Book Review: A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery

The women of Mischief Bay are back in another story of friendship, love, and life. Susan Mallery’s newest novel, A Million Little Things, is the third book in the Mischief Bay series and the second one I have read. I first fell in love with this Susan Mallery’s unique books after reading The Friends We Keep, which is the previous novel in this series. I enjoyed reading about the characters so much and I couldn’t wait for the third installment about the Michief Bay girls. Unfortunately, A Million Little Things follows the characters from the first book in the series, which I never read, The Girls of Mischief Bay. With that being said, it is a good book, just not about my favorite characters from the last book I read.

What I like about many of Susan Mallery’s books is that you can read the entire series or read each book as a stand alone novel. Even though I never read book one in this series, I was still able to follow each storyline of the characters Zoe, Pam, and Jen. Other characters that were briefly mentioned in A Million Little Things are Nicole and Shannon.

Zoe recently broke up with her boyfriend who didn’t tell her he was married. After he finally divorced his wife, he still refused to have committed relationship with her. She works from home transcribing instruction manuals (Can I have this job?) and usually only interacts with her cat, Mason. After getting stuck in her attic, Zoe realizes that she needs to get out of the house more, make additional friends, and find a real man to love.

Jen is the mom of an 18 month old boy, Jack. Jen is basically me when my son was her son’s age, except a little more over the top. She is worried that her son won’t speak even though he understands everything she says and has his own way of communicating back. She has him on a very regimented routine and is very strict about what he does and doesn’t eat. Seriously, Jen could be based on my life just a short year and a half ago. Jen is Pam’s daughter. Jen’s husband is a police officer. Not only does she worry about her son, but also her husband’s whereabouts day in and day out. Jen is Zoe’s best friend. But since she is so obsessed with her son, Zoe barely sees Jen.

Pam has been a window for a few years now. She has a dog named Lulu who has her own wardrobe. Pam worries about her daughter, Jen, and her two sons, Brandon and Steve. When Zoe goes to a Pilates class that Pam routinely attends, she decides that it would be a great idea to set her son, Steve, up with Zoe. On top of that, Pam starts to fall for Zoe’s dad, Miguel. Sounds a bit confusing, right? It is actually kind of hilarious how everyone’s lives are intertwined in A Million Little Things.

I really enjoyed Zoe and Steve’s relationship in this book. When things got tough, he didn’t head for the hills, even though his mom really wants him to. What I also really like about A Million Little Things are the dog characters. Susan Mallery has a thing about giving animals human qualities in her books. This one is no different. Lulu, Pam’s dog, and Mariposa, Miguel’s dog, are main characters.

Susan Mallery not only likes to write about romance in her novels, she is also really good at writing about female friendships. The friendships she writes about are the kind of friendships all adults yearn for. Pam has three friends that she travels all over the world with. She met them on a cruise she took after her husband died and has been traveling with them ever since. What I think is so fun about their friendship is that they pick a special drink that they drink throughout their entire trip. Even though I am a beer kind of gal, I do like to try new cocktails here and there. On their weekend getaway to Arizona, Pam and her friends indulge in a French 75. I can’t wait to try one myself. Also after reading A Million Little Things, I REALLY want a margarita!

VIA

Overall, I enjoyed reading A Million Little Things. It is refreshing to read about a character like Jen who has had trouble adjusting to motherhood. I am not sure why she wasn’t officially diagnosed with postpartum anxiety/depression, though. It is also refreshing to read a contemporary romance novel that isn’t just rainbows and butterflies. I can only hope that I get to read about my friends from the last novel, The Friends We Keep, in Susan Mallery’s next Mischief Bay installment: I miss you, Gabby and Haley! (Because when you think fictional characters are your actual friends, you know you have a problem just like Zoe…)

Book Review: The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd

I love the blog Coffee & Crumbs. It was established right after Jimmie was born and I have been reading it ever since then. It has helped me cope with the bad days, enjoy the good days, and accept my feelings about motherhood. I have cried, smiled, and laughed, while reading this wonderful blog.

Now you can cry, smile, and laugh while reading the blog’s new book, a collection of essays, The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd. Some of the essays I previously read on the blog, but most of them were new to me. I enjoyed reading one essay at a time, thinking about it, and then reading another. The pictures and quotes on several of the pages are beautiful and inspiring. This is a must read for new moms, soon-to-be moms, and moms who have been in the midst of motherhood for a long time. It’s full of all the stuff we want to say to each other but feel like we can’t because then we will be judged. This is a judgement free zone kind of book.

One quote that really hit home is:

‘I guess I just feel like motherhood is a lot of wishing away hard seasons and then realizing they’re gone forever. It’s tying to claw back through time because you didn’t realize what you were actually wishing away.’ Pg. 19

And  I also love this one:

You are more than your worst day.

You are more than your biggest mistake.

I promise, this will not define you. Pg. 109

The Magic of Motherhood opens up with my favorite post from the Coffee & Crumbs blog: A Letter to My Pre-mom Self. The first time I read this essay I ugly cried for a good while. I remember reading it because my son was just past three months old.  Those first three months were HARD. Looking back, I can’t even remember a lot because I was in a fog that I never thought would go away. But it did. Eventually the fog did clear. Motherhood is so hard. Motherhood is so beautiful.

The Magic of Motherhood is filled with love and struggle: Love for adoption, the struggle of infertility, love and struggles of marriage, the struggle of the hard days, and the love for the ‘easy’ days. Sure you can buy all the baby books at the store (been there), but you won’t find this kind of clarity in those books. The Magic of Motherhood reaffirms the fact that it really does take a village and we are all in this together.

Head on over to the official book page for more information and buying options.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: 365 Devotions for Finding Rest by Christina Vinson

rest

Rest. Isn’t it a magical word? As a mom, it is something I think about all day, every day. We all need rest but resting is something easier said than done.  365 Devotions for Finding Rest by Christina Vinson is the perfect morning (or before bed) daily devotions book. Each day of the year is filled with ways to remind yourself that not only do you need rest, but you deserve it. Each page takes less than five minutes to read but the impact lasts all day.

The past two weeks have been absolutely exhausting. I have been sick, my son has been sick, and now my husband is sick. What we all needed to get better was rest. As parents, we were barely able to find rest, yet we made our mission to get our son to sleep better at night and nap better during the day. If only I had given myself the same type of medicine, rest, I probably would have bounced back quicker.

By reading  365 Devotions for Finding Rest by Christina Vinson every night before bed, I was able to calm myself down and remind myself that I needed to sleep well, just as much as my son did. As I continue reading this devotions book every day, I find myself thinking about God’s scripture when I am completely out of energy. I remind myself that God wants me to stop, breath, and recharge. This book has helped me get better. This book has helped me remember that God is with us, even when we are struggling to find time for ourselves.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

—Matthew 11:28

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.