Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down by John Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love me some John Green & was excited about his new book.

I have weird feelings about this book though. I enjoyed it & I thought he did his main character Aza total justice in her struggle with mental health struggles. I mean, it was really really done well. As someone who has issues with germaphobe & a need to google every symptom & hone & hark & get myself riled up over the unknown, I appreciated seeing Aza & how her mind worked in her struggles. But when someone asked me what the story was about, I couldnt really sum it up well. That's the issue I guess for me - I'm not really sure what the overall plot of the book was. I know we followed along with Aza & her friendships & her relationship with an old friend & the little mystery of finding his father who had gone missing... but that never really felt like the MAIN story. I dont know. Maybe just me. I did enjoy it - wasn't in awe of the story, but if you are a John Green fan, I think you can't miss this book.

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Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The One by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection, #3)The One by Kiera Cass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still just trekking through this series.
& this may be one of my favorites out of the three.
We are down to the final 4 in this book & who Maxon is going to choose. All the while watching America struggle with sharing him with the other Selection Girls & watching him grow closer to one other one. I loved this book had a little bit more back story of the rebellion & what some of the purpose of it was. I also appreciated this book had a little bit of shock, some deep emotion other than just the relationship with Maxon & America, but also with family members.... the heartache, the anger, the frustration. I wish the epilogue was a little longer & I think the end got a little rushed at the final decision... I dont know - I think I just wanted more after 3 books of build up, but I still enjoyed it.

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When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Prince {The Selection}

The Prince (The Selection, #0.5)The Prince by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love these little Novellas to see the other side of a story. This one was a fast read at 64 pages of what the Prince was going through before the Selection happened... & we even get the first few scenes of Maxon & America together, except seeing it through different eyes. Totally loved it....

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Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...

Before Aspen broke America's heart...

There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Elite

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The Elite by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So yep, still totally into this series. I'm so glad I waited for the entire series to be out before I started reading this because I would be FURIOUS if I had to wait for each book to come out. My library has a wait list on the final 3 so I've just ordered the entire series so no more waiting. & I'll be diving straight into book 3 ASAP.
This wasn't AS great as the first one to me, just because I was getting a little frustrated at America & her decision making skills.... but the deeper story of the relationships developing & the inner workings of the royal family - especially the story with Marlee that kept me gasping & a tad freaking out - had me still wrapped up in this story ... & cant wait to see what the next step in The Selection is since we're down to five. I'm here for every dramatic moment of it.

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The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America's chance to choose is about to slip away

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Selection {Book One}

The Selection (The Selection, #1)The Selection by Kiera Cass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I waited for this whole series to come out before I started because I knew I'd read straight through them & true to form, I zoomed through the first book... & already into the 2nd one. I'm going to tear through this series, I have a feeling.
Someone asked me what it was about & I said its a mixture of The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. What a weird combo - but it really fits.
Girls getting picked out of their castes to marry the Prince... & when America, a FIVE is picked, she goes in with a broken heart after Aspyn leaves her feeling rejected. Little does she know what lays ahead of her in the process of The Selection.
I am just a sucker for corny romance books & this is just a fun little twist & a great little love triangle. I know I'm into it when I can't pick a side ... One minute, I'm totally Team Maxon & the next, Team Aspyn... so I'm excited to see how this all plays out.

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For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In the Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely EventIn the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm just mad I wasted all my time.
This book just felt like it took forever... & by the end of the story, I was like, "What's the point of this book?"
If I hadnt gotten so far into it, I would have just stopped but I kept thinking there had to be some revelation or something more towards the end.
I didnt care for this book at all. Between the zillion characters & just the weirdness of the plane crashes that hinted there would be something more to this story... again, nope.
& then it just aggravated me to think how young the characters were in this book & it just threw another wrench in it to me on how their experiences were happening.
I'm just disappointed. I grew up a Judy Blume fan... Give me her YA stuff any day over this.


In her highly anticipated new novel, Judy Blume, the New York Times # 1 best-selling author of Summer Sisters and of young adult classics such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life.

Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, Judy Blume imagines and weaves together a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by these disasters. She paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place — Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

In the Unlikely Event is a gripping novel with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume's unparalleled storytelling

Monday, September 11, 2017

Of Mess & Moxie

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious LifeOf Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply adored this book.... & I wish I were rich or won the lottery because I would buy this book for every one of my Christian Sisters in my life. I want every woman to read it & laugh, & ponder & weep & find joy & to know you're not alone in your mess... & to show how much moxie they have as well.
I wasn't out of the intro before I had all the feels going. & they just went through the whole book. From laughing, to reflecting, to feeling heart ache of life, to laughing again.
Each chapter has its own little touch of moxie itself... & I would especially love the "HOW TO" chapters... be ready to cackle out loud.
If you want a book to just take your weekend & make you feel like you're surrounded with friends, get this book & settle in.

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Jen Hatmaker believes backbone is the birthright of every woman. Women have been demonstrating resiliency and resolve since forever. They have incredibly strong shoulders to bear loss, hope, grief, and vision. She laughs at the days to come is how the ancient wisdom writings put it.

But somehow women have gotten the message that pain and failure mean they must be doing things wrong, that they messed up the rules or tricks for a seamless life. As it turns out, every last woman faces confusion and loss, missteps and catastrophic malfunctions, no matter how much she is doing "right." Struggle doesn't mean they're weak; it means they're alive.

Jen Hatmaker, beloved author, Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie. Whether discussing the grapple with change ("Everyone, be into this thing I'm into! Except when I'm not. Then everyone be cool.") or the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip ("Why are we in San Antonio?"), Jen parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere who, like her, sometimes hide in the car eating crackers but also want to get back up and get back out, to live undaunted "in the moment" no matter what the moments hold

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why did I wait so long to read this?
I read all the reviews & all the raving on it - man, oh man. This one is totally in my top 5 of favorites.
I love Ove. The gruff old man who has such a wall up & seems like he's got a heart of stone... but we see those cracks of his goodness seep through.
I would honestly be laughing on one page & then choked up on the next. & when it ended, I was just a ball of emotions, from the ending, to not wanting the actual book to end.
I adore this book.
I had it from the library, but need to go purchase it for my own book shelf - especially because I want to highlight so many quotes from it too.
Cant say enough good about this

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A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Vanishing Girls

Vanishing GirlsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars (They REALLY need 1/2 stars here!!!)
I didnt realize until after I read it that it was the same author as "Before I Fall" which I really enjoyed.
Dont want to say too much on this - but it was a really twist turn mystery kind of book.... it had me thinking I had it figured out at one point, & then threw me off again, & all over again... which totally made me like the book because I couldnt wait to get to the end.
The only down side is that it did a lot of jumping - which I'm usually good & like switching characters perspectives ... but this was a little TOO much because there's characters changes as well as diary entries & newspaper clippings of a whole other mystery... & it did get a TAD confusing... but not enough to ruin the book for me.

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Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a weird love/hate/like relationship with this book.
It started off where I was literally laughing out loud in public reading it ... & then near half way through, it just seemed to take a drawn out turn that just felt like it was full of long words, weird characters & just things to fill up pages. ... but the last 2 or 3 chapters, especially the ending pulled me back to where I didn't close it with a thump saying how much I hated it. It saved me to bump it back up to an "ok" book.
It did make me laugh... I did like some of the characters... hated others ... & then was just meh about a lot of the side stories.
I know these are the same people that wrote Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist & now I'm afraid to read that one....

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“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own

Monday, July 24, 2017


Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1)Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just adored this book.
Maybe because I feel like Willowdean could be when I was a teenager.
A girl that is the 'heavier' girl in school, the one with the cute friend, the one who is insecure but still has some sass to her... & of course, a girl that loves Dolly Parton.
I honestly need this to be a movie - & FAST.
I loved that even at my age, it was great to see a group of girls stand up for what they believe in & take a risk, creating new friendships & seeing that believing & loving yourself is what matters. A universal message for any age.

