7 Summer Thrillers to Read

Thrillers are my guilty pleasure - I love getting up early in the morning or staying up at night to crack open a new book that I know I won't be able to put down. 

Here are 7 thrillers that are perfect for reading this summer - at home, on vacation, or at the beach. 

1. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James - This book was the perfect mix of mystery, suspense and historical fiction. Even though it is set during the fall, this story of a haunted and deserted boarding school for girls is the perfect story to sit outside with. It is also one of my book club selections for summer! 

The Broken Girls
By Simone St. James

2. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney - Amber is in a coma, and doesn't know how she ended up there. Every time I thought I had it figured out, I was shocked again. This book had a great twist on the typical unreliable narrator - and my head was spinning by the time I got to the end.  I couldn't put this one down!

3. The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn - Anna Fox lives alone and never leaves her home - and when she witnesses a shocking secret through her window, everything in her life comes into question. What is real and what isn't? 

4. The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy - A group of new mothers go out one evening, and one of their newborn babies is taken from his crib. Every mother's worst nightmare, with this shocking race to find him is full of twists. 

5. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware - A mysterious letter of inheritance drops at Hal's door, but something seems very, very wrong about the whole situation - and now she is caught in the middle of it. This is a must-read thriller for this summer! 

6. I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara - In full disclosure, this book is sitting on my nightstand, and after reading the first chapter, I am equal parts excited and terrified to finish it. This book tells the true-life story of the author's obsessive search for the "Golden State Killer". McNamara passed away in her sleep before finishing this book, which makes it that much more compelling to me. This is sure to be one of the most powerful stories I've read in a long time. 

7. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris - Young couple Finn and Layla are on vacation, and when they stop at a rest station along the highway, Layla goes missing, never to be seen again. A mysterious phone call 10 years later, as well as other oddities put everything into question about what might have happened to Layla. 

Bring Me Back: A Novel
By B. A. Paris

5 Great Beach Reads

(This post contains affiliate links)

Are you a mood reader? I am - which usually means during the summer I'm looking for quick, "lighter" books that I can sit down with and fly through. 

Here are 5 of my favorite books that are perfect for summer reading:

1. Sunburn by Laura Lippman - I have to be honest and admit that the title and cover of this book are what initially drew me in. It's so perfect for summer! I loved this spicy story about 2 people who meet at a bar - each with their own story and past, but neither knowing anything about the other. I flew through this book, always wanting to know more. 

Sunburn: A Novel
By Laura Lippman

2. Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams - If this cover doesn't scream "perfect summer book", I don't know what does. Everything about this book feels perfect for summer reading - a story set in Cocoa Beach, Florida during Prohibition, a scandal involving a house fire and the death of Simon Fitzwilliam. This book is the perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery and escape. 

Cocoa Beach: A Novel
By Beatriz Williams

3. Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge - I read this book last summer, but still think about it almost a year later. Two people stranded on a deserted island, with nothing to eat but bananas and fish...you might think of Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway, but this book is so much more than that. It tells the story of what 2 people will do to survive in a situation like that, while also weaving together pieces of their past and glimpses of the future.  

Castle of Water: A Novel
By Dane Huckelbridge

4. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory - A story of two people who are stuck in an elevator and then agree to go to a wedding together, as a fake couple...what could be juicier than that? This book was the perfect summer romance, and I loved every minute of it. 

The Wedding Date
By Jasmine Guillory

5. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen - Although this is not necessarily a "light" book, it's such an intriguing story that I flew through it in a couple days. There are so many twists and turns in this book that it's hard to say anything without giving something away. This is one of those books where you have to read it to experience the story for yourself. 

The Wife Between Us: A Novel
By Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

What are some of your favorite beach reads? I'd love to hear them below! 

Thanks for reading! Pam

 

Join our Book Club!

Online book club for form 01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
5 Great Books for Summer-01.jpg

5 Ways to Read for Self Care

5 ways to use reading as self care pin-01.jpg

I never thought of reading as a form of self-care until I became a stay-at-home mom a few years ago. In fact, I gave up making time for reading for a couple years after having our first child because I just didn’t think there was time for “that kind of thing” anymore. Even more, I didn’t see it as important. 

