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Books I’m Loving

19 Mar

I’ve been trying to do a better job of keeping track of the books I read this year. As I finish each book, I post it with a few words of a review on my Instagram stories. Then on a monthly basis I update my “2020 Books” saved story with a running tally of all my tiny reviews so far. Earlier this week, I shared two TV shows I’m watching and loving, in case you are stuck at home within nothing to do. So now, I’m sharing my favorite books of 2020 out of the 20 that I’ve read so far!

I understand that borrowing books from your library may not be an option right now (ours is closed for the foreseeable future), so I’ve provided an Amazon Kindle link for each book. For anyone who doesn’t have a Kindle, you can read the book directly on your laptop. Or — of course — you can order a paperback/hardback version to be delivered to your door.

I’ve also decided at this point to only recommend books that didn’t bum me out – as we all need a little extra happiness right now.

Here are my 2020 book favorites so far:

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Amazon synopsis: Kailyn Flowers was always calm, rational, and controlled–until she ended up sprawled all over Daxton Hughes, the former actor she totally crushed on as a teenager. Then she did the unthinkable: She became a mortifying fangirl in five seconds flat, which may or may not have included professing her undying love. And oddly, he didn’t run away. In fact, their meet cute led to a friendship she never saw coming. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming, either… Now Dax needs her help. As guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister, he’s in way over his head. And though Kailyn hasn’t forgiven Dax, she isn’t heartless enough to make him fend for himself, either. Soon their friendly meetings turn into flirty dinner dates, and Kailyn can feel their chemistry is as explosive as ever. But how can she possibly let down her guard again to a guy who has heartbreak written all over him?

My tiny review: Loved it!

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Amazon synopsis: From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world—where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

My tiny review: So, so, so good. And thought provoking. I’d have to take a break every couple chapters to let it soak in.

Marked for Murder by Colleen Helme

This is the latest book in the Shelby Nichols series and I can honestly say I’ve loved the whole series. Even better, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber all the books in the series can be read for FREE!

Amazon synopsis: Trouble follows Shelby Nichols. Why wouldn’t it? She works for a mob boss. And the police. A desperate call from a friend in need turns Shelby’s life upside down. Someone is out to prove that Shelby is a fake, marking her for murder. How far will they go?

My tiny review: I love the Shelby Nichols series and this one was great!

My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

Amazon synopsis: Bailey Moore is finally getting to live on her own terms. After a fierce battle with cancer, she’s ready to do all the things she never dared to before, like sail the Greek Islands and explore Europe’s castles. Her first new adventure brings her to Cedar Ridge Resort, a ski lodge in the Colorado Rockies. Bailey quickly discovers that following her No Regrets List won’t be easy. It doesn’t offer instructions for how to deal with a suffocating mother or an ex-fiancé who doesn’t want to let her go. Her list also doesn’t include falling for the lodge’s swoon-worthy head of ski patrol, Hud Kincaid, and his boisterous, kindhearted family.

My tiny review: Loved it! Perfect romance with a bit of sass!

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Amazon synopsis: Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

My tiny review: Loved it so much and it took me back to my days working at the Maryland Renaissance Festival!

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Amazon synopsis: Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

My tiny review: This is my favorite book of the year so far. Super funny and touching and romantic and sexy!

Love Her or Leave Her by Tessa Bailey

Amazon synopsis: Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp. 

My tiny review: A couple with a broken marriage trying to find their way back together. And holy tamales is it spicy!

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Amazon Synopsis: When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part—they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans… At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up—in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes.

My tiny review: LOVED IT! Great storyline and really likeable characters!

Happy Reading!

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TV Shows I’m Loving

17 Mar

On Monday, I told you what I’m doing to keep from stressing myself out when it comes to Coronavirus. Well today, I’m sharing two TV shows that I’m currently watching and loving. That way, if you’re stuck at home in quarantine or self-quarantine you have a couple recommendations to add to your viewing queue!

