book review, books

Books

Guess who’s back, back again. Shady’s back, tell a friend.

What better way than to come back than on book day with Steph and Jana!!!! I have had this book post going for two months, so there is a lot of material here. I read lots of good books!!! I thought about splitting this into two posts, but I think you can handle it. As always, the blurb about the book is in bold and my thoughts below. I will be back tomorrow to talk about where I have been the last several weeks.

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones and The Six

In 1979, Daisy Jones and The Six split up. Together, they had redefined the 70’s music scene, creating an iconic sound that rocked the world. Apart, they baffled a world that had hung on their every verse.This book is an attempt to piece together a clear portrait of the band’s rise to fame and their abrupt and infamous split.

I have so many feelings about this book! I devoured this book, as I do with all TJR books. She can do no wrong, really. This book was so different, in that it read like a VH1 Behind the Music special. It read like an interview between the different band members, and I just loved that! It is a question-less interview, which makes it much easier to read.  You get a few surprises in the end that you don’t really see coming. TJR wrote this so well, that you feel like you grew up with this band and know all the members and their songs. I cant even say anymore about it, I just want you to read it!!!

Bottom Line: Read it!!!!!

**I received a copy of Daisy Jones and The Six from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Winter Storms (Winter #3)by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Storms (Winter, #3)

This is the third book in the series, so I dont want to share any of the blurb about it…it will spoil some things if you haven’t read the first two.  While I love Elin Hilderbrand and this series, I felt like this book was a little rushed. Things came together pretty quickly and problems were easily solved. Even so, I just love these characters and this book made me smile.

Winter Solstice (Winter #4) by Erin Hilderbrand

Winter Solstice (Winter #4)

This is the last book in the series. I absolutely loved how some of the characters from The Rumor made their way into this story. You don’t have to read The Rumor to enjoy this book though. I do feel like it would help you know these characters better, as this takes place after the events in The Rumor. And if you planned to read that book, definitely read it first as there are spoilers to what happened in this one.

Bottom Line: I just loved this series, perfect Christmas reading!

Truly Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson

Truly Madly Yours (Truly, Idaho, #1)

When Delaney Shaw returned home to Truly, Idaho, for the reading of her stepfather’s will, she planned on paying her respects and getting out of town. But it seems the will has some unexpected stipulations-like the one that says if Delaney wants her inheritance she needs to stay put and have nothing to do with sexy Nick Allegrezza. . .for an entire year!

This was written in the 90’s, and I appreciated that. It was a quick and fun read. There were a few LOL moments and I love the tension and the love/hate going on between DeLaney and Nick. It is hot hot hot. If you enjoy this genre, you would probably like this book.

Bottom Line: This was a fun little read if you like the romance genre.

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

The Opposite of Everyone

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern Oral Tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. Kai ended up in prison, and Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt – until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter. “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.” 

If you want messed up southern families, Joshilyn Jackson is your girl!!! I wasn’t sure how I felt about the book when I first got in to it, but about 10 to 15% in, and I was hooked. By the end of the book, I loved all the characters and their flaws. I loved the Hindu stories that were placed throughout the book. If you pay attention to them, they totally make sense by the end. The book alternates between past and present, as we learn more about Paula’s time in a group home. Not only do you have the flawed relationship between Kai and Paula, but then we meet Birdwine. The detective with a drinking problem and sorted past with Paula. This book was just so interesting and different. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I really loved this book by the end!

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Joshilyn Jackson or complicated families and relationships…this is the read for you!

Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctively and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat.

This book has everything you expect from Sandra Brown. I don’t want to say too much about it to give anything away. I loved the “friction” between Holly and Crawford. I loved Crawford’s soft spot for his daughter, Georgia. And the whole story was quite interesting. I figured out a lot of what happened, but not everything.

Bottom Line: Read it. You will definitely enjoy it if you are a fan of Sandra Brown.

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evidence of the Affair

A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives.

