An Attitude of Gratitude

Top/Necklace (sold out)/Earrings

It is hard to believe that December has arrived.  With it comes so much joy and love, as well as, marking the end of a very trying year.  As November, the month of gratitude, came to a close yesterday, I sat and reflected on all the things that I was truly grateful for this year.  I know that was supposed to happen on Thanksgiving, but as 2020 has reminded us time and time again, not everything goes as planned.  I could sit here and tell you about everything that went wrong this year, but I am choosing to see the good that has come from it.  It forced me to slow down which is something that I needed more than anything else.  It allowed my body, mind, and spirit to heal and recharge after years of nonstop insanity.  I cannot even begin to explain how necessary that was for me.  I hate to imagine what would have happened if I had continued life down that crazy path.  I feel certain that my body or my brain would have eventually given out completely.  This year has also helped me realize that all that “extra” that was contributing to my stress isn’t really necessary.  We are doing just fine (and even better) without it all. I am so thankful for time to recharge. 

Another thing this year has given me is so many opportunities to actually have real conversations with my kids.  Much of my youngest daughter’s life has been combative with me.  Her younger years were very trying, and she and I have been like oil and water.  Prior to the last year or so, all we did was yell at each other because she did everything she could to push all my buttons until I had no choice but to lose it. To say it was a rough few years with her is an understatement! Now we have real, intellectual conversations that amaze me at her intuitiveness and that have shown me how much she has grown and matured.  She really is a neat kid.  Don’t get me wrong, she still knows how to push my buttons, but I have learned to remain calm (most of the time) and give her space.  It has made such a huge difference.  I don’t think any of that would have occurred had I still been living the crazy, hectic, stress-filled life.  I am so thankful for time to bond in ways we never have before.

When it comes to my oldest daughter, I am really getting to know who she is as a person. Our mother/daughter bond that the two of us have always had has strengthened this year because we finally have the time to just talk. She was always at practice and very rarely home so there was only time for superficial or necessary conversations. Now we talk about anything and everything because she has all the time in the world.  This year brought about a LOT of change for her.  She made the decision to leave the sport that has consumed her life for 15 years. She started a whole new sport that she had no clue in the world about, and I have seen her blossom through it.  Her confidence has returned, and I see a light in her eyes that has been dim for the past few years.  She also got her driver’s license and gained some independence which has brought about a little maturity that I thought we may never see in her.  She still has a long way to go in the maturity department, but I am hopeful that she may actually be able to survive when she leaves home for college in another year.  I am thankful for time to connect and grow. 

Finally, this year has definitely strengthened my marriage.  I don’t think that my husband and I have spent as much time together in the entire 20 years that we have been married as we have this year.  He has always either been deployed or we have been running every which way with the kids and everything else life throws at us. I think we have both been on our own personal growth and discovery this year, which has allowed us to also rediscover what we love about each other.  We’ve come to appreciate each other more, and I think we have made it a point to really try to meet either other’s needs. I have never seen him more relaxed and chill than I have this year, and I think he would probably say the same about me.  Less stress and chaos lead to less arguments and more time spent just enjoying each other’s company.  We actually have had time to simply “hang out” with each other, and it has been great.   I am thankful for time to love and be loved. 

I am thankful for all that I have received from this strange, insane year, but I am thankful most of all for TIME. It is such a precious thing and something we often take for granted. If this year has taught me anything is is to take time for myself, time for the ones I love, and time to enjoy life. We have such little time on this earth and we shouldn’t waste it. I have seen so many say that they are glad that the end of 2020 is near or can’t wait for this year to be over, but I have to admit that I will be a little sad for it to end.  My prayer for all of you is that you choose to look at 2020 as the year that things slowed down and families came together. Make the choice to look for the good in it all and be thankful. Have an attitude of gratitude instead of one of negativity.  Yes, it was hard for all of us (some more than others), but don’t let the hard days be your focus. Choose to appreciate the little things and be thankful for all you have been given this year alone. I promise it will make this Christmas season so much brighter and will set you up for the start of 2021 with the right mindset.