After choosing to stay home with my kids, I realized I needed a way to take care of myself that didn’t include just sitting in front of the TV all night after the kids were in bed. I started getting up earlier in the morning to drink my coffee and read for 15 minutes. I was totally surprised by how something so simple could make such a difference in how my day felt. 

Instead of feeling like I was still half-asleep and scatter-brained, I felt like I was awake, settled and ready to start the day with my kids when they woke up. It didn’t matter what I was reading - the point was that I was taking that time for myself, doing something that I enjoyed, and caring for my own well-being. 

That is when I decided to make reading a more intentional part of my life again. I started to view it as something that was more than just a fun hobby. It turned into a form of self-care for me, and I look forward to it every day. 

Here are my 5 tips for reading for self care:

1. Schedule time for it - we don’t always ‘have’ the time, but we choose to ‘make’ the time. It might mean sacrificing something else such as 20 minutes of sleep or extra TV time, but if it is really important, we will make the time to do it.

2. Create a cozy space to read in - find a comfortable chair with a cozy blanket, a chair on your front porch, or any spot that is comfortable and free from distractions so you can enjoy your reading time.  

3. Grab your favorite drink - I always drink a cup of coffee while I’m reading in the morning, or at night I might brew some decaf coffee or tea. It makes reading more inviting and fun when I have a warm drink next to me. 

4. Choose books that you are in the mood for - I used to make a “to read” list for the month, but I rarely stuck to it because my mood would change throughout the month. Sometimes I’d be in the mood for a light and fun book, and other times I would look for something fast-paced and mysterious. Other times, I needed a personal development book to inspire me. So, I’ve decided to reach for books that I am in the mood for at the moment.  I try to listen to what type of book I am craving and read that, because I almost always enjoy it more and get more out of it.  

5. Use a journal to jot down your thoughts - I love to keep a list of the books I read each month, and what I thought. It’s great to jot down your thoughts as you are reading and again when you are done, even if you have to take some time to process your thoughts after you are done reading. If I’m reading a personal development book, I love to note ideas that might help me in some area of my life. It’s also great to have some notes jotted down if you are going to be discussing a book with a book club. 

Do you use reading as part of your self care routine? I'd love to hear from you below! 

 

Join our Book Club!

Online book club for form 01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

5 Books to Read on Your Next Vacation

Books are always a staple in my vacation bag - even if we are just going to be gone for a couple days over the weekend. If you are looking for a few great books to read on your next vacation, here are 5 that I recommend. 

I love a light, quick book to read while I'm traveling, and all of these lived up to that for me. 

1. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch - This is a Young Adult book, but even so, I absolutely loved this book. It was the perfect light, fun read for a weekend away. Even if you are reading at home, it made me feel like I was going on a vacation in my mind. It tells the story of 16 year-old Lina as she travels to Italy to meet her father for the first time. Throw in beautiful descriptions of Italy with family secrets and love stories, and it gave me all the feels. It's beautiful and adorable. 

Love & Gelato
By Jenna Evans Welch

2. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - This was an untraditional love story to me, written in an untraditional way - and I think that is what I loved most about it. It tells the story of Roy and Celestial, before, during and after Roy is sentenced to prison for a crime he didn't commit. I flew through this book - the multiple view points had me turning the pages as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next. This is also Oprah's newest book club pick. 

3. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid - If you've read any of my previous blog posts or participated in my book club, you know how much I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by this same author. This book is different, but equally as good, in my opinion. Emma has to choose between her fiancé, and her husband - who she thought had died in a plane crash. Get your kleenex out for this one.   

One True Loves: A Novel
By Taylor Jenkins Reid

4. Still Me by Jojo Moyes - This is the 3rd book in the Me Before You series. In this book, Louisa travels to New York City to work for a wealthy family. I was a little hesitant to read this one because I didn't love the 2nd book, After You, but this one was as great as the first. 

Still Me: A Novel
By Jojo Moyes

5. Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson - This book takes place in London during the brink of WWII and is part historical fiction and part love story. I loved that this was a book with substance without being so heavy that it was depressing. It was a lighter read and that's what I loved most about it.

