Middle Brother loves that tree in the front yard. He loves the tiny rocks around the bushes by the street. Big Brother loves the room on the opposite side of the house and a different floor than the rest of the living quarters. I want to get those things for them so bad.

We have a contract, you guys. We had a home inspection today. We’re still waiting on results. It all feels like a very real possibility all of a sudden, this thing I thought would never happen. And then almost simultaneously, it feels like surely this isn’t real, and something will come up from the inspection that means we can’t get this house. It’s nerve-racking, too say the least.

In the meantime, though, I’ve been doing a ton of reading to keep my mind busy, so stay tuned for reviews.

Book Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon is one of those books I gave up sleep to finish. I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case in the beginning, but there it is.

I’m not giving anything away here you won’t read in a synopsis. This is a second chance at love story. The book begins fourteen years in the past when the hero and heroine first meet. My one bitch about this novel is this setup takes too long. It’s absolutely necessary. You need this backstory. It’s not even that it’s not interesting. I just personally prefer my backstory woven in to the present storyline.

Once you get through the build-up, though, it’s fantastic. What the flashback did well was thoroughly set up the main conflict. There are still a few things that pop up that could have been avoided with simple communication, which I know is a pet peeve for some people, but given that’s a huge problem in my real relationships, I totally buy it.

There’s a period where I think I was supposed to hate the hero. The authors were much too successful at making him really likeable for that to happen. I believed the whole time that there was a good explanation and he was not a bad guy. I did get why the heroine wanted to hate him, though.

Overall, this is a really great, fun read. This is a contemporary romance, but with enough wealth to make it feel slightly fantastical. The two main characters still feel like very real, flawed humans. The central conflict is believable, and the motivations ring true. There’s some spice, and certainly a couple of sex scenes, but it’s not a super high heat level book. It’s much more about the feelings than the sex. I definitely recommend this one for fans of contemporary romance or light fiction.

An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Twice in a Blue Moon is due to be published by Gallery Books on October 22nd.

Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Just so you know, this book doesn’t come out until February 2020. So, you can get all excited about it with me, and preorder it here, but you can’t read it yet. I was provided with an ARC in my job as a bookseller.

Regardless, you should get excited about it and preorder it. It is fantastic. The promotional quotes didn’t really work for me, with all the emphasis on race and privilege. It sounded like it might be a dry, preachy book. It isn’t.

The plot of Saint X is primarily a mystery, and it reads like one with pacing gathering speed until the conclusion. But mystery readers may be disappointed, because it’s lacking a lot of the quirks of the genre. Upon finishing, it feels most like a coming of age novel. There is a focus on race and privilege, but it’s done in such a way that you don’t even notice you’re thinking about it until it’s over. Everything about this book is subtle and entrancing. It will make a great book club read.

If you’re a fan of books that make you think without being “think-y”, slice of life novels, or even true crime, you’ll love this gorgeously written book.


Thing I thought I’d never say: We put in a bid on the house. Sadly, so did someone else. So, now we wait. We’re up to the highest bid we’re comfortable with, and there’s nothing to do but wait for a call.

People prepared me for all sorts of things about attempting to buy a home. The main focus seemed to be on accepting the fact that you may not get the house you want. We may not get this house. I can live with that. There will be other houses. There, in fact, are other houses, that would work just as well for our family. They just didn’t speak to me like the crazy tile in this house. But we do have a next choice if this one doesn’t pan out.

What no one prepared me for was the horror of waiting. Patience is not my strongest suit, but it isn’t my weakest, either. I’m accustomed to waiting. This particular waiting just feels terrible. I’ve done all that I can, and I have no way to know the probability of it working out in my favor until someone calls with our fate.

This kind of waiting is not outside my realm of experience; it just conjures up the worst of it. Big Brother had what turned out to be pyloric stenosis as an infant, but until they found it, he was just vomiting all the time and losing weight, and I was just trying to figure out how to keep any milk in him. Little Brother got a staph infection at ten days old, but it didn’t present typically and so there were a lot of cultures to rule out possibilities while we sat in the hospital. My father had what turned out to be a stroke, which also didn’t present typically, on his 65th birthday and once we got to the ER, not only was there nothing we could do, but I was told to go home because I was pregnant.

Obviously, this is not as bad as that. I’m not waiting to find out if someone I love might be permanently damaged or die. I just think that this particular type of waiting, where I have no control over the outcome and no options to change it once it comes, has brought up some trauma I didn’t realize I hadn’t dealt with. Today, I’m hugging all my boys a little tighter. I’m also still really hoping we get this weird little house.

Review: The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden

I’m going to be honest. I got this audiobook as an ALC in my job as a bookseller, and downloaded it at the same time as several other books. By the time I got to it, I couldn’t remember what it was about. I’m embarrassed to say that for a while I thought it was a memoir, until things started happening that I knew I would have heard about if they were real. I blame it on the first person POV and mommy brain.