Anchored in Gratitude,

Fashion Finds: Holiday Sales Week 3

Happy Cyber Monday! It is week 3 of my holiday sale finds.  This week I have found you some great deals all for under $30! There are so many sales going on right now that it was hard to narrow it down to just a few of my favorites. I chose items that can become staples in your wardrobe, a few trendy pieces, and some that would make great gifts. Check them out and go get your shop on! Remember that some deals are good for TODAY ONLY!

TARGET (extra 15% off on sweaters, outerwear, winter accessories, and boots)

Crewneck Pullover Sweater/Open-Front Cardigan/Linen Blend Duster Cardigan/Faux Fur Hiking Boots/Sock Fashion Bootie/Wedge Sneakers

LOFT OUTLET (free shipping, extra $20 off orders of $100+ with code CYBER)

Long Sleeve Swing Dress/Waffle Tunic Sweater/Plaid Lace Trim Cami/Faux Fur Slippers/Plaid Wrap/Puff Sleeve Tee

J. CREW FACTORY (extra 15% off with code POWERUP)

Tartan Tie-Neck Tank Top/High Rise Button Front Skinny Jeans/Striped Ruffle Neck Sweater/Classic Turtleneck Sweater/Leopard Terry Sweatshirt/Leopard Terry Joggers

AMERICAN EAGLE (40% off entire store + free shipping)

Oversized Dreamspun Crewneck Sweater/Oversized Sherpa Lined Hoodie/Oversized Hoodie/Striped Henley Sweater/Cable Knit Crewneck Sweater/Highest Waist Stretch Mom Jeans

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH (40% off entire store + extra 15% off select items)

Long-Sleeve Cozy Legging Tee/Relaxed Crew Sweatshirt/Long-Sleeve Cozy Bodysuit/Long-Sleeve Slim-Ribbed Mockneck Tee/Long-Sleeve Icon Henley/Cloud Scarf

Happy shopping!


Fashion Finds: Holiday Sales Week 2

I am bringing you tons of amazing deals and sales again this week.  Pre-Black Friday sales are ago everywhere.  There are so many good things at incredible prices right now.  Check out some of these deals that I found for you. Target currently has  pajama sets for $20, select boots for 30% off, and sweaters for as low as $10! I chose a couple from each category that I love but there are so many more! Kohl’s has women’s tops and sweaters from $4.99-$9.99, select coats and jacketsare 50-70% off, select boots for $19.99 and under, and so much more. Express and Old Navy have 50% off the entire store. Finally, I just had to throw in Trades of Hope’s current Black Friday sale because there is no better gift than the one that keeps on giving!  Over 90 items are marked 50-70% off.  


Thermal Pajama Set/Henley Pajama Set/Lace-Up Hiking Boots/Fashion Boots/Turtleneck Pullover/Crewneck Pullover Sweater


Tek Gear Fleece Hoodie/Sonoma Essential V-Neck Tee/Halitech Hooded Puffer Jacket/Nine West Single Breasted Wool Blend Coat/SO Knee High Boots/SO Ankle Boots


Ruched Sleeve Sweatshirt/Embellished Drawstring Hoodie/Balloon Sleeve Banded Bottom Fleece Sweatshirt/Cozy Belted Jumpsuit/Chunky Balloon Sleeve Turtleneck Sweater


Oversized Bouclé Crew Neck Sweater/Classic Plaid Flannel Shirt/High-Waisted Built-In Warm Skinny Jeans/Plaid Sherpa Peacoat/Sherpa Sweatshirt/Frost-Free Zipper Puffer Jacket


Ginkgo Topaz Cuff/Trove Cuff/Anika Earrings/Geo Hoop Earrings/Reflections Necklace/Onyx Necklace

Happy shopping!