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite books to travel with, or to take you on a virtual vacation? I'd love to hear below! 

And, if you love to read and are looking for others to connect with, fill out the form below to join our online book community!

Join our Book Club!

Online book club for form 01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Read Kristin Hannah's new novel "The Great Alone" with us!

Do you love historical fiction as much as I do? ;) If that's a yes, keep reading...

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah.jpg

I'm a sucker for historical fiction. And after reading The Nightingale, I have become a huge fan of Kristin Hannah's books. So naturally, I was so excited for her new novel The Great Alone to come out!  

This story is set in Alaska, and tackles the emotion of post-Vietnam war that affects a family who is new to this remote area. This setting alone holds a special place in my heart because my husband travelled there in high school and has always said he wants to go back and live there. Combine that with the emotion that Kristin Hannah always weaves into her books and I know this is going to be another great read. 

The Great Alone: A Novel
By Kristin Hannah

This book is also our online book club's pick for April, so if you're excited to read this book, fill out the form below to sign up and read with us! 

 

Join our Book Club!

Online book club for form 01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

4 Chilling Books You Won't be Able to Put Down!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

There's something about curling up on the couch in the winter with a warm blanket, hot drink and a good book. Here are 4 thrillers that you won't be able to put down! 

1. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter - This book blew me away. Such incredible detail, combined with a compelling storyline and fantastic writing made this one of my favorite books I've read in quite a while. Karin Slaughter has become one of my new favorite authors and I can't wait to read more from her! (Just a warning - her writing is very graphic and there are a few triggers in this book including rape and school shooting.)

The Good Daughter: A Novel
By Karin Slaughter

2. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine - I almost didn't even read this book, which is crazy because it ended up making my list of favorite thrillers. I originally picked it up because it was part of Reese Witherspoon's book club, and sounded really good. When I first started it, I was just so annoyed by the characters that I wanted to stop reading. What I realized is that such a strong reaction probably means it's going to be a great book. Man, was I right. Even though I didn't love the characters, I loved the story that they were a part of. By the middle of the book, I could not put it down! 

3. All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood - I wouldn't technically call this book a thriller, but it's definitely got dark moments and will stick in your mind long after reading it. This book kept me up at night long after my kids went to bed because I just couldn't put it down. The subject matter is very controversial, and everyone will have their own opinions of it. I went through a variety of emotions but ultimately ended up loving this book so much. I think the title captures the idea of the book perfectly. 

4. Lie to Me by JT Ellison - This was the first thriller I read in the fall, and it started my thriller reading streak. This book centers around a seemingly perfect couple until the wife mysteriously disappears. The first half of the book is told from the perspective of the husband, Ethan, and the second half is told by his wife, Sutton. We find out early on that they are far from perfect and it becomes hard to know who to trust throughout the entire story.

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite thrillers? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Or fill out the form below to join our online book club and read a book with us each month! 

Thanks for reading! 

Join our Book Club!

Online book club for form 01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

The 4 best books I read in 2017

I read so many really good books in 2017, and here are my top 4. These are the books that I read throughout the year, and still stick out in my mind and are books I recommend to others. 

Early in the year, I made a promise to myself: if I started a book and didn't like it, I wouldn't finish it. Instead, I would move on to a book that grabbed me right away. There are too many amazing books out there to read one that I don't really care for. 

I can always tell when a book is going to make my top 5 list when I have a "book hangover" after I finish it...which for me, is not being able to focus on starting a new book for a few days after because I am still thinking about the one I just finished. All four of these books left me with serious book hangovers. ;)

Here they are, in the order that I read them:

1. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly: I read this book over the summer, and I remember sitting in my backyard and wishing I had someone to talk to about it, because it was such a powerful and emotional story. It's no surprise that it also ended up being my online book club's first book.  This is a heart-wrenching historical novel about three different women during WWII. If you love historical fiction, read this book! 

