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Books – November 2021

I finally knocked out some Netgalley books this month. Most of them are already released, I am so behind on my Netgalley shelf! Definitely reading all the Christmas books. I love this time of year! Have you read anything seasonal yet? Do share! I am consuming as many as I can!

Always, in December by Emily Stone

Always, in December

Do not let this pretty winter cover or title fool you. This is not a lighthearted Christmas read. It was beautiful and I loved the story and all the characters. But I was bawling and the book is so heartbreaking. I wasn’t quite expecting that, as I believe this book was categorized as “romance.” I don’t think it could quite be called that, more of women’s lit or something. There is definitely a lot of depth to the story. We deal with grief, friendship, love and finding yourself. I read this pretty fast, because the story definitely grabs you and you want to see where it goes. I am just saying I wish I would have known that it wasn’t your typical lighthearted, cheesy Christmas romcom. Though, the book did have a few funny moments that had me smiling.

Bottom Line: Read it. With a box of tissues.

**I received a copy of Always, in December from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Twelve Days to Save Christmas by Elizabeth Neep

Twelve Days to Save Christmas

This is a lighter Christmas read than Always, in December, but still covered some heavier topics. I really wanted to love Poppy, but there are so many times in the book that I wanted to shake Poppy and be like WTF is wrong with you?!?! RED FLAG!!! She is sweet but also seems very selfish and immature at times. I hated George and the whole group of friends they had together, as I think you are supposed to. I wish we could have gotten to know Theo, Marie, Aran and Avery a little more in the book. They were great characters that deserved more development and time with.

Bottom Line: This one was cute enough with the Christmas theme, but I think I would only really enjoy it this time of year. The story itself was a little lacking for me with Poppy’s personality.

**I received a copy of Twelve Days to Save Christmas from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

The Newcomer

I love Mary Kay Andrews and was so excited to get two new books from her just a month apart! (Go read The Santa Suit from her before Christmas!!!) This one grabbed me right away. It goes back and forth between present day and memories of Letty’s past with her sister. I really loved all the side characters from the motel, and even the FBI agent. You couldn’t help but root for Letty and Maya. The book was a little long at times, but I didn’t mind because I quite enjoyed the whole storyline.

Bottom Line: Read it if you are looking for a light mystery.

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

Snowfall and Secrets by Kimberly Loth Snowfall and Secrets: Lukas (Michigan Millionaires) eBook :  Loth, Kimberly: Kindle Store

I grabbed this free on Amazon awhile back. It was a quick, cute read. I wish that we would have gotten more character development, both characters had deep secrets from their past and they were sort of glossed over. I feel that is pretty typical of a short “winter romance” novel though. This passed the time just fine, but I am going to be honest and say I was a little disappointed in the ending. Everything was rushed and then a new character comes out of no where. I know the author was setting up for the next book, but it felt disconnected from the rest of the Lukas and Tess story.

Bottom Line: Quick cute read if you are into romance novels. I wouldn’t go out of my way to grab this one, but it passed the time just fine.

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

The Holiday Swap

This was such a cute holiday read, that wasn’t too over the top with the Christmasy bits of it. I really loved the whole plot line of the twins swapping lives, reminds me of adult Parent Trap! I loved all the characters in the book, and the cute setting of Starlight Peak reminds me of Gilmore Girls for some reason. Throw in lots of yummy food since both twins work in the food industry and some hunky swoony men, and you have the perfect recipe for a delightful read!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

Very Sincerely Yours

This was really cute read. It gave me slight You’ve Got Mail vibes with the emails back and forth. In th beginning of the book, it is crazy how many red flags Teddy ignored in her relationship with Richard and how much of herself she gave up for him. I think a lot of people who don’t know what they want to do when they grow up (even if they are in their 30s!!) can really relate to Teddy throughout this book. I loved that we also got to go back and forth between chapters from Teddy’s view point, as well as Everett. Loved all the side characters as well.

Bottom Line: Very cute and whimsical romcom!

