Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Blog Tour | People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry


From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations. 

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

About the Author

Emily Henry writes stories about love and family for both teens and adults. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.

Author Photo by Devyn Glista St. Blanc Studios

My Thoughts

People We Meet On Vacation was the perfect book for me to read right now, because I am stressed and cold and I could really use a vacation. Who's with me?

I liked the story right off the bat because of how it is told. Part of the story takes place in the past and explains how Poppy and Alex met, as well as how their friendship developed over the years as they take their annual vacation every time Summer rolls around.

The other part is in the present. There was a rift between the two friends when they were in Croatia (two years ago) and they've barely spoken to each other since. Poppy thinks that if they reunite for another vacation, they'll be able to work things out and get back to their normal friendship.

But what exactly happened in Croatia? And why has their friendship been pretty much nonexistent since?

I loved reading about Poppy and Alex's past trips. Whether they're in Colorado or California, or a country halfway across the world, the two of them have an awesome time and memorable adventures. They have the kind of trips that I dream of going on, where they do whatever they want to do and meet interesting people and make memories.

Part of what made this story so enjoyable is the writing! Emily Henry has a great way of writing dialogue and the jokes between Poppy and Alex flowed so well. I loved their conversations and it especially made me smile when they first started texting again after their long dry spell. It was sweet reading about the two of them feeling each other out and trying to figure out what was what, or if the other one was mad.

Poppy and Alex's trip in current day (Palm Springs for a couple of days before his brother's wedding) made me cringe so bad. I could practically feel the heat as they suffered through their terrible stay at a man named Nikolai's apartment building (lol). But the thing about Alex and Poppy is that they really are true friends. Because while they had a few small fights (who wouldn't in such miserable, hot weather?) they never gave up an each other.

And I think that is the sign of a real, true friend.

I also made a short video discussing People We Meet On Vacation for my Youtube Channel. You can watch it here if you would like. Please consider subscribing for more bookish & life content.

Thank you to Netgalley for a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I was lucky enough to also receive a copy in the mail as part of my Book of the Month package. I feel very grateful for that because I know this is a book that I will want to read again.

xo Marian

P.S. Poppy and Alex have quite a few issues with their Palm Spring vacation. What is your worst vacation memory? I think mine is when my family went to Disney World when I was a kid and it poured all day. We still had fun, but we had to run around the park in these yellow mickey mouse ponchos all day! Haha.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Bookish Gifts for Mom | Mother's Day 2021

Mother's Day is coming up! Hip hip hooray! I myself am not a mother yet (Being a dog mom doesn't count lol) so this is the day that I celebrate my own mother!

Hopefully she doesn't look at my blog because otherwise my gift for her might be spoiled. I got her a Barnes & Noble gift card because she recently retired from her job (about two weeks ago) and now she has so much more time for all the things she loves like knitting, weaving, and reading.

If you're not sure what to get your Mom this year I've come up with a few bookish ideas that are not genre specific, so they might work for your Mom as well. As long as she likes books.

As a kid, I never would have tried to pick out a book for my Mom. All I knew about her reading tastes was that she liked murder mysteries and she liked stories that were set in England, or written by English authors.

So here are some non-genre specific ideas for Moms. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments section. In my opinion, the more ideas, the merrier!

1. A nice bookcase for her overflowing library

All book lovers know that while it's important to have books, it's also important to have a beautiful way to display them. I personally have 2 bookcases and a book cart in my house, and I'm always having fun rearranging and sorting my books. Right now I have them sorted by color.

2. An eReader so that she can take her books wherever she goes

I adore my kindle because I can take my entire library with me no matter where I go! When I went on my recent camping trip I took it along and I liked how I had so many different reading options. If you're Mom is an avid reader and likes to travel, you might consider getting her an eReader for Mother's Day.

My favorite is the amazon kindle but there are other options, like an iPad mini or the Kobo. It's completely up to you!

My Mom really likes her iPad because it has so much versatility. She can read AND watch all her shows. What's better than that?

3. A gift card to a local bookstore (or online retailer)

Gift cards are a great gift because then your Mom gets to choose her own books! I got my Mom a gift card to Barnes & Noble because she's going to be flying out to visit my brother next month and she'll need some fresh reading material for the plane.

If you have indie bookstores in your area, buying a gift card can really help them out right now since not a lot of people are shopping due to the pandemic. Hopefully that will change soon since vaccinations are becoming more available.

4. A Subscription to Book of the Month

If you're not familiar with Book of the Month, it's a monthly subscription box for readers. Every month they come up with a small selection of books that they think most people will enjoy and as a member, you get to pick one book and they'll ship it to you for free!

It's really nice because if you don't like any of the books that month, you can skip that month and they won't charge you. That way you can wait until the next month and pick out a book you'll really enjoy.

It's also neat because all of the books are hardcover. They look really pretty on your bookshelves. Not that looks matter, but to a true bookworm, it kind of does. Lol

Click here to Sign Up

5. Kindle Unlimited Subscription

The way I think of Kindle Unlimited is that it's kind of like Netflix, but for books. As long as you're a KU member you can read the books in the Kindle Unlimited program for free. This is especially helpful if you're a voracious reader because you totally get your money's worth for your monthly subscription fee.

