Tuesday, January 26, 2021


A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. Check them out!

Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Pages: 208
Source: Netgalley | Publisher
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

THE NEUROTIC NOTEBOOK is a fun, pun-y gift book. . The familiar composition style cover immediate draws you to it and gives you the special place where you want to write all the words. Each page has a clever play on words, fonts, or punctuation, and it offers an interesting and entertaining use of language. This notebook is the perfect gift for just the "write" person.

Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Pages: 120
Source: Netgalley | Publisher
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

"I enjoy long slow walks . . .
away from social situations."

A TURTLE'S GUIDE TO INTROVERSION is a great reminder that we can allow space for calmness - we even can embrace it. Each page affirmed the validity of doing things at your own pace.

"Confidence doesn't always roar."
I enjoyed the cute pictures and one turtle's thoughts on enjoying their own company.

Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Pages: 160
Source: Netgalley | Publisher
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Apparently I like comics about couples. HAPPILY EVER AFTER & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN is a collection of comics of a young couple beginning their life together. 
It includes cute depictions of ordinary life, every day happenings, and the little annoyances that happen between couples who are making their way.

One of my favorite comics is of the couple getting ready for the day and they unintentionally get dressed in very similar clothes. My husband and I did this all of the time, and it's not uncommon for several couples I know. My grandparents did it too! 

I love seeing the humor of it all.

 Disclaimer:  I requested these e-ARCs from Netgalley for review consideration.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARCs provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 21, 2021


by Abby Jimenez
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Published by Forever
Pages: 401
Source: Netgalley | Purchased


From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone comes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can't seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's owner reaches out. He's a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan's not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can't deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There's no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

My Thoughts

THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST has a permanent spot on my bookshelf. There isn't a way to share my love for this book without sharing how I connected to it personally after losing my husband, the love of my life, at the beginning of 2020. But first and most importantly, I want to thank Abby Jimenez for writing THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST and for helping and entertaining readers like me who are on our way to healing and happiness. 

I've read THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST twice. The first time was during the week of my husband's birthday, just four months after his death. The second time was during the week of the anniversary of his death. This wasn't intentional, but the timing of wanting to read, and later, reread this book wasn't lost on me. This has happened before - a book calls to me to be read, and it's after I've read it that I realize it was the book that I needed at that moment. 

What I need to say about starting to read this book:
I was nervous to read it. I was afraid I would get triggered and my grief would overwhelm me leaving me spiraling for days. So, like with any book, I gave myself permission to stop reading if it becomes too much for me. I cried early on, possibly from the anticipation of knowing part of Sloan's story from THE FRIEND ZONE. But when TUCKER arrived I just knew that it would be OK. Tucker, the name of the dog who jumped into Sloan's car and into her life, is also the same name that my husband would use for his Southern alter-ego. He used it when he mocked my accent and spoke like me to be silly or make me laugh. And in my mind, it felt like my husband was telling me "I'm here. I'm with you. It's OK. You're going to be OK."

I loved the romance between Sloan and Jason and the way that he wanted to love her, to take care of her, and the way he wanted to let her love him (at least until his career made it complicated). I continue to read romance because we had our own true-life romance. And sometimes when I read it in stories, it feels as though I can continue to live in that love. And while our love wasn't perfect, it was real and it was true. Books like THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST help me to remember that.

Sloan's story is heartbreaking and I saw too much of myself in her grief. Sloan had lost her love, she'd lost her passion, and didn't even recognize who she'd become. I thought the author shared an accurate portrayal of what it's like to lose your love, to lose the life you had with this person, and to lose the future you planned with them. It was difficult to read, but I also found comfort in the acknowledgment that this was her reality and she was struggling. The quote: "I missed myself. I missed being happy," really hit home for me. Yes Sloan, I know exactly what you mean.

THANK GOODNESS for the friendship between Kristen and Sloan - a best friend who remembers the anniversaries of important dates and anticipates her friend's needs. She's the friend to make Sloan laugh when she's not sure if she'll ever find anything funny ever again. I loved Kristen in THE FRIEND ZONE and she is a stellar BFF in THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST.  I'm honored and beyond grateful to have a few Kristens of my own. 💜

This book did make me cry, but it made me laugh so much more. And it reminded me of what I'd already come to realize - sadness and joy can exist in the same space. And you can let it. THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST will go on that special shelf of "Books of my Heart" that let me know that I'm going to be OK. And one day I'll be better than OK.

I loved it!

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. I've also purchased a finish copy for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Review: IN LOVE & PAJAMAS by Catana Chetwynd

A Collection of Comics about Being Yourself Together
by Catana Chetwynd
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Pages: 128
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Netgalley 


From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Snug and the bestselling Little Moments of Love comes an all-new collection, In Love & Pajamas by Catana Chetwynd of Catana Comics! 

When you've reached that sweatpants-wearing cozy place in your relationship, it's all In Love & Pajamas This brand-new collection of Catana Comics presents some fan favorites and half of the book features never-before-seen comics that delight and amuse readers of all ages.  Wholesome, sweet, feel-good humor!

My Thoughts

I love how Catana Chetwynd continues to capture the special and ordinary moments with her favorite person. Her comics are adorable and so relatable, and it's fun and heartwarming to see parts of our own relationships. Just like with SNUG, I'm able to enjoy the love expressed in this book with a fondness for my favorite person who is no longer with me.

Something that I love about IN LOVE & PAJAMAS is that you can open the book to any page and have a little chuckle. These comics make the mundane fun. There were some comics that made me literally laugh out loud and it was truly wonderful to feel those moments of joy. 

I cannot wait to have a copy of IN LOVE & PAJAMAS of my own so I can pick it up any time I may need a pick me up. AND it includes stickers!! 

IN LOVE & PAJAMAS would make a wonderful gift for the person who you like to snuggle with the most.

Disclaimer:  I requested this e-ARC from Netgalley for review consideration.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Review: THE MALL by Megan McCafferty


by Megan McCafferty
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher | Netgalley


New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

My Thoughts

I'm a long time fan of Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling Series and did a big ol' happy book shimmy when she announced her highly anticipated (by me) new book THE MALL. I didn't care that it would be a couple of years before it was released, I was just excited that we would get a new book from her.

What I loved most about this book was the nostalgia and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to read it. I mean just the title THE MALL created enough excitement. I immediately thought of a reimagined Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I loved the use of icons Frank and Kathy for Cassie's parents and Tommy and Vince the "Motley Crue" who hid a treasure. This almost went over my head, but when I realized what McCafferty did, I had a great laugh. And OF COURSE the 90210, the original 90210, shout-outs just took me back. 

It brought back fun memories of middle school and high school and hanging out at the mall with friends. My first job was in a mall and my friends even modeled the "latest fashions" for a popular chain store. I'd almost forgotten about that until just writing it here. Oh, good times. 

THE MALL was a funny, often silly, and sometimes scandalous walk down memory lane.  Fans of Megan McCafferty will enjoy this book while they wait for the release of Jessica Darling Makeover Editions!

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


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