The 2019 MomAdvice Summer Reads Guide

June 1st, 2019

For many years, I have wanted to do a reading guide for you all, but each year the days would slip away and I would think, “Maybe next year!”

Well, not today, Satan!

I am thrilled to share my first Summer Reading Guide with you! This has been a true labor of love and I’m incredibly proud how this turned out.

Within this 15 page guide you will find:

  • A huge list of great books to read over the summer. I have included some new (and upcoming) novels, but I also weaved in some older favorites that might be easier to snag at your local library.
  • Tips for reading more this summer including a few of my own tried-and-true formulas for reading.
  • A bookworm gift guide filled with fun finds from Etsy sellers.
  • 10 of my all-time favorite books
  • 5 summer selections curated by the Currently Reading Podcast.

All you need to do to access the free guide is be an email subscriber! Upon signing up for our mailing list, you will receive a link to the reading guide.

If you decide to read any of these selections, I’d be honored if you used the #momadvicesummerreading hashtag and tag me on Instagram!

Happy reading, bookworms! xo

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter and receive your FREE Summer Reading Guide!

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

November 26th, 2018

Check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today!

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more great reads for your stack!

Can you believe that I am picking our 2019 MomAdvice Book Club selections this week? This year has flown by and I have SO enjoyed sharing books and discussions with you.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 2,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

The best part?

There is no commitment to participate in chats (although I love it when you do!). This is a place to get opinions about books, find out what everyone is reading, and start chats of your own about books you would just love to talk about.

I wanted to get this list up a little early so you have loads of time to make requests to your local library or read ahead on any of these selections.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

Scroll through the book list below to see what we have in store for you in 2019.  The discussion is held on the last Friday and an Event invite is sent out at the beginning of the month to join a virtual chat. Once you RSVP, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

I’m thrilled to share these 12 selections with you from a pool of talented writers. As always, I try to keep a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, YA, memoirs, and mysteries.

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

January- A Ladder to the Sky

February- My Sister the Serial Killer

March- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

April- Little

May- The Friend

June- The Editor

July- In Sight of Stars

August- There Will Be No Miracles Here

September- No One Can Pronounce My Name

October- The Lying Woods

November- The Library Book

December- Virgil Wander

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

January 1st, 2018

"MomAdvice

Is one of your goals to join a book club this year? I’m thrilled to share that we have an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group that I’d love for you to join. I’m so excited to share with you our MomAdvice 2018 Book Club selections.

Our book club now has over 1,200 bookworms (!!!) and we would love to have you join in on the fun discussions this year. I loved last year’s selections so much that they even found their way on my Best Books of 2017 list.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the entire year of books for 2018 to round out your book stacks.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question.

To make finding these discussions easier (and so you can hop in at anytime!!) we have moved our discussions into the Events tab. You will receive an invitation to each discussion and can find the entire discussion in the Events, instead of searching through our VERY active page.

You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood January- Alias Grace

Lucky Boy February- Lucky Boy

American Fire March- American Fire

Lilli De Jong April- Lilli De Jong

The Music Shop May- The Music Shop

Everything Here is Beautiful June- Everything Here is Beautiful

Salt Houses July- Salt Houses

Little Broken Things August- Little Broken Things

Far From the Tree September- Far From the Tree

The Hunger by Alma Katsu October- The Hunger

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy November- Steal the Stars

Girls Burn Brighter December-Girls Burn Brighter

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

Pin It

UPDATED: My Favorite Prime Deals

July 16th, 2019

It’s time to talk Prime deals (again!) and I am excited to share with you a few of my absolute favorites today.

Please note, this will be updated throughout the day! I don’t want you to miss anything that you have had your eye on.

Important Deals to Take Advantage Of This Year:

Get $10 to spend on Amazon Prime Day (July 15 & 16) if you spend $10 at Whole Foods (in store or on Prime Now)

Get a $10 Amazon credit when you sign into the Amazon App for the first time (and add an additional $10 Amazon credit after your first in-app purchase!!!)

Amazon Pantry is running incredible deals– Buy 5, save $5. Buy 10, save $10. Buy 15, save $15. Take an additional $10 off a $40 purchase using the coupon code PANTRY. Haven’t used Prime Pantry before? New Prime Pantry customers  get $10 off a purchase of $50 or more with the coupon code 10BACK. 

4 Months of Amazon Music for just $.99

Get $5 Credit if you buy $25 in Amazon Gift Cards. Use coupon code GCPRIME19 to cash in this offer.

Bookish Offerings

NEW: 80% off Loads of Incredible Books Today

Get 3 Months FREE on a Kindle Unlimited Membership

Get 66% off a 3-Month Audible Membership

Kindle just $59.99 today!!

Kindle Oasis (take $79 off today!!)

Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite with Double the Storage is just $84.99 (or you can get a refurbished one for just $79.99)

Tech Deals

NEW: 70% off the Harry Potter films

Kindle Fire just $29.99!!

Nintendo Switch- $299.99 for system PLUS a $35 gift card to spend at the Nintendo shop

Gaming Mouse save $35 (this is great to put away for the holidays!!)

