Book Review: The Places We Sleep

Caroline Brooks DuBois's The Places We Sleep is an evocative middle grade book written in verse. Abbey is, once again, the new girl. This time, her family isn't living on base. As she adjusts to a new house, a new school, and new potential friends, her world is rocked by the September 11, 2001 attacks. [...]

Book Review: The Last House on the Street

I read Diane Chamberlain for the first time just two years ago, when I devoured and adored her novel, The Dream Daughter. It has stuck with me, becoming one of those books that I continue to think about long after I've closed the cover. Her latest novel, The Last House on the Street, is going [...]

Book Review: Violets are Blue

Barbara Dee's Violets are Blue follows Wren, a twelve-year old going through a series of massive changes. Wren's whole world has been shaken up, first with her parent's divorce and then with a move, a new step-parent, and new siblings. Through it all, she turns to Cat FX on YouTube, a special effects makeup artist [...]

Book Review: This May End Badly

Samantha Markum's This May End Badly is a delicious treat of a read, full of memorable characters, a hilarious plot, and just the right amount of heart-tugging realizations to give it some depth, too. Doe waltzes in to her senior year at her beloved boarding school ready to continue the ongoing prank war with their [...]

Helping Children Grieve a Pet

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms shares our grief coping strategies. In the last year and a half, two of our dogs passed away. These were beloved pets that our children had always known; at 12- and 13-years-old, both dogs were older than our children. Their losses hit us deeply, yet while we were [...]

Book Review: Some Mistakes Were Made

Kristin Dwyer's novel Some Mistakes Were Made is an intricate look at first love, found families, and the struggle of finding your place in the world. Ellis Truman has lived her life bouncing between two separate worlds: the world of her family, and the world of her best friend Easton's family. Easton's brothers are like [...]

Book Review: The Santa Suit

Mary Kay Andrews’s The Santa Suit is the book equivalent of cradling a steaming cup of cocoa while seated in front of a blazing fire while snow softly falls outside. It is cozy, warm, and the perfect Christmas book. Ivy Perkins has just uprooted her life and moved to a small North Carolina town, buying [...]

Book Review: Holy Hot Mess

Mary Katherine Backstrom's Holy Hot Mess can switch from laugh out loud funny to deep introspection to teary eyed all in the snap of your fingers. Her witty voice and relatable stories are perfect conduits for sharing her faith, reminding us that while we were fearfully and wonderfully made, we can still be a mess. [...]

Author Interview: Gold Spun’s Brandie June

Brandie June's novel, Gold Spun, absolutely swept me off of my feet. It's a whirlwind of a book, a Rumpelstiltskin retelling that is perfect for fans of Ella Enchanted and Once Upon A Time. You can read my full review here! I couldn't have been more excited when I was offered the opportunity to interview [...]

Book Review: The Last Guest

Tess Little's The Last Guest is a provocative mystery dripping with intrigue, perfect for armchair detectives. The morning after an elite Hollywood director's birthday party, he's found dead by his own party guests. When the police rule his death a murder, all eight guests are under suspicion. Each has a motive and opportunity-- who is [...]

Book Review: Gold Spun

Never fear, there are no spoilers here! *There is a trigger warning after the final image at the bottom of this post.* Brandie June's debut novel, Gold Spun, is a whirlwind of a read. This utterly enchanting novel swept me away to a world unlike anything I've ever imagined, with incredibly well developed characters in [...]

Book Review: Golden Girl

A lyrical coming of age story told in a verse, Golden Girl is sure to pull at your heart. Reem Faruqi's middle grade novel follows Aafiyah Qamar, a Pakastani-American seventh grader who loves tennis, her family (even her sometimes annoying baby brother), and reading Weird But True Facts. Sometimes she doesn't feel like she fits in, [...]

Book Review: Have We Met?

Camille Baker’s debut, Have We Met?, is a delightful read with a cast of memorable characters and a thought provoking look at grief and how it carves its own way through our lives. Corinne has recently moved back to Chicago, a city that was once her home during her childhood, and is trying to figure [...]

Book Review: When We’re Thirty

Casey Dembowski's novel When We're Thirty is an enchanting rom-com with thoroughly likable characters and a great premise. Hannah Abbott is a music journalist, working in her dream career and living her dream life in the city. Except in her dream, she had health insurance and a less obnoxious boyfriend. When Will Thorne, a close [...]

Book Review: The Invisible Husband of Frick Island

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is an engrossing read that pulls you in from the first sentence and doesn’t let go. Colleen Oakley’s latest novel is full of flawed yet relatable characters in a unique and vividly described setting. Piper Parrish loves her husband, Tom; her island; and the sense of community she’s found [...]

