Thursday, August 27, 2015

Books You Need to Buy Today.

If you follow me on Facebook you know that I've been sharing some great Kindle deals pretty much whenever I find them. So, after stumbling across so many amazing books on sale I decided to create a blog post about them for more detail and easy access. Now - go forth and shop!

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction

I've read this first batch of titles and I can say for certain that I recommend them.

The Girl on The Train

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction, mystery, bestseller

This book is possibly the runaway book of 2015. It's one that I expected to be a hit, but I'm still surprised at how many people have read it. It's a great mystery - similar in genre to something like Gone Girl - and something you'll definitely enjoy. If you need more info, head on over to read my review before making your purchase.

The Husband's Secret

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction, mystery

I loved this book. It was one of my five books you need to be reading right now recommendations. And still is. Liane Moriarty has quickly become one of my favorite authors. And this book is one that you need to pick up if you want to introduce yourself to her style. It's the kind of read you won't be able to put down once you've started, so give yourself a lot of time - or pick it up again after the kids go to bed. It's THAT good. 

Wonder

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction, YA, bestseller, young adult

Wonder was an incredible book. So moving, so powerful, so real. It's the kind of book you're going to want to save to read with your kids. I've got my copy put to the side and it sounds like my daughter is ready for it since we saw it in the bookstore the other day and she was instantly intrigued. Either way, YOU need to read it. You - the parent, the teacher, the counselor, the person who knows any young people at all. Yes. You. It's a phenomenal book. Don't miss it.

The Fault in Our Stars

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction, young adult, YA, bestseller

This book was my introduction to John Green. It drew me in in such a way that I needed to devour all of his other books (I have one left - I'm looking at you, An Abundance of Katherines). It's a powerful and moving story about a teenage couple facing death, each in their own way. Their connection, relationship, family, all of it was really beautiful. If you haven't read this yet you absolutely should. 

And also ... 

Looking for Alaska

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction, young adult, YA, bestseller

This one is a dollar more on Kindle right now - but well worth it. It's my favorite John Green read of the three I've finished. It's another amazing story of young people struggling - but in a totally different way. It will make you angry, it will move you, it will just plain make you think. You need this book in your life. Trust me. 

Heavy Weather

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction,

One of my favorite reads of the year, Heavy Weather is an incredible story. The characters are deep and intensely written, and the attention to detail that Fischer has moved me in a way that many writers do not. I reviewed the book thoroughly after I read it, and I encourage you to take a look in case you're unsure of whether or not to buy it. Because once you read what I think about it I have a feeling you'll be all in. 

This next book is on my Kindle waiting for me. It just sounds like an incredible read and I love the title and cover so much that I ordered it the last time it was on super sale. 

Trail of Broken Wings

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading, fiction,

Secrets, family, relationships, racism, forgiveness. Heartbreak, healing, devastation, loss - I don't know exactly which part of that - or maybe it was all of it - but the reviews and details given led me to need a copy of The Trail of Broken Wings. 

Disclaimer: I have not yet read these next two books. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy them or wouldn't want to, so I'm sharing.

The Martian

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading,

This movie is coming out in October, so many people are rushing to read the book before it does. My husband just read it and really liked it - so much so that I *might* consider reading it before Matt Damon brings it to the big screen. I know, I lost you after Matt Damon, didn't I? Either way, worth a look if you were considering diving into it before release day.

Station Eleven

reading, recommendations, list, goodreads, amreading,

Station Eleven is a book I've been hearing a lot about since it was released last fall. I hadn't grabbed a copy for myself, but I think I might need to now that it's on super sale. The reviews are haunting and they seem to be working at convincing me that this is a book I absolutely must read. Even if it just sits on my Kindle for a while - which is what happened to my download of The Goldfinch (sigh). I'll get to it eventually. I'm sure of it.

So, there you have it. It's a great day of deals on Amazon - and hopefully these will stay discounted for a while. Keep an eye on the Good Girl Gone Redneck Facebook page for more deals. I try to share at least one a day. Happy reading!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book of the Week: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, Amy E. Reichert

This book.

Ahhhh. This book.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.  I think I waited too long to read it. It's been sitting around for a few weeks while I traveled and I pretty much devoured it once I started.

First of all, look at the cover.

Warning: if you haven't yet found me on Instagram then you don't know that my friends ooohed and ahhhed over the cover as soon as I shared it. You will, too. For sure.


I mean - right? Don't you want a slice? I'm not even the hugest coconut dessert fan (too many years of macaroons for Passover!) and I want this entire cake. Looks. SO. Good.

Amy E. Reichert's first novel is one that drew me in from the start.

Yes, yes, the cover is amazing and yes, I DO judge books by their covers.

Come on, you do, too. Admit it.

But the story pulled me in beyond that.

I loved Lou. From the moment I met her I wanted good things for her. And I immediately didn't like (or trust) Devlin. The fiancé. As soon as Lou described him as her very own Disney prince I wasn't thrilled. Because Disney princes may be the be all when it comes to animated movies, but have you looked at them? I mean, really, really looked?