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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Castaways

The CastawaysThe Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My 2nd Elin Hilderbrand book & I think I'm hooked.
Loved the story of 4 groups of friends & what happens after one couple is killed in a horrible boating accident.
The aftermath of so many truths comes out & reveals so much about the relationships of the group, The Castaways.
Because there were so many people, I legit had an index of names & arrows connecting who to who & what to what... it could get a little confusing at the beginning...
I enjoyed the story though - anxious to see how the friendships would survive this loss.

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Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meet Me Under the Stars

Meet Me Under the StarsMeet Me Under the Stars by K.D. Proctor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun book....
First, I have to say, this isn't typically anything like I would read. It left me blushing a lot & saying "Language" out loud over & over... & then it just became part of the characters & I didnt seem to mind it as much. But again its NOT my typical book I read.
But I HAD to read this...just HAD to because the author is someone I have followed through the years & am so excited for her debut novel.
& I absolutely loved the store of the book. The characters of Charlie & Nate & this passionate love they had & then tore apart ... & the reason they have to come back together to their old stomping ground at camp, where they used to be camp leaders along with all of their old camp friends.
I feel like I should just be wearing shorts & flip flops & ratty t-shirts & hair in a braid reading it.
It was a fast read with parts that made me laugh, brought back memories, but would also make me cringe with frustration for the characters & heart ache for the people just not getting their act together to get to that happy ending.
The only reason I didnt give a full 5 stars is again, just because of my own hang ups on the content. I know some people that usually read chick-lit-beach-reads would think nothing twice of some of the stuff that had me blushing & saying "Oh gosh" ... & again, it didnt distract from the story - only made it more clearer of the passion of these two characters.
I'm sad to let Nate go... the perfect English accent boyfriend... every girl needs a Nate - I'm convinced of it.
Keep an eye out for this book if you are a fan of some hot steamy chick-lit reading... & you dont blush easily ;)

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When ratings for her popular DIY show start to circle the drain after the sudden death of her sister, Charlotte “Charlie” Conti has only one mission—to plan a comeback. But her sister had other plans. As part of the will, Charlie must work with *him* to create a memorial scholarship in her sister’s memory. The same *him* Charlie fell in love with three years ago while working at a summer camp.

The same *him* she dumped, to protect his heart.

Sexy, British player, Nate Walsh, has sixty days to find a new job or he’ll be deported back to England where he’s no longer welcome. He doesn’t have time to work on a memorial scholarship with *her*. The same *her* who shattered his heart without explanation or warning.

The same *her* he’s never gotten over.

Unable to agree on the specifics of the scholarship, Nate and Charlie challenge each other to a winner-takes-all competition. They both know the only way to win is to turn up the heat and tempt one another with the one thing they both want: each other. But as sparks fly, their true feelings resurface. Nate and Charlie must decide if their love is worth the effort and if they can overcome their disastrous past mistakes to spend forever together.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

As Old As Time

As Old as Time (A Twisted Tale, #3)As Old as Time by Liz Braswell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Y'all!!!! You know I love me some Beauty & the Beast & have read nearly every book out there that is related to the topic.
This is by far my favorite recently (I think Beauty by Susan Wilson still is my fav - I need to re-read & see if it still holds up)
But this one? I ADORED!!!!!
I wasn't even sure what it was about... & actually it kind of confused me because each chapter goes back & forth in time.
& I loved how PART I is exactly like the Beauty & the Beast story in the respective chapters... UNTIL....UNTIL Belle changes something up.
It's so smart. The idea that the Enchantress that cursed the Beast was Belle's mother. I loved how the characters are the same from the movie, but TOTALLY different in the end.
I JUST CANT SAY ENOUGH ... as a huge B&tB fan, I devoured this... & am so happy that I loved it & caught off by what a fun, surprising read it was.

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Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father's reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle's mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.