A note on the narrator: Love her. I will be looking for more books read by Madison Lawrence. Although she sounds a lot like one of the narrators from Three Women, so in the beginning I kept expecting a very different character.

I did not love this book, and it pains me to say it. It’s classified as Christian fiction, which I don’t really think it is. There’s a lot about finding your purpose, but nothing I can remember about God. This isn’t an issue for me in itself. Since I thought I was listening to a memoir, I certainly wasn’t intentionally picking up a religious book. It just bugs me when books are marketed as things they aren’t. On the other hand, I don’t really know how to classify this book. My main problem is that it just feels like there’s too much going on. There are times when agoraphobia and refugees feel like plot devices, which is never okay. There’s a romance that never really makes any sense. And there is such repeated use of the term “Saint Mia” that I wanted to stab myself in the earholes.

What kills me is that there are a lot of makings of a really great book, and it just didn’t do what it could have. I kept hoping for it to be better, and it just wasn’t. I wouldn’t recommend The Enlightenment of Bees unless you’re a very uncritical reader.

Review: Outfox by Sandra Brown

I have read three Sandra Brown novels before and adored all of them, so I went into this one with high expectations. That was probably my mistake. When I go in expecting something phenomenal, I automatically start picking apart any flaws. Overall, I did enjoy this book, so go ahead and read the rest of the review.

It feels like they’re marketing Sandra Brown as straight thriller now, and she’s still not. This is definitely a romantic suspense. There’s nothing wrong with that; I love romances. I just think readers should know what they’re in for.

What I didn’t like about this book as a romance: Insta-love. Insta-lust may be more accurate. It annoys me in YA. I can’t stomach it in adult fiction. Also, in this particular scenario, it was a really inappropriate person to be lusting after. What I did like about it as a romance: Lots of steam. The author does a great job of building up the heat. As the relationship evolves, I hated it less because it made sense for the characters to be attracted to each other. I just wish that’s where it started.

The suspense portion of this book starts slow and gathers speed as you go. It’s one of those where you think you know who the bad guy is from the beginning and the suspense is more in waiting to see how it ends. Sandra Brown kicks ass at this. I loved it. By the end, I was sitting in my minivan letting Middle Brother watch a movie before coming in from daycare so I could finish it. And there was a total blow-your-mind twist towards the end. I sat in shock.

I would definitely recommend Outfox for romantic suspense fans who aren’t completely put off by insta-love or regular suspense fans who don’t mind some sex. I do just want to include a brief warning that if you’ve struggled with fertility issues, this may not be for you, as there are some unrealistic outcomes in that regard that may be hurtful.

Plague House

Just kidding. We don’t have the plague. We don’t even have any infectious diseases. We just have the worst seasonal allergies of any family ever.

Little Brother is actually fine. He sneezes about three times a day but isn’t bothered by it. He’s just napping because he’s a baby and he naps a lot.

Big Brother has begun the incessant snorting that will continue until probably February. Not my favorite time of year. He refuses to blow his nose, so it’s just snort, snort, snort, all day, every day.

Middle Brother, however, is not used to his allergies yet in the way that he inevitably will be because we all are. They have taken him down. He was whiny all morning, which I totally get because he doesn’t feel good. I’m an adult who knows why I don’t feel good, and I still want to whine. There were a lot of cuddles, he constantly had his blanket, and he wanted a lot of fruit snacks, which I happily gave him because I want comfort food when I’m not feeling well, too. He finally passed out, and I’m hoping it’s restorative because I want my little man to feel better. I read a quote recently about how we expect more of our children than other adults, like they’re supposed to be on their best behavior all the time and they’re not allowed to have a bad day or they’re punished, and I’m trying to watch for that attitude in my home. If my children are sick, I want to treat them how I’d like to be treated when I’m sick. I’d like to be compassionate, not expecting perfect behavior even though they’re tired and stuffy. I really do just want him to feel better, and I have to expect him to act like he feels bad and doesn’t know why, because that’s his truth.

In the meantime, I am going to take advantage of the rest of this incredibly rare dual naptime to read some more of my ARC of Saint X, which I am enthralled by.

Boys of Summer

We are in that portion of summer in southeast Texas where between 9 AM and 9 PM it is really too hot to have Little Brother outside. Middle Brother is in a big pretending to be wild animals phase, so he normally manages to wear himself out, anyway. Big Brother, of course, would be fine being on his phone all day. But today was just one of those days where everyone, including Mom, was going stir crazy.

We have not bought a house. We have not even put an offer in yet. So, on the surface, looking at furniture for a house is a bit insane. But it’s also an indoor activity in a place large enough for Middle Brother to stretch his legs a bit. So, look at furniture we did.

To be fair, I have never shopped for furniture. When I got my own solo place for the first time, I got a couple of decorative pieces, all book-themed, but all online since I was hunting something specific. So, maybe there have always been high-tech furniture pieces and I just didn’t know. But these couches, you guys.

