Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review: SHIVER (and Once Upon a Book Club box review)

I can't even remember if I mentioned that I have been looking for a new book subscription box, but that's been a thing. I saw Once Upon a Book Club on an Instagram post so I just did it. 

I have no self-control and this time it really paid off because I loved this box SO STINKING MUCH. 

SHIVER - Allie Reynolds

They don't know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.

How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can't seem to let go.

The five friends haven't seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realize they don't know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
**I'm going to tell you that this review contains spoilers for the goodies in the box, so just know that going ahead, and stop if you're slow and haven't dug into the box yet. **

OK, so in this book we are seeing this through Milla's point of view, and it starts with present day, all of the remaining members of the group from ten years ago, seemingly meeting for a reunion. They all have something they are hiding from everyone else and the whole book goes through the events leading up to the day Saskia died. Or did she? 

It becomes clear that someone has played a trick on them and has set them up fairly soon and now everyone suspects the others are potentially being a murderer, and wondering who could possibly be next... and why? 

I have to tell you, I completely loved this book. I figured out the mystery of it but there were a few details I didn't totally pick up on and the little twist towards the last pages made it all click into place. I have to tell you, reading this book along with the surprises in the box kind of put this over the top for me and made it that much more fun. 
As you go through the box, it tells you when to open the gift associated with the page number in your box. I found myself racing through to the next one so I finished this book rather quickly. 
As we led up to this page, one of the characters discovers Saskia's ski pass, which would have been impossible for her to get around on the mountain without. So.... if she died on the mountain, how is her pass here? 
Let me tell you what- opening it up and realizing I'm holding the pass felt incredibly creepy, like I'm not an accomplice to this. 
The next one is related to something that sabotaged another competitor and could possibly implicate one of the original crew. 
I guessed this one right away just by the size/feel of the package so this wasn't such a surprise. Again, though- kind of creepy to hold it in your hand. 
The next one, I knew was going to appear in the box at some point because it gets referenced quite a few times in the book, but especially around this page. 
The perfume Saskia is known for wearing. It really is a distinctive scent, so of course I totally sprayed some in my room as I'm reading it and I'd get a whiff every few minutes. Creepy, but kind of perfect. This is the kind of box that is really perfect for a thriller read, that's for sure. 
The last gift I really had no idea what it would be by the time I got there, by then the story was really getting bananas and things were wrapping up and loose ends were tying up. 
It is a vacuum sealed thermos/coffee cup, which makes sense with the story and what was happening. Very cool because it also has a temperature setting on it, which is crazy. 
In case you wanted to see all of my goodies all at once. 
Also in the box we get a little book related art work, a book club kit with information about this month's selection and when you can tune in to the online forum to participate in a book chat, and also a signed book plate from the author. 

Overall? I really liked the book, a perfect winter thriller with some interesting twists, characters who are all greatly flawed, a victim who is equally awful and you think if one of them killed her you really can't blame them. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I get to the very last line of the book and I changed my mind completely about one specific character, who I wasn't really sure what to think about through the whole book as it was. 

I highly recommend the book, I'd love to know if you've read it and what you thought. I also very much recommend this book box if you're looking to start one. I've already signed up for a continuing subscription because this was such a fun experience and it encourages you to actually read the books that you get instead of just sticking it on the shelf.... which I am 100% guilty of. 

If you are considering this book box, even if for just a month, sign up using my referral link and I'll get a couple of bucks off of a future box! 

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Book Review: The Choice

I am loving a lot of the books I've gotten for review this year, this is just another home run for me and as soon as you read the synopsis, you'll want to read it too!

The Choice - Alex Lake

A kidnap…
Matt Westbrook only turned his back for a moment. But when he looks around, his car – with his three young children inside – has vanished.

A ransom…
Panicked, Matt assumes a car thief has got more than he bargained for, but then he starts to receive text messages: This is a ransom. If you want to see your children again, you will exchange them for your wife.

