Thursday, July 5, 2018

What I Read: June

Happy July, friends.

Let's just go ahead and understand that I am never going to be on time with these book reviews in the summer while Linc is home. I'm just not. School starts next month (insert me crying) and maybe then I'll do my reviews on time. We'll see.

This month I read four books which isn't too bad considering I took a week off from reading before our cruise. I read some really good books this month that I'm excited to share!

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Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father. When the Nazis invade Paris, she and her father have to flee to her great uncle lives, carrying what may be the most valuable and dangerous jewel. In Germany, Werner grows up in an orphanage with his sister. He loves putting together radios and becomes enlisted using his talents to help track down the resistance.

I'm sure my summary did not do this book justice. Doerr writing is brilliant and beautiful, and makes you really think about people and how there may just be a little bit of goodness in all of us. 

This book is absolutely one of my favorites this year so far, and I really think everyone should go read it.

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Five women are missing in North Carolina and Lilly is right in the middle of it. When she returns to sell her cabin she hits a man with her car and they get stranded on the mountain in a blizzard. Details start to emerge about this stranger she's stuck in her cabin with that say he's the killer. 

If you're looking for a good suspense book you can't go wrong with this one (or any of Sandra Brown books for that matter). Suspenseful and captivating, this one will hold your attention and wonder who did it up until the last page.

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Lily hasn't always had an easy life, but has worked hard to get where she is now. When she meets neurosurgeon, Ryle, everything seems perfect. She has a great business, a great best friend, and a great relationship.. Until it's not. She ends up running into her first love, Atlas. When he suddenly reappears, everything with Ryle is threatened.

Y'all. I won't say a whole lot because I'd hate to ruin this book.. But YOU NEED THIS BOOK NOW. Colleen Hoover has always been a favorite of mine, and she did not disappoint with this one. The way she weaves real life with a really tough subject is amazing. Five stars all the way.

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AJ Fikry's life is not going how he expected. He lost his wife, his bookstore is dying, and his prized possession is stolen. When an unexpected package is left at the bookstore, everything changes.

Oh my word. What a tear jerker. I fell in love with the story and all the characters. I loved this book and flew through it during vacation. An absolute must read.

So that's my June list. Four books. Three will be on my favorites this year. So even though it wasn't many books, the quality was phenomenal. I've already finished one book in July, and I'm really liking my second one so fingers crossed it will be another good reading month! 

If you want to follow along on my instagram you can find me @thelocationofthelibrary

If you want to catch up on past book reviews you can find those here:


Thursday, June 14, 2018

What I Read: May

Happy (late) June! Soooo.. this is the latest I've ever done a book review. Oops. We're halfway done with June and blogging with Lincoln home is obviously not going well. I read a lot of good books in May that I'm really excited to share!

If you want to follow all my reading adventures you can follow @thelocationofthelibrary on instagram.

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(Taken from Amazon): Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

Station Eleven is one of my favorite books I've read this year so far! It kept my attention, I couldn't put it down, and the ending was not what I expected. Go read this one!

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(Amazon): In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

It took me a while to get into this one, but once I did I was hooked. Even if you're not into video games you'll like this one. 

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Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

Oh, Backman. I'm a fan. I've read three (or is it four?) of Fredrik Backman's books and I've loved every single one of them. This story is the sweetest. Go pick this up, and while you're at it pick up every single other book he's written. You're welcome.

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Willow O'Keefe is a remarkable child, but with a remarkable disease. Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte had known earlier of Willow’s illness?

If you've been reading these monthly book posts, you know I love Picoult. This wasn't my favorite of hers but it was good, just really sad.

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"As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland's West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she's back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother's retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip. With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt."

If you're in the market for a sweet story filled with endearing characters and a charming setting, you'll love this one. I really loved this book and now want to visit Ireland too.

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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them.

Hm. This one is tough. It was a sweet story but I didn't like the ending. I flew through it and I couldn't put it down, but I don't think I'd recommend it. I just didn't love it.

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Google books: "Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together."

I absolutely loved this book. I started in one morning and finished it that night. This one needs to be on your TBR list now! 

So there are my seven books this month! June has started out slow (I've only read two books) and I think I'll probably only finish four at the most. But so far the books have been good! I can't wait to share them!

If you want to catch up on other reviews this year you can find them here:

Happy Thursday, friends!

Monday, April 30, 2018

What I Read: April

Y'all, April just wasn't a huge book month for me. Between Easter, Lincoln's birthday, all the birthday celebrations, and trying to get through another season of 24 with Michael, I just didn't read as many books as usual. However, I did read some books that I really loved.