A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria

A Lot Like Adiós (Primas of Power, #2)

The premise of this book was good, but it fell very flat for me. So flat that I quit it about 1/3 of the way in. The book felt forced, I didn’t really feel a connection between the two characters. They were very immature for adults. I hated the fanfic chat throughout the book. It was boring and unnecessary. There were also so many topics that were forced in the book that didn’t really play to the story, like the author was trying to prove she was relevant or something? Hard no from me.

Bottom Line: Pass

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Life's Too Short (The Friend Zone, #3)

I loved The Happy Ever After Playlist, so I couldn’t wait to read this. I was hooked right away and absolutely loved it. I did this on audio and I really enjoyed the narration. We get chapters from Vanessa and others from Adrian. I loved them both so much, and the side characters as well. I would love to see Becky have her own book! While this is a romcom that made me laugh, it also dealt with some seriously heavy issues. Obviously ALS, but also mental health, addiction, family drama and grief. It was written so well, and I enjoyed it so much. I am sad it is over.

Bottom Line: So good! Read it!

The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Allison Heller

The Neighbor's Secret

This was the book club choice for November. I will be honest, at first I wasn’t to happy to steer away from my Christmas reading binge, so it took me a little while to get into the book. However, once I got into it…I was in. I finished the second half of the book in a matter of a few hours of off and on reading in between life. I loved the whole neighborhood/book club scene. I would love to be a member of their club! I liked how we got present day with flashbacks to 15 years earlier. I never felt major tension in the book like some “thriller” type books, but that didn’t take away from my curiosity to figure out what was going on. I felt like it was a well constructed plot/mystery. I also appreciated all the mom talk and worry over their kids. It shows that no family is perfect, and we all have our things we are dealing with.

Bottom Line: If you enjoy books like Big Little Lies and Liane Moriarty, read it!

Currently Reading

A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss

A Season for Second Chances

8 Thanksgiving Movies

I always love a good festive screening of a movie during the holiday. We started playing Christmas movies over here already, but I want to shift to a few Thanksgiving movies this week! Growing up, we always watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles on Thanksgiving. That evening, we used to put up our Christmas tree and watch Eddie and the Cruisers. Does anyone remember that movie? I am not sure what started that, maybe it was just that my dad wanted to watch it one time and it stuck. It wasn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas-y.

I put a list together of Thanksgiving movies. There is something for everyone on here. I chose Miracle on 34th Street because it does start with the Thanksgiving parade! That is something else I try to catch every year. We always look for the Snoopy float. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving movie? Do you want the parade?


Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Can you believe it is Thanksgiving next week??? Totally blows my mind. I didn’t even realize that until this past weekend. We were talking about the upcoming things going on and Thanksgiving was one of them and I thought we had more time, but nope!

Which means Zoe’s birthday is also around the corner. I cannot believe she is going to be five. FIVE!!!! Where is the time going???? I am majorly behind on planning her birthday party. Mainly because I wasn’t sure if we were even going to have one? I usually start planning 6 months out or so, at least having a theme locked down and a few decorations purchased. We are like 2 weeks away now and I am just starting the planning process. I am pretty sure it can come together. She wants to have a fairy party. I have so many ideas, I am having a hard time nailing down which ones. Now is crunch time and I just need to make some decisions.

Zoe’s school emailed us a schedule for December because there are a lot of activities going on. She is going to be in a Christmas play! Also, Santa and the Grinch are both supposed to visit them in the same week. I started crying when I saw that, because I know that she is going to be SO EXCITED to see them both. We missed so much last year, that I will be taking none of this for granted and am apparently an emotional mess over it. I will probably cry during her play too because I have turned into such a sap.

Anyways, I am really excited for all of that! Not to mention, Jerry the Elf will be arriving in a little over a week. I have been trying to plan out all of that as well, it is much more manageable when you have a plan!!! We will have a Welcome Breakfast for him the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Zoe has mentioned him several times since last Christmas when he went home to the North Pole. She says she misses him, so I cannot wait to see her face that morning when he returns. He always brings her Christmas jammies and a book that day.

Holiday Time Colorado Flocked Un-Lit Wreath, 24"

Favorite Purchase: Walmart has been killing it lately. I grabbed this wreath for under $15. It is the same size as many I have seen at Target and other places for $40. Such a steal.