A choice…
Matt and his wife Annabelle are horrified. They can’t involve the police, or their children will be killed. Which means they have to choose: Annabelle, or their children. Either option is unthinkable. But one is inevitable. And they have only hours to make their decision…
Woooosh... so let's just think about that. Can you imagine having to choose between your spouse or your children? I mean, really think about that. I feel like it is a Sophie's Choice kind of thing, both options are terrible and no matter what you choose, could you ever really go on to be happy? I mean, you have to assume worst case scenario, the person(s) you don't choose would likely be tortured and probably killed, who could make that kind of choice? 

I was worried that this would be a slow read but that was not the case at all. The chapters are very short and there are alternating POV's but it isn't confusing or hard to keep track of. We follow Matt and Annabelle from shortly before they meet each other in college, how their relationship started, continuing on until present day. You find yourself trying to figure out who this nut job is, it is abundantly clear it is someone who knows them but who? 

I absolutely loved this one and was sucked in immediately. I had a hard time putting it down for bed and what a ride it was. By the time we find out who it is, the danger isn't over because this person is still running the show. I have so much I want to say, and more I want to ask other people who've read this because I was on edge throughout the whole thing. It isn't just the thriller part that was a hit, I loved the relationship Matt and Annabelle has. Outsiders don't really get it but to them, it's perfect. I feel like a lot of us know at least one couple where we wonder what the heck they see in the other, but it really is perfect from their perspective. I just really loved the whole aspect in conjunction with the thriller piece. I also love that the author gave us SO MANY potential suspects in the years leading up to the abduction, all of them are good ones but in different ways. I kind of suspected the person it was but I was kind of torn between two so it wasn't a slam dunk. 

I highly enjoyed this one and I think you will too. A huge thank you to Harper360 for having me on this tour- what a book to sink into. 

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Book Review: Alpha Asher

I got suckered into another app to read books but I have SWORN THEM OFF FOREVER. This time I used GoodNovel and it was such a freaking racket. I'm not even going to tell you how much money I sunk into this book, but I was too far in and I was invested. 

Mistakes were made. 

Alpha Asher

Lola always assumed that her and her boyfriend Alpha Tyler were mates. On Tyler's 18th birthday, her world comes crumbling down. Broken hearted, she flees from her pack for an entire year. Tragedy forces Lola to return home where she finds the infamous Alpha Asher in charge. This time around, Lola may actually have a shot at happiness. That is, until she finds out who her mate truly is.

OK, I've discovered books on these apps are mostly written horribly. Grammar issues, spelling issues, things that make no damn sense, they are really difficult to read. I was also reading another book that I liked a lot more than this one but it literally stopped out of nowhere, no idea if more would ever come or not. I'm angry about it. 

I haven't really read a lot of paranormal romance as of late but I forget how much I like it until I'm hip deep into. I really liked this one, so long as I look beyond all of the issues with the writing. I mean, it was like reading a middle school level creative fiction at points and I'll tell you, it was painful. I did like Lola and Asher though and you know right away that these two were going to end up mates, and the greater story (a werewolves versus vampire battle brewing) was really interesting. I did like how things were unraveled, but it is literally TOO long. Throughout the book there are "author notes" apologizing on how long it was and promised that it wasn't to lure people into paying so much money on purpose, but honestly, what other reason is there? By the time I finished this, I felt like if this had a significant amount of editing, this could easily be self published and would make a cool series. 

If that happened, would I read more? Probably not. I feel like I've done my time with this and god knows I spent enough money. The moral of the story though? Avoid the story apps all together. You'll spend more money than you want and get mediocre stories at best. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Book Review: No Regrets

Are you looking for a summer read? I am not even going to fudge it, I love covers of books and 100% judge books by their cover. I can't help it, and it really hasn't served me wrong, and it definitely worked on this one. 

No Regrets - Tabitha Webb

Best friends Stella, Ana and Dixie have always lived life to the full. But now they’re approaching their forties, reality is starting to kill the mood…

Stella loves her children, but misses her glittering career. Plus she can’t even remember the last time she had sex.