Lilac Girls: A Novel
By Martha Hall Kelly

2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - This is another historical fiction book, but with a completely different feeling from Lilac Girls. Set in 1960s Hollywood, it tells the life story of actress Evelyn Hugo. Don't let the cover fool you...this story is so much more than just an actress with seven husbands. I could not put this book down, and more than once, I found myself cornered in the kitchen, reading while making snacks for my kids.  I still think about this book today, months after reading it. 

If you'd like to read this book along with our online book club, fill in the form below to join us!

3. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood - Oh my gosh, this book. It gave me all the feels, ranging from curiosity to shock to love. Before reading it, I knew it would be heavy and full of controversial issues, and it definitely is. Everyone who reads this book will have their own opinion of it, but that is part of what makes it a great book, in my opinion. I read it with an open mind, and I found my opinion of some of the issues shifting after getting multiple perspectives from the characters in a book. This is the first book that has ever made me cry while reading it. I sat on my couch, reading this book with tears streaming down my face, while my husband and kids wondered what in the world I was reading. This book was voted 2016 Book of the Year, and I can absolutely see why. 

4. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter - This is a fast-paced thriller that I read in about 3 days when I was sick with a cold. This was a graphic, disturbing book with many triggers (rape) but despite that, I could not put it down. The story was unlike anything I've ever read before, and I thought about this book even when I wasn't reading it. The writing style is fantastic, and makes me want to read more of Karin Slaughter's books. This is a must-read for fans of mystery/thrillers.  

Pretty Girls
By Karin Slaughter

Have you read any of these? What were some of your favorite books of the year? Leave a comment below and let me know! 

Thanks for reading!

Pam

Join our Book Club!

Online book club for form 01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

4 books to read during the holidays

If you're looking for a book to read during the holidays that will get you in the Christmas spirit, here is a list of 4 of my favorites.  

(This post contains affiliate links, which are at no extra cost to you.)

1. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand - I devoured this book in just a couple days, because it was a light, fun and family drama-filled book about the Quinn family during Christmas. This is perfect if you are looking for a "Hallmark movie in a book" type of read. There are 3 other books in this series that continue the Quinn family story. 

Winter Street: A Novel
By Elin Hilderbrand

2.  Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak - This book follows the Birch family - and their family drama - while they spend Christmas under quarantine. Filled with family drama, this is another book you can sit back with and escape from reality for a while. 

Seven Days of Us: A Novel
By Francesca Hornak

3. Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan - This is a quick, witty and funny story, and the 3rd in the Little Beach Street Bakery series. You don't need to have read the first 2 books to enjoy this one - there is a brief overview in the beginning in case you are new to the series.  It's Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery, but a storm rolls in at just the wrong time. This is a great book if you are looking for a light, escapist holiday read.

 

4. Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - This book is a World War I story set during Christmas, told through letters and postcards. It is a really endearing story and I love hearing how people wrote during the early 1900's.  Our online book club is reading this, as well as some other friends of mine and everyone is really enjoying it! It isn't as light of a novel as Winter Street, and doesn't have the same type of family drama, but if you are a fan of historical fiction this is a must-read!  

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite holiday books? Please leave a comment below, or fill out the form below to connect with our book lovers!

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Great holiday book for your book club!

If you are a fan of historical fiction and looking for a great holiday book to read - either on your own or with your book club - run to your local library or bookstore and grab a copy of Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. 

This is a novel about World War I, and it is a love story told through letters and postcards. You can read more about the book from the Amazon synopsis below:

"August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently… 

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…"

If you love historical fiction, fill out the form below to join our online book club and read this book with us! 

(This post contains affiliate links)

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Read The Kitchen House with our online book club!

Our online book club's November pick is The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Many of us in the group are huge fans of historical fiction, so this fits in perfectly with our favorite genre.

This is my first time reading this book, and so far, I love it! It reminds me a bit of The Help, which is another great book club pick that I read quite a few years ago when it first came out. 

The Kitchen House is set in the early nineteenth century, and tells the story of Lavinia, a white orphan who ends up at a Virginia plantation. Here is a synopsis from Amazon:

In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

Have you read this book, or are you interested in reading it?  What did you think of it? I'd love to hear your thoughts, simply fill out the form below to join our online book community! 