But Belle touches the Beast's enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Matchmaker

The MatchmakerThe Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first Elin Hilderbrand book - after hearing all about her books & how they are perfect summer beach reads. I see that.
A book that has touches of soap opera in them... drama, romance, dancer, more romance, fighting, abuse, heartache...
I enjoyed this one, the story of an old love coming back into Dabney's life... & enjoyed the corny 'matchmaking powers' of all things turning rosy or green. So corny. But the part that really got me was the "lovesick" thing. When you're lovesick, you dont need to take off work for 3 days because you hurt & cant move. That was just dumb to me.
But I did love the overall story of friendship, of family, of love that lives on ... even in the sad & heartbreaking parts.
I'll totally try another Hilderbrand book

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48-year-old Nantucketer Dabney Kimball Beech has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others - like her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech, and her daughter, Agnes, who is clearly engaged to the wrong man - call it meddlesome, but there's no arguing with her results: With 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together, Dabney has never been wrong about romance.

Never, that is, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago when he left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist. Now, after spending 27 years on the other side of the world, Clen is back on Nantucket, and Dabney has never felt so confused, or so alive.

But when tragedy threatens her own second chance, Dabney must face the choices she's made and share painful secrets with her family. Determined to make use of her gift before it's too late, she sets out to find perfect matches for those she loves most. The Matchmaker is a heartbreaking story about losing and finding love, even as you're running out of time.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Love & First Sight

Love and First SightLove and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such an interesting & sweet read.
Will is blind, born that way, but wants to try whats its like to be in a real school instead of the Blind Institute. He finds his way around using all his senses & even makes friends & develops some good relationships. Especially with Cecily, a girl that cried when she first met Will & thought he was staring at her.
So what happens when Will is able to do an experimental surgery that can give him sight. & what happens when he sees what Cecily really looks like.
It's such an interesting read to think about what its really like to be blind. Not knowing colors, knowing what perspective is, even trying to understand what styles are, or description of basic things we take for granted.
& in the end, this story at the heart is about what beauty really is. How its viewed in the world & in the heart.
I really enjoyed this one.

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Love is more than meets the eye.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Monday, May 29, 2017


The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat FriendThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hardly ever read a book in less than 24 hours... this one, I totally did.
Not sure why it held my attention as much... no, I kind do. I totally related. I have always been the DUFF in my life, so I could so relate with Bianca, in certain areas.
Not ALL the areas... goodness no. This book gets a little MUCH in areas, but I still could relate to the character & the actions she was taking.
In the end, the book had a great connecting reason for everyone to realize how they are seen by others & how they feel & the whole comparison thing we tend to do in our lives.
I really did just enjoy this book...
I was anxious to read it because I watched the movie trailer to get an idea of what the book was about... only to see the book is apparently NOTHING like the movie. I was kinda happy with that surprise. Made the book better to me.

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Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff--the designated ugly fat friend--of her crew.

But things aren't so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why (Reread)

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SO I see I read this in 2011. 6 years. No wonder I didnt remember all the details watching the show.
But it was so interesting reading it again after watching the show & comparing. All the differences & all the things that are similar. All of it heartbreaking.
I do have to say, I like the order they did the tapes in the show compared to the book... I rarely say this, but I think I actually like the show better than the book.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Always & Forever, Lara Jean

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute little goodbye to Lara Jean.
First, I started reading the first book not aware there was going to be another one & then read the 2nd one not knowing it was a triology. Geez. Unexpected. But I was glad to get more of Lara Jean.
This is truly a YA story & I think its why I enjoyed it. It made me feel all the feels of being back in high school.
I loved Lara Jean though because she was just a normal girl with good values. It was a good clean story, not over the top - totally something I'd recommend to young girls. Something I wouldnt be embarrassed of my nieces reading.
This book gets us through Lara Jean's high school graduation & what she's going to do afterwards, especially when it comes to the love of her life, Peter. Colleges have different paths for both of them & the idea of separate lives is overwhelming for them.
This wasn't a gripper or a gasper, but a nice easy read. A nice little send off to Lara Jean.

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Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The End of Oz

The End of Oz (Dorothy Must Die, #4)The End of Oz by Danielle Paige
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finally, the end.
They tricked us telling us it was going to be a trilogy & then you get to the end of the 3rd book & the story didnt end.
I have to say, this was the 'simplest' of the books - which I actually didn't mind. Usually there's a lot of wars & battles & big stories happening. This just focused on one story - killing Dorothy at her wedding to the Nome King. Pretty basic. This was the least gory too, which I appreciated. Some of the other books totally took a really strange turn to me.
I'm glad the series in complete - but its totally left open for more Oz books, which is kind of intriguing, but glad that this chapter is over.