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

This is a new show on NBC that I’ve been watching and it’s filling the hole in my heart left after Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ended. Zoey is a computer coder who through an unusual event in the first episode suddenly hears the innermost thoughts of people… in SONG. Like, full-on dance numbers. Here is a great little taste of it:

Since it is on television on Sunday nights (and I don’t have cable), I get my Zoey fix by going straight to the NBC website on Monday night. You can find the first 6 episodes of it here for free:


You guys, I watched one episode of this show for literally no reason at all on my lunchbreak… and then BOOM I was addicted. I have been hungerly binging on Lucifer episodes ever since. There are FOUR seasons of episodes currently on Netflix, the show was renewed for a 5th season (also on Netflix) and there is talk of it getting a 6th season too. It’s goooooooood.

I just finished the third season over the weekend, so don’t spoil me on what’s coming!

Have you been watching Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist or Lucifer? Do you also wish people would start singing to you and dancing around – while staying 6 feet away at all times, of course?

Pssssst: I’ll be sharing what books I’ve been reading in 2020 on Thursday, in case you’re more of a reader.

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The Coronavirus: What I’m Doing

16 Mar

You guys, I’m all thrown off. I came down with a pretty awful cold last week, so that pretty much sapped my energy for anything other than just getting my work done. Then the poo hit the fan with the Coronavirus in Maryland. Starting this week, schools are closed for two weeks (possibly more). People are hoarding toilet paper, many offices are going to telework schedules, and people are being encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

As my friend Anna says, THIS IS BANANAS.

Needless to say, I’m stressed out. My shoulders have been living up around my ears and I have a constant ache in my neck. So, being the planner I am… I’m trying to reduce my stress by being super organized.

So, in case it helps some of you, here is what I’m doing to prepare/stay sane:

Cancelling Meetings & Appointments

Basically, any work meeting that would have taken me into the world (outside of the office) has been rescheduled for April. Non-essential appointments, like Jack’s orthodontist follow-up have also been rescheduled. Travis and I were supposed to have a weekend away at a Virginia hotel this month… cancelled. I’m still waiting to find out what is going on with my job and whether I can telework more.

Limiting Exposure by Quitting Public Transportation

I typically take the metro train to and from work each day, it’s an inexpensive and convenient way for me to get into and out of the city each day. However, for the next few weeks I’ll be driving. It’s going to cost a ton more money for me to park in the office garage each day, but it’s worth it to keep away from people and germs.

Stocking Up on Food

We typically order Home Chef deliveries every other week, but I bumped it up to every week through the end of March. Since we will be staying away from restaurants for the next few weeks, this is a nice way to be prepared without having to buy out the freezer section at the store. We do have some freezer options too, just in case. I also stopped by our local Aldi on Friday and stocked up on our normal breakfast/lunch/snacks food too. We should be good to stay at home for a while.

Scheduling Delivery Options

Once we go into what I’m calling ‘introvert lock down mode’, if we do need to buy something I’m planning to either use Amazon for a straight-to-our-door delivery, or the pick up service at our local grocery store. That way, we can reduce our contact with other people as much as possible. Social distancing is my jam.

And of course, we are washing our hands. A lot.

Do you have any recommendations for me to add to my list?

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More and More Pieces of Me

11 Feb

I wrote Pieces of Me way back in 2012, but in a way it feels like it was yesterday. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to click through and check it out — it’s a more thorough review of my moles vs. melanoma saga. Back then I had four different moles removed and had resigned myself to the fact that I’d be getting annual mole checks the rest of my life.

Well, since then I’ve been sticking with my annual mole checks, except now my yearly checks have increased to every 8 months. My dermatologist takes a look at each part of my body in what I call the ‘worlds most awkward striptease’ and any sketchy looking moles are either photographed for observation or I’m scheduled to come back and have them surgically removed. Two weeks after each surgery, I return to have my stitches removed and get my lab test results.

Each time, my moles are considered between moderate and severe on the pre-cancer meter. Each time I am relieved to not have melanoma.

At this point I’ve lost count. I think I’m up to having between 10 – 12 moles removed? At some point, you would think I’d run out of spots. Right?!

Anyways, my latest round of stitches have come out. And I’m healing again. The scars this time are pretty gnarly, but they’re better than skin cancer. And eventually they’ll fade just like the rest of them.

So, consider this your reminder to please, please, please book a yearly appointment with your dermatologist to have your moles looked at. And tell your loved ones. And tell your friends. Because you might end up saving someone’s life.

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