Monday, December 28, 2015

Marriage Monday: I Get You

[Image Source]

"We all rejoice in hearing those 3 words: I love you. Beneath these 3 words are another 3: I get you. It's when we feel understood that we feel most loved."
-Karen Salmansohn

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What I read in July 2015

What I read in July 2015

by Elana Johnson
Verse, Contemporary, YA, Romance 

Elly has taken great strides to avoid Travis for months. Too many secrets. Too many bad things happened. If she faces him she'd have to relive it, tell him the truth. It's just easier to stay away from him. Only now, they're stuck in an elevator together.

I haven't read a story in verse and was a little nervous it'd throw off the story too much for me but I liked this one. It seemed like an interesting challenge to tell a captivating and deep enough story this way but Elana totally pulled it off.  Check it out. Tell me what you thought!

For Elise 
by Sarah M. Eden
Regency Romance, Clean, Mystery

Elise disappeared four years ago and Miles swore to always continue a search for his dear childhood friend. When he's delayed in a small town he catches a glimpse of an all to familiar face. And the past he thought he knew is a bit unraveled with a future he's looking forward to.

Sarah always writes swoon worthy, strong, male characters, but don't let that make you assume she'll skimp out on her female leads. They're just as daring and brave. Pick this one up. I think most any reader will enjoy it. 

by Courtney Alameda
Horror, Paranormal, YA

Micheline is used to this stuff. It's in her blood. It's her family line. With her camera as her weapon of choice, she chases monsters to ultimately send them away forever.

Just an ok read for me.  Though admittedly not my genre of preference. It felt a little boggish. I just keep thinking too much shoved in and an unwillingness to skim away the unneeded parts. It has gotten some good reviews though so if you're into paranormal you may want to pick it up.

by Deborah Lytton
Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance

Stella is gifted. A signer extraordinaire. A high school student dreaming of making it to Broadway. She suddenly loses her ability to hear (thus her ability to sing). Hayden stutters and it's this similarity of differences that bond these two together. They communicate.

It seemed like there could have been more depth to this story. Almost like it was just out of reach. I wanted to feel more for the characters.  While I didn't love it, I do think it's a good clean book for teenagers (and adults).

Monday, November 9, 2015

Marriage Monday: Potential

"None of us marry perfection, we marry potential." 
-Robert D. Hales

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Marriage Monday: Key to Saving and Enriching Your Marriage

"Acknowledging and respecting each other's deepest, most personal hopes and dreams are key to saving and enriching your marriage."
-- John Gottman, Ph.D.

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Marriage Monday: Survive the Storms

Marriage isn't always sunshine, so learn how to survive the storms.

Just like in a physical disaster, don't wait for a storm to hit to start gathering what you need. Having regular date nights, finding ways to connect, learning how your spouse wants to be loved, find positive ways to interact, reminisce on fun and happy memories. Show that you care about your marriage. What can YOU do to prepare for the smaller and larger storms of YOUR marriage?

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Marriage Monday: Intimately Familiar

"Emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other's world." -John Gottman PhD

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Reading Report June 2015

What I read in June 2015

Longing for Home 
by Sarah M. Eden
Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Clean

Katie responds to an ad and is hired for a job that fits her perfectly and will help her earn enough money quickly to return home. She travels across the country but once she arrives the job is a bit different than what she expected and the town is harshly divided. And worse, they want to use her to further divide it. 

I've read previous stories by Eden, all Regency so this was a fun new taste. It's an Irish heritage story in an old west Wyoming setting.  I found this book to be endearing, well written, and enjoyable. 

On The Fence 
by Kasie West
Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Clean

Charlie grew up with her dad, a few brothers and their friends so she's spending her summer learning more about her feminine side. And now that the timing seems right, Charlie and Braden have begun confiding in each other and creating a deeper connection to their relationship.

I liked this book for the most part. A sweet boy next door crush sorta book. Kind of your typical tom boy learns to be a girl story. I rolled my eyes at a few plot points but overall I still enjoyed it. 

Saint Anything 
by Sarah Dessen
Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance

Sydney has always lived in the shadow of her brother. She's always wanted to be seen. Her brother falls so low that he's convicted of drunk driving and permanently injuring someone.  She switches schools, Makes new friends. Tries to be her own person and not her brothers little sister. It's then she meets Mac. He's considerate, kind, watchful. Sydney finally starts to feel like she belongs.

