Ah, it is finally SUMMER! I’ve spent many blissful mornings and evenings on the porch listening to the birds and reading. It’s been wonderful. I’ve also tackled some organizing projects and done lots of laundry.

My son and I returned from a fun week in Orlando with our school’s band and choir kids. We had a lot of fun at the Disney parks and maybe even a bit of fun on the 25 hour bus ride home. We survived the Florida heat and we were greeted with much cooler temperatures when we returned. The amount of technology, coordination, and creative talent that happens at Disney is truly amazing to me. I was in awe during so many of the rides and experiences.

While I was gone, our daughter had her last day of middle school. She will be our last one at home and we get to start the high school train all over again.

The boys ran in a 5K and finished 2nd and 3rd which was pretty cool. It’s been nice having all 3 kids in the house together again….even if it means more food and more laundry.

Reagan performed in her last summer theatre camp last month. Next year she looks forward to going back as a helper!

Now on to the books….I’ve been pretty selective about what I’ve accepted since I am so far behind on book reviews. Some books just arrive without my prior knowledge as well. But, here are the book that arrived this month. I hope your summer is full of all kinds of reading!

Clicking on the photo of the book will take you to Amazon where I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.


A Simple Guide to Living a Happier Life Starting Today

By: Kevin Horsley and Louis Fourie

Published: January 3, 2018

Publisher: TCK Publishing


Format: Paperback

I like happiness books and this one looks like a quick and informative read.

The search for happiness is fundamental for all humans, and the answers lie within the depths of your mind.

What is happiness? What causes it? How do you hold onto it? What makes it go away?

In The Happy Mind, you’ll learn to find your own personal answers to your most important questions. What makes you happy? What changes can you make to bring more happiness into your life? And how can you let go of old habits, beliefs, and situations that no longer fulfill you?

The aim of this book is not to push a specific definition of happiness. Instead, you’ll discover valuable insights that will allow you to create lasting happiness instead of being driven by short-term pleasure-seeking.


A Novel of Beauty and Rivalry

By: Richard Kirshenbaum

Published: June 25, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


Format: Hardcover

This one definitely sounds intriguing. Even though it isn’t my typical type of book, I am very interested in the plot and storyline.

Rouge is a sexy, glamorous journey into the rivalry of the pioneers of powder, mascara and rouge.

This fast-paced novel examines the lives, loves, and sacrifices of the visionaries who invented the modern cosmetics industry: Josiah Herzenstein, born in a Polish Jewish Shtlel, the entrepreneur who transforms herself into a global style icon and the richest woman in the world, Josephine Herz; Constance Gardiner, her rival, the ultimate society woman who invents the door-to-door business and its female workforce but whose deepest secret threatens everything; CeeCee Lopez, the bi-racial beauty and founder of the first African American woman’s hair relaxer business, who overcomes prejudice and heartbreak to become her community’s first female millionaire. The cast of characters is rounded out by Mickey Heron, a dashing, sexy ladies’ man whose cosmetics business is founded in a Hollywood brothel. All are bound in a struggle to be number one, doing anything to get there…including murder.


By: Jane Green

Published: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Berkley


Format: Paperback

I’ve read a few other Jane Green books including FALLING, THE SUNSHINE SISTERS, and her cookbook, GOOD TASTE. Her books are always excellent and I love friendship books, so I can’t wait to dive into this one.

Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known each other since university. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and none of them ever found the lives they wanted – the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.
Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man. 
Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with at university, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause. 
Topher became a successful actor but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.
By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with each other and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness… until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.
The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.


By: Jon Choen

Published: June 12, 2018 – Paperback June 25, 2019

Publisher: MIRA


Format: Paperback

HARRY’S TREES has been on my to-read list for awhile. I was thrilled to get a paperback copy and can’t wait to read it!

The first thing you learn when you climb a tree is to hold on. Now it’s time for Harry to learn to let go…

Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane, a lifelong lover of trees, works as an analyst in a treeless US Forest Service office. When his wife dies in a freak accident, devastated, he makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, intent on losing himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She, too, has lost someone—her father. And in the magical, willful world of her reckoning, Oriana believes that Harry is the key to finding her way back to him. 

As Harry agrees to help the young girl, the unlikeliest of elements—a tree house, a Wolf, a small-town librarian and a book called The Grum’s Ledger—come together to create the biggest sensation ever to descend upon the Endless Mountains…a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open the door to a new life for Harry.


Secrets from the World’s Happiest Centenarians

By: Dr. Elizabeth Lopez

Published: July 12, 2019

Publisher: Leaders Press


Format: eBook

I’m definitely intrigued by this book and since it is a short read, I accepted the offer for review. I am not able to find the book on Amazon or Goodreads yet, but I’ll keep checking and update the link.

How to Live to 100 shares the secrets of how regular people (just like you) embrace a long, healthy and happy life!
Warning: reading this book and following the advice within can extend your life!
Discover the insights (known only by Costa Rica’s famous Blue Zone Centenarians) to living a long life full of purpose:

learn the role peace and well-being play in your day-to-day life;
– find out why connecting to others is life’s best medicine;
– discover why diet and lifestyle is NOT always the answer;
– learn the ways your culture can extend your life;
– understand how your personality plays a role in your age;
– learn how to examine – and improve – your well-being;
– discover why biohackers, doctors, and academics do not have the answers – behind longevity;
and much more!
How to Live to 100 answers the question: What can I do to live both a long and healthy life?


By: Mary Beth Keane

Published: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Scribner


Format: Hardcover

This was my Book-of-the-Month choice. I’m seeing this book all over bookstagram. The reviews are amazing and I can’t wait to read it myself.

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are two NYPD rookies assigned to the same Bronx precinct in 1973. They aren’t close friends on the job, but end up living next door to each other outside the city. What goes on behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the stunning events to come.

Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’s youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact.

But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace. 


By: Heather Gudenkauf

Published: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Park Row


Format: Paperback

I am a big fan of Heather Gudenkauf. She is an Iowa writer and writes some killer mysteries (no pun intended). Since I was at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City recently, I wanted to purchase something and Gudenkauf’s book jumped out at me.

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover–movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora–and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted–not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe–even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.


By: Jasmine Guillory

Narrated by: Janina Edwards

Published: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Berkley


Format: Audiobook

This was a free audiobook download through the Penguin Random House Volumes app. I’ve heard good things about the book and I am sure it will make for an easy listen and be quite enjoyable.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… 

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want.


By: Lisa Robinson

Illustrated by: Eda Kaban

Published: July 1, 2019

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love first-day-of-school books or books that are about going to school. This looks perfect for classroom reading. Plus, I recognized the illustrator right away. She is the same illustrator for PINK IS FOR BOYS.

Pirate Emma is about to start kindergarten! But Emma’s not so sure she’s ready for a new captain and crew. Especially since Cap’n Chu—the roughest, toughest, awesomest preschool cap’n ever—is right down the hall. So Emma decides to head back to the preschool ship to see if she can stir up a mutiny against kindergarten! Is that what she really wants? Or does she just miss her beloved Cap’n Chu? Batten down the hatches, mateys, because the first day of school is going to be stormy! 

I want to drop everything and read every one of these books right now! Which one would you read first?

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  1. Jodi Weelborg on July 2, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks for the great recommendations. I’m on it. Found four I think I will love. Followed your links to add to my cart – now to see if I purchase them???!!!

    • Stacie on July 3, 2019 at 2:28 am

      I’m so glad, Jodi! Hope you find one you enjoy and thanks for your support!

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