Fire TV Sticks with Alexa Voice Remote are only $14.99 today!! These are so great when you are traveling and want to catch up on your shows!

August SmartLock (save $69 today)

Ring Video Doorbell Pro with Echo Dot for just $169

Fire TV Cube just $69.99

AncestryDNA Kits for just $49

Garmin Forerunner 235 (save $80!)

Echo Show save $70 today

echobee4 smart thermostat save $69!!

Apple iPad Pro is discounted $430!!


Home & Kitchen

Snag an Instant Pot for Just $49.00 (NEW PRICE UPDATE!!)

NEW: Weighted Blankets are on discount!!

NEW: Save up to 40% off household essentials (BIG SAVINGS today!)

NEW: Half Off Egg Cookers

iRobot Roomba Vacuums are 30% off or more

Dyson Animal Vacuum is $249 off today!! 

Instant Pot Sous Vide Immersion Circulator (this clamps right onto your Instant Pot)

Ninja Air Fryer (save $30 today)

Lifestraw (under $10 today!)

Beauty & Clothing

Philips Sonicare DiamondCare Electric Toothbrush (save $84!!!)

NEW: Save up to 40% of Under Armour

NEW: 53% off Lands’ End Backpacks PLUS free shipping. Use coupon code BOOKBAG and pin 9619

Toys & Games

Photosynthesis (save almost $11!)

7 Wonders ($21 off!)

One Night a Werewolf ($14 off- this is a Clark family favorite)

Other Companies Looking to Get in On the Prime Fun

NEW: Jeans for Women for just $10 today!!

XBox One X (this is the lowest price I’ve seen on these!)

XBox One Bluetooth Wireless Controller just $39.99 (we love to have extra controllers on hand for our friends!)

Air Fryer XL, $69.99

Ninja Smart Screen Blender Duo

Google Home Mini just $25!

Bose SoundSport Earbuds just $39

Old Navy PLUS- huge discounts!!

What are you planning to buy today? Let me know if I have missed any good steals!

This post contains affiliate links!! 

Small-Budget Crushes 07.11.19

July 11th, 2019

Loving all of these summer finds today!! 

bathing beauty swimsuit (so many pretty colors!)

striped belted blouse

patterned moscow mule mugs

hawkins indiana t-shirt

state necklace

tie front dress

mama bird shirt

circle skirt (two gorgeous options)

the cat countess print

shirt dress (two pattern options)

needle & thread tote

bubble waffle maker

too many books i think not t-shirt

only love banner

black maxi dress

circle skirt (several colors & amazing reviews!)

bullet journal bookish worksheets

self-care print

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! 

Amy’s Notebook 07.10.19

July 10th, 2019

source

Love the notebook? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter with more incredible articles!!

How delicious does this veggie egg roll noodle bowl look?

These are great tips on how to make more time for books.

Speaking of books, I read this and need to talk to someone about it STAT.

The 50 best memoirs of the past 50 years. I will definitely be bookmarking that one!

Thinking about painting the exterior of your home? This post should help.

16 steps to financial success at every stage in life.

Losing that glow? I really loved this illustration for a replenishing day.

source

How adorable are these diy Florida orange bookmarks?

I love these realistic ways to add more self-care into your life.

I could really get behind this slow cooker dish.

9 books just made for listening.

This was your favorite purchase this week. So cute!

This diy card game holder is perfect for little hands.

Next up in my book stack.

These were made for summer dresses. Also, this– I don’t know what I would do with it.

source

These diy popsockets would make such great gifts.

This 3-ingredient margarita recipe looks delicious.

I want to do a picnic just to use this printable. Love it!

This would be a great summer craft to do with my daughter.

If you worry a lot, please read this.

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning.

Addicted to your phone? Check out these smart tips for a phone free weekend.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

Please note, there are affiliate links in this post- thank you! xoxo

June Happy List

July 2nd, 2019

when you ask your husband for a picture for your blog…#dramatic

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and looking for a fun week of holiday fun! My daughter has already written “SUSHI & STRANGER THINGS,” on our calendar for our 4th plans. Usually, we are out of town for this holiday, but my son will be starting driver’s ed (!!!) so we needed to stick around town for that.

How am I old enough to have a child taking driver’s ed? How am I old enough to have a daughter planing a sushi agenda for my 4th plans?

Time flies when you are having fun (or surviving? maybe that’s more accurate?)

This is always a fun week on the blog because I share all my book reviews and happiness. Be sure to check out that post for your holiday stack!

Have you been missing the 3 little things list each week? Just so you know, this feature didn’t go away…it just moved over to my newsletters each week.

Sign up is super quick over here. I will even send you some free printables to help you put together this incredible home management binder.

Today I wanted to share what you might have missed this past month in one big giant happy list!!

A New Summer Playlist

Here are a few things that may or may not surprise you about me. I played the violin, I took voice lessons, I did show choir, I did musical theater, and I worked as a D.J. for my college dorm’s radio station. My favorite gift to share with my friends were my mix tapes and, later, my CD’s that I would burn and fill with my favorite music. They were so lovingly treasured, in fact, that my girlfriend swears she is still killing it to Ghetto Mix 10 (when her kids aren’t joining her- of course) and my husband kept all the mix tapes I made for him for a summer U.S. History trip he took in high school.

