Read With Me- Fall Edition

Fall means coffee, cozy socks, warm blankets and BOOKS. Hundreds of pages filled with gorgeous descriptions of love, passion, food, nature and dynamic relationships. If you know me personally, or not at all, you can probably guess that I love to read. In addition to reading, I love to buy books. I have books coming out of every nook and cranny of my home. They can be found in my laundry room, tucked under my bed, decorating my tables and shelves, in my car and in all of my purses and bags.  So when chilly fall rolls around, I look forward to dark, cozy nights finally getting a chance to curl up and read all the books I have prepared for my hibernation. In the coming months, I plan to read the books below. If you are looking for a good book, read one with me! Or, if you have read one already, let me know how it is!

Liar’s Bench

By: Kim Michele Richardson


“In 1972, on Mudas Summers’ seventeenth birthday, her beloved Mama, Ella, is found hanging from the rafters of their home. Most people in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, assume that Ella’s no-good husband did the deed. Others think Ella grew tired of his abuse and did it herself. Muddy is determined to find out for sure either way, especially once she finds strange papers hidden amongst her mama’s possessions. But Peckinpaw keeps its secrets buried deep. Muddy’s almost-more-than-friend, Bobby Marshall, knows that better than most. Though he passes for white, one of his ancestors was Frannie Crow, a slave hanged a century ago on nearby Hark Hill Plantation. Adorning the town square is a seat built from Frannie’s gallows. A tribute, a relic–and a caution–it’s known as Liar’s Bench. Now, the answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years–and lies she must be brave enough to confront at last.”

Ten Thousand Saints

By: Eleanor Henderson


“A sweeping, multigenerational drama, set against the backdrop of the raw, roaring New York City during the late 1980s, Ten Thousand Saints triumphantly heralds the arrival a remarkable new writer. Eleanor Henderson  makes a truly stunning debut with a novel that is part coming of age, part coming to terms, immediately joining the ranks of The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud and Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude. Adoption, teen pregnancy, drugs, hardcore punk rock, the unbridled optimism and reckless stupidity of the young—and old—are all major elements in this heart-aching tale of the son of diehard hippies and his strange odyssey through the extremes of late 20th century youth culture.”


By: Colm Tobin


“Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.”

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

By: Katherine Boo


“Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.”

Rising Strong

By: Berne Brown


“It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.   Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.”

Bel Canto

By: Ann Pratchett


“Ann Pratchett’s award winning, New York Times bestselling Bel Canto balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language. As in Patchett’s other novels, including Truth & Beauty and The Magician’s Assistant, the author’s lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

By: Ransome Riggs


“A mysterious island.

   An abandoned orphanage.

   A strange collection of very curious photographs.

   It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.”

The Life We Bury

By: Allen Eskens


“College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?”

8 Things To Do This Month: September Addition

I love roundups of different things to do that coincide with the month and season. Therefore, the first series of my site is born. September means fall is beginning and I am embracing it with open arms.  So, it is a few days late, but here are 8 things you should look into this month!


Read: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: I can barely put into words how beautiful this book is. From the moment I read the first page I knew that the end would come far too soon. Set in France during WWII, The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters fighting to survive the war in their own ways. Kristin Hannah’s style of writing is descriptive and heart wrenching. This is the perfect book to take to the beach after a long day of work and curl up on the sand with before the weather gets too cold. (Am I the only one who does that? Where are my beach book nerds at?!)


Listen To Serial: If you haven’t heard about the podcast Serial yet you need to come along and join us in 2015. This podcast was riveting and season 2 is starting soon. Although the exact date is unknown (stated as “sometime this fall”) you should get ready for a guaranteed mind-blowing season by listening to season 1. Each season is different and will follow one true story, week by week, as told by host Sarah Keoing.


Go To A Beer/Wine Festival: I am not sure where you live but here in Virginia Beach, life revolves around craft beer and nothing says fall quite like the local breweries coming out with rich fall flavored beers. Personally, I am more of a wine-fest-type-gal but luckily, VB doesn’t discriminate.  Grab your friends, a cute pair of sunnies and head to one of September’s beer or wine festivals where you can sample and learn about local beers, wines, breweries and vineyards.


Buy All The Candles: Maybe you aren’t ready to dive right into pumpkin flavored everything yet (read: you are so ready) and that is OK. Most of us are suffering a small case of the summer blues (read: bye summer, you hot B) and would prefer to ease into fall. Start with the absolutely amazing-smelling candles from Bath & Body Works. Y’all, these candles smell so good you won’t want to burn them for fear they will burn down too quickly. Luckily, they are currently on sale for only $12 and you need them all. Some of my personal favorites are: Leaves (clever name B&BW), Marshmellow Fireside and Pumpkin Pecan Waffles.


Go See The Visit: This movie looks scary AF. I don’t particularly love scary movies but I am pretty excited about Halloween and with so many horrible scary movies out there, I kind of want to torture myself and see a really good one. This movie is about two sweet kids who travel alone to rural Pennsylvania to meet their creepy ass grandparents for the first time. You can see where this is going. Make sure you don’t see this one alone!


Try This Bottle Of Chianti: Chianti is my very favorite wine. In Italy, it is their table wine and Italians serve it with each meal. I am in love with it. I picked up this bottle recently and the flavor is fantastic. The taste isn’t too powerful or bold. It has a woodsy-berry taste and pairs perfectly with a nice steak. Most people don’t drink Chianti so try something new this month and have a little taste of my homeland with your next meal.


Try Bareminerals Moxie Lipstick: PSA: I have a new lipstick line addiction and it is bareMinerals Moxie Lipstick. Cooler temperatures mean drier skin for most of us and matte lipstick on chapped lips is not a pretty sight. I am always on the hunt for a creamy lipstick that won’t dry out my lips but that also doesn’t easily wipe off. This is it. These lipsticks are so pigmented, creamy and moist that I have already bought three. I suggest trying this line out in the perfect berry fall shade and then praising me later for directing you to it.


Check Out ABC’s New Series- Quantico: Excuse me while I join all the other basic girls in the world and admit to loving crime dramas (Team Olivia Benson forever). I recently saw the trailer for this new series on ABC and it looks fantastic. The show follows a group of FBI recruits through training and the trailer alludes to there being a terrorist within the group, but who is it? Cozy up on the couch on Sunday, September 27th at 10pm and check out the premiere!

There you have it, 8 ideas for September. Do you have anything fun planned already? Comment below with your suggestions for me!