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The Sunday Post #202


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • Another week into the new normal. The Husband and I are pretty well settled into our new routines. We both work from home, have breakfast/lunch/dinner together, read, play backgammon... and just basically live our lives at home. Very little need to leave the house these days.
  • The Husband goes out for several walks a day but I'm much more content staying in. I've always been a bit of a hermit but now I'm realizing just how little I really need to go out. LOL I use YouTube for yoga/stretching/exercise videos so I get my exercise indoors. You know, where the A/C is. :)
  • I have a puzzle! I forget who it was last week that suggested I try eBay when I mentioned having trouble finding them, but that did the trick. Jackpot! I actually bought 4 or 5. One for my mom and the others for us. So far two have arrived and it's been fun to have another distraction. We also ordered a cornhole game and we've played that several times as well. I should note that instead of playing in the back yard, we set up the game in the foyer and hallway and play there. Haha!
  • We continue to have our Friday Night Driveway Picnics at my mom's house. This past Friday night my younger sister and niece joined in and we had a good time. We pick up some take-out on the way over, set up chairs (at least 6 ft. apart) on the driveway, and have dinner together. Then we talk or play trivia (I pull up questions on my phone) and just visit for a while. I know my mom enjoys the face to face company.
  • This week's 80's music fix is from DeBarge. Rhythm of the Night was probably their biggest hit and was even used in a movie. Does anyone remember The Last Dragon? It was so cheesy and campy and I absolutely loved it. (Hey Greg! That would be an awesome pick for your Movies That Suck feature. Just sayin'. ;-)



WHAT I COMPLETED IN THE LAST WEEK:
WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING: 
    
    

READING:

LISTENING:

KINDLE BOOKS:

    


eARC FOR REVIEW:



Cue much screaming, squealing, and general revelry when I got the approval for this one. :)






How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Monthly Wrap Up | March 2020


WHAT HAPPENED IN MARCH
  • What is there to say about March? It started off shaky and continued to go downhill. 
  • The Husband and I have been working from home and isolating since March 16. I actually have zero issue with staying at home. None. I am not a social person on the best of days so the whole social distance thing? I've been practicing for this my whole life.  
  • My mother, on the other hand, Is. Not. Getting. It. I don't even know what to say anymore. She's not grasping the seriousness of the situation and every time I talk to her I hear about how she "had" to run to the grocery store/Target/pharmacy/etc. It's like beating my head against the wall. I'm concerned for her but also frustrated beyond belief. 
  • I expected to get loads of reading done once the whole self-isolating thing took effect, but I found I had trouble concentrating on anything for too long. So my reading basically stayed at its normal level. 

WHAT I READ IN MARCH


I read eight books in March and, considering that I was having trouble concentrating on anything in the past couple weeks, I consider it a success. There was on old favorite, a brand new favorite, and one slight disappointment - but all in all it was a good reading month.


(* denotes an audio book)

FORMATS
Total Read: 8
2 physical books
4 audiobooks
2 e-books
(2 ARCs: The Honey-Don't List, Anticipating Spring)

TOP OF THE HEAP
Still and Regretting You
Still was jaw-droppingly good and gave me my first five star read of the year.  Kennedy Ryan's talent at creating realistic characters and emotionally charged stories is just stunning. Regretting You was a close second. Opening up a book by Colleen Hoover is such a comforting feeling. It's like sinking into a story that I know will probably hurt my heart, but I also know that I'll love the characters and feel like I know them inside and out. 

THE ONE THAT ENDED A SERIES
Anticipating Spring
Lora Richardson further cemented herself as one of the few authors that still makes me read YA. With Anticipating Spring, she completed her Unexpected Love series and it was so bittersweet. I will miss the friend group in these books but it also ended with just the right couple and I was so happy with the outcome. 

THE ONE I WILL ALWAYS LOVE
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
If ever I needed to revisit one of my favorite fictional characters from one of my favorite books it was this month. I've lost count of how many times I've read and listened to Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda but it never gets old. I love Simon, I love his friend group, I love Blue, and I love his parents and sisters. The story is filled with so much humor and heart and it never fails to make me happy.

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE BLOG

I had 17 blog posts in March and shared seven reviews: 

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING

Where the Lost Wander - Amy Harmon
I just started the arc of Where the Lost Wander yesterday and I'm already feeling pulled into the story. I actually convinced my husband to read it, too. But even though we started at virtually the same time, naturally he's already far beyond where I'm at. He's such a fast reader. I thought it would be fun to discuss as we went along but at this rate he'll be done by the time I get to the 25% mark. LOL 


WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE READ IN MARCH?

WWW Wednesday #81 | April 1, 2020


WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.


Happy April, friends. I'm guessing this will be an April we won't forget. I'm hopeful this month brings a turning point where we can see the spread of the virus peak and then - finally - take a downward turn. Maybe it's overly optimistic, but I'm still going to hope.