It is why I absolutely LOVE making a killer playlist for the different seasons. I wanted to craft a new playlist for the summer for you so here’s a link to my new playlist AND a link to all the other playlists so you can enjoy any of the other virtual mix tapes I share. I hope you love this interpretation of my 2019 summer jams.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction (Season 2)

If you haven’t dived into David Letterman’s interview series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, I can think of no better way to spend your evenings. I was thrilled to see that Netflix released a second season of this show and very intrigued about who was chosen to be interviewed.

Letterman opens with an interview with Kanye which, honestly, sounded like a moment of bravery given some of his past interviews. Letterman REALLY has to work hard to keep this guy on topic, but I think it really wowed me more because of his kindness and ease that he seemed to possess when steering this conversation with Kanye.

While I find him to be a bit intriguing, I can’t say enough good things about the interviews with Ellen & Tiffany Haddish, in particular. I learned so much more about these women that I was completely blown away by elements of their own life stories they were willing to open up to with him.  I doubt you could watch this series and not learn something new through these interviews.

I Tried Acupuncture for My TMJ

Many moons ago, I tried acupuncture for an ongoing elbow issue I was having and, honestly, didn’t feel like it brought any relief. I ended up dismissing it as a voodoo type service that wouldn’t work for my pain.

Last week, my jaw got all out of whack again and I thought I would visit my chiropractor for some gentle intervention and a massage. In case you didn’t know, some chiropractors offer services that you might get at a spa, but these services are deemed “medical,” so they can often be processed through your health insurance. Imagine paying your co-pay in lieu of the hundreds of dollars you might spend to have this service. #winning

When I went (if you are local GO HERE- he’s AMAZING!), Dr. Jerry mentioned that they had added acupuncture to their list of services and that it might be worth trying for my jaw issues. With my pain being at high levels, I thought it would be worth giving it a spin again and, YOU GUYS, it helped SO FREAKING MUCH. I would have never thought to use this service for TMJ, but this explains why this new approach can really help minimize your pain.

Honestly, I was really freaked out to have these needles inserted in my face and around my head and it did feel very painful, at first. Keep in mind that the pain was pretty excruciating to begin with though. Once I calmed down, I didn’t notice it as much and tried to relax. After it was over, I felt pretty awful for a few hours and I also burst into tears which was really obnoxious.

Like, GET IT TOGETHER, CLARK.

Apparently, it is quite common though to have an emotional reaction to acupuncture so it wasn’t just me being dramatic after all. This article does a great job at explaining some of the side effects you might experience from this service.

As the day progressed, I started to realize how little my jaw was bothering me and how relaxed my jaw had become from the treatment. It really felt like a mini miracle and I’m going again next week for one more round. If you struggle with jaw pain, I really recommend looking into this option and having a night guard made to help reduce your symptoms. Both of these things have been worth their weight in gold for my issues.

Flattering Shorts for Moms

I tend to gravitate more towards skirts and dresses in the summer, but I was on the hunt for a few easy pull-on short options. I ended up stumbling on these shorts and THEY ARE PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. The cut is flattering, the width on the shorts is generous, the length is just right, and the material DOESN’T wrinkle. They only come in two shades, but they are beautiful basics you will reach for over and over again.

Looking for a print instead? These were my second favorite and these were my third favorite from my summer picks. I love the fun feminine details on these and the pull-on short is what summer is allll about. Unfortunately, I paid a lot more when I bought these so take advantage of these awesome sales today.

It’s Cold Brew Coffee Season

I love, love, love cold brew coffee in the summer. We try to keep a pitcher going at all times and I love the ability to have full control over the sugar content and to be able to sweeten it with fun coffee syrups. If you haven’t made it before, it’s super easy. All you really need is water, coffee, and a strainer. Here is my recipe for a foolproof brew. Every year I usually get tagged in a few photos of people who have been mixing up this momadvice brew over the years.

This season though, we are starting another drink recipe project. Want to know more? Here’s what arrived on our doorstep this week.

A Rom Com For the Weekend

If you are looking for a sweet rom com for the weekend, Always Be My Maybe was a fun little Netflix treat. This was such a sweet little story about two best friends that have a romance in their teens and then find each other again. Honestly, the Keanu Reeves cameo makes the whole dang thing. And if you are intrigued by Keanu, as much as I am, I think you’ll find this piece to be a real treat too.

Like that movie? Can I recommend this book and this book to you?

The Wall Version of Scrabble

With teens, we are always on the hunt for new ways to bond with our kids and that’s why this Scrabble Magnetic/Dry Erase Board ended up being such a great gift. My sister-in-law got this for us and I hung it this week (with these handy wall fasteners– it makes it so easy) and we have had a game going together every day. If you want a laugh, here is our actual board in action.

I ended up sharing about it on my feed and it was so fun to hear how many people decided to order these for their family, their work spaces, and I even had a teacher that ordered this for her classroom. Wouldn’t that be so much fun?

If you are wondering how it works, the board is magnetic and the tags are where you hang your magnetic letters. The dry erase board is just where you can keep your score… or talk trash about each other like we do in our family.