Another fascinating story by Dessen. It's the coming of age we've come to expect from a Dessen novel but this one feels a bit more raw. Sydney's problems seem hurtful and real and deep. 
Loneliness. Guilt. She includes a good amount of hurt that I felt it differently than her others. Though as Sydney finds her light the reader too begins to feel hope. Pick this one up. *Also there's a mention of both cranberrys and french fries so I think she gets bonus points for that. :)

The Daisy Chain 
by Heather B. Moore
Novella, Romance, Adult 

Jess is recently widowed and is trying to work out a few court proceedings with the help of Preston Michaels, though for the last several months she's only spoken to him on the phone. Now though an inevitable meet up is forcing their first meet, and she might have a small crush on him. 

I think it's more that I'm not a fan of novella's. This one was 65 pages and while the writing was fine (I think? I really dont even know if there was enough to form an opinion on), there was too much backstory given in just a few paragraphs. I didn't care about or connect to the characters at all. 

The Woods 
by Harlan Coben
Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Everyone's hiding from the truth. At a summer camp twenty years ago there were four friends not obeying curfew, two teens were found dead in the woods and the other two tried to disappear  Now a homicide victim brings new evidence that is surfacing the case again.

This is my second Harlan Coben novel. The story was strong and interesting. Felt like a solid plot with enough depth and detail in the characters. If you're into this genre I think you'd like this one. I listened to this one on audio book and felt the narrator did a great job.  

What Alice Forgot 
by Liane Moriarty
Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Alice wakes from a bump on the head and has lost 10 years of her life. Last she remembers she was pregnant, 29 and working on her dream home with her husband. Now though she's divorcing, has 3 kids and is a whirlwind.  She must catch up on the last decade and piece together the life she built but doesn't remember. 

This took me a bit to get into but then I was fascinated to find out more to the story. Such an intriguing set of characters. And the mystery kept getting more complicated and interesting. I couldn't tell if I wanted to cheer or cringe. I wouldn't have picked this up if it wasn't for a recommendation from a friend and I'm glad I did.  

What I Thought Was True 
by Huntly Fitzpatrick
Young Adult, Romance

Gwen Castle grew up a townie of a small island and now with what she hopes is her last summer on the island she's cleaning houses and worried she'll be stuck there forever. But now Cassidy Somers, a  hookup mistake, is the new island yard boy and there are sure to be a lot of run ins. The summer proves to unravel a few 'What I Thought Was True' moments and Gwen is discovering things about herself and her future. 

I was interested in this one up because I liked My Life Next Door. I was a bit turned off with Gwens pessimism but I kept reading because Cassidy offered so much hope and swooning. This one has some great well written scenes and has a few good 'fight for it' moments. 

The Cinderella Deal 
by Jennifer Crusie
Adult, Romance, Humor, Contemporary

Daisy is a sucker for a good story. She recently hits a few bumps (or probably big potholes) and is a bit desperate for money so when an opportunity knocks on her door to play a leading role in a developing kooky story she agrees to go along and help create the story with her neighbor Linc. 

Jennifer Crusie is one of my favorites. Romance, snark, spunk, witt, her books are full of goodness. The title is pretty telling and even though the plot is a bit predictable the ride is still a fun one.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Marriage Monday: Secret Weapon

"Repair attempts are a secret weapon of emotionally intelligent couples."      
--John Gottman, Ph.D.

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marriage Monday: Endless Echoes

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Marriage Monday: Expressions of Love

What are your expressions of love?
What would your spouse choose?

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Marriage Monday: Think Often of Positive Qualities

"By simply reminding yourself of your spouse's positive can prevent a happy marrige from deteriorating." -John Gottman PhD

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Reading Report May 2015

What I read in May 2015

by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary

Melinda called the cops to the biggest party of the year. Everyone hates her now. She's a different person now. She's alone and she doesn't mind because something bad happened.

I have a hard time reading books at their peak of popularity so I figured enough time had passed that I could pick this up. Good story telling. Ok book (might have been I was expecting more from the hype). 

Ready Player One 
by Ernest Cline
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

In the future the world is grim but the online Oasis exists to help people escape the decaying reality. Wade Watts is a geek extraordinaire whose hobbies include studying pop culture and video games from the 80s.   When the Oasis creator dies, he leaves his entire fortune to the winner who finds his easter egg in the Oasis, and Wade thinks he's got a fighting chance. 

This has been on my to read list for a while and I needed something to listen to while doing massive amounts of gardening and yard work. I'm not normally a science fiction reader but this was just the right amount I can handle. I loved the 80s references, and computer/gaming talk (because I got it!), and I liked the world that Cline built. A fun ride.