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Ding dong—Dorothy is dead.

I watched as the Emerald Palace crumbled to the ground, burying Dorothy, the Girl Who Rode the Cyclone, under the rubble. And now that the rightful ruler, Ozma, has been restored to the throne…

Oz is finally free.

My name is Amy Gumm. You might remember me as the other girl from Kansas. When a tornado whisked me away to the magical land of Oz, I was given a mission: Dorothy must die.

But it turns out girls from Kansas are harder to kill than we look.

Now the Road of Yellow Brick is leading me away from Oz to the dark world of Ev, where I have a new, powerful enemy to deal with: the Nome King. And—surprise—he has a gingham-clad bride.

With my magical shoes and a shrinking group of allies, I have one final chance to fulfill my mission, and save not only what’s left of Oz, but Kansas, too. As the line between Good and Wicked blurs even further, I have to find a way to get rid of Dorothy once and for all—without turning into a monster myself.

Dorothy once said there’s no place like home. Can I stop her from destroying mine?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fight Back with Joy

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest FearsFight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears by Margaret Feinberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a book that puts attitude in perspective.
We did this book for our Bible Study along with the workbook & it was just a wake up call how much our attitudes & the way we look at our lives, our every days, can make such a difference.
This book talks about Margaret's journey when she found out she has cancer & had to go through the treatments to save her life. It's a hard read sometimes to see what she had to go through & had to face... but you come out seeing what real life joy can look like. It's not always perfect & the struggle is real in finding it, but its possible.
I love the book has extra sections at the end on things to say to someone who is facing a crisis, & one of my favorite lists, a playlist of songs that are encouragement for joy. I am currently going through all of them & focusing on the words of each of them.
I heard Margaret in person at a conference & just loved her little spunky self & her book totally represents that same side of her. I totally recommend this book - & the study if you get a chance.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One True Loves

One True LovesOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why did I wait so long to get this book?
I absolutely loved it.
What would you do if the love of your life, who you married, was presumed dead, & after a struggle you move on with your life, only to find a new love in an old friendship... & then find your husband is still alive?
I was gasping & couldn't read fast enough to find out how this was going to go. & I was so torn. I loved both of the guys - Jessie & Sam. I couldn't root for just one. Oh the struggles.
I just liked the ease of the writing & story telling. It was like a friend just telling their story to you - not like a book trying to push a story AT you.
I've heard so many good things about this author - after reading this, I've already order a few more of her books & cant wait to dig in.

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From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a "Best Book of the Summer" by Glamour and USA Today—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancĂ© who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancĂ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Friday, April 21, 2017


BelleBelle by Cameron Dokey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what the story was about - I mean, I get what it was about, but not sure if it was the same re-telling, or a new one - I just knew I saw the name & the cover & had to have it. I got home & found out this was released in 2008 & re-released with this new cover. It totally suckered me in.

Not that I needed suckering in. I loved this book. Another version of the Beauty & the Beast story - nothing like the Disney one - & similar aspects of the original - but kinda different. Stands on its on.

The story of Annabelle Evangeline Delaurier & her sisters, Celestial Hevans & April Dawn ... "Belle" being the youngest of the sisters & someone who feels like she stands in the shadows of her beautiful sisters. But Belle has her own talent of feeling what wood feels. Weird, huh? But it was a neat concept. She would widdle wood into what the limb wanted to be - she could see the REAL things inside.... Hello Foreshadowing!

It's a really good time period book - the days where their father makes his careeer on freight on fleets of ships. The language even reflects a time jump.

& I was kind of shocked when I was half way through the book & we still hadn't even met the Beast. That's probably my only grief about the story. I wish we had more interaction between Belle & the Beast. & the ending got kind of repetitive about "true love"... other than that, I really did love the book & glad I have it. It makes me want to check out the Once Upon a Time Series now.