Big Brother fell in love with a power-reclining sofa with lumbar support and an adjustable headrest. There are light-up cup holders. The middle seat folds down for more cup holders, a built-in light, and legit power outlets. He tells me if we get this couch, he’ll be downstairs with the family more often. It’s a compelling argument.

Middle Brother really loves a coffee table that the top comes up to you while seated on the couch. I don’t tell him our current coffee table actually does this, in much the same way I haven’t told him at any point in the last two years, because I don’t want him messing with it all the time. He’ll figure it out eventually, and be delighted.

Little Brother seemed happy to have some different scenery to look at.

Premature furniture shopping may not seem like a typical summer activity, but around here, we do whatever we can to keep everybody sane.


For the first time in my whole life, I went and viewed a house yesterday. If you’re not someone I know in real life, there’s a whole lot you still don’t know about me. I think I previously mentioned that I became a mom at 19, and there’s a whole lot more to that story I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say I never thought home ownership was in my future. When my first husband and I divorced, I applied for a mortgage loan, but then was so overwhelmed by all the adult things this would entail that I never went any further.

Truth be told, I don’t hate apartment life. If something breaks, someone else has to come fix it, and I don’t have to pay for it. My electric bill is pretty low. There are only so many choices for providers of all kinds. It’s not so bad.

So when Husband brought up buying a house, I just kind of humored him. Between just having given birth this year, the unexpected second hospital stay for Little Brother, and watching Big Brother becoming a man before my eyes, not to mention some rather radical changes in my job, I certainly didn’t think it would really be a viable option this year. Husband obsessively looked at houses, and every once in a while I would agree to look at one. It turns out that Husband and I were imagining very different homes.

During one of these humorings, I noticed a house within our acceptable price range. I flipped through some pictures. The decor choices were so appalling that I kept looking. And then I realized that the bones of this house are perfect for our family. There were a lot of things I could see, even from realtor pictures, we would need to change over time. But the fundamental being of the house spoke to me about the kind of family we are, the kind of family I want us to be, and how the space we live in shapes us. I was obsessed.

I put off seeing the house longer than is probably sane in the housing market we’re surrounded by. In fact, it was under contract for a while and I thought we’d lost our chance. Some piece of me believed that if I went to see it, it would disappoint me thoroughly in reality, and that would put me off the house hunt forever. I’m a bit of a catastropist.

I wasn’t wrong. It did disappoint me. There are a lot more things that would need to be fixed than I could see in photos. But more than that, it showed me what I want for my family. It clarified for me things I value in our relationships and things I want to improve in weird ways. It has an unnecessarily large porch, but it’s perfect for putting a kiddie pool on so the little ones can play in the water right at home in the summer, enjoying the splashing water time we all love without all the paraphernalia being hauled to a distant pool. Big Brother’s bedroom would be a converted attic space, giving him privacy and us peace from his R-rated movies with just a short set of stairs between him and family time. The kitchen has a peninsula that would allow Middle Brother to be my sous chef without being in the way while I cook. The living area is large enough for us to host family holidays so we don’t have to cart the littler brothers around between both sets of grandparents for a few years. Each brother will have his own room, but still be in close quarters with the whole family.

My apartment has always been utilitarian, a place I, or we, stop off between adventures. I’d never thought of a home as the place that holds your important parts.

We haven’t bought the house. We haven’t even put in an offer. Whether we end up living there or not, I’m sure glad I had the experience.

Review: Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

First of all, I finished this book two days ago, but I haven’t had a chance to write a review, because mom life. Also, migraines. Luckily, my boys let me sleep last night, so I’m feeling much better.

Second, this book begins the major differences between the novels and the show, so if you think you know Outlander from the Starz series, think again.

Finally, this is the third book in a series, so if you haven’t read the first two, this will contain spoilers.

Ok, with that out of the way, I adore Diana Gabaldon’s writing. She can tell me about history I’m otherwise not interested in for the rest of my life. I eat up the descriptions of life on an 18th century ship. Plagues? Love ’em! It is appalling how much I enjoy minute details about things I would normally find boring or gross in her writing. Throw in Jamie Fraser, and I’m definitely sold.

I thought I’d hate how everything that could possibly go wrong for this couple does. It’s a bit unbelievable. But I don’t. I just keep pulling for them, no matter what. I hear that later in the series, things get crazy, so we’ll see if eventually I tap out, but for right now, I’m all in.

Generally, I’m a fan of the character development of both Jamie and Claire. I was afraid it would feel like they were exactly the same couple they’d been twenty years before, but that’s not the case. Diligent care went into determining who they would be as people when they met again, and how that reconnection would be awkward and amazing.

In the spoiler-y realm, I want to know if Brianna ever actually meets her father, not just through the loa. I want to know what happens to Willie. I have to keep reading because there are still so many questions. But I’m also still genuinely enjoying the journey.

If you’ve enjoyed the Outlander series so far, there’s nothing in Voyager to put you off it. I’m taking a break from the series to read a couple more print books, and then I’ll be back to Drums of Autumn.