Ana is trying for a baby with her partner Rex. So why can’t she stop thinking about the one that got away?

Dixie is the wildest of them all. A Tinder addict who’ll never settle down. But has she accidentally found Mr Right…?

It’s time for the friends to shake things up and start having some fun. Because you only regret the things you don’t do, right?

Here's where I confess to my absolute loserness, I have never watched Sex and the City OR any of the Bridget Jones' Diary. Never once, ever ever. This book is compared to both of those and I really can't tell you if that is true at all, but I suppose if you loved either of those you'd likely enjoy this one. Or if you're a cool kid like me (or someone who never had cable and just isn't interested unless there is dead bodies in it), you haven't seen those but you'll enjoy this one anyways. 

The book follows the lives of three friends: Stella, Ana, and Dixie. Stella once had a really exciting job in the fashion industry but once she had children she's been home and isn't adjusting well. She's missing her previous life, she's struggling with momlife, and she is starting to suspect something isn't quite right with her husband, who is still a high profile lawyer. We also have Ana, who is in a steady relationship with a reliable, and safe, guy. She's not a spring chicken so they are trying for a baby but Ana has this nagging feeling in the back of her head that maybe she's made a mistake along the way and that the grass is maybe greener. Dixie is different than both, she's single and ready to mingle... or just Tinder. She's got a great job, she commutes between London and New York frequently, and on one of those flights she meets a guy who is seemingly really great. It definitely confuses her because she felt happy and content with her steady Tinder activity, but once meeting this guy she's thrown for a loop and she starts to question if settling down is something she needs to consider. 

Initially, I had a hard time sticking with this one and I was worried that I would end up DNF'ing this. Just know that going in, the whole set up of each character (the chapters switch from different POV's) is a bit slow, but once the ball starts rolling it really picks up. The book is hilarious in parts, it is definitely raunchy in others, and it becomes a really perfect beach/vacation read. It's going to top the summer reading lists this summer, you can count on it. 

I thought I was going to really identify with Stella the most, and I guess in mom perspective I kind of did, but she has a lot of other things the roll on in the book that I just didn't love and she felt kind of like the weakest character. Dixie was my favorite, but all three of them are so wildly different but together they all kind of fit together. 

Thank you to Harper360 for sending me an ARC of this, what a way to start my spring/summer reading!  

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Book Review: The Doctor

Have you seen the ads for those apps where you can read chapters of stories, but you have to wait like an hour to read the next one? If you don't want to wait, that's how they suck you in because you have to pay for the coins to buy new chapters.  

I got sucked into one of these apps, the Radish app, to be exact. To be fair, I only bought the lowest thing of coins because dammit if this didn't suck me in. Which made me feel ridiculous but here we are. 

The Doctor - Nikki Sloane

For years, he was a part of my life. I watched him rush to the hospital countless times, his beautiful surgeon hands racing to save lives.

After all this time, I can’t escape the truth.

I want Dr. Lowe.

Lust chokes each moment we’re together. He promises to fulfill my fantasies—every dirty, naughty desire we can dream up.

Only, I can’t have him.

He’s confident. Experienced. Seductive.

And he’s my ex-boyfriend’s father. 

I cannot even believe that I haven't read anything by Nikki Sloane yet, but this one was my first and wow. It was quite the story. 

First off, I knew this was probably going to be a little bit hokey, so if you know that going in, you'll be fine. It is an incredibly fast read so you can probably get through this in a day. Secondly, if I had to sum up the book, I would say.... never have I ever slept with my ex-boyfriend's dad. 

I mean, I honestly don't think I know anyone who has done that, but hot damn, that is what this one is all about. We have Cassidy, realizing that her boyfriend of three years isn't the same and they aren't growing together, and it just isn't going to work out. Enter boyfriend's dad... Dr. Lowe. He consoles her and wouldn't you know it, sparks fly. We realize they've both basically lusted over each other and you just basically throw caution to the wind, you know? YOLO and all that. 