Anything that gets my kids off screens is a win in my book and this is DEFINITELY a win!

Ultimate Ears Boom Speaker

I have been on the hunt for a new bluetooth speaker that could weather some outdoor fun and nights in my little she shed. When Target dropped these on major discount, my husband and I picked up one of these, a bottle of wine, and some makings for a fun charcuterie board. After testing all the speakers, we settled on this one because the sound and design were so clever.

I have had music blasting in my kitchen every day and have been loving the ease of compatibility with our devices this one is. The charge on it lasts forever! If you are on the hunt for a good affordable speaker, this one fits the ticket! Unfortunately, they aren’t listing these online anymore, at Target, but Amazon came in with the shopping save and has them also deeply discounted!

Rocketbook Reusable Notebooks

My husband has always been a part of the Moleskine carrying club so when I stumbled upon these Rocketbooks, I just knew that this was going to make an incredible Father’s Day gift this year.

Basically, the notebook feels like paper, but each of the pages can be swiped down (like a dry erase board) and can be used again. The Rocketbook pairs, cleverly, with an app that allows you to take pictures of all your notes, intuitively filing them for you, allowing you to erase your pages and start fresh again.

Keep in mind, these are the pens that are compatible with this device so you might want to pick up a pack if you are buying these as a gift.

Overall, this was the Father’s Day winner with all of the recipients!

Here are a few of my favorite June captures (follow me on IG for more)!

we bought a fire pit cover and I couldn’t be happier to not have ash flying at me this year. praise be.

having grown-up pleasures like my bath tray, a good book, and a mug of electrolytes.

destroying my children in wall scrabble, especially the one that put, “your worst nightmare,” as her player name.

next month I’ll be hosting my first reading retreat with 16 phemenonal women. jealous? join the club so you can join me next time!

Top Ten Most Visited Articles in June

  1. 3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs
  2. Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial
  3. How to Make Quinoa in the Rice Cooker
  4. How to Make a Homeless Care Package
  5. How to Make DIY Fluffy Slime
  6. How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans
  7. Fruit-Infused Water Recipes
  8. 7 Things I’ve Learned that Save Us Serious Money
  9. DIY Kool-Aid Slushies
  10. DIY Outdoor Movie Night

Top Ten Most Purchased Items in June

  1. Rocketbook Reusable Notebook
  2. Cat Petting Guide T-Shirt
  3. Scrabble 2-in-1 Message Board
  4. Political Pottery
  5. Crepe Pull-On Shorts
  6. Orch Dork T-Shirt
  7. Boom 2 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
  8. Supersoft Jersey Jumpsuit
  9. Dressweights
  10. Introverted But Willing To Discuss Books T-Shirt

Top Ten Books Purchased in June- still tons on sale right now! (join the club to be notified of daily deals!)

  1. The Girl He Used to Know
  2. Finding Dorothy
  3. No Exit
  4. The Things We Cannot Say
  5. Moloka’i
  6. I Found You
  7. I Think You’re Wrong, But I’m Listening
  8. Where the Forest Meets the Stars
  9. The Orphans of Race Point
  10. Be Frank With Me

I hope you enjoyed this month’s round-up of June fun. I hope my month of happy brings a month of happy to you too! If this post doesn’t convince you my newsletter is fun, I’ve got nothing. Sign up over here to get this fun weekly in your inbox.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

June 2019 Must-Reads

July 1st, 2019

If you have been feeling like you are in a reading slump, I hope you are ready to get pulled out of that! I read 9 really incredible books this month and I’m excited to share them with you.

I really doubt you could see these reviews today and NOT be inspired to start loading up your reader or putting in a few requests at your local library. If that wasn’t enough,  did you see my FREE Summer Reading Guide I made for you? This guide should keep you very busy this summer with loads of beautiful reads.

While you’re here, be sure to print out the 2019 MomAdvice reading challenge worksheet and join our FREE online book club! You can check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here. Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews!

follow me on instagram to see what’s in my stack

Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? Grab your FREE book over here. Lucky for you, July is TWO free books this month. Woohoo!

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Also Out!!

This month’s deal: New members can get their first book for $9.99 when they join using this month’s code: RIDE and can cancel at any time.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (READ MY REVIEW HERE)

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger (READ MY REVIEW BELOW)

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Here are 9 must-read books I tackled in June:

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Red, White, & Royal Blue was such a fun YA summer romance novel as McQuiston crafts a beautiful love story between the son of the U.S. President and the the Prince of Wales. This is a sweet coming-of-age story that grapples with sexuality, the perceived image of children of well-known families, and the beauty of our first love.

Alex and Henry start out as rivals, in our story. When tabloids end up securing a photo of them, in a particular moment of rivalry, their handlers must devise a way for them to forge a truce for the media. What begins as a fake friendship evolves into deep attraction for each other.

The thing is, this relationship threatens both of their worlds.

This journey requires bravery and it also requires Alex to address his own sexuality in the process.

I went into this one as a bit of a fairy tale because McQuiston requires us to suspend our own reality about how these two can go to places without being recognized or photographed. Much of these moments don’t seem plausible, but you can’t help but wish for a world that looks just like that.