***This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Book Club: Behind Closed Doors

I am doing my monthly book club review a week early this month because of the holiday next week.  If you were reading along with me and haven’t finished yet, stop reading this post and come back when you are done. For November I chose Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.  This was a new author to me and one that I had heard about as someone I might like. This novel was definitely a psychological thriller that did grab my attention pretty quickly.  It was a fast read, and I finished it in just a few days.  If I had the time, I likely could have finished it in one long sitting because I didn’t want to put it down.   I feel like I have said this a lot about the past few books I have chosen, but I have mixed feelings about this book as well.  I don’t know what it is lately, but I have been disappointed in the ending of several books.  Some have said that they were surprised by the ending of this book, but I wasn’t.  I thought it was very predictable and didn’t give me that shocked feeling that I had hoped for.  I was left thinking, “That’s it?” with this one. Maybe I watch too many crime shows and all the thrillers are becoming predictable to me, or maybe I should have been a detective or possibly even an author.  My husband always says that I have a good sense for these things because I often predict what is going to happen when we are watching a show or movie before he picks up on it, and I am usually right.  I don’t know if that is necessarily a good skill to have, though, because it often leaves me disappointed like it did with this book.   What I will tell you is to not let my review or feelings about this book keep you from reading it if you haven’t already simply because I think most people will really like it if they are into psychological thrillers.  I think I will give it 4.5 out of 5 stars even with my disappointment because it really was a captivating read. I did like it despite my disappointment at the end. 

This story is about a woman named Grace, who is the primary caregiver for her sister, Millie, who has Down Syndrome.  Millie is currently living in a care facility where she goes to school.  However, once she turns 18, she can no longer live at the facility and will come to live with Grace.  Grace loves her sister so much that her life practically revolves around Mille.  About a year or so before Millie’s 18th birthday, the two sisters were in the park one afternoon for their usual Sunday excursion when they were approached by a man named Jack.  He was very kind to them and even danced with Millie through the park that day.  This act of kindness towards Millie led Grace to begin having feelings towards Jack fairly quickly, and the two began dating right away.  Jack was a well-respected lawyer for women who had been victims of domestic abuse and had never lost a case. To Grace and Millie, Jack seemed like the perfect guy.  They had a beautiful, whirlwind courtship, and before long Jack and Grace were engaged to be married.  As a wedding gift to Grace, Jack promised to find her the perfect house. Their plan was to move into the house and then have Millie move in not long after her birthday.  To all their friends and Grace’s family, Grace and Jack appeared to have the perfect house, perfect marriage, and perfect life. However, appearances can be deceiving.  When you hear that things are too good to be true, that was the case in this situation.  In reality as soon as their wedding ceremony was over, Jack had changed, and Grace instantly became his prisoner.    No one knew this as they visited the house because Jack and Grace put on a good show and hosted beautiful dinner parties.  No one suspected anything was not as it seemed. The one thing that I was surprised by, and you will likely be too, was the reason behind why Grace became a prisoner.  That was something that I did not see coming that was revealed early on.  You will quickly learn that Jack is a very sick and sadistic human being, Millies is much more perceptive than you would think, and everyone’s fate lies very heavily on Grace’s strength and willpower. 

I do recommend Behind Closed Doors if you haven’t read it, and I will likely read other books by B.A. Paris in the future.  I believe that my disappointment in it is just my own personal issue because it really is a good book that will captivate you.   I am starting to think that my disappointment in the ending of several books like this one is just because I didn’t want them to end or I am just being super picky. Who knows? What I do know, though, that it won’t stop me from doing one thing that I really love…reading!   

My pick for December is a New York Times Best Seller and A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick called White Ivy by Susie Yang. It is a story of a young woman and her crush on a former classmate who comes from a privileged political family, which is the total opposite of her upbringing as an immigrant from China.  It revolves around her love for him and is mixed with lies, deceit, obsession, and family ties. Here is what Apple Books had to say about it. 

“A female antihero can be mighty hard to resist—and the deliciously evil Ivy Lin is one of the best we’ve read lately. Debut author Susie Yang’s unapologetic protagonist is a Chinese immigrant whose grandmother taught her how to steal when she was little. As a Harvard undergrad, Ivy also became an expert liar, and post graduation, she’s ready to focus her skills on the thing she covets the most: handsome Gideon Speyer and his politically connected family’s rich, privileged lifestyle. White Ivy is a tense thriller that literally made us grip our phone with sweaty palms. While Ivy proves there’s nothing she won’t do to fit in with New England’s Waspy elite, Yang colors in the lines of her ruthless and charismatic lead with pitch-perfect cynicism. Like a thoroughly modern updating of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, Ivy is an awful person who does awful things. But Ivy’s actions also reflect the heartlessness of her marks—and we’re here for it.”

Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

***This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

The Spirit of Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go, and I am loving it.  Did you just sing that like I did as I was typing it? Haha!  I bet you did! There is nothing better than Christmas lights and decorations.  I love that so many people are decorating early this year to try to bring a little joy to this insane year.  I NEVER decorate this early.  I have always done it the weekend after Thanksgiving because that is what we did when I was a kid.  We would load up the truck and head out to the Christmas tree farm in search of the perfect tree.  Oh, how I loved the hayrides through the trees followed by hot chocolate afterwards! I hate that my kids have never experienced that tradition.  All my adult life, we have only had artificial trees.  That was just easier since my husband was deployed for so many Christmases. Plus, there really weren’t tree farms where we lived like we had in the deep southern, country towns growing up.  While I love big city life, it is the little things like those traditions that I do miss about living in the country.  You can’t beat searching for the perfect tree, watching your dad cut it down, and the smell of the fresh pine. 

My youngest has always loved decorating for Christmas.  Her eyes light up the moment the tree goes up.  She loves helping me put everything out on display and hanging all the ornaments.  The more decorations and lights the better for her.  As we have seen other people decorating early this year, she has been begging to get all of ours out for weeks.  I told her I was ok with it, but she had to convince her dad.  I never thought he would agree, but he did.  As soon as church was over on Sunday, he started pulling everything out of the basement.  She was at cheer practice all morning and by the time she got home, all the totes of decorations were out, and the tree was up.  I wish I had a camera on her when she realized the tree was up.  She gasped and got so excited.  We immediately got to work decorating the tree which is my favorite part.  Our tree may not look like one out of a magazine or a Hallmark movie, but it is special to us.  We don’t have matching ornaments or elaborate garland. Each of our ornaments have meaning and memories attached to them.  There are those that the kids have made over the years, some that my husband and I made as kids, and some that belonged to our grandparents.  We also have ornaments from all of our travels.  Every time we go somewhere on vacation, we get an ornament that represents that trip.  Each one holds great memories.  We have so many from our Disney trips that now we have our own mini tree full of just Disney ornaments.  I pull out each ornament one by one, reminiscing about where it came from or who made it. Then I add the hook and pass it on to the girls to hang on the tree.  I love their smiles as they remember where it came from as well.  They even argue over who gets to hang certain ones and which ones get prominent placement.  They also laugh over the ones they made when they were younger and tend to hang those in the back because they are embarrassed by them.  I wouldn’t trade our tree or our ornaments for a fancy tree ever. I love it so much.  

We didn’t get all of the decorations up on Sunday, and still have a few things left to put up, but the important ones are out.  The tree is up and decorated and the stockings are hung on the mantle.  My youngest came downstairs yesterday and I caught her admiring the fireplace.  She said, “It looks so much better with all the stuff on it.” I wish she would remain this in awe of Christmas forever.  I love seeing it through her little eyes.  Now she just has to convince her dad to put up lights and our blow-up Santa in a submarine outside.  She asked me yesterday why I married such a Scrooge when I told her he said he wasn’t putting them up.  I reminded her that she wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t married him, to which she asked me why I hadn’t made him love Christmas in all the years we’ve been married.  When I told my husband what she said, he laughed and told me I missed a prime opportunity to tell her that you can’t change men! LOL! I bet if she were to bat her pretty eyes and beg him a few more times, she could convince him.  He definitely has a soft spot for her. 

Whether you decorate early or not, I think this Christmas is going to not only look a lot different than normal, but I also think it is going to mean a lot more to everyone.  It has been a tough year and I don’t foresee it changing any time soon. I hope that we can all use the holiday season to remember why we are all here and the importance of family and time together. I also hope that we can all find some joy and peace in the midst of the chaos.  Choose to be present in the moment and take time to stop, breathe, and be grateful for all you have. Try to look at the season through the eyes of a child like mine. I promise it will change your perspective.

