Books – February 2023

Coming at you with some more book reviews. A few of these are ARC copies and I put the date that they release so you have pre-order or library request information! Have you read any of these? What is your favorite book you have read so far this year?

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

I am trying to decide what all I want to say about this book. I love Friends, and Chandler is definitely my favorite character on the show. I knew when I saw this book come out that I wanted to listen to it on audio, as Matthew Perry is the narrator. I knew that he had problems with drugs and alcohol, but I guess I didn’t realize to what extent. My goodness. It is heartbreaking and tragic to hear about at the level of honesty that he shares. But I will say, the book comes off very….narcissistic? I guess that is the word I want to use. He had a hard childhood, his parents split very young, etc etc. I get that. However. He blames everyone for his problems and takes zero responsibility. It is like he wants to live his life as some kind of victim. He dates someone, uses, is afraid said person is going to leave him so he leaves her, complains that Jennifer Anniston wont date him, uses and repeat.

I don’t really find it helpful to judge and criticize here because I don’t really know what it is like to be an addict. But I feel like with all the rehab and therapy that he has been through, someone should have helped him accept some responsibility for his life and actions?

Another thing that bothered me about the book is the way it flows. Which is there isn’t one. It goes back and forth in time and it is just like a random stream from his brain. I wish it was edited better. At times I am lost as to what time frame we are in.

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Friends and his movies, it is worth the read. Just be prepared for all flaws of the book, and his personality, to come with it.

The Christmas Wish by Lindsay Kelk

This is sort of reminds me of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze, in that our leading lady experiences Christmas Day over and over like Groundhogs Day movie. Which is ironic, as I am reading it on Groundhogs Day. I actually enjoyed this way more than I thought I would when I first started. So if you pick this up, stick with it. Gwen grows so much as a character throughout the whole book and I just absolutely love the way it ends.

Bottom Line: Read it!

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

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Releases July 11, 2023

It is no secret that I love Katherine Center books! This is no different. We meet Sadie, who has face blindness after a surgery. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult of a transition she had to make to be able to cope with this. I felt like Katherine did a great job getting into Sadie’s head on her feelings about it. We have a fabulous love triangle with Dr Addison and Joe. An evil stepsister, think Cinderella without all the cleaning. Throw in a sweet, elderly dog that has health problems and reminds me of my Mac…..and we get a story full of swoony romance, family drama, charming characters, and unique plot. While I totally guessed the main twist in the book, as I always tend to do with romcoms, it was quite the fun ride to get there. This book just makes me smile.

Bottom Line: Read it!

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

Off the Map by Trish Doller

Releases March 7, 2023

I didn’t realize that this was part of a series, and you definitely don’t need to read the first two to enjoy this…as I didn’t. I definitely want to go back and read the first two now! This goes a little deeper than your typical romcom, as Carla’s dad is suffering from dementia. I feel like the romance portion was a little fast on the attraction with Carla and Eamon, and so therefore their relationship doesn’t have quite as much depth as I would have liked. But their adventures were fun, and I found myself smiling often. I definitely understand Carla’s hesitation for a relationship. I really loved her friendship with Anna, and Stella, her stepmom. Overall, it was a great read.

I received an audio copy and really enjoyed the narrator. She was quite enjoyable to listen to, and did a great Irish accent….which added to the fun of the book.

Bottom Line: Read it.

**I received a copy of Off the Map from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Three Strikes and You’re Mine by R. S. Grey

Releases February 23, 2023

Another R. S. Grey book that I completely devoured in less than 24 hours! There is something about the way that she writes her characters that I absolutely love. We have Luke, a professional baseball player and single dad who is trying to find the right balance for his daughter Harper. Chloe, who is a pastry chef at a prestigious restaurant where her head chef boyfriend cheats on her and she finds herself in need of a change. And Harper, an adorable, outspoken six year old who has to be the coolest kid character in any book I have read.