Book Review: Radar Girls

Sara Ackerman’s Radar Girls is the Hawaii based historical fiction novel you’ve been waiting for, and it does not disappoint. With amazing character development, a nail-biting plot, and incredible details, this novel sweeps you back in time and claims your attention to the final sentence. The characters and setting are both the beating heart of [...]

Low Stress Ways to Save Money While Shopping

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms is all about my favorite ways to save money while shopping, without a huge time commitment. From shopping strategies to apps that give you rebates and clip-less coupons, read the full post here! What are your favorite low stress ways to save while shopping?

Book Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors just became my favorite modern twist on Pride and Prejudice yet. I’ve been an Austen nerd since high school, and this twist did not disappoint! Trisha is a genius neurosurgeon with a wealthy family. DJ is an English immigrant of multiracial descent, barely scraping by with his career [...]

Book Review: The Seven Day Switch

When I saw the latest Kelly Harms book was available as an Amazon First Reads (read more about that here), I was so excited I didn't even read the synopsis. Her books always have laugh out loud moments, memorable characters, and a plot that has depth without feeling too heavy. The Seven Day Switch did [...]

Book Review: Tender is the Bite

Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie series has been delighting readers, myself included, for over a decade. The eleventh and latest installment in the beloved series,Tender is the Bite, continues the saga of private investigator Bernie and his beloved dog and crime-fighting partner, Chet. As political signs begin popping up in neighborhood yards, Chet and Bernie [...]

Book Review: Write My Name Across the Sky by Barbara O’Neal

As a longtime fan of Barbara O'Neal, I was ecstatic to get an advanced copy of her next novel, Write My Name Across the Sky. Like all of her novels, this one just swept me off my feet. The characters, the setting, the plot-- it all combines into a truly an un-put-down-able book that pulls [...]

KM Post: Summer Reading Recommendations from a Book Blogger

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms is all about the best books of summer. New and old, from beach reads to spine-tingling suspense, the following list has it all (or, well, most of it all; I still can't read horror because #nightmares). Enjoy the preview below, and read the full post HERE. Ah, summer. [...]

Book Review: The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives

Kristin Miller's The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives takes readers into a prestigious gated community in San Francisco, where what's inside the gated community may be more dangerous than what's outside. Georgia St. Clair has been dubbed the Black Widow after two of her husbands mysteriously died early in their marriage. Erin is the president [...]

Book Review: The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

The People We Keep. Wow. This is a beautiful story of love, loss, and learning that just whisks you away, fully pulling you in and making you just feel so invested that her hurts are your hurts. This is the kind of book that fills up your heart like a balloon. The kind that when [...]

Book Review: If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be #1)

I'm an absolute sucker for reimagined fairy tales, and I always have been. Don't even ask me how many times I've re-read Ella Enchanted. When I saw Dumplin' author Julie Murphy had a Cinderella-with-a-twist novel coming out, I jumped at the chance to read it. I was not disappointed! Cindy has always loved shoes. So [...]

Book Review: What You Can See From Here

Mariana Leky's What You Can See From Here tackles grief and the ripple effect of tragedy. This literary novel begins with an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi, which signals that someone in their West German village is going to die. The dream and what it brings will have a ripple effect felt in [...]

Book Review: A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions

Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman. This adage has been floating around for generations, but what if there was more to it than that? Sheena Boekweg's A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions explores just that, in an alternative historical fiction that will knock your socks off. The Society has been molding women to [...]

Easy Ways to Go Green for Earth Day

If you’ve been thinking about trying to be greener and more eco-friendly, Earth Day is a great chance to get started and get inspired. I’ve always had a bit of an eco-conscience guiding me to be greener, but as new scientific studies have been released and we’ve learned better ways to be kind to the [...]

Book Review: Reluctantly Home

Though the main review contains no spoilers, there will be a section with a trigger warning well-marked below. Imogen Clark’s Reluctantly Home was an emotional roller coaster that pulls you in from the first moment and doesn’t let go. Pip is recovering from a traumatic incident that sends her reeling. To help with her recovery, [...]

Book Review: To Sir, With Love

Lauren Layne's latest novel To Sir, With Love is a light and whimsical read that is absolutely delightful from start to finish. Fairy tale fanatic Gracie Cooper might just be in love...except she's never met the man. She's talked to him, sure, but only through an app that prevents photos. She's also trying to revive [...]

Book Review: Better Together

Christine Riccio’s Better Together is a fun and lighthearted romp with serious undertones.  East Coast based Siri is recovering from a back injury, a professional ballerina facing a life without dance. Dance is her go to way to process life, and without it she’s floundering in a sea of anger and isolation. Jamie, a comedian [...]

