Happy March + A Book Chat

Oh, hey there!

Hello March, springtime, sunshine, and all of the best make-your-heart-happy books as you sunbathe. (Ideally, right?)

We hung out for a little while ‘in person’ to chat about THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne – a book that should be high on your radar for reading as soon as possible. We discussed the love/hate relationship between Lucy and Josh, crazy work dynamics and ending up in a job you never intended to have, and naturally digressed into some girl chat about makeup and life.

We filmed this on a lazy Sunday afternoon and got cozy in our own homes with our computers – Estelle in her apartment in NY and Magan from the comfort of her living room! We lost track of time, rambled a lot at the end about some of our favorite things, but had so much fun getting in some friend time.

We hope that you’ll enjoy our first in-person book chat!

 

The Scoop:

 

Off-Topic Details:

 

Catch-Up:

  • Have you read THE HATING GAME? What did you think?
  • What are your favorite podcasts? We’re looking for more recommendations!
  • We’ve both adopted a ‘read and release’ policy with our books to pass them along to other book-lovers. Are you a re-reader or do you pass your books off to a friend?
  • Has anyone started a lending library? Any tips or advice for how Magan can start one?

Fiction lately (and maybe for your next beach day)

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ooray, it’s Monday (hope you had a good few days!) and also a few days before a holiday weekend. So I thought, why not share a few of the fiction titles I’ve tried out recently — just in case you are looking for something to read on your car trip, a stop at the beach, or between BBQ courses at your family or friend’s house. And with that… a return to…

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

French Coast by Anita Hughes

Imagine a work assignment in France, the most stylish (and expensive) wardrobe, and an opportunity to interview the illustrious former editor of Vogue. Welcome to Serena’s fabulous life in French Coast – which turned out to be an addicting story-in-a-story, aligning our magazine writer and the editor in a tale of her youth. In the meantime, the stability Serena has been enjoying back home with loving parents and an attractive, ambitious fiancé starts to unravel. When her assignment is wrapped up, all the reader knows is that our girl will not return home the same person. For those way into fashion (like a brand names guru) and interested in unlocking some delectable mystery in a contemporary story, French Coast is worth the trip. (It goes without saying that this setting is a dream.) French Coast (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Anita Hughes was published on 4-7-15; 304 pages.

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Things You Wont Say by Sarah PekkanenThings You Won’t Say isn’t an easy-breezy read, especially (and unfortunately) because there have been so many stories in the news lately reflecting the core of this plot. Jamie’s officer husband has killed a teenager while on patrol. Did her husband have a legitimate reason for pulling the trigger, was this tragedy a result of Mike’s PTSD, or was this teenager truly a risk? Is this a story of prejudice? While this story hits a bit too close to home, the author does a fine job of fleshing out the many sides of this story. It’s told through different POVs – Jamie’s, Jamie’s sister, and Mike’s ex-girlfriend. Each of these women are at a crossroads — in love, in career, in life — and it was interesting to see how their lives intertwined and how this one event directly or indirectly altered life as they knew it. As compelling as the plot was, my own reading preference hinges a lot on dialogue and less on full descriptions of what transpired. There was a lot of that in here, and, at times, the story didn’t hit me in the gut like I wanted it to. Despite that, Pekkanen reminds us of the importance of compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. Things You Won’t Say (Washington Square Books) by Sarah Pekkanen was published on 5/26/2015; 352 pages.rather be reading borrow from the library icon

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Stay by Allie LarkinIt’s probably a good solid rule to stay away from the internet when the love of your life gets married to your best friend and you are drinking at home alone, right? Well, yeah. But we wouldn’t have a story if Van didn’t buy a German Shepard online when she was drunk and feeling sorry for herself, and I’m so so very glad she did. I stayed up all night reading Stay which included so many laugh-out-loud moments when Van is getting to know Joe (that’s the dog) and then so many heartbreaking ones as she comes to terms with grief over her mom’s death, and the change in her friendship with Peter (the love of her life) and Janie (her bff). This is a story of connections, class, humility, small joys, and hard but necessary discoveries. There’s a charming vet named Alex who is possibly Joe’s guardian angel and one of the greatest male fiction characters I’ve come cross in awhile, especially because he introduces Van to a whole set of characters including the adorable Louis — an older gentleman who, right off the bat, is rooting for our main character. Most importantly, Larkin nails how a pet folds itself into our lives and becomes a part of our family. Stay by Allie Larkin (Plume) was published on June 26, 2011; 336 pages.

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Big hugs to Cass at The Casserole Blog for gifting me this one! xo


I’m not sure if it’s only me but this year has been such a good one for books so far. Maybe my tactics are to thank for that, or maybe the universe is magically handing over the right books I need at the right moment. Either way, I’m feeling satisfied and I hope you are too. Feel free to leave some fiction book recs below! I’m looking forward to hearing them. Have a great day! – e

The first two books of this post were provided by the publishers.