This book is a swoon worthy, slow burn romance that I absolutely loved! I loved Chloe’s big family, Luke’s sister, and the general flow of the book. And the fact that on the last page, we see that Tate is going to get her own book this summer!!! Shut up! I cannot wait!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Game On by Elise Eliot

I am going to go in to some details that will be spoilers, so read with caution. I was excited to read this book because it takes place in the real estate world, where I have been my entire adult career in some form. So when I started getting into the day to day real estate office talk in here…I was less than thrilled. There is a lot of detail, and it isn’t at all how any office has been that I have worked in. While I have worked for some greedy, crappy bosses….it was different than this. Also, Millie makes a big deal about having to go to a rough property and talk to the residents there and she makes a comment like she might get shot and doesn’t feel safe. And she needs to lysol her shoes after being in some places before she gets into her car. That is pretty shitty. Just because someone comes from less, doesn’t make them a bad person. She also made a comment about her autistic kid along the lines of “I wish I was like him when I was younger and didn’t care about social norms and what people thought about me.” Really?? There are several distasteful comments throughout the book like this that really put me off from wanting to continue reading.

Other things that turned me off were the fact that Millie makes Colton out to be such a greedy and bad person, and she says she feels dirty taking money from certain deals…yet she continues to work there while she has her dental assistant schooling as back up and could have left and done something else. So she is no better than Colton, and just as greedy. In fact, we are constantly reminded that she is making more money than ever before.

And I am sorry, but this woman is 31 years old. If she couldn’t see the red flags with Jon not wanting to bring her to his place, meet her kids, etc. Than she is just an idiot. And her plan with her best friend to get back at Colton was pretty immature. I didn’t really find it all that funny.

Bottom Line: Pass. I was really excited about the plot being in the real estate industry and it had a uniqueness to it, it just wasn’t executed all that well.

Currently Reading

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus


Amazon Finds

Linking up with Tanya to share some Amazon finds since my last post.

Garlic Press

I have been trying to use less of the jar minced garlic, and use fresh garlic in more recipes. I wanted to get a garlic press to make things easier. I love how beautiful this one is! I got the copper one, but I think all are great depending on the feel in your kitchen.


I sprained my back at the first of the year. What a way to start out the year, am I right? I am doing better, thanks to several appointments with my chiropractor. He suggested that I get an electrolyte drink in every day in addition to my regular water intake. It has really helped, and I noticed a huge difference in my recover. I love the taste of Liquid IV, but I don’t love the added sugars and stuff. This one is much cleaner with no added sugars. I have had a few flavors and this one and blue raspberry are my favorites so far.


My favorite at home poke bowl recipe requires Gochujang and I haven’t been able to find it at my grocery store the last few months. They used to always carry it, not sure what happened?! Anyways, this is a large container of it, so at least I will be good for awhile! Tastes just as great as the usual one I get.


Zoe had mentioned she wanted to do something different this year for Valentine’s. Last year we did pop it bracelets, and the year before that it was a bag with pencils, stamps, stickers, and a mini goldfish. Danielle had shared this one her stories and when I showed Zoe she was said that was exactly what she was wanting. Yay!

Bathroom Shelf

Chris picked out these shelves for on either side of our double vanity in the master bath. We do not have a linen closet in there, and the storage is quite lacking.


We also have this shelf to use in the water closet in the master bath.

Unbleached Parchment Paper

I mentioned last Amazon post that I use unbleached parchment paper, and always have a hard time finding it in stores. Ordered another one from Amazon, we did a lot of baking in December!

Alaffia Vanilla Mint Body Wash

I grabbed a two pack of this for our shower, as well as one for Zoe. I like the clean ingredients, and am a fan of anything mint scented. It is so nice if you have a headache or anytime of congestion too. I tend to switch between this and a few other brands to change things up.

Fairytales Conditioner

This is a repeat purchase for Zoe. It has better ingredients, works great in her hair and smells good. Not much else you can ask for.

Switch Cover

Switch Case

We got Zoe a switch for Christmas. I had ordered a cover and case for to give her along with it. This case has held up great so far. I loved how inexpensive it was. The case holds a few games, the switch and the charger.

Pretty Princess Party

We got her this game. It is so fun for her because you create your own princess character with choices in gowns, shoes, tiaras, hairstyles and makeup options. Then there are mini games to play as your character. You also get to decorate rooms in your castle. It is on sale as of the day I posted this.

Just Dance 2023

We always get Just Dance every year it has come out. Not only is it plain fun, but it gets you up and moving too! You really get your heart rate up and workout a sweat to some of these songs.


Books – January 2023

Coming at you with some more book reviews! December was a super slow reading month for me. I did manage to close out the year reading 80 books! My goal I had set was 52, one per week. I never want to set anything too lofty, as it becomes less fun for me. This year I set my goal for 60 books.