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In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger. Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

What a sweet story. I really loved this one. I loved the way that the characters all fit into each other's story, and the ending was especially great. 

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This is a book about an alcoholic/drug addict and his account of rehab. I thought it would be really interesting but then I heard that he fabricated most of it, and the writing was super repetitive and choppy. I didn't finish it.

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Conceived as a marrow donor for her gravely ill sister, Anna Fitzgerald has undergone countless surgeries and medical procedures in her short life. Though their older daughter's life has no doubt been prolonged, the unorthodox decision of Anna's parents has cracked the entire family's foundation. When Anna sues her parents for emancipation, it sets off a court case that threatens to destroy the family for good.

Jodi Picoult has done it again. I pretty much love anything she writes. Grab some tissues.

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Three years ago 15 year old Cass and 17 year old Emma disappeared. Three years later Cass returns without her sister. Cass was kept prisoner on an island and barely escaped. Dr. Winter, the psychologist thinks something isn't adding up. 

I loved this one. I'm so glad I read it. It had me on my toes, I finished it in 24 hours, and I didn't guess the twists. A good suspense book, for sure.

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17 year old Natasha and her family are being deported to Jamaica. 17 year old Daniel has always been the good child, doing what his parents want. One believes in fate, one doesn't. The story follows their day.

I'm calling it now.. I'm a Yoon fan and will love anything she writes. I read her book Everything Everything last month and knew I had to read this one. This is such a cute read. Very easy. I couldn't put it down. You need to read this one.

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Tom and Caroline Johnson committed suicides. Their daughter, Anna, is having a hard time believing that her parents would commit suicide. She is determined to find out what happened. But as she digs into the past, someone tries to stop her.

What the heck just happened here?! I had an idea about this book before I picked it up and was so wrong. If you love suspense that keeps you on your toes you need to read this one now.

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A group of friends starts using stick figures drawn with chalk as their secret code. A girl is murdered and a chalk figure leads the way to her body. Now all grown up, the chalk figures are back and they have to find out what happened all those years ago.

This. Book. I've recommended it to EVERYONE in the last few days. Go read it right this minute. Absolutely loved it.

So there we have it.. my five books this month! Hopefully May will bring more good reads! 

If you've missed any of my book reviews you can find them here:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Happy 7th Birthday, Lincoln!

Happy 7th birthday, Lincoln Fussell!!!!!!

To my sweet, precious little boy on your seventh birthday.

How on earth are we already here? How have seven years passed this quickly? It does feel like just yesterday our sweet doctor laid you on my chest for the first time. That first time I stared at you, wondering what on earth I did right to deserve such a beautiful gift. It also feels like you've been my boy forever. Like life has never existed before you. You are the best gift of my life.

You are so many incredible things. You are brave and resilient and funny and kind. You are full of joy and laughter and allllll the sassy comments. You become more sarcastic by the minute. You have a heart of gold. You absolutely adore your cousin, and I have been so proud of the way you care for her. You are good at baseball and soccer and beating me and Mikehodges up. You rock nerf wars and tickle fights. You write a mean story. You make this house full of laughter and joy. Your smile brightens any room and our laughter is my favorite sound in the whole world. Please never lose that laugh.


While you were six you played baseball and soccer. We hiked a lot of trails together. You started first grade. You took your first trip to Universal and drank your first butterbeer. You rode your first upside down roller coaster. You found your love of reading, and you met an author. You also took your first trip to the mountains, and you found a love of traveling. Now you want to go everywhere. I want to go everywhere with you.

Today marks seven. This year you'll play baseball and soccer again. You'll start second grade in the fall. You'll also go on your first cruise and to Washington, DC. I prayed this morning that this will be your best year yet. 

Your interests are so diverse. You love playing sports, and you love rocking out to music.  The Gators and Jags are your teams and you cheer loud with the best of them. You love nerf wars, tickle fights, and wrestling until someone gets injured. You love, love, love books and reading - historical fiction is currently your favorite. You got 10+ books for your birthday and a gift card and every single one brought a huge smile to your face. When we went for your birthday weekend all you brought to occupy your time in the car were books. I pray you'll always love to read. You also love to write stories. I wouldn't be surprised if one day you become an author. You love doing science experiments. You are so smart. You love playing with the dogs and chasing Brinx' laser. Star Wars and Star Trek are your favorites, and that makes your Mikehodges smile so big. You love hiking and going on adventures. 