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The story of Beauty and the Beast finds new life in this magical and imaginative retelling that’s filled with romance and adventure.

By the time her sixteenth birthday comes around, Belle feels more convinced than ever that she is being called by the wrong name. Unlike her older sisters Celeste and April, whose names suit them perfectly, Belle knows that she is not beautiful. She begs to be called by her given name, Annabelle—or even Anna for short—but to no avail. Her solace is her wood-carving hobby, and she longs to find the Heartwood tree: Legend has it that, when carved by the right hands, it can reveal the face of one’s true love.

One day, during a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the fabled tree—only to become ensnarled by it and come face-to-face with a terrifying and lonely Beast, who will set him free on one condition: that Belle carves the Heartwood. Belle agrees, never dreaming that she and the Beast have the same wish: to be seen not with the eyes of the mind, but of the heart.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My Kind of Crazy

My Kind of CrazyMy Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the story - it kept me wanting to read what happened. When a guy accidentally catches a tree on fire trying to ask the popular girl at school to prom by lighting sparklers... & then runs away when the fire spreads, but someone sees Hank. The strange girl Peyton Breedlove. She lets him know she saw him & he befriends her to keep her from telling it was him who caused this problem. Soon their friendship develops & they learn so much about each other.
It really held my interest, but I have to say I was shocked it was YA. Just the language & some situations in the book, I wouldnt let my "too" YA read it. For sure.
I really enjoyed how the book wrapped up too. One of those books that I enjoyed but wasn't the kind that was life changing or I'm screaming for the world to MUST READ. I did close the book though rooting on Hank & Peyton as they venture into life on their own.

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Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house. 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Between Heaven & the Real World

Between Heaven and the Real World: My StoryBetween Heaven and the Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure how this was going to go. When you are a fan of someone/something, expectations are high. & coming out of the Beauty & the Beast book & being a little disappointed, I was hoping this book written by favorite artist wasnt going to let me down.
Oh mercy - it didn't for one second.
The story of Steven Curtis Chapman's life growing up with his brother & his family & meeting Mary Beth, working in Opryland (I now wonder if he was working there when I was there with my family when I was little!!) & how he started in Christian music. All the way through his amazing story of becoming a husband & a father & then the adoption of his 3 girls... & then the tragic story of loosing sweet Maria. & how the family has endured since. The Lord gives & takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Being a fan of his since way back in the day, & seeing him in concert so many times, I actually felt really familiar with a lot of these stories, but they didnt seen old to me. I loved reading them again & seeing little extra inside information in the stories. But there were plenty of new stories I've not heard or wasnt aware of. All of it making me just love the Chapman gang even more.
I just appreciated the honesty in this book about his marriage & sharing about the loss of his daughter. It tore me up all over again reading it & hearing about the days afterwards. But it's just so cool that they share to show how God works in it all. There's one picture & story they talk about after deciding to tear their house down that gave me total chills. I've not heard that story before & the picture... just wow.
I thought I was going to be overwhelmed when I saw how thick this book was (over 400 pages)... I zoomed through this book. Couldnt put it down.
Again, I may be biased because I have been such a Chapman family fan since I was a teenager so this to me was just like the cherry on the ice cream sundae to me. Couldnt get enough & wanted more.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

If I Could Turn Back Time

If I Could Turn Back TimeIf I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What is that movie with Jennifer Garner - 13 going on 30?... this is exactly what this book reminded me of.
Ramie Phillips gets a little life check & then hits her head & wakes up in her bedroom - very Peggy Sue Got Married like. I guess this story has been done a few times. Let's throw in the one with Zac Efron & Matthew Perry too... I like the idea of going back & knowing what you know now & how would you do things differently kinda stories.
& while this was cute, it was just what you expected... though it did have a little extra twist in it which was nice.
It just sort of bothered me how some things were repeated over & over - like how Ramie knows she's 38 years old but its OK she's hanging out with 18 year olds because... blah blah blah... no one is judging here Ramie. & just small things that just got on my nerves. It was like they were trying to drag the story out but it just made it feel just like that - DRUG OUT.
I did enjoy it though - enjoyed the story of Ramie getting to go back & see her father again & seeing how life could have been different if she took a different path ... Hello Mr. Destiny - forgot that movie!
A fun easy read - not life changing - but a good one to pass the time.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Beauty & the Beast: Lost in a book