The romance and connection between these two characters though seems to outweigh some of the less grounded parts in our story. While many novels tend to fade-to-black with bedroom scenes, this one leaves the light on for you.

Fans of The Royal We and What If It’s Us will DEFINITELY love this one!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (available on August 6th!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I know many of us have been excitedly anticipating the new novel from Ruth Ware so I wanted to be sure to screen this one for you. I think it is important to know that I would categorize this one as more in the horror realm than as a typical Ware thriller novel. Fans of The Haunting of Hill House will love how this home has a dark past, filled with terrible secrets.

The book opens with a prisoner writing to her lawyer, as she attempts to explain how she has been set up for her crimes. She takes her reader down the twisted path of applying for a too-good-to-be-believed nanny job and the horrors that unfold in this infamous Heatherbrae House.

The house has had a lot of revamping under the new owners and is outfitted with all the latest smart home technology. Just as soon as the complicated house has been explained, the parents decide to head off for weeks, leaving their new nanny in charge of three little girls (and a bonus teenager), two wild dogs, and a couple of weird people working for the family.

Of course, everything with the smart technology starts backfiring on Rowan and she becomes increasingly paranoid that something is going to happen to her or these children. Not only that, but she hears someone above her room walking back and forth and keeping her up throughout the night. As Rowan becomes more and more unhinged, the naughty daughters get naughtier and encourage pushing their nanny right on over the edge.

I was on the EDGE OF MY SEAT through this whole book. Ware beautifully develops misleading clues, a sense of distrust with everyone, and a plausible reason for Rowan’s sudden career shift to nanny.

I loved it all the way through…until the last few pages.

Ware’s cleverly crafted twists unfold, but the last sections feels jumbled and rushed. The big reveal is shared in letter format with an abrupt conclusion that begs to have an epilogue. It doesn’t have an epilogue though so it left me feeling dissatisfied, knowing how incredibly satisfying the rest of the novel was.

I still loved it, but wish the ending was less rushed and as supported as much as the development of the story.

4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

How to Not Die Alone by Richard Roper

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

This novel promised a quirky character that you would grow to love, especially if you are a fan of Eleanor Oliphant and it really delivered on that promise.

Andrew’s job consists of going to a home of someone who has recently been deceased and to search for clues of a friendship or next of kin who can foot the bill for their funeral.

To his co-workers, Andrew is living his best life with a successful wife and two children in a beautiful home. What they don’t know though is that Andrew fabricated this family during his job interview and has felt compelled to carry on this fictional family.

When Andrew meets Peggy, a new hire that will be helping him handle these cases, he could never imagine how wonderful it would be to have a friend in his life. As he grows more and more attracted to her, he realizes how his lies have created an additional hurdle for him to build on this relationship.

This book is certainly a little dark, but I would say that it is dark with a lot of hope. Roper shapes compelling reasons for Andrew’s fictional relationships and his own challenges to open up to others. Andrew must acknowledge that if he doesn’t branch out more, he could be just like these lonely people that didn’t have anyone to love them at the end of their life.

I fell in love with this sweet character as he branches out into the world and learns how beautiful life is when you find friends and someone to love.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (available on July 9th!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

I am calling this wonderful novel, the perfect love letter to a bookworm. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, is all about Nina’s book-filled existence and what happens when major life events began to interfere with her carefully scheduled day.

Nina has her day arranged exactly as she likes it from working at the bookstore during the day, to leading multiple book clubs for readers of all ages, to participating in her local trivia team, and her blocks of times reserved just for reading.

Her mother has never told her about her father so it is a complete surprise when she gets a call that her father has passed away and included her in his will. Not only does she find out that she had a father, but she also finds out she has MULTIPLE siblings from his different marriages. For someone who is introverted, the overwhelm is huge.

Not only that, her trivia nemesis is turning out to be the guy of her dreams.

Unfortunately, her life is just too busy to squeeze him in.

Waxman cleverly leads chapters with Nina’s handwritten daily agendas and to-do list, which gives you a little snapshot into how much these major life events are sending her world into a spin.  Nina’s struggle to evolve and open up to others is addressed with so much heart and humor that you will find yourself smiling a lot through these pages.

I am a bit of a Nina and, truly, have never felt more understood.

This one will definitely be making my top ten list of 2019 and is worthy of a little book splurge for your summer!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Editor by Steven Rowley

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I have had such a hard time waiting to read this second novel from Steven Rowley, but I wanted to save it to prepare for our MomAdvice Book Club chat this month. Rowley’s first novel, in fact, is one that I recommend so much that I added it to my top ten favorites in my Summer Reading Guide.

To say he had a lot of hype to live up to, it would be an absolute understatement.

Guess what? He managed to do it again!

Set in the 1990’s, James Smale sells his first book to a major publishing house and is assigned his first editor. He could have never guessed that his editor would be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, when he walked into that office, but who could ever prepare a writer for that?

Mrs. Onassis had fallen in love with this autobiographical novel that tells the stories of his own dysfunctional family. Many notes of his story end up falling short and his editor knows it is because Smale hasn’t truly owned his family story. She encourages him to make his way back home again and make the necessary resolutions needed to his real story to give it the conclusion his readers deserve.