Attention, Attention! Wild Cards

Allow me to take you back to the days of Tiger Beat and Teen Beat for a revival of Attention, Attention. Estelle reviewed Wild Cards over a year-and-a-half ago on the blog, but I recently had the pleasure of listening to the audio book. I really, really enjoyed my experience and the book, despite how often it made me blush. (So, so much.) My only semi-major complaint is that the narrator did not pronounce Ashtyn’s name correctly 98% of the time. Derek does have a Southern drawl, but he shouldn’t have sounded like he was saying “Ash-jin.”

Hopefully these details will be reason enough for you to hit your local library to check out Wild Cards ASAP!

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Celebrity Casting: Wilson Bethel (image source • image source) because he was cocky and arrogant as all get out on Hart of Dixie, but could make absolutely any girl swoon after him.

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Celebrity Casting: Jessica Biel – she’s athletic and tough-as-nails (or so I assume), just like Ashtyn.

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So what do you think? Wanna give Wild Cards a try?
Did you already read it? What did you think?

Little Kids: Vacation and Travel Galore!

Maybe because it’s been lovely here in Texas for the last few weeks. Maybe because I’m going to Hawaii in less than a week (!!!). Maybe because our neighborhood pool opened last weekend…or maybe for all of those reasons vacation, summertime and sunscreen, beach bags, and road trips are on my mind. What better way to prepare than to think of some books to discuss vacation and mishaps and silly stories with your children? I had a TON of fun picking out these books this month.

For May’s Little Kids, lets learn what happens to our houses when we go on vacation, what silly car games we might play, or what it might be like when the relatives stay with us during the summer!

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The House Takes a VacationTHE HOUSE TAKES A VACATION  || Synopsis from Barnes & Noble: After the Petersons leave for vacation, their house decides it wants to take a holiday, too! But the different parts of the house can’t agree on where to go. Finally, the sunporch suggests the house go to the beach. The basement refuses “to rise to the occasion,” but the rest of the house follows the front door as it leads the way—and the house has a vacation that it will never forget!

 

 

 

On the Road Again

ON THE ROAD AGAIN || Synopsis from B&N: Charlie and his family are on the road again — this time to spend a year in the South of France. Unhappy at first, not wanting to leave his friends, his school and big-city life, Charlie soon finds himself caught up in the new adventures in their little village of Celeriac. He runs through the streets chased by bulls, survives an autumn flood and a winter blizzard, and discovers the pleasures of French cuisine, including snails, donkey sausage and runny cheese that smells like the boys’ locker room.

Most of all, Charlie and his little brother, Max, grow fond of their neighbors — the man who steals ducks from the local river, the neighbor’s dog who sleeps right in the middle of the street, and their new friends Rachid and Ahmed, who teach them how to play soccer in the village, where the goal is the open door of the church.
As a bonus, there’s a hilarious driving trip through Spain in their sardine-can car.
In the end, Charlie discovers the bittersweet joys of living in a new place. “Part of me wanted to stay,” he says. “Part of me wanted to go. I guess that’s the way it is with traveling . . .”

 

The BabySitters ClubTHE BABY-SITTERS CLUB: EUROPEAN VACATION || Synopsis from B&N: The BSC is going global! Kristy, Stacey, Abby, Jessi, and Mallory have signed up for the best school trip yet: a week in London and Paris! Stacey can’t wait to go shopping and to museums. Jessi’s excited about a special dance performance. Abby’s dying to visit the BSC’s little princess, Victoria Kent. Mal’s looking forward to meeting her distant cousins. And Kristy finds love . . . when she least expects it. This time the Baby-sitters are going to have plenty to write home about! The best friends you’ll ever have–with classic BSC covers!

(Disclaimer: I know this is too mature for my 15 month old right now, but one day, this will be in her summer arsenal!)

 

 

Junie B Jones Aloha-ha-haJUNIE B. JONES ALOHA-HA-HA! || Synopsis from B&N: Junie B. and her family are going on a vacation to Hawaii! And ha! Mr. Scary is giving Junie a real, actual camera to keep a photo journal of her trip! But taking good vacation pictures is not always easy. ’Cause what if there is an unfortunate inner tube incident at the swimming pool? (And, oh my! Let’s not evenmention what happens if a tropical bird gets tangled in your hair!) Will Junie B.’s vacation end up picture perfect? Or will her trip to Hawaii be aloha-horrible?

 

 

 

Too Much VacationTHE BERENSTAIN BEARS AND TOO MUCH VACATION || Synopsis from B&N: The family getaway is a disaster: the cabin’s roof leaks, the lake is muddy, and the mosquitoes are ravenous. But when the bears return home and develop their snapshots, they laugh and laugh, fully enjoying the worst vacation they’ve ever had!  The Bear family experiences one mishap after another when they vacation in the Great Grizzly Mountains.

 

 

The Relatives CameTHE RELATIVES CAME || Synopsis from Goodreads: In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars. When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.

