The Wedding Game

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Got this as an Amazon First Reads for free last month. It was cute, the general story. But so much language and pretty open door. I don’t recommend.

If you can get past all of that, the beneath story was fun. Wedding competition. Family bonding. Finding love. Crafting.

“And the point of being with someone is to see them at their worst. A relationship isn’t surface level: it’s deep in multifaceted, it has ups and downs, and we need to experience them together.



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I’ve been following Jon Acuff on and off for years. His books on business have been helpful in my desire to start and finish goals that were not business related more often than not. When his new book was just an idea, I stopped following him on Instagram because I’d just read Anne Bogel’s book on the same subject and thought “he’d never be able to do it better than her so why waste my time.”

He passes the book off as overcoming overthinking but it’s more of a thought-work/rewriting your brain method. The preorder bonuses were good so I ordered, then joined the launch team, then got an ARC to read early, then signed up for his OOC event the first week of March. Read the book in just a few hours and wrote so many notes during day 1 of the challenge (less than an hour) that I ran out of post-it’s.

It’s so good I’ll probably read the paperback then listen to the audiobook all before the middle of summer. So many practical suggestions about rewriting the soundtrack (that thought cycle you listen to all day, every day) that I can apply right away.

When a thought comes ask: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? If all three aren’t a YES then find a new thought. It takes time to rewrite your soundtracks. That time is the effort needed to live a happier life, one where you’re the biggest fan of you and all you do is root for yourself. Even if the world is crashing down and seems to be entirely against you, what help does it do for you to be against you.

You’re the narrator of your story … and if the narrator isn’t rooting for the main character then why should anyone else?

“Broken soundtracks are one of the most persuasive forms of fear because every time you listen to one it gets easier to believe it the next time. Have you ever judged an idea as too dumb to even write down? That’s a broken soundtrack. Have you ever told yourself the same story I do about why someone didn’t text you back? That’s a broken soundtrack. Have you ever felt like you have a pocket jury with you, cross-examining each new opportunity until you dare not chase it? That’s a broken soundtrack.”


Out April 6th, great preorder bonuses though!!

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

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One of the reasons I’ve wanted to read this book is because the cover is so delightful. A loose retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Trisha and DJ (also known as Darcy) is a delight in Indian culture and food. Really all I want now is Indian food.

Overall it was good. Hard to pull me out of my desire to watch Downton Abbey though so it took me a few days to actually finish. If you like Pride and Prejudice and don’t mind retellings, this is pretty delightful.

“He was right, the obnoxious part wasn’t loving her own work; it was seeing other people’s love for their work as somehow less important.”


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

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Why did I wait so long to read this? Maybe because I thought it would be clinical or boring or make me want to roll my eyes at all the clients’ stories. None of that was true. Lori hooked me right from the beginning. Her patient stories were well-rounded, relatable, and beautiful.

I highlighted so many things. I regret that this isn’t a physical copy I can return to but am grateful that Kindle/Goodreads let’s you go back to your highlights to look through them.

I recommend this if you’ve been to therapy, thought someone was weird for going to therapy, or are considering it. The below quote is just one small paragraph of the helpful advice she gives throughout.

We have such a strong tendency to compare pain and say “at least I’m not …” or “come on, you’re not dying.” We’ve always done this but covid as exacerbated this problem. Then again last week with the snow and ice storm in Texas.

I’m sorry this book is over. So much that I could probably start it again right now.

“There’s no hierarchy of pain. Suffering shouldn’t be ranked, because pain is not a contest. Spouses often forget this, upping the ante on their suffering – I had the kids all day. My job is more demanding than yours. I’m lonelier than you are. Whose pain wins – or loses? But pain is pain.”


The Midnight Library

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Such an interesting concept. In the middle of life and death, Nora finds herself in a library of potential lives she can choose. After reading her books or regrets she chooses to undo a few.

At one point she finds a really great life she’d like to stay in. I thought she’d stay there.