Anchored in the Spirit of Christmas,

Fashion Finds: Holiday Sales Week 1

Normally this time of year, I am sharing with you my Black Friday tips and tricks. However, it’s 2020 and we know things aren’t normal.  As COVID cases are starting to rise again, many states are adding back some restrictions.  Our governor announced Friday that he is putting some on us as well.  Social gatherings have been limited to 25 people and new mask rules now apply.  One article I read even said he was encouraging virtual Thanksgivings.  As of right now businesses are still able to operate, but I don’t know for how long. Plus, I am not so sure I am willing to go out and brave the holiday shopping crowds, and I am almost positive I am not doing my typical Black Friday shopping this year.  That means that the majority of my Christmas shopping is going to be online, and I have a feeling that most of yours will be too.  We are in luck, though, because many stores have recognized that people are going to be shopping a little differently this year and are already putting out Black Friday Pre-sales online. Each week, I am going to be bringing you some great deals that I find on really cute pieces.  Today I have my top 5 picks from 5 of my favorite stores offering pre-sales.  There are some incredible deals here.  Keep in mind that I don’t know how long the sales will last and stock will sell out on some because the deals are that good.  


Marled Moto Coat/Leopard Print Raglan Sweater/Button Sleeve Sweater Dress/Spotted Side Zip Booties/Tulip Hem Skinny Jeans

J. CREW FACTORY (Extra 10% off some items with code QUICKDEAL)

City Coat/High Rise Skinny Jeans/Sherpa Pullover/Button-Collar Pullover Sweatshirt/Artist Tee

PINK LILY (40% off)

Striped Duster Cardigan/Cinnamon Sweater/Striped Sweater/Jumpsuit/Spotted Rust Blouse


Open Front Cardigan/Cable Stitch Pullover Sweater/Belted Puffer Jacket/Microfleece Pullover Sweater/Colorblock Open Front Cardigan


Puffer Vest/Bateau-Neck Dolman Sweater/Seamed Puffer Jacket/Faux Leather Moto Jacket/High-Waisted Leggings

Happy shopping!

Anchored in a Good Deal,

***This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

It is crazy to me to think that Thanksgiving is two weeks away from today.  What a crazy year it has been!  Some parts of it dragged on forever and other parts have been speeding by.  My husband and I were discussing our Thanksgiving plans last night.  We used to try to go home to South Carolina every year to spend time with family, go Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister, and attend our state rivalry football game.  Since we moved so much farther away two years ago, though, we haven’t made the trip.  It certainly isn’t that we don’t want to because that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Unfortunately, the long drive down there is bad enough on a normal week, but the traffic on the way back home after all the festivities is such a nightmare that we can’t bring ourselves to make the trip.  Thanksgiving is the biggest travel time of the year across the country, which typically adds several hours to an already LONG trip.  The drive to and from SC during Thanksgiving week is too miserable to justify the trip.  On top of that, both girls always have practice on the Sunday after Thanksgiving that they are expected to attend.  It is hard for them to miss practice this time of the year with competition season about to kick off.  We have just decided that it is best that we stay close to home that week.  It makes me sad that we don’t get to carry out our family traditions, but part of me also likes that we get to spend the time together as a family of 4 making new traditions.

Two years ago, we had a quiet Thanksgiving here at the house.  I didn’t cook a huge Thanksgiving meal for just the 4 of us, but we did have a nice dinner together.  Then I went out and did a little Black Friday shopping on my own while my husband watched football and the girls did their own thing.  The shopping wasn’t nearly as fun or as enjoyable as it usually is with my family, and I did not stay out all day and night like we normally do.  Black Friday isn’t so much about the deals for me as it is about time spent laughing with my mom and sister. Doing it alone just isn’t the same.  Then, last year we had a mini stay-cation and traveled a couple of hours away for a change of scenery and to do something fun with the girls.  We had our Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant for the first time ever, which was strange and nice all at the same time.  We did a little bit of Black Friday shopping at a nearby outlet mall as a family.  However, shopping with my crew was no fun at all for me.  They couldn’t keep up with me and were miserable most of the time, so I cut it short and we went to an amusement park instead.  Except for the shopping, we actually had a really good time together for those few days. No, those two years weren’t the Thanksgiving that we were used to, but we made the best of them and were together which is all that matters. 