M is for Mama by Abbie Halberstadt

Wow y’all. Just wow. Now listen. I know that this wont be for everyone, as it is a Christian based book…but it has so many good nuggets in it that I highly suggest it. Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth and follow what is right. Especially in today’s culture. This book really spoke to me. I took notes the entire time I was reading it. I only consumed one chapter at a time to really soak it all in. There were so many good verses to reflect on, and so much advice on how to raise up our children in the way that they should go. Plus, some very solid advice on how to model the behavior we want to see. I could share so much more about this book, but if I do, I will gush for days. This will be a book that I come back to and reread annually I think. I am so glad I purchased my own copy.

Bottom Line: A must read for women with littles.

Love Always, Christmas by Karen Schaler

This book reads like a Hallmark movie. It is cute, cheesy, and over the top Christmas. Things I enjoy in only a Christmas book. The characters were fun, I enjoyed Libby and Adam. I will say that the book got to be repetitive about Libby and Adam’s fears and some of their inner thoughts that were constantly repeated. Also, I didn’t love the way that Libby’s job as a social media manager was portrayed. Why was there so much focus on hashtags and a ridiculous campaign? I wish the characters had a little more depth, but that is expected of light Christmas reads like this. I did love the way the towns people were all willing to help each other out. There was also an element of mystery thrown in, which was fun. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Bottom Line: Cute to read at Christmas. I could definitely see this being a Hallmark movie.

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

A Guide to Just Being Friends by Sophie Sullivan

This is the third (and I am guessing final?) book of the Jansen brothers series. You do not have to read the first two to enjoy this one, but you should to get the back story on Noah and Chris’s girls.

I loved getting to know Wes and Hailey. I loved Hailey’s salad shop business, and wished I had a local restaurant like that here. This is a slow burn friends to lovers, which is always fun. I felt like Hailey didn’t have to be so stubborn about accepting help from others, specifically Wes. And when the real conflict happened….I felt like Wes did a 180 in the wrong direction that almost felt out of character. But I absolutely loved the ending, getting to see how all three brothers ended up.

I consumed this as an audiobook, and truly enjoyed both the male and female narrator. It added to the fun of the book for me.

Bottom Line: Read it!

**I received an audio copy of A Guide to Being Just Friends from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Going Rogue by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is back! You all know how much I love these. One of the first series that got me back into reading about 12 years ago. These are more of a comfort read for me than anything. I love the wacky cast of regulars who get into some ridiculous shenanigans. Of course we have the love triangle, cars blowing up, lots of donuts and buckets of chicken. Are these books repetitive? Yes. Are these books predictable? Yes. Are they highly unlikely to happen in real life? Yes. Yet I am still here for them, 29 books later. I LOL’d a lot in this one. I felt like Stephanie was more capable in this book than others, maybe she is turning a new leaf. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Bottom Line: If you are a Stephanie Plum fan, obviously you are going to read this!

A Confident Mom by Renee Swope

Another one that I recommend for my mom friends out there. I took notes while reading this one too, and will definitely look back on it in the future. I like the Renee took stories from her own family to get her points across. She isn’t trying to just make you a better parent, but a better person to anyone no matter the relationship. She is very character-focused, which I think is the most important train in a person.

I know someone is going to ask me if I can only pick one of the mom books from this post, which would it be. If you are only going to read one, I would go for M is for Mama…but this one is great and you should definitely add it to your list! It is less intense than M is for Mama though. So think about which style you want to follow.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

I really liked Nora. I loved how perfectly imperfect her life is. I saw myself in her in a lot of ways and found this book so relatable. Her ex-husband was a total asshat and I loved watching her relationship with Leo start to bud. We can all see where it was going. I love that Nora sort of finds herself and happiness without love in the in between. And how good of a mother she is to her kids. Her friend Kate was such a good friend. We all need a Kate in our lives. I am sad this one is done. I feel like this is going to end up on my list of favorites for the year.

I consumed this one via audiobook, and Hillary Huber is one of my favorites. She did a fantastic job!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

Full disclosure: I stopped reading this book less than 100 pages in. Already there were too many characters and too many plots going on. The style of the writing was not my favorite, as it was hard to tell which character’s view we were getting. To sum up, it was very chaotic. I didn’t even like any of the characters really, except maybe Millie. And then her sister like Millie’s husband? Like what? I cannot with this book. So I can’t really rate or review it fairly, seeing as how I didn’t get even half way through it.

