Category Archives: books

Seeking Approval Throughout Life

Happy Monday all!

I’m sorry for the radio silence this past week. Prepping for baby is quite a bit more draining that I realized, but hopefully I’ll be back to a normal schedule soon.

Anyway, today I’m talking about seeking approval. I’ve always been one who wanted others to be proud of me. In fact, even today, when I think that I might disappoint someone, I go into a bit of a tailspin until I can make it right. Example: when I know people are coming over, I will stress out HARD about how my house looks and then apologize a zillion times once the guests arrive.

This is why I loved the book Approval Junkie: My Heartfelt (And Occasionally Inappropriate ) Quest to Please Just About Everyone, and Ultimately Myself. I originally was drawn to the book because of the author Faith Salie (my family are NPR fans), but as I read, I felt such a kinship with her and her wish to do things to make others happy, even when she didn’t realize she was making herself unhappy.

Reading about her first marriage was especially eye-opening, and it showed me how much I’ve grown as someone whose need for approval must be SLIGHTLY dwindling. Not only is she brave enough to admit to the times when she was being emotionally mistreated, but she does it in such a comedic way that she’s so personable.

Oh, and her chapter about being in a high school beauty pageant–HYSTERICAL!

I highly recommend this book to all of you, whether you’re approval junkies or not 😉

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


Book Challenge by Erin 7.0!

Readers of this blog know that I’m a HUGE fan of a challenge, so when I read in Ashley’s post about the Book Challenge by Erin, I knew I was in!

First off, here are the rules:

· First and foremost, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome.

· The challenge will run from JULYY 1, 2017 to OCTOBER 31, 2017. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on July 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on October 31 will count. (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.)

· Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audio books are fine too.

· A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries.

· You can read your books in any order you choose.

· Rereads can be used only once. If a book you love fits into a category, go ahead and visit it again. Read it in its entirety. But, only do this once for the challenge.

· There will be a photo album for each category with links to books chosen. Please comment on the photo for each of your books when you finish reading them. A comment can include a review, a rating, a recommendation…other readers want to hear what you thought of your choice. (if you need help with this, let me know…or there is a file attached to our group explaining what to do.)

· There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points. That’s 10 books in four months. For some of you, this will be a BIG challenge; for others it will be easy peasy. It’s all for fun, remember!

· Book categories will be posted June 1st to give you time to gather books in preparation.

· After the categories are posted, please post a preliminary list with books of your choice according to their categories on the facebook group page by June 15th (if possible). If you need help with a particular category or want a book suggestion, we as a community of reading enthusiasts can help each other. (Late entries will still be accepted.)

· The first three people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge. The following will get a small prize from me (1st to complete 1st round; 1st to complete both rounds; most points accumulated; and WILD CARD random draw – all who finish the 10 book challenge will qualify as an entry!) Plus, everyone who completes the challenge will gets all sorts of recognition and support!

· Lastly, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome. Wait, I’ve read that somewhere before…Good luck!

And now comes the fun part…picking out the books!

5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson–It’s a psychological thriller that I’ll probably want to read over my lunch hour instead of right before bed, but I can’t wait to delve into it!

10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “B”

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue–This book came blogger-recommended, so I can’t wait to see how I like it!

10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) yellow cover

Approval Junkie by Faith Salie–While the cover on Goodreads isn’t yellow, the paperback that I received from Blogging for Books definitely is.

15 points: Read a book that has a picture of an animal on the cover (submitted by Mattie)

The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase–There’s a bird on the cover, so it totally counts!

20 points: Read a book that was published in 2017 (submitted by Olya)

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen–Apparently, thrillers are heavy on my TBR right now.

20 points: Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title (submitted by Mary)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid–I’m VERY excited about this one!

25 points: The ALA’s “Banned Books Week” occurs while our challenge is happening. Read a book from this list of the most commonly banned books in America:…/List_of_most_commonly_challenged… (submitted by Christina)

Fun Home: An American Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel–I’m obsessed with the Broadway musical, so I’d love to finally read the book!

30 points: Read a fictional book about mental illness (submitted by Jamie); several helpful links:…/…/100-best-books-about-mental-illness/;;

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini–I used  to shelve this book all the time when I worked at a bookstore, and I never stopped to see what it was about. Now I’m intrigued!

30 points: Read a book with a non-human main character; i.e. animals, elves, gods, robots, merpeople, etc. (submitted by Bev); helpful links:;…/99906.Books_with_Nonhuman_Chara…;…/the-33-best-books-wit…/3704

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley–This reminds me a bit of the historical fiction version of the movie Powder…but we’ll see!

35 points: Read a book a Disney movie was based on OR a book based on a Disney movie (submitted by Kirsten); Don’t forget to check that the book is at least 200 pages:…;…/11716.Books_Turned_Into_Disney_…

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot–Love the movie, so why shouldn’t I finally read the book?

Who wants to read along with me??




Show Us Your Books: January to March

Oops! It looks like I’ve been falling behind on my book reviews! But here are the latest with Show Us Your Books!