This year with COVID, we have made the decision to have another quiet week at home.  We are not going anywhere or doing anything out of the ordinary.  I will make a Thanksgiving meal for us to enjoy.  I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I am certain that it will be something small as none of us really love the big, traditional Thanksgiving meal (Yes, we are weird!). I will probably make a little something that each person loves.  I doubt I will go out and do any Black Friday shopping this year either.  I honestly don’t really know what Black Friday will entail this year anyway.  Some stores are already having big sales each week in an attempt to keep the crowds to a minimum, so I will likely do all of my shopping online this year.  Yes, I will again miss spending time with our extended family and Black Friday shopping, but the memories that I am sure we will make instead will be just as special. It is just a different kind of Thanksgiving. I am sure that there will be some football and Christmas movie watching as usual, a bit of online retail therapy, good food, a little Christmas decorating, and a whole lot of family time.  We can begin to create new family traditions. Maybe I will even have the girls help with the baking this year. It may be different these days, but we are going to make the best of the situation. Honestly, I couldn’t really ask for anything better than time together.

Anchored in a Different Kind of Thanksgiving,


My Christmas Wish List

The holidays are in full swing all around me.  Many of my friends have decorated for Christmas early to bring a bit of cheer to this crazy year.  My youngest is begging to put up our tree, but she hasn’t convinced her father yet.  Stores are already doing Black Friday type sales since no one is sure how the actual Black Friday will go this year.   Be sure to keep checking your favorite stores for some great deals.  My life has already gotten busy with plans throughout the season.  I feel like my weekends are filling up quickly, and I am beginning to feel the yearly holiday stress.  I am also trying to figure out what I am going to buy for my children for Christmas, and they are totally no help in deciding what they want.   If you missed my holiday gift guides from last week, be sure to check them out for all your gift giving needs. 

Today I wanted to share with you some of the things that are on my personal wish list.  I typically only ask for clothes and shoes each year since those are my favorite things. This year is no different.  These are some things that have been sitting in my virtual shopping cart for weeks, and I just can’t seem to pull the trigger.  I figured I would add them to my Christmas list for anyone who is buying for me this year.  They are all so cute and super hard for me to resist!

Chevron Pullover Sweater/Balloon Sleeve Bodysuit/Colorblock Cable Knit Sweater/Popcorn Rust Cardigan

Jacquard Puff Sleeve Top/High Rise Skinny Jeans/Balloon Sleeve Sweater Dress/Plaid Long Sleeve Check Jacket

Hiking Ankle Boots/Fashion Boots/Heeled Scrunch Fashion Boots/Ankle Bootie

Malala Skirt/Audrey Top

Turtleneck Batwing Sleeve Sweater Tunic/Mom Mode Crewneck Sweatshirt/Oversized Chunky Pullover Sweater/Oversized Leopard Print Sweater/Mid-Weight Puffer Vest

We Rise Sweatshirt/World Changer Tee

Happy shopping!


**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

2020 Anchored Gift Guides

November is here and the holiday season has officially begun.  Whether you are gearing up for a great Thanksgiving or putting up your Christmas decorations, it is time to start thinking about gifts.  I always try to get all of my holiday shopping done in November so that I can enjoy all that December brings and not have to worry about facing the crowds.  This year I have compiled several different gift guides to help you with all your holiday shopping.  I tried to find items that are unique and thoughtful and that may not necessarily be on someone’s wish list.  There are pieces that are from small businesses, fair trade companies, companies that give back, as well as some things from your typical big box stores.  I don’t know about you, but I like options.  I will say that, although I tried to compile gift guides for the males in your life too, I am much better with gifts for females.  I think I get an A for effort at least.  I also did not separate the younger ages by gender because I thought that many gifts work work for either. I really put a lot of thought into these lists and truly hope that you find them useful. My goal was to hopefully make your holiday shopping a little easier. I do plan to share my personal Christmas wish list with you next week, which will feature many more articles of clothing and shoes that are not included in these lists. Stay tuned for that! Here you go! Happy shopping!