This was a free ebook I snagged with my Amazon Prime membership, after seeing TJR post about it on Instagram. I was so excited! This book was written in letter format and I read it in one sitting. It is a short story, and while I wished it were longer because I love TJR, it wasn’t rushed and I absolutely loved the little surprise at the ending. I highly recommend this for a short read!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)

Three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but I just loved it! It isn’t anything amazing, but just a good, enjoyable read to break up the heavier stuff. Obviously, I can not relate to any of the characters, as I am not a crazy rich Asian. But I loved reading about the culture and what is the norm for that life style. It sort of reminded me a tad bit of The Royal We, in that there is an underdog love story among the elite and people trying to tear it apart. I did this on audio book, and really loved the narrator.

Bottom Line: Read it! I immediately got on the long long wait list for the next one.

Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

The premise to this book was super interesting, but I felt like it just dragged on and on. I was all over it at first, and couldn’t wait to find out what happens….but all the middle parts just weren’t that enjoyable. Even with fraud, the Bird Nest approach to their relationship and a good old who done it, I was totally bored with this book quick. It was told mostly in the form of a podcast from Fi and a suicide word document from Bram. With some current day and past memory sprinkled in.  Neither character was likable, and eventually I just quit caring about all of it.

Bottom Line: Meh. Interesting idea, but the book really dragged. I would skip.

**I received a copy of Our House from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum, #24)

This is the 24th book in the Stephanie Plum series. I love this cozy mystery series. You have a quirky cast of characters, ridiculous crimes and a love triangle between Stephanie, Joe Morelli and Ranger. And we can forget Grandma Mazur and her shenanigans. I will say, I think I am ready for this series to wrap up. The love triangle has been dragged out long enough, I just want her to pick Morelli already! The zombie thing in this one was a little much. But I sure did LOL a lot throughout and flew through the book in just a few sittings.

Bottom Line: Fun cozy mystery series.

Halloween at the Graff by Sinclair Jayne

Halloween at the Graff (Holiday at the Graff, #1)

Starting over at thirty-two is never fun, especially in a town the size of a postage stamp. Chasing that with having to beg for a job she’s wildly over-qualified for and Walker Wilder’s pride is really burned. But now that she’s the new events director for the historic Montana Graff Hotel, she’s tasked with creating buzz and traditions to fill rooms during the off-season. Halloween may not scream touristy, but hiring a spirit-hunting TV crew will definitely grab some headlines… But when the sexy spirit hunter shows up, he haunts more than her dreams. 

Bottom Line: Meh. I picked this one up right before Halloween because I thought it would be fun. There were cute elements to the book, but honestly, the author kept repeating the inner dialog between the two main characters and certain facts over and over that I lost interest pretty quickly.

Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell

Dangerous Refuge

Shaye has little in common with Tanner. He’s a suspicious big city cop come home to the historic Davis family ranch to settle his uncle’s estate. She’s working for an environmental conservancy that acquires and protects old ranches-and she wants to preserve the Davis homestead. When the suspicious death of Tanner’s uncle at his ranch throws the two opposites together, tempers flare and sparks fly. While they have trouble seeing eye to eye, Shaye and Tanner agree on one thing: they need to uncover the truth.

This is a murder mystery with some romance thrown in. The whole premise was interesting, and it was a well written story. I got a little tired of all the references of the attraction between Tanner and Shaye throughout the book. We get it, they like each other. Let’s move on! Still, the actual story kept me interested the whole time. I really liked the way the book ended. Sometimes, the action and ending happen to quickly and feels rushed. I didn’t feel that way at all with this book.

Bottom Line: A good who done it if you are ok with some romance too.