As James returns home, he begins to realize that sometimes the way we interpret our own stories are, simply, the stories we tell about ourselves. His strained relationship with his mother challenges James to look at her in a new light…changing the entire scope of the book.

I really can’t believe that I never knew that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had ever really been an editor so I was surprised to read that this was absolutely true (although not as a well-documented portion of her life).

Rowley treats her legacy with the kindness and beauty it deserves without speculation, but with stunning observation. As she mothers this writer, to get conclusions for his own life, you can’t help to fall in love with her even more.

It’s a beautiful fictional friendship that I didn’t want to end.

I loved this one start to finish!

5 out of 5 Stars

 

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger (This month’s BOTM selection– available on July 2nd)

Thank you to the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Big Little Lies fans won’t want to miss, The Gifted School which promises to be the next juicy summer drama to love! I read this in a weekend and loved the way Holsinger challenges us to exam our role as parents of gifted children as well as the difficulties of being a gifted child.

This read also couldn’t be more appropriately timed to the current admissions scandal that is making headline news.

When an exclusive new charter school is introduced to a fictional suburban Colorado town, all the parents want to give their gifted child a chance to test into this school. With very limited spots available though, parents begin putting pressure on their children to succeed and begin to go to unnecessary lengths to secure these coveted positions in the charter school.

This highly addictive story, examines how this competition begins to interfere, in particular, with four couples and their decade-long friendships. We begin to see these friendships in a new light and how these behaviors contribute to the way kids feel about and present themselves to their peers.

The book is told from multiple perspectives so it took me awhile to remember how these characters were linked to one another. Pretty soon though, I started to hit my pace and could not wait to see how this was all going to play out for these families. This is one of those can’t-put-down reads of parents behaving badly that I didn’t want to end.

I highly recommend this one for a great summer book club discussion about privilege, standardized testing, and the challenges with raising a gifted child.

5 out of 5 Stars

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

I used my Book of the Month credit for, A Woman is No Man, and was excited to dig into one of this summer’s biggest buzz books!

The story floats between two timelines and two very different countries. In 1990, seventeen-year-old Isra is growing in up in Palestine and is already facing the prospector of her father selecting a suitor for her. In just the course of a week, Isra finds herself to be betrothed, married, and facing a move to Brooklyn with her husband. The husband (and family) are looking forward to a son in their family, to take over the family name. As Isra births daughter after daughter though, she finds that her family and husband’s reception to her become colder and abusive.

In 2008, eighteen-year-old Deya is supposed to meeting with potential husbands and is preparing to be married. Deya really wants to go to college though and is hoping to convince her grandmother to go along with her decision. In a shocking twist though, Deya discovers truths about her family, the past and her future. It is through an unlikely source, but she is the one person that can help Deya make sense of the death of her parents.

I have to admit that I am feeling a bit conflicted with this one because I was hoping that it would be a bit more layered.  Within these two timelines, everything felt identical which, I believe, Rum may have wanted to use to drive home how little has changed.  With the two identical stories, though it created times where I felt like I may have read the same section twice and I found a struggle connecting with these characters, except through their shared love of reading.

I had to look up the ending because I found it caught me off guard, confusing the timeline a bit again. When I read the meaning behind the ending, it did tie it up beautifully, I just needed a minute to understand where we were at in the story.

All in all, it was a good debut and was another one I wouldn’t have picked up if I wasn’t a BOTM subscriber.

4 out of 5 Stars

Lie With Me by Philippe Besson

I can admit that I picked up Lie With Me because I noticed that the book had been translated by Molly Ringwald. You may recall that I did an interview with her about her writing and I have always been drawn to her projects because of all the layers this talented woman has.

This sparse novel was an award-winning French novel that documents the love story between two teenage boys, set in 1984 France. Now that they are grown, Philippe happens to run into a man bearing a striking resemblance to Thomas, a boy he once loved. When he realizes who his father is, Phillipe is reminded of the love he once had for Thomas and their moments together.

In his senior year of high school, Phillipe and Thomas begin a secret affair at school. Thomas demands the highest level of secrecy from Phillipe that confuses the experience for Phillipe as one that is shameful. Dismissed and ignored at school, yet contacted through secret notes and meet-ups, Philippe wishes that he could love him more openly. When Thomas abruptly decides to move away, never saying goodbye to Philippe, it devastates him, leaving him with many questions.

Meeting the son of Thomas, all these years later, allows his son to unfold his story and some letters that give Philippe some closure to their time together.

I am not sure why I didn’t seem to connect with this one. It may have been, perhaps, too sparse. The book, for me, was at its best while exploring the coming-of-age and discovering sexual identity, but it left me longing for a little something more.

3 out of 5 Stars

Atomic Habits by James Clear

I love productivity books and first was intrigued by books on better habit building after reading, The Power of Habit. If you struggle with habit building (or breaking), you will appreciate Clear’s easy approach to establishing better habit routines.

The big takeaway with this one is that very small shifts, as low as 1%, can still build incredibly over time. Clear encourages you to start implementing these smaller shifts to begin breaking down those larger goals. These goals are achieved through establishing better programming of our habits and then reinforced through your own habit tracking.