Life According to Steph

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance (3 out of 5 Stars)


I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of this book. I only knew that my mom had read it, and so I decided to give it a try as well. I truly enjoyed hearing about J.D. Vance’s upbringing and family (especially his grandmother). When he would get a little too into specifics, I could feel myself tuning out, but overall, it was a very interesting read.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (3 out of 5 Stars)


Well, this book certainly didn’t do anything to help with my anxiety around flying, but it was full of fascinating characters. The only problem, in my opinion, was that it went a little long. Some things could have been wrapped up with less detail, and the ending section seemed forced. But it’s still written in Judy Blume-style, which I will always enjoy.

What have you been reading?


Show Us Your Books: October to November

Hey hey hey, it’s Show Us Your Books Day! I read three great books this month, and I can’t wait to tell you about them!

Life According to Steph


The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Sayings from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders (4 1/2 out of 5 Stars)

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

I never get tired of learning fun facts or quippy sayings, and this book is a delightful merging of both! Sure, we all know the cliche phrases like “what goes around comes around,” but it’s so much more satisfying when you can give some advice using an adage from another country. One of my personal favorites from the book is a Japanese saying “Even monkeys fall from trees.” So next time, instead of saying, “Nobody’s perfect,” try reminding someone that even the most agile ape occasionally slips from a branch.

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand (4 1/2 out of 5 Stars)

This book sucked me in QUICKLY…much like the characters in this town were sucked into the rumor mill! I first heard about this book from Chelsea, and I’m so glad that she recommended it! I listened to it on Overdrive while I worked and drove–and there were times that I didn’t want to get out of the car because I was so engaged! The only downside to the book was the ending for one of the characters…even though what she did was wrong, I still wanted her to end up happier.

The One & Only by Emily Giffin (5 out of 5 Stars)

Are you suffering from Friday Night Lights withdrawal? If so, grab this book ASAP! It’ll put you right back in a football-loving Texas town with characters who live and die for a National Championship. I would also highly recommend listening to the audio version of this book, since the narrator’s southern accent truly sets the right tone. Sure, it wasn’t the most serious of books, but I felt very connected to the characters and was so sad when it ended!

What did you read this month? Anything good?


Show Us Your Books: September to October

Happy Tuesday! It’s the second Tuesday of the month, so that means I’m linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!

The Assistants by Camille Perri (4 out of 5 Stars)


This is one of those books that got such mixed reviews, so I wasn’t sure what to think. And honestly, the characters aren’t all that likable. But a book about some assistants to high-powered men stealing money to help those in need is compelling, to say the least, and it’s really entertaining! Love all the pop culture references, and even though I’d be way too nervous to take the same paths as these characters, I have to admire their chutzpah.

Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming (4 1/2 out of 5 Stars)


Alan Cumming is a marvelous and daring actor, so when I read the title of this book, I figured that it would be about how different he is from his father. Well…I was sort of right, but you should definitely read it to find out more! I highly recommend listening on audiobook because Alan Cumming reads it himself and OH that Scottish brogue.

What have you read this month that’s been great?


Children’s Books I Can’t Wait to Read


So this would typically be the day that I tell you about the books I’ve read this past month. Unfortunately, I have fallen a little behind on reading. I read zero books this month. ZERO. I’m reading one right now, which I’m enjoying so far, but instead of simply talking about a book I haven’t finished, I’d much rather talk about children’s books that are coming out soon!

A little background on me: I love good children’s books. I took several classes in graduate school on children’s literature, and when I worked in a bookstore, my favorite section was the kids’ section. Because of this, I want to share three titles that you should be looking out for very soon!

Super Mom and Dad: Military Heroes! by Seth Waltman


Spiderman, Batman, Superman…sure, they have their merits. But those guys don’t even hold a candle to the heroes who protect our country. And when those heroes are doing double-duty to our country and to their own children…well, that truly does make them superheroes in my book!

If you are a military parent or are a parent who wants to expose your children to the heroes in our military, then I highly recommend this book! I have the honor of calling the author my friend, and I know that this book will perfectly pay homage to the great deeds accomplished by our military. I know that Seth was very proud of his father, who was in the US Army, and his words and pictures will evoke feelings of pride in the book’s young readers as well. (Available for pre-order now and will be released November 1, 2016).

I Am Jim Henson by Brad Meltzer


Oh hey, did you know I like the Muppets? If you’ve read this blog more than once, then yes, you’re aware. I adore Jim Henson and wish I could thank him everyday for the joy he brought to my life through the Muppets and Sesame Street. And in his “Ordinary People Change the World” series, Meltzer will introduce young readers to the man behind the Muppets. I truly cannot wait! (Available for pre-order now and will be released January 10, 2017).

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems


I wish I could remember who first introduced me to Mo Willems so that I could thank that person profusely. It’s not often that a children’s book makes me laugh out loud but that has happened with all of Willems’ Pigeon books and Knuffle Bunny. Because of this, I have incredibly high hopes for Nanette’s Baguette and all the rhyming hilarity that is sure to accompany it! (Available for pre-order now and will be released on October 25, 2016).