Coiffed hair.

Cheshire cat smile.

The sparkle off of the teeth.

No thanks.

I feared bad things from this man.

And I was right not to trust him. I love that Reichert didn't let him disappear, and he continued to surface throughout the story. It worked well.

Admittedly a few aspects of Devlin, Lou, their relationship and how it progressed were things I predicted early(ish) on. And despite that? I enjoyed the book anyway.

Lou meets Al on the day all things fall to pieces.

She doesn't know it's going to be that day when she meets him.

We don't know whether we like him or hate him when we meet him.

And we don't know how things are going to unfold ... or truth be told unravel ... once we realize that we might not like him very much and our hearts ache for Lou.

Their connecting continues and they find themselves growing closer together. But there are secrets between them - secrets (one big one) that might blow their not-quite-yet-a-relationship apart before it even begins. Or quite possibly after. Which would be worse?

We don't know. Can you tell we don't know a lot of things?

We just know we like Lou and we like her friends and we want her to be happy.

We like her restaurant - I almost forgot one of the most important things. Lou is a chef and restaurant owner. Her staff and her customers are her family. And I loved each of them. Honest. I did.

And there's another story that is a part of this book that strongly connects to Lou and her relationships, and so as not to give it all away - I'll simply say that Reichert tugged at the heartstrings, bringing me to tears a few times. Good stuff. *sniffle*

So. Lou. Al. The restaurant.

And another character we cannot overlook? Milwaukee. Yes. The city.

The way the author shared her city with us was phenomenal. And now I totally want to enjoy a culinary tour of Milwaukee with a native. Stat.

So - there's my review and recommendation. Get yourself a copy as this is a great end-of-summer read, or the perfect book to usher you into fall. You need to learn about and dive into The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.

** Heads up: I reviewed this book completely on my own. I bought myself a copy with my own money and decided as soon as I finished it that I needed to share it. Sometimes I do that sort of thing. This is one of those times. There are affiliate links throughout this review that would grant me a few pennies towards my next book purchase should you use them. So thanks in advance. And go order this book, m'kay? **

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Free Write: Travelin' Mama

Yes'm - that's been me the last few weeks.

Minus this one.

I went to New York. Then to Maine. Then back to New York on the way home.

And then I came home and here I am.

It's been a weirdly longish and shortish week - being home without my loved ones nearby.

I did lots of stuff on my travels. I'm kind of opting for pictures to share them with you - since you probably think - yeah yeah - she traveled - okay. Lah-di-dah.

Home.

Brooklyn.

I went home with my daughter. We stayed at my mom's. We spent some time with family and took a long walk together - enjoying the summer night near the water - sweating way too much - and logging over ten thousand steps on my Vivofit.

And capturing this sunset.


After some time in Brooklyn and a few 1-day conferences in Manhattan I had time with friends and family. And food. Loads of amazing, delicious, incredible NY food. See?


* I also tossed in a quick pic of the hotel room I stayed in for Type-A NYC. Cozy beds worked perfectly. I just wish I would have had more time with my roomie Christina of WELL, in THIS House. *


My husband joined us and our whole family headed up to Maine to spend time with the in-laws after NYC. That's another post in and of itself, so I'm going to stop here with my pseudo-free-write and share post for the weekend. And next time I'll toss up some pictures from Maine so you can see how beautiful it was there, too, and how much fun we had with family. Sometimes I wish I could simply teleport my family to my house - and/or - teleport myself with my husband and daughter to visit family and life would be so much simpler, easier, happier and just plain better. It'd be pretty awesome if I could have NYC pizza delivered tonight instead of Papa John's AGAIN.

Sigh. C'est la vie, right? Or something.

See you tomorrow with a great book recommendation. So make sure you come back around - you're not going to want to miss it.

* I'm going to link up my free write w. Jaime this week, even though I'm not really doing a complete stream of consciousness kind of post. I think she'll be okay with that, though. *

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book of the Week: Her Sister's Shoes, Ashley Farley


Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley was a fantastic read. When I had the opportunity to choose this book to review I decided right away that it interested me. I love family stories, relationships and the like, and I thought I'd enjoy learning about the three Sweeney sisters and their mama. And I definitely did.

Samantha Sweeney is the go-to sister of the family. She runs the family fish market with her mama, Lovie, and holds an air of control as best she can when it comes to the family business and her own immediate family's needs.

Things aren't all roses for Sam, though. Her son Jamie is paralyzed after an ATV accident that took his best friend's life. He's finding that he has no motivation to go on, let alone walk again, no matter what his mother tries to say or do to push him through this.

Sam's two sisters, Jackie and Faith, have their own crosses to bear.

Faith is in an abusive marriage that she won't tell anyone about. But she and her beautiful daughter Bitsy find themselves in such danger that this silence cannot last for too long.