The Kitchen House: A Novel
By Kathleen Grissom

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

5 Book Club Questions to spark a great discussion

If you're a book lover like me, it's usually pretty easy to find other people who love to read..especially on social media. It's also pretty easy - almost too easy - to find amazing books to read.  

What I've found is that it's not always as easy to have a great discussion about books in a group unless we've got a few questions to spark discussion. I've put together 5 general questions that you can post in your own book club or ask a friend who you are reading with. 

The nice thing about these questions is that they apply to almost any book, and are generally opinion-based, so you should be able to have a great conversation.

If you'd like a downloadable and printable version of these questions to use, you can download it here. 

Book club discussion questions and journal pages-01.jpg

I'd love to hear what you are currently reading and what you thought of it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Pam

3 New Historical Fiction books you won't be able to put down

I love, love, love historical fiction. For the longest time, I would always choose WWII books, but lately I've been trying to read books that I wouldn't normally pick up. Here are 3 new historical fiction books I read during the month of September that I loved. 

I found all three of these books through recommendations on social media - and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved all of them.

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - This was by far, one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. Based on the cover, this isn't something I would normally read, but it got so many high reviews that I couldn't pass it up. It tells the story of Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo and her 7 marriages, with a few really interesting twists thrown in there. I devoured this books in 3 days, which is really fast for me! ;)  

If you would like to read this book along with our book club, fill out the form below to join us!

2. The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams - A mystery set in Prohibition-era New York - that setting alone drew me in, and I knew this would be a great book. This was my first book by Beatriz Williams and I was not disappointed. It flips back and forth between the 1920's and 1990's, with the story revolving around 2 different women who live in the same New York apartment. The mystery of what goes on at night in it's underground jazz club spans both time periods. There were a few minor loose ends that I still wondered about at the end, but overall, I loved this book. 

The Wicked City: A Novel
By Beatriz Williams

3. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - This book was wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time. It also flips between present day and the late 1930's, and is based on a real-life scandal involving Georgia Tann, who ran an adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families. This book had me guessing throughout the whole thing, and I loved the author's writing style. 

If you've read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, or would like to read it, sign up below to join our book club and read along with us! 

Thanks for reading,

Pam

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Our October book club pick was The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. I have read a few of her books, and have loved all of them. This is a short, quick read - and quite a change from Lilac Girls, our book for September. 

Here is a little more about this empowering book from the publisher:

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, "What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?"

In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at night thinking, "Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging."

This book was so inspiring for me.  I hope after reading it, you will feel the same confidence boost and sense of empowerment.

If you have read this book, or would like to contribute to our discussion, fill out the form below to join our group! 

 

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Our September/October book discussion will be Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly! This is an amazing and moving story of 3 women during WWII - each in very different places and roles. Here is a bit about it from the publisher:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

This is one of my favorite WWII novels - the vivid details and characters based on real-life women in history have been etched in my mind since I read it. 

If you've read Lilac Girls, or would like to read along with us, fill out the form below to subscribe and join our online book club! 

Thanks for reading!

Pam
 

 

Lilac Girls: A Novel
By Martha Hall Kelly

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Join Our Online Book Club!

Have you ever read a book that you are dying to talk to someone about? Or a book that you are constantly thinking about, even when you aren't reading? Or a book that has made you realize something about yourself that you weren't expecting?

I have read plenty of books like this, and I'm sure you have too. 

These are just a few of the reasons why I am so excited to share with you our new Online Book Club, Apostrophe S Coffee Chat! This is an online community for fiction and non-fiction readers who want to connect with others and get more out of what they are reading. 

Maybe you read for pleasure. Maybe you read for personal growth. Maybe you read for a variety of reasons. No matter why you read, I hope this is a welcoming place for you to sit down with a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning and connect with others who are reading with you. 

We will read one book per month - a mix of fiction and non-fiction - and discuss through a private Facebook group. I am hoping this will be a warm and welcoming place where everyone feels comfortable and excited to connect with others. 

Please join us! If you love to read, fill out the form below and become a part of our community.

Happy reading!