These is my Words
by Nancy E. Turner
Historical Fiction

Sarah travels with her family across the plains and eventually settles onto a ranch of her own. The diary is written during her young teenage years through adulthood. Adventures take her from the plains of Arizona across Texas during the late 1800s. 

This was a reread for me. I hosted my Idaho book club in May but I had the opportunity to meet Nancy Turner with my Utah book club back in 2009 (the first author of many for me).  Sarah is a strong, capable, hard working, but tender character. Adventures, heartbreak, love, growing up, learning, and along the way humor too. I'd recommend this to anyone and it's a fun book club pick too.

January 2009

Monday, June 22, 2015

Marriage Monday: Crucial Elements in a Rewarding Romance

"Fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial elements
 in a rewarding and long lasting romance."      
   -Dr. John Gottman

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Reading Review April 2015

What I read in April 2015

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend 
by Katie Finn
YA, Contemporary 

Gemma gets dumped by her long term boyfriend at the beginning of what was going to be a packed summer with him. Her plans ruined, she begrudgingly goes to the Hamptons with her Dad. The last time she was there was one of the worst times in her life, she's hoping not to repeat it. 

I was disappointed I didn't like this book. I like the author and had hopes. I thought it was superficial with no redeeming value. The bad and evil was so extreme and I always trying to guess a few steps ahead (and I was right). I realize this is a series but I felt like there was too much destruction to want to try to keep reading. I will try another by this author but not in this series.

One Plus One 
by Jojo Moyes
Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Jess is doing her best to make ends meet, even just trying to make enough to keep the electricity on. Her daughter is invited to a prestigious, but expensive school. Even with the offer of a generous scholarship she can't figure out a way to make this dream come true. Then there is a math competition a few hours away, and if they can make it, this may just be the answer. In a weird turn of events practically a stranger Ed drives the family across the country. 

Fabulous. Engaging. Sad, funny, crazy. Jojo Moyes really writes masterpieces. This is my third book and so far I've loved them all. The characters are deep and brilliant. The plot is fun, real and raw. And the story telling is masterful. I've got two more Jojo Moyes books in my tbr pile, looking forward to pick them up soon!

by Julie Andrews Edwards
Childrens, Contemporary

Mandy is a young orphan in a home for girls. One day during her explorations she finds an old run down cottage. She looks forward to fixing it up and having something of her own.

This was one of my most favorite books as a kid, in fact my copy is practically falling apart. I figured it was time for a reread. I'd recommend this for the young reader, elementary to early jr high age.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Marriage Monday: Conflict is an Opoortunity

"Conflict is an opportunity to learn to love our partner better over time." 
-Dr Julie Gottman

I read this over and over trying to decide what I thought about it. And then it was pointed out, not love our partner MORE, it says love our partner BETTER. Interesting. 

What are some ways that I can love better (in general)?
What are some ways that I can love better (in this situation)?
What are some ways that I can love better (right now)?
What are some ways that I can love better (that my partner will appreciate?)
What are some ways that I can love better (over time)?

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Marriage Monday: Satisfied with Sex, Romance and Passion in Marriage

"The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with the sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70%, the quality of the couple's friendship. For men, the determining factor is, by 70%, the quality of the couple's friendship. So men and women come from the same planet after all." --John Gottman, Ph.D.

What are ways you can increase the quality of your friendship with your spouse?

What are ways that you think your spouse would appreciate?

What is something you can do this week to make your 
friendship stronger with your spouse?

What is something you can do this week to make your 
friendship more fun with your spouse?

What is something you can do this week to connect more with your spouse?

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Reading Review March 2015

What I read in March 2015

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
New Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Aging out of the foster care system, Victoria has never been able to get close to anyone or interested in anything. Though one thing stuck with her, flowers and their meanings and how they spoke to people. This book follows Victoria over about two decades and how she struggles to understand herself and how people interact with her. 

This book fascinated me. This was one I had a hard time putting down and read it in two days. While I didn't understand Victoria's childhood, it was interesting to see how someone could live through that and how they may end up interacting with the world as an adult. I enjoyed the flowers and their meanings and how it was a bright spot in her life. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Classic, Historical Fiction

Blurb taken from Goodreads "To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos."

Picked this one up again to read for book club, it has been years and years and there was many things I didn't remember. One of my book clubs has a handful of retired educators and English teachers and it is always fascinating to hear an extra little spice to these classic stories that years of teaching it brings to the table. If you haven't read this in a while, it's time to pick it up again.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of The American Imagination 
by Neal Gabler
Biography, Nonfiction, History

An exhaustive look into Walt Disney's life. This book begins with his great grandfather- how the influence of how he raised Walts father Elias to how Elias and Flora raised Walt and Roy, if that tells you how much this book covers. Tons of 'behind the scene' information, like inter office letters exchanged, conversations with animators, meetings leading to business deals, and how Walt started to dream up the iconic parks and more. To borrow a phrase from the blurb "a revelation of both the work and the man."