Time and Tru Women's Cowl Neck Sweater

I also love this sweater so much, I ordered it in two colors (black and white). Another great find, under $20! The fit is supposed to be tighter on the arms and loose and flowy in the parts you want to hide. Perfect for holiday meals!

I am not big into wearing pajamas. I prefer under armor shorts or leggings and sweatshirts in the winter. Enter this Santa Baby sweatshirt! How cute?!?! I cant wait to wear this along with Zoe in her Christmas pjs, baking cookies and watching movies.

Better Homes & Gardens Snow Leopard Faux Rabbit Fur and Sherpa Throw Blanket, Easy Wash, 50 x 60, Grey

This snow leopard throw is truly beautiful in person and looks/feels much more expensive than it was. Can you believe it was $15?!?! This would make an amazing gift for someone. It is so soft and comes in a few other prints. It even came on a hanger. I took a few photos of it, but it was dark and raining that day, so it is coming across slightly darker in color than it really is in person.

Favorite Workout: For the month of November, Heather Robinson has been posting a 10 minute workout everyday. These are perfect for someone who is short on time or just starting out and doesn’t want to commit to the 30-60 minutes workouts. These also work great to pair together a few different ones, or do one of these and then go take a walk.

Favorite Funnies:

Linking up for Friday Favorites. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Christmas Wishlist

Somehow it’s that time of year again! Is it just me, or has November snuck in and ran away from us? I always love throwing together a Christmas wish list. I don’t really do gift guides or anything here, though I have thought about sharing some stuff that we got Zoe for Christmas because I did have a few people ask me for ideas for their daughter or niece that are around her age.

Have you started your Christmas shopping? Are you finished? I feel like a lot of people started much earlier this year, including me. Honestly, I am mostly done. I need to get a few more items and I can sit back and relax in December. I will definitely still check out some Black Friday sales, more for myself or the house than anything.

Vanity / Vanity Stool / Makeup Bag

Sweatshirt / Spanx Leggings / Cookbook

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Set / Buxom Lip Set


Amazon Favorites

Time to share those recent Amazon purchases again! Linking up with Tanya. Most of these are Zoe related this month.

Soda Stream

We had looked at soda stream before and never got one. Last weekend we decided heck with it, let’s do it! Ummm best decision ever. All the flavors we have made so far taste great and it is nice to have on hand. Super easy to make. We bought extra bottles to be able to keep a flavor or two in the fridge. This would make a nice Christmas present for someone.

Cherry Juice

This one will probably be in every post, as Chris and I both drink a cup of this every day for many reasons. The most benefit I have seen is that my knee pain has essentially went away. (Except for the occasional rainy day.) There are lot of other benefits for cherry juice. Definitely check it out.

Angelina Ballerina Movie

Zoe LOVES her Angelina Ballerina books so much, so when I saw there were movies as well….we had to get one. She has watched this several times already. I might have to grab a few more. Such a cute gift idea for the little Ballerina in your life to give along with a book or dance outfit.

Jesse Outfit

Zoe started back to school on Cowboy Day, and I wanted to get her something special to wear. This was such a cute little Jesse outfit on her. It fit really cute and is such a great deal.

Life Vest

Chris ordered Zoe this life vest for any upcoming beach or lake trips.

Ballet Shoes

Zoe goes through so many pairs of ballet shoes, her feet grow so fast! We have tried several different brands, and Stelle are definitely a favorite. A lot of brands in her size have these horrible ties on the fronts that never stay tied. These are easy to get on and off and look really cute, and Zoe says they are the most comfortable.

Hatchimals Flying Fairy

This was something on Zoe’s Christmas list last year that we didn’t get. I felt like she was a little young for it then. It appeared on there again this year, so I know she really wants it. They have a new one out this year that is mostly blue, but she wanted the pink or purple so I was glad to find this version on Amazon!

Harry Potter and Hermione Dolls

Zoe and I started watching the Harry Potter movies and I noticed that they made barbie sized dolls of them. I had to grab Harry and Hermione for her for Christmas. So cute!!!