If you are a fan of Essentialism (a book I try to read yearly!), then I think you will appreciate this simple guide on establishing good habits and how to get back on course if you find yourself unmotivated.

5 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year

January 2019 Must-Reads

February 2019 Must-Reads

March 2019 Must-Reads

April 2019 Must-Reads

May 2019 Must-Reads

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

Pin It

Small-Budget Crushes 06.28.19

June 28th, 2019

so many fun finds! happy weekend, friends!

grand central art print

sanibel platform sandals (so many gorgeous colors!)

the erica one-piece

pretty travel pillows

striped midi dress

yard dominoes

if you feel you don’t fit in t-shirt

punch needle starter kit

marisol ruffled blouse

canvas tote (several colors & sturdy!)

initial necklace

denim jacket

leopard print t-shirt (comes in black or white too!)

gingham baseball cap

book of poems print

I hope you like cats doormat

square-neck maxi dress

lace racerback bralette

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! 

 

Amy’s Notebook 06.27.19

June 27th, 2019

source

Love the notebook? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter with more incredible articles!!

Now this looks like the perfect summer cheese board.

My mind is blown.

“Ask yourself if agreeing to this is for me.” I always need this reminder.

I’m trying to work on this, but the more I say no the less FOMO I feel.

Speaking of staying in, this book is why it has been so easy to stay home this week.

Self-care is not enough to fix moms who are burnt out. Amen.

source

Have you ever heard of ice dying? This looks like a fun summer project!

I’m giddy with excitement about this.

This is so inspiring. LOL!

I’m laughing that this was your top purchase this week.

I believe in this idea of needing to be king of the neighborhood. Bigger isn’t always better.

How good does this option look for breakfast meal prep?

This has been keeping me up at night and I’m thankful for this incredible effort. I can’t stop thinking about these kids.

Sometimes we need this life advice.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

Please note, there are affiliate links in this post- thank you! xoxo

5 Ways to Save Money When Facing a Chronic Illness

June 25th, 2019

This post is sponsored by RxSaver by RetailMeNot and includes tracking links. For more information about tracking links and how to opt out, please visit All About Do Not Track prior to clicking any links found in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

If there is one thing I have learned since my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome diagnosis, it is just how expensive having a chronic illness can be. The daily maintenance of medications, supplements, therapeutic services, doctor visits, medical devices, and dietary requirements can be extremely taxing on our budget. 

That is why I’m excited to partner today with RxSaver by RetailMeNot to share their online tool that helps you find the lowest prescription prices available. You can shop right at your own nearby pharmacy and save tons. 

As a budget-conscious person, I also wanted to share with you some strategies I have been using to save money to help offset some of our medical expenses. While we can’t always do financial planning for a chronic illness, we can learn better strategies for managing your money with your chronic illness.  

Here are 5 easy ways we saved while not compromising on the care I need to treat my condition!

Get Familiar with Your Health Insurance Plan

If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, it is SO important to read what benefits are covered under your plan. With a brief scan, you may discover potential savings that allow you to explore services you thought you would have to pay out of pocket for. Many plans can offer coverage for items like medical equipment, home health agency services, physical or occupational therapy, and even your chiropractic care. 

Two appointments I have been regularly booking, for example, have been for acupuncture (to help treat my TMJ symptoms) and massage therapy (to also work out issues around my jaw and neck).  

Those typically sound like spa services, don’t they? 

Can you believe they are covered at my chiropractor’s office? I’m able to have these services processed under the umbrella of chiropractic medical care through my health insurance company.  

Isn’t that so great?

If you are unclear if a particular service is covered, contact the number on the back of your insurance card to request an associate look at your policy and help you walk through your benefits.  This is also a great time to ask about potential discounts for healthy and wellness like discounts on a gym membership, nutritional counseling, or mental health services.  

Save Time & Money By Researching Prescription Prices

Did you know there are ways to save on prescription drugs whether you have insurance or not? If you can’t afford your chronic disease medications, you can take advantage of apps that save you money on your prescription needs. 

Simply head to the RxSaver website (or download the app) to comparison shop the pharmacies near you and evaluate which store offers the best deal for your money.

The nice thing about this service is that they don’t require any personal information to use it and you don’t have to have a membership to take advantage of the savings. Simply enter your prescriptions in, compare prices, and choose the best price and location for you.

When I typed in my own medications, for example, I was surprised to find $20-50 savings on one of my medications thanks to this tool finding the lowest prices for me. Check your own prescriptions right over here.

This quick price check can yield your family up to 80% off at pharmacies nationwide!

Find Ways to Earn Money & Trim Your Current Expenses

When you become diagnosed with a chronic condition, you may find that your days look a lot differently than they did. Honestly, I found that my day was really structured around appointments and squeezing in a little rest.

As we all know, when our days look different our spending can also look different.  

This is a great time to reevaluate your monthly subscription services to see if they are being used enough to justify the expense.  If they no longer fit with your new lifestyle, consider reducing or dropping services to save money to pay for your future medical expenses.  

A monthly gym membership, for example, could be reduced down to a class pass instead that can work with your new daily schedule. 