This book is huge clocking in at 880 pages or over 30 hours on audiobook. I opted for audio and listened to it over the course of many weeks here and there. I felt for the most part this book was very unbiased towards the business decisions and deals Walt or the company made though a few times I felt like there were parts where it was obvious the author had an agenda. Being as big a fan as I am I still learned a lot (good, bad and fascinating)!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Marriage Monday: Delightful and Enduring

[Image Source: Cranberryfries]

"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner."
--Marjorie Pay Hinckley 

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reading Review February 2015

What I read in February 2015

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
 Historical Fiction

When the Nazi's occupy Paris, 12 year old Marie-Laure and her father flee to her great Uncle's home. Marie-Laure is blind and her father builds her replica's of the cities so she can learn how to navigate on her own.
Young orphan Werner is put into Hitler Youth where he quickly discovers his talents at math and fixing radios is far above most. He's requested on a special assignment to track the resistance.

An interesting insight to others also in the middle of the effect of World War II (this book specifically set in France). I thought Doerr gave a perspective to the young boy Werner whose talent earns him a spot working with the Hitler Youth and the information he was fed. Marie too ends up having her own part, passing notes (possibly of importance, but certainly of hope). I felt like it gave a face to many who were involved though didn't understand the extent of their actions (and like most didn't really have a choice).

by Lauren Oliver
 Young Adult

Panic is a legendary game for graduating Seniors with a lot of money at stake. Like $60,000. Two unknown judges set up elaborate risk/dares all summer and one by one people are eliminated until at the end of summer one collects all the money. Heather never considered for a minute that she'd be part of the Panic crowd until one night she's pushed too far and she realizes this may be the only way. 

I picked this up purely because it was a Lauren Oliver title. I was back and forth the entire book. I liked Heather and watching her realize the depth of her strength and determination. The premise infuriated me (huge risks, some resulting in death). However I started thinking of this book more as fantasy, ala Hunger Games and I was able to enjoy the book for it's story telling merit (with the exception of a point at the end that was just a bit too cheesy for me).

The Last Letter From Your Lover 
by JoJo Moyes
 Romance, Fiction

Jennifer wakes in the hospital in 1960 to the news she's been in a car accident and has amnesia. Upon returning home, trying to put the pieces back together she can't escape the feeling she's in a cold and distant marriage. Going through every item in her house trying to regain memory she finds a heart felt letter from a man who's not her husband, only signed B. Jennifer feels finding out who B is might bring her happiness. In 2003 Ellie finds this letter and hoping for a happy ending for herself she tackles the task of finding out what happened to Jennifer and B. 

I had read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and knew immediately I'd need to find more of her books. This one did not disappoint. I was enraptured the entire time. I read this in a 1.5 days. Involving two different loves stories this book is packed so don't get confused with the different POVs.

The Romeo and Juliet Code 
by Phoebe Stone
Fiction, Childrens, Historical

11 year old Flissy grew up in London but with the onset of WWII her parents take her to Maine and deposit her with relatives she's never met before. The crazy cast includes her grandma, Uncle Gideon, Aunt Miami, and Captain Derek, a boy her age. Flissy notices Uncle Gideon received a letter with her father's handwriting so she enlists the sleuthing skills of Derek to help her figure out what where her parents are and what they might be up to.

Picked this up at the elementary kids book fair.  The cover suggested something far more enchanted and perhaps cute romance though was more historical fiction and mystery. Other than feeling dooped by the cover the book was ok. I thought it slow but for younger readers it may be be just fine.

You Are Here 
by Jennifer E. Smith
Young Adult, Contemporary

Emma has grown up feeling like her family is a unit, and she's not a part of it. She's years younger than her siblings, a family of adults, and her. In the attic Emma finds her twins birth certificate, a twin she never remembered she had. She keeps it a secret and sets out to visit his gravestone. Next door neighbor Peter is along for the ride.

I like several other books by Jennifer Smith but this one felt very lackluster. I didn't care anything about he characters (maybe not enough depth?) and thought the plot line was underdeveloped. For me it was just ok. Kind of forgettable. 