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a BookBeauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I could say I swooned over this book... I liked it. It was enjoyable. But it wasn't the end all, be all Beauty & the Beast books. My favorite of all time is still Beauty by Susan Wilson FYI... THE BEST. I need to re-read again.
I think I have read every Beauty & the Beast book there is - Rose Daughter, Beastly, all sorts of retellings of Beauty & the Beast.. I'm a total addict. This was a good one but not up there with some of the others.
It does pick up with the movie, using characters like Plumette in it (which apparently has kicked Babbette out of the picture) but now I'm also intrigued to see how the movie plays out this week because in this book, the Beast is a big reader. That's different.
Another part of the book - which I dont think is a spoiler - but kind of had me like WHAT? was Mrs. Potts explained to Belle what happened to the Beast - about the enchantress putting a curse on him. WHAT??? But apparently they dont tell her how the spell can be broken. Well, put 2 + 2 together & DUH!!!!
I think that's what got me - this book just felt like out of character. I get all the Beauty & the Beast stories are different - I'm OK with that - but if you are going to use the Disney name & use the Disney characters, I would think having their character stay in line with one another in the movie & the book would make sense. & in this book, Belle gets trapped in a book after Death & Love make a wager on Belle & the Beast. A different idea... but to me, it just had Belle looking dumb. Not making smart moves - which to me, Belle is exactly the opposite of. That was my issue with it.
It's definitely a book I'm glad I have, glad I read it. It's just not something I'll go back to & read over & over again or hold close to my heart like Beauty does. That's OK... I'm still 110% a Beauty & the Beast fan & not everything is going to win me over (Cough... Cough... that new yellow dress... cough... cough...)

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An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.

This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios' film, Beauty and the Beast.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Grace is Greater

Grace Is GreaterGrace Is Greater by Kyle Idleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew I wanted to read this as soon as I saw it was a book on Grace - one of my favorite things to be reminded of. & especially when I saw who wrote it - one of my favorite Pastors.
This book did not disappoint, in the least.
Kyle Idleman has such a way of putting Biblical principals into relatable terms. You'll laugh at some of the personal stories (especially if you read the footnotes!!) & then you feel like you've been gut-punched with the truth that the Bible has that you tend to put aside. He's just so good at making God's words & promise easy to understand. Opens your eyes to noticing it more in your own life.
This book is broken up in how Grace works in a life - For you, for you to give to others (did I mention that gut-punch thing?) & how Grace is in all your circumstances.
As someone who goes to Kyle's church, I will say, I have heard many of the things he mentioned in this book in sermons. That's not a negative to me - it just reminded me of the great messages I've heard before & now glad to have some of the points written on paper to refer to more often & not have to rely on my ever forgetting memory. & I'm even more glad that the amazing messages that I get to hear every week is getting shared a bit with the rest of the world.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough if you struggle with wondering if God has enough mercy & grace for you in your mistakes you've made... or if you are having trouble forgiving others. You will close this book with an encouraged heart.

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The writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God." Over the centuries much ink has been spilled on the subject of grace. Yet perhaps nothing is as hard to explain as God's grace. It doesn't make sense. It's not fair. It can't possibly cover over what I've done. The best way--perhaps the only real way--to understand it is to experience it. But too often in our churches we're not getting grace across and grace is not experienced. 
Bestselling author and pastor Kyle Idleman wants everyone to experience the grace of God. Through the powerful medium of story, Grace Is Greater leads readers past their hang-ups toward an understanding of grace that is bigger than our mistakes, our failures, our desire for revenge, and our seemingly impossible situations. No sin is so great, no bitterness so deep that God's grace cannot transform the heart and rewrite the story. 
Perfect for individuals and also for small groups and church-wide studies, Grace Is Greater will help readers truly grasp God's grace, even if the Christians around them have failed to live it.

