Squeak Squeak, and Mr. Brown can Moo can You

Here are a couple books that are at the top of my TBR list, that I really want to get my hands on and read (you know in my free time 😉 )! ( no particular order)

So what are some good books I should add to this list?!?! I read anything 😉

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Wow Wow Wow!!! Readers this book took me by surprise! I read it as a group swap sort of thing and I did not know how i was going to like this and man am I glad I ended up with this book!

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

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Goodreads: 4.44 stars

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

My Review: 5 stars!!!

Louie was an extraordinary man, his struggles and the obstacles he overcame are so inspiring, if you haven’t read it PLEASE DO! How a man can live through and survive things he went through, no one will ever know. The lessons he learned and the things he did with them make him such a remarkable man!

I started out reading this book thinking what a horrible, devil child hahahaha but seeing what he became was quite shocking and amazing and will hopefully give some hope 🙂

Absolutely amazing and I highly suggest EVERYONE read it weather you like History or not! Let me tell you a little secret… I do not like History! This story was so touching and so much more!!! Run before the movie comes out!! 🙂

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June Book Club – Stolen

After an amazing May book club, we decided to GET BACK ON TRACK 😉 That meaning that we stop trying to find the cheapest and shortest book and just look for books that we might enjoy, without limiting ourselves. For a good couple months (prob close to a year) we went on a lull mainly because of pregnancy and birth of our children (Jess P. and mine). Lets just say those book choices STUNK, some were cute and most very “foo foo” and fluffy, which, don’t get me wrong I enjoy that, but we NEEDED more!

That being said, this was our first month since our kids have been born, without any restrictions. We chose Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

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Goodreads: 3.94 stars

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

 

Book Club:  3 out of 5 stars and the beautiful POSSIBLE SPOILERS review written by our very own Jess P. (thanks Jess!)

3 out of 5 stars

Some authors have a way of taking an incredible plot concept and turning it into a masterpiece. As an example, a previous book club choice- Everlost by Neal Shusterman- certainly proved master storytellers do exist.
For Lucy Christopher, this wasn’t quite the case. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor takes us into 16-year-old Gemma’s head as she reflects on her time as a hostage of mysterious yet dangerous, Ty who whisks her into the Australian outback without a trace. In this letter, we learn of the moments leading up to the kidnapping and all the little episodes that peppered her month living in a makeshift home out in the middle of nowhere.
Curious, no? I certainly felt so- I was driven to find out why Gemma was writing Ty in the first place especially since that suggested she escaped him somehow. And so, we read her twisted tale of connecting with the land and struggling to escape her captor. Slowly, the author pulls back layer upon layer of disarming Ty and the more human he becomes in Gemma’s eyes, the more confusing the situation is.
The real unfortunate bit of this story was the almost-convenient ending of the story. A sudden yet potentially fatal twist of fate has Ty bringing Gemma back into civilization and facing the consequences of his choices. Overall, we felt the author cut the story too soon and would have been intrigued to see how Gemma and Ty’s relationship would have transformed, the longer they were isolated. With that said, we agreed it was 3 stars and were satisfied that book club returned to its more lively literary discussions.

Well now you have heard it…will you read this, have you already?!?! Let us know what you think 🙂

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Are Bookmarks Dead?

I came across this on a blog I follow (go check John out, he is pretty cool!) and thought it was a perfect question! Are bookmarks dead?!?

Not to me! I love bookmarks! I don’t have any that are super snazzy or anything but I love being able to look at an “actual” book and see where I am, I love watching the bookmark move. Weird, maybe but I prefer an actual book over an e-reader. With my now busy life do I tend to read more on electronics sure but I prefer not to 🙂

So how about you followers? Do you still use bookmarks? Or do you have other ways to mark your spot?

Johnny Reads

ImagePhoto Credit: Pixopa

Bookmarks. No, I’m not talking about that little tab at the top of your browser that saves your favorite websites for easy navigation. I’m talking those things that we used to put on the insides of our books to save our page.

I’ve never been a huge fan of bookmarks. But I always liked looking at all the cool designs at my elementary school book fairs. And at Barnes and Noble on that little twisty thing. You could always find one that caught your interest that you just had to buy. Give me a bookmark with Katniss on it! Matter of fact, give me all of the bookmarks with Katniss on them! Or Hermione. But really, I probably wouldn’t even use those. One of my older brothers gave me some really fancy bookmarks for Christmas in 2012? And I never even removed them from the packaging. Don’t…

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Reading Mojo!

Yes! It seems I have gotten my reading momentum back, I guess getting the kids in to a routine gives me a little more “relax” time! Oh and I guess all the good books help a lot too! I read 7 books so far this month and am in the middle of 4 right now, 2 of which I will finish today or tomorrow!

So far I have had 1 let down, 2 ok, 3 amazing, and 1 LOVE!

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Let down (2.5 stars): Fragments by Dan Wells. I LOVED the first one in the series, Partials. It isn’t normally something I would pick up on my own but it was a book club choice and I loved it, so why wouldn’t I like the second one?!?! Lets just say it was a 576 page book and I was not interested until about page 350-400, a waste for half of the book! So sad…I prob won’t finish the series (yes love I CAN do that :p )

Ok (3 stars): Second Chances by Alison Stanley and Crossed by Ally Condie. Second Chances was a Christian Lit and I enjoyed the underlying theme about God’s love and second chances but it seemed a bit rushed. Crossed is ok, this series doesn’t wow me but is interesting to listen to nonetheless.