Pam

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Online Book Club logo

Morning Routine for Women, 4 simple ideas to start your day with a positive mindset

(This post contains affiliate links)

Are mornings hectic for you? Stressful and busy? Here are 4 simple ideas to develop a morning routine that will help you start your day with a positive mindset. 

For at least 2 years, I would wake up when our kids woke me up and spend the first 10 minutes of my morning feeling like I was in a daze - tired from being up at night, and stressed out because the kids demanded immediate attention while I was still trying to wake up myself. Those feeling set the tone for the day and trickled into other activities, and I ended up spending much more time than I'd like feeling tense and stressed out over petty things.

I knew something had to change, but I wasn't sure how, until I found the book "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. I had heard of the term "Miracle Morning" but didn't really know what it meant, so I devoured the book in a few days. 

It completely changed my outlook on how I start my day. I knew, after reading that book, that the key for me was to consistently plan on getting up earlier than my kids and start my day with activities that put my mind in a good place.

I was a little worried that this would mean I had to get up before it was light outside - my kids are early risers, and I wasn't sure how I would handle having to get up even earlier than I already was - but I started by setting my alarm clock for 20 minutes earlier than normal and see what happened.

It took a few days to get my routine set, but after a week of doing this, I started to feel so much better. I was awake when the kids woke up, and I felt more settled and happy because I started my day on a good note. 

I created my own routine in the morning that includes: 

1. Get that Coffee Brewing! - this is the absolute first thing I do in the morning, even though it isn't part of the book. ;) I drink it while I'm eating a small breakfast.

2. Reading - My goal is 15 - 20 minutes of reading. Some days this means a novel, and other days it's a personal growth book like Miracle Morning. I try to vary the types of books I read, so they don't start to blend together in my mind. ;) If you are looking for some of my favorite fiction and nonfiction books, you can check those out here and here

3. Positive Affirmations - At first I thought this was a little hokey and felt awkward doing it, but once I gave it a try, it really did make a difference. The method that works best for me is to write down 2-3 sentences, such as "Today is going to be a great day," or "I am strong and capable" and read them to myself a few times, and then envision myself accomplishing something I'm working on, or having a fun day with the kids. 

4. Exercise - I have a specific strength training program that I am following, but this can be super simple, such as turning on some music and doing jumping jacks, push ups and crunches in your living room. The point is just to get your body moving, and those good endorphins flowing. You will feel better and more awake when you are done! By this time, my kids are usually awake and either playing while I do my exercises, watching a show, or creating chaos in the background. ;)

These are 4 of the things that have helped me, but there might be other things that you love to do in the morning. Yoga, walking or running, drinking tea, knitting or a small craft, and meditation are also great ideas to include in your morning routine.  

Do you have a morning routine, or would you like to start one? Comment below - I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

Pam

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Take the Reading Challenge!

Confession: I have a problem... I have tons of books on my bookshelf that I've never read. It's not because I don't want to - it's usually because my "to read" list is so long, that I can't get to all of them as quickly as I'd like to. ;)

If this sounds familiar to you, I invite you to take the Reading Challenge! I am starting this challenge so that each month, I am reading a new book from the list. If you are looking for new ideas, here are a few for you to choose from! 

Screenshot or Pin the graphic below to save for your reference when you need new ideas - and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you'd like to participate! What are some of your favorite books?

Thanks for reading,

Pam

reading challenge

Are you a book lover?

Subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new books we are reading, as well as other happy, healthy living tips.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

5 Best Books to Read With Your Book Club

(This post contains affiliate links)

Do you love to read? Are you part of a book club, or do you like to read on your own?

Here is a small list of 5 of my favorite books to read with a book club.

I have always loved reading, and now that I am a stay at home / work from home mom of 2 kids, reading has become an important part of my ‘self-care’. Just like I make time for exercise and my own physical health, I also need to make time to read regularly.

At night, it’s my time to unwind – after a full day with the kids, it’s my favorite way to relax and clear my head. In the morning, it’s a great way to start my day and take some time to wake up and start my day on a positive note.

Let’s be real – some days I can read for 30 minutes or more, and other days, I’m lucky if I get 10 minutes or 10 pages in. Sometimes life gets crazy, or I’m just so tired at night that I’d rather sleep than fall asleep with a book in my lap. ;)

One thing I know for sure is that I feel my best when I make time for reading. I was part of a small book discussion group for a few years before we had kids, and now I run a small Facebook book discussion with friends and family.