Friday, February 17, 2017

We Should Hang Out Sometimes

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True StoryWe Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this guy is very likeable.
It's the story of a guy who just struggles on the dating front - so he goes back & looks over the girls that he was interested in growing up through middle school & high school, into college & telling the stories of their 'relationships' - if you want to call them that... & then figures out what went wrong. Even talking with these ladies to discuss what happened & what went wrong.
A pretty neat idea.
I have to say, its not a heavy, thought provoking, rocket science book. But it was a nice, easy, fun read to look into someone's openness about dating. Especially when you've had cancer at a early age & lost a leg. Add that into being a teenage boy - & you're going to have dating issues.
You're going to love Josh & his innocence & sweet nature.
Is this a MUST read? Nah... but I did enjoy it.
... & side note - i have since found his web page & his YouTube channel & enjoy him more in action than on these pages. I wish I would have heard his voice & seen his personality before I read it - it may have added more life to the story.

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What's the book about?

A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Princess Diariest

The Princess DiaristThe Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel a little bad saying this... I just didn't enjoy this like I usually do biographies.
After Carrie Fisher passed away, I was turned on to this book & I was intrigued about it because while I'm not a Star Wars fanatic like some people are, I do have memories of seeing it in the theaters in the 70's & having a Prince Leah Barbie doll. I was interested in hearing the 'behind the scenes' things about the book.
To me, this was just full of not much information & sad to say, a lot of whining about how Carrie didn't feel beautiful or must of a sex symbol of the time. & don't get me started on the whole Harrison Ford affair. It just felt like the longest, most drawn out bunch of useless information ever.
I really just didn't enjoy this book at all.
It was strange though how many times she referred to her passing & how she would be remembered or just things about dying. Felt very strange getting this book a few weeks after her passing & seeing her words about that. Hindsight.
If you are a huge Star Wars fan, you may enjoy it... I just felt like it was a bunch of writing just to be writing - a lot of it senseless & useless.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

The Mistletoe Secret

The Mistletoe SecretThe Mistletoe Secret by Richard Paul Evans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I usually try to get in a Richard Paul Evans book every Christmas - his easy reading books about the holidays are always so good to me. & yes, I am a little behind on getting this one read for Christmas, but I still didnt want to let it pass by getting it in.
This is like most of his holiday stories - a cute little romance novel with a touch of faith & a nice, safe, modest style of love. So that means, this was sort of predictable, but I'm OK with that. Dont break something that isn't broke, right? These Christmas books aren't meant to teach brain surgery.
But I did figure out what was going on in this fairly early & knew how it would turn out. I did enjoy the idea though about the guy going on a hunt to find a blogger that he fell in love with after reading her blog about loneliness. A cute story idea for sure. I wish there was a tiny twist in it to just make it a little bit more unpredictable. & there were some side stories in there that just seemed to be a waste of time. (I really didnt need all the details about the Blue Boar Inn... really....) but 3 stars still says I liked it.. & I did. Didnt hate it, didnt fall in love with it. Just a cute story.

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Thinking no one is reading, a blogger who calls herself LBH writes about her most personal feelings, especially her overwhelming loneliness. She goes from day to day showing a brave face to the world while inside she longs to know how it would feel if one person cared about her.

Alex Bartlett cares. He’s reading her posts in Daytona Beach, Florida. Nursing his own broken heart and trust issues, he finds himself falling for this sensitive, vulnerable woman whose feelings mirror his own. Following a trail of clues LBH has inadvertently revealed, he discovers that she lives in the small town of Midway, Utah. He makes his way there just after Thanksgiving, determined to find LBH. Maybe she’s a Lisa, Lori, or a Luanne. Instead, he finds a woman named Aria, a waitress at the Mistletoe Diner, who encourages Alex in his search while serving his pie along with some much-needed sympathy and companionship.

Alex finally finds his LBH, a woman who is as beautiful and kind as he imagined she would be. How can he tell her that he knows her secret? What’s holding him back? Could it be his feelings for Aria?