We have a pretty solid age difference, it feels very daddy-like and normally I hate that, but dammit if I didn't kind of get into it with this one. Go figure. Of course things are bound to erupt when son/ex-boyfriend finds out, and if I had to raise one complaint/major eye-roll, it would be how that plot point gets settled up too neatly and easily. The whole story is a bit unrealistic but that kind of sent it into eyeroll worthy territory for me for a hot second. The story is full of steam and if you're into taboo-ish relationships, this is a quick and dirty one for you. 

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Book Review: Make You Beg

I promise on Wednesday I am going to have a crazy full post of what has been going on in my tiny piece of the world. I've been insanely busy and I'm trying to not let small things get to me and send me over the edge. I'm really struggling with that but you know what? It's spring break for the kids, they are going to grandma and grandpa's for a few days and I just really need the break. 

Make You Beg - Shantel Tessier

To the world, she’s known as Henley Greene.
To me, she’s a little doll— a toy to be played with and tossed to the side once no longer wanted.
She will pay for her betrayal however I deem necessary.

Imagine living in a constant nightmare where you have no control. Running from someone or something, you can hear him getting closer and feel his breath on your neck. You know that no matter what you do, he’s going to get you.

He will win.

But I don’t have just one. I have four.

Ryan Scout, Van Rellik, Dax Monroe, and Grayson Law are the Reapers of Westbrook High, my ex-best friends, and now my biggest enemies. They run the school and own this town. They want nothing more than to make me pay for what I saw that night at Death Valley. A sick and twisted game that leaves me dirty and bruised with torn clothing.

So how did I fall in love with one?

I was raised to fear the dark side, but he showed me it was in the dark where the truth came to light. He played with me until my body craved his touch. I was going to prove I could be his most trusted servant in every form of the word. Whether kneeling before him or lying on my back, my sole purpose in life was to be his.

But when you’re a toy everyone likes to play with, you’re bound to end up broken.
Whoa, nelly. I have to tell you that if there were disclaimers on this one when I signed up, I clearly did NOT read them because boy... was I in for a surprise. I can't let you go into this without some basic knowledge: it features a MF and a MFM romance/sexy scenes. It is not a reverse harem, so we've got that going for it. (I'm not a fan of the harem or reverse harem books, it just isn't my thing.) I mean, this IS a dark bully romance so you can assume there will be violence and some sexual situations, both of which may be a trigger for some. I mean, they are not for me but even I was feeling a bit uncomfortable a couple of times. 

I'm going to first say... I kind of wish this wasn't told in multiple POVs. I understand why the author did it and a lot of people would really like the full circle of the story, but it left me wanting more of the romance kind of bubbling throughout. I really didn't want to get too into other characters, I wanted more of our real main couple. That said, if you're looking for a book with a high steam level and you don't mind some language, I've found you your next read. 

The story comes down to Henley, a girl who was drunk and on drugs one evening when she saw one of her friends rape a girl. Despite being friends, she turns on him and testify in court. The group of four boys, all of whom were her friends, are all wealthy (obviously) and Henley isn't (of course), so you can see where that storyline is going already. If ever there was a book that you want to throw some clothes on a character and drive her to regular therapy, this would be the one. The "relationship" between her and her "four best friends" (yes, these are the same guys who are making her life a living hell and there's sex happening everywhere and it is the absolute definition of dysfunctional) is so strange and I really had a hard time keeping it straight. 

While it seems I'm kind of down on this book, I will say what sold it for me is the story at the core: did her friend rape the girl? I mean, she is CERTAIN she knows what she saw but throughout the book you find yourself doubting her, then not, and it's just this suspenseful ride where I was more invested in that story than I was any of the romance. 

Overall, I'd give this one 3 stars. It isn't one that I'd read again, but I also didn't dislike it. It was OK, and I think I would read Shantel Tessier again because she really did weave an interesting story, and it was a fast read for me. 