 

 

Travels with my FamilyTRAVELS WITH MY FAMILY || Synopsis from B&N: Instead of dream vacations to Disney World and motels with swimming pools and water slides, the parents in Travels with My Family insist on obscure destinations — even if it means driving for hours to get to the middle of nowhere, countless back-seat games of Twenty Questions that end badly, and reading aloud the “How to Change a Tire” chapter from the Owner’s Manual. To say nothing of what happens when they arrive: eating grasshoppers in Mexico, forgetting the tide schedule while collecting sand dollars off the coast of Georgia, and mistaking alligators for logs in the middle of Okefenokee Swamp.

 

 

 

 

A photo posted by Magan (@magan) on

 

My little beach bum last year at ~ 6 months old.

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WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD VACATION BOOKS?
(In researching this, I realized this subject needs more titles.)

Little Kids: Bedtime Stories

One of my favorite times of day to read with my daughter, Everett, is before bedtime. It’s the only time during the day that her Daddy and I are both there to snuggle and read with her. One of us snuggles, the other reads, and we alternate every evening. We don’t always choose bedtime stories to read during that time, but I do really like how they reinforce that everyone has to go to sleep, get some rest, and be refreshed for the new day.

Below I’m sharing a few of our favorites, one that’s on my wish list, and I’m hoping you’ll chime in with a few of your favorite recommendations, too. I didn’t realize until I began this post how narrow this subject seems to be, and I really wanted to branch out from classics like Goodnight Moon.

I hope you enjoy this month’s Little Kids picks! Don’t forget to share your favorite bedtime stories!

BOOKS WE LOVE:

Daddy's Zigzagging Bedtime Story

DADDY’S ZIGZAGGING BEDTIME STORY: This is one of our favorite evening stories. I gifted this to Dustyn for his first Father’s Day with Everett last year and it’s silly, goofy, and fun to read. I like that she’ll continue to understand it more as she learns the subjects in the book, and that it’s one that stands out from the rest of the bedtime stories because it’s not quiet and somber. (Goodreads • Amazon)

Disney Bedtime Favorites

DISNEY BEDTIME FAVORITES: We were gifted this book for Everett and I’m so glad because I’m positive if we weren’t instilling some Disney foundations into her, Estelle might un-friend me. (I kid, I kid.) These are a bit on the longer side. This book is thicker and will take us a while to read, but I really enjoy getting to share some of my favorite characters with her. (Goodreads • Amazon)

Little Owl's Night

LITTLE OWL’S NIGHT: This is such a sweet tale about a little owl exploring the night and seeing the world “wake up” in the morning. I love the cleverness and creativity of this story! (Goodreads • Amazon)

Llama Llama Red Pajama

LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA: Who doesn’t love Llama Llama? This book (and all of the others in the series) is so great. I love the rhyming and the truthfulness of a little Llama getting all freaked out because his momma hasn’t tucked him in bed yet. (Goodreads • Amazon)

The Going to Bed BookTHE GOING TO BED BOOK: This is a great book about routine and the things you need to do before bedtime: brush your teeth, take a bath, get dressed, and rock to sleep. It’s a little bit silly, and great with some word repetition. (Goodreads • Amazon)

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ON OUR WISH LIST:

The Goodnight TrainTHE GOODNIGHT TRAIN: I love the illustrations and the little bit of reverse psychology, “Don’t close your eyes!” as you sheep, clouds, and mermaids! (Goodreads • Amazon)

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What are your favorite bedtime stories for your littles?
What book do you hope to pick up from the list above?

Little Kids: Let’s Talk About Feelings

Hi, again! I’ve got a stack of new children’s books that will be coming out in the next few months sitting next to me. I sat down and picked a few of my favorites I wanted to highlight that I strongly feel should be on your radar over the coming months when they’re released. I noticed there was a trend though: they all deal with feelings in some capacity. Not all in the same way, but I liked that this tied them all together. I’ll explain more below…

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Butterfly graphic from DoKity

My Pop is a Pirate (3/1/15)
This sweet book is a dedication to grandfathers and touches on how special they are to grandchildren because they seem invincible. (Hint: this one might be a good one for Father’s Day this year!)

The Fun Book of Scary Stuff (8/11/15)
It’s about the things that frighten little kids and how to become brave — with super cute illustrations and a dog who helps the little boy tackle his fears.

What James Said (6/9/15)
Misunderstandings, at all ages, are no fun. Especially when they deal with rumors and friendship. This is my personal favorite from this month’s selections because people of all ages can benefit from the message!

Wild Feelings (8/4/15)
Children have quite a plethora of emotions and sometimes they don’t understand why they feel the way they do. This is a lighthearted book that provides a little bit of insight for them.

Crybaby (8/18/15)
Never discount the dog; maybe when everyone’s fumbling around trying to calm the screaming baby, we should take note of the dog who has the answers.

Luna & Me (8/2015)
This is a sweet story about a little girl who doesn’t want one of the oldest trees to be cut down so she climbs up high and lives in it. Gorgeous drawings + an extremely loving tale.

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Here are two sample pages from My Pop is a Pirate, thanks to the publisher!

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Thanks for stopping by for Little Kids to talk feelings!
What are you favorite children’s books that have a great feelings message?