If interested:

Goodreads: Shelf- Read
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Pinterest: Books I read in 2010

Monday, February 16, 2015

Marriage Monday: Small Things Often

It's the small things done often that make the difference. Dr Johm Gottman

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Reading Report Review January 2015

What I read in January 2015

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of 
The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Non Fiction, Memoir, Humor

Cary Elwes recounts his experiences while working on the movie The Princess Bride. Even including stories of what everyone was doing before they were cast into their roles. The book also has memories and stories from other notables like Robin Wright, Rob Reiner, Mandy Patinkin, William Goldman, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal and others.

I listened to this one on audio because Cary Elwes actually reads it himself. It was a neat behind the scenes type book with additions from several people involved in the film. Cary shares a few fun stories of the beloved Andre the giant and several other encounters and bloopers with other cast members. The Princess Bride book is one of my favorite books I reread often and I, like many many others, love the movie, so I was confident I'd love this book. And I did. :)

Goddess Born by Kari Edgren
Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Clean, New Adult, Romance

Set in the 1700's Selah has a secret she must hide, she's a healer. When a local priest tries to court her, and is rejected, he begins to spread word that she's a witch. To keep her name clear she's devised a plan to wed, but when that goes awry she must think quickly before returning home alone.

I liked a lot about this book. A few things were bothersome (it almost felt like certain points had to be plugged in so the reader could connect all the dots before the reveal) but overall I liked it. I thought the plot was fun especially with the marriage of convenience and how the characters tried to deal with being thrown into that situation.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction

Told in alternating perspectives, Noah who we read about at age 13 and Jude who we read at age 16 are twins. At 13 Noah is a remarkable and motivated artist and at age 16 Jude is working her way through her mothers death and the drifting apart of her family. 

I became an instant fan of Jandy Nelson after reading her first book (which is not for the clean reader) The Sky is Everywhere. She writes beautiful, full of life, emotion driven stories. 

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Lani and Erin are best friends. Erin is confident to Lani's insecurity. So when the girls meet Jason it's only natural that Erin goes for him. Only Lani can't stop thinking about him and strikes up a deep friendship.

I picked this up at a friends of the library sale. I was hopeful for a easy going, sweet, well written story. Instead it felt choppy and watered down. The chapters lasted on average 2-3 pages causing the story to not feel like there was a lot of development (in either scenes or characters). I am surprised I actually finished it. I wouldn't recommend this one.

Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas
Historical Fiction, Adult

A small mining town in the mountains of Colorado in the 1920s is hit with a devastating avalanche. The book describes several families from town and how they felt living there or came to end up there.

Fascinating. Interesting. Sad but worth the read. This book feels so full because Dallas writes all we know about a character in 2-3 chapters and still at the end of the book it feels like we know the towns people and feel for their heartache. Read this one for book club and enjoyed the story line. I think I'll pick up another Sandra Dallas book. 

Atlantai by Ally Condie
Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction

Reviewed on my blog in this post.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Marriage Monday: First Concern

"When you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy and your marriage will go on throughout eternity." 
-Gordon B. Hinckley

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Club Party with Ally Condie Spotlighing Atlantia

Several years ago my bookclub had the lovely Ally Condie as a guest author to highlight her book Freshman For President (it was a fun one I got to help plan). Since then we've been adoring fans of all her books and had her as a guest for her series Matched.  Last week she kindly invited us to a party to thank us for being so fun. We couldn't not turn it into another great party, this time for Atlantia. 

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia is a stand alone young adult novel about a young siren who has chosen to not reveal her true identity to her underwater community. She's always wanted to go to the above but without explanation she's left below with no more family. With nothing to lose she starts formulating a plan to finally get what she's always wanted, to see the sky.

We had a great discussion on the book and got to ask questions and hear answers straight from the Ally. I even asked one, but you'll have to ask me since it's kind of a spoiler if you haven't read the book.

Here's a few pictures from our party:

My friend Brook and Ally did fantastic with the decorations and goodies.
(Notice the poster? Big and little details everywhere.)

Representing both the Atlantia underwater and the above.

We each brought a favorite read from last year and wrapped them all in beautiful brown packaging. We then each got one and got to open our surprise book while we listened to each other tell why we chose that one to share.

Aren't they pretty?

The group! As always we go all out.
(Can you spot the blue bats flying above us??)

These decorations! The delicious goodies! Seriously Brook & Ally did a fabulous job.

The beautiful cake by Meagan.

The details!

Drink stirrers by gnomesweetgnome etsy shop.

Ally had a fun gift for each of us. A jewel and a shell (pictured below). 
Book coordinating goodies, cool!

Some members of our bookclub love to give gifts. Tonights was a calendar of gorgeous ocean pictures.

Jenni, Jamie, Ally, me.