There are also some books that allow you to listen to the audiobook for free. I took advantage of that last year when I listened to Mindy Kaling's collection of essays that she released through Amazon.

Click here to sign up

6. Books

I saved the best for last. Books are always appreciated by book lovers, right? Some of my most memorable gifts are books. Like the Christmas my Mom got me Looking for Alaska by John Green or the Christmas by Nany gave me Ready or Not by Meg Cabot.

I have so many books that I associate with wonderful memories.

So make sure to check out your local bookstores. Make sure to visit online retailers like Amazon or ThriftBooks.  And who knows what you'll find if you check out eBay or a secondhand store? There are gems out there just waiting to be found.

xo Marian

I'm Home! (Camping & Reading Update)

Hello friends! I'm back from camping and it was a lovely couple of days. I didn't wind up reading during the trip (There were too many people to talk to, so I didn't have a lot of down time) but I did start reading People We Meet on Vacation on Wednesday night and I am in love with it!

While my boyfriend was finishing up his chores and mowing the grass, I sat inside and I read. It's a wonderful story and I love Emily Henry's writing style. I'm hoping to finish it within the next couple of days and then post my review on the release date.

I had a great time in Virginia so I thought I'd show you a couple of photos from our trip. There were about 20 of us spread out throughout a couple of different camp sites, but ours was the main hangout spot. I think it was because our site had a nice deck, and a great fire pit for everyone to sit around in the evenings.

On Friday a small group of us went hiking with the dogs. Then in the afternoon my boyfriend and I checked out the fishing pond. Unfortunately, he didn't catch anything and I got a pretty bad sunburn! That is very typical of me though. I always forget that just because it's cool out doesn't mean the sun can't get you.

There's nothing I love more than sitting around the campfire at night. People telling stories and jokes. There was definitely an increase in laughter as the night went on. Beer will do that to you! Lol Plus the men made very strong mint juleps on the night of The Kentucky Derby. I stuck to my hard seltzers. 

And finally, a few pictures from the cavern tour. A couple of us visited Shenandoah Caverns on Saturday and it was a really neat tour. It was almost an hour long and everyone was wearing masks which was good!

So that was my long weekend! It was a lot of fun and I have to admit that it was hard waking up today. Sigh. But I'll be heading down to Delaware at the end of the month for a beach weekend so at least there's that to look forward to.

What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments section. I will be finishing up People We Meet On Vacation early this week and then moving on to something else. I still haven't caught up on my Netgalley TBR so maybe I will try to finally finish reading The Boyfriend Project! More soon.

xo Marian

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

I'm in a Reading Slump

Maybe it's because I'm busy. Maybe it's because I have a lot on my mind. But I just haven't felt like reading in the past couple of days. Which is crazy because I have so many good books to read on my physical and digital bookshelves.

But... the brain wants what it wants. And right now I just don't want books.

Luckily, I'm heading out on a camping trip for a few days so I'll have some time in nature to unwind and clear my head. I'm really excited to go hiking and biking and have some beers around the campfire. I'll be taking my kindle (and maybe a paperback or two) in case I feel motivated to read or not.

My boyfriend and I are going with a group of people so I'm not exactly sure what is in store for the long weekend. Feeling very grateful to be fully vaccinated in time for the trip!

When I come back I'll have some new blogs posts ready for next week. I know for sure I'll be sharing some 2021 releases that I'm excited for, as well as some bookish gifts that you can get your Mom for Mother's Day this year.

What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments.

xo Marian

Thursday, April 22, 2021

February Reading Wrap Up

Well, friends. I was looking through my most recent blog posts and realized that I haven't been staying up to date with my reading wrap ups.


So even though I'm a couple of months late, I wanted to share with you a few details on each of the books that I read in February of 2021. Thanks in advance for not giving me grief about my absurdly late wrap up! Haha.

February Reading Wrap Up
I finished 7 books this month

1. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I felt like this book was different from her others, but I liked it just the same. It's about a mother and daughter who experience tragedy when the father is killed in a car accident.

In a way, this book was slightly hard to read because there was so much hurt and lack of communication between the main characters. But I enjoyed their story because it felt really realistic. It's not all that similar to Colleen's other works, but I think fans of her work will find this book enjoyable.

5 stars

2. You Have A Match by Emma Lord

This is a contemporary YA read about a teenager who realizes that she has a secret sister, thanks to her participating in one of those mail away DNA tests.

I'm not super into YA anymore, but I wanted to give this book a try because I follow the author on twitter and quite enjoy her tweets. It took me a little bit to get into it but it was an enjoyable story. A lot of the book took place at a Summer Camp which is super fun. Makes me nostalgic for my own camp days!

4 stars

3. Cupcakes & Chaos by Lisa Siefert

A fun cozy mystery about a young woman who finds her new boss murdered in the back of their cupcake van. Oh no! This is the first book in Lisa's Frosted Misfortunes series and I quite enjoyed it. The first three books are available on Kindle Unlimited so I'm hoping to read the rest of them soon.