Anchored in the Giving Spirit,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Book Club: Big Summer

It’s that time of the month when I share my thoughts on my book club pick. I have to admit AGAIN that I am super disappointed in myself this month.  I had been on a roll of reading 2-3 books a month and was really proud of myself for making the time for something that brings me so much joy.  Sadly, I only read the one book that I had to read for this month and that was it.  I keep letting life get in the way.  I want to say that I am vowing to do better in November, but let’s be real…November and December mark the busiest season with the holidays, so the chances of me reading extra books is probably small.  Anyway, for my October book I chose Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner.  It was meant to be a light read and a change of pace for me.  I don’t typically choose books in the “chick lit” category, but I like to mix it up every now and then to keep me from getting stagnant.  This is also the first book I have ever read by Jennifer Weiner.  I actually have mixed emotions about this book, which I will explain more in a bit. 

The book revolved around a young, plus-size, social media influencer, Daphne, and her relationship with her own body and that of her “friends.”  She had a very low self-esteem and was always very self-conscious about her body and her appearance.  She was skeptical of anyone who wanted to be friends with her or even date her.  Much of that stemmed from her friendship as a teen with Drue, a wealthy and very popular girl.  Drue was also one of those high society, mean girls who often treated Daphne poorly.  Despite that, Daphne was in awe of Drue and did whatever it took to remain on the peripheral of Drue’s inner circle.  That all came to a crashing halt when Daphne discovered that Drue had practically paid a guy to act interested and date her.  That was the last straw for Daphne, and she immediately ended their friendship.  That incident and Daphne’s response to it is what ultimately launched her influencer career. Years later, Drue made a reappearance in Daphne’s life and asked a huge favor.  She wanted Daphne to play an important role in a big life event.  That favor led to a murder investigation that left everyone involved searching for their identity and the true meaning of friendship.  

This book involved a bit of mystery, romance, and drama.  As I mentioned earlier, I have mixed emotions about it.  I didn’t hate it, but it definitely wasn’t a favorite.  I think my biggest issue with the whole storyline was that it was very predictable.  I figured out the plot and the “who done it” pretty quickly.  I prefer storylines that keep me guessing throughout.  It is not a bad story, and I actually think that there are a lot of people who love the “chick lit” genre that would really enjoy it.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  It was a pretty quick and easy read, and there were some parts of it that held my attention.  I do think the idea behind the story was really good.  A story about a girl who doesn’t quite fit in and has body issues that learns to love herself and to value who she is as a person is a lesson that many young adults need.  I just wish it wasn’t quite so predictable for me.  I think I would give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It is definitely a good beach read type of book.

I am switching genres again for November.  This month I am going for a psychological thriller by B.A. Paris entitled Behind Closed Doors.  This book was published in 2016 and was an instant New York Times Best Seller, as well as, a USA Today Bestseller. It is said to be one of those books that you can’t put down.  The San Francisco Book Review said, “This was one of the best and most terrifying psychological thrillers I have ever read.” I don’t know about you, but I love a good page turner! This novel is about a young newlywed couple, Jack and Grace, who seem to outsiders to be the perfect little family.  It turns out that appearances can be deceiving, and Grace is actually a prisoner in her own home.  This is a story of her journey to freedom. Will she find it? We will have to read and find out!

Here is Apple Books review of this story.

“Like starting a fire, writing a page-turning thriller takes patience and skill.  British author B.A. Paris has both in spades. Our heart skittered and raced as we tried to untangle the dark secrets at the heart of married couple Grace and Jack’s twisted relationship. As the story moved between past and present—revealing an ever-larger and more sinister gap between appearances and reality—we could barely imagine how Grace and her sister, Millie, would make it through.”

Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

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