Amazing (4 stars): The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry…I mean who doesn’t love a good love story, I had all the amazing feels that makes me love a book and give it 4 stars! Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevrin was a very unique book with a very interesting story that had me intrigued and held my interest! I really enjoyed it. Last was Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg and I am actually torn on this one! The story honestly was CRAP, but the feelings I had and the things this book made me think about (even though it didn’t have much to do with the main theme) had me leaning towards a higher rating. It made me think about the kind of mom and wife I want to be and to continue to be and I don’t know why but it hit a lot of emotions inside me, which is why it gets this rating!

LOVE (5 stars): One of my Nesties writes books, well a bunch do and I ALWAYS want to read them, even though they are online friends it is exciting to “know” them, plus I want to support them! So I am letting you know this, but it did NOT influence my review on this book one bit! This Novella, Make You Blush by Macy Beckett is just THAT GOOD! A little steamy and oh so amazing I loved the story, characters and pretty much EVERYTHING! I can’t wait for the next one to come out on May 6th (Make You Mine)

Have you read any good books lately? Comment and give me some recommendations! I am always up for anything (except the things A reads and wants me to read…no thanks! Love you!)

Happy Reading!

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Lately I have had some good luck with books and one not so good!

Recently I have loved: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Recently I have not loved: Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim by Lisa Scottoline and Francisca Serritella

 

Have you ever read a book and fell in love with an author?!? Well this is what Sarah Dessen does to me ALL the time! I absolutely love her books and for some reason don’t read them enough! The Truth About Forever was AMAZING! I really enjoy Sarah Dessen and this one just puts my love over the top! Her books are so light and enjoyable. There are so many aspects to this story that I loved and it all meshed wonderfully! Maci was a great character, not annoying and very easy to understand and relate to. The idea of playing Truth (Truth or Dare but only the Truth part), is a fantastic way to get to know someone! I really enjoyed the whole catering aspect of this story, the chaos and all! I also loved Wes and his unique hobby! I guess I just pretty much loved everything about this book!

How about reading a book that you are very unsure of, maybe thinking the story line may be a difficult one where you won’t relate or it will be hard to read, but end up loving it?!? Well this was Wintergirls! I actually listened to this one on Audio and normally I don’t have good luck with audiobooks. I never thought this storyline would keep me to engrossed! This is a very serious matter/ disorder that I know nothing about. Reading this book gave me tons of insight on how awful/scary/horrible/deadly Anorexia and eating disorders are. This book kept me on the edge, wondering why anyone would put themselves through something like this. Anderson did an excellent job explaining this in the story! This was well done, and I surprisingly really like this book and how real everything about it was!

Or reading a book you think would be funny and a great, light, fun read…and it was a huge let down?!?! Welp…that was Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim. I don’t know why I listen to these kind of books! The description sounds good and then I highly dislike them! This was a bunch or random rambling! I mean I know they were essays compiled but I thought they would at least flow a little better together. I just wasn’t impressed and didn’t really find it funny!

What books have you read that have fallen in any of these categories?

Book Review

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This past weekend I finished two books, one which I really enjoyed and one which I really did not!

Audio-With Breastfeeding I have a lot of time to listen to books, and it is nice to get back to listening to audiobooks! I used to listen to them a lot at work, but I guess I just got tired of missing things. I have a love hate relationship with audiobooks! A reader can make or break a book for me and I HATE IT!! I always found myself saying I think I would like the book better if I read it…which is another huge reason why I put audiobooks on hold (and prob still would if I didn’t need to fill time hands free 😉 )

The audiobook I recently read was Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and shockingly I really enjoyed it, I gave it 4 stars!!! The readers weren’t bad even though the main character Chiyo’s (Sayuri’s) character sometimes annoyed me, but I guess it was more the writing then the reading!

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Here is my short review (I kinda stink at them!): I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, especially on Audio. The story was interesting and I loved the “twist”. At times Chiyo’s (Sayuri’s) voice was a bit annoying and repetitive when talking to men, but I easily got past it. This topic and Japanese culture is something I am very unfamiliar with and it was a nice way to learn about the custom’s and a geisha’s way of life.

Book– I have a Kindle and tend to read it more now that I have two infants because it is easier to turn a page while entertaining them :-), but I love actual books! I love looking at and watching my bookmark move, showing me how much of the book I have left and turning an actual page instead of pushing a button or swiping your finger across the screen. Call me old fashioned but I would prefer the actual book then any e reader! 🙂

The book I recently read and HIGHLY DISLIKED was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, I gave it 2 stars (maybe a 2.5). I had high hopes for this book and was very disappointed. Mainly I was bummed with the writing style, it was very hard to follow, I may even have given it a better rating because of the story if it wasn’t for the writing.

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Here is my review:  I really wasn’t a big fan of this book. I think I expected more, and the writing style, I really DISLIKED. Most of the time I was confused, making it very hard to follow and distinguish who was speaking at times. I am disappointed in the “story lines” I feel as though they were jumbled and in the end I felt were a let down.

What books are you all reading right now? Recommend your favorite book! I am always looking for something else, and I will try anything 🙂