Here are 5 of my favorite books that we’ve read, and a few that I’ve read on my own. All of these books have great topics that your group would enjoy discussing.

 

1.     Me Before You by JoJo Moyes – Our online book club read this a few years ago, and I loved it!  I instantly found myself caught up in the unique love story of Will, who is wheelchair bound, and Louisa, his caregiver. Their story will make you think about your own morals long after you have finished reading the book. This is also a popular movie – have you seen it?

2. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult – I read this book quite a few years ago, when it was new. It tells the story of a small town devastated by a high school shooting. What I found interesting was the story of the shooter’s past – something you don’t normally read or hear about. I still remember the ending of this book, years after reading it.

3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova -  This is the first book I’ve read by Lisa Genova, but it definitely won’t be the last. Still Alice tells the story of Alice, who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. What I found most interesting about this book is how it is told from Alice’s own perspective. Oftentimes, we hear from those living with someone who has the disease, but rarely do we get in the head of someone directly affected by it.

Still Alice
By Lisa Genova

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – This is another book I read quite a few years ago, when it first came out. Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, it also tells a unique story from the perspective of Aibileen, and ultimately many other women who are known as the “help” to wealthy families.    

The Help
By Kathryn Stockett

5. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – This book was part escapist and part ‘can’t put it down until I find out what the husband’s secret is…’. This was the first book I’ve read by Liane Moriarty, and I was hooked. I would keep it next to my living room chair and read while my daughter was sleeping or while I was nursing. It was the perfect juicy story that touched on different marital and family issues. and I couldn’t wait to pick it up to read more. Next on my list is What Alice Forgot.

The Husband's Secret
By Liane Moriarty

Again, these are just a few of my favorites. Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy reading!

Pam

Are you a book lover?

Subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new books we are reading, as well as other happy, healthy living tips.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

6 Books to Boost Your Confidence and Build Self-Esteem

Here are 6 of my favorite books for building more confidence and self-esteem. They have been just as helpful to my health and fitness as they have been to my mind.  

* This post contains affiliate links *

“The hard part isn’t getting your body in shape. The hard part is getting your mind in shape.” (Author Unknown) 

It’s a pretty scary thing to take on a new fitness or nutrition plan, especially when you are just starting. It’s really easy to let self-doubt creep in and rule your mind, telling you you’re not ready for this, that you can’t do it, or that it will just be too dang hard.

I know this because I’ve had similar thoughts myself. When I first started clean eating, I stood in my kitchen feeling completely overwhelmed. I thought to myself more than once, “what am I doing this for? What’s the point? I won’t be able to eat anything.”

Get your mind in shape before getting your body in shape.  

What helped me the most during this experience was filling my mind with positivity from books.  It didn’t matter what shape my body was in – what mattered more was what shape my mind was in. My brain needed to be trained just like any other muscle in my body, because that was going to keep me going every day.  A strong mindset was going to help me get started, and then keep me from quitting.  

 

Fill Your Mind with Positivity from Books!

Here’s the truth…At first, I thought this whole thing was cheesy, and just for people who really had ‘problems’. But…it didn’t take long to realize that I was starting to soak up the empowerment and confidence from the books I was reading every day. Just 10 pages of a book – every day – was enough to retrain my brain to think more positively and improve my confidence. I started to realize I CAN do these things that seem impossible.

My biggest piece of advice is to go into this with an open mind – I’m going to suggest some of my favorite books below. I encourage you to give them a try and find what works for you. If you love reading, start with a book that looks good to you. If you hate reading, look for a good podcast to listen to while you are driving or at night before you go to bed. Stay consistent – read or listen for 10 minutes in the morning or at night, and you’ll be amazed at how your outlook starts to change.    

 

Here are some of my favorite books:

1.          You are a Badass by Jen Sincero (because you know you are! ;) - This is the first personal growth book I read, and it was the perfect pick because it made me realize that whatever I believe in my mind will become my reality.