Pandemic Habits I’m Keeping

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms is up, and it's all about the pandemic habits we've formed over the past year-- and which ones we're taking with us. During the past year at home, we’ve learned, grown, and adapted. We baked bread, grew our garden, cut our own hair, learned how to make our [...]

Book Review: Where It All Lands

One choice. One coin toss. Two outcomes. In Jennie Wexler's Where It All Lands, Stevie is once again the new girl, and she's not happy about it. When she meets best friends Shane and Drew, she feels a tiny bit less like an outcast. But Shane and Drew both want to ask Stevie out. As [...]

Raya and the Last Dragon Review

Never fear; there are no spoilers here! I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Disney's newest animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon. I was thrilled to learn that it was coming to Disney+ at the same time it would be in theaters, and then slightly bummed when they announced it was another premier access [...]

Book Review: Love Lettering

There are some books you just know, right away, you’re going to love. From the first sentence, they pull you in. You’re dunked into their world, water swirling over your head, and it’s as refreshing and exhilarating as the first cannon ball of summer. The voice is perfect, welcoming you to this new world you [...]

Incredible Kitten Climbs Ladder

Did you know some cats can climb ladders? Because I did not. Just how did I discover my little kitten can do this crazy feat? I saw him. The first time I saw it, I was shocked. After many attempts, I finally caught it on camera, and as I watched my dog stare in astonishment [...]

Book Review: When Stars Rain Down

When Stars Rain Down swept me off my feet. Angela Jackson-Brown's words captured my heart right away, making this book thoroughly in-put-down-able. A heart-racing plot, relatable characters, and a beautifully described setting make this novel one I won't soon forget. The voice is engaging and pulls you in right from the start. You can hear [...]

Pantry Makeover

Finding ways to make spaces work for us has always been a special skill I enjoy employing, and as our family and its needs have changed, I've been able to utilize my skills to make our spaces work for us. Nothing has challenged me like having two virtual learners and two work from home situations [...]

When Tangled Hits Too Close to Home

The other day, I was watching Tangled on Disney+ with my kids when I realized something with startling clarity: we kind of lived part of this movie last year. No, no one was kidnapped nor did we find a magic golden flower. But as Rapunzel sang of spending all of her time in her tower, [...]

Book Review: The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

Letty Carnahan may be my favorite Mary Kay Andrews character of all time. She is smart, fierce, protective, and resourceful. Add to that witty, kind, great instincts, and you have a winning and memorable character that I'm low-key mad I can't be friends with in real life. The Newcomer, the Mary Kay Andrews novel set [...]

Date Night at Home

Valentine's Day is right around the corner (February 14, if you're lost in time), and with it comes the stress and pressure of Date Night. This year, we have the added bonus struggle of Date Night: Pandemic Edition! Never fear, as someone who has small children who didn't like to be separated from her as [...]

Book Connection: Where to Find Book Deals and Freebies

I love to read. I read quite a bit. Even writing that feels like a gross understatement. Reading isn't just a passion or a hobby or a job for me; it's my non-human spouse. I read to escape, I read to research, I read for fun, I read for work, I...read. I love words and [...]

Review: Dash and Lily

After watching just one episode of Dash and Lily on #Netflix in December, I lost all willpower and binged it. As soon as I learned it was based on a book, I knew I had to read it. Imagine my joyous reaction when I discovered there are not one, but three Dash and Lily books! [...]

Book Review: This Tender Land

William Kent Kreuger's This Tender Land is a lyrical novel set during the summer of 1932 and follows four children as they go on a literal and metaphorical journey. Odie, Albert, Mose and Emmy are all students at the Lincoln Indian School, and their time there will forever shape who they are and the choices [...]

Non-Fiction Book Recommendations for Fiction Fans

When you read a lot, you may find you receive judgement for the kinds of books you like. That's lame. The books you enjoy are worthy of your love, whether 'society' or anyone else deems them acceptable. I often get asked for non-fiction book recommendations. As a lifelong fiction fan, it took me awhile to [...]

2020 in Books

I've been participating in Goodread's Reading Challenge for the past few years. I don't view it as a competition, but as a goal I'm setting for myself. I also just love keeping track of what I've read, and the Year in Review is such a fun feature. You can view mine here. In summary, I [...]

Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

While working as a bookseller over a decade ago, I stumbled across a beautiful cover that evoked childhood memories and tugged at my heart. Yes, I know; we aren't meant to judge books by their covers. But we all do, don't we? I knew I needed to give this book a home, so I tucked [...]

Baking Up Nostalgia

Some of my earliest memories take place in my childhood kitchen. I'm settled up on the countertop, feet swinging, as my dad rolls out the pie crust dough made from my great-grandmother's secret recipe. There's a chill in the air signaling it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, and everything feels a bit magical and special. Baking might [...]