Jackie is the sister who is supposed to have the best life of all. Married to a wealthy doctor, she shows off her wealth and so-called happiness as mom to twin teenage boys. But her husband isn't faithful, and she doesn't know exactly who knows. And at first? We don't really know if she knows. But it unravels, as betrayals do, and Farley takes us on a brilliant ride throughout.

The men in this book are strong characters. We hate Curtis (Faith's husband), as we should. We experience mixed emotions when it comes to Bill (Jackie's husband). We want to hate him for his betrayal, but we're also too concerned about the family, the boys, the situations they experience - all of it - to rush to judgment. So while I initially thought that I didn't like him, some aspects of his character grew on me.

Sam is a really strong mama. She's got an incredible support system as she works to maintain the family business, offer her sisters the support that they need, and find a way to get through to her son.

Lovie, the family matriarch, has issues of her own that the girls are struggling with. Several episodes of dementia leave them confused as to whether this is a stroke, early onset of Alzheimer's, or something far worse. Their concerns for their mother hold far more weight than their worries about the family business - and yet - without that flourishing they're unsure how they'll take care of themselves and their own.

Family runs first and foremost through this book. I've not done it justice when it comes to how it all plays out - likely because of my typical need to ensure no spoilers ruin it for you! But I really enjoyed Her Sister's Shoes. So much so that I'd love to see a follow up book down the line with updates on how the characters are doing. Especially the next generation - the Sweeney girls' children - because surely these kids will be impacted by the journey their mothers have taken to get to where they are when we meet them here

I've got one copy of this book to give away to one of my readers (US only - sorry!), and to enter I ask that you leave a comment below with your favorite book of 2015 so far. And for an additional entry, feel free to share this post on social media and bring me back a link. I'd love to see more people pop by and say you sent them.

* I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours. All expressed thoughts and opinions are my own. TLC Book Tours is providing me with a copy of this book to giveaway. There are affiliate links scattered throughout this post in case you want to buy your own copy of the book. *

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Guest Post: Diane, Picking My Battles

I was truly lucky to meet Diane back in the summer of 2012. We crossed paths on Twitter while attending BlogHer that year. And then we met, briefly. And met again for about a minute. But somehow we connected in a way that established an instant friendship. How that happened in a handful of minutes - I'm not quite sure. I'm just going to say I'm truly glad it did and leave it at that. 

I'd like to introduce you to Diane and encourage you to take a few moments to see what she has to say. It's important, and I'm honored that she decided to share this here. 

dermatillomania, anxiety, emotion, skin picking, disorder, mental health, skin,


You look at me, and you don’t notice anything. 
You see me - an average woman with an average life. 
Two kids, and a happy marriage.

But look closer, would you?
Look at my arms - my legs. 
Do you see it yet?

Those light spots? Those dark scars I carry? The scabs from scrapes and insect bites that linger week after week. I did that. I did that to myself.

Did you hear me?
Let me say it again.
I did that.
To.
Myself.

You don’t necessarily see that in me. I’m not into self-harm. I can’t even begin to fathom the hurt it would take to do that. But this, running my fingers over my arms, over my legs to feel the rough edges of a cut. To scratch a mosquito bite until it bleeds, then pick at it again and again. It feels good, satisfying to pull off a scab in one piece.

And then I see it - the damaging marks that linger for months afterwards. I do hate that. I hate that my kids see this in me, that my husband is hurt by it.
And I try, so very hard. I put bandaids on, to cover the scabs. I do the best I can. 

But sometimes it's hard.  

I find myself seeking them out. Picking without realizing.

I’m trying to stop.

This is the first time EVER that I’ve mentioned it in a public place. 

I am going to talk to my therapist about it. My kids are on high alert to stop me when they see me picking. And I am so thankful to Andrea and her safe haven for letting me talk.

For the first time, I think this is a battle I can win.

When she’s not writing for her blog, www.motherhoodispainless.com, Diane is a stay-at-home mom based in New York City. In previous lives she was a newspaper reporter, a children’s book editor and a ghost writer. Now she opens string cheese and turns on Netflix for her kids. Diane also enjoys cooking meals that no one eats and cleaning up other people’s messes, because a girl has to have goals.

=====
If you or someone you know is experiencing similar symptoms, please know that there are resources available to you to get help. These repeated behaviors are often referred to as either Dermatillomania, Skin Picking Disorder (SPD), or Excoriation Disorder. 

If you are unsure if this is the type of behavior you are exhibiting, you can head to the following site to take an assessment test online to see if your behaviors match those indicated: 


For more information on treatment options you can review information provided by the Trichatillomania Learning Center. 

Dermatillomania can occur in conjunction with similar behaviors such as hair-pulling, which is something I know all too much about. You can find information on trichotillomania on trich.org and stoppulling.com.

If you need more support or resources, please reach out and let someone know. Whether you contact me directly, Diane via her website, or a friend or family member, there is help available and we can direct you to it. 
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