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR for sending me an ARC for review! All thoughts and opinions are my own. Happy reading, lambs!
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Friday, March 12, 2021

Book Review: The Light Through the Leaves

Happy Friday! I am so glad it is Friday. I've had such a full week it feels like. Whether it's health related, my birthday, mom life, or all of the other things, I just feel worn down. I was wishing for a few days of doing nothing but that certainly won't be this weekend... or next. Next week though is spring break for my kids so I'm hoping I can just sleep in and do nothing.. crossing fingers! 

The Light Through the Leaves

 Glendy Vanderah

One unbearable mistake at the edge of the forest.

In a moment of crisis, Ellis Abbey leaves her daughter, Viola, unattended—for just a few minutes. But when she returns, Viola is gone. A breaking point in an already fractured marriage, Viola’s abduction causes Ellis to disappear as well—into grief, guilt, and addiction. Convinced she can only do more harm to her family, Ellis leaves her husband and young sons, burying her desperate ache for her children deeper with every step into the mountain wildernesses she treks alone.

In a remote area of Washington, a young girl named Raven keeps secrets inside, too. She must never speak to outsiders about how her mother makes miracles spring from the earth, or about her father, whose mysterious presence sometimes frightens her. Raven spends her days learning how to use her rare gifts—and more important, how to hide them. With each lesson comes a warning of what dangers lie in the world beyond her isolated haven. But despite her mother’s cautions, Raven finds herself longing for something more.

As Ellis and Raven each confront their powerful longings, their journeys will converge in unexpected and hopeful ways, pulled together by the forces of nature, love, and family. 
Oh man, what a book. If you are looking for a light read, this really isn't it. If you're looking for a book that will really get your heart, dive into this one. 

As a mother, one of my biggest fears is and has always been child abduction. I was almost nervous to start this one but I have read another book by Glendy Vanderah, and I really enjoyed it so I felt OK going into this. We have Ellis, already a mother struggling a lot, and she makes a mistake that so many of us have done in some capacity. It only takes a moment, hindsight is always 20/20, and while it is easy to say what we would have done, we never truly know what we would do if in the same situation so reserve your judgement. One of my favorite thing about Glendy's books is she really ties in nature and the natural world but also a touch of supernatural, in a really great way. 

The story starts with Ellis, out and about with her infant daughter and toddler twin boys. The boys start acting up, for a literal second Ellis is overwhelmed while dealing with the tantrum and suddenly, her daughter Viola is gone. She's gone and her whole world spirals. Her marriage goes to shambles, she becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol, the media is BRUTAL to her, and she has what is maybe the world's worst mother in law, so she gives up her twin boys because she harbors so much guilt and grief and sees herself ruining her entire life and it breaks your heart. 

Fast forward several years. Viola is now known as Raven and she's living a not so great life with Mama, who has volatile moods (clearly mental illness is at play) and she has become self reliant but she spends a lot of times in the forest to connect with nature, which is tremendously helpful for her. 

The story flip flops between both Ellis and Raven and how their independent lives/stories eventually merge. I can't tell you how it happens or anything once it does because it really is magic. The ending is spectacular, it really clenched this one for me. I loved all of the secondary characters, too. I felt like all of the little story strings were pulled together and I loved it. 

Absolutely giving this one 5 stars, this pulled me right out of my reading slump and I am so grateful. It makes me so happy to have been on this tour, and Glendy is on my list of go-to authors. I cannot wait to see what comes next. Thank you to TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour and providing me an ARC for review. 

I highly suggest this one if you're looking for a book to really sink into, it is a perfect weekend read. 
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Monday, March 8, 2021

Birthday Eve Eve

Oh lambies... did you know today is my Birthday Eve Eve? It's true! My birthday is on Wednesday, I am turning 39 (and you better believe I had to pull out the ol' calculator to do the math), and I feel weird about it. It kind of feels like a nothing birthday, really. Someone asked if I was going to do a 40 before 40 list and I don't know, it feels kind of like a lot of pressure to do 40 fun and cool things in a YEAR. 