2.          I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones - This book shares experiences from different women in different businesses who tell their stories of how their lives have grown through struggle.

3.          The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – While reading this, it became clear to me that no one is perfect, and that what makes us great is embracing our imperfections and letting them help us, rather than hurt us.

4.          Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – I am in the middle of reading this right now, and it has made me realize that allowing yourself to be vulnerable will actually lead you to being stronger.

5.          Failing Forward by John Maxwell – This book put an entirely new spin on the idea of “failure”. Failing isn’t a bad thing and it certainly doesn’t define you as “a failure.” Instead, see it as an opportunity for growth.

6.          The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – I loved this book, because it gave me an easy framework for starting my morning off on a positive note. If you are looking for a better way to start your day, this book is filled with great ideas!

These are just a handful of my favorites. I encourage you to check them out, and see what you relate to the most. If you’ve read any other favorites, please share them below! I would love to check them out.

Thanks for reading!

Pam

If you enjoyed this post and are also looking for more helpful information, fill out the form below to subscribe and receive my free Clean Eating Basics Checklist!

Are you a book lover?

Subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new books we are reading, as well as other happy, healthy living tips.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Join our Book Club!

Online_book_club_for_form-01

Join Apostrophe S Coffee Chat, our online book community, to read together, connect with others, and get more out of your reading experience.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

5 Ways to Embrace your Flaws and Love Yourself

"Flawsome": (adj.) An individual who embraces their "flaws" and knows they're awesome regardless. (themindjournal.com)

Here are 5 ways to embrace your flaws, love yourself for who you are and become "flawsome". 

I didn't create the term "flawsome" but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was fitting for myself and want to pass that inspiration on to other women who might feel the same way. 

There isn't a single person in this world who is perfect in every way. Perfection is an impossible ideal, but unfortunately it is easy to see other people who appear "perfect", compare yourself to them and then feel bad about yourself because you're flawed. 

The truth is that we are all flawed in some way, and awesome regardless of them. I've found that the key is truly believing that for yourself. How do you do that? Here are a few tips that have helped me:

1. Read an uplifting book - Carve out 15-20 minutes to read a book that inspires you. Once I started doing this, my mood and outlook changed dramatically. I started to believe in myself more, accept that I am not and never will be perfect, and generally just felt happier. 

2. Stop comparing yourself to others - this is huge. It's so easy to scroll social media and look at someone and play the comparison game.

Why do they have ripped abs and I don't? How can they look like that? I should look just as perfect as they do. How can I become as good as them? 

These are all things that have run through my mind in the past, but the truth is that I know nothing about these people I'm comparing myself to, and why does it even matter? My happiness and self-worth has nothing to do with how someone else looks or acts - it's about me being happy with myself, regardless of my flaws.

3. Focus on the inside, not the outside - Happiness is an inside job. As much as we are led to believe that having the perfect looking body, or the perfect life will make us happy, what really matters is what is going on inside of us. We could have the most sought-after body, but still feel like an unhappy mess inside. We could also have a body that isn't "perfect", and feel completely happy and grateful for our lives. Focus on being a true, genuine person, and start each day by taking a moment to be grateful for all of the wonderful things in your life. 

4. Surround yourself with people who lift you up -  I think we all have people in our lives who we love to be around because they make us feel good, and those who always seem to make us feel bad about ourselves in one way or another. The more your chose to be around the supportive and caring people in your life, the more confident and empowered you will start to feel about yourself. Start to slowing phase out the negative people in your life, and focus on those who make you feel good! 

5. End your day by celebrating what you love about yourself - for every thing about yourself you are self-conscious about, think of one thing that you are proud of. For example, I have always been self-conscious of how unshapely my legs look in shorts. But instead of focusing on that, I'm going to be proud of the new pair of shorts I got for the summer and wear them with confidence. Write it down in a journal at night and read it in the morning again when you wake up. These simple positive affirmations go a long way in training your brain to think positively.

I hope these 5 ideas are helpful and inspiring to you! If you enjoyed reading this post and want more related content, click the link to subscribe below and also receive a free Clean Eating Basics checklist. 

Pam

embrace your flaws and love yourself