Are there any children’s books that you would recommend?

Linking up for Show Us Your Books!

Life According to Steph



Books ‘N’ Bloggers Swap–The Big Reveal!

Happy Thursday all! Seriously, aren’t weeks so much better when you only have to work four days? And weeks are seriously the BEST when you get to talk about books received from a super fun swap!

The Books 'n' Bloggers Swap at Chaotic Goddess Swaps


For the Chaotic Goddess Books ‘N Bloggers Swap, I was lucky enough to be paired up with Beth Ann of It’s Just Life. She’s so sweet and incredibly friendly! Plus, she loves kitties and books, so I knew I’d like her right away! Her book wish list had several books that I already read and loved, so choosing what to send her was incredibly difficult. But let me tell you about the great books she sent me!

Book from My Wish List

One of the books had to be a book from a wish list that I shared with her. Beth Ann sent me The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve been wanting to read this book for forever, since I think we could all use a little more happiness in our lives. I can’t wait to get rolling with this one!


Book She’s Read and Enjoyed

Another way that Beth Ann is a kindred spirit is that she sent me a book about one of my favorite authors, Harper Lee. The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills looks just PERFECT for my former English-teacher self!


Book She Wants to Read

I’ve been getting into mysteries more and more, and As Sick as Our Secrets by Adair Sanders looks like it’s right up my alley!



In addition to three fantastic books, Beth Ann included a ton of fun goodies that just truly made my day. An adorable bookmark, book plates, coffee and CHOCOLATE! Honestly, aren’t blogger friends just the best?!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Thank you again so much, Beth Ann! Make sure to check out her blog!


Me: A Compendium–My New Favorite Kid’s Book

I am a huge fan of kids’ books! Working in a bookstore for years left me ample time to browse the children’s section. This is where I found new authors like Mo Willems and new favorites from older authors like Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth by Eric Carle. But I’ve never seen a more fun interactive book like Me: A Compendium.

Me: A Compendium by wee society is so incredibly fun! Kids don’t just fill in information about themselves in a typical fashion. They design their favorite socks:


They program robots:


And they imagine themselves at the age of 50:


I’m going to be honest…I kind of wanted to fill this out myself! The illustrations are simple but lovely. And the best part is that kids get to fill in the rest of the illustrations!

I highly recommend this book for kids…of any age!

I received a free copy of this book in return for my review. All opinions are my own.


Books ‘N Bloggers Swap!

Regular readers of the blog know how much I love to read. I don’t always have a lot of time to do so, but when I get a chance, I snuggle up with a good book! This is why I was so excited to hear about the Books ‘N Bloggers Swap!


With this swap, I’ll be able to trade books and meet a new blogger at the same time! I made a list on Amazon of some of the books I’d like to read. I can’t wait to see which book my swap partner picks!

There’s still time to sign up! Today is the last day to join, and you will have your partner on Wednesday!

I can’t wait to report back about my new book! Are there any blogger swaps that you have particularly enjoyed?



Show Us Your Books: July to August

Three books ain’t bad, right? And let’s be honest–August is going to suffer due to all the Olympics-watching. But either way, it’s time to show my books!

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

(4 out of 5 Stars)

I could listen to Leah Remini talk all day (audiobook, obviously). She’s a tough New York broad, complete with New York accent. I was a huge fan of hers as Stacy Carosi on Saved by the Bell, and I’ve been following her career since then.

I’ll say this now: I believe that people should be able to worship any faith that they wish (or no faith at all, if they so chose). While Scientology isn’t for me, I can understand how some people might worship that faith. I knew that Leah had issues with some of the leaders of Scientology, but I had NO IDEA just how bad her experience was.

Oh, and you want some Tom Cruise dirt? It’ll blow your mind.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

(4.5 out of 5 Stars)

I think that on some level, Felicia Day and I could be best friends. Actually, as kids, we TOTALLY would have been besties. A lot of the references that she makes to things she enjoyed in her childhood had me going “Yep yep yep!”

This is another book that is SO much better listening to her read it. First of all, Joss Whedon reads the introduction. Yes, the same Joss Whedon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That had me geeking out hard right away, but then she went on to just be so personable and awesome that I hated to get out of the car and stop listening to her! A girl who was homeschooled, started college at 16 on a violin scholarship and then went on to write a hit web series and star on Supernatural?? Seriously, Felicia, when do you want to go grab some curly fries at Arby’s? I’m ready anytime!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks

(3 out of 5 Stars)

I waited and waited and WAITED for this book to be available on Overdrive so that I could listen to it. Finally, it was ready, and I was hooked from the get-go. I even went by the library to get a hard copy of the book because I couldn’t wait to read more about the William and Kate-esque romance! But that was in the beginning of the book…and then it lost me.

It may be my fault. I love a royal wedding and a royal romance, especially William and Kate’s, so the fact that this book is obviously loosely based on their romance got me even more excited. The problem is that although there are obviously obstacles in any relationship, I felt as though this book through in too many. And I don’t want to spoil the end, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

What was the best thing you read this month? And don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win an Amazon gift card!

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