Category Archives: Books

Ellie’s Bookshelf


Reading with Ellie is one of my favorite things, but I am the first to admit some children’s books can be a little obnoxious. Difficult rhymes and lackluster illustrations become pretty tedious after you’ve read a story a hundred times in one sitting.

Over the last year and half, I’ve found some books we both love to read and a few on which we disagree. With great stories and intricate pictures, I’d recommend these books to anyone with a newborn or toddler. They also have Ellie’s seal of approval.

  1. The Napping House – This is an all time favorite of mine. Every time I read it, I notice something new in the illustrations.
  2. Red Wagon – In this story, a little girl fox takes her wagon to the market on an errand for her mother. Her imagination runs wild on the trip making this one a real charmer.
  3. You Are My I Love You – I typically don’t go for sentimental stories, but this one gets me every single time. Ellie likes it too.
  4. The Goodnight Train – We received this book as a gift, and I am a little embarrassed to admit how much I love making the train sounds as I read it. Choo! Choo!
  5. Pride and Prejudice – Counting books can be a little boring to read over and over, but the illustrations here are clever. P&P fans will find the marriage proposal page in particular to be entertaining.
  6. Bunny & Bee Playtime – Bunny and Bee are two little kids dressed as the aforementioned animals who live in a tree. I don’t think I need to say anymore.
  7. Bella Loves Bunny – At our house, I read this one as “Ellie loves Hoppy,” since E sleeps with a bunny every night. The pictures are old-fashioned and lovely.
  8. Madeline (obviously) – Ellie has only recently come around to reading this one. The content was a little too long for her before, but now, she enjoys hearing the story. I have adored this book since I was a little girl and the love affair continues.



On My Bookshelf


For book club last month, we read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

The Plot: The story takes place in 1999. The Internet is still relatively new. The clothes are phenomenal.

The  male lead, Lincoln, has been hired to monitor emails at a newspaper. (Big Brother is watching.) While at work, he starts following the correspondence of two of his co-workers who are friends. Continue reading

Guilty Pleasures: Romance Novels

I don’t think we’ve talked about it here, because it’s not something I typically go around sharing with people, but I love romance novels. In my mind, they are the best escape from every day life. When I’m stressed or bogged down, nothing quite like a formulaic romance will take the edge off my day.

Will there be a twist that nearly tears the couple apart? Yes. Will they get together? Yes.

When things feel uncertain, romance novels never do. Two of my favorite authors write female leads who are funny and interesting. I really can’t get enough of Susan Elizabeth Philips and Jennifer Cruisie. Some of SEP’s books were written in the 80’s, and you have to read them for the outfit descriptions alone. It’s pretty fantastic.

Right now, I’m reading an old favorite, who I’ve gotten away from a bit (Nora Roberts). The book is about witches, which makes me disproportionately happy.

In my defense, it is in my genes. I come from two generations of soap opera watching, romance novel-reading  women. My grandma carried a Harlequin romance in her pocket-book everywhere she went.

Here’s a photo of the fourth generation reading her first romance novel. I’m hoping she didn’t read anything too steamy. No one wants to explain that at daycare.

Are you a romance novel fan?

On My Bookshelf

Lately, I’ve been reading up a storm. It has been wonderful. So has Ellie. Here she is reading her first romance novel.

One of my favorite books was Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. It’s about high school love and is told from each of the main characters’ points-of-view. The book is charming and nostalgic and reminds you of being 16. It is absolutely lovely. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I also loved Cuckoo’s Calling written by Robert Galbraith (a J.K. Rowling pseudonym). Set in present day England, the novel chronicles the mysterious death of a supermodel. A classic private detective story, it was smart and engaging and kept me guessing.

On My Bookshelf

I’ve been a reading machine lately and have three, new recommendations.

The first is Midnight in Austenland, a sort of sequel to Austenland. It’s part romance, part mystery – very dishy. Overall, it’s a light and lovely read.

The second book was recommended to me by the real, Kim K. (Ok, not that Kim, but a much more reliable source where books are involved.) It’s called Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner. It is a suspenseful mystery about a family who is kidnapped. The book is a page-turner. I read it in a weekend.

I saved the best for last. Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple is an incredible book. The tone is funny, but the subject matter is heavy. Basically, a mother disappears and the daughter researches her disappearance. Bernadette’s musings/rants on real life are hysterical, pointed and funny. Pick it up today, seriously.

On My Bookshelf


Remember when I told you how busy I’ve been? Well, what I’m about to discredit that, because in the last few months, I have read three books. Three. Maybe I’ve been reading a little more lately. (It’s been awesome.)

Austenland by Shannon Hale: This story is about a single NYC woman who visits a Jane Austen themed castle in present time. It’s an easy, breezy romance that is perfect for summer. They’re coming out with a movie version of the book in August, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles: I can’t say enough good things about this book. It is so well written. The protagonist is a smart, quick-witted, strong character who will captivate your thoughts. The story takes place in 1938 in NYC, but is so relevant to present time. Read it soon.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: My mom suggested this one. It’s a big, sweeping story spanning generations and countries with a great mystery at the core of it. Absolutely lovely.

Relish by Daphne Oz: Ok, so there was a fourth book too, but it’s more of a how-to book with lifestyle tips. I loved it. I haven’t made many of the recipes, but am looking forward to trying them out. It has home décor, travel, fashion, health and travel tips. The book reminds me of a great conversation with a good friend.


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The follow-up to Spoiled, Messy is the perfect beach read. Written by the ladies of Go Fug Yourself, it has their sense of humor and wit and offers both an insider and outsider’s view of L.A. Targeted to young adults, it has a great message about individuality, determination and dreaming big.

Personally, I’d love to see it and Spoiled as movies. (Ashley Benson as Brooke and that girl from Glee as Molly) But, until that happens, you can just read yours with a side of popcorn. I won’t judge you.