The Sweet Dreams Bake Shop  and Murder So Sweet by J.A. Whiting

The Sweet Dreams Bake Shop (Sweet Cove Mystery, #1)Murder So Sweet (Sweet Cove Mystery, #2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These books are really quick, just a few hours each. This is a super cute cozy mystery series that takes place in a little town called Sweet Cover, just outside of Boston. The Roseland sisters are all really sweet, and seem to get caught up in solving murders around town. There are two cats and some supernatural elements to the books, so many sure you are ok with that. These books aren’t very deep, they tend to follow a formula of there being a crime, the sisters getting involved and speculating what happened and investing deeper. There is a story line behind the crime of the book though, and I find that enjoyable to follow along through these.

Bottom Line: Super cute cozy mystery series, if you are ok with a little supernatural twist and aren’t looking for anything deep.

Did Not Finish

Foul Play by Janet Evanovich

Image result for foul play janet evanovich

You guys know my love for Janet Evanovich is deep and I put up with some quirky things without batting an eye, but this book was terrible!!!! I think I made it about 20% in? Honestly, it was about 19% too long. This is an old book written in the 90’s and the main female characters is so ditzy and ridiculous, I just couldn’t with her. And I didn’t like the male lead either. Just go ahead and pass this one.

Currently Reading

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

weekend shenanigans

Weekend Shenanigans

This weekend just flew right on by. I think we need a recount! The good news, is that most days this week it is only supposed to get to the mid to upper 80’s here. So basically a cold snap. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

I started this weekend off with Chris for a lunch date on Friday. We went to Glory Bound, where I enjoyed a buffalo grilled chicken gyro and some potato wedges. It was delicious! I love our little weekday lunch dates! It allows us some alone time, without take time away from Zoe…since she is already at daycare anyways.

We also stopped off at Bargain Hunt where I scored two pairs of shoes for $5 each!!! I had wanted both of these when Target had them, but never committed. I am so glad I waited to score this deal!

Saturday morning we were up and ready early to go meet up with Laura and her crew at Back Forty. I have been there a few times, and had yet to order their burger. It had to happen this weekend! The burger was good, but their fries….their fries are the best!!! Zoe had fun playing with her future husband and eating her fair share of fries.

After we had lunch, we headed back home for a little bit where Zoe did not nap…but played for awhile. And then we went over to Chris’s parents house for about an hour. We stopped at Publix on the way home to grab some food for dinner and did a late bedtime routine with Zoe. Once she was down. I got to work on a few little projects around the house.

Sunday morning I cooked chicken biscuits for breakfast, and we hung out for a little bit around the house. Chris had an appointment at Apple for noon to get the new iPhone. He asked me if I wanted one as well, but I decided I didn’t. But then we got to the store and I got caught up in the hype and decided I did want one,  but they literally sold out between me saying yes I want it…and the girl trying to pull it out of inventory. You snooze, you lose. Chris is loving his though, and I just stare at it bitterly and wonder why I still have my garbage 7 plus. First world problems!

It didn’t take too long since he actually had an appointment. We quickly decided to get the heck out of The Summit area, and went over to Nordstrom Rack to find Zoe a pair of shoes. I got her some Natives and she LOVES them! Her bestie at daycare has a few pairs, and when Zoe saw them she screamed her friends name and was so excited. They are on sale at Zappos right now too. I highly recommend them! They are a glass green color and have this iridescent finish, that doesn’t quite do justice in this picture. So cute!

After that, we went to Bargain Hunt and HomeGoods. We were way past Zoe’s lunch time at that point, so we went to J Alexanders. They have my FAVORITE Thai salad there. Zoe really loved her chicken tenders and fries that she got too. No pictures were taken because we were all starving! After that, we hit up the Bargain Hunt in Hoover…and then did our grocery shopping at Target.

By the time we got home and got the groceries put away, it was time for Zoe to eat dinner and start the bedtime routine. Just like that, the weekend was coming to an end. Not before Chris and I devoured around episode of the new season of Ozark! We finished Blue Bloods last week, so glad we have something else to binge on!

Linking up with Biana. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

favorites, friday favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday!!!!!!!! Does it feel like an entire month went by this week? Because it does to me. Work has been crazy. I was up past 11:00pm on Monday night painting. Wednesday night we were out after I got Zoe from school, so the whole night routine happened later than usual. Thursday morning I spent an hour working on a project for Zoe for school BEFORE work at 5:00am. It’s been that kind of week.