Bottom Line: Pass


Books – December 2022

I wanted to read all the Christmas books this month, I have so many to get through!!! Unfortunately, I just ran out of time. Life got really busy and I went about two weeks without reading anything at all, which is rare for me. Here are the books I did read though, one of which definitely makes my list for top 10 books I read this year. Spoiler alert, it was Remarkably Bright Creatures.

The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch

This is supposed to be a second chance romance, a trope I enjoy. I was expecting this to be a fun nostalgic romance….but it was missing the nostalgia. And the romance. I felt like this book dragged at times. It weaved back and forth between current time and Ezra and Frankie’s past. It was almost like Hangover as they tried to piece together what happened the night before, but without all the laughs. I liked trying to figure out what happened, but the banter between the two wasn’t all that fun. And they argued so much, I didn’t really ever feel their connection. They were not the most likeable characters. I guess part of the books charm is that they are imperfect, and therefore a little more relatable? Still, I found myself not really caring what happened to them.

I listened to this on audiobook and Julia Whelan was amazing as always. I also really enjoyed the male narrator.

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed the narration of audio for this book. I am undecided about how much I actually liked the story. Maybe 2.5-3 stars? Like I said, I didn’t love the characters and the book dragged at times.

I’ll Start Again Monday by Lysa Terkeurst

When I saw this book on the shelf, I knew I had to read it. Who hasn’t said “I’ll start again Monday, and then continued to indulge as much as possible until then?” I really liked how Lysa talked about her own struggles with weight and how she applied verses from the bible to turn to when you are struggling.

My favorite verse is: You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north. – Deuteronomy 2:3 It just really clicked for me.

I saw a lot of negative reviews for this book, people talking about toxic diet culture and such. Here is the bottom line. The Bible tells us to treat our body as a temple for the Holy Spirit. Many of us turn to food for comfort and fulfillment and it will never truly fill a void in our lives. I don’t feel like Lysa is telling us to go on some mega strict diet and be miserable. She is giving us some truths to turn to when we want to focus on diet and lifestyle and are struggling. Diet and lifestyle is a major part of taking care of our bodies and staying healthy, so you can do the physical things you want to do. Live long enough to meet your grandkids, etc. There is nothing wrong with that.

Her strict approach to dieting isn’t for me, and it probably isn’t for most. But it is what works for her, You have to approach it however is best for you.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

I loved this book so much. It is hard to believe that this is this author’s debut, as the characters are so loveable and well thought out. I listened to this on audiobook and the narrators are so good. My absolutely favorite character was  Marcellus. His chapters are my favorite, and I wanted more! I loved Tova’s devotion to her cleaning job at the aquarium. Her relationship with Cameron. And we can’t forget Ethan! Such amazing characters. I didn’t know much about this book before I read it, and I think that is the best way to approach it. So you can be utterly consumed by it as well.

Bottom Line: Read it!

One Last Gift by Emily Stone

Overall, I enjoyed this story. I liked Cassie and Sam and reading about the clues that lead Cassie to her last gift from her brother. It was sweet and heart warming. I felt like Cassie and Sam were super immature in the beginning of the book, and all their misunderstandings and miscommunications were frustrating at times, but I liked the way the book ended. I enjoyed Always December more.

Bottom Line: Read it.

**I received a copy of One Last Gift from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**


Christmas Wish List

I always love doing a Christmas wish list each year. They are so fun to look back on. Plus, I love getting ideas from wish lists.

This last year I have been working on cleaning up our food, cleaning/home products, body products, and now I am switching over all my makeup and beauty things. I am not perfect by any means, just trying to reduce my toxic load as much as possible. I have been switching things out as we run out. It is less overwhelming like that. So I have a lot of clean beauty I want to try out! Plus a few other fun things to throw in as well.

Stanley Cup // Kosas Ready in 5 Set // Tower 28 Lip Gloss // Henry Rose Perfume Set

Organizational Cart // Setting Powder – Shade Sheer Light // Olive & June Mani System -coupon

code MANI30 right now to save 30% //Sperry Boots (Dove color 10)