WWW Wednesdays – November 20, 2019


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Is anyone else wondering how it can possibly be almost Thanksgiving already??!! I’ve mostly been audiobooking, while I clean my house and prepare for the company that is arriving from out of town soon. Both my family and my husband’s family are coming for Thanksgiving dinner, so it will and crazy next week and a half. Anyone have any book recommendations on how to deal with family? I would appreciate some humorous books if possible. LOL

Currently Reading

Last night, I met up with my friend to discuss Book One of Dune. I really am enjoying reading books piece by piece and discussing each section. My friend and I also use this as a great excuse to get together once a month, even during the busy times. Those times tend to be the best times to get together as a way to unwind and focus on something else.

Recently Finished

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky – audiobook = ♦
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

I actually did not make it through Fair Play, hence the 1-star rating. I was interested in reading about how couples balance their high-stress jobs, housework, and still have time for each other. This book seemed to cater more toward households with kids, which is fine, but not really relevant to me. Most of what I read seemed to really attack men, that the women were doing all the child care and household responsibilities. Seems like some items mentioned in the book should have been discussed among the couples before they decided to have children. Again, not really the book for me I guess. If anything, I started to appreciate the communication I have with my significant other. I was just hoping this book would share good tips on time management. It was a let down for me.

I will have a review of Digital Minimalism posted soon!

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? Please feel free to comment below and leave your WWW link as well.


WWW Wednesdays – November 13, 2019


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I spent last week into this week reorganizing my bookshelves. It turned into a much bigger project than expected, but now I can easily access all books that I haven’t read yet and have recorded all of them into my book catalog app, so I will always know what books I own. I would like to avoid owning duplicates in the future. We shall see how it pans out. For now I think the shelves look good. 🙂

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton – audiobook = 4
Force of Nature by Jane Harper – book = 4.5
Blowout by Rachel Maddow – audiobook = 3.5
IRL Book Club: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – book = 5

Reading Next

What have y’all been reading? Have you read Neil Gaiman? Are there any Gaiman works that you particularly enjoyed and recommend? Leave a comment or your WWW link below.


WWW Wednesdays – November 6, 2019


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Don’t be fooled by the huge list of books. I just haven’t participated in WWW for the last few weeks. I’ve been working very long hours and can’t wait until it slows down a bit for the holidays, and I can get back to discussing books!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

The Girls of Murder City by Douglas Perry – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦
The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Focus on Authors Challenge: We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The American Predator by Maureen Callahan – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Focus on Authors Challenge: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
The End of Procrastination by Petr Ludwig – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Focus on Authors Challenge: Coraline by Neil Gaiman – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*I hope to get out some book reviews soon!*

Reading Next

What have y’all been reading? Leave a comment or your WWW link below.


WWW Wednesdays – October 16, 2019


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

As of Monday, I officially completed my Goodreads challenge for the year. I couldn’t be happier! I am incredibly amazed that I have read that many books this year and it is only October.

2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Sarah has
completed her goal of reading
100 books in

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Love Big by Rozella Haydee White – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
NetGalley ARC: Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes – ebook =

*Click on the title of the book to read my full review. I will be posting my House of Leaves review soon.*

Reading Next

What have y’all been reading? How are y’all doing with your 2019 reading goals? Leave a comment or your WWW link below.


Book Review: Christmas in Vermont


Title: Christmas in Vermont
Author: Anita Hughes
Genre: Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Pages: 304
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: NetGalley ARC
Date finished reading: October 15, 2019

Goodreads Description: Emma can’t believe her luck when she finds an open pawn shop on Christmas Eve in Manhattan. She’s there to sell the beautiful bracelet her ex-boyfriend gave her when a familiar looking watch catches her eye. It’s the same engraved watch she gave her college boyfriend, Fletcher, years ago. On a whim, she trades the bracelet for the watch and wonders at the timing.

Practical Emma thinks it’s just a coincidence, but her best friend Bronwyn believes it’s the magic of synchronicity that caused Emma to find the watch. Fletcher was the one that got away, and somehow Emma never quite moved on.

When Bronwyn finds out that Fletcher is in snowy Vermont at a romantic inn for the week, she can’t help but give synchronicity a push. She signs Emma up to help the inn keeper as the children’s activity coordinator. Emma agrees that a week filled with quaint shops and maple syrup would do her good… and maybe Fate really does have a Christmas gift in store for her. That is until she sees Fletcher with his daughter and fiancée.

Suddenly, the fairytale trip seems doomed to fail… much like the innkeeper’s dwindling cashflow. It will take a miracle to save her heart and the inn. And that just might be what Fate has in mind.