A year in a time of a pandemic, no less. 

I'm not trying to catch your cooties, y'all. I love you, but not your cooties. Not sorry. 

Every year though, I try to make a Birthday Wish List because a girl can dream, right? I will say that this year Matt seems determined as ever to get me something good and he already bought something and it pretty excited about it, so I don't know. 

Let me put my public announcement (ahem... Matt....) I would like a Cheesecake Named Desire cake from Coldstone Creamery and I'm pretty sure you need to order it because of 'rona, so you need to call today. Love you. 


 1. Plant hanger thingies.

I really like plants and I've decided that I need to have some plants in the house. With three cats though, the plants have to not be sitting on surfaces, they need to hang from the ceiling.


 2. Eye brow do-da

I think we all know that women of a certain age start getting... unwanted hair... in unsavory places. Hair on my chin. It's happening and I've got a small bit of pride and I'm not going to a place to wax. Also, I hate paying to get my eyebrows waxed, and even though I might accidentally lose an eyebrow in this process, it's worth a shot, am I right?


 3. Mini Vacuum Cutie

I am obsessed with cleaning my keyboard. I don't know why, I just am. I discovered these exist and I feel like it is in the need column. 


 4. Cricut Mats

Let's just say I learned that there is different mats with different stickiness for a reason. Yikes. 


 5. Joggers

Because I'm lazy.   


 6. The Comfiest Shoes EVER

Also because I'm lazy. These shoes are the comfiest ever and I basically live in my black ones. 


 7. Weeding Bucket

I have little scraps of things all over. I need a cute little bucket. 


 8. I'm always down for gift cards! Favorite places are Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Old Navy, and Maurices, I guess? It's where I spend the most money on me, so I guess that works.

9. Fresh Air is for Dead People

Facts are facts. One of my favorite podcasts, Morbid, and I want all of the things. Large

10. You're in a Cult

Again... I feel like this is screaming my name. Large

If I don't have this in my life, I'll be sad. Suspish is MY word. 
12. Anything. 

I can't leave it on an odd number and you know what? Anything is great. Seriously. I'm just happy with anything. Send me a card. Send me a letter telling me how you are, I'll even write back. Feeling connected to people is really helpful, feeling like I'm remembered is even better. If you're local, lets go on an ice cream date. Or go get nachos. If you're not, let's pen pal it like the olden days. 

What is on YOUR birthday wish list? If you could have ANYTHING at all, what would it be? 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Book Review: A Story of Karma

I feel like I'm on a non-fiction kick here, but that's alright. I do have a bit of a break before my next ones so don't worry. I'll give you time to catch up.  

Also, how pretty is this book cover? We should also give Jackson a round of applause because he made the little pom pom garland and that's a hint for our Etsy shop revival, so stay tuned. 

A Story of Karma - Michael Schauch

In 2012, Michael Schauch and his wife, Chantal, undertook an expedition deep in the Himalaya of northern Nepal, into a remote valley that had been closed off to outsiders for decades. They led a team of artists (a photographer, a musician, and a painter), with the objective of capturing a moment in time through their unique lenses. As a mountaineering fanatic, Michael had a second (and less conspicuous) goal to climb an unknown mountain he had only identified through a photograph. What unfolded in the mountains forced him to question his values and his own identity, and eventually resulted in meeting a little girl, which was the most profound encounter of his life. Little did either know that from that moment they would completely change the trajectory of each other’s life.

A Story of Karma recounts this journey, and the years that follow as Karma (the little girl), and Michael and Chantal grow their lives together amidst the complex dichotomies and backdrop of Karma’s 17th-century Himalayan village; the impoverished and polluted Kathmandu; and the modern world of Vancouver, Canada.
What a beautiful, beautiful story. If ever you wondered if there is something higher than us that subtly guides us the way we are meant to, I feel like this evaporates that. I couldn't put this one down, and I didn't realize how much I needed this kind of read. When the world seems so damn bleak, we need stories like this. 