Small switches like this can free up funds for future medical expenses.

Also, consider tweaks that can help you earn money to help offset costs. Moving your savings to a high interest earning online bank, for example, can yield up to twelve times more interest than what you may currently be earning.

As you explore your financial systems, I would also encourage you to get advice from a trusted financial planner to discover ways you can earn more from interest or strategies for investing wisely to help cover any unexpected expenses. 

Discussing what your new normal looks like, with your financial advisor, can impact lots of future decisions. This is a great time to go over things like estate plans, life insurance, and strategies for covering your medical costs.  The more transparent you are with your financial advisor, the better dialogue you will have to prepare for your future.

Take Advantage of Wholesale Club Prices Without the Membership (or Heavy Lifting)

Wholesale club memberships can be expensive up front, but can yield great money-back rebates and savings on items or services needed for your health. Just think of all the potential savings on things like vision, supplements, or medical care equipment needs. 

Now that I use Instacart for grocery delivery, I discovered that you don’t need a wholesale club membership card to have a grocery delivery service gather your groceries for you. This workaround on the Costco membership means that I can take advantage of all the store has to offer online and have these heavy items delivered to my door.

If you do have a card, you can input your membership number for them to use, securing more in your future rebates without the hassle of shopping for it all yourself.

Keep in mind that the grocery service does not typically purchase a lot of the over-the-counter medications you need though and that section of the store can save hundreds on your health expenses.

No grocery delivery in your area? 

As a small town girl, I feel your pain!  

You may consider doing a grocery pick-up service and having someone at home to assist you with the heavy lifting. 

Single? 

I have found a rolling shopping cart saves me time and energy on my grocery days.  #stillwinning 

Ask About Patient Assistance Programs

Lastly, if I learned anything from my Dad, it is that it never hurts to ask for a discount!  Many places I visit offer a discount card for repeat visits, a reduction on medical bills if paying out of pocket, or can share samples of prescription medication that can help offset a bit of your day to day expenses. 

I highly recommend asking too if there are discounts for students, seniors, military, long-term disability, or being low income discount. I have often been surprised what discounts I had at my disposal that I would have never known about if I had not asked.

Not only is asking about a patient assistance program at your various appointments beneficial, but it is also something you should look for when shopping for items you may be purchasing online.

In fact, many expensive medical devices or medical supplement sites may have a page dedicated to Assistance Programs, on their website. These programs allow you to apply for a set discount on your purchases that can save you a lot of money or can be covered by your health savings account.

Just like being transparent with your financial advisor, I encourage you to have transparency with your physician about your budget too.  When our son’s medication skyrocketed hundreds, we set up an appointment to discuss alternatives that wouldn’t be as costly. By having this conversation, we were able to switch our son to a higher milligram pill that could be split into two doses, giving us twice the amount of pills for a lot less.

Don’t forget though, you have a patient assistance program right in the palm of your hand. The RxSaver app can help you narrow down who has the cheapest prescriptions in your area and get you back to resting in no time flat.

This post is sponsored by RxSaver by RetailMeNot. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Pin It

Amy’s Notebook 06.20.19

June 20th, 2019

source

Love the notebook? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter with more incredible articles!!

Doesn’t this faux greenery look like a beautiful way to create privacy on your patio?

6 ways to get to know your neighbors (and why you should).

Need backyard inspiration? I was wowed by all of these ideas. 

4 stretches to relieve fascia tightness after sitting all day. Bookmarking!

The important difference between loneliness and solitude.

You’re not too old for slumber parties.

source

These gluten-free ice cream sandwiches look heavenly.

Your iPhone has a setting to declutter itself.

Gosh, this advice for a high school graduate is beautiful.

The rise of meatless meat explained.

source

I can’t get over how gorgeous this affordable diy 4th of July bunting is. So smart!

This made my heart happy, especially since we are reading this book this month.

Six easy summer spritzer recipes to try– yum!

This made me belly laugh (*language*).

This was your favorite purchase this week and I couldn’t love it more.

source

This dessert tray is always one of the first dishes to go at holiday potlucks.

This is one kitchen update that I would have not thought of.

How fun is this summer fashion challenge?

Keanu is too good for this world. What a gorgeous little snapshot into his life.

I’m such a fan of this woman and her earned success.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

Please note, there are affiliate links in this post- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 06.19.19

June 19th, 2019


So many fun finds today! xo

cat petting guide shirt

swimsuit with flounce (comes in white too)

sand castle building kit

boxed wine scented candle (LOL!)

over the door mirror

working tidal one piece (half off!!)

denim shorts (several washes/colors)

avocado beach towel

personalized wine serving tray

textured hoodie

sleeveless jersey jumpsuit (super soft and several basic hues)

fanny pack (two colors)

sports-brella beach umbrella

rolling cart (what a steal!!)

outdoor wine caddy (great wedding gift idea!)

the katie one piece (half off and comes in 2 prints!!)

utility romper (several colors!!)

black and white hair clips

striped cardigan

printed pull-on shorts (several pretty prints)

statement handle bag (sooo cute!)

basic t-shirt (so many fun colors)

relaxed wireless bra

pretty printed pajamas (so many fun patterns)

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!!