Christmas in Vermont is a delightful and charming love story about the magic of second chances during the most festive time of year.

My Review: I was very excited to receive this ARC from NetGalley of Christmas in Vermont. I love a good Christmas romance. Before I dive in to writing down my thoughts, I want to take a brief moment to mention that this was poorly edited. I realize that I received a proof, but this was the worst ARC I’ve ever received as far as grammar. The grammar mistakes were constant. I think the publisher should have fixed at least some of the mistakes before releasing the proof. The timeline headers were incorrect at times; there were many errors with incorrect words (such as “hear” instead of “heart”); and the worst was during a dialog when it stated that Emma was speaking when it should have been Lola, because Emma was not even in that room or conversation. Those errors truly distracted me from the actual story. Is this typical with ARC copies?

I really enjoyed the first half of the book. I think Emma finding the watch that she gave Fletcher at the same pawn shop where she is selling a piece of jewelry that an ex-boyfriend had given her was definitely a sign or fate. It was a strong start, because it sucked me in to want to know who Fletcher was and why that watch was in a pawn shop. Then having Emma’s best friend, Bronwyn, stalk Fletcher on social media and set up a plan to have Emma vacation at the same hotel in Vermont as Fletcher for the holidays was quite entertaining. Emma ends up connecting with Fletcher’s daughter, Lola, before she connects with Fletcher. When Fletcher first sees Emma again after many years since their college romance, she is playing the piano in a talent show as accompaniment for Lola’s singing. It is a wonderful scene.

I don’t know how much I enjoyed the book after that. Lola was a great character. She was so witty for a nine year old. Her relationship with Emma was so adorable. Betty was a sweet character as well. I was not sure I cared much for the other supporting characters though. I guess Megan was a strong enough character. One of those characters that you love to hate. However, those scenes where Fletcher is talking to his best friend, I don’t see how that character or those scenes added to the story.

Once Megan was gone, the story really fizzled for me. Of course, you want Fletcher and Emma to be together, but I just did not feel that spark. There could have been more romantic moments with them. I felt that their connection seemed stronger when the story would revert to a decade earlier and share moments from their original romance in college than the present day romance. I am still happy that Fletcher and Emma ended up together in the end, but I think I would have also liked an epilogue that jumped forward 364 days as assurance for the reader that Emma did not bail on this relationship like she did in her previous relationships.

This story had some strong characters and scenes. It made me want to visit Vermont. I did like it, but I did not love it.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

Book Review: Love Big

LoveBig_CoverFinal_3bTitle: Love Big
Author: Rozella Haydee White
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: Fortress Press
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 178
Format Read: Book
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: From a friend of the author
Date finished reading: October 14, 2019

Goodreads Description: In the words of Mother Teresa, “We have forgotten that we belong to each other.” This lapse in memory has caused deep fractures and allowed fear, hatred, and division to infect our lives together. We’ve become disconnected from each other and from our very selves.

In Love Big, leadership coach Rozella Hayd’e White introduces readers to the power of revolutionary relationships. Modeled after the image of God as a lover, these relationships can heal the brokenness of our lives by crossing over the dividing lines of race, gender, religion, orientation, ability, identity, and class to provide relief and inspiration.

Revolutionary relationships will usher us into a reality marked by love, connection, and a belief in abundance.

Revolutionary relationships lead us to love big–to love despite hardships and fear; to love in the face of despair; to love ourselves and others deeply and passionately; to love in ways that change us all.

My Review: I received a copy of this book from a friend of the author. I always enjoy reading local authors’ works. Some readers might be turned off by the religious foundation of this book, but this book is more about relationships, love and faith. You don’t have to share the same religious beliefs as the author to appreciate her ideals and her guidance. If you are doing a self-evaluation and wanting to love a bit bigger and better, this is a great book for you.

“To love big is to have faith, even when you don’t understand how faith works and especially when you don’t believe that faith even matters.”