We have family friends who have had the opportunity to travel the world and every year we look forward to their Christmas letter to read about their adventures. Also amazing is seeing all of the worldwide friendships they've accumulated from those travels. It makes me think that is the point of life; we are supposed to come together and learn from each other. Which is where this book comes in. 

The relationship that Michael and his wife have with Karma and her family is really one of the most heart-warming things I've read in a long time. What started as a trip to hike on a trip of a lifetime and developed into changing the life of two girls, their family, but also Michael and his wife. I also next to nothing about Nepal, so I learned so much about the country itself but also how education works (or doesn't, really) there. 

I know that many places in the world don't allow girls open access to education, or maybe don't value education as we do in the developed world. I always find that sad, but when I read stories like this where education is brought to people, the eagerness to learn is what makes me so happy. I love that the friendship between them all, that spans the globe, continues even now. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this quite a bit. It took me a solid Saturday to get through, and I read it on a weekend I was feeling especially low and what a good pick me up it was. The writing was solid, you feel like you're on this trip with them, and you'll find your good spirit in the world a little bit brighter. 

A huge thank you to Michael Schauch for providing a copy for review, I am honored to have been asked. I think this would be a great read even for a book club because it could invite the conversation on how you can have this effect on children in your community. Think of how lovely the world could be. 

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review: Gory Details

The pandemic really hasn't been all bad, I've kind of started doing new things just to keep things interesting. One thing was getting back into crafty things and, exciting news, I'm going to revive my ol' Etsy shop! More on that another day, but yay. Secondly, I've gotten really into podcasts over pandemic, but the only ones I really SUPER love are murder shows.  

I should probably talk to my therapist about how much I really love listening to people talk about murders and murderers, I get that. But you know what? I know a lot about what not to use to clean up a crime scene and you know.... the more you know, am I right? But I've discovered I have a weird interest in all of the gory details of stuff (but I still can't watch a horror movie, I don't get it, either) so when I saw this book, I had to read it. 

Gory Details - Erika Engelhaupt

Infused with Mary Roach-style humor and science, this narrative illuminates the gross, strange, morbid, and outright absurd realities of our bodies, the Earth, and universe.

Filled to the brim with far-out facts, this wickedly informative narrative from the author of National Geographic's popular Gory Details blog takes us on a fascinating journey through an astonishing new reality. Blending humor and journalism in the tradition of Mary Roach, acclaimed science reporter Erika Engelhaupt investigates the gross, strange, and morbid absurdities of our bodies and our universe. From the research biologist who stung himself with every conceivable insect to the world's most murderous mammals, this entertaining book explores oft-ignored but alluring facets of biology, anatomy, space exploration, nature, and more. Featuring interviews with leading researchers in the field and a large dose of wit, this provocative book reveals the most intriguing real-world applications of science in all their glory. 
First thing we  need to talk about is this cover. It's creepy and weird. It is also glow in the dark, which I did not know. I had this on my nightstand (because it's clearly a soothing read for bedtime) and around 2 a.m. I had to get up to pee. I open my eyes and almost straight peed my pants and bed. 

That is when I discovered that the cover glows in the dark, and all I saw was a skull and bugs. 

*commence panic attack*

So props to the cover design department for this one, you've taken a good couple of years off of my life. Thanks for that. 