5 stars

4. The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson

The Dog Share was one of my favorite reads of the month because it had a cute dog in it. What can I say? I'm obsessed with dogs.  The main character Suzy was a delight to read about. She's on a journey of self discovery after going through a break up and finds herself having to right a lot of her ex's wrongs.

It's a really heartwarming story and I loved how Scout, the rescue dog, brings everyone in the story together. It felt like the kind of story that would be a good rom com.

5 stars

5. Write, Publish, and Promote your Novel by Amy & Ellie

I was hoping that this book would share personal experiences from the authors, but it really just covers the basics of writing and self publishing. Nothing is talked about in great detail. I did really enjoy chapter 6 which is 50+ promo strategies. I thought that section was filled with some great ideas.

3 stars

6. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal

Such a great story! It's about a woman named Kit who is at work one night (she's an ER doctor) and she sees a news report on TV about a nightclub fire in New Zealand. She sees someone who looks like her sister in the news footage, but that can't be. Her sister died years ago in a terrorist attack on a train.

After discussing the situation with her Mom, she decides to take some time off work to go to New Zealand and try to track down her sister. If it even is her sister. I liked this book because it's told from two different perspectives, so the story unravels little by little.

I also enjoyed reading about the scenery. New Zealand sounds like it would be a cool place to visit!

4 stars

7. Christmas Card Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Peggy Ehrhart

My second cozy mystery of the month! You can read my full review here. My biggest takeaway from this book was that I want to read more of the Hayley Powell series by Lee Hollis. I like Hayley as a main character and the other side characters in her stories are really amusing.

- - - - -

What did you read in February? Let me know what your favorite book that you read was in the comments section.

xo Marian

Sunday, April 18, 2021

What You Did by Claire Mcgowan

TRIGGER WARNING: This book is about sexual assault.


A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

"But what we don't understand is that love can turn on a dime. We don't know how easy it is to flip over to a dark side, cold and dead, like a moon spinning on its axis."

My Thoughts

Guys, you can probably tell after reading the description, but this book is dark. The main character Ali is in a horrible situation where her husband is accused of sexual assault by one of her best friends. She's unsure of who to believe, and as the story continues and new information is uncovered, it becomes more and more difficult to figure out what is the truth.

There were some things that I really liked about this book and other things that I didn't really care for. But let's start with the good.

What I really enjoyed about the story is that Ali works at a women's shelter and works regularly with women who have been assaulted. Ali is educated on assault and knows how difficult it can be for women to come forward. She knows that a lot of women are assaulted by men that they already know, rather than strangers. She knows this.

And yet the second her husband is accused, she completely changes her tune and tries to think of reasons why he couldn't possibly have done it.

It felt really realistic because let's be real... if any of us were in Ali's position, I think we would begin to question everything we knew.  

But with that being said, it bugged me how Ali was in complete denial throughout a majority of the book. It seemed like there were a lot of clues that she was completely ignoring for years.

This story explores consent in multiple different ways. Through the event that happened in the garden that night. Through Ali's daughter, and her relationship with her boyfriend. Through situations that happened back when Ali and her friends were in college.

It's a complicated story.

The ending was a little baffling. There were a lot of leads in the story that led no where. I had no idea what was coming and I have a feeling even my Mom, who is excellent at solving mysteries and figuring out plots, would have no idea how this story ends.

Would I recommend this book? Probably not, but mainly because the dark subject matter made me pretty uncomfortable at times. It's nothing against the book. I just usually prefer to read lighter stories with lighter mystery to them.

3 stars.


Just to let you know, I listened to the audiobook for free through Kindle Unlimited. It's still available if you're interested in checking it out there as well. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited Here.

xo Marian

Thursday, April 15, 2021

My First Order from Thrift Books | Book Haul

I love a good book deal and I've seen a lot of fellow #bookstagram friends purchase used books from Thrift Books. So I decided to give it a try. I've really been missing shopping local during the pandemic. My town usually has quite a few used book sales hosted by the library, but I haven't been wanting to check them out due to... well... people!

But as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I did get my first dose of the Pfizer covid vaccine. I go back in less than two weeks for my second shot.

And for that, I am very grateful.

So yes... all of my secondhand book shopping has been happening online. The first book that I got is called Phoebe Will Destroy You by Blake Nelson.

I really enjoy Blake Nelson's writing style. He mainly writes contemporary YA and the characters in his stories are so real and relatable. He seems to like writing about kids going to the beach and skating and just figuring out their lives. And I dig it.
The rest of the books that I picked up are by Louis Sachar, one of my favorite authors from when I was a kid. His books are so funny and I remember reading some of them, like Holes, in elementary school reading class.

This might be a hot take, but I firmly believe that the movie version of Holes (with Shia Labeouf) is just as good as the book. And that might be the only movie version of a book that I think holds up. What do you think?
Have you ever found a really good deal at Thrift Books? Let me know in the comments down below. It seems like a great site and I have a feeling I'll be going there for many more books in the future.

xo Marian