Favorite Moments: On Monday I got to have lunch with a dear friend I haven’t seen in a few years. I hate that we fell out of touch, but it was so nice to catch up with her and meet her daughter! Her daughter is just a few months younger than Zoe.

Speaking of Zoe, she is just so fun right now!

I got on the scale yesterday morning and realized I hit a new, post-pregnancy low. I cannot tell you how happy and thankful I am that I pulled the trigger and signed up for Weight Watchers. This is really the  only thing that has been working for me lately. I need something that keeps me “good” most of the time, but allows for a cheeseburger or macaron on a regular basis. Because life without cheeseburgers is no life at all, in my opinion. And to be perfectly honest, there are some days I don’t even really track my points. Just having that scanner when I am grocery shopping allows me to make better choices. If you are thinking about signing up, here is my link. We can both get a free month!

I did a Trader Joe’s run the other day to get said macarons. I of course had to get a few of my favorite fall staples (pumpkin ravioli, butternut squash macaroni, pumpkin crisps with goat cheese) annnnnd a new favorite!!! Candy Corn Popcorn. SO GOOD! And I grabbed a poke bowl for lunch, which is always delicious! You know what isn’t so delicious? 97 freaking degrees and it is almost October. I love the south for many things, but the ridiculously hellish temperatures this late in the game is not one of them.

I noticed the pumpkin donuts are back at Dunkin this week. I decided to go ahead and order my one for the season. It was well worth it!

Favorite Song: Have you heard Cry Pretty from Carrie Underwood? I just love Carrie. I would really love her legs, too. I know she worked hard for them! I had stumbled across an interview with her from earlier in the week, and had no clue how much she went through this last year. I think we have all been there before, where you just have to cry it out. I love the lyrics to this song!

 

Favorite Recipe: How good does this tomato bisque with meatballs look???

This dairy free and Whole30 compliant tomato basil bisque with Italian meatballs is an easy winter soup with simple ingredients! The perfect paleo dinner the whole family will love.

Favorite Lust: I saw this Free People shirt and knew I had to have it!!! Thanks to my shopkicks, it was free!

We the Free by Free People Tangerine Tee,
                        Main,
                        color, MAUVE

Favorite Funnies:

goose bumps

Afternoon Funny Picture Dump 35 Pics

Friday Favorites - Popcorn Rocks Edition

#WatchTheFuckOut #UnmedicatedNSober #FuckinTryMe

This is probably true.  Respectfully....

Lmao

Linking up with Amanda, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

empties

Baby Empties

I thought it would be fun to do a baby empties post with all the products I have used on Zoe lately. Honestly, there is so much out there on the market for kids. Factor in sensitive skin, eczema and other things…and it becomes overwhelming. We have tried so many different things in the past 21 months, that I feel we have finally gotten the perfect routine down for minimum issues. Either that, or Zoe has outgrown some of her sensitivities.

Shea Moisture Baby Nighttime Soothing Shampoo & Bath Milk in Manuka Honey & Provence Lavender

I have been using this stuff as shampoo for Zoe for most of her life. It smells amazing (so much so that Zoe’s end of the year book last year had a comment about how the teachers will always remember Zoe smelling of yummy lavender) and is gentle on her sensitive scalp.

Honest Lavender Baby Wash and Lotion

I used up both of these, but probably wont buy them again. They were fine, but Zoe’s eczema was still an issue when I used these products. I felt like the lotion wasn’t moisturizing enough.

Burt’s Bee Baby Oil

Ever since adding this to Zoe’s baths at night, we haven’t had any issues with her skin getting too dry. It has helped (along with switching her body wash and using lotion) to clear up pretty much all of her eczema as well. This is my third or forth bottle of the stuff. I basically purchase it in bulk from Amazon now.