The book though? INCREDIBLY INTERESTING. I'm not going to lie, I flew through this book. Each section really isn't that long so you can get through this rather quickly. You can easily bounce around the book if you want to read this by specific chapter instead of start to finish, and I know that sounds weird but if you don't like bugs you're going to skip the Part 4: Creepy Crawlies chapter, for instance. (Not going to lie, that's the entire section I got little icky with.) The book covers why certain noises get to you, why clowns are creepy, most murderous mammals (guys- it talked about meerkats and I had no idea those things were so awful), pee in the pool, would your dog eat you if you died (dogs are more inclined to do that than cats so come at me, #teamcat4life), and the beginning chapter about the morgue? My favorites. Section 2 is everything you're familiar with, or at least have heard of, if you watched every episode of BONES (like me). I have to say some of the footnotes were hilarious and informative. One of my favorites was about hamsters being nasty. I don't know why I loved it so much but I couldn't stop chuckling when I read it. 

Which maybe says something about me as a person but hamsters ARE gross. 

I love the author's humor throughout this, which could have gone real sideways while trying to be informative and weave actual science in it, and I loved it. I learned a lot throughout, and I have also permanently screwed up my Google search history and I strongly do not recommend doing that. 


If you are looking for an interesting non-fiction book, if you like true crime podcasts and shows, this book is 100% for you. You will love it. 

A huge thank you to TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour and sending a copy for review! Please let me know if you read this one so that we can chat about it. Also, if you are a crime podcast listener, tell me which one you're loving because I'm working through a few. 

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Monday, March 1, 2021

Life Round Up: Pom poms and Books

I feel like life is just getting away from me. Someone said that I should write something down every day, or take a picture every day, but some days I just don't know what I should try to remember. You know what I mean? It's hard to remember what you should remember. I do think I need to try to journal again or something. It's so tiring to think about this stuff.  

Instead, let's talk about what I've been doing lately: 

I started making pom poms over this pandemic and it has kind of become a mindless thing I do and it calms my anxiety. I've made quite a few garlands and it's kind of fun. 
Now I feel like I need to come up with more ideas on what to make with pom poms. Maybe I can bring back my Etsy shop and sell something, I'm not sure. 
I have been making some bigger ones and I'm going to try to make some bunnies or something. Clearly, I went and got a ton of yarn and yeah. If you need a garland, you let me know. I've got you, boo. 
We've been having a hard time with Penelope as of late. I think she's growing and she's the third kiddo, our house is chaotic as it is, and I wonder if she sometimes feels lost in the shuffle. We have such a weird school year so right now none of the kids go to school on Wednesday, it's basically a work-at-home day. We were doing her work, she really just hit a wall at one point and I thought I had to turn the day around for her. I decided I would take just her out to lunch, we went to the craft store to pick up a few things to do, and it was a good couple of hours. Sometimes Penelope just needs a recharge of love. 
She was having a pretty good rest of her week at school. We spent some time this weekend doing crafty things, drawing, and reading. 
This week the book COVET comes out and I'm so stinking excited about it. I ordered two candles for my shelf that go along with the books and look how pretty the packaging was? I am a sucker for a pretty seal! 
The candles are so pretty, though I don't love the smell of the Grace candle. Jaxon's candle is pretty nice though, but they are so stinking pretty. 
I keep forgetting to share this with you and I don't know why. So last year (yeah, that's how late I am..) I ordered myself a Birthdate Candle, just to see what it was. I ended up buying some for birthday gifts for friends last year, too. 
I love the candle. I haven't even burned it yet because it's so pretty, but the smell is pretty fantastic for mine. I don't know if every candle is the same scent or if it is different for different people or what. 
The horoscope type stuff on the back was actually incredibly right on for me. I totally believe in that kind of stuff and I am a sucker for horoscope anything. If you're on the fence on ordering these, it's a pretty cool gift. 
Last week I suckered Jackson into helping me take the little girls to the middle school for a photo op. Well, I didn't tell him photos would be taken but he was a trooper. Penelope and Lucy were all about it though! 

Other than that, I've taken a lot of naps? I don't really do a lot during my days. I haven't felt really well. This week though I have my appointment with my new psychiatrist. I'm really kind of nervous about it and I just really want it to go well, so cross fingers. Next week I have my neuropsych testing consultation and I'm legit nervous about that. 

I do have some interesting book reviews coming up though, so watch out for those!