If you currently feel or have felt the following, this book is a great guide to possible ways to change your life. “Fear and hatred lead to an inevitable conclusion: that there isn’t enough. Enough time. Enough resources. Enough jobs. Enough money. Enough joy. Enough love.” Here are some key points that I took from this book:

  • You can’t truly love others unless you love yourself. This is hard for many people. This may involve a healing process from some tragic event in your life. This may involve having a better self-image, including being happy with your abilities and your body. “Restoring my soul is probably the hardest work I’ve ever done because it requires me to be excruciatingly honest with myself and to listen deeply and well.”
  • Discover your own dreams, desires, and who you are. It is important for us take time to acknowledge our likes and dislikes; to think about our strengths and weaknesses; and even establish goals or wishes for the future – what you want to get out of life. “The goal is to name your hopes, values, and dreams, claim the ways that you want to show up in the world, and have a partner that helps you do the good and hard work of staying focused on the fact that what you say matters most.”
  • Live the life you want to live. When you love yourself, you want you to be happy. If a relationship or job or responsibility is not making you happy, it may be time to reevaluate and/or make a change.
  • Live outside your own bubble. “The bubbles that we live in keep us separate from one another. This leads to an isolation so deep that we don’t even recognize how disconnected we truly are.” It is a growing experience to not only engage with your community and the people/issues within your community, but also open yourself up to know more about the world. Don’t be afraid to explore the world and other cultures. “There’s something to be said for waking up, for the moments in our life when we realize we have been asleep. … And we all have a choice, either to hit the snooze button or to wake up.”
  • Show love. Showing love may be trying to understand or relate to others, empathizing with someone else or a situation. Sometimes love can be showing some gratitude and mercy. (I just finished a great book by Bryan Stevenson called Just Mercy.)
  • Establish revolutionary relationships. The author describes the steps and qualities of revolutionary relationships. See below. You love yourself and are ready to love others. These relationships are established to not only help you love but strengthen you as a person and help you achieve the goals and desires you have for the future. “Revolutionary relationships lead me to action. I must nurture these relationships and the people I love. I can’t be selfish because these relationships continually pull me out of myself and into the world.”

Revolutionary Relationships Defined:
1. God in Relationship with God
2. Lessons from Trinity
3. Covenant, Not Commitment
4. Life-giving
5. Risk-taking
6. Vulnerable
7. Forgiveness
8. Gracious
9. Diverse
10. The Foundation – “Revolutionary relationships create the foundation for building lives of meaning, joy, connection, and love.”

I personally have spent a lot of time digging deep within myself to understand myself more and appreciate the person I am. I enjoyed learning about the author’s idea of revolutionary relationships – relationships that will help you grow not hold you back. I think the hardest part with this idea is how family fits in. There is that common phrase “I may have to love you but I don’t have to like you.” I have found that I can choose my friendships, but I can’t choose my family. The author shared some of her difficult family relationships, but every family is different. I just wonder what is the best way to handle difficult family relationships. If anyone has any input on this or reading materials they would recommend, please share in the comment section below. In the meantime, I hope to do better at loving big!

“We love big when we fall in love with ourselves, rouse our minds, reform our bodies, and restore our hearts. We love big when we engage in revolutionary relationships and seek holistic healing, as individuals and as a community.”

“When we are healed, we create new, life-giving realities; liberate ourselves and others from systems, ideologies, and structures that are oppressive; and sustain one another to live lives of peace marked by justice. This is how we love big, and this leads us to love despite differences, to love in the face of hardships and despair, to love ourselves and others deeply and passionately, to love in ways that change us all.”

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Book Review: Just Mercy


Title: Just Mercy
Author: Bryan Stevenson
Genre: Nonfiction – Social Justice
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Pages: 336
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: October 11, 2019

Goodreads Description: Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

My Review: I believe I first heard Bryan Stevenson 5 years ago on The Daily Show and was really impressed. After reading his book Just Mercy, I am more than impressed. Whatever your thoughts are on capital punishment – for or against – this book is bound to produce an emotional response. For me, I could only handle reading a little bit of this book everyday or I would just get too upset.

While Bryan Stevenson writes about specific cases he took on, as legal consul for death row inmates, this book is more than just about capital punishment. It highlights flaws in our justice and prison systems.

“It is about how easily we condemn people in this country and the injustice we create when we allow fear, anger and distance to shape the way we treat the most vulnerable among us.”

Bryan Stevenson in the late 1980s founded EJI, the Equal Justice Initiative. This non-profit focuses on the following: “We were assisting clients on death row; challenging excessive punishments; helping disabled prisoners; assisting children incarcerated in the adult system; and looking at ways to expose racial bias, discrimination against the poor and the abuse of power.”

Bryan Stevenson discusses a few specific cases and highlights the difficulties of fighting for broken people in a broken system of justice. This isn’t just about death row and the death penalty but about mental illness, overcrowding and abuse in our prison systems, and overall injustice and inequality. If this book teaches the reader anything, it is about the value of compassion and mercy.

This book is definitely worth the read. However, if you don’t think you can take the time, I just found out that this story, focusing primarily on the Walter McMillian case, is becoming a film, which will be released in a couple months. 

“We all need mercy; we all need justice; and perhaps we all need some measure of merited grace.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