 

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

    


Currently reading: I was only able to read the first 2-3 pages this morning before I had to stop and get to work, but I'm excited to read more this evening. This arc is one I've been highly anticipating since Amy Harmon is one of my favorite authors. This time period - set in the 1850's in the U.S. West - is not one that typically calls to me, but I trust Harmon and know that she will deliver an epic story. 
Current progress: 1%

Currently listening: This one is a little slow-going but I think that's because I no longer have a daily commute and that was when I listened to my audio books each day. This is my first by Van Dyken and for now it's falling into the like-not-love category. I don't feel particularly invested in either of the main characters but I'm still not quite at the halfway mark so I'll see how it goes.
Current progress: 45%

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

So I know I give the Sea Breeze series a lot of crap, but I've gotta say, Hold on Tight really surprised me. I think it might be the first time in the series that I genuinely liked both characters. Yes, Dewayne started out being a douchey manwhore, but whatever. And yes Sienna was a bit naive, but given how she was raised and what happened to her at a young age it kind of made sense. But I really liked them both. Sienna had been dealt such a lousy hand (and had the worst parents) but this girl was made of strong stuff and was mature, responsible and determined to do the right thing. And Dewayne, despite feeling like he wasn't good enough, actually had a heart of gold. I loved the way he was determined to look after Sienna and Micah and make sure they never wanted for anything. Definitely one of my favorites in the series.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL READ NEXT?

  

Not sure exactly what I'll pick up next but these are all strong contenders. 

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Review: The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren

THE HONEY-DON'T LIST
Christina Lauren
Publication date: March 24, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Gallery Books and NetGalley
3.25 Stars










S Y N O P S I S

From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.
 



M Y   T H O U G H T S

Carey had worked for Melissa and Rusty Tripp since she was sixteen and worked in their home d├ęcor store. Almost a decade later, as the Tripp’s went from obscurity to fame, Carey had stayed by their side and became an integral, but uncredited, part of their success.

James was hired as an engineer for the Tripp’s mega popular home DIY show but instead found himself thrust into the role of Rusty’s personal assistant. Since his last job ended in scandal, he felt obligated to stay in his role in order to boost his resume before moving on.

The Tripp’s book tour (a book all about maintaining a successful marriage) was about to coincide with a big announcement about the launch of their new TV show. And all of this was happening just as the Tripp’s marriage was imploding. Carey and James were strong-armed into going on tour with Melissa and Rusty in order to keep the peace and ensure their perfect public personas remained intact. And you can imagine just how well that worked out.

While the story is told from James and Carey’s points of view, the focus is largely on the Tripp’s. Their career, their marriage, their drama. It left me feeling like I barely knew Carey and James. And that, in turn, made it hard to feel invested in their relationship and its outcome, or even them as characters. It was easy to empathize with Carey, a young woman who worked tirelessly, had an unhealthy relationship with her employers, and was truly taken advantage of. However, other than a few mentions of her roommates and her brother, Carey had no personal life. Everything about her revolved around Melissa and Rusty Tripp. With James, it was cursory mentions of his former employment and a sister. That was all I learned of James. Again, his story was really told only in relation to the Tripp’s drama.

The Honey-Don't List is billed as a romantic comedy but read more like a sort of humorous look at a marriage going down the tubes and how the fall-out affected those in the wake. Even though it felt very much like the story of Melissa and Rusty Tripp, as told by Carey and James (which was not what I was expecting), it was still entertaining. I enjoyed seeing Carey experience some growth and come into her own. And James was… pleasant. But for me, The Honey-Don’t List was missing much of the charm and humor (and romance!) of Christina Lauren’s previous novels. I think readers who can connect with the HGTV/celebrity aspect will likely get a lot more from this one.


Disclosure: I received a a complimentary copy of this book for review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.




The Sunday Post #201


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • I don't even know what to say this week. I mean, there's so much happening, things are changing daily, and the news is frightening and grim. What is there to say beyond we're all going through the same thing in varying degrees.
  • The Husband and I just completed our second week of working from home. We've already settled into routines and developed a new kind of normal. We get started early, take a mid-morning walk, have lunch together, and take another afternoon or evening walk. I have found that sitting in a different desk chair all day is wreaking havoc on my back so I've laid off the walks for now and have instead started doing stretching exercises using YouTube videos. Gotta get creative. 
  • It's hard not to get dragged down by the constant bombardment of news. I try to balance staying informed but also stepping away from it before it feels overwhelming. (Well, even more overwhelming.) I'm trying to find more ways to have quiet time, occupy my mind, and provide calm distraction. Yesterday I took a nap, gave myself a manicure, and did some coloring (I love the Colorfy app). What do you do for distraction?
  • Speaking of distractions, I decided I wanted to do some jigsaw puzzles. And guess what... I can't find any! What is available on Amazon (which isn't a lot because apparently everyone had the same idea) won't ship for weeks. Same with Walmart and Target - out of stock or delayed shipping. I'm not really willing to go into the store for something so unnecessary. But it's turned into a total mission and now I desperately want puzzles. LOL
  • This week's 80's music fix... isn't from the 80's at all. Geronimo by Sheppard only came out a few years ago (5? 6?) and it just makes me happy. What better reason to share it today?


WHAT I COMPLETED IN THE LAST WEEK:
WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING: 
    
    


KINDLE BOOKS:




In the immortal words of Prince...





How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!