10 November 2022

What I Read in October

October was a slower reading month for me this year. Even audiobooks didn't keep me up to finishing more than four books. It was a random assortment of books this month from a thriller to a few romance books. Here's what I read. 

The Bodyguard

Description: She’s got his back.

Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka "bodyguard"), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.

Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.

When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???

Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

My thoughts: I love Katherine Center's books and while sweet, I wasn't as impacted as some of her other novels. I thought it was sweet and as usual Center's books have something hard to work through. This was very focused on people's expectations of others and the protection of others at the cost of their own image.


All Good People Here

Description: Everyone from Wakarusa, Indiana, remembers the case of January Jacobs, who was found dead in a ditch hours after her family awoke to find her gone. Margot Davies was six at the time, the same age as January—and they were next-door neighbors. In the twenty years since, Margot has grown up, moved away, and become a big-city journalist, but she’s always been haunted by the fear that it could’ve been her. And the worst part is, January’s killer has never been brought to justice.

When Margot returns home to help care for her sick uncle, it feels like walking into a time capsule. Wakarusa is exactly how she remembered: genial, stifled, secretive. Then news breaks about five-year-old Natalie Clark from the next town over, who’s gone missing under eerily similar circumstances. With all the old feelings rushing back, Margot vows to find Natalie and solve January’s murder once and for all.

But the police, the family, the townspeople—they all seem to be hiding something. And the deeper Margot digs into Natalie’s disappearance, the more resistance she encounters, and the colder January’s case feels. Could the killer still be out there? Could it be the same person who kidnapped Natalie? And what will it cost to finally discover what truly happened that night?

My thoughts: I’m a true crime fan and love a good suspense novel but All Good People Here felt lacking.

This was Enchanted on Main’s books and bubbly book club pick for the month and while I like a good suspense novel, there were a lot of red herrings and the ending was unresolved. This book was very influenced by JonBenét Ramsey’s case which was unexpected and felt a little unimaginative.


The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

Description: As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don't mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she's used to being alone and she follows the rules...with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and...Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he's concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn't the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn't know she was looking for....

My thoughts: If you need a spooky vibe book with House of the Cerulean Sea vibes, check out the Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. It was this month's book club pick for the Between the Tropes romance book club and follows a witch called to help tutor and guide three children witches who are card for by a team of humans. It was a sweet story of found family but similar to other books lately, the romance was secondary to the story and kind of distracting at parts. I also wanted more resolution in the end about the future of the children and the world of witches.


The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

Description: Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She's also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it's a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he's under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her--hopefully proving, once and for all, that she's as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

My thoughts: My book club pick for the year turned out to be just okay. I selected The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels for my selection and it surprised me a lot with the amount of magic, literary references, and my lack of loving the love story. I wanted more world-building - how are we selecting homes to fly, how are the ladies in normal society, how long has this been going on, pirates 🏴‍☠️ rules for the ladies. It was sweet but I wish it was more about Cecelia’s family/background, the society, and you could have cut out the romance with Ned (or whatever his real name is).

What are you reading lately?

08 November 2022

10 Things to Do Before the Holiday Madness

Hey y'all,

It is crazy to think that in two weeks I will be packing up my car to head to my parent's house to spend Thanksgiving with my siblings and family. Before the holidays really go crazy, Kristin posed a question in her IG live yesterday - What are you doing over the next two weeks to prepare for the busy season? 

Here are my things:

  1. Drinking at least 75 oz of water a day. With the weather oscillating between the 50s and 80s here in NC my skin doesn't know what to do so staying hydrated is a must.
  2. Eat a veggie at 2/3 meals. I can get into a busy season and forget to add a healthy side to my meals so making sure I make a green smoothie or add cut-up veggies and ranch to the side.
  3. Book last-minute health appointments. I just finished booking therapy through the rest of the year and an imaging appointment recommended by my doctor. If I can find an eye doctor between now and December I will book that appointment as well. 
  4. Deep clean my apartment. I don't know about you but I like a few weeks of clean space before the holiday decor takes over. I have some kitchen and bathroom deep cleaning on my to-do list over the weekend before the tree goes up on November 19th.
  5. Sunday strolls. Calling a friend and going on a greenway or local trail here for a long walk on Sundays. This is so great for my mental health heading into the work week and a fun way to see friends that isn't over dinner.
  6. Book rest and hobby time. For me, I have some stitching (needlepoint and cross stitch) as well as library books on my bedside to read booked over the next few weeks. I might have also added some Hallmark movie premieres to my calendar so I know of a few nights where I will be home resting.
  7. Sleep. With Daylights Savings Time, I need to get back into a routine of going to bed on time and waking up so I can have more time to slowly get ready instead of rushing around.
  8. Finalize my Christmas list. With Christmas and my birthday almost a month apart this is my gifting season. Since gifts are one of my love languages I might start on my list pretty early usually but I just finished the first draft and sent it to my family so they can take part in some November sales.
  9. Car Wash. I don't know about you but I love a clean car. I just made a reminder to take my car to be washed and vacuumed the weekend before I head out of town. Any audiobook suggestions are welcome for my Thanksgiving drive in the freshly washed car.
  10. Listen to more financial podcasts. I have been very spendy this summer into fall and I want to reign in my spending so I have been listening to The Rachel Cruze Show, Smart Money Happy Hour, and the Contentment Challenge episodes of Nancy Ray's Work and Play so I am focusing on being more content, generous, and intentional with my money in a season with all the marketing for sales and stuff.

What are some of the things you are doing over the next few weeks to prepare for the holiday season?

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