People compliment me all the time on your behavior. I'm always impressed. You rarely need to be disciplined, and you hate getting in trouble. You are laid back and always go with the flow. I have watched this year as you have faced obstacles so bravely. Linc Fuss, YOU are the most courageous kid I know. 

I pray you will be a man of character and honor. I pray you will treat everyone with kindess - understanding we don't always know what's going on in someone's life. I pray you will never lose your sense of wonder. I pray you will always love the little things and appreciate them. One day you'll see the little things are really the big things. Most of all I pray you will understand the depths of Jesus' love for you. The love that sent a perfect man to a cross so you would have eternity with Him. I pray that His love would give you strength, peace, and hope every single day of your life, in every situation you face. That the love of Jesus would radically change your life.

Lincoln Fussell, I never imagined I could love anyone the way I love you. I can't believe Jesus would give such a precious, precious gift to an 18 year old so undeserving. But He did. And every day of the last 2,557 days I have been so grateful. SO grateful. So honored. What an absolute honor to be your mom. An honor I will never ever get over. This life is so special because you're mine, and I love you more than all the words in the English dictionary. 

So little man, lets go eat some cupcakes and cookie cake (because somehow you conned me into both). Let's go play a nerf war and laser tag. Let's read some history books and wrestle fight. Let's eat at Salty Pelican and play baseball. Let's do whatever your want because today is your day and I am SO excited to celebrate you!

Happy birthday my boy! I love you to the mountains and back!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

What I Read: March

IT IS APRIL(!!!) which means it is almost birthday time for Linc man!! I think every year is a toss up between who can get more excited.. me or him. I can't wait to celebrate our (almost) seven year old! 

This month was a really good month book wise.. I found some books that I absolutely love and have been recommending left and right.

I read eight books this month which brings my total for the year up to 23! My goal this year is to read at least 50 books, so I think I'll be able to make that.

If you want to follow all things books you can follow me on instagram @thelocationofthelibrary.

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Set in the 24th century, this book tells a story of a society where books are outlawed. Anyone who is found with books will have their house (and all books found) burned down by "firefighters." Guy Montag is one of those firefighters and takes pride in his job.. until he meets Clarisse, a young girl who believes books are good. When Montag starts to question everything he knows, he has to go on the run.

I loved this book. It was a little difficult getting used to the writing at first, but once I did I couldn't put it down. Definitely read this one.

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Andy Barber, an assistant district attorney in Newton, Massachusetts, is investigating the murder of a local boy, Ben Rifkin. Eventually his son is named the number one suspect. The evidence all points to Jacob but his parents continue to believe he's innocent. The story goes through the trial, the verdict, and the aftermath. 

The twists and turns were phenomenal.. this is definitely one of my favorites of the year so far.

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Renee is a young detective that works the late show - the midnight shift. When a prostitute is badly beaten and a shooting takes place at a club nearby, she decides she's going to take on both cases in addition to her other work. The answers she finds will put her in danger. 

I read this one per Morgan's recommendation and I am so glad I did! I couldn't put this one down, I loved the female main character and found myself wanting to be friends with her in real life, and the twists in the book make it incredible. One of my favorites this month!

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Sage Singer is a baker, who doesn't get close to anyone. She strikes up a friendship with Josef Weber, an elderly man in her support group who comes by the bakery daily. When Josef shares one of his deepest secrets and asks for a favor, Sage has to decide whether she wants to risk everything. 

It's hard to say more than that because it gives the story away, but y'all. Picoult is my favorite.. for reasons like this book. I love, love, loved this one so much. Go get it!

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Ove is a grumpy old man who has lost all hope since his wife passed away. He's decided to commit suicide but things (and people) just keeping getting in the way.

THIS BOOK. It will absolutely be on my favorites for the year. I'm calling it already. It made me laugh out loud, it made me cry actual tears, it's my favorite. Go buy it. Right now. 
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Tim Farnsworth is a lawyer, living a good life, in a good neighborhood, with a good family. The only problem is.. he can't stop walking. He has episodes where his body will not let him stop. He has to find out if his marriage, family, body and career can survive these episodes. 

This book.. eh. It took me forever to finish it.. as in a week, which is insanely long for me. I thought the idea was super interesting which is why I picked it up. I almost stopped but I really wanted to know what caused the walking.. still didn't find out. I just didn't really like this one.

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Anna Fox is agoraphobic - she can't go outside. She spends her days spying on her neighbors, drinking, over-medicating, and watching black and white movies. When she sees a murder take place in a house across the way, no one believes her. 

