November 15, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (74)

So I culled a bunch of books on a whim a few weeks ago and I feel really good about it. No regrets. Except soon after that, I felt the urge to buy a bunch of books, friends gifted me with books and some very kind publishers sent books my way. Basically, my TBR is back to where it was pre-culling but again, absolutely no regrets!

Here are the books!

PURCHASED
GIFTED


What new books have you guys gotten lately?

November 13, 2019

Friends With ARCs | Not the Girl You Marry + Meg & Jo

pub 11/12/19 by Berkley Romance
Romance - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub for review
Not the Girl You Marry is basically a gender-twist on the rom-com classic (and one of my personal favorites) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Jack Nolan is a genuinely great guy who tends to give too much in his relationships and an aspiring journalist. But thanks to viral success and his good looks, he's stuck as the "how-to" guy when he'd rather cover politics. He makes a deal with his boss: if he writes "How to Lose a Girl" then he can write about what he's really interested in. Except when he meets Hannah Mayfield, he'd rather keep her than lose her (of course). For Hannah she's an successful and ambitious event planner who's been burned one too many times in her relationships. But to climb the career ladder, she has to show her boss that she's capable of being committed and doesn't totally scorn weddings. And again, she's also out to use Jack but he ends up being perfect for her. It's all fairly predictable. I would say almost too much, especially if you're familiar with the movie it's inspired by. I wish the author had made the story/plot more her own or added a bit more depth. But the characters are super likable and it was easy to cheer them on. I liked that she was a bit prickly and no-nonsense while he was serial monogamist who kept committing to women who weren't right for him. They just clicked and watching them play this cat-and-mouse game made me laugh along the way. 

Favorite rom-com | Definitely, Maybe! I've watched that movie so many times.  

pub 12/3/19 by Berkley
Fiction - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
I just realized how fitting it is that we're reviewing these two books together! Meg and Jo is also inspired by an existing story and this one, as you can probably guess, is Little Women. I have a soft spot for both the classic and 90's film version so I was excited to see how Virginia Kantra would modernize it. And I was surprised by how much I loved her take on these four very different women, their relationships with each other, and what the March sisters would look like in the present day. Even though we get to see all four women, the book alternates between Meg and Jo's perspectives. Meg has settled down with her husband and kids in North Carolina, which is where they all grew up, and puts 100% into being a stay-at-home mom. Jo, on the other hand, immediately raced off to New York to pursue her writing dreams but things haven't panned out the way she hoped and she's now struggling as a prep cook and secret food blogger. When their mother gets sick, it spurs Jo to go home for the holidays, along with her other sisters. It was so interesting to be inside Meg and Jo's heads as their lives were dissolving into chaos. Jo March is such a vivid character to me but I always remembered Meg as the older, more serious sister who I felt faded into the background. But here, the author added these complex layers to each and I found myself relating to both women in different ways. We learn of the pressure Meg feels as the eldest and as the one who "stayed behind" but at the same time, she owns her choices and is doing exactly what she wanted to do. With Jo, we see more of the insecurity behind the brashness and I was far more invested in her love story here than I was in the classic. But most of all, I loved the entire family dynamics – messy, complicated but unconditional.

Which March sister do you relate to most? | It's always been Jo March (in the classic at least!).


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Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.


November 11, 2019

Life Lately | Bestie Weekend in Rhinebeck, NY

My best friend Carina surprised me by planning a spa getaway in upstate New York for us. I tend to be the planner with just about everyone in my life so it was nice to sit back and let her do all the planning and booking for a change. All I had to do was show up and be ready to get pampered! Which I was 100% was. 

We drove up to Rhinebeck, NY on Friday after work and stayed at Mirbeau Inn & Spa until Sunday morning. Everything about this weekend was just perfect and I'm so thankful to have a bestie who knew exactly what I needed – an escape to rest, relax, talk and eat a ton of good food. 

Mirbeau Spa & Inn looks like a chateau and once you step inside, you can tell it's French-inspired (which I considered to be a huge plus!). The rooms are beautiful, and even comes with a fireplace and clawfoot tub. Since we drove up after work, we immediately went to dinner after checking in and were happy to find out that a ton of restaurants were within walking distance. We settled on comfort food by going to Village Pizza Of Rhinebeck for some pasta, wings and french fries. (They also had ice cream but we were too full to try any. Shocking, I know!) Afterwards, we headed back to our room to change in our pajamas and relax.

On Saturday, after getting breakfast at Willow Restaurant (located inside the inn), Carina treated me to a massage while she got their signature wrap. Their spa area is the epitome of relaxing! We changed into super comfortable robes, our treatments were fantastic and then we spent time in the relaxation room napping. I purposely left my phone in the locker because I just wanted disconnect and quite frankly, lose track of time. We spent a good portion of the day just lounging about in either the spa (where we had access to their sauna, steam room and outdoor whirlpool) or our room. I can't describe how good it felt to not feel any rush to go anywhere and to just rest.

But by later in the afternoon, we decided to venture out and discovered what a cute town Rhinebeck is. We went to Samuel's Sweet Shop, owned by Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan! We had no idea they owned a store there but apparently Paul Rudd stops by all the time (of course, not while we were there!). But the store is cozy and cute. We stocked up on a ton candy (I've eaten most of it) and the coffee was the best I had in town. Then we just kept wandering and shopped at Oblong Books & Music and Paper Trail. I love going to independent stores. For dinner, we went to Terrapin, a restaurant that was converted from a church. We loved the ambiance and food (their rose sangria was A+) but I'd definitely recommend making a reservation ahead of time, which is what we did.

By Sunday morning, I couldn't believe it was nearly time to go. We got breakfast at Bread Alone Bakery and bought coffee to go from All That Java. There were still so many more restaurants, stores and historic sites that we didn't know existed prior to this trip that we still want to check out. We want to go back and I can't wait until we do. It really is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

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Have you been to Rhinebeck before?
Or do you know of any other cute towns in Upstate NY?

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