One reviewer mentioned how this was “a little too self-helpy” and gave it one star. It is that. It’s also the reason I liked it. She learned some lessons and started to do life differently. It’s beautiful and lyrical and full of highlights for me.

“Doing one thing differently is often same as doing everything differently. Actions can’t be reversed within a lifetime, however much we try… But you are no longer within lifetime. You have popped outside. This is your opportunity, Nora, to see how things could be.”


A Taste of Sage

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This looked right up my alley when I noticed it on the Libby homepage last night. A love story involving two chefs who make delicious food? Yes, Please. It was alright. Super quick read, maybe less than 4 hours – a little open door, but the most interesting part was her mother.

We didn’t hear from her much, but her experience with her husband shaped Lumi’s relationships. Her mother told her that nothing good could come from men and marriage. Even more, that they were the key to sadness and a terrible life. This hardship her mother bore in her marriage became the foundation for how Lumi interacted with men. It’s a good reminder about how much is ‘caught’ by children.

There was also an element of magical realism in the story. Lumi was able to taste the emotions of the person who made her food when she partook. Happy, sad, jealous, angry, envious. This ‘power’ almost killed her.

“Well … what can I say? To my mother, good men are like ghosts: everyone swears they’re out there, but nobody can substantiate having encountered one.”


The Authenticity Project

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This was a fun find on the Libby app. Julian finds he’s been living a pretty inauthentic life. He can’t remember what’s true and what he made up so he embarks on a way to reveal himself. He writes the truth about himself in a notebook and leaves it for someone else to find.

They do. Monica reads it and adds her own story. Then she leaves it for someone else. It goes to Thailand and back. All the writers get to know one another.

Everyone is changed by the idea. And their story. Finding ways to be authentic.

What if writing your true story in a notebook could change everything?

“On The front cover were three words, beautifully etched in copper plate script: the authenticity project. In smaller writing, in the bottom corner, what is the date: October 2018. […] Although it was physically unassuming, it had an air of significance about it.“


American Royals II

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I loved the first in this alternate history of America story so I was excited this second in the series was immediately available the other day.

Beatrice is Queen, the first ever female royal for America. Her life is complicated and messy. Sam, Nina, Ethan, Jeff, and also Daphne, the evil villain all find some of themselves in this installment.

It’s a delight. You also need to read the first one before the second.

“Beatrice heard the subtext beneath his words. She was now the Queen of America – and America was afraid. She was too young, too untried. And most of all, she was a woman. Attempting to govern a country that had only ever been led by men.”


Enjoy the View

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I was delighted when a friend told me the third installment of this series was on Hoopla last week. I borrowed and set about to listen over the course of my drive to and from Georgia yesterday and today. It was a delight.

Although I did get a little angry at times with River, Bree, and Jesse. They put themselves and others in danger “for the doc” more than once. Lots of cliffhanger scenes (literally) and some heat (always closed door) between River and Easton.

It was nice to see my old friends from books #1 & #2 though. Zoey, Graham, Lana, and Rick.

“Sometimes family is the people are born into. Sometimes family is the people you hold close.”


The Twelve Dates of Christmas

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A friend on Goodreads marked this as five stars and said it was one of her favorite Christmas rom-coms ever so I didn’t hesitate to put it on hold. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until December 2021 to read! (Seasonal reading rules don’t apply anymore, right? I mean we’re in a global pandemic!)

This might become one of my favorite books for 2021! The commentary on dating was on point. Her name is Kate! It’s definitely a loved story and also closed door. While I knew from page one who she would end up with, I loved the journey.

There were so many great lines, I had a hard time choosing just one favorite!

“A man is like an optional extra; he should only take on one when it is beneficial to do so. It’s like refraining from the fourth plate at the all you can eat curry buffet. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to have it.“

“I suppose I’m tired of bouncing in and out of relationships,” said Kate. “I’ve reached the point where I’d rather be by myself than compromise. I’m giving this a go so that I can say I made the effort. And if nothing comes of it, then I will happily hang up my dating hat.”