This one was really good! At first it reminded me a lot of The Girl on the Train but then it backed away from that. The suspense was fantastic and she throws a lot of things at you I didn't see coming. At one point I was so into the twist that had just happened and my dogs barked, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I did guess one of the twists, and I was really over the movie references, but I really did love this one.

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Maddy is an 18 year old who can't leave her house due to an illness. Her mother has worked so hard to provide an environment and a life that will allow her to stay alive and happy. When a boy moves in next door, Maddy has to decide if she will risk everything for him.


I LOVED this one so much. I laughed and I cried and I loved it more than I can say. Thanks mom for buying this one for me! Y'all all need to go read it now.

So those are my reads for March! I read some really good ones and I can't wait to hear what you think! Any books I need to add to my stack for April?? 

You can see what I read other months here:

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Mountain Trip 2017: Part One

I am so terrible at posting our trips right when we get home (or even a couple months after) and I really want to be better, especially since we have a few trips planned during the rest of the year.

Ever since I met Michael he has told me over and over, "I can't wait to take you and Lincoln to the mountains." So in early Fall we started talking about trying to find a long weekend to take our first "real" family vacation to the mountains. And y'all. I AM IN LOVE. This trip was even better than I expected and I daydream about Brevard, NC every. single. day.

Because we took 300+ pictures on our trip, I'm breaking this post into the three full days we were there. We left on a Thursday after Linc got out of school and drove home Sunday.

This was our travel wall before we left. We had only been to two states together as a family.

Picked up Linc man early from school and got on the road. We packed a huge cooler and brought food with us so we could eat outside. We initially decided on that to save money, but it ended up being one of my favorite things about our trip!

Linc packed all his favorite books and all the things he got in his Christmas suitcase and was SO excited!

We stopped for the night in Spartanburg, SC so that we could get up first thing and drive into the mountains.

This was the view when we left our room Friday morning and Lincoln's first time seeing fall leaves and he was SO excited.

When we saw the mountains we told Lincoln, "Look ahead of us!" And this was his response. {All the heart eyes.}

First we stopped in the parking lot of a church because COLORFUL LEAVES. 

We drove into Brevard, NC and I fell in love on the spot.

We found the cutest little park in Brevard and ate at these picnic tables. This was one of my favorite moments of the trip.

After breakfast we stopped by a grocery store that had a Starbucks to pick up coffee and Lincoln and I played outside in the leaves.. because my little Florida boy had never done that.

It was really sweet because everyone that passed us just smiled. It was also the moment where I started thinking I wanted to move to North Carolina.

Coffee in hand and ready for some mountains!

Fun fact: Michael dropped his phone in this river with no case on it. How it survived I have no idea.

Then we headed to Looking Glass Falls for Linc's very first waterfall! His face says it all.

Afterwards we headed off to The Blue Ridge Parkway.

One of these pictures is hanging on our travel wall downstairs. It's one of my very favorites!

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I feel like one day I'll look back on this and smile..  Such a normal moment tying my boy's shoe, but such a sweet thing I get to do.

Take me anywhere with these boys.

This place was really neat because you got to walk out on the rocks right by a waterfall.

This precious kid! He was such a trooper! Long car rides, long walks, really cold at some point and he kept a smile on his face at all times! I just love him so much and I loved experiencing this new place with him.

This guy. He's made me love traveling.. I'm so glad to do this life with him.

I sent this picture to my mom and told her I had found my Christmas tree!

 A week before vacation my old car died so we had to get a new one. The new car got to take us to the mountains so we decided to name her.. Shoshana. 

Shoshana the Sonata. 

Yes.. we realize we're ridiculous. This is what almost ten hours in a car will do to you.

When you're from Florida and you find icicles you stop to enjoy them.

We stopped at another picnic table and had lunch. Lincoln preferred to eat laying down in the grass.

Then we headed into Waynesville and stopped by Mast General Store (AKA, my new favorite store).

I took this in a Zaxby's parking lot because I thought the half colored tree was pretty sweet. Because nothing says tourist quite like I did that day.

We drove into Cherokee that night to stay and found the best little park in the middle of town. 

We practiced our throwing. 


After we explored outside we looked around the gift shops. My husband may hurt me for posting this.. but I don't think he reads these so. 

After shopping we headed to Wendy's for dinner where Lincoln walked in and said, "It's so fancy!" In our defense, it was a fancy Wendy's and we're not high maintenance people.

We went spent the night in Cherokee in a cute little hotel where the lock didn't work so I've never been so terrified to sleep in my life. Thankfully our next hotel lock was a little better.

Day one of vacation was probably my favorite. Brevard ended up being my favorite memory of the whole trip. I can't wait to share day two and three!