Aquaphor Healing Baby Ointment

As you can see, there are two empty bottles of this stuff in the picture….and I have probably used five or six more of them before that. This stuff was recommended by our doctor and is literally the only thing that works on Zoe’s skin. It makes her so soft and clears up any issues we have pretty much over night. I use this in the evenings, and a lighter lotion in the mornings before she gets dressed. If we have a flare up of any kind, we use this a few times per day. I cannot recommend this enough!!

Baby Dove Tip to Toe Wash

After not being super happy with Honest and a few other washes, I decided to try Dove and am SO GLAD that I did!!! I have already repurchased this stuff. Since adding the oil to her bath and then changing to this wash a few weeks later….we have had ZERO eczema flare ups. This stuff smells incredible and makes Zoe’s skin so so soft. Definitely our holy grail now.

Vicks Vapor Pads 

I forgot to put the box in the picture above, but these things are serious!! Anytime Zoe gets stuffy, I place this in her room each night for a few days. The whole house ends up smelling like it (so you know it is working) and it works so well to help her breath. I only use one pad at a time, even though there are two slots in the plug in. They are strong enough you don’t need two at a time. This is the plugin we use with it. 

weekend shenanigans

Shenanigans

I never said I had my life together. Sometimes I can get my post up on a Monday morning, and sometimes I cannot. It was a little crazy yesterday. Add in the fact that my arms are sore as shit. I decided at 9pm on Saturday night that I was going to repaint our closet. Ran out of paint half way through and ended up finishing it last night at 11pm. Can I just count that as my weekly workout? I did the ceiling and everything!

Anyways, this weekend was pretty fun. Chris and I kicked it off with a date lunch on Friday. We went to Taco Morro Loco in Avondale. I promise you, you can’t find a better taco in Birmingham than this place right here! SOOOOOOOOO damn delicious! I got the ground beef, chorizo and Pastor (pork with pineapple salsa.) Freaking delicious. We also split some cheese stuffed jalapenos and chips and salsa. We then headed over to Bargain Hunt and it was back to work for me.

Saturday morning we had a little play time outside. We had scored some great deals on sidewalk chalk last weekend at Bargain Hunt and couldn’t wait to test them out.  It was around 8-9am and was already unbearably hot. We came in, did some stuff around the house and Zoe went down for a quick nap. We headed over to Chris’s parents house to catch a little of the game and stopped by Papa Sals on the way home to get some pasta for dinner. After Zoe went down and I ate….is when I started painting.

Sunday we were up and out early to make a Home Depot run and knock out our grocery shopping. Target had 20% off their fall drinks at Starbucks, so I indulged in a caramel frap. Something I rarely do. It was so delicious!!!! Zoe wanted to rock Vamparina shirts all weekend. The kid actually went to bed with her blue shirt Saturday night after she had a fit when we changed her into pj’s. You choose your battles, and that was one I didn’t have the energy for.

After a failed nap attempt, Aunt Tracy came to get Zoe for a little while. She took her and my nephews to the park and out to dinner. Zoe had soooooooo much fun!!!!! Look at her burger face. That is the exact face I make too!

While they were out, Chris and I did a Facebook Marketplace deal and got a roomba, and then decided to spontaneously grab a beer at the new brewery in Trussville before getting more paint at Sherman Williams. Slagheap opened a few weeks ago, and it is a really nice spot!!! I didn’t particularly care for the beer I ordered, the one I really wanted to try was tapped out. But they always have events and food trucks there, and the place is nice and clean. Family friendly too. I know we will be back.

We also went to Best Buy, and what do we do when we are without child? Find things to get her, of course!!! Poppy and Buttons came home with us, haven’t seen them before! She already has Vamparina, of course. They joined her entourage of Pets characters that must come everywhere with us now.

When we got back, we played outside for a little bit, had a fun bathtime….and after she went down for bed…Chris and I enjoyed steaks and Blue Bloods.

